THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF

                       THE PENTATEUCH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                             WILLIAM HENRY GREEN, D.D., LL.D.

 

 

PROFESSOR OF ORIENTAL AND OLD TESTAMENT LITERATURE IN PRINCETON

                                                      THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                              1895 edition

                          published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

 

 

           Please report any errors to Ted Hildebrandt at:  thildebrandt@gordon.edu


 


 

 

                                      PREFACE

 

          THE Higher Criticism has been of late so associated

with extravagant theorizing, and with insidious attacks

upon the genuineness and credibility of the books of the

Bible that the very term has become an offence to seri-

ous minds. It has come to be considered one of the

most dangerous forms of infidelity, and in its very nature

hostile to revealed truth. And it must be confessed that

in the hands of those who are unfriendly to supernatural

religion it has proved a potent weapon in the interest of

unbelief. Nor has the use made of it by those who,

while claiming to be evangelical critics, accept and de-

fend the revolutionary conclusions of the antisupernatur-

alists, tended to remove the discredit into which it has

fallen.

          This is not the fault of the Higher Criticism in its

genuine sense, however, but of its perversion. Prop-

erly speaking it is an inquiry into the origin and char-

acter of the writings to which it is applied. It seeks to

ascertain by all available means the authors by whom,

the time at which, the circumstances under which, and

the design with which they were produced. Such inves-

tigations, rightly conducted, must prove a most important

aid to the understanding and just appreciation of the

writings in question.

          The books of the Bible have nothing to fear from such

investigations, however searching and thorough, and how-

ever fearlessly pursued. They can only result in estab-

lishing more firmly the truth of the claims, which the

 

                                      xix



xx                         PREFACE

 

Bible makes for itself, in every particular. The Bible

stands upon a rock from which it can never be dislodged.

          The genuineness and historical truth of the Books of

Moses have been strenuously impugned in the name of

the Higher Criticism. It has been claimed as one of its

most certain results, scientifically established, that they

have been falsely ascribed to Moses, and were in reality

produced at a much later period. It is affirmed that the

history is by no means reliable and merely records the

uncertain and variant traditions of a post-Mosaic age;

and that the laws are not those of Moses, but the growth

of centuries after his time. All this is demonstrably

based on false and sophistical reasoning, which rests on

unfounded assumptions and employs weak and inconclu-

sive arguments.

          It is the purpose of this volume to show, as briefly and

compactly as possible, that the faith of all past ages in

respect to the Pentateuch has not been mistaken. It is

what it claims to be, and what it has always been be-

lieved to be. In the first chapter it is exhibited in its

relation to the Old Testament as a whole, of which it is

not only the initial portion, but the basis or foundation

upon which the entire superstructure reposes; or rather,

it contains the germs from which all that follows was

developed. In the second, the plan and contents of the

Pentateuch are unfolded. It has one theme, which is

consistently adhered to, and which is treated with or-

derly arrangement and upon a carefully considered plan

suggestive of a single author. In the third it is shown

by a variety of arguments, both external and internal,

that this author was Moses. The various forms of oppo-

sition to this conclusion are then outlined and separately

considered. First, the weakness of the earlier objections

from anachronisms and inconsistencies is shown. In the

fourth chapter the divisive hypotheses, which have in



                                      PREFACE                                xxi

 

succession been maintained in opposition to the unity of

the Pentateuch, are reviewed and shown to be baseless,

and the arguments urged in their support are refuted.

In the fifth chapter the genuineness of the laws is de-

fended against the development hypothesis. And in the

sixth and last chapter these hypotheses are shown to be

radically unbiblical. They are hostile alike to the truth

of the Pentateuch and to the supernatural revelation

which it contains.

 

PRINCETON, N. J.        August 1, 1895.


 

 


                   TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

                                      I                                               Page

THE OLD TESTAMENT AND ITS STRUCTURE,        1

               The Old Testament addressed in the first instance to Israel

          and in the language of that people ; the New Testament to

          all mankind and in the language of the civilized world. The

          former composed by many writers in the course of a thousand

          years, 1; not an aggregate of detached productions, but pos-

          sessed of an organic structure, 2; of which each book is a

          constituent element, 3, with its special function. The three-

          fold division of the Hebrew Bible, 4, resting on the official

          position of the writers, 5. The Lamentations an apparent ex-

          ception, 6. Two methods of investigating organic structure,

          7. First, trace from the beginning. The Pentateuch, histor-

          ical, poetical, 8, and prophetical books, 9. Second, survey

          from the end, viz., Christ; advantages of this method, 10.

          Predictive periods, negative and positive; division of the Old

          Testament thence resulting, 11-13. Two modes of division

          compared, 14. General relation of the three principal sec-

          tions, 15-17.

 

                                      II

THE PLAN AND CONTENTS OF THE PENTATEUCH,        18

              Names of the books of Moses, origin of the fivefold divis-

ion, 18. Theme of the Pentateuch; two parts, historical and

legal, 19; preliminary portion, 20; its negative and positive

aim, 21. Creation to the Flood, primeval holiness and the

fall; salvation and perdition; segregation, 22; divine insti-

tutions. The Flood to Abraham, 23. Call of Abraham. Two

stages in the development of Israel. The family; Abraham,

Isaac, Jacob, 24. The nation; negative and positive prepa-

ration for the exodus; the march to Sinai. The legislation;

at Sinai 25, in the wilderness of Paran, in the plains of Moab,

26-28; one theme, definite plan, continuous history, 29, sug-

gestive of a single writer. Tabular view, 30.



xxiv                                 CONTENTS

                                         III                                                   Page

MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH,                  31

               Importance of the Pentateuch, 31. Mosaic authorship as

          related to credibility. (1) Traditional opinion among the

          Jews; testimony of the New Testament, 32, not mere accom-

          modation to prevailing sentiment. (2) Testimony of the Old

          Testament, 33-35. (3) Declarations of the Pentateuch ; the

          Book of the Covenant; the Priest code; the Deuteronomic

          code, 36; two historical passages ascribed to Moses, which

          imply much more, 37, 38; intimate relation of the history to

          the legislation. (4) The language of the laws points to the

          Mosaic period, 39, 40; indicates that they were written then.

          Moses's farewell addresses, song and blessing, 41. The laws

          could not be forged; locality of these enactments. (5) The Pen-

          tateuch alluded to or its existence implied in the subsequent

          books of the Bible, 42. (6) Known and its authority admitted

          in the kingdom of the ten tribes, 43; no valid argument from

          the Samaritan Pentateuch, 44; proof from the history of the

          schism and the books of the prophets. (7) Elementary char-

          acter of its teachings. (8) Egyptian words and allusions, 45.

          Assaults in four distinct lines, 46. The earliest objections;

          ancient heretics; Jerome misinterpreted; Isaac ben Jasos

          Aben Ezra, 47; Peyrerius; Spinoza; Hobbes; Richard

          simon, 48; Le Clere; answered by Witsius and Carpzov, 49.

          The alleged anachronisms and other objections of no account,

          50, 51. Note: Testimony of Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 52; 2

          Samuel, Kings, 53; Joel, Isaiah, 54; Micah, Jeremiah, 55;

          Psalms. Allusions in Hosea and Amos to the facts of the

          Pentateuch, 56; to its laws, 57; coincidences of thought or

          expression, 58.

                                      IV

THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH,                                    59

               Meaning of unity, 59; illustration from Bancroft; the

          Gospels, 60. The Document Hypothesis; Vitringa, 61; As-

          true, Eichhorn, Gramberg, 62. (1) Elohim and Jehovah, 63.

          (2) Each class of sections continuous. (3) Parallel passages,

          64. (4) Diversity of diction and ideas, 65, 66. At first con-

          fined to Genesis; not conflict with Mosaic authorship until

          extended to the entire Pentateuch, 67; even then not neces-



                                      CONTENTS                            xxv

          sarily, unless the documents are post-Mosaic Ex. vi. 3, 68. Jehovist

          suspected of anachronisms, inaccuracies, and contradictions, 69;

          inferred from parallel passages, 70. Fragment Hypothesis, Vater,

          Hartmann, 71; supported by similar arguments, 72; the Document

          Hypothesis reacting against itself, 73; titles and subscriptions, 74. But

          (1) The extensive literature assumed. (2) The continuity and orderly

          arrangement of the Pentateuch, 75. (3) The numerous cross-ref-

          erences. Refuted by Ewald and F. H. Ranke. Supplement           Hypothesis,

          Bleek, Tuch, Stdhelin, De Wette, Knobel, 76, 77. This accounts for

          certain evidences of unity but not for others. Inconsistent relation of

          the Jehovist to the Elohist, 78, 79; attempted explanations destructive

          of the hypothesis, 80. Refuted by Kurtz, Drechsler, Havernick, Keil,

          Hengstenberg, Welte. Crystallization Hypothesis of Ewald, 81, 82.

          Modified Document Hypothesis of Hupfeld; Ilgen, Boehmer,

          Schrader, 82, 83. But (1) The second Elohist destroys the          continuity of

          the first. (2) The first Elohist almost ceases soon after Gen. xx. where

          the second begins, 84. (3) Intricate blending of Jehovist and second

          Elohist. (4) First Elohist alleged to be clearly distinguishable; without

          force as an argument, 85. (5) Capricious and inconsistent conduct

          attributed to the redactor, 86; undermines the hypothesis. Bur-

          densome complexity inevitable, 87. Critical symbols. The grounds of

          literary partition considered, 88. I. The divine names; their alternation

          not coincident with successive sections, 89; this fundamental criterion

          annulled by unsettling the text, 90. Elohim in J sections; Jehovah in P

          and E sections, 91. Examples given, 92-98. Ex. vi. 2, 3, 99.

          Misinterpretation corrected, 100. Not written with an antiquarian

          design; neither was the patriarchal history, 101. Gen. iv. 26.

          Signification and usage of Elohim and Jehovah, 102, 103.

          Hengstenberg's theory, 103, 104. That of Kurtz, 105. Liberty in the

          use of the divine names. II. Continuity of sections, 106. But (1)

          numerous chasms and abrupt transitions, 107. (2) Bridged by scattered

          clauses. (3) Apparent connection factitious, 108. (4) Interrelation of

          documents. (5) Inconsistency of critics. III. Parallel passages. But (1)

          Often not real parallels, 109. (2) Repetition accounted for 110. (3)

          Summary statement followed by particulars, 111. (4) Alleged

          doublets, 112. IV. Diversity of diction and ideas. But (1) Reasoning in

          a circle, 113. (2) Proofs factitious, 114. (3) Synonyms, 115. (4)

          Criteria conflict. (5) An indeterminate equation, 116. (6) Growing

          complexity, 117.



xxvi                                CONTENTS

                                                                                                PAGE

          Arguments insufficient, 118. Partition of the parables of the

          Prodigal Son, 119-122, and the Good Samaritan, 122-124.

          Romans Dissected; additional incongruities, 125, 126; mar-

          vellous perspicacity of the critics, 126, 127 , critical assault

          upon Cicero's orations and other classical productions, 127

          and 128, 129 note; Prologue of Faust, 130; agreement of

          critics, 130, 131; Partition Hypothesis a failure, but the labor

          spent upon it not altogether fruitless, 132, 133.

                                                V

GENUINENESS OF THE LAWS,                                           134

               Critical revolution, 134; diversities of literary critics, two

          points of agreement, 135; Development Hypothesis, 136, 137

          its fallacy, 138; dates assigned to the several codes, 139, 140;

          Graf. 140; Kuenen, Wellhausen. 141; works for and against,

          nuts 111-143; Supplement Hypothesis overthrown, 142, 143;

          Scriptural statements vindicated, 141. 146; no discrepancy be-

          tween the codes, 147-149; alleged violations of the law, 150,

          in respect to the place of sacrifice and the priesthood, 151,

          152; Ignorance of the law, 153; the laws of Charlemagne,

          154; Deuteronomy, the Priest Code, 155; incongruities of

          the hypothesis, 156.

                                                VI

THE BEARING OF THE DIVISIVE CRITICISM ON THE CREDIBIL-

ITY OF THE PENTATEUCH AND ON SUPERNATURAL RELIG-

ION,                                                                                                  157

               Partition Hypotheses elaborated in the interest of unbelief,

          157; credibility undermined; not a question of inerrancy,

          but of the trustworthiness of the history, 158; facts only

          elicited by a critical process; incompleteness of the docu-

          ments ; work of the redactors, 159, 160; effect upon the

          truthfulness of the Pentateuch, 161, 162; the real issue; un-

          friendly to revealed religion, 163; in both the Old and the

          New Testament, 164; the religion of the Bible based on his-

          torical facts; revelations, predictions, and miracles discred-

          ited by the authors of these hypotheses, 165, 166; Mosaic or

          contemporary authorship denied, 167; falsity of the docu-

          ments assumed, 168; they represent discordant traditions;

          Scripture cannot be broken ; criticism largely subjective, 169;



                             CONTENTS                                      xxvii

 

          errors of redactors, 170; no limit to partition, 171; deism,

          rationalism, divisive criticism ; literary attractions of the

          Bible, 172; the supernatural eliminated, 173; deism, 174;

          iationahstic exegeds, 174, 175; method of higher criticism

          most plausible and effective, 176; hazardous experiment of

          the so-called evangelical critics, 177.


 


 

 

                THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF

                        THE PENTATEUCH

 

 

 

                                        I

THE OLD TESTAMENT AND ITS STRUCTURE

 

 

 

          THE Old Testament is the volume of God's written

revelation prior to the advent of Christ. Its complement

is the New Testament, which is God's written revelation

since the advent of Christ. The former being immedi-

ately addressed to the people of Israel was written in the

language of that people, and hence for the most part in

Hebrew, a few chapters in Daniel and Ezra and a verse in

Jeremiah being in the Jewish Aramean,1 when the lan-

guage was in its transition state. This earlier dispensa-

tion, which for a temporary purpose was restricted to a

single people and a limited territory, was, however, pre-

paratory to the dispensation of the fulness of times, in

which God's word was to be carried everywhere and

preached to every creature. Accordingly the New Testa-

ment was written in Greek, which was then the language

of the civilized world.

          The Old Testament was composed by many distinct

writers, at many different times and in many separate

portions, through a period of more than a thousand years

from Moses to Malachi. It is not, however, aan aggre-

 

1 Jer. x. 11; Dan. ii. 4-vii. 28; Ezra iv. 7--vi. 18, vii. 12--26 are in

Aramean.

 

                                      1



2     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

gate of detached productions without order or method

as the seemingly casual circumstances connected with the

origin of its several parts might tempt some to imagine.

Nor, on the other hand, are the additions made from time

to time of a uniform pattern, as though the separate value

of each new revelation consisted merely in the fact that

an increment was thereby made to the body of divine

truth previously imparted. Upon the lowest view that

can possibly be taken of this volume, if it were simply

the record of the successive stages of the development of

the Hebrew mind, it might be expected to possess an

organic structure and to exhibit a gradually unfolding

scheme, as art, philosophy, and literature among every

people have each its characteristics and laws, which gov-

ern its progress and determine the measure and direction

of its growth. But rightly viewed as the word of God,

communicated to men for his own wise and holy ends, it

may with still greater confidence be assumed that the

order and symmetry which characterize all the works of

the Most High, will be visible here likewise; that the

divine skill and intelligence will be conspicuous in the

method as well as in the matter of his disclosures; and

that these will be found to be possessed of a structural

arrangement in which all the parts are wisely disposed,

and stand in clearly defined mutual relations.

          The Old Testament is a product of the Spirit of God,

wrought out through the instrumentality of many human

agents, who were all inspired by him, directed by him,

and adapted by him to the accomplishment of his own

fixed end. Here is that unity in multiplicity, that single-

ness of aim with diversity of operations, that binding to-

gether of separate activities under one superior and con-

trolling influence, which guides all to the accomplishment

of a predetermined purpose, and allots to each its par-

ticular function in reference to it, which is the very con-



THE OLD TESTAMENT AND ITS STRUCTURE         3

 

ception of a well-arranged organism. There is a divine

reason why every part is what it is and where it is; why

God spake unto, the fathers at precisely those sundry

times and in just those divers portions, in which he

actually revealed his will. And though this may not in

every instance be ascertainable by us, yet careful and

reverent study will disclose it not only in its general out-

lines, but also in a multitude of its minor details; and

will show that the transpositions and alterations, which

have been proposed as improvements, are dislocations

and disfigurements, which mar and deface the well-pro-

portioned whole.

          In looking for the evidences of an organic structure in

the Scriptures, according to which all its parts are dis-

posed in harmonious unity, and each part stands in a

definite and intelligible relation to every other, as well as

to the grand design of the whole, it will be necessary to

group and classify the particulars, or the student will lose

himself in the multiplicity of details, and never rise to

any clear conception of the whole. Every fact, every

institution every person, every doctrine, every utterance

of the Bible has its place and its function in the general

plan. And the evidence of the correctness of any scheme

proposed as the plan of the Scriptures will lie mainly in

its harmonizing throughout with all these details, giving

a rational and satisfactory account of the purpose and

design of each and assigning to all their just place and

relations. But if one were to occupy himself with these

details in the first instance, he would be distracted and

confused by their multitude, without the possibility of

arriving thus at any clear or satisfactory result.

          The first important aid in the process of grouping or

classification is afforded by the separate books of which

the Scriptures are composed. These are not arbitrary or

fortuitous divisions of the sacred text but their form,



4   THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

dimensions, and contents have been divinely determined.

Each represents the special task allotted to one partic-

ular organ of the Holy Spirit, either the entire function

assigned to him in the general plan, or, in the case where

the same inspired penman wrote more than one book

of different characters and belonging to different classes,

his function in one given sphere or direction. Thus the

books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Malachi exhibit to us that

part in the plan of divine revelation which each of those

distinguished servants of God was commissioned to per-

form. The book of Psalms represents the task allotted

to David and the other inspired writers of song in the

instruction and edification of the people of God. The

books of Moses may be said to have led the way in

every branch of sacred composition, in history (Genesis),

in legislation (Leviticus), in oratorical and prophetic

discourse (Deuteronomy), in poetry (Ex. xv., Dt. xxxii.,

xxxiii.), and they severally set forth what he was en-

gaged to accomplish in each of these different directions.

The books of Scripture thus having each an individual

character and this stamped with divine authority as an

element of fitness for their particular place and function,

must be regarded as organic parts of the whole.

          The next step in our inquiry is to classify and arrange

the books themselves. Every distribution is not a true

classification, as a mechanical division of an animal body

is not a dissection, and every classification will not ex-

hibit the organic structure of which we are in quest.

The books of the Bible may be variously divided with

respect to matters merely extraneous and contingent,

and which stand in no relation to the true principle of

its construction.

          Thus, for example, the current division of the Hebrew

Bible is into three parts, the Law, the Prophets, and

the K'thubhim or Hagiographa. This distribution rests



THE OLD TESTAMENT AND ITS STRUCTURE         5

 

upon the official standing of the writers. The writings

of Moses, the great lawgiver and mediator of God's cove-

nant with Israel, whose position in the theocracy was

altogether unique, stand first. Then follow the writings

of the prophets, that is to say, of those invested with the

prophetical office. Some of these writings, the so-called

former prophets--Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings--

are historical; the others are prophetical, viz., those de-

nominated the latter prophets--Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel,

and the twelve minor prophets so called, not as though

of inferior authority, but solely because of the brevity of

their books. Their position in this second division of

the canon is due not to the nature of their contents but

to the fact that their writers were prophets in the strict

and official sense. Last of all those books occupy the

third place which were written by inspired men who

were not in the technical or official sense prophets.

Thus the writings of David and Solomon, though inspired

as truly as those of the prophets, are assigned to the

third division of the canon, because their authors were

not prophets but kings. So, too, the book of Daniel be-

longs in this third division, because its author, though

possessing the gift of prophecy in an eminent degree, and

uttering prophecies of the most remarkable character,

and hence called a prophet, Mat. xxiv. 15, in the same

general sense as David is in Acts ii. 30, nevertheless did

not exercise the prophetic office. He was not engaged in

laboring with the people for their spiritual good as his

contemporary and fellow-captive Ezekiel. He had an

entirely different office to perform on their behalf in the

distinguished position which he occupied at the court of

Babylon and then of Persia. The books of Chronicles

cover the same period of the history as 2 Samuel and

Kings, but the assignment of the former to the third

division, and of the latter to the second, assures us that



6   THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

Samuel and Kings were written by prophets, while the

author of Chronicles, though writing under the guidance

and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was not officially a

prophet.

          As classified in our present Hebrew Bibles, which

follow the order given in the Talmud, this principle of

arrangement is in one instance obviously departed from;

the Lamentations of Jeremiah stands in the Hagiogra-

pha, though as the production of a prophet it ought to

be included in the second division of the canon, and

there is good reason to believe that this was its original

position. Two modes of enumerating the sacred books

were in familiar use in ancient times, as appears from

the catalogues which have been preserved to us. The

two books of Samuel were uniformly counted one: so

the two books of Kings and the two of Chronicles: so

also Ezra and Nehemiah: so likewise the Minor Proph-

ets were counted one book. Then, according to one

mode of enumeration, Ruth was attached to Judges as

forming together one book, and Lamentations was re-

garded as a part of the book of Jeremiah: thus the en-

tire number of the books of the Old Testament was

twenty-two. In the other mode Ruth and Lamentations

were reckoned separate books, and the total was twenty-

four. Now the earliest enumerations that we have from

Jewish or Christian sources are by Josephus1 and Ori-

gen, who both give the number as twenty-two: and as

this is the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet,

while twenty-four is the number in the Greek alphabet,

the former may naturally be supposed to have been

adopted by the Jews in the first instance. From this it

would appear that Lamentations was originally annexed

 

    1 Josephus adopts a classification of his own suited to his immediate

purpose, but doubtless preserves the total number current among his

countrymen.



THE OLD TESTAMENT AND ITS STRUCTURE         7

 

to the book of Jeremiah and of course placed in the

same division of the canon. Subsequently, for liturgical

or other purposes, Ruth and Lamentations were re-

moved to the third division of the canon and included

among the five small books now classed together as Me-

gilloth or Rolls, which follow immediately after Psalms,

Proverbs, and Job.

          There are two methods by which we can proceed in

investigating the organic structure of the Old Testament.

We must take our departure either from the beginning

or the end. These are the two points from which all the

lines of progress diverge, or in which they meet in every

development or growth. All that which properly be-

longs to it throughout its entire course is unfolded from

the one and is gathered up in the other. Thus the seed

may be taken, in which the whole plant is already in-

volved in its undeveloped state, and its growth may be

traced from this its initial point by observing how roots,

and stem, and leaves, and flowers, and fruit proceed

from it by regular progression. Or the process may be re-

versed and the whole be surveyed from its consummation.

The plant is for the sake of the fruit; every part has its

special function to perform toward its production, and

the organic structure is understood when the office of

each particular portion in relation to the end of the

whole becomes known.

          In making trial of the first of the methods just sug-

gested, the Old Testament may be contemplated under

its most obvious aspect of a course of training to which

Israel was subjected for a series of ages. So regarding

it there will be little difficulty in fixing upon the law of

Moses as the starting-point of this grand development.

God chose Israel from among the nations of the earth to

be his own peculiar people, to train them up for himself

by immediate communications of his will, and by manifes-



8   THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

tations of his presence and power in the midst of them.

And as the first step in this process, first not only in the

order of time but of rational arrangement, and the foun-

dation of the whole, he entered into special and formal

covenant with them at Sinai, and gave them a divine

constitution and laws containing the undeveloped seeds

and germs of all that he designed to accomplish in them

and for them. The first division of the Old Testament

consequently is the Pentateuch, which contains this law

with its historical introduction.

          The next step was to engage the people in the observ-

ance of the law thus given to them. The constitution

which they had received was set in operation and al-

lowed to work out its legitimate fruits among them and

upon them. The law of God thus shaped the history of

Israel: while the history added confirmation and enlarge-

ment to the law by the experience which it afforded of

its workings and of the providential sanctions which at-

tended it and by the modifications which were from time

to time introduced as occasion demanded. The histori-

call books thus constitute the second division of the Old

Testament, whose office it is to record the providential

application and expansion of the law.

          A third step in this divine training was to have the

law as originally given and as providentially expanded,

wrought not only into the outward practice of the people

or their national life, as shown in the historical books,

but into their inward individual life and their intellect-

ual convictions. This is the function of the poetical

books, which are occupied with devout meditations or

earnest reflections upon the law of God, his works and

his providence, and the reproduction of the law in the

heart and life. These form accordingly the third divis-

ion of the Old Testament.

          The law has thus been set to work upon the national



THE OLD TESTAMENT AND ITS STRUCTURE         9

 

life of the people of Israel in the course of their history,

and is in addition coming to be wrought more and more

into their individual life and experience by devout medi-

tation and careful reflection. But that this outward and

inward development, though conducted in the one case

under immediate divine superintendence, and in the

other under the inspiration of the Divine Spirit, might

not fail of its appointed end, there was need that this end

should be held up to view and that the minds of the peo-

ple should be constantly directed forward to it. With

this view the prophets were raised up to reiterate, un-

fold, and apply the law in its true spiritual meaning, to

correct abuses and misapprehensions, to recall a trans-

gressing people to fidelity to their covenant God, and to

expand to the full dimensions of the glorious future the

germs and seeds of a better era which their covenant

relation to Jehovah contained. They furnish thus what

may be called an objective expansion of the law, and

their writings form the fourth and last division of the

Old Testament.

          If, then, the structure of the Old Testament has been

read aright, as estimated from the point of its beginning

and its gradual development from that onward, it con-

sists of four parts,1 viz.:

          1. The Pentateuch or law of Moses, the basis of the

whole.

          2. Its providential expansion and application to the

national life in the historical books.

          3. Its subjective expansion and appropriation to in-

dividual life in the poetical books.

          4. Its objective expansion and enforcement in the

prophetical books.

          The other mode above suggested of investigating the

 

          1 This is substantially the same as Oehler's division first proposed in

his Prolegomena zur Theologie des Alten Testaments, 1845, pp. 87-91.



10    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

structure of the Old Testament requires us to survey it

from its end, which is Christ, for whose coming and sal-

vation it is a preparation. This brings everything into,

review under a somewhat different aspect. It will yield

substantially the same division that has already been ar-

rived at by the contrary process, and thus lends it addi-

tional confirmation, since it serves to show that this is

not a fanciful or arbitrary partition but one grounded in

the nature of the sacred volume. At the same time it is

attended with three striking and important advantages.

          1. The historical, poetical, and prophetical books,

which have hitherto been considered as separate lines of

development, springing it is true from a common root,

yet pursuing each its own independent course, are by this

second method exhibited in that close relationship and

interdependence which really subsists between them, and

in their convergence to one common centre and end.

          2. It makes Christ the prominent figure, and adjusts

every part of the Old Testament in its true relation to

him. He thus becomes in the classification and struct-

ural arrangement, what he is in actual fact, the end of

the whole, the controlling, forming principle of all, so that

the meaning of every part is to be estimated from its re-

lation to him and is only then apprehended as it should

be when that relation becomes known.

          3. This will give unity to the study of the entire Script-

ures. Everything in the Old Testament tends to Christ

and is to be estimated from him. Everything in the

New Testament unfolds from Christ and is like-wise to be

estimated from him. In fact this method pursued in other

fields will give unity and consistency to all knowledge

by making Christ the sum and centre of the whole, of

whom, and through whom, and to whom are all things.

          In the first method the Old Testament was regarded

simply as a divine scheme of training. It must now be



THE OLD TESTAMENT AND ITS STRUCTURE      11

 

regarded as a scheme of training directed to one definite

end, the coming of Christ.

          It is to be noted that the Old Testament, though pre-

paratory for Christ and predictive of him everywhere, is

not predictive of him in the same manner nor in equal

measure throughout. Types and prophecies are accumu-

lated at particular epochs in great numbers and of a strik-

ing character. And then, as if in order that these lessons

might be fully learned before the attention was diverted

by the impartation of others, an interval is allowed to

elapse in which predictions, whether implicit or explicit,

are comparatively few and unimportant. Then another

brilliant epoch follows succeeded by a fresh decline; pe-

riods they may be called of activity and of repose, of in-

struction on the part of God followed by periods of com-

prehension and appropriation on the part of the people.

These periods of marked predictive character are never

mere repetitions of those which preceded them. Each

has its own distinctive nature and quality. It emphasizes

particular aspects and gives prominence to certain char-

acteristics of the coming Redeemer and the ultimate

salvation; but others are necessarily neglected altogether

or left in comparative obscurity, and if these are to be

brought distinctly to view, a new period is necessary to

represent them. Thus one period serves as the comple-

ment of another, and all must be combined in order

to gain a complete notion of the preparation for Christ

effected by the Old Testament, or of that exhibition of

Messiah and his work which it was deemed requisite to

make prior to his appearing.

          It is further to be observed that Christ and the coming

salvation are predicted negatively as well as positively.

While the good things of the present point forward to

the higher good in anticipation, evils endured or foretold,

and imperfections in existing forms of good, suggest the



12    THE HIGHER CRITICISM of THE PENTATETJC

 

blissful future by way of contrast; they awaken to a

sense of wants, deficiencies, and needs which points for-

ward to a time when they shall be supplied. The cove-

nant relation of the people to God creates an ideal which

though far from being realized as yet must some time

find a complete realization. The almighty and all holy

God who has made them his people will yet make them

to be in character and destiny what the people of Jeho-

vah ought to be. Now since each predictive period ex-

presses just the resultant of the particular types and

prophecies embraced within it, its character is determined

by the predominant character of these types and proph-

ecies. If these are predominantly of a negative descrip-

tion, the period viewed as a whole is negatively predic-

tive. If they are prevailingly positive, they constitute a

prevailingly positive period.

          If now the sacred history be considered from the call

of Abraham to the close of the Old Testament, it will be

perceived that it spontaneously divides itself into a se-

ries of periods alternately negative and positive. There

is first a period in which a want is developed in the ex-

perience of those whom God is thus training, and is

brought distinctly to their consciousness. Then follows

a period devoted to its supply. Then comes a new want

and a fresh supply, and so on.

          The patriarchal, for example, is a negative period. Its

characteristic is its wants, its patient, longing expecta-

tion of a numerous seed and the possession of the land

of Canaan, which are actually supplied in the time of

Moses and Joshua, which is therefore the corresponding

positive period.

          The period of the Judges, again, possesses a negative

character. The bonds which knit the nation together

were too, feeble and too easily dissolved. This was not

the fault of their divine constitution. Had the people



THE OLD TESTAMENT AND ITS STRUCTURE    13

 

been faithful to their covenant God, their invisible but

almighty sovereign and protector, their union would

have been perfect, and as against all foreign foes they

would have been invincible. But when the generation

which had beheld the mighty works wrought under the

leadership of Moses and Joshua had passed away, the in-

visible lost its hold upon a carnally minded people, and

“every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

They relapsed from the worship of God and obedience to

his law, and were in turn forsaken by him. Hence their

weakness, their civil dissensions tending to anarchy and

their repeated subjugation by surrounding enemies con-

vincing them of the need of a stronger union under a

visible head, a king to go before them. This was sup-

plied in David and Solomon, who mark the correspond-

ing positive period.

          Then follows another negative period embracing the

schism, the decline of the divided kingdoms, their over-

throw and the captivity, with its corresponding positive,

the restoration.

          If the marked and prominent features of the history

now recited be regarded, and if each negative be com-

bined with the positive which forms its appropriate com-

plement, there will result three great predictive or pre-

paratory periods, viz.

          1. From the call of Abraham to the death of Joshua.

          2. To the death of Solomon.

          3. To the close of the Old Testament.

          All that precedes the call of Abraham is purely pre-

liminary to it, and is to be classed with the first period

as its introduction or explanatory antecedent.

          If these divisions of the history be transferred to the

Old Testament whose structure is the subject of inquiry,

it will be resolved into the following portions, viz.

          1. The Pentateuch and Joshua.



14    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

          2. The recorded history as far as the death of Solo-

mon, and the sacred writings belonging to this period.

These are, principally, the Psalms of David and the Prov-

erbs of Solomon, the great exemplars of devotional lyr-

ics and of aphoristic or sententious verse, which gave

tone and character to all the subsequent poetry of the

Bible. The latter may accordingly be properly grouped

with them as their legitimate expansion or appropriate

complement. These echoes continue to be heard in the

following period of the history, but as the keynote was

struck in this, all the poetical books may be classed to-

gether here as in a sense the product of this period.

          3. The rest of the historical books of the Old Testa-

ment, together with the prophetical books.

This triple division, though based on an entirely dis-

tinct principle and reached by a totally different route, is

yet closely allied to the quadruple division previously

made, with only divergence enough to show that the

partition is not mechanical but organic, and hence no

absolute severance is possible. The historical books are

here partitioned relatively to the other classes of books,

exhibiting a symmetrical division of three periods of di-

vinely guided history, and at the close of each an imme-

diate divine revelation, for which the history furnishes

the preliminary training, and, in a measure, the theme.

The history recorded by Moses and consummated by

Joshua has as its complement the law given at Sinai and

in the wilderness. The further history to the death of

Solomon formed a preparation for the poetical books.

The subsequent history prepares the way for the proph-

ets, who are in like manner gathered about its concluding

stages.

          There is besides just difference enough between the

two modes of division to reveal the unity of the whole

Old Testament, and that books separated under one as-



THE OLD TESTAMENT AND ITS STRUCTURE     15

 

pect are yet united under another. Thus Joshua, accord-

ing to one method of division and one mode of conceiving

of it, continues and completes the history of the Penta-

teuch; the other method sees in it the opening of a new

development. There is a sense, therefore, in which it

is entirely legitimate to combine the Pentateuch and

Joshua as together forming a Hexateuch. The promises

made to the patriarchs, the exodus from Egypt, and the

march through the wilderness contemplate the settlement

in Canaan recorded by Joshua, and are incomplete with-

out it. And yet in the sense in which it is currently

employed by modern critics, as though the Pentateuch

and the book of Joshua constituted one continuous liter-

ary production, the term. Hexateuch is a misnomer. They

are distinct works by distinct writers; and the func-

tion of Joshua was quite distinct from that of Moses.

Joshua, as is expressly noted at every step of his course,

simply did the bidding of Moses. The book of the law

was complete, and was placed in his hands at the outset

as the guide of his official life. The period of legislation

ended with the death of Moses; obedience to the law

already given was the requirement for the time that fol-

lowed. Again the reign of Solomon may be viewed un-

der a double aspect. It is the sequel to that of David,

carrying the kingdom of Israel to a still higher pitch of

prosperity and renown; and yet in Kings it is put at the

opening of a new book, since it may likewise be viewed

under another aspect as containing the seeds of the dis-

solution that followed.

          As to the general relation of these three divisions of

the Old Testament there may be observed:

          1. A correspondence between the first and the follow-

ing divisions. The Pentateuch and Joshua fulfil their

course successively in two distinct though related

spheres. They contain, first, a record of individual



16    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

experience and individual training in the lives of the

patriarchs; and secondly, the national experience and

training of Israel under Moses and Joshua. These

spheres repeat themselves, the former in the second 

grand division of the Old Testament, the latter in the

third. The histories of the second division are pre-

dominantly the record of individual experience, and

its poetry is individual in its character. Judges and

Samuel are simply a series of historical biographies;

Judges, of the distinguished men raised up from time to

time to deliver the people out of the hands of their op-

pressors; Samuel, of the three leading characters by

whom the affairs of the people were shaped in that im-

portant period of transition, Samuel, Saul, and David.

Ruth is a biographical sketch from private life. The

poetical books not only unfold the divinely guided re-

flections of individual minds or the inward struggles of

individual souls, but their lessons, whether devotional

or Messianic, are chiefly based on the personal experi-

ence of David and Solomon, or of other men of God.

          The third division of the Old Testament, on the other

hand, resembles the closing portion of the first in being

national. Its histories--Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, and

Nehemiah--concern the nation at large, and the same may

be said to a certain extent even of Esther. The commu-

nications of the prophets now given are God's messages

to the people, and their form and character are condi-

tioned by the state and prospects of the nation.

          2. The number of organs employed in their communi-

cation increases with each successive division. In the

first there are but two inspired writers, Moses and the

author of the book of Joshua, whether Joshua himself or

another. In the second the historians were distinct from

the poets, the latter consisting of David, Solomon, and

other sacred singers, together with the author of the



THE OLD TESTAMENT AND ITS STRUCTURE    17

 

book of Job, In the third we find the greatest number

of inspired writers, together with the most elaborate ar-

ticulation and hence an advance in organic structure.

          3. There is a progress in the style of instruction

adopted in each successive division. The first is purely

typical. The few prophecies which are scattered

through it are lost in the general mass. The second di-

vision is of a mixed character, but types predominate.

We here meet not a simple record of typical facts and

institutions without remark or explanation, as in the

Pentateuch and Joshua; but in the poetical books types

are singled out and dwelt upon, and made the basis of

predictions respecting Christ. The third division is also

of a mixed character, but prophecies so predominate that

the types are almost lost sight of in the comparison.

          4. These divisions severally render prominent the

three great theocratic offices which were combined in the

Redeemer. The first by its law, the central institution

of which is sacrifice, and which impresses a sacerdotal

organization upon the people, points to Jesus as priest.

The second, which revolves about the kingdom, is prog-

nostic of Jesus as king, although the erection of Solo-

non's temple and the new stability and splendor given

to the ritual show that the priesthood is not forgotten.

In the third, the prophets rise to prominence, and the

people themselves, dispersed among the nations to be the

teachers of the world, take on a prophetic character typ-

ifying Jesus as a prophet. While nevertheless the re-

building of the temple by Zerubbabel, and the prophetic

description of its ideal reconstruction by Ezekiel, point

still to his priesthood, and the monarchs of Babylon and

Persia, aspiring to universal empire, dimly foreshadow

his kingdom.


 


                                         II

 

THE PLAN AND CONTENTS OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

          The books of Moses are in the Scriptures called "the

law," Josh. i. 7; "the law of Moses," I Kin. ii. 3; "the

book of the law," Josh. viii. 34; "the book of the law

of Moses," Josh. viii. 31; "the book of the law of God,"

Josh. xxiv. 26, or “of the LORD,” 2 Chron. xvii. 9, on ac-

count of their predominantly legislative character. They

are collectively called the Pentateuch, from pe<nte, five, and

teu?xoj, originally signifying an implement, but used by

the Alexandrian critics in the sense of a book, hence a

work consisting of five books. This division into five

books is spoken of by Josephus and Philo, and in all

probability is at least as old as the Septuagint version.

Its introduction has by some (Leusden, Havernick, Len-

gerke) been attributed to the Greek translators. Others

regard it as of earlier date (Michaelis), and perhaps as

old as the law itself (Bertholdt, Keil), for the reasons

          1. That this is a natural division determined by the

plan of the work. Genesis, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy

are each complete in itself; and this being so, the five-

fold division follows as a matter of course.

          2. The division of the Psalms into five books, as found

in the Hebrew Bible, is probably patterned after the

Pentateuch, and is most likely as old as the constitution

of the canon.

          The names of these five books are in the Hebrew Bible

taken from the first words of each. Those current among

ourselves, and adopted in most versions of the Old Tes-

tament, are taken from the old Greek translators.



PLAN AND CONTENTS OF THE PENTATEUCH      19

 

          The Pentateuch has one theme, which is consistently

pursued from first to last, viz., the theocracy in Israel,

or the establishment of Israel to be the people of God.

It consists of two parts, viz.

          1. Historical, Gen. i.--Ex. xix., tracing the successive

steps by which Israel was brought into being as a na-

tion chosen to be the peculiar people of God.

          2. Legal, recording the divine constitution granted to

them, by which they were formally organized as God's

people and brought into special relation to him. The

law begins with the ten commandments, uttered by God's

own voice from the smoking summit of Sinai, in Ex. xx.,

and extends to the close of Deuteronomy. The scraps of

history which are found in this second main division are

not only insignificant in bulk compared with the legisla-

tion which it contains, but they are subordinated to it as

detailing the circumstances or occasions on which the

laws were given, and likewise allied with it as constitut-

ing part of the training by which Israel was schooled into

their proper relation to God. Of these two main sections

of the Pentateuch the first, or historical portion, is not

only precedent to, but preparatory for, the second or legal

portion; the production and segregation of the people of

Israel being effected with the direct view of their being

organized as the people of God.

          It will be plain from a general survey of these two

main sections, into which the Pentateuch is divided, that

everything in it bears directly upon its theme as already

stated; and the more minute and detailed the examina-

tion of its contents, the more evident this will become.

The first of these two great sections, or the historical

portion, is clearly subdivided by the call of Abraham. It

was at that point that the production and segregation

of the covenant people, strictly speaking, commenced.

From the creation of the world to the call of Abraham,



20    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

which is embraced in the first eleven chapters of Gene-

sis, the history is purely preliminary. It is directed to

the negative end of demonstrating the necessity of such

a segregation. From the call of Abraham to the law

given at Mount Sinai, that is to say, from Gen. xii. to

Ex. xix., the history is directed to the positive end of

the production and segregation of the covenant people.

          The preliminary portion of the history is once more

divided by the flood; the first five chapters of Genesis

being occupied with the antediluvian period and the next

six with an account of the deluge and the postdiluvian

period. Each of these preliminary periods is marked

by the formation of a universal covenant between God

and the two successive progenitors and heads of the hu-

man race, Adam and Noah, which stand in marked con-

trast with the particular or limited covenant made with

Abraham, the progenitor of the chosen race, at the begin-

ning of the following or patriarchal period. The failure

of both those primeval covenants to preserve religion

among men, and to guard the race from degeneracy and

open apostasy, established the necessity of a new ex-

pedient, the segregation of a chosen race, among whom

religion might be fostered in seclusion from other na-

tions, until it could gain strength enough to contend

with evil on the arena of the world and overcome it, in-

stead of being overcome by it. The covenant with Adam

was broken by his fall, and the race became more and

more corrupt from age to age, until the LORD determined

to put a sudden end to its enormous wickedness, and de-

stroyed the world by the flood. Noah, who was alone

spared with his household, became the head of a new

race with whom God entered into covenant afresh; but

the impious attempt at Babel is suggestive of the ungod-

liness and corruption which once more overspread the

earth, and it became apparent, if the true service of God



PLAN AND CONTENTS OF THE PENTATEUCH     21

 

was to be maintained in the world, it must be by initiat-

ing a new process. Hence the call of Abraham to be the

father of a new people, which should be kept separate

from other nations and be the peculiar people of the

LORD.

          These two preliminary periods furnish thus the justi-

fication of the theocracy in Israel by demonstrating the

insufficiency of preceding methods, and the consequent

necessity of selecting a special people to be the LORD'S

people. But besides this negative purpose, which the

writer had in view in recording this primeval portion of

the history, he had also the positive design of paving the

way for the account to be subsequently given of the

chosen people, by exhibiting and inculcating certain

ideas, which are involved in the notion of a covenant

people, and of describing certain preliminary steps al-

ready taken in the direction of selecting such a people.

          The idea of the people of God involves, when con-

templated under its negative aspect, (1) segregation from

the rest of mankind; and this segregation is not purely

formal and local, but is represented (2) both in their in-

ward character, suggesting the contrast of holiness to sin,

and (3) in their outward destiny, suggesting the contrast

of salvation to perdition. The same idea of the people

of God contemplated under its positive aspect involves

(4) direct relation to God or covenant with him, the ob-

servance of his laws and of the institutions which he im-

posed or established. Something is effected in relation

to each of these four particulars in each of these prelimi-

nary periods, and thus much, at least, accomplished in the

direction of the theocracy which was afterward to be in-

stituted.

          Genesis begins with a narrative of the creation, because

in this the sacred history has its root. And this not only

because an account of the formation of the world might



22    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

fatly precede an account of what was transacted in it,

but chiefly because the sacred history is essentially a his-

tory of redemption, and this being a process of recovery,

a scheme initiated for the purpose of restoring man and

the world to their original condition, necessarily presup-

poses a knowledge of what that original condition was.

Hence the regular and emphatic repetition, after each

work was performed, in Gen. i., of the statement, and

God saw that it was good; "and at the close of all, God

saw everything that he had made; and behold it was

very good." Hence, too, the declaration made and re-

peated at the creation of man, that he was made in God's

image. The idea of primitive holiness thus set forth is

further illustrated, by contrast, in the tree of the knowl-

edge of good and evil, which stood in the midst of the gar-

den, and was made the test of obedience, and especially in

man's transgression and disobedience which rendered

redemption necessary. The contrast of salvation and

perdition is suggested by paradise and the tree of life on

the one hand, and by the curse pronounced upon man

and his expulsion from Eden in consequence of the fall

upon the other; by Cain's being driven out from the

presence of the LORD, and by Enoch, who walked with

God and was not, for God took him. The idea of seg-

regation is suggested by the promise respecting the seed

of the woman and the seed of the serpent, by which the

family of man is divided into two opposite and hostile

classes, who maintain a perpetual strife, until the serpent

and his seed are finally crushed; a strife which culmi-

nates in the personal conflict between Christ and Satan,

and the victory of the former, in which all his people

share. These hostile parties find their first representa-

tives in the family of Adam himself--in Cain, who was of

the evil one, and his righteous brother, Abel; and after

Abel's murder Seth was raised up in his stead. These



PLAN AND CONTENTS OF THE PENTATEUCH      23

 

are perpetuated in their descendants, those of Seth being

called the sons of God, those of Cain the sons and

daughters of men. In conformity with the plan, which

the writer steadfastly pursues throughout, of tracing the

divergent lines of descent before dismissing them from

further consideration in the history, and proceeding with

the account of the chosen line itself, he first gives an ac-

count of the descendants of Cain, whose growing degen-

eracy is exhibited in Lamech, of the seventh generation

(Gen. iv. 17-24), before narrating the birth of Seth (Gen.

iv. 25, 26) and tracing the line of the pious race through

him to Noah, ch. v.  By this excision of the apostate line

of Cain that narrowing process is begun, which was finally

to issue in the limitation to Abraham and his seed. And

in the fourth and last place, the divine institutions now

established as germs of the future law, were the weekly

Sabbath (G en. ii. 3), and the rite of sacrifice (Gen. iv. 3, 4).

          In the next period the same rites were perpetuated,

with a more specific mention of the distinction of clean

and unclean animals (Gen. vii. 8), and the prohibition

of eating blood (Gen. ix. 4), which were already involved

in the institution of sacrifice and the annexing of the

penalty of death to the crime of murder (Gen. ix. 6); and

the same ideas received a new sanction and enforcement.

The character of those who belong to God is repre-

sented in righteous Noah, as contrasted with the Un-

godly world; their destiny, in the salvation of the former

and the perdition of the latter. Segregation is carried

one term farther by the promise belonging to this period,

which declares that while Japheth shall be enlarged and

Canaan made a servant God shall dwell in the tents

of Shem. And here, according to his usual method, al-

ready adverted to, the writer first presents a view of the

descendants of all Noah's sons, which were dispersed

over the face of the earth (Gen. x.), prior to tracing the



24    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PETNTATEUCH

 

chosen line in the seed of Shem, to Terah, the father of

Abraham (Gen. xi, 10-26).  He thus exhibits the rela-

tionship of the chosen race to the rest of mankind, while

singling them out and sundering them from it.

          Everything in these opening chapters thus bears di-

rectly on his grand theme, to which he at once proceeds

by stating the call of Abraham (Gen. xii.), and going on

to trace those providential events which issued in the

production of a great nation descended from him.

The preparation of the people of Israel, who were to

be made the covenant people of God, is traced in two

successive stages: first, the family, in the remainder of

the book of Genesis (Gen. ch. xii.-l.), secondly, the nation

(Ex. i.-xix.).

          The first of these sections embraces the histories of

the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God made

choice of Abraham to be the father of his own peculiar

people, and covenanted with him as well as with Isaac

and Jacob severally to be their God, promising to them-

(1) numerous seed, (2) the possession of the land of

Canaan, and (3) that a blessing should come through

them upon all mankind. During this period the work

of segregation and elimination previously begun was car-

ried steadily forward to its final term. The line had al-

ready been narrowed down to the family of Terah in the

preceding chapter. Abraham is now called to leave his

father's house (Gen. xii.), his nephew Lot accompanying

him, who is soon, however, separated from him (ch. xiii.),

and his descendants traced (xix. 37, 38). Then in Abra-

ham's own family Ishmael is sent away from his house

(ch. xxi.), and the divergent lines of descent from Keturah

and from Ishmael are traced (ch. xxv.), before proceeding

with the direct line through Isaac (xxv. 19). Then in

Isaac's family the divergent line of Esau is traced (ch.

xxxvi.), before proceeding with the direct line of Jacob



PLAN AND CONTENTS OF THE PENTATEUCH     25

 

(xxxvii. 2), the father of the twelve tribes, after which no

further elimination is necessary.

          The history of this sacred family and God's gracious

leadings in Canaan are first detailed, and then the provi-

dential steps are recorded by which they were taken down

into Egypt, where they were to be unfolded to a great na-

tion. One important stage of preparation for the theocracy

in Israel is now finished: the family period is at an end,

the national period is about to begin. Genesis here ac-

cordingly breaks off with the death of Jacob and of Joseph.

          Exodus opens with a succinct statement of the im-

mense and rapid multiplication of the children of Israel,

effecting the transition from a family to a nation (Ex. i.

1-7), and then proceeds at once to detail the preparations

for the exodus (i. 8-ch. xiii.), and the exodus itself (ch.

xiv.-xix.). There is first described the negative prepara-

tion in the hard bondage imposed on the people by the

king of Egypt, making them sigh for deliverance (i. 8-22).

 The positive preparation follows, first of an instrument

to lead the people out of Egypt in the person of Moses

(ch. ii.-vi.); second, the breaking their bonds and setting

them free by the plagues sent on Egypt (ch. vii.-xiii).

The way being thus prepared, the people are led out of

Egypt, attended by marvellous displays of God's power

and grace, which conducted them through the Red Sea

and attended them on their march to Sinai (ch. xiv.-xix.).

          Israel is now ready to be organized as the people of

God. The history is accordingly succeeded by the

legislation of the Pentateuch. This legislation consists

of three parts, corresponding to three periods of very un-

equal length into which the abode in the wilderness may

be divided, and three distinct localities severally oc-

cupied by the people in these periods respectively.

          1. The legislation at Mount Sinai during the year that

they encamped there.



26     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

          2. That given in the period of wandering in the wil-

derness of Paran, which occupied the greater part of the

forty years.

          3. That given to Israel in the plains of Moab, on the

east of Jordan, when they had almost reached the prom-

ised land.

          At Sinai God first proclaims the law of the ten com-

mandments (Ex. xx.), and then gives a series of ordi-

nances (ch. xxi.-xxiii.) as the basis of his covenant with

Israel, which is then formally ratified (ch. xxiv.). The

way is thus prepared for God to take up his abode in

Israel. Accordingly directions, are at once given for the

preparation of the tabernacle as God's dwelling-place,

with its furniture, and for the appointment of priests to

serve in it, with a description of the vestments which

they should wear, and the rites by which they should be

consecrated (ch. xxv.-xxxi.). The execution of these

directions was postponed in consequence of the breach

of the covenant by the sin of the golden calf and the re-

newal of the covenant which this had rendered necessary

(ch. xxxii.-xxxiv.). And then Exodus is brought to a

termination by the account of the actual construction and

setting up of the tabernacle and God's taking up his

abode in it (ch. xxxv.-xl.).

          The LORD having thus formally entered into covenant

with Israel, and fixed his residence in the midst of them,

next gives them his laws. These are mainly contained

in the book of Leviticus. There is first the law respect-

ing the various kinds of sacrifices to be offered at the

tabernacle now erected (Lev. i.-vii.), then the consecra-

tion of Aaron and his sons by whom they were to be

offered, together with the criminal conduct and death of

two of his sons, Nadab and Abihu (ch. viii.-x.); then the

law respecting clean and unclean meats and various kinds

of purifications (ch. xi.-xv.), and the series is wound up



PLAN AND CONTENTS OF THE PENTATEUCH     27

 

by the services of the day of atonement, effecting the

highest expiation known to the Mosaic ritual (ch. xvi.).

These are followed by ordinances of a more miscellane-

ous character relating to the people (ch. xvii.-xx.), and

the priests (ch. xxi., xxii.), the various festivals (ch.

xxiii.), the sabbatical year and year of jubilee (ch. xxv.);

and the whole is concluded by the blessing pronounced

on obedience and the curse which would attend upon

transgression (ch. xxvi.), with which the book is brought

to a formal close (xxvi. 46). A supplementary chapter

(xxvii.) is added at the end respecting vows.

          Numbers begins with the arrangements of the camp and

preparations for departure from Sinai (Num. i.-x.). The

people are numbered (ch. i.), the order of encampment

and march settled (ch. ii.), and duties assigned to the sev-

eral families of the Levites in transporting the tabernacle

(ch. iii., iv.). Then, after some special ceremonial regu-

lations (ch. v., vi.), follow the offerings at the dedication

of the tabernacle, including oxen and wagons for its

transportation (ch. vii.); the Levites are consecrated for

their appointed work (ch. viii.), and as the final act be-

fore removal the passover was celebrated (ch. ix.), and

signal trumpets prepared (ch. x.). Then comes the actual

march from Sinai, with the occurrences upon the journey

to Kadesh, on the southern border of the land, where

they are condemned to wander forty years in the wilder-

ness on account of the rebellious refusal to enter Ca-

naan (ch. xi.-xiv.). Some incidents belonging to the

period of the wandering and laws then given are re-

corded (ch. xv.-xix.). The assembling of the people

again at Kadesh in the first month of the fortieth year,

the sin of Moses and Aaron, which excluded them from

the promised land, and the march to the plains of Moab,

opposite Jericho, with the transactions there until the

eleventh month of that year, including the conquest of



28    THE HIGHER, CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

the territory east of the Jordan occupy the remainder of

the book (ch. xx.-xxxvi.).

          Deuteronomy contains the last addresses of Moses to

the people in the plains of Moab, delivered in the eleventh

month of the fortieth year of Israel's wanderings, in  

which he endeavors to engage them to the faithful ob-

servance of the law now given. The first of these ad-

dresses (Deut. i.-iv. 40) reviews some of the leading events

of the march through the wilderness as arguments for a

steadfast adherence to the LORD'S service. Then after se-

lecting three cities of refuge on the east side of the Jor-

dan (iv. 41-43), he proceeds in his second address with a

declaration of the law, first in general terms, reciting the

ten commandments with earnest admonitions of fidelity

to the LORD (ch. v.-xi.), then entering more into detail in

the inculcation, of the various ordinances and enactments

(ch. xii.-xxvi.). This law of Deuteronomy thus set before

the people for their guidance is properly denominated

the people's code as distinguished from the ritual law in

Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, which is denominated

the priests' code, being intended particularly for the

guidance of the priests in all matters connected with the

ceremonial. The latter develops in detail under symbolic

forms the privileges and duties springing out of the cove-

nant relation of the people to Jehovah in their access to

him and the services of his worship. The former is a

development of the covenant code (Ex. xx.-xxiii.), with

such modifications as were suggested by the experience

of the last forty years, and especially by their approach-

ing entrance into the land of Canaan. His third address

sets solemnly before the people in two sections (ch.

xxvii., xxviii., and ch. xxix., xxx.), the blessing consequent

upon obedience and the curse that will certainly follow

transgression.

          Provision is then made both for the publication and



PLAN AND CONTENTS OF THE PENTATEUCH      29

 

safe-keeping of the law, by delivering it to the custody of

the priests, who are directed to publish it in the audience

of the people every seven years, and to keep it safely in

the side of the ark (ch. xxxi.); next follow Moses's ad-

monitory song (ch. xxxii.), his last blessing to the tribes

(ch. xxxiii.), and his death (ch. xxxiv.).

          The Pentateuch accordingly has, as appears from this

brief survey, one theme from first to last to which all

that it contains relates. This is throughout treated

upon one definite plan, which is steadfastly adhered to.

And it contains a continuous, unbroken history from the

creation to the death of Moses, without any chasms or

interruptions. The only chasms which have been al-

leged are merely apparent, not real, and grow out of the

nature of the theme and the rigor with which it is

adhered to. It has been said that while the lives of the

patriarchs are given in minute detail a large portion of

the four hundred and thirty years during which the chil-

dren of Israel dwelt in Egypt is passed over in silence;

and that of a large part of the forty years' wandering in

the wilderness nothing is recorded. But the fact is, that

these offered little that fell within the plan of the writer.

The long residence in Egypt contributed nothing to the

establishment of the theocracy in Israel, but the develop-

ment of the chosen seed from a family to a nation. This

is stated in a few verses, and it is all that it was neces-

sary to record. So with the period of judicial abandon-

ment in the wilderness: it was not the purpose of the

writer to relate everything that happened, but only what

contributed to the establishment of God's kingdom in

Israel; and the chief fact of importance was the dying

out of the old generation and the growing up of a new

one in their stead.

          The unity of theme and unity of plan now exhibited

creates a presumption that these books are, as they have



30    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

been traditionally believed to be the product of a single

writer; and the presumption thus afforded must stand

unless satisfactory proof can be brought to the contrary.

 

                   SCHEME OF THE PENTATEUCH.

 

                        Preliminary,      Antediluvian, Gen. i.-v.

                          Gen. i.-xi. ,     Noachic, Gen. vi-xi.

 

History,                                                |The family, Gen. xii. 1.

 Gen. i.-                                                |(Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.)

  Ex. xix                                                |

                        Preparatory,                 |                       |Transition from family, Ex. 1. 1-7.

                        Gem xii,-                      |                       |

                        Ex. xix.             |                       |                          Negative.

                                                            |The nation,       |Preparation for  Oppression, 1. 8-22.

                                                            |Ex. i.-xix          |the exodus, i.      Positive.

                                                                                    |8-xiii.                 The instrument, Mo-

                                                                                                                 ses, ii.-vi.

                                                                                                             The plagues, vii.-xiii.

 

                                                                                    Exodus and march to Sinai, xiv.-xix.

                                                                        |From giving law to setting, up tabernacle.

                          |At Sinai, Ex. xx.-                   |           Ex. xx.-xl.

                          |    Num. x.10.                        |Ordinances at Sinai, Lev. i.-xxvii.

                          |                                             |Preparations for departure, Num. i. 1-x. 10.

                          |                                             From Sinai to Kadesh, x. 11-xiv.

Legislation Is-   |  In Paran, Num. x.                  Forty years' wandering, xv.-xix.

    rael in wilder-|      11-xxi.                              Kadesh to plains of Moab, in fortieth year,

    ness, Ex. xx.- |                                                   xx.-xxxvi.

    Deut. xxxiv.   |

                           |                                            |Moses's first address (history), i.-iv. 40.

                           |                                            |                                   General, v.-xi.

                           |In plains of Moab,                 |Moses's second address

                           |                                            |    (law),                       Special,

                           |Dt. 1.-xxxiv.             |                                   xxvi.

                                                                        |Moses's third address (blessing and curve),

                                                                        |           xxvii.-xxx.

                                                Conclusion, xxxi. xxxiv.


         


 

                                       III

 

 

     MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

          IF the Pentateuch is what it claims to be, it is of the

greatest interest and value. It professes to record the

origin of the world and of the human race, a primitive

state of innocence from which man fell by yielding to temp-

tation, the history of the earliest ages, the relationship

subsisting between the different nations of mankind, and

particularly the selection of Abraham and his descend-

ants to be the chosen people of God, the depositaries of

divine revelation, in whose line the Son of God should in

due time become incarnate as the Saviour of the world.

It further contains an account of the providential events

accompanying the development of the seed of Abra-

ham from a family to a nation, their exodus from Egypt,

and the civil and religious institutions under which they

were organized in the prospect of their entry into, and

occupation of, the land of Canaan. The contents of the

Pentateuch stand thus in intimate relation to the prob-

lems of physical and ethnological science, to history and

archeology and religious faith. All the subsequent rev-

elations of the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ it-

self, rest upon the foundation of what is contained in the

Pentateuch as they either presuppose or directly affirm

its truth.

          It is a question of primary importance, therefore, both

in itself and in its consequences, whether the Pentateuch

is a veritable, trustworthy record, or is a heterogeneous

mass of legend and fable from which only a modicum of

truth can be doubtfully and with difficulty elicited. Can

 

                                      31


32    THE HIGHER CRITICISM 0F THE PENTATEUCH

 

we lay it at the basis of our investigations, and implicitly

trust its representations, or must we admit that its un-

supported word can only be received with caution, and

that of itself it carries but little weight? In the settle-

ment of this matter a consideration of no small conse-

quence is that of the authorship of the Pentateuch. Its

credibility is, of course, not absolutely dependent upon

its Mosaic authorship. It might be all true, though it

were written by another than Moses and after his time.

But if it was written by Moses, then the history of the

Mosaic age was recorded by a contemporary and eye-

witness, one who was himself a participant and a leader

in the scenes which he relates, and the legislator from

whom the enactments proceeded; and it must be con-

fessed that there is in this fact the highest possible guar-

anty of the accuracy and truthfulness of the whole. It

is to the discussion of this point that the present chapter

is devoted: Is the Pentateuch the work of Moses?

          1. It is universally conceded that this was the tradi-

tional opinion among the Jews. To this the New Testa-

ment bears the most abundant and explicit testimony.

The Pentateuch is by our Lord called "the book of

Moses" (Mark xii. 26); when it is read and preached

the apostles say that Moses is read (2 Cor. iii. 15) and

preached (Acts xv. 21). The Pentateuch and the books

of the prophets, which were read in the worship of the

synagogue, are called both by our Lord (Luke xvi. 29,

31) and the evangelists (Luke xxiv. 27), "Moses and

the prophets," or "the law of Moses and the prophets"

(Luke xxiv. 44; Acts xxviii. 23). Of the injunctions of the

Pentateuch not only do the Jews say, when addressing

our Lord,  "Moses commanded (John viii. 5), but our

Lord repeatedly uses the same form of speech (Mat. viii.

4; xix. 7, 8; Mark i. 44; x. 3; Luke v. 14), as testi-

fied by three of the evangelists. Of the law in general



MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH      33

 

he says, “Moses gave the law” (John vii. 19), and the

evangelist echoes "the law was given by Moses" (John

i. 17). And that Moses was not only the author of the

law, but committed its precepts to writing, is affirmed by

the Jews (Mark xii. 19), and also by our Lord (Mark x.

5), who further speaks of him as writing predictions re-

specting himself (John v. 46, 47), and also traces a nar-

rative in the Pentateuchal history to him (Mark xii. 26).

          It has been said that our Lord here speaks not author-

itatively but by accommodation to the prevailing senti-

ment of the Jews; and that it was not his purpose to

settle questions in Biblical Criticism. But the fact re-

mains that he, in varied forms of speech, explicitly con-

firms the current belief that Moses wrote the books

ascribed to him. For those who reverently accept him

as an infallible teacher this settles the question. The

only alternative is to assume that he was not above the

liability to err; in other words, to adopt what has been

called the kenotic view of his sacred person, that he com-

pletely emptied himself of his divine nature in his incar-

nation, and during his abode on earth was subject to all

the limitations of ordinary men.  Such a lowering of

view respecting the incarnate person of our Lord may

logically affect the acceptance of his instructions in other

matters. He himself says (John iii. 12), "If I have

told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye

believe if I tell you of heavenly things?"

          2. That the Pentateuch was the production of Moses,

and the laws which it contains were the laws of Moses,

was the firm faith of Israel from the beginning, and is

clearly reflected in every part of the Old Testament, as

we have already seen to be the case in the New Testa-

ment. The final injunction of the last of the prophets

(Mal. iv. 4) is, "Remember ye the law of Moses my ser-

vant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Is-



34      THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

rael, with the statutes and judgments." The regulations

adopted by the Jews returned from captivity were not

recent enactments of their leaders, but the old Mosaic in-

stitutions restored. Thus (Ezra iii, 2) they built the

altar and established the ritual "as it is written in the

law of Moses." After the new temple was finished they

set priests and Levites to their respective service, "as it

is written in the book of Moses" (Ezra vi. 18). When

subsequently Ezra led up a fresh colony from Babylon,

he is characterized as "a ready scribe in the law of

Moses" (Ezra vii. 6). At a formal assembly of the people

held for the purpose, "the book of the law of Moses

was read and explained to them day by day (Neh. viii.

1, 18). Allusions are made to the injunctions of the

Pentateuch in general or in particular as the law which

God gave to Moses (Neh. i. 7, 8; viii. 14; ix. 14; x. 29),

as written in the law (vs. 34, 36), or contained in the

book of Moses (Neh. xiii. 1).

          In the Captivity Daniel (ix. 11, 13) refers to matters

contained in the Pentateuch as "written in the law of

Moses." After the long defection of Manasseh and

Amon the neglected "book of the law of the LORD by

Moses" (2 Kin. xxii. 8; xxiii. 25; 2 Chron. xxxiv. 14

xxxv. 6, 12) was found in the temple, and the reformation

of Josiah was in obedience to its instructions. The pass-

over of Hezekiah was observed according to the pre-

scriptions of  "the law of Moses" (2 Chron. xxx. 16), and

in general Hezekiah is commended for having kept the

“commandments which the LORD commanded Moses” (2

Kin. xviii. 6). The ten tribes were carried away captive

because they "transgressed " what "Moses commanded"

(2 Kin. xviii. 12) king Amaziah did (2 Kin. xiv. 6; 2

Chron. xxv. 4) " as it is written in the book of the law of

Moses," Deut. xxiv. 16 being here quoted in exact

terms., The high-priest Jehoiada directed the ritual as



MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH      35

 

it is written in the law of Moses" (2 Chron. xxiii 18),

while appointing the singing as it was ordained by

David; a discrimination which shows that there was no

such legal fiction, as it has sometimes been contended,

by which laws in general, even though recent, were at-

tributed to Moses. David charged Solomon (1 Kin. ii.

3; 1 Chron. xxii. 13) to keep what "is written in the law

of Moses," and a like charge was addressed by the LORD

to David himself (2 Kin. xxi. 7, 13; 2 Chron, xxxiii. 8).

Solomon appointed the ritual in his temple in accordance

with "the commandment of Moses" (2 Chron. viii. 13

1 Chron. vi. 49). When the ark was taken by David to

on it was borne "as Moses commanded" (1 Chron. xv.

15; cf. 2 Sam. vi. 13). Certain of the Canaanites were

left in the land in the time of Joshua, "to prove Israel

by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the

commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their

fathers by the hand of Moses" (Judg. iii. 4). Joshua was

directed "to do according to all the law which Moses

commanded, and was told that "the book of the law

should not depart out of his mouth" (Josh. i. 7, 8). And

in repeated instances it is noted with what exactness he

followed the directions given by Moses.

          It is to be presumed, at least until the contrary is

shown, that "the law" and "the book of the law" have

the same sense throughout as in the New Testament, as

also in Josephus and in the prologue to the book of

Sirach or Ecclesiasticus, where they are undeniably

identical with the Pentateuch. The testimonies which

have been reviewed show that this was from the first at-

tributed to Moses. At the least it is plain that the sacred

historians of the Old Testament without exception, knew

of a body of laws which were universally obligatory and

were believed to be the laws of Moses, and which answer

in every particular to the laws of the Pentateuch.



36    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

          3. Let us next inquire what the Pentateuch says of

itself. It may be roughly divided for our present pur-

pose into its two main sections: (1) Genesis and Exo-

dus historical; (2) Ex. xx.-Deuteronomy, mainly

legal. The legal portion consists of three distinct bodies

of law, each of which has its own peculiar character and

occasion. The first is denominated the Book of the

Covenant and embraces Ex. xx.-xxiii., the ten command-

ments with the accompanying judgments or ordinances,

which were the stipulations of the covenant then for-

mally ratified between the LORD and the people. This

Moses is expressly said (Ex. xxiv. 4), to have written

and read in the audience of the people, who promised

obedience, whereupon the covenant was concluded with

appropriate sacrificial rites.

          By this solemn transaction Israel became the LORD'S

covenant people, and he in consequence established his

dwelling in the midst of them and there received their

worship. This gave occasion to the second body of laws,

the so-called Priest Code, relating to the sanctuary and

the ritual. This is contained in the rest of Exodus

(xxv.-xl.), with the exception of three chapters (xxxii.-

xxxiv.) relating to the sin of the golden calf, the whole

of Leviticus, and the regulations found in the book of

Numbers, where they are intermingled with the history,

which suggests the occasion of the laws and supplies the

connecting links. This Priest Code is expressly declared

in all its parts to have been directly communicated by

the LORD to Moses, in part on the summit of Mount

Sinai during his forty days' abode there, in part while

Israel lay encamped at the base of the mountain, and in

part during their subsequent wanderings in the wilderness.

          The third body of law is known as the Deuteronomic

Code, and embraces the legal portion of the book of

Deuteronomy, which was delivered by Moses to the peo-



MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH     37

 

ple in the plains of Moab, in immediate prospect of

Canaan, in the eleventh month of the fortieth year of

their wanderings in the wilderness. This Moses is ex-

pressly said to have written and to have committed to

the custody of the Levites, who bore the ark of the cove-

nant (Deut. xxxi. 9, 24-26).1

          The entire law, therefore, in explicit and positive

terms, claims to be Mosaic. The book of the Covenant

and the Deuteronomic law are expressly affirmed to have

been written by Moses. The Priest Code, or the ritual

law, was given by the LORD to Moses, and by him to

Aaron and his sons, though Moses is not in so many

words said to have written it.

          Turning now from the laws of the Pentateuch to its

narratives we find two passages expressly attributed to

the pen of Moses. After the victory over Amalek at

Rephidim, the LORD said unto Moses (Ex. xvii. 14),

"Write this for a memorial in a book." The fact that

 

            1”This law,” the words of which Moses is said to have written in a

book until they were finished, cannot be restricted with Robertson

Smith to Dent. xii.-xxvi., as is evident from iv. 44, nor even with

Dillmann to v.-xxvi., as appears from i. 5; xxviii. 58, 61; xxix.

20, 27. It is doubtful whether it can even be limited to Deut. i.-xxxi.

In favor of the old opinion, that it embraced in addition the preceding

books of the Pentateuch, may be urged that Deuteronomy itself recog-

nizes a prior legislation of Moses binding upon Israel (iv. 5, 14; xxix.

1; xvii. 9-11; xxiv. 8 ; xxvii. 26, which affirms as “words of this

law” the antecedent curses (vs. 15-25), some of which are based on laws

peculiar to Leviticus); and the book of the law of Moses, by which

Joshua was guided (Josh. i. 7, 8), must have been quite extensive. Comp.

Josh. i. 3-5a, and Deut. xi. 24, 25; Josh. i. 5b, 6, and Dent. xxxi. 6,

7; Josh. i. 12-15, and Num. xxxii.; Josh. v, 2-8, and Ex. xii. 48;

Josh. v. 10, 11, and Lev. xxiii. 5, 7, 11, 14; Josh. viii. 30, 31, and

Dent. xxvii; Josh. viii. 34,.and Deut. xxviii.; Josh. xiv. 1-3a, and

Num. xxxiv. 13-18; Josh. xiv. 6-14, and Num. xiv. 24; Josh. xvii.

3, 4, and Num. xxvii. 6, 7; Josh. xx.. and Num. xxxv. 10 sqq.; Josh.

xx. 7, and Dent. iv. 43; Josh. xxi., and Num. xxxv. 1-8; Josh, xxii.

1-4, and Num. xxxii.; Josh. xxii. 5, and Deut. x. 12, 13.



38    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENNTATEUCH

 

such an injunction was given to Moses in this particular

instance seems to imply that he was the proper person

to place on record whatever was memorable and worthy

of preservation in the events of the time. And it may

perhaps be involved in the language used that Moses

had already begun, or at least contemplated, the prepara-

tion of a connected narrative, to which reference is here

made, since in the original the direction is not as in the

English version, "write in a book," but "in the book."

No stress is here laid, however, upon this form of ex-

pression for two reasons: (1) The article is indicated

not by the letters of the text, but by the Massoretic

points, which though in all probability correct, are not

the immediate work of the sacred writer. (2) The arti-

cle may, as in Num. v. 23, simply denote the book

which would be required for writing.

          Again, in Num. xxxiii. 2, a list of the various stations

of the children of Israel in their marches or their wan-

derings in the wilderness is ascribed to Moses, who is

said to have written their goings out according to their

journeys by the commandment of the LORD.

          This is the more remarkable and important, because

this list is irreconcilable with any of the divisive theories

which undertake to parcel the text of the Pentateuch

among different writers. It traverses all the so-called

documents, and is incapable of being referred to any

one; and no assumptions of interpolations or of manip-

ulation by the redactor can relieve the embarrassment

into which the advocates of critical partition are thrown

by this chapter. There is no escape from the conclusion

that the author of this list of stations was the author of

the entire Pentateuchal narrative from the departure out

of Egypt to the arrival at the plains of Moab.

 

          1 See Hebraica viii., pp. 237-239; Presbyterian and Reformed Review,

April, 1894, pp., 281-284.



MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH      39

 

          No explicit statements are made in the Pentateuch it-

self in regard to any other paragraphs of the history than

these two. But it is obvious from the whole plan and con-

stitution of the Pentateuch that the history and the leg-

islation are alike integral parts of one complete work.

Genesis and the opening chapters of Exodus are plainly

preliminary to the legislation that follows. The histori-

cal chapters of Numbers constitute the framework in

which the laws are set, binding them all together and

exhibiting the occasion of each separate enactment. If

the legislation in its present form is, as it claims to be,

Mosaic then beyond all controversy the preparatory

and connecting history must be Mosaic likewise. If

the laws, as we now have them came from Moses by

inevitable sequence the history was shaped by the same

hand, and the entire Pentateuch history as well as

legislation, must be what it has already been seen all

after ages steadfastly regarded it, the production of

Moses.

          4. The style in which the laws of the Pentateuch are

framed, and the terms in which they are drawn up, cor-

respond with the claim which they make for themselves,

and which all subsequent ages make for them, that they

are of Mosaic origin. Their language points unmistak-

ably to the sojourn in the wilderness prior to the occu-

pation of Canaan as the time when they were produced.

The people are forbidden alike to do after the doings of

the land of Egypt, wherein they had dwelt, or those of

the land of Canaan, whither God was bringing them (Lev.

xviii. 3). They are reminded (Deut. xii. 9) that they had

not yet come to the rest and the inheritance which the

LORD their God was giving them. The standing desig-

nation of Canaan is the land which the LORD giveth thee

to possess it (Dent. xv. 4, 7). The laws look forward to

the time when thou art come into the land, etc., and



40      THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

shalt possess it" (Deut. xvii. 14; Lev. xiv. 34, etc.); or

“when the LORD hath cut off these nations and thou suc-

ceedest them, and dwellest in their cities” (Deut. xix. 1),

as the period when they are to go into full operation

(Deut. xii. 1, 8, 9). The place of sacrifice is not where

Jehovah has fixed his habitation, but "the place which

Jehovah shall choose to place his name there" (Deut.

xii. 5, etc.). Israel is contemplated as occupying a camp

(Num. v. 2-4, etc.) and living in tents (Lev. xiv. 8), and

in the wilderness (Lev. xvi. 21, 22). The bullock of the

sin-offering was to be burned without the camp (Lev. iv.

12, 21); the ashes from the altar were to be carried

without the camp (vi. 11). The leper was to have his

habitation without the camp (xiii. 46); the priest was to

go forth out of the camp to inspect him (xiv. 3); cere-

monies are prescribed for his admission to the camp

(ver. 8) as well as the interval which must elapse before

his return to his own tent. In slaying an animal for

food, the only possibilities suggested are that it may be

in the camp or out of the camp (xvii. 3). The law of

the consecration of priests respects by name Aaron and

his sons (viii. 2 sqq.). Two of these sons, Nadab and Abi-

hu, commit an offence which causes their death, a cir-

cumstance which calls forth some special regulations

(Lev. ch. x.), among others those of the annual day of

atonement (Lev. xvi. 1) on which Aaron was the cele-

brant (ver. 3 sqq.), and the camp and the wilderness the

locality (vs. 21, 22, 26, 27). The tabernacle, the ark, and

other sacred vessels were made of shittimm wood (Ex.

xxxvi. 20), which was peculiar to the wilderness. The

sacred structure was made of separate boards, so joined

together that it could be readily taken apart, and explicit

directions are given for its transportation as Israel jour-

neyed from place to place (Num. iv. 5 sqq.), and gifts of

wagons and oxen were made for the purpose (Num.



MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH      41

 

vii.). Specific instructions are given for the arrangement

of the several tribes, both in their encampments and their

marches (Num. ii.). Silver trumpets were made to direct

the calling of the assembly and the journeying of the

host (Num. x. 2 sqq.). The ceremonies of the red heifer

were to be performed without the camp (Num. xix. 3, 7,

9) and by Eleazar personally (vs. 3, 4). The law of puri-

fication provides simply for death in tents and in the

open fields (vs. 14, 16).

          The peculiarity of these laws carries with it the evi-

dence that they were not only enacted during the so-

journ in the wilderness, but that they were then com-

mitted to writing. Had they been preserved orally, the

forms of expression would have been changed insensibly,

to adapt them to the circumstances of later times. It is

only the unvarying permanence of a written code, that

could have perpetuated these laws in a form which in

after ages, when the people were settled in Canaan, and

Aaron and his sons were dead, no longer described di-

rectly and precisely the thing to be done, but must be

mentally adapted to an altered state of affairs before they

could be carried into effect.

          The laws of Deuteronomy are, besides, prefaced by two

farewell addresses delivered by Moses to Israel on the

plains of Moab (Deut. i. 5 sqq.; v. 1 sqq.), which are pre-

cisely adapted to the situation, and express those feel-

ings to which the great leader might most appropriately

have given utterance under the circumstances. And the

most careful scrutiny shows that the diction and style of

thought in these addresses is identical with that of the

laws that follow. Both have emanated from one mind

and pen. The laws of Deuteronomy are further followed

by a prophetic song (Deut. xxxii.) which Moses is said

to have written (xxxi. 22), and by a series of blessings upon

the several tribes, which he is said to have pronounced



42    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

before his death (xxxiii. 1), all which are entirely appro-

priate in the situation.

          The genuineness of these laws is further vouched for

by the consideration that a forged body of statutes

could never be successfully imposed upon any people.

These laws entered minutely into the affairs of daily life,

imposed burdens that would not have been voluntarily

assumed, and could only have been exacted by compe-

tent authority. That they were submitted to and obeyed,

is evidence that they really were ordained by Moses, in

whose name they were issued. If they had first made

their appearance in a later age, the fraud would inevi-

tably have been detected. The people could not have

been persuaded that enactments, never before heard of,

had come down from the great legislator, and were in-

vested with his authority.

          And the circumstance that these laws are said to have

been given at Mount Sinai, in the wilderness, or in the

plains of Moab, is also significant. How came they to be

attributed to a district outside of the holy land, which

had no sacred associations in the present or in the patri-

archal age, unless they really were enacted there? and if

so, this could only have been in the days of Moses.

          5. The Pentateuch is either directly alluded to, or its

existence implied in numerous passages in the subse-

quent books of the Bible. The book of Joshua, which

records the history immediately succeeding the age of

Moses, is full of these allusions. It opens with the chil-

dren of Israel in the plains of Moab, and on the point of

crossing the Jordan, just where Deuteronomy left them.

The arrangements for the conquest and the subsequent

division of the land are in precise accordance with the

directions of Moses, and are executed in professed obe-

dience to his orders. The relationship is so pervading,

and the correspondence so exact that those who dispute



MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH       43

 

the genuineness and authenticity of the Pentateuch are

obliged to deny that of Joshua likewise. The testimony

rendered to the existence of the Pentateuch by the books

of Chronicles at every period of the history which they

cover, is so explicit and repeated that it can only be set

aside by impugning the truth of their statements and al-

leging that the writer has throughout colored the facts

which he reports by his own prepossessions, and has

substituted his own imagination, or the mistaken belief

of a later period, for the real state of the case.

          But the evidence furnished by the remaining historical

books, though less abundant and clear, tends in the same

direction. And it is the same with the books of the proph-

ets and the Psalms. We find scattered everywhere allu-

sions to the facts recorded in the Pentateuch, to its insti-

tutions, and sometimes to its very language, which afford

cumulative proof that its existence was known, and its

standard authority recognized by the writers of all

the books subsequent to the Mosaic age. (See note 1,

p. 52.)

          6. Separate mention should here be made, and stress

laid upon the fact, which is abundantly attested, that the

Pentateuch was known, and its authority admitted in the

apostate kingdom of the ten tribes from the time of the

schism of Jeroboam. In order to perpetuate his power

and prevent the return of the northern tribes to the sway

of the house of David, he established a separate sanctu-

ary and set up an idolatrous worship. Both the rulers

and the people had the strongest inducement to disown

the Pentateuch, by which both their idolatrous worship

and their separate national existence were so severely

condemned. And yet the evidence is varied and abun-

dant that their national life, in spite of its degeneracy,

had not wholly emancipated itself from the institutions

of the Pentateuch, and that even their debased worship



44     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

was but a perverted form of that purer service which the

laws of Moses had ordained.

          It was at one time thought that the Samaritan Penta-

teuch supplied a strong argument at this point. The

Samaritans, while they recognized no other portion of

the canon of the Old Testament, are in possession of the

Pentateuch in the Hebrew language, but written in a

peculiar character, which is a more ancient and primitive

form of the alphabet than that which is found in any

Hebrew manuscript. It was argued, that such was the

hostility between Jews and Samaritans, that neither

could have adopted the Pentateuch from the other.

It was consequently held that the Samaritan Pentateuch

must be traced to copies existing in the kingdom of the

ten tribes, which further evidence that the Pentateuch

must have existed at the time of the revolt of Jeroboam,

and have been of such undisputed divine authority then

that even in their schism from Judah and their apostasy

from the true worship of God they did not venture to

discard it. Additional investigation, however, has shown

that this argument is unsound. The Samaritans are not

descendants of the ten tribes but of the heathen colonists

introduced into the territory of Samaria by the Assyrian

monarchs, after the ten tribes had been carried into cap-

tivity (2 Kin. xvii. 24). And the Samaritan Pentateuch

does not date back of the Babylonish exile. The mu-

tual hatred of the Jews and the Samaritans originated

then. The Samaritans, in spite of their foreign birth,

claimed to be the brethren of the Jews and proposed to

unite with them in rebuilding the temple at Jerusalem

(Ezr. iv. 2, 3); but the Jews repudiated their claim and

refused their offered assistance. The Samaritans thus

repulsed sought in every way to hinder and annoy the

Jews and frustrate their enterprise, and finally built

a rival temple of their own on the summit of Mount



MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PRNTATEUCH      45

 

Gerizim. Meanwhile, to substantiate their claim of be-

ing sprung from ancient Israel, they eagerly accepted

the Pentateuch, which was brought them by a renegade

priest.

          While, therefore, in our present argument no signifi-

cance can be attached to the Samaritan Pentateuch, we

have convincing proof from other sources that the books of

Moses were not unknown in the kingdom of the ten tribes.

The narrative of the schism in I Kin. xii. describes in

detail the measures taken by Jeroboam in evident and

avowed antagonism to the regulations of the Pentateuch

previously established. And the books of the prophets

Hosea and Amos, who exercised their ministry in the ten

tribes, in their rebukes and denunciations, in their de-

scriptions of the existing state of things and its contrast

with former times, draw upon the facts of the Pentateuch,

refer to its laws, and make use of its phrases and forms

of speech. (See note 2, p. 56.)

          7. A further argument is furnished by the elementary

character of the teachings of the Pentateuch as compared

with later Scriptures in which the same truths are more

fully expanded. The development of doctrine in re-

spect to the future state, providential retribution, the

spiritual character of true worship, angels, and the Mes-

siah, shows very plainly that the Pentateuch belongs to

an earlier period than the book of Job, the Psalms, and

the Prophets.

          8. The Egyptian words and allusions to Egyptian cus-

toms, particularly in the life of Joseph, the narrative of the

residence of Israel in Egypt and their journeyings through

the wilderness, and in the enactments, institutions, and

symbols of the Pentateuch indicate great familiarity on

the part of the author and his readers with Egyptian

objects, and agree admirably with the Mosaic period;

Moses himself having been trained at the court of



46     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

Pharaoh and the long servitude of the people having

brought them into enforced contact with the various

forms of Egyptian life and taught them skill in those arts

which were carried in Egypt to great perfection.

          These, briefly stated, are the principal arguments of a

positive nature for Moses's authorship of the books

which bear his name. They are ascribed to him by unan-

imous and unbroken tradition from the days of Moses

himself through the entire period of the Old Testament,

and from that onward. This has the inspired and au-

thoritative sanction of the writers of the New Testa-

ment and of our Lord himself. It corresponds with the

claim which these books make for themselves, corrob-

orated as this is by their adaptation in style and charac-

ter to their alleged origin, and by the evidence afforded

in all the subsequent Scriptures of their existence and

recognized authority from the time of their first pro-

mulgation, and that even in the schismatical kingdom of

Jeroboam in spite of all attempts to throw off its control.

And it derives additional confirmation from the progress

of doctrine in the Old Testament, which indicates that

the Pentateuch belongs to the earliest stage of divine

revelation, as well as from the intimate acquaintance

with Egyptian objects which it betrays and which is

best explained by referring it to the Mosaic age.

          The assaults which have been made in modern times

upon the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch have

been mainly in one or other of four distinct lines or in

all combined. It is alleged that the Pentateuch cannot

be the work of Moses, because (1) It contains anach-

ronisms, inconsistencies, and incongruities. (2) It is

of composite origin, and cannot be the work of any one

writer. (3) Its three codes belong to different periods

and represent different stages of national development.

(4) The disregard of its laws shows that they had no exist-



MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH     47

 

ence for ages after the time of Moses. The first of these

is the ground of the earliest objections; the second is

the position taken by most of the literary critics; the

third and fourth represent that of those who follow the

lead of Graf and Wellhausen.

 

 

                   THE EARLIEST OBJECTIONS.

          Certain ancient heretics denied that Moses wrote the

Pentateuch, because they took offence at some of its con-

tents;1 apart from this his authorship was unchallenged

until recent times. The language of Jerome2 has some-

times been thought to indicate that it was to him a mat-

ter of indifference whether the Pentateuch was written

by Moses or by Ezra. But his words have no such

meaning. He is alluding to the tradition current among

the fathers, that the law of Moses perished in the de-

struction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, but was mi-

raculously restored word for word by Ezra, who was di-

vinely inspired for the purpose. Its Mosaic authorship

was unquestioned; but whether the story of its miracu-

lous restoration was to be credited or not was to Jerome

of no account.

          Isaac ben Jasos in the eleventh century is said to have

held that Gen. xxxvi. was much later than the time

of Moses.3 Aben Ezra, in the twelfth century, found

what he pronounces an insoluble mystery in the words

"beyond Jordan" (Deut. i. 1), "Moses wrote" (Deut.

xxxi. 9), "The Canaanite was then in the land" (Gen.

xii. 6), “In the Mount of Jehovah he shall be seen"

(Gen. xxii. 14), and the statement respecting the iron

 

          1 Clementine Homilies, iii. 46, 47.

          2 Contra Helvidium: Sive Mosen dicere volueris auctorem Penta-

teuchi, sive Esram instauratorem operis, non recuso.

          3 Studien and Kritiken for 1832, pp. 639 sqq.



48     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

bedstead of Og in Deut. iii. 11, from which it has been

inferred, though he does not express himself clearly on

the subject, that he regarded these passages as post-Mo-

saic interpolations Peyrerius1 finds additional round

of suspicion in the reference to the book of the wars of

the LORD (Num. xxi. 14), to the LORD having given to

Israel the land of their possession (Deut. ii. 12), and

"until this day " (Deut. iii. 14). He also complains of

obscurities, lack of orderly arrangement, repetitions,

omissions, transpositions, and improbable statements.

Spinoza2 adds as non-Mosaic "Dan" (Gen. xiv. 14, see

Judg. xviii. 29), "the kings that reigned in Edom before

there reigned any king in Israel" (Gen. xxxvi. 31), the

continuance of the manna (Ex. xvi. 35), and Num. xii. 3,

as too laudatory to be from the pen of Moses; and he

remarks that Moses is always spoken of in the third per-

son. His opinion was that Moses wrote his laws from

time to time, which were subsequently collected and the

history inserted by another, the whole being finally  .

remodelled by Ezra, and called the Books of Moses be-

cause he was the principal subject. Hobbes3 points to

some of the above-mentioned passages as involving an-

achronisms, and concludes that Moses wrote no part of

the Pentateuch except the laws in Deut. xi.-xxvii. Rich-

and Simon4 held that Moses wrote the laws, but the his-

torical portions of the Pentateuch were the work of

scribes or prophets, who were charged with the function

of recording important events. The narratives and gene-

alogies of Genesis were taken by Moses from older writ-

ings or oral tradition, though it is impossible to distin-

guish between what is really from Moses and what is

 

          1 Systema Theologicum ex Praeadamitarum Hypothesi, 1655.

          2 Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, 1670.

          3 In his Leviathan, 1651.

          4 Histoire Critique du Vieux Testament, 1685.



MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH      49

 

derived from later sources. Le Clercl maintained that the

Pentateuch was written by the priest of Samaria, sent by

the king of Assyria to instruct the heathen colonists in

the land of Israel (2 Kings xvii. 26); a baseless conject-

ure, which be subsequently abandoned. He increased

the list of passages assumed to point to another author

than Moses, claiming that the description of the garden

of Eden (Gen. ii. 11, 12) and of the rise of Babylon and

Nineveh (Gen. x. 8) must have been by a writer in Chal-

dea; that "Ur of the Chaldees" (Gen. xi. 28, 31), "the

tower of Eder" (Gen. xxxv. 21, see Mic. iv. 8), "He-

bron" (Gen. xiii. 18, see Josh. xiv. 15), "land of the

Hebrews" (Gen. xl. 15), the word xybinA "prophet" (Gen.

xx. 7, see 1 Sam. ix. 9) are all terms of post-Mosaic ori-

gin; and that the explanation respecting Moses and

Aaron (Ex. vi. 25, 26) and respecting the capacity of the

“omer” (xvi. 36) would be superfluous for contemporaries.

He thus deals with the argument from the New Testa-

ment:2 “It will be said, perhaps, that Jesus Christ and

the apostles often quote the Pentateuch under the name

of Moses, and that their authority should be of greater

weight than all our conjectures. But Jesus Christ and

the apostles not having come into the world to teach the

Jews criticism, we must not be surprised if they speak in

accordance with the common opinion. It was of little

consequence to them whether it was Moses or another,

provided the history was true; and as the common opin-

ion was not prejudicial to piety they took no great pains

to disabuse the Jews."

          All these superficial objections were most ably an-

swered by Witsius3 and Carpzov.4

 

          1 Sentimens de quelques Theologiens de Hollande, 1685.

          2 Ibid.,  p. 126.

          3 Miscellanea Sacra, 2d edition, 1736, 1., ch. xiv., An Moses auctor

Pentateuchi.

          4 Introductio ad Libros Canonicos Veteris Testamenti, Editio Nova,

1731, 1., pp. 57 sqq.



50      THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

          “Beyond Jordan” (Deut. i.1), said of Moses's position

east of the river, does not imply that the writer was in

the land of Canaan, as is plain from the ambiguity of

the expression. In Num. xxxii. 19 it is in the very same

sentence used first of the west and then of the east side

of the Jordan; elsewhere it is defined as "beyond Jor-

dan eastward" (Deut. iv. 47, 49; Josh. i. 15; xii. 1; xiii.

8, 27, 32), and "beyond Jordan westward" (Deut. xi. 30;

Josh. v. 1; xii. 7; xxii. 7); and in the addresses of

Moses it is used alike of the east (Deut. iii. 8) and of the

west (vs. 20, 25). This ambiguity is readily explained

from the circumstances of the time. Canaan was "be-

yond Jordan" to Israel encamped in the plains of Moab;

and the territory east of the river was “beyond Jordan”

to Canaan, the land promised to their fathers, and which

they regarded as their proper home.

          “The Canaanite was then in the land” (Gen. xii. 6)

states that they were in the country in the days of Abra-

ham, but without any implication that, they were not

there still. "In the Mount of Jehovah he shall be seen"

(Gen. xxii. 14) contains no allusion to his manifestation

in the temple, which was afterward erected on that very

mountain but is based on his appearance to Abraham in

the crisis of his great trial. The bedstead of Og (Deut.

iii. 11) is not spoken of as a relic from a former age, but

as a memorial of a recent victory. “The book of the

wars of Jehovah” (Num. xxi. 14) was no doubt a contem-

poraneous production celebrating the triumphs gained

under almighty leadership, to which Moses here refers.

As the territory east of the Jordan had already been con-

quered and occupied, Moses might well speak (Deut. i.

12) of the land of Israel's possession, which Jehovah

gave to them. The words "unto this day " (Deut. iii. 14)

have by many been supposed to be a supplementary

gloss subsequently added to the text; but this assump-



MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH       51

 

tion is scarcely necessary, when it is remembered that

several months had elapsed since the time referred to, and

Havvoth-jair proved to be not only a name imposed by a

successful warrior in the moment of his victory, but one

which had come into general use and promised to be per-

manent. There is no proof that the “Dan” of Gen. xiv.

14 is the same as that of Judg. xviii. 29 or if it be,

there is no difficulty in supposing that in the course of

repeated transcription the name in common use in later

times was substituted for one less familiar which origi-

nally stood in the text. The kings of Edom who are

enumerated in Gen. xxxvi. were pre-Mosaic; and Moses

remarks upon the singular fact that Jacob, who had the

promise of kings among his descendants (Gen. xxxv. 11),

had as yet none, and they were just beginning their na-

tional existence, while Esau, to whom no such promise had

been given, already reckoned several. There is nothing in

Ex. xvi. 35 which Moses could not have written; nor

even in Num. xii. 3, when the circumstances are duly

considered (cf. 1 Cor. xv. 10; 2 Cor. xi. 5; xii. 11). And

the additional passages urged by Le Clerc have not even

the merit of plausibility. His notion that our Lord and

his apostles accommodated their teaching to the errors

of their time, refutes itself to those who acknowledge

their divine authority. Witsius well says that if they

were not teachers of criticism they were teachers of the

truth.

          It should further be observed, that even if it could be

demonstrated that a certain paragraph or paragraphs were

post-Mosaic, this would merely prove that such para-

graph or paragraphs could not have belonged to the

Pentateuch as it came from the pen of Moses, not that

the work as a whole did not proceed from him. It is far

easier to assume that some slight additions may here and

there have been made to the text, than to set aside the



52      THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

multiplied and invincible proofs that the Pentateuch was

the production of Moses.

 

            Note to page 43.

            1. The book of Judges records a series of relapses on the part of the

people from the true worship of God, ii. 10-12, and the judgments inflict-

ed upon them in consequence by suffering them to fall under the power

of their enemies, ii. 14, 15, as had been foretold Lev. xxvi. 16b, 17.

This extraordinary condition of things led to many seeming departures

from the Mosaic requirements, which have been alleged to show that

the law was not then in existence. That no such conclusion is war-

ranted by the facts of the case will be shown hereafter, see pp. 150 sqq.

For other points of contact with the Pentateuch, comp. i. 1, 2, xx.

18, and Gen. xlix. 8, Num. ii. 3, x. 14; i. 5, Gen. xiii. 7; i. 17, Deut.

vii. 2; i. 20, Num. xiv. 24, Deut. i. 36; ii. 1, Gen. 1. 24, xvii. 7; ii. 2,

Ex. xxxiv. 12, 13, Deut. vii. 2, 5, Ex. xxiii. 21; ii. 3, Num. xxxiii. 55,

Ex. xxiii. 33, Deut. vii.. 16; ii. 17, Ex. xxxiv. 15, xxxii. 8; iii. 6, Ex.

xxxiv. 16. Deut. vii. 3, 4; v. 4, 5, Deut. xxxiii. 2; v. 8, Deut. xxxii.

17; vi. 8, Ex, xx. 2; vi. 9, Ex. xiv. 30; vi. 13, Deut. xi. 3-5; vi. 16,

Ex. iii. 12; vi. 22. 23, xiii. 22, Ex. xxxiii. 20; vi. 39, Gen. xviii. 32;

vii. 18, Num. x. 9; viii. 23, Deut xxxiii. 5, the government established

by Moses was a theocracy, the highest civil ruler being a judge, Deut.

xvii. 9, 12; viii. 27, superstitious use of the ephod comp. Ex. xxviii. 4,

30; xi. 13, Num. xxi. 24-26; xi. 15, Deut. ii. 9, 19; xi. 16, Num. xiv.

25, xx.1; xi. 17-22, Num. xx. 14, 18, 21, xxi. 21-24; xi. 25, Num. xxii.

2; xi. 35b, Num. xxx. 2, Deut. xxiii. 24 (E. V. ver. 23); xiii. 7, 14,

xvi. 17, Num. vi. 1-5, Deut. xiv. 2; xiv. 3, xv. 18, Gen. xvii. 11;

xvii. 7-9, xix. 1, Num. xviii. 24, Dent. x. 9; xviii. 31, Ex. xl. 2, Josh.

xviii. 1 ; xx. 1, xxi. 10, 13, 16, hdAfe word claimed as peculiar to the

Priest Code ; xx. 3, 6, 10, Gen. xxxiv. 7, Lev. xviii. 17, Deut. xxii. 21;

xx. 13, Deut. xvii. 12; xx. 18, 27, Num. xxvii. 21 ; xx. 26, xxi. 4, Ex.

xx. 24; xx. 27, Ex. xxv. 21, 22; xx. 28, Num. xxv. 11-13, Deut. x. 8;

xx. 48, Mtm ryf as Deut. ii. 34, iii. 6.

            Comp. Ruth iii. 12, iv. 3, 4, and Lev. xxv. 25 ; iv. 5, 10, Deut. xxv. 5,

6; iv. 11, 12, Gen. xxix., xxx., xxxviii. The obligation of the levirate

marriage has in the course of time been extended from the brother of

the deceased to the nearest relative; as in the case of Samson and Sam-

uel the Nazarite vow is for life instead of a limited term.

1 Samuel. Comp. i. 11 and Num. vi. 5; ii. 2, Ex. xv. 11, Deut.

xxxii. 4, 31; ii. 6, Deut. xxxii. 39; ii. 13, Deut. xviii. 3; ii. 22, Ex.

xxxviii. 8; ii. 27, Ex. iv. 27-v. 1, etc. ; ii. 28, Ex. xxviii. 1, 4, xxx. 7,

8, Num. xviii. 9, 11; ii. 29, iii. 14, sacrifice and meal-offering, x. 8,

etc., burnt-offerings and. peace-offerings, vi. 3, trespass-offerings, vii. 9,



            MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH       53

 

whole burnt-offering as Deut. xxxiii. 10 (2 Sam. i. 21, heave-offerings),

implying a fully developed ritual; iii. 3, iv. 4 (2 Sam. vi. 2), Ex. xxv.

10, 18, 37, Lev. xxiv. 3; iv. 3 (2 Sam. xi. 11), Num. x. 35; vi. 15, 19,

(2 Sam. vi, 13, xv. 24), Num. iv. 15; viii. 3 Deut. xvi. 19; viii. 5.

Deut. xvii. 14; x. 24, Deut. xvii. 15; xii. 14, Deut. i. 43, ix. 23; xii.

6, 8, Ex. iii. 10, vi. 13; xii. 3, Num. xvi. 15 xiii. 9-13, Num. xviii.

4; xv. 2, Ex. xvii. 8, 14, Deut. xxv. 17-19 xv. 6, Num. x. 29, 30,

see Judg. i. 16, iv. 11; xv. 29, Num. xxiii. 19; xiv. 33, 34, Gen. ix.

4, Lev. iii. 17; xxi. 9, xxiii. 6, 9, xxx. 7, Lev. viii. 7, 8; xxviii. 3,

Ex. xxii. 17 (E. V. ver. 18), Deut. xviii. 10, 11; xxviii. 6, Num. xii.

6, xxvii. 21.

            2 Samuel. Comp. vi. 6, 7, and Num. iv. 15 ; vii. 6, Ex. xl. 19, 24;

vii. 22, Deut. iii. 24; vii. 23, Deut. iv. 7, ix. 26, x. 21, xxxiii. 29; vii.

24, Ex. vi. 7 ; viii. ; 4, Deut. xvii. 16; xi. 4, Lev. xv. 19; xii. 6, Ex.

xxi. 37 (E. V. xxii. 1) ; xii. 9, Num. xv. 31 ; xv. 7-9, Num. xxx. 2;

xxii. 23, Dent. vi. 1.

            The books of Kings, it is universally conceded, exhibit an acquaint-

ance with Deuteronomy and with those portions of the Pentateuch

which the critics attribute to JE. It will only be necessary here, there-

fore, to point out its allusions to the Priest Code. The plan of Solomon's

temple, 1 Kin. vi., vii., is evidently based upon that of the Mosaic

tabernacle, Ex. xxvi., xxvii., xxx.; the golden altar, vii. 48, the brazen

altar, viii. 64, the horns of the altar, i. 50, ii. 23, the lavers, vii. 43, 44,

the table of shew-bread and the candlesticks, with their lamps, vii. 48, 49,

the cherubim upon the walls and in the holiest apartment, vi. 27-29, the

dimensions of the building, and of each apartment, vi. 2, 16, 17, its being

overlaid with gold, vi. 22, and all its vessels made of gold, vii. 48-50, and

the Mosaic ark, the tent of meeting, and all the vessels of the tabernacle

were brought by the priests and Levites and deposited in the temple,

viii. 4. The feast was held in the seventh month, viii. 2, on the fifteenth

day, xii. 32, 33, for seven days and seven days (twice the usual time on

account of the special character of the occasion), viii. 65, and the people

were dismissed on the eighth day, ver. 66, comp. Lev. xxiii. 34, 36. They

had assembled from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt,

viii. 65, Num. xxxiv. 5, 8. The glory of the Lord filled the temple,

viii. 10, 11, as the tabernacle, Ex. xl. 34, 35; patrimony inalienable,

xxi. 3, Lev. xxv. 23 ; blasphemer to be stoned, xxi. 13, Lev. xxiv. 16

evening meal-offering xviii. 29, morning meal-offering, 2 Kin. iii. 20,

Ex. xxix. 39-41; new moon hallowed, 2 Kin. iv. 23, Num. x. 10,

xxviii. 11; laws concerning leprosy, 2 Kin, vii. 3, xv. 5, Lev. xiii. 46

high-priest, xii. 10, xxii., 4, xxiii. 4, Lev. xxi. 10, Num. xxxv. 25; tres-

pass-offering and sin-offering, xii. 16, Lev. iv., v. 15 (Deut. xiv. 24, 25)

the money of every one that passeth the numbering        by his



54     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

estimation, xii. 5 (ver 4, see marg. R. V.), Ex. xxx. 13, Lev. xxvii. 2;

meal-offering, drink-offering, brazen altar before the Lord, xvi. 13-15;

unleavened bread the food of priests, xxiii. 9, Lev. vi. 16-18.

            The books of the prophets also contain repeated allusions to the Pen-

tateuch, its history, and its institutions.

            Joel shows the deepest interest in the ritual service, i. 9, 13, 16, ii.

14-17; and recognizes but one sanctuary, ii. 1, 15, iii. 17 (Heb. iv. 17);

comp. i. 10 and Deut. xxviii. 51; ii. 2b, Ex. x. 14b; ii. 3, Gen. ii. 8;

li. 13, Ex. xxxiv. 6, xxxii. 14; ii. 23, 24, Deut. xi. 14.

            Isaiah uses the term "law" to denote, or at least as including, God's

authoritative revelation through the prophets, i. 10, ii. 3, v. 24, but also

as additional to the word of God by the prophets, xxx. 9, 10, and of

high antiquity, xxiv. 5, and the test of all professed revelations, viii.

16, 20, since there are prophets that mislead, ix. 15, xxviii. 7, xxix. 10.

To a people strenuous in observing the letter of the Mosaic law, but dis-

regarding its spirit, he announces the law of God to be that the union

of iniquity with the most sacred rites of his worship was intolerable to

the Most High, i. 10-14. There is in this no depreciation of sacrifice,

for like language is used of prayer, ver. 15, and of worship generally,

xxix. 13; and acceptable worship is described under ritual forms, xix.

21, lxvi. 20-23, in contrast with vs. 1-3. The terms of the ceremonial

law abound in i. 11-13: sacrifices, burnt-offerings, oblations (meal-offer-

ings), incense; fat, blood ; rams, bullocks, lambs, he-goats; appear

before me; court; new moon, Sabbath, calling of assemblies (convoca-

tions), solemn meeting (assembly), appointed feasts; abomination.

The vision of ch. vi. gives the most explicit divine sanction to the tem-

ple, its altar and its atoning virtue. Other allusions to the law of sacri-

fice, implying that it is acceptable and obligatory, xxxiv. 6, xl. 16, xliii.

23, 24, lvi. 7, lx. 7; Messiah the true trespass-offering, liii. 10.

            Isaiah enforces the law of the unity of the sanctuary, Deut. xii. 5, 6,

by teaching (1) That Zion is Jehovah's dwelling-place, ii. 2, 3, iv. 5,

viii. 18, x. 32, xi. 9, xii. 6, xiv. 32, xxiv. 23, xxviii. 16, xxix. 8, xxxi.

4, 9, lx. 14. (2) The proper place for Israel's worship, xxvii. 13, xxix.

1, xxx. 29, xxxiii. 20, lxiv. 11, lxvi. 20; no other place of acceptable

worship is ever mentioned or alluded to. (3) Worship elsewhere, as in

gardens, on lofty places, and under trees, is offensive, i. 29, 30, lvii. 5-7,

lxv. 3, 4, 11. (4) Altars of man's devising are denounced, xvii. 7, 8,

xxvii. 9. (5) All such were abolished in Hezekiah's reform, xxxvi. 7.

(6) No objection can be drawn from the altar and the pillar in the land

of Egypt, xix. 19; for the pillar was not beside the altar, nor intended

as an idolatrous symbol, so that it was no violation of Lev. xxvi. 1,

Dent. xvi. 21, 22; and an altar in Egypt as a symbol of its worship

paid to Jehovah is more than counterbalanced by pilgrimages to Zion



MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH      55

 

predicted from other lands, ii. 3, xviii. 7, lvi. 7, lxvi. 20, 23. So that

it is not even certain, whether in the conception of the prophet the re-

striction of the law in this particular was one day to be relaxed; much

less is there reason to imagine that this restriction was unknown to

him.

            In addition to these recognitions of the laws of the Pentateuch Isaiah

makes allusions to its language and to facts recorded in it. Thus comp.

i. 2, and Dent. xxxii. 1; i. 7, Lev. xxvi. 33; i. 9, 10, iii. 9, Sodom and

Gomorrah, Gen. xix. 24, 25, Deut. xxix. 23 (overthrow as i. 7); i. 17,

23, Ex. xxii. 21 (E. V. ver. 22), Dent. x. 18, xxvii. 19; xi. 15, 16, lxiii.

11-13, passage of the Red Sea and the exodus from Egypt; xii. 2, Ex.

xv. 2; xxiv. 18, Gen. vii. 11; xxix. 22, xli. 8, li. 2, lxiii. 16, Abraham

and Sarah; xxx. 17, Lev. xxvi. 8, Deut. xxxii. 30.

            Micah. Comp. i. 3b, and Deut. xxxiii. 29b; ii. 1b, Gen. xxxi. 29,

Deut. xxviii. 32b; ii. 9, Ex. xxii. 21 (E. V. ver. 22); ii. 12, iv. 6, 7,

vii. 19, Deut. xxx. 3-5; ii. 13b, Ex. xiii. 21; iii. 4, Deut. xxxi. 18,

xxxii. 20; iv. 4, Lev. xxvi. 6; v. 5 (E. V. ver. 6), land of Nimrod,

Gen. x. 8-12; vi. 1, 2, Deut. xxxii. 1 ; vi. 4a, Ex. xx. 2, Deut. vii. 8;

vi. 4b, Moses, Aaron, and Miriam; vi. 5, Num. xxii,-xxv. 3, xxxi. 16;

v. 6 (E. V. ver. 7), Deut. xxxii. 2; vi. 6, 7, exaggeration of legal sacri-

fices; vi. 8, Deut. x. 12; vi. 10, 11, Deut. xxv. 13-15, Lev. xix. 35,

36; vi. 13, Lev. xxvi. 16; vi. 14, Lev. xxvi. 26; vi. 15, Deut. xxviii.

38-40; vii. 14, Num. xxiii. 9, Deut. xxxiii. 28; vii. 15, miracles of the

exodus; vii. 16, Ex. xv. 14-16; vii. 17a, Gen. iii. 14; vii. 17b, Deut.

xxxii. 24b; vii. 1.8a Ex. xv. 11; vii. 18b Ex. xxxiv. 6, 7.

            Jeremiah's familiarity with Deuteronomy is universally conceded;

it will accordingly be sufficient to show that his book of prophecy is

likewise related to other portions of the Pentateuch. Comp. ii. 3, and

Lev. xxii. 10, 15, 16; ii. 20, Lev. xxvi. 13; ii. 34 (see Rev. Ver. ), Ex.

xxii. 1 (E. V. ver., 2); iv. 23, Gen. i. 2; iv. 27, Lev. xxvi. 33; v. 2,

Lev. xix. 12; vi. 28, ix. 4, Lev. xix. 16; vii. 26, Ex. xxxii. 9, xxxiii.

3, 5, xxxiv. 9; ix. 4, Gen. xxvii. 36 ; ix. 16, Lev. xxvi. 33 (Deut. xxviii.

36); ix. 26 (see Rev. Ver.) Lev. xix. 27, xxi. 5; ix. 26b, Lev. xxvi.

41; xi. 4, Ex. xix. 5, Lev. xxvi. 12, 13; xi. 5, Ex. iii. 8, Num. xiv.

23; xiv. 13, Lev. xxvi. 6; xiv. 19, 21, Lev. xxvi. 11, 44; xv. 1, Ex.

xxxii. 11; xvi. 5, Num. vi. 26; xvii. 1, Ex. xxxii. 16; xvii. 22, Ex.

xx. 8-11; xxi. 5, Ex. vi. 1, 6 ; xxviii. 2, 4, Lev. xxvi. 13; xxx. 21,

Num. xvi. 5, 9; xxxi. 9, Ex. iv. 22; xxxi. 15, Gen. xxxv. 19, xxxvii.

35, xlii. 36; xxxi. 29, Ex. xx. 5; xxxi. 35, 36, Gen. i. 16, viii. 22;

xxxii. 7118, Lev. xxv. 25, 49; xxxii. 17, 27b, Gen. xviii. 14; xxxii.-

18, Ex. xx. 5, 6, xxxiv. 6, 7; xxxii. 27, Num. xvi. 22, xxvii. 16; xxxiii.

22, Gen. xiii. 16, xv. 5, xxii. 17; xxxiii. 26, Abraham, Isaac, and Ja-

cob; xxxiv. 13, Ex. xx. 2, xxiv. 7; xxxiv. 18, 19, Gen. xv. 17 ; xxxvi.



56    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

14, Ex. xxi. 2; xlviii. 45, 46, Num. xxi. 28, 29; xlix. 16, Num. xxiv.

21; xlix. 18, 1. 40, Gen. xix. 25.

            Psalm xc., which is in its title ascribed to Moses, abounds in allu-

sions to the statements of the Pentateuch and in coincidences of lan-

guage; see the Commentary of Delitzsch. The following may be noted

in those Psalms of the first three books, which are in their titles

ascribed to David (the number of each verse in the English version is

commonly one less than in the Hebrew). Comp. iii. 4, and Gen. xv.

1; iv. 6, li. 21, Deut. xxxiii. 19; iv. 7, Num. vi. 25, 26; iv. 9, Lev.

xxv. 18, 19, Deut. xxxiii. 28 ; vii. 13, 14, Deut. xxxii. 23, 41, 42; viii.

7-9, Gen. i. 26; ix. 6, Deut. ix. 14; ix. 13, Gen. ix. 5; ix. 17, Ex. vii.

4b, 5; xi. 6, Gen. xix. 24; xiii 2, Deut. xxxi. 18; xiv. 1, Gen. vi. 11,

12; xv. 5, Ex. xxii. 25, xxiii. 8 ; xvi. 4, Ex. xxiii. 13; xvi. 5, Num.

xviii. 20, Dent. x. 9; xvii. 8, Dent. xxxii. 10; xviii. 16, Ex. xv. 8;

xviii. 27b, Lev. xxvi. 23b, 24a; xviii. 31a, 32, Deut. xxxii. 4a, 37, 39;

xviii. 34b, Deut. xxxii. 13a, xxxiii. 29b; xviii. 45b, Deut. xxxiii. 29b;

xix. contrasts the glory of God as seen in the heavens with that of the

law, testimony, statutes, commandments, and judgments of Jehovah,

Lev. xxvi. 46, xxvii. 34, Ex. xxv. 16; xx. 6, Ex. xvii. 15, Jehovah my

banner; xxiv. 1, Ex. ix. 29b, xix. 5b ; xxiv. 2, Gen. 1. 9; xxv. 4, Ex.

xxxiii. 13; xxvi. 6, Ex. xxx. 19-21; xxvii. 1, Ex. xv. 2; xxviii. 9,

Deut. ix. 29 ; xxix. 6, Sirion, Deut. iii. 9; xxix. 10, flood, Gen. vi. 17;

xxxi. 9a, Deut. xxxii. 30; xxxi. 16, Num. vi. 25; xxxiv. 17, Lev. xvii.

10; xxxv. 10, Ex. xv. 11 ; xxxvii. 26, Deut. xxviii. 12 ; xxxvii. 31,

Deut, vi. 6; xxxix. 13b, Lev. xxv. 23b; xl. 7, Ex. xxi. 6?; xl. 8, the

volume of the book is the law, which in requiring sacrifice intends

much more than the outward form of sacrifice, ver. 7; it lays its real

demand upon the person of the offerer himself; li, 9, hyssop, Lev. xiv.

4, Num. xix. 6, 18; lv. 16, Num. xvi. 30; lx. 9, Gen. xlix. 10; lx. 14,

Num. xxiv. 18; lxiii. 12, Deut. vi. 13; lxviii. 2, Num. x. 35; lxviii.

8, 9, 18, Sinai; lxix. 29, Ex. xxxii. 32; lxxxvi. 8, 10, Ex. xv. 11,

Deut. xxxii. 39; lxxxvi. 15, Ex. xxxiv. 6.

            On the traces of the Pentateuch in later books see Hiivernick, Ein-

leitung in das Alte Testament (Introduction to the Old Testament), I.

136-142. Keil, Einleitung in A. T. § 34. Caspari, Beitrdge zur

Einleitung in Jesaia (Contributions to the Introduction to Isaiah), pp.

204 sqq. Caspari, " Ueber Micha, " pp. 419 sqq. Kueper, Jeremias

Librorum Sacrorum Interpres atque Vindex, pp. 1-51.

 

            Note to page 45.

            2. Allusions in Hosea and Amos to the facts recorded in the Penta-

teuch: Comp. Hos. i. 10, and Gen. xxii. 17, xxxii. 12 ; xi. 8, Deut.

xxix. 23 ; xii. 3a, Gen xxv. 26 ; xii. 3b, 4a, Gen. xxxii. 28; xii. 4b,



MOSES THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH      57

 

Gen. xxviii. 12-19, xxxv. 6-13; xii. 12, Jacob fled to Padan-aram,

served for a wife, and kept sheep ii. 15b, xi. 1, xiii. 5, exodus from

Egypt and life in the wilderness; ix. 10, Num. xxv. 3; the places of

idolatrous worship were such as were made sacred by events in the his-

tory of their fathers, iv. 15, Josh. iv. 20, Gen. xxviii. 19 (Bethel the

house of God is converted into Beth-aven, house of wickedness); xii.

11, Gen. xxxi. 48; Amos, v. 8, Gen. vii. 11; iv. 11, Gen. xix. 24, 25

i. 11, Edom, Israel's brother, Gen. xxv. 27, Deut. xxiii. 7; iv. 4, v. 5,

places of idolatry hallowed by events in the time of their forefathers;

ii. 10, iii. 1, v. 25, 26, exodus from Egypt, and forty years in the wil-

derness, and idolatry there, Deut. v. 6, xxix. 5, Lev. xvii. 7; iii. 2,

Deut. xiv. 2; vi. 14, Num. xxxiv 5, 8; ii. 9, stature of the Amorites

Num. xiii. 32, 33, Deut. i, 20, 28.

        References to its laws: Hosea constantly sets forth the relation between

Jehovah and Israel under the emblem of a marriage, comp. Ex. xx. 5,

xxxiv. 14-16, Lev. xvii. 7, xx. 5, 6. Israel is an unfaithful wife, who

had responded to her lord in former days, when she came up out of

Egypt, ii. 15, Ex. xxiv. 7, but had since abandoned him for other lov-

ers, ch. i.- iii., Baal and the calves, xiii. 1, 2; she has broken her cov-

enant, has dealt treacherously, v. 7, vi. 7; has backslidden, iv. 16, xi.

7, xiv. 4; is repeating the atrocity of Gibeah, ix. 9, x. 9; is shamelessly

sacrificing on the hills and under shady trees, iv. 13, Deut. xii. 2;

Israel had an extensive written law, Hos. viii. 12 (see a discussion of

this passage in the Presbyterian Review for October, 1886), which they

had disobeyed, iv. 6, viii. 1; the annual feasts, new-moons, sabbaths,

and festive assemblies were observed in Israel, and held in high esteem,

and occupied a prominent place in the life of the people, so that their

abolition would be reckoned a serious disaster, Hos. ii. 11, ix. 5, xii. 9,

Am. v. 21, viii. 5; they had burnt-offerings, meal-offerings, peace-

offerings, Am. v. 22, Hos. viii. 13; thank-offerings, free-will-offerings,

Am. iv. 5; drink-offerings, Hos. ix. 4; the daily morning sacrifice, Am.

iv. 4; Hos. iv. 8, alludes to the law of the sin-offering; Hos. ix. 3, 4,

to the law of clean and unclean meats; viii. 11, xii. 11, the sin of mul-

tiplying altars implies the law of the unity of the sanctuary, Deut. xii.

5, 6; v. 10, removing landmarks, Deut. xix. 14, xxvii. 17; iv. 4, the

final reference of causes in dispute to the priest, refusal to hear whom

was a capital offence, Deut. xvii. 12 ; viii. 13, ix. 3, penalty of a return

to Egypt, Deut. xxviii. 68; ix. 4, defilement from the dead, Num. xix.

14, 22, Deut. xxvi. 14; x. 11, the ox not to be muzzled when treading

out corn, Deut. xxv. 4; vi. 9, hm.Azi is a technical word of the Holiness

Laws, Lev. xviii. 17 ; xiv. 3, mercy for the fatherless, Ex. xxii. 21, 22,

(E. V. vs. 22, 23), Deut. x. 18 vi. 11, Am. ix. 14, God returns to the

captivity of his people, Deut. xxx. 3 Amos, though delivering



58     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

message in Bethel, knows but one sanctuary, that in Zion, i. 2; ii. 7,

the law of incest, Lev. xx. 11, Deut. xxii. 30; ii. 11, 12, Nazarites,

Num. vi. 2, 3, and prophets, Dent. xviii. 15; iv. 4, triennial tithes,

Deut. xiv. 28, xxvi. 12, for which in their excess of zeal they may sub-

stitute tithes every three days; viii. 5, falsifying the ephah, shekel,

and balances, Lev. xix. 36, Deut. xxv. 13-15.

            Coincidences of thought or expression: Comp. Hos. ii. 17, and Ex.

xxiii. 13; iii. 1, look to other gods, Deut. xxxi. 18 (Heb.); v. 14-vi. 1,

Deut. iv. 29, 30, xxxii. 39; iv. 10, Lev. xxvi. 26; xi. 1, Ex, iv. 22, 23;

xii. 5, Ex. iii. 15; xiii. 6, Deut. viii. 12-14; Am. ii. 7, to profane my

holy name, Lev. xx. 3; iv. 6, 8, Deut. xxviii. 48; iv. 9, Deut. xxviii.

22; iv. 10, Deut. xxviii. 60; iv. 6, 8, 9, 10, Deut. iv. 30; v. 1.1, ix.

14, Dent. xxviii. 30, 39; vi. 12, gall and wormwood, Dent. xxix. 18;

ix. 13, Lev. xxvi. 5.

            For traces of the Pentateuch in the kingdom of Israel, whether in

Hosea, Amos, or the Books of Kings, see Hengstenberg, “Authentie

des Pentateuches," 1. pp. 48-180.


 


                                      IV

 

          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

 

          THE second objection which has been urged against

the Mosaic origin of the Pentateuch, affects its form

rather than its contents. It is affirmed that such is the

constitution of the Pentateuch as to evince that it is not

the continuous composition of any one writer, but that it

is compacted of parts of diverse origin, the products of

different writers, themselves long posterior to the Mosaic

age; and consequently the Pentateuch, though it may

contain some Mosaic elements, cannot in its present

form have proceeded from Moses, but must belong to a

much later period. This objection is primarily directed

against the unity of the Pentateuch, and only seconda-

rily against its authenticity.

          In order to render intelligible the nature of the parti-

tion hypotheses, with which we shall have to deal, the

nomenclature which they employ, and their application

to the Pentateuch, it will be necessary first to state pre-

cisely what is meant by the unity for which we contend,

and then give a brief account of the origin and history of

those hypotheses by which it has been impugned, and

the several forms which they have successively as-

sumed.

          By the unity of the Pentateuch is meant that it is in its

present form one continuous work, the product of a sin-

gle writer. This is not opposed to the idea of his having

had before him written sources in any number or variety,

from which he may have drawn his materials, provided

 

                                      59



60    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

the composition was his own. It is of no consequence,

so far as our present inquiry is concerned, whether the

facts related were learned from pre-existing writings, or

from credible tradition, or from his own personal knowl-

edge, or from immediate divine revelation. From what-

ever source the materials may have been gathered, if all

has been cast into the mould of the writer's own

thoughts, presented from his point of view, and arranged

upon a plan and method of his own, the work possesses

the unity which we maintain. Thus Bancroft's "History

of the United States" rests upon a multitude of author-

ities which its author consulted in the course of its prep-

aration; the facts which it records were drawn from a

great variety of pre-existing written sources; and yet, as

we possess it, it is the product of one writer, who first

made himself thoroughly acquainted with his subject,

and then elaborated it in his own language and accord-

ing to his own preconceived plan. It would have been

very different, if his care had simply been to weave to-

gether his authorities in the form of a continuous narra-

tive, retaining in all cases their exact language, but in-

corporating one into another or supplementing one by

another and thus allowing each of his sources in turn to

speak for itself. In this case it would not have been

Bancroft's history. He would have been merely the

compiler of a work consisting of a series of extracts

from various authors. Such a narrative has been made

by harmonists of the Gospel history. They have framed

an account of all the recorded facts by piecing together

extracts from the several gospels arranged in what is

conceived to be their true chronological order. And the

result is not a new Gospel history based upon the several

Gospels, nor is it the original Gospel either of Matthew,

Mark, Luke, or John; but it is a compound of the whole

of them; and it can be taken apart paragraph by para-



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH         61

 

graph, or sentence by sentence, and each portion as-

signed to the particular Gospel from which it was

drawn.

          Now the question respecting the unity of the Penta-

teuch is whether it is a continuous production from a

single pen, whatever may have been the sources from

which the materials were taken, or whether it is a com-

posite production, made up from various writings woven

together, the several portions of which are still capable

of being distinguished, separated, and assigned to their

respective originals.

 

                   DOCUMENT HYPOTHESIS.

 

          The not improbable conjecture was expressed at an

early period that there were ante-Mosaic records, to

which Moses had access, and of which he made use in

preparing the book of Genesis. The history of such a

remote antiquity would seem to be better accredited if it

had a written basis to rest upon than if it had been drawn

solely from oral tradition. Thus the eminent orthodox,

theologian and commentator Vitringa, expressed the

opinion in 1707, in the interest of the credibility of Gen-

esis, that Moses collected, digested, embellished, and.

supplemented the records left by the fathers and pre-

served among the Israelites. The peculiarity of the

critical hypothesis, with which we are now concerned,

however, is the contention that Genesis was not merely

based upon pre-existing writings, but that it was framed.

out of those writings, which were incorporated in it and

simply pieced together, so that each section and paragraph

and sentence preserved still its original style and texture,

indicative of the source from which it came; and that

by means of these criteria the book of Genesis can be

taken apart and its original sources reproduced. The



62     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

first suggestion of this possibility and the first attempt

actually to realize it by decomposing the book into the

prior documents supposed to have been embedded in it,

was made in 1753 by Astruc, a French physician of con-

siderable learning, but of profligate life, in a treatise en-

titled "Conjectures Concerning the Original Memoranda

which it appears Moses used to Compose the Book of

Genesis.”1 This hypothesis was adopted and elaborated

with great learning and ingenuity by Eichhorn,2 the dis-

tinguished professor of Oriental literature at Gottingen,

to whose skilful advocacy it owed much of its sudden

popularity.

 

            1 Conjectures sur les Memoires Originaux, dont it paroit que Moyse

s'est servi pour composer le Livre de la Genese. Avec des Remarques,

qui appuient ou qui eclaircissent ces Conjectures. This was published

anonymously at Brussels. For an account of the life and character of

the author see the Article Jean Astruc, by Dr. Howard Osgood, in

The Presbyterian and Reformed Review, for January, 1892. Astruc

assumes two principal documents, which were used throughout, and are

distinguished by the employment of Elohim and Jehovah respectively;

also ten minor documents relating chiefly to foreign nations, and not

immediately affecting the Hebrew people, in which no name of God is

found. These may have been of considerable extent, though Moses

only had occasion to make one small extract from each. With these he

classes likewise the story of Dinah, ch. xxxiv., and the extra document

to account for the triple repetitions in vii. 18-20 and 21-23 in the nar-

rative of the flood. The advantages which he claims for his hypothe-

sis are that it will account for the alternation of the divine names as well

as for the repetitions and displacements in the narrative. Occasional

departures from the exact chronological order are in his view attributa-

ble, not to any negligence on the part of Moses, but to the mistakes of

transcribers. These documents were, as he supposes, originally ar-

ranged in parallel columns after the manner of Origen's Hexapla; but

the transcribers, who copied them in one continuous text, sometimes

inserted paragraphs in the wrong places.

            2 Einleitung in das Alte Testament, von Johann Gottfried Eichhorn.

First edition, 1782; 4th edition, 1823. He steadfastly insists that

Moses is the compiler of Genesis, and the author of the rest of the Pen-

tateuch, some interpolations excepted. Gramberg, whose Libri Gene-

teos secundum fontes rite dignoscendos Adumbratio Nova was published



                   THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH         63

 

          1. The primary basis of this extraordinary hypothesis

was found in the remarkable manner in which the divine

names Elohim (the Hebrew term for God) and Jehovah

are used, particularly in the earliest portions of Genesis,

whole paragraphs and even long sections making almost

exclusive use of one of these names, while the alternate

sections make a similarly exclusive use of the other.

Thus in Gen. i. 1-ii. 3, Elohim occurs in almost every

verse, but no, other name of God than this. But in ii.

4-iii. 24, God is with few exceptions called Jehovah

Elohim, and in ch. iv. Jehovah. Then in ch. v. we find

Elohim again; in vi. 1-8, Jehovah, and in the rest of ch.

vi., Elohim, and so on. This singular alternation was

remarked upon by some of the early Christian fathers,

who offered an explanation founded upon the Greek and

Latin equivalents of these names, but which is not ap-

plicable to the Hebrew terms themselves. Astruc's as-

sumption was that it was due to the peculiar style of

different writers, one of whom was in the habit of using

Elohim, and another in the habit of using Jehovah, when

speaking of God. All those paragraphs and sections

which exclusively or predominantly employ the name

Elohim were accordingly attributed to a writer denomi-

nated from this circumstance the Elohist; and when

these paragraphs were singled out and put together, they

constituted what was called the Elohist document. The

other writer was known as the Jehovist, and the sections

attributed to him made up the Jehovist document. It

 

in 1828, substitutes for this faithful compiler an unknown Redactor,

who in combining the Elohist and Jehovist makes frequent changes and

additions of his own.

          1 Thus Tertullian adv. Hermogenem, ch. 3, remarks that the Most

High is simply called "God" until the world was made, and his intel-

gent creature, man, over whom he had dominion, after which he is

likewise called LORD." See also Augustin, De Genesi ad Literam,

viii. 11.



64      THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

was accordingly held that Genesis consisted of sections

taken alternately from two distinct documents by authors

of known proclivities, so far at least as their preference

for or exclusive use of one or other of the names,

and which existed and circulated in their separate state

until they were combined as they are at present. This

hypothesis is hence known as the document hypothesis,

since it assumes as the sources of Genesis distinct and

continuous documents, which are still traceable in the

book from the beginning to the end. And the first ar-

gument adduced in its support, as already stated, is the

interchange of divine names, each of which is erected

into the criterion of a separate document.

          2. A second argument was drawn from the alleged

fact that when the Elohim sections are sundered out and

put together, they form a regularly constructed and con-

tinuous narrative without any apparent breaks or chasms,

whence it is inferred that they originally constituted one

document distinct from the intercalated Jehovah sections.

The same thing was affirmed, though with more hesita-

tion and less appearance of plausibility, of the Jehovah

sections likewise; when these are singled out and sev-

ered from. the passages containing the name Elohim, they

form a tolerably well-connected document likewise.

          3. A third argument was drawn from parallel passages

in the two documents. The same event, it is alleged, is

in repeated instances found twice narrated in successive

sections of Genesis, once in an Elohist section, and

again with some modifications or variations in a Jehovist

section. This is regarded as proof positive that Genesis

is not one continuous narrative, but that it is made up

from two different histories. The compiler instead of

framing a new narrative which should comprehend all

the particulars stated in both accounts, or blending the

two accounts by incorporating sentences from one in the



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH             65

 

body of the other, has preserved both entire, each in its

integrity and in its own proper form, by first giving the

account of the matter as it was to be found in one docu-

ment, and subsequently inserting the account found in the

other. Thus Gen. i 1-ii. 3 contains the account of the cre-

ation as given by the Elohist; but although this states how

the world was made, and plants and animals and men were

formed upon the Jehovist section, ii. 4, etc., introduces

a fresh account of the making of the man and the wom-

an, the production of trees from the ground, and the

formation of the inferior animals. This repetition be-

trays, it is said, that we here have before us not one ac-

count of the creation by a single writer, but two separate

accounts by different writers. So in the narrative of the

flood; there is first an account by the Jehovist, vi. 1-8,

of the wickedness of man and of Jehovah's purpose to

destroy the earth; then follows, vi. 9-22, the Elohist's

statement of the wickedness of man and God's purpose to

destroy the earth, together with God's command to Noah

to build the ark and go into it with his family, and take

some of all living animals into it; in vii. 1-5, the Jeho-

vist tells that Jehovah commanded Noah to go with his

family into the ark, and to take every variety of animals

with him.

          4. A fourth argument is drawn from the diversity of

style, diction, ideas, and aim which characterize these

two documents. It is alleged that when these compo-

nent parts of Genesis are separated and examined apart,

each will be found to be characterized by all the marks

which indicate diversity of origin and authorship. It is

confidently affirmed that, wherever the Elohim sections

occur throughout Genesis, they have certain peculiarities

of diction and style which clearly distinguish them from

the Jehovah sections; and these again have their own

distinctive characteristics. The preference for one di-



66     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

vine name above another, which has already been spoken

of as a criterion, does not stand alone. There are be-

sides numerous words and phrases that are currently

used by the Elohist which the Jehovist never employs,

and vice versa. Thus the Elohist, in ch. i., uses the

phrase "beast of the earth," and speaks of the earth

bringing forth plants, while the Jehovist, in ch. ii., says

"beasts of the field" and "plant of the field." The Elo-

hist, in ch. i., repeatedly uses the word "create"; he

speaks of God creating the heavens and the earth, creat-

ing the whales, and creating man. The Jehovist, in ch.

ii., speaks instead of Jehovah forming man and forming

the beasts. The Elohist (ch. i.) speaks of man as male

and female; the Jehovist (ch. ii.) says instead the man

and his wife. The style of the two writers is equally

marked; that of the Elohist is formal, verbose, and repe-

titious; that of the Jehovist is easy and flowing. In ch.

the same stereotyped phrases recur again and again,

and particulars are enumerated instead of including all

under a general term. Thus ver. 25, "God made the

beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their

kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the

earth after his kind." And ver. 27, "God created man

in his own image, in the image of God created he him;

male and female created he them." The Elohist gives

God's command to Noah in detail (vi. 18), "Thou shalt

come into the ark; thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and

thy sons' wives with thee;" the Jehovist simply says,

(vii. 1), "Come thou and all thy house into the ark."

          Along with these peculiarities of diction and style, and

corroborating the conclusion drawn from them, is the di-

versity in the ideas and scope of the two writers. Thus

the Jehovist makes frequent mention of altars and sacri-

fices in the pre-Mosaic period; the Elohist is silent re-

specting them until their establishment at Sinai. It is



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH                67

 

the Jehovist who records the primeval sacrifice of Cain

and Abel, of which the Elohist says nothing. The Elo-

hist speaks, in v. 22, of Enoch walking with God, and vi.

9, of Noah walking with God, but though he gives (ch. ix.)

a detailed account of God's blessing Noah, and his cove-

nant with him after he came out of the ark he says noth-

ing of Noah's sacrifice, which the Jehovist records (viii.

20, etc). The divine direction to Noah to take animals

into the ark is given by the Elohist only in general

terms; God bade him take two of every sort (vi. 19, etc.).

But the Jehovist informs us more minutely of the dis-

tinction of clean and unclean animals which then ex-

isted and that Jehovah bade Noah take two of each spe-

cies of the latter, but seven of the former, vii. 2.

          These arguments, derived from the alternate use of the

divine names, from the alleged continuity of each docu-

ment taken separately, from parallel passages, and from

the characteristic differences of the two writers, appeared

to lend so much plausibility to the Document Hypothe-

sis that it speedily rose to great celebrity, and was very

widely adopted; and many able and distinguished critics

became its advocates. As at first propounded it did not

conflict with the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.

Its earliest defenders, so far from impugning the author-

ship of Moses, were strenuous in maintaining it. So long

as the hypothesis was confined to Genesis, to which it

was at first applied, there was no difficulty in assuming

that Moses may have incorporated in his history of that

early period these pre-existing documents in any way

consistent with his truth and inspiration.

          It was not long, however, before it was discovered that

the hypothesis was capable of being applied likewise to

the remaining books of the Pentateuch. This extension

of the hypothesis brought it for the first time into colli-

sion with the traditional belief of the Mosaic authorship;



68      THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

and this, with its various modifications, has since been one

of the favorite and principal weapons of those who deny

that it was written by Moses. If the entire Pentateuch

is a compilation from pre-existing documents, it was

plausibly inferred that it must be post-Mosaic. For the

documents themselves inasmuch as they contained the

record of Moses's own times, could not have been older

than the Mosaic age. And if the Pentateuch was sub-

sequent to them, and framed out of them, it seemed nat-

ural to refer it to a still later period; though, it should

be observed, that this by no means necessarily follows.

Even if the composite character of the Pentateuch could

be established on purely literary grounds, we might still

suppose that the memoranda from which it was pre-

pared were drawn up under Moses's direction and with

his approval, and were either put together in their pres-

ent form by himself, or at least that the completed work

passed under his eye and received his sanction; so that

it would still be possible to vindicate its Mosaic origin

and authority, unless indeed the primary documents

themselves belong to a later time than that of Moses,

which can never be proved.

          The critics who have held this hypothesis, however,

commonly do regard them as post-Mosaic; and hence

they claim that it affords ocular demonstration that the

books traditionally ascribed to Moses are not his. And

to corroborate this conclusion they appeal to Exodus vi.

3, where God says to Moses, "I appeared unto Abraham,

unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my

name JEHOVAH I was not known to them." They under-

stand this to be a distinct declaration that the name Je-

hovah was unknown to the patriarchs, being of later date

than the time in which they lived, and that it first came

into use in the days of Moses. It hence followed as a

logical necessity that the Jehovist document, according to



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH                69

 

the testimony of this passage, was certainly not prior to

the time of Moses, for it employs a name which had no

existence previously. And it was plausibly urged that

this document was probably post-Mosaic, for it is charge-

able with the anachronism of putting into the mouths of

the patriarchs the name Jehovah, which did not then

exist. This was thought to be contradictory to the Elo-

hist statement above cited, and to betray a writer be-

longing to a period when the name Jehovah had become

so familiar and so universal that its recent origin was

forgotten, and he unconsciously transfers to patriarchal

times a designation current in his own.

          This anachronism of the Jehovist led to the suspicion

of others; and since, as has already been stated it is

this document which makes mention of patriarchal altars

and sacrifices that are never referred to by the Elohist,

it was suspected that here again he had improperly trans-

ferred to the patriarchal age the usages of his own time,

while the Elohist gave a more accurate representation of

that early period as it really was. This was esteemed, if

not a contradiction, yet a contrariety between the two

accounts, a diversity in the mode of conceiving the pe-

riod whose history they are recording, which reflects the

different personality of the two writers, the views which

they entertained, andd the influences under which they

had been trained.

          These diversities between the Jehovist and the Elo-

hist took on more and, more the character of contradic-

tions, as the credit of the Jehovist for veracity and accu-

racy was held, in less and less esteem. Every superficial

difficulty was made the pretext for fresh charges of

anachronisms, inaccuracies, and contradictions. The

text was tortured to bring forth difficulties where none

appeared. An especially fruitful source was found in

alleged parallel passages in the two documents. These



70      THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

were greatly multiplied by pressing into the service narr-

rations of matters quite distinct, but which bore a general

resemblance to each other. The points of resemblance were

paraded in proof that the matters referred to were iden-

tical; and then the diversities in the two accounts were

pointed out as so many contradictions between them,

which betrayed the legendary and unreliable character of

one or both the narratives. Thus because some of the

descendants of Cain, whose genealogy is recorded by the

Jehovist (Gen. iv. 17-22), bear the same or similar names

with descendants of Seth recorded by the Elohist (ch. v.),

Enoch, Irad, Methusael, and Lamech of one table cor-

responding to Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, and Lamech of

the other, it was concluded that these are only variants

of the same identical genealogy, which one writer has at-

tached to one of the sons of Adam, and the other to an-

other; and that every divergence in the two lists is a

discrepancy involving an error on one side or on the

other, if not in both. So in ch. xii. the Jehovist tells how

Abram, apprehensive that the monarch of the country in

which he was would be attracted by his wife's beauty,

prevaricated by saying that she was his sister, what per-

ils thence arose to both, and how they were finally extri-

cated. In ch. xx. the Elohist relates a similar story of

prevarication, peril, and deliverance. The same event, it

is alleged, must be the basis of both accounts, but there

is a hopeless contradiction between them. The former

declares that the occurrence took place in Egypt, and

that Pharaoh was a party to the transaction; the latter

transfers the scene to the land of the Philistines and the

court of Abimelech. And to complicate the matter still

further, the Jehovist gives yet another version of the

same story in ch. xxvi., according to which it was not

Abram but Isaac who thus declared his wife to be his

sister, running an imminent hazard by so doing, but



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH              71

 

making a fortunate escape. According to the Elohist

(xxi. 22-32), Abraham had a difficulty with Abimelech in

respect to a well of water, which was amicably settled by

a covenant, in memory of which he gave name to Beer-

sheba. The Jehovist (xx vi. 17-33) relates a similar story

of strife concerning wells, a visit by Abimelech, an agree-

ment with him, and the naming of Beersheba in conse-

quence; but he says that it was not Abraham but Isaac

who was concerned in it.

 

                   FRAGMENT HYPOTHESIS.

 

          Meanwhile a more extreme disintegration found favor

with Vater1 (1805), Hartmann2 (1831), and others, who

advocated what is known as the Fragment Hypothesis.

This may be fitly characterized as the Document Hypo-

thesis run mad. It is a reductio ad absurdum furnished

by the more consistent and thorough-going application

of the principles and methods of its predecessor. In-

stead of two continuous documents pieced together, para-

graph by paragraph, to constitute the Pentateuch as we

now have it, each paragraph or section is now traced to

a separate and independent source. The compiler was

not limited to two writings covering alike the entire

 

          1 Commentar uber den Pentateuch von Johann Severin Vater. 1st

and 2d Part, 1802; 3d Part, 1805. This embodies many of the Explan-

atory Notes and Critical Remarks of Rev. Alexander Geddes, with

whose views he is in entire accord. Vater finds that Genesis is com-

posed of thirty-eight fragments, varying in length from four or five

verses to several chapters. The other books of the Pentateuch are

similarly disintegrated. In fact, the legislation is the favorite domain

of the Fragment Hypothesis, as the history furnishes the principal

material for the Document Hypothesis.

          2 Historisch-kritische Forschungen uber die Bildung, das Zeitalter

and den Plan der funf Bucher Mose's, nebst einer beurtheilenden

Einleitung and einer genauen Charakteristik der hebraischen Sagen

wind Mythen, von Anton Theodor Hartmann.



72    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

period that he proposed to treat, but had before him

all that he could gather of every sort relating to his sub-

ject, some of which possibly were mere scraps, others of

larger compass, some recording, it may be, but a single

incident, others more comprehensive, and he adopted

one passage from one, another from another, and so

on throughout. Sometimes two or more fragments may

have been taken from the same original work, but this

cannot be positively affirmed. And it would be vain to

attempt to inquire into the extent, character, and aim of

the writings from which they were severally extracted.

All that we know of them is derived from such portions

as the compiler has seen fit to preserve.

          The arguments adduced in support of the Fragment

Hypothesis were substantially identical with those which

had been urged in favor of the Document Hypothesis.

And assuming the soundness of those arguments, this is

the inevitable consequence. Admit the legitimacy of

this disintegrating process, and there is no limit to which

it may not be carried at the pleasure of the operator;

and it might be added, there is no work to which it

might not be applied. Any book in the Bible, or out of

the Bible, could be sliced and splintered in the same way

and by the same method of argument. Let a similarly

minute and searching examination be instituted into the

contents of any modern book. Let any one page be com-

pared with any other, and every word, and form of ex-

pression, and grammatical construction, and rhetorical

figure in one that does not occur in the other be noted

as difference of diction and style; let every incident in

one that has its counterpart in the other be paraded as a

parallel section evidencing diversity of origin and author-

ship, and every conception in one which has not its

counterpart in the other as establishing a diversity in

the ideas of the authors of the two pages respectively



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH              73

 

let every conclusion arrived at on one page that does not

appear on the other argue different tendencies in the

two writers, different aims with which and different in-

fluences under which, they severally wrote, and nothing

would be easier, if this method of proof be allowed, than

to demonstrate that each successive page came from a

different pen.

          The very same process by which the Pentateuch is de-

composed into documents, can with like facility divide

these documents, and subdivide them, and then subdi-

vide them again. Indeed the advocates of the Docu-

ment Hypothesis may here be summoned as witnesses

against themselves. They currently admit different

Elohists and Jehovists, and successive variant editions

of each document, and a whole school of priestly and

Deuteronomic diaskeuasts and redactors, thus rivalling in

their refinements the multitudinous array of the fragmen-

tary critics. And in fact the extent to which either may

go in this direction is determined by purely subjective

considerations. The only limitation is that imposed

by the taste or fancy of the critic. If the repetitions

or parallel sections, alleged to be found in the Penta-

teuch, require the assumption of distinct documents,

like repetitions occurring in each individual document

prove it to be composite. The very same sort of con-

trarieties or contradictions which are made a pretext for

sundering the Pentateuch, can furnish an equally plausi-

ble reason for sundering each of the documents. And if

certain criteria are regarded as characteristic of a given

document, and their absence from sections attributed to

the other is held to prove that they are by a different hand

from the former, why does not the same rule apply to

the numerous sections of the first-named document, from,

which its own so-called characteristic words and phrases

are likewise absent?



74       THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

          The titles and subscriptions attached to genealogies

and legal sections supplied an additional argument, of

which the advocates of the Fragment Hypothesis sought

to avail themselves. Such titles as the following are

prefixed to indicate the subject of the section that fol-

lows: "These are the generations of the heavens and

of the earth," Gen. ii. 4. "This is the book of the gen-

erations of Adam," v. 1. “These are the names of the

sons of Levi according to their generations,” Ex. vi. 16.

"This is the law of the trespass-offering," Lev. vii. l.

"This is the law of the sacrifice of peace-offerings," ver.

11. "These are the journeys of the children of Israel,"

Num. xxxiii. 1. Or subscriptions are added at the close

suggestive of the contents of the section that precedes,

such as "These are the families of the sons of Noah

after their generations in their nations," Gen. x. 32.

"These be the sons of Leah," xlvi. 15. "These are the

sons of Zilpah," Yer. 18. "These are the sons of Rachel,"

ver. 22. "This is the law of the burnt-offering, of the

meal-offering, and of the sin-offering," etc., Lev. vii. 37,

38. This is the law of the plague of leprosy," etc., xiii.

59. These indicate divisions in the subject-matter, and

mark the beginning or end of paragraphs or sections,

and contribute to clearness by brief statements of their

general purport, but they do not prove that these sec-

tions ever had a separate and independent existence

apart from the book in which they are now found, or that

different sections proceeded from different authors, any

more than a like conclusion could be drawn from the

books and chapters into which modern works are di-

vided.

          The extravagance and absurdity of the Fragment

Hypothesis could not long escape detection, for-

          1. It involves the assumption of a numerous body of

writings regarding the Mosaic and ante-Mosaic periods



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH             75

 

of which there is no other evidence, and which is out of

all proportion to the probabilities of the case. Every

several paragraph or section is supposed to represent a

distinct work, implying a literary activity and a fertility

of authorship which is not only assumed on slender and

inadequate grounds, but of which not another fragment

survives, to which no allusion is made, whether in the

Pentateuch itself or elsewhere, and not a hint or a trace

is anywhere preserved of its ever having existed.

          2. A congeries of fragments borrowed from diverse

quarters could only form a body of disconnected anec-

dotes or a heterogeneous miscellany. It could not possi-

bly result in the production of such a work as the Pen-

tateuch, which is a coherent whole, possessing orderly

arrangement in accordance with a well-devised plan,

which is consistently carried out, with a continuous and

connected narrative, with no abrupt transitions, and no

such contrasts or discords as would inevitably arise from

piecing together what was independently conceived and

written by different persons at different times, and with

no regard to mutual adjustment. As in oriental writings

generally the successive portions are more loosely bound

together in outward form than is customary in modern

occidental style; but the matter of the record is through-

out continuous, and one constant aim is steadfastly pur-

sued. The breaks and interruptions which are alleged

to exist in the narrative, such as the failure to record in

full the abode in Egypt, the private life of Moses, or the

forty years' wandering in the wilderness, are no indica-

tions,of a lack of unity, but the reverse; for they show

with what tenacity the writer adhered to his proper

theme, and excluded everything which did not belong

to it.

          3. Still further, the Pentateuch is not only possessed

of a demonstrable unity of structure, which renders its



76      THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

fragmentary origin inconceivable, but there are through-

out manifest allusions from one part to another, one sec-

tion either referring in express terms to what is con-

tained in others, or implying their existence, being based

upon those that precede and unintelligible without them,

and presupposing those that follow. The minute exam-

inations to which this very hypothesis has driven the

friends of truth have shown that such explicit or tacit

allusions are traceable everywhere; and wherever they

occur they make it clear that the writer must have been

cognizant of the paragraphs alluded to, and have felt at

liberty to assume that his readers were acquainted with

them likewise. Of course this is quite inconsistent with

the notion that each of these paragraphs came from a

different source, and was written independently of the

rest.

          It was refuted by Ewald1 in his earliest publication,

which still deserves careful study, and still more thor-

oughly by F. H. Ranke.2

 

                   SUPPLEMENT HYPOTHESIS.

          Repelled by the inconsistencies and incongruities of

the Fragment Hypothesis, Bleek, Tuch, Stahelin, De

Wette, Knobel3 and others advocated what is known as

 

          1 Die Composition der Genesis kritisch Untersucht, von Dr. H. A.

Ewald, 1823.

          2 Untersuchungen uber den Pentateuch, von Dr. Friedrich Heinrich

Itanke, Pfarrer. Vol. i., 1834; Vol. ii., 1840.

          3 The matured views of Bleek are given in the posthumous publica-

tion, Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 1860. In his opinion, “after

Ex. vi. 2-8, the determination of Elohistic constituents, if not impos-

sible, is incomparably more difficult and uncertain than in the preceding

history." 4th Edit., p. 92. He maintained that there was much in the

Pentateuch that was genuinely Mosaic, and especially that many of the

laws proceeded from Moses in the form in which they are there pre-

served, and were committed to writing by Moses himself, or at least in



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH            77

 

the Supplement Hypothesis. This is a modification of

the Documentary, not on the side of a still further and in-

definite division, but on the opposite side of a closer

union. It was consequently a reaction in the right direc-

tion; a confession that what had been sundered without

limit, as though its several parts were void of all coher-

ence, really do belong together; it is an admission, so

far as it goes, of the cogency of the arguments, by which

the various parts of the Pentateuch can be shown to be

linked together.

          The Supplement Hypothesis retained the Elohist and

the Jehovist of the older theory; but, instead of making

them the authors of distinct and independent documents,

which were subsequently combined and pieced together

by a different hand, it supposed that the Elohist first pre-

pared his treatise, which lies at the basis throughout of

the Pentateuch, and constitutes its groundwork. The

Jehovist, who lived later, undertook to prepare an en-

larged edition of this older history. He accordingly re-

tained all that was in the earlier work, preserving its

form andd language, only introducing into it and incor-

 

the Mosaic age. Kommentar uber die Genesis, von Dr. Friedrich

Tuch, 1838. Kritische Untersuchungen fiber den Pentateuch, die

Biicher Josua, Richter, Samuels and der Konige, von J. J. Stahelin,

1843. Stahelin is peculiar in beginning his literary analysis with the

laws, and then applying the results to the historical portions of the Pen-

tateuch and the Book of Joshua. De Wette, who at first seemed to

waver between the Fragment and Document Hypothesis, finally fell in

with the supplementary view. His latest views are given in the sixth

edition of his Lehrbuchder Historisch-kritischen Einleitung, 1845. Die

Genesis erk1drt von August Knobel, 1852. This was followed in suc-

cession by commentaries on the remaining books of the Pentateuch and

on Joshua. Knobel endeavored to remove the difficulty arising from the

large number of passages in which the characteristics of the Elohist and

Jehovist were blended, by assuming that they belonged to the Jehovist,

who in them drew from two antecedent sources, which he denominated

the Rechtsbuch and the Kriegsbuch. It is the same difficulty that Hup-

feld sought to relieve by his assumption of a second Elohist.



78  THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

porating with it sections of his own, supplying omissions,

and amplifying what needed to be more fully stated,

thus supplementing it by means of such materials as were

within his reach, and making such additions as he es-

teemed important.

          This form of the hypothesis not only provides, as the

old document theory had done, for those evidences of

unity which bind the various Elohim passages to one

another, and also the various Jehovah passages. But it

accounts still further for the fact, inexplicable on the

document theory, that the Jehovah sections are related

to the Elohim sections, presuppose them, or contain direct

and explicit allusions to them. This is readily explained

by the Supplement Hypothesis; for not only would

the Elohist and Jehovist be aware of what they had re-

spectively written, or of what they intended to write in

the course of their work, but in addition the Jehovist is

supposed to have the treatise of the Elohist in his hands,

to which all that he writes himself is merely supplement-

al. It is quite natural for him, therefore, to make allu-

sions to what the Elohist had written. But it is not so

easy to account for the fact, which is also of repeated oc-

currence, that the Elohim passages allude to or presup-

pose the contents of Jehovah passages. Here the theory

signally breaks down. For by the hypothesis the Elo-

hist wrote first an independent production, without any

knowledge of, and, of course, without the possibility of

making any reference to the additions which the Jeho-

vist was subsequently to make.

          Another halting-place in this hypothesis was the im-

possibility of making out any consistent view of the rela-

tion in which the Jehovist stood to the antecedent labors

of the Elohist. The great proof, which was insisted upon,

of the existence of the Jehovist as distinct from the Elo-

hist, and supplementing the treatise of the latter, lay in



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH               79

 

the diversity of style and thought which are alleged to

characterize these two classes of sections respectively.

Hence it was necessary to assume that the Jehovist faith-

fully retained the language of the Elohim document un-

altered, and that his own peculiarities were limited to the

sections which he introduced himself, and that there they

were exhibited freely and without reserve. It is fre-

quently the case, however, that the ideas or diction which

have been represented to belong to one of these classes

of sections are found likewise in the other class. Thus,

Elohim passages are found to contain those words and

phrases which have been alleged to characterize the Jeho-

vist, and to contain ideas and statements which are said

to be peculiarly Jehovistic. Here it is necessary to affirm,

that the Jehovist, instead of faithfully transcribing the

Elohim document, has altered its language and inserted

expressions or ideas of his own. Again, Jehovah pas-

sages are found in which those characteristics of style

and thought appear which are elsewhere claimed as

peculiar to the Elohist. This is explained by saying

that the Jehovist in such cases has imitated the style or

adopted the ideas of the Elohist, and has sought to make

his own additions conform as far as possible to the char-

acteristic style of the work which he is supplementing.

Again, while it is alleged that the Elohim and Jehovah

passages are for the most part clearly distinguishable,

there are instances in which it is difficult if not impos-

sible, to draw a sharp line of demarcation between con-

tiguous Elohim and Jehovah passages, and to determine

precisely where one ends and the other begins. Here

the Jehovist is thought to have used art to cover up his

additions. He has fitted them with such care and skill

to the work of his predecessor that the point of junction

cannot be discerned, and it has been made to look like

one continuous composition. Instead of allowing, as in



THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH         80

 

other instances, his insertions to remain visibly distinct

from the original document, he has acted as if he desired

to confuse his additions with the pre-existing work, and

to make their separation impossible.

          Now, apart from the fact that these attempted explana-

tions of phenomena at variance with the primary hy-

pothesis are merely shifts and subterfuges to evade the

difficulty which they create, and that this is bringing

unproved hypotheses to support a hypothesis, every

fresh addition making the superstructure weaker instead

of confirming it, the view which is thus presented of the

Jehovist is inconsistent with itself. At one time we

must suppose him to allow the most obvious diversity of

style and ideas between the Elohist sections and his own

without the slightest concern or any attempt at producing

conformity; at others he modifies the language of the

Elohist, or carefully copies him in the sections which he

adds himself in order to effect this conformity, though

no special motive can be assigned for this difference in

his conduct. He sometimes leaves his additions uncon-

nected with the original work which he is supplement-

ing; at other times he weaves them in so adroitly as to

create the appearance of continuity, and this again with-

out any assignable motive. A hypothetical personage,

who has to be represented by turns as artless and artful,

as an honest reporter and a designing interpolator, as

skilful and a bungler, as greatly concerned about a con-

formity of style and thought in some passages, of which

he is wholly regardless in others, and of whose existence

we have no other evidence than that afforded by these

contradictory allegations respecting him, can scarcely be

said to have his reality established thus. And a hy-

pothesis which is reduced to the necessity of bolstering

itself up in this way has not yet reached firm foot-

ing.



          THE UNITY OF THE PE TATEUCHH             81

 

          Kurtz furnished the best refutation in detail of the

critical analysis adopted by the advocates of the Supple-

ment Hypothesis. The unity and mosaic authorship of

Genesis were also ably defended by Drechsler, and that

of the entire Pentateuch by Havernick and Keil. The

most complete thesaurus in reply to objections is that of

Hengstenberg, upon whom Welte is largely dependent.1

 

          CRYSTALLIZATION HYPOTHESIS.

          The simplicity of the Supplement Hypothesis, which

was its chief recommendation, proved inadequate to re-

lieve the complications which beset the path of the divi-

sive critics. Attempts to remedy these inconveniences

were accordingly made in different lines by Ewald and

by Hupfeld, both of whom, but particularly the latter,

contributed to smooth the way for their successors.

Ewald's maiden publication, in 1823, was directed against

the extreme disintegration of the Fragment Hypothesis.

 

          1 Beitrage zur Vertheidigung and Begrundung der Einheit des Pen-

tateuches, von Josh. Heinr. Kurtz, Erster Beitrag, Nachweis der Einheit

von Gen. i.-iv., 1844. This preliminary essay was followed in 1846 by

his complete and masterly treatise Die Einheit der Genesis. Unfort-

unately Kurtz was subsequently induced to yield the position, which

he had so successfully maintained, in his Geschichte des Alten Bundes,

and to admit that the Pentateuch did not receive its final form until

the generation succeeding that of Moses. Die Einheit and Aechtheit

der Genesis von Dr. Moritz Drechsler, 1838. Handhuch der historisch-

kritischen Einleitung in das Alte Testament, von H. A. Ch. Havernick,

Part I., Section 2, 1837. Lehrbuch der historisch-kritischen Ein-

leitung in die kanonischen Schriften des Alten Testamentes, von

Karl Friedrich Keil, 1853. Die Authentie des Pentateuches erwiesen

von Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg, vol. i., 1836; vol. ii., 1839. Nach-

mosaisches im Pentateuch, beleuchtet von Dr. Benedikt Welte, 1841.

Also his important additions and corrections to Herbst's Einleitung,

which he edited, and of which the first division of the second part, con-

taining the Introduction to the Pentateuch, appeared in 1842.



82       THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

His own scheme, proposed twenty years later,1 has been

appropriately called the Crystallization Hypothesis.

This is a modification of the Supplementary by increasing

the number engaged in supplementing from one to a series

successively operating at distinct periods. The nucleus,

or most ancient portion of the Pentateuch, in his opinion,

consisted of the remnants of four primitive treatises now

existing only in fragments embedded in the various

strata which were subsequently accumulated around

them. This was followed in the second place by what

he calls the Book of the Origins, and this by what he

denominates the third, fourth, and fifth prophetic nar-

rators, each of whom in succession added his accretion to

what had been previously recorded, and the last of whom

worked over all that preceded, together with his own ad-

ditions and alterations, into one continuous work. Then

the Deuteronomist wrote Deuteronomy, which was first

issued as an independent publication, but was sub-

sequently incorporated with the work of his predeces-

sors. And thus the Pentateuch, or rather the Hexateuch,

for the Pentateuch and Joshua were regarded by him, as

by the majority of advanced modern critics generally, as

one work--thus the Hexateuch slowly grew to its present

dimensions, a vast conglomerate, including these various

accessions made in the course of many centuries.

 

          MODIFIED DOCUMENT HYPOTHESIS.

 

          Hupfeld2 undertook to remove the obstacles, which

blocked the way of the Supplement Hypothesis, in a

 

          1 Heinrich Ewald, Geschichte des Volkes Israel bis Christus, vol. i., p.

60 sqq. 1843.

          2 Die Quellen der Genesis and die Art ihrer Zusammensetzung von

neuem untersucht, von D. Hermann Hupfeld, 1853. The existence of a

second Elohist had been maintained long before, and a partition made



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH            83

 

different manner; not by introducing fresh supplements,

but by abandoning the supplementing process altogether,

and falling back upon the Document Hypothesis, of which

he proposed an important modification. He aimed

chiefly to establish two things: First, that the Jehovist

sections were not disconnected additions to a pre-exist-

ing document, but possessed a continuity and indepen-

dence, which shows that they must have constituted a

separately existing document. In order to this he at-

tempted to bridge over the breaks and chasms by the aid

of scattered clauses arbitrarily sundered from their con-

text in intervening Elohim sections, and thus made a

shift to preserve a scanty semblance of continuity. In

the second place, he maintained the composite character

of the Elohist sections, and that they constituted not one

but two documents. The troublesome passages, which

corresponded neither with the characteristics of the Elo-

hist nor the Jehovist, but appeared to combine them both,

were alleged to be the product of a third writer, who

while he used the name Elohim had the diction and other

peculiarities of the Jehovist and whom he accordingly

called the second Elohist. Upon this scheme there were

three independent documents; that of the first Elohist,

the second Elohist, and the Jehovist. Amd these were

put together in their present form by a redactor who

allowed himself the liberty of inserting, retrenching,

 

on this basis by Ilgen in Die Urkunden des ersten Buchs von Moses in

ihrer Urgestalt, 1798; but it met no approval at the time. Eduard

Boehmer, in Das Erste Buck der Thora, adopted the scheme of Hupfeld,

though differing materially in many points in the details of the analysis.

E. Schrader, in editing the eighth edition of De Wette's Introduction, in

1869, follows the same general scheme, with some modifications of the

analysis. He designates the authors of the documents as the Annal-

istic, the Theocratic, and the Prophetic Narrators, corresponding severe

ally to the first and second Elohists and the Jehovist of Hupfeld's no-

menclature.



84   THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

modifying, transposing, and combining at his own pleas-

ure. All references from one document to the contents

of another, and in general any phenomena that conflict

with the requirements of the hypothesis, are ascribed to

the redactor.

          There are several halting-places in this scheme of Hup-

feld. (1) One is that the creation of a second Elohist

destroys the continuity and completeness of the first.

The second Elohist is supposed to begin abruptly with

the twentieth chapter of Genesis. From that point on-

ward to the end of the book, with the exception of ch.

xxiii. which records the death and burial of Sarah the

great body of the Elohim passages are given to the second

Elohist, and nothing reserved for the first but occasional

disconnected scraps, which never could have formed a

separate and independent record, and which, moreover,

are linked with and imply much that is assigned to the

other documents. So that it is necessary to assume that

this document once contained the very matter which has

been sundered from it. These scattered points simply

outline the history, apart from which they have no value

and no meaning. Severed from the body of the narra-

tive to which they are attached they are an empty frame

without contents. This frame only exists for the sake of

the historical material, to which it is adjusted and indis-

solubly belongs.

          (2) It is also a suspicious circumstance that the first

Elohist breaks off almost entirely so near the point where

the second Elohist begins. All Elohist passages before

Gen. xx. are given to the first Elohist; all after that, with

trifling exceptions, to the second Elohist. This looks

more like the severance of what was once continuous,

than the disentangling of documents once separate which

the redactor had worked together section by section in

compiling his history.



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH       85

 

          (3) Another suspicious circumstance is the intricate

manner in which the Jehovist, and second Elohist are

thought to be combined.  In many passages they are so

intimately blended that they cannot be separated. And

in general it is admitted to be impossible to establish

any clearly defined criteria of language, style, or thought

between them. This has the appearance of a factitious

division of what is really the product of a single writer.

There is no reason of any moment, whether in the dic-

tion or in the matter, for assuming that the Jehovist and

the second Elohist were distinct writers.

          (4) It is indeed claimed that the first Elohist is

clearly distinguishable in diction and in matter from the

Jehovist and the second Elohist. But there are several

considerations which quite destroy the force of the

argument for distinct documents from this source. a. If

the Elohim sections prior to Gen. xx. are thought

to have a diction different from that of the Jehovist;

and the great body of the Elohim sections after Gen. xx.

have a diction confessedly indistinguishable from that

of the Jehovist the presumption certainly is that the

difference alleged in the early chapters rests on too

limited an induction; and when the induction is carried

further, it appears that the conclusion has been too hasty,

and that no real difference exists. b. Again, the great

bulk of the narrative of Genesis, so far as it concerns

transactions in ordinary life, is divided between the

Jehovist and the second Elohist. The first Elohist is

limited to genealogies, legal sections, extraordinary

events, such as the creation and flood or mere isolated

notices, as of births, deaths, ages, migrations, etc. That

matter of a different description should call for the use

of a different set of words while in matter of the same

sort like words are used is just what might be expected

and there is no need of assuming different documents in



86    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

order to account for it. c. Still further, when, as in Gen.

xxxiv., a narrative is for special reasons assigned in part

to the first Elohist, it is as impossible to distinguish its

diction from that of the other documents as it elsewhere

is to distinguish the diction of the second Elohist from

that of the Jehovist; and other grounds of distinction

must be resorted to in order to effect a separation. All

this makes it evident that the variant diction alleged is

due to the difference in the matter and not to diversity

of documents.

          (5) The function assigned to the redactor assumes

that he acts in the most capricious and inconsistent

manner, more so even than the Jehovist of the Supple-

ment Hypothesis. At times he is represented as scrupu-

lously careful to preserve everything contained in his

various sources, though it leads to needless and unmean-

ing repetition; at others he omits large and important

sections, though the document from which they are

dropped is thus reduced to a mutilated remnant. Where

his sources disagree he sometimes retains the narrative

of each unchanged, thus placing the whole case fairly

before his readers; at others he alters them into corre-

spondence, which is hardly consistent with historical

honesty. Variant narratives of the same event are some-

times harmonized by combining them, thus confusing

both; sometimes they are mistaken for distinct and even

widely separated events and related as such, an error

which reflects upon his intelligence, since critics with

the incomplete data which he has left them are able to

correct it. He sometimes reproduces his sources just as

he finds them; at others he alters their whole com-

plexion by freely manipulating the text or making addi-

tions of his own. Everything in diction, style, or ideas

which is at variance with the requirements of the hypo-

thesis, is laid to his account, and held to be due to his



THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH        87

 

interference. The present text does not suit the hy-

pothesis, therefore it must have been altered, and the

redactor must have done it.

          It is evident how convenient it is to have a redactor

always at hand to whom every miscarriage of the hypoth-

esis can be attributed. But it is also evident that the

frequent necessity for invoking his aid seriously weakens

the cause which he is summoned to support. It is

further evident that the suspicions cast upon the ac-

curacy with which the redactor has transmitted the

various texts which he had before him undermines the

entire basis of the hypothesis. For it undertakes to es-

tablish the existence of the so-called documents, and to

discriminate between them, by verbal criteria, which are

nullified if the original texts have, been tampered with.

And it is still further evident that the opposite traits of

character impliedly ascribed to the redactor, the utterly

capricious and irrational conduct imputed to him, and

the wanton and aimless manipulation of his authorities,

for which no motive can be imagined, tend to make this

most important functionary an impossible conception.

          Both Ewald and Hupfeld were regarded at the time as

having made a retrograde movement instead of an ad-

vance, by falling back from the simplicity of the then

dominant Supplement Hypothesis into a greater complex-

ity than that of the original Document Hypothesis. The

fact is, however, that the complexity inevitably grows, as

the critics aim at greater precision, and endeavor to adapt

their scheme more exactly to the phenomena with which

they have to deal. The multiplication of machinery, which

is necessary before all can work smoothly, so overloads

their apparatus that it is in danger of breaking down by

its own weight. They find themselves obliged to pile

hypothesis upon hypothesis in order to relieve difficul-

ties, and explain diversities, and account for irregulari-



88    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

ties by subdivided documents, and successive recensions,

and a series of redactors, and unfathered glosses, and

variegated legal strata, and diaskeuasts in unlimited pro-

fusion, until the whole thing reaches a state of confusion

worse confounded, almost equivalent to that of the ex-

ploded Fragment Hypothesis itself.

          For the sake of brevity the Pentateuchal documents

are commonly denoted by symbols. Dr. Dillmann em-

ploys the first four letters of the alphabet for the pur-

pose; he calls the Elohist A, the second Elohist B, the

Jehovist C, and the Deuteronomist D. Others use the

same symbols, but change the order of their application.

In the nomenclature that is now most prevalent the

term Elohist is applied exclusively to what used to be

known as the second Elohist, and it is represented by E;

the Jehovist by J.  J and E are alleged to have ema-

nated from prophetic circles, J in the southern kingdom

of Judah, and E in the northern kingdom of Israel. The

second Elohist having been separated from what used to

be known as the Elohist document, the remnant was by

Wellhausen fancifully called Q, the initial of quattuor=

4, because of the four covenants which it contains.

Others prefer to designate it as P, the priestly writing, in

distinction from the prophetic histories J and E. The

critics further distinguish J1 and J2 E1 and E1, P1, P2

and P3, D1 and D2, which represent different strata in

these documents. Different Redactors are embraced

under the general symbol R, viz., Rj who combined J

and E, Rd who added D to JE, and Rh who completed

the Hexateuch by combining P with JED.

 

THE GROUNDS OF LITERARY PARTITION CONSIDERED.

         

          While these various hypotheses, which have thus arisen

each on the ruins of its predecessor, are, as has been



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH        89

 

shown, individually encumbered with insuperable diffi-

culties peculiar to each, the common arguments by which

their advocates seek to establish them are insufficient

and inconclusive.

          1. The first argument, as already stated, in defence of

these several partition hypotheses, is drawn from the

alternate employment of the divine names Elohim and

Jehovah. It may be observed, however, that so far as

there is any thing remarkable in the alternation of these

names in the Pentateuch, it is confined almost entirely to

the book of Genesis, and chiefly to the earlier portions

of that book. It cannot, of course, be maintained that

the same writer could not make use of both names.

They are intermingled in various proportions in almost

every book of the Bible. The occurrence of both in the

same composition can of itself create no suspicion of its

lack of unity. The special grounds which are relied

upon in this case are, (1) the regularity of their alterna-

tion in successive sections; and (2) the testimony of

Ex. vi. 3, which is understood to declare that the name

Jehovah is not pre-Mosaic and was not in use in the

days of the patriarchs, whence it is inferred that P, by

whom this is recorded, systematically avoided the use of

Jehovah prior to the time when God thus revealed him-

self to Moses.

          As to the first of these points, remarkable as is the

alternation of the divine names, particularly in the earlier

chapters of Genesis, it does not coincide so precisely

with sections or paragraphs as the advocates of these

hypotheses would have us imagine; for with all the care

that they have taken in dividing these sections to suit

their theory, each of these names is found repeatedly in

sections mainly characterized by the other. The diver-

gence between the hypothesis and the facts, on which it

is professedly based, is so great that it cannot give a



90   THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

satisfactory explanation of them; and the arbitrary

methods to which its advocates are forced to resort, in

order to remove this divergence, are absolutely destruc-

tive of the hypothesis itself, as can be readily shown.

For the critics are obliged to play fast and loose with

the text in a manner and to a degree which renders

all their reasoning precarious. The alternation of the

divine names Elohim and Jehovah is made by them the

key of their whole position. This is the starting-point of

the partition, and of the entire hypothesis of the separate

documents. All the other criteria are supplementary to

this; they are worked out on this basis, and find in it

whatever justification and proof of their validity they

have. All hinges ultimately, therefore, on the exact trans-

mission of these fundamental and determining words.

At the outset the lines of demarcation are run exclu-

sively by them; and an error in these initial lines, by

confusing the limits of the documents, would introduce

error into their respective criteria as deduced from the

inspection of these faulty passages. If there is anything

that must be absolutely fixed and resolutely adhered to,

if the document hypothesis is to stand, it is the accuracy

of these divine names, which are the pillars on which the

whole critical structure rests. And yet the critics, in re-

peated instances, declare them to be incorrect or out of

place. They are, in fact, forced by the perplexities of

their situation thus to cut away the ground from beneath

their own feet. The divine names are made the prime

criteria for distinguishing the so-called documents. It is

said that J (the Jehovist) characteristically uses Jehovah,

E (the Elohist) Elohim, and P (the priestly writer) Elo-

him as far as Ex. vi. 2, 3, and Jehovah thereafter. But

the trouble is that with their utmost efforts the critics

find it impossible to adjust the documents into conform-

ity with this proposed scheme; though their alleged cor-



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH            91

 

respondence with it is the sole ultimate warrant for their

existence, the supreme criterion, on which all other cri-

teria depend. In the first place, Elohim is repeatedly

found along with Jehovah in sections attributed to J.

Here the critics explain that the author of this document

used both names as the occasion demanded. But this is

putting the use of these names on an entirely different

ground from that of the distinctive usage of separate

writers.  If J could use both of these names, and in so

doing was governed by their inherent signification and

by the appropriateness of each to the connection in which

they are severally employed, why might not P and E do

the same? or why, in fact, is there any need for J, P, or

E, or for any other than the one author to whom a uniform

and well-accredited tradition attributes all that it has

been proposed to parcel among these unknown and un-

discoverable personages? The appropriate use of these

divine names, as ascertained from the acknowledged em-

ployment of them by J, taken in connection with the ex-

plicit statement of Ex. vi. 3, not in the perverted sense

put upon it by the critics, but in its true signification, as

determined by the numerous parallels in the book of Ex-

odus, and throughout the entire Old Testament, will ex-

plain their alternation in Genesis in a satisfactory man-

ner, which the hypothetical documents have not done,

and cannot do.

          Again, Jehovah occurs repeatedly in sections attributed

to P and E, where, by the hypothesis, only Elohim should

be found. Every possible evasion is employed to get

rid of these unwelcome facts. Where the facts are at

variance with the hypothesis, the invariable assumption

is that the hypothesis is right and the facts are wrong,

and require correction. The redactor has for some un-

imaginable reason been at fault. He has inserted a verse,

or a clause, or simply the unsuitable divine name of his



92    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

own motion, without there being anything in the original

text that corresponded to it; or he has erased the divine

name that was in the text, and substituted another for it;

or he has mixed two texts by inserting into the body of

one document a clause supposed to be taken from another.

And thus the attempt is made to bolster up the hypoth-

esis by an inference drawn from the hypothesis. And

the effect is to unsettle the text at those crucial points

where accuracy and certainty are essential to the validity

of the hypothesis, not to speak of the corollaries dedu-

cible from it.

          Elohim occurs inconveniently for the critics in Gen.

vii. 9; hence Kautzsch claims that it must have been

originally Jehovah, while Dillmann insists that vs. 8, 9

were inserted by R (the redactor). The critics wish to

make it appear that two accounts of the flood, by P and

J respectively, have been blended in the existing text;

and that vs. 7-9 is J's account, and vs. 13-16 that by

P. But unfortunately for them, this is blocked by the

occurrence in each one of the verses assigned to J, of ex-

pressions foreign to J and peculiar to P; and to cap the

climax, the divine name is not J's but P's. The repe-

tition cannot, therefore, be wrested into an indication of

a duplicate narrative, but simply, as its language clearly

shows, emphasizes the fact that the entry into the ark

was made on the self-same day that the flood began.

          "And Jehovah shut him in" (vii. 16b), occurs in the

midst of a P paragraph; hence it is alleged that this sol-

itary clause has been inserted from a supposed parallel

narrative by J. But this overlooks the significant and

evidently intended contrast of the two divine names in

this verse, a significance to which Delitzsch calls atten-

tion, thus discrediting the basis of the critical analysis,

which he nevertheless accepts. Animals of every species

went into the ark, as Elohim, the God of creation and



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH             93

 

providence directed, mindful of the preservation of what

he had made; Jehovah, the guardian of his people, shut

Noah in.

          In xiv. 22, Jehovah occurs not in a J section, and is

declared spurious for that reason; though it is the name

of God as known to Abram, in distinction from him as

he was known to Melchizedek (ver. 19).

          Ch. xvii. is assigned to P because of the exclusive use

of Elohim in it after ver. I hence it is claimed that Je-

hovah in ver. 1 is an error for Elohim, notwithstanding

the regular recurrence of Jehovah in all that preceded

since the call of Abram (xii. 1), the identity of the phrase

with xii. 7; xviii. 1, and the obvious requirements of this

passage. Jehovah, the God of Abram, here reveals him-

self as God Almighty and Elohim, to signalize his power

to accomplish what nature could not effect, and to pledge

the immediate fulfilment of the long-delayed promise.

          Ch. xx. records the affair with Abimelech, and the

name of God is for this reason Elohim, until the last

verse, where Jehovah's interference for the protection of

Sarah is spoken of. The significance of this change of

names is lost upon the critics, who assign the chapter to

E because of Elohim, and then can account for Jehovah

in no other way than by imputing ver. 18 to R.

          In xxi. 1, 2, there is a curious specimen of critical dis-

section. Each verse is split in two, and one sentence

fashioned out of the two first halves, and another out of

the two second halves. The critical necessity for this

grows out of the need of finding the birth of Isaac in

both J and P. The alleged equivalence of the two

clauses in ver. 1 is made a pretext for sundering them,

and assigning to J "And Jehovah visited Sarah, as he

had said;" and to P the rest of the verse, "And Jehovah

did unto Sarah as he had spoken," which last is then

filled out by ver. 2b, at the set time of which Elohim



94      THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

had spoken to him." But as it is inadmissible for Jehovah

to stand in a P clause (ver. 1b), it is assumed that it must

originally have been Elohim. This is all built upon the

sand, however; for ver. 1 does not contain two identical

statements. The second is an advance upon the first,

stating that the purpose of the visitation was to fulfil a

promise; and what that promise was is further stated

in ver. 2. All is closely connected and progressive

throughout; and it cannot be rent asunder as the critics

propose. Jehovah, the God of Abraham, visited Sarah,

and fulfilled his word to her, and Sarah bare her son at 

the set time that Elohim, the mighty Creator, had said.

The names are in every way appropriate as they stand.1

          In Abimelech's interview with Abraham, resulting in

the naming of Beersheba, the name of God is appropri-

ately Elohim (xxi. 22, . 23); but when Abraham wor-

shipped there he called, with equal propriety, on the

name of Jehovah (ver. 33). The critics, ignoring the true

reason of the interchange of names, tell us that ver. 33 is

a fragment of J inserted by R in a narrative of E.

          In ch. xxii. Elohim puts Abraham to the trial, the an-

gel of Jehovah interposes and blesses him. The de-

mand of the Creator for the surrender of the dearest and

the best is supplemented by the God of grace and salva-

tion, who approves and rewards the mental surrender,

and in the substituted animal supplies for the time then

present an accepted type of the true sacrifice. This ob-

viously designed and significant change of names is lost

upon the critics, who find only the unmeaning usage of

distinct writers, and can only account for Moriah,2 (ver.

 

          1 Kautsch seems to be alone in venturing to split xxxix. 3 and 5, in a

similar manner, and giving the second clause in each verse to E, with

its Jehovah converted into Elohim.

          2 A compound proper name with an abbreviated form of Jehovah as

one of its constituents.



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH            95

 

2), or Jehovah (ver. 11), as textual errors, and for the re-

peated occurrence of Jehovah subsequently by making

vs. 14-13, an interpolation by R, or an insertion from J.

But the alleged interpolation is plainly an essential part

of the narrative; the story of such a trial, so borne, is

pointless without the words of commendation and bless-

ing.

          Isaac's blessing of Esau (xxvii. 27, 28) is torn asunder

because Jehovah in the first sentence is followed by Elo-

him in the second.

          So Jacob's dream, in which he beholds the angels of

Elohim (xxviii. 12), and Jehovah (ver. 13); although his

waking (ver. 16) from the sleep into which he had fallen

(vs. 11, 12) shows that these cannot be parted. Jacob's

vow (vs. 20, 21) is arbitrarily amended by striking out

“then shall Jehovah be my God,” because of his previous

mention of Elohim when referring to his general provi-

dential benefits.

          The story of the birth of Leah's first four sons (xxix,

31-35), and that of the fifth and sixth (xxx. 17-20), are

traced to different documents notwithstanding their

manifest connection, because Jehovah occurs in the

former and Elohim in the latter.

          Elohim in xxxi. 50, in a so-called J paragraph, is for

that reason summarily pronounced spurious.

          Since Elohim occurs in xxxiii. 5b, 11, these are de-

clared to be isolated clauses from E in a J section.

          The battle with Amalek (Ex. xvii. 8-13) is assigned to

E because of Elohim, ver. 9; but the direction to record

it, the commemorative altar, and the oath of perpetual

hostility to Amalek (vs. 14-16), which stand in a most in-

timate relation to it, are held to be from another docu-

ment, because of Jehovah.

          In Jethro's visit (Ex. xviii.) Elohim (eleven times)

naturally preponderates in what is said by or to one not



96      THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

of the chosen race; and yet Jehovah is used (six times)

where there is specific allusion to the God of Israel.

But each Jehovah clause must, according to the critics,

have been inserted in E's narrative by R from an as-

sumed parallel account by J.

          Ex. xix. is mainly referred to E; but the repeated oc-

currence of Jehovah compels the critics to assume that

R has in several instances substituted it for Elohim and

even made more serious changes in the text.

          Ex. xxiv. is divided between E and J; but the division

cannot be so made as to correspond with the divine

names in the current text.

          No critic pretends to follow the indication of the di-

vine names in dissecting Ex. xxxii.

          Dr. Harper, in the "Hebraica," vi. 1, p. 35, says of the

critical analysis of Ex. i. 1-vu. 7, "the language is but

a poor guide, owing probably to R's interference; not

even the names of the Deity are to be relied on implic-

itly, being freely intermingled." And p. 47, on Ex. vii.

8-xii. 51:  "In this section the name of the Deity is ex-

clusively Jehovah, which must have been substituted by

R in all the E passages." In the "Hebraica," vi. 4, p. 269,

he confesses that Jehovah runs “all through E's material”

in the section Num. x. 29-xvii. 28 (E. V. ver. 13); and p.

287 complains in regard to Num. xx. 1-xxvii. 11, of "the

unsatisfactory use of the names of the Deity; Yahweh is

the prevailing name, Elohim occurring but nine times in

the entire section; this is, however, more easily explained

on the R hypothesis than by any other." That is to say,

the use of the divine names runs athwart the critical hy-

pothesis to such an extent as to be quite unsatisfactory to

its advocates. And the easiest way out of the difficulty is

to assume that R has altered the name wherever the

exigencies of the hypothesis require such a supposition.

          For the striking significance of the divine names in the



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH                    97

 

history of Balaam (Num. xxii.-xxiv.) the critics have no

appreciation, but seek to resolve all by their mechanical

rule of blended documents. The occurrence of Elohim

four times in xxii. 2-21 is urged as determining it to

belong to E; but Jehovah also occurs four times, where

it is assumed that the word was originally Elohim, but it

has been changed by R. Jehovah predominates in vs.

22-35 J but Elohim is found in ver. 22, for which R is

again held responsible. The next two chapters are di-

vided between the same two documents, but with some

uncertainty to which each should belong. Wellhausen

assigns ch. xxiii. to J, and ch. xxiv. to E; Dillmann re-

verses it, giving ch. xxiii. to E, and ch. xxiv. to J. But

however they dispose of them, the divine names will not

suit, and R must be supposed to have manipulated them

here again.

          The real facts are these. Balaam only once uses Elo-

him (xxii. 38); and then it is to mark the contrast be-

tween the divine and the merely human. Apart from

this he invariably uses the divine name Jehovah, whether

he is speaking to Balak's messengers (xxii. 8, 13, 18, 19),

to Balak (xxiii. 3, 12, 26; xxiv. 13), or uttering his prophe-

cies (xxiii. 8, 21; xxiv. 6). He thus indicates that it was

Jehovah whom he professed to consult, and whose will he

undertook to declare. And it was because of his sup-

posed power with the God of Israel that Balak desired

his aid. Hence Balak uses Jehovah in addressing

Balaam (xxiii. 17; xxiv. 11); only once Elohim (xxiii. 27),

as non-Israelites commonly do. When the writer speaks

of God in connection with this heathen seer, he stead-

fastly uses Elohim at the outset. Balaam regularly pro-

poses to tell the messengers of Balak what Jehovah will

say to him, but the writer with equal uniformity says

that Elohim came to him, and spoke to him (xxii. 9, 10,

12, 20, 22). He is not recognized as an accredited prophet



98    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

of Jehovah. But while it is only Elohim, the general

term denoting the Deity, which is put by the sacred

writer in relation to Balaam considered as a heathen

seer, it is the Angel of Jehovah who comes forth to con-

front him on his unhallowed errand, and Jehovah the

guardian and defender of Israel who constrains him to

pronounce a blessing instead of a curse. Hence from

xxii. 22 onward, wherever the writer speaks, he uses the

name Jehovah, not only in the encounter by the way but

after his arrival, as determining what he shall say. To

this there are but two exceptions. In xxiii. 4, when Ba-

laam had gone to look for auguries, "Elohim met him,"

reminding us that he was but a heathen seer still; yet it

was Jehovah (vs. 5, 16) who put the word in his mouth.

In xxiv. 2, "the Spirit of Elohim came upon him," ex-

presses the thought that he was divinely inspired, and

spoke by an impulse from above and not from prompt-

ings of his own; but his conviction that it was Jehovah's

purpose to bless Israel kept him from seeking auguries

as at other times (ver. 1). The partition hypothesis ob-

literates this nice discrimination entirely, and sees noth-

ing but the unmeaning usage of different writers coupled

with R's arbitrary disturbance of the text for no imagin-

able reason.

          This rapid survey of a few prominent passages suffi-

ciently shows the character of the evasions by which the

critics seek to cover up the lack of correspondence be-

tween their hypotheses and the textual phenomena of the

divine names. This want of correspondence betrays it-

self in numerous signal instances. The attempts to

relieve it are based on arbitrary assumptions, which are

mere inferences from the hypothesis which they are ad-

duced to support. In this process passages which are

inseparable are rent asunder, and in many cases the real

significance of the divine names is ignored or marred.



          THE UNITY OF SHE PENTATEUCH               99

 

And as a further consequence the main point above in-

sisted upon is fully established. The current hypothe-

sis of the critics is built on minute verbal distinctions,

which imply an accuracy and certainty of text which

they themselves unsettle by their frequent assumptions

of errors and of manipulations by the redactor. If he

altered the divine names, and inserted or modified clauses

containing them in the instances and to the extent alleged,

who is to vouch that he has been more scrupulous else-

where? The hypothesis is self-destructive; for it can

only be defended by arguments which undermine its

foundations. And even if it were not possible, as in

fact it is, to account satisfactorily for the interchange of

divine names on other grounds, the proof is ample that

the hypothesis of distinct writers will not explain it.

          Here, however, the testimony of Ex. vi. 2, 3, is ad-

duced to show that P carefully and designedly avoided

the use of the name Jehovah in all that he had pre-

viously written, but regularly employed this name from

that place onward. The passage reads: "God spake

unto Moses, and said unto him, I am Jehovah: and I ap-

peared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob as God

Almighty; but by my name Jehovah I was not known

unto them." The critics interpret this to mean that the

name Jehovah was then first revealed to Moses, and that

it had not been in use in the time of the patriarchs.

They hence regard all prior sections containing the

name Jehovah as in conflict with this statement, espe-

cially as Jehovah is used not only in the language of the

writer himself, but when he is reporting the words of those

who lived long before Moses's time. Such sections, it is

said, imply a different belief as to the origin and use of

this sacred name, and must, therefore, be attributed to

another writer, who held that it was known from the

earliest periods, and who has recorded his idea upon



100      THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

that subject (Gen. iv. 26) that men began to call upon

the name of Jehovah in the days of Enosh.

          But the sense thus put upon Ex. vi. 3, is altogether in-

admissible. For

          (1) It is plain, upon the critics' own hypothesis, that

the redactor, to whom in their view the Pentateuch and

Genesis owe their present form, did not so understand it.

After recording the history of the patriarchs, in which

free use is made of the name Jehovah, he is here sup-

posed to introduce the statement, from the mouth of

God himself, that they had never heard this name, and

thus to have stultified himself completely.

          (2) It is equally plain that it could not have been so

intended by the writer. The statement that God was not

known by his name Jehovah unto the patriarchs is ex-

plained by the repeated declaration that Israel (Ex. vi.

7; x. 2; xvi. 12; xxix. 46), the Egyptians (vii. 5; xiv. 4, 18),

and Pharaoh (vii. 17; viii. 6, 18 (E. V. 10, 22); ix. 14, 29,

comp. v. 2) should know that he was Jehovah; not that

they should be told that this was his name, but that they

should witness the manifestation of those attributes which

the name denoted. That he was not so known by the

patriarchs can only mean, therefore, that while tokens of

God's almighty power had been vouchsafed to them, no

such disclosure had been made of the perfections in-

dicated by his name Jehovah as was now to be granted

to their descendants.

          (3) The uniform usage of Scripture proves the same

thing. A true apprehension of the divine perfections,

and not a mere acquaintance with the word Jehovah, is

the constant meaning of the phrase "to know the name

of Jehovah" (1 Kin. viii. 43; Ps. ix. 11 (E. V. 10); xci. 14;

Isa. lii. 6; lxiv. 1 (E. V. 2); Jer. xvi. 21; Ezek. xxxix. 6, 7).

          It is important to observe here precisely what these

arguments prove, viz., that Ex. vi. 3, was not written with



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH              101

 

an antiquarian interest, nor from an antiquarian point of

view. It does not concern itself about the history of the

word Jehovah, and cannot with may fairness be regarded

as affirming or denying anything about it. Its sole de-

sign is to declare that Jehovah was about to manifest him-

self in the character represented by this name as he had

not done to the patriarchs. Since, then, the writer did

not intend to assert that the word was unknown to Abra-

ham, Isaac, and Jacob, there is no reason why, in relating

their history, he might not consistently introduce this

word in language uttered by them or addressed to them.

          Neither, it should also be observed, was the patriarchal

history written in the spirit of a verbal antiquary, so as

to make a point of rigorously abstaining from employing

any word not then in current use. Even if the name

Jehovah were not in use prior to the days of Moses, the

God of the patriarchs was the very same as Jehovah, and

the writer might properly adopt the dialect of his own

time in speaking of him for the purpose of asserting the

identity of the God of Abraham with the God who ap-

peared to Moses and who led Israel out of Egypt. It is

customary to speak of the call of Abraham and of the

conversion of Paul, though the patriarch's name was

Abram when he was called, and the apostle's name was

Saul at the time of his conversion.

          Whether the name Jehovah was ante-Mosaic is a legiti-

mate subject of inquiry. But it is not answered cate-

orically in the negative by Ex. vi. 3, nor inferentially in

the affirmative by the use of this word in the patriarchal

history. That question lay out of the plane of the

writer's thoughts in the one place as well as in the other,

and no express utterance is made regarding it. Much

less have contradictory answers been given to it. The

inconsistency which the critics affirm does not exist.

There is consequently no difficulty from this source in



102   THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

supposing that the author of Ex. vi. 3, may likewise have

penned the Jehovist sections in Genesis. This passage,

though one of the pillars of the partition hypothesis,

really lends it no support.

          Neither does Gen. iv. 26: "Then began men to call

upon the name of Jehovah." This is understood by the

critics to affirm that in the belief of if the name Jehovah

came into use in the days of Enosh the son of Seth.

This might seem to accord with Eve's use of Elohim (iv.

25) at the birth of Seth, and in her conversation with the

serpent (iii. 1-5), but does not agree with her mention of

Jehovah (iv. 1) at the birth of Cain, long before the time

of either Seth or Enosh. Reuss says that the writer here

contradicts himself. Dillmann can only evade the diffi-

culty by a transposition of the text. All which simply

proves that their interpretation of iv. 26 is false. It fixes

the origin not of the word Jehovah, but of the formal in-

vocation of the Most High in public worship.

          If we may take a suggestion from Ex. vi. 3, it implies

that different names of God have each their distinct and

proper signification; and this inherent signification of the

terms must be taken into the account if any successful

attempt is to be made to explain their usage. The me-

chanical and superficial solution of two blended docu-

ments offered by the critics will not answer. Ex. vi. 3,

instead of contradicting the book of Genesis, affords the

key to the phenomena which it presents.

          The derivation and primary signification of Elohim

are in dispute; according to some authorities the radical

meaning is that of power, according to others it denotes

one who is the object of fear and adoration. It is the

general name for God, and is applied both to the true

God and to pagan deities. Jehovah is not a common but

a proper noun. It belongs to the true God alone and is

his characteristic name, by which he is distinguished



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH               103

 

from all others, and by which he made himself known to

Israel his chosen people. Accordingly Jehovah denotes

specifically what God is in and to Israel; Elohim what

he is to other nations as well. That universal agency

which is exercised in the world at large, and which is di-

rected upon Israel and Gentiles alike, is, by Elohim, the

God of creation and of providence. That special mani-

festation of himself which is made to his own people is

by Jehovah, the God of revelation and of redemption.

The sacred writer uses one name or the other according

as he contemplates God under one or the other point of

view. Where others than those of the chosen race

are the speakers, as Abimelech (Gen. xxi. 22, 23) or

Pharaoh (xli. 38, 39), it is natural that they should say

Elohim, unless they specifically refer to the God of the

patriarchs (xxvi. 28), or of Israel (Ex. v. 2), when they

will say Jehovah. In transactions between Abraham or

his descendants and those of another race God may be

spoken of under aspects common to them both, and the

name Elohim be employed; or he may be regarded under

aspects specifically Israelitish and the name Jehovah be

used. Again, as Elohim is the generic name for God as

distinguished from beings of a different grade, it is the

term proper to be used when God and man, the divine

and the human, are contrasted, as Gen. xxx. 2; xxxii.

28; xlv. 5, 7, 8; 1. 19, 20.

          Hengstenberg1 maintained that Elohim denotes a lower

and Jehovah a higher stage of the knowledge and appre-

hension of God. The revelation of God advances from

his disclosure as Elohim in the creation (Gen. i.) to his

disclosure as Jehovah in his covenant with Israel at

Sinai; and in the interval between these two extremes

he may be designated by one name or the other, accord-

ing to the conception which is before the mind of the

 

          1 Die Authentic des Pentateuches, I., p. 286, etc.



104     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

writer at the time. In any manifestation surpassing

those which have preceded he may be called Jehovah;

or if respect is had to more glorious manifestations that

are to follow, he may be called Elohim. The names ac-

cording to this view are relatively employed to indicate

higher or lower grades of God's manifestation of himself.

There seems to be a measure of truth in this representa-

tion of the matter, at least in its general outlines. The

name Jehovah shines out conspicuously at three marked

epochs, while in the intervals between them it is dimmed

and but rarely appears. Jehovah is almost exclusively

used in the account of our first parents, recording the

initiating of God's kingdom on earth (ch. ii. 4-iv. 16), in

its contrast with the material creation described in ch. i.

in the lives of Abraham and Isaac, recording the setting

apart of one among the families of mankind to found the

chosen people of God in its contrast with the preceding

universal degeneracy (Gen. xii.-xvii. 1; xxvi.); and God's

revelation of himself to Moses as the deliverer and God

of Israel, fulfilling the promises made to their fathers, in

contrast with the antecedent period of waiting and for-

eign residence and oppression. From this time onward

Jehovah is the dominant name, since the theocratic re-

lation was then, fully established. The general corre-

spondence of Hengstenberg's theory with the marked

prevalence of the name Jehovah in the sections indicated,

and its comparatively infrequent occurrence in the inter-

vening portions of the history is manifest; but there

are exceptional cases, which cannot be accounted for on

this sole principle, such as the occasional occurrence of

Jehovah in the narrative of the flood, or in the lives of

Jacob and Joseph, or of Elohim in Gen. xvii., which is

one of the crowning passages in Abraham's life. Here

Hengstenberg found himself obliged to resort to unsatis-

factory and far-fetched explanations, which have brought



          THE UNITY OF THE PENT'ATEUCH         105

 

his whole theory into unmerited discredit. These, how-

ever, merely show, not that his principle was incorrect,

but that it was partial and was in certain cases limited

by other considerations, which must likewise be taken

into the account in order to a just view of the whole

subject.

          Kurtz1 regards Elohim as denoting almighty power

and Jehovah progressive self-manifestation, which, prop-

erly understood and applied, furnishes the needed cor-

rective to the view just considered. For a right concep-

tion of the omnipotent energy of Elohim in creation and

providence, and of Jehovah as unfolding, guiding, and

sustaining his scheme of grace, and hence standing in a

special relation to the chosen race and out of relation to

Gentiles, to whom he has not made himself known and

who are suffered to walk in their own ways, supplies the

solution of the exceptional cases above referred to. But

unfortunately Kurtz's antagonism to Hengstenberg pre-

vented his combining his own suggestion with that of

his predecessor. And his fondness for theorizing led

him into unpractical refinements. Thus he explains

Jehovah according to its derivation (Ex. iii. 14, to mean

not the great I AM, the Being by way of eminence, the

self-existent God, the source of all existence, but he who

will become, is ever becoming, the self-developing God,

an expression which taken strictly savors of the pan-

theistic philosophy, for which Kurtz had no affinity,

though in this borrowing its terminology. He further

explains Elohim to be the God of the beginning and of

the end, and Jehovah the God of all that intervenes

between these two extremes. Elohim is the creator and

originator, imparting, the initial potency, Jehovah con-

ducts the development, and Elohim is the final judge

whether the development has miscarried through the

 

          1 Einheit der Genesis, p. xlix. sqq. see also p. xxxi., note.



106     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

abuse of human freedom, or has reached its proper end

so that God is all in all. This might account for the

predominance of Elohim in the flood which overwhelmed

the guilty world; but it was Jehovah who overthrew the

flagitious cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and swept their

abominations from the holy land.

          It should further be observed that while in certain

cases one of the divine names is manifestly appropriate

to the exclusion of the other, there are others in which

either name might properly be used, and it is at the

discretion of the writer which he will employ. When an

event is capable of being viewed under a double aspect,

either as belonging to the general scheme of God's uni-

versal providence or as embraced within the adminis-

tration of his plan of grace, either Elohim or Jehovah

would be in place, and it depends upon the writer's con-

ception at the time which he will employ. It is not

necessary, therefore, in Genesis any more than in other

books of the Bible, to be able to show that there was a

necessity for using that divine name which is actually

employed. It is sufficient to show, as can invariably be

done, that the writer might properly use the name which

he has actually chosen. This fully refutes the purely

mechanical view, which overlooks the difference in the

meaning and usage of these names, and their appropri-

ateness to the connection in which they are found, and

sees in their alternation nothing but the unmeaning

peculiarities of style of different writers.

          II. The second argument in favor of the various par-

tition hypotheses is drawn from the alleged fact that

when the several sections or paragraphs, respectively

assigned to the supposed writers separately, are put to-

gether they form a continuous and connected whole.

But--

          (1) The allegation is not well founded. It is only



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH                107

 

they who have a theory to support who can fail to see

the chasms and abrupt transitions which are created by

the partition, and which require in order to fill them the

very passages which have been abstracted as belonging

to another document. Thus in ch. i. P gives an account

of the creation, and declares that God saw that everything

that he had made was very good. And then in vi. 11, 12,

without the slightest explanation, he suddenly announces

that the earth was corrupt before God and was filled with

violence so that he was determined to destroy it. This is

quite inexplicable without the account of the fall, which

has been sundered from it and given to J. In xix. 29

P tells what happened when God destroyed the cities of

the plain, without having before alluded to such a de-

struction as having occurred; the account of it is only to

be found in J. In xxviii. 1-5 P tells that Isaac sent

Jacob to Padan-aram to obtain a wife. But his entire

residence there, eventful as it was, is in P an absolute

blank. In xxxi. 18 he is said to be returning with goods

and cattle, and in xxxv. 22-26 his twelve children are enu-

merated, though no previous intimation had been given

by P of his having either property or a family. How all

this came about is related only in the other documents.

Numerous gaps and chasms of this nature are found in

each of the so-called documents, and are in every case

created by the critical partition. The critics undertake

to account for all such cases by saying that the redactor,

having given the narrative from one of his sources, de-

signedly omits what is contained in the others to avoid

needless repetition. And yet in other cases we are told

that he scrupulously retains the contents of his different

sources, even though it leads to such superfluous repeti-

tions as the double mention of Noah's entry into the ark

and of various particulars connected with the flood

as given both by J and P. They are besides perpetu-



108      THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

ally drawing inferences that imply the completeness of

the documents, as when they attribute to P the notion

that sacrifice was first introduced by Moses; or when

they interpret passages at variance with their context on

the assumption that nothing had been joined with them

like that from which the so-called critical analysis sepa-

rates them. It is thus that the most of the alleged con-

trarieties are created. In fact critical partition would

lose its chief interest and importance in the eyes of its

advocates if they were not allowed in this manner to alter

and even revolutionize the meaning of the sacred text.

          (2) In many cases where continuity is claimed it is

only accomplished by bridging evident gaps by means of

scattered clauses sundered here and there from their

proper connection, as is done for J in the account of the

flood, and for P in the early history of Abraham. Or

by alleging that the texts of two documents have been

mixed, and because a paragraph attributed to one docu-

ment contains occasional words or phrases which are

assumed to be peculiar to another, inferring that these

must have been taken from some imaginary parallel pas-

sage in that document, which is necessary to make out

its continuity, as in both J and E in the history of

Joseph.

          (3) The apparent connection produced by bringing

separated passages together and removing the interven-

ing paragraphs or sections is altogether factitious. This

may be so adroitly done that such passages will read con-

tinuously as though there had been no omission. But

any other book can be subjected to the same mode of

treatment with a like result. Paragraphs of greater or

less extent can be removed from any piece of writing

whatever without the reader suspecting it, unless he is

informed of the fact.

          (4) The proofs are abundant that each of the so-called



           THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH                109

 

documents either directly alludes to, or presupposes, what

is contained in the others. This is, of course, quite incon-

sistent with the hypothesis of their independent origin.

The utmost pains have been taken by the critics to con-

struct their documents so as to avoid this inter-relation;

but it has been impossible for them to prevent it alto-

gether. Hence they are compelled to acknowledge their

intimate connection.  Kayser regards J as the redactor of

JE; Dillmann thinks that J possessed and often borrowed

from E; Julicher that P drew from JE. Both the same-

ness of plan and the reciprocal relation of the narratives

in all the so-called documents throughout the entire Pen-

tateuchal history implies a dependence of one upon the

other. This is admitted even by Wellhausen.

          (5) The critics are in the habit of playing fast and

loose with the criterion of continuity, which at times is

their sole or chief dependence, and at others is disre-

garded entirely. While they profess to trace documents

in a great measure by the connection of their several

parts, they in numerous instances sunder what is most

intimately bound together by necessary implications or

express allusions, thus nullifying their own principal

clew and invalidating their own conclusions.

          III. The third argument in favor of the partition hy-

pothesis is drawn from parallel passages, which are al-

leged to be separate accounts of the same thing taken

from different documents. But--

          (1) In many instances what are claimed as parallel

sections are not really such, but relate to matters quite

distinct which, however, bear some resemblance to each

other. Thus, to refer to an instance previously adduced,

there is nothing surprising in the fact that Abraham

should on two occasions have been betrayed into a pre-

varication respecting his wife. His having done so once

in apprehended peril might easily incline him to do so



110   THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

again in similar circumstances. And that Isaac, when

similarly situated, should imitate the error of his father,

is not at all incredible. All  history would be thrown

into confusion, if a mere general resemblance in differ-

ent events were to lead to their identification. How

easy it would be for some future historian to claim that

the accounts of the different battles at Bull Run, in the

late war of the rebellion, all issuing in one way, were

merely varying traditions of one and the same. To infer

the identity of the facts from the points of agreement in

the narratives, and then the discrepancy in the state-

ments regarding it from their disagreement in other

points, which simply shows the facts to be distinct, is to

construct a self-contradictory argument. Moreover, the

assertion that what are recorded as distinct events are in

reality variant accounts of one and the same thing, is

made without the semblance of proof or evidence of any

sort. It is simply based on the prior assumption of the

untrustworthiness of the sacred historian. His explicit

statement is set aside as valueless beside the arbitrary

conjecture of the critic. This is not a conclusion estab-

lished by the divisive criticism, but is assumed in advance

as a basis on which the divisive criticism is itself built.

This reveals the unfriendly animus of the current critical

analysis, which is inwrought in it, and inseparable from

it, and is one of the determining influences by which it

has been shaped.

          (2) Where the events referred to are the same, they

are mentioned under a different aspect or adduced for a

different purpose, which accounts for the repetition.

Thus the renewed mention in Gen. ii. of the formation

of man and the lower animals, which had already been

spoken of in ch. i., is no proof that these are by separate

writers; for each chapter has a design of its own, which

is steadfastly kept in view, the second being not parallel



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH                111

 

to, but the sequel of, the first. Noah's entry into the ark

is twice recorded, without, however, any implication that

two documents have here been drawn upon. After the

general statement (vii. 7-9) that he went in with his fam-

ily and various species of living things, the writer wishes

to emphasize more exactly that he went in on the very

same day that the flood began (vs. 13-16), and so restates

it with that view.

          (3) In the simple style of Hebrew narrative it is usual

to make a summary statement at the outset, which is

then followed by a detailed account of the particulars in-

cluded under it, and in recording the execution of a com-

mand to restate the injunctions to which obedience is

rendered. The critics seize upon such passages and en-

deavor to turn them to the advantage of the partition

hypothesis, but in so doing sunder what evidently

belongs together. Thus in Gen. xxviii. 5, it is said that

Isaac sent away Jacob and he went to Padan-aram, unto

Laban, the brother of Rebekah. His actual journey is

described in xxviii. 10-xxix. 13. The critics rend these

asunder, giving the former to P and the latter to JE. In

like manner xxxi. 18 is a summary statement of Jacob's

leaving Padan-aram to go to Isaac, his father, unto the

land of Canaan. This is followed by the details of his

journey (xxxi. 20-xxxiii. 17), all which is given to JE,

while the preliminary statement is assigned to P. So

the account of Jacob's funeral (1. 4-11) is given to J,

the summary statement of the burial (vs. 12, 13) to P.

A like severance of what is closely related is made where

directions are given and carried into effect. Thus Sarah

proposes to Abraham that he should take Hagar as his

wife, to which he consents (xvi. 2); this is given to J.

But the carrying of this proposal into effect (ver. 3) is

given to P. The LORD bids Moses tell the children of

Israel how to observe the passover (Ex. xii. 2-20); this is



112    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

given to P. In obedience to this direction Moses sum-

mons the elders and explains the observance to them (vs.

21-27); this is given to J.

          (4) Wellhausen and Dillmann have pushed the parti-

tion by means of alleged parallels to the most extrava-

gant lengths by what they call doublets. This brings

the subdivision down in many cases to minute para-

graphs, or even single clauses. In a transaction which

is accomplished by successive steps or stages, any one of

these steps may be regarded as the doublet of another at

the pleasure of the critic; that is to say, they may be

considered as variant statements of the same thing by a

different writer and accordingly assigned to distinct doc-

uments. Or any repetition of the same thought in va-

ried language, by which the writer would emphasize his

statement or more fully explain his meaning, may be

reckoned a doublet, and the clauses partitioned accord-

ingly. Thus in Gen. xxxvii. two things are recited which

awakened the hatred of Joseph's brethren; first (vs. 3,

4), his father's partiality for him, secondly (vs. 5-11), his

dreams, which he related to them. These statements

supplement each other, and must be combined in order

to a complete view of the grounds of their hostility.

But they are converted into two different modes of ac-

counting for the same thing, the former being the con-

ception entertained by J, the latter that of E. Again, a

doublet is found in the two clauses of xxi. 1, “The LORD

visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto

Sarah as he had spoken.” These are reckoned equiva-

lents, and are divided between J and P, whereas the

second is additional to, and explanatory of, the meaning

of the first.

          The alleged doublets, incoherences, and inconsisten-

cies, by which the attempt is made to bolster up the

weakness of other arguments for the original separate-



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH           113

 

ness of J and E, are capable of being set aside in detail.

They are for the most part hypercritical cavilling, mag-

nifying molehills into mountains, and measuring ancient

oriental narratives by the rules of modern occidental

discourse.

          IV. The fourth argument is based upon alleged differ-

ences of diction, style, and ideas. The process by which

these are ascertained is that of instituting at the begin-

ning a careful comparison of two sections, supposed to

be from different documents, such as the first two sec-

tions of Genesis. All differences of thought and lan-

guage between them are minutely noted, and the com-

parison is then extended to contiguous sections, and so

on, gradually and guardedly, to the remaining portions

of the Pentateuch, all being assigned to one or the other

document on the basis of the criteria already gathered,

and which are constantly accumulating as the work pro-

ceeds; the utmost pains being taken so to adjust the

sections that all references from one to the other shall

fall within the limits of the same document, and that the

intervening passages which are given to the other docu-

ment shall not be missed. But notwithstanding the

seeming plausibility of this method, and the apparent

scientific caution and accuracy with which it is con-

ducted, it is altogether fallacious. For--

          (1) The argument is simply reasoning in a circle.

The differences are first created and then argued from.

The documents are first framed to correspond with cer-

tain assumed characteristic differences, and then their

correspondence with these characteristics is urged in

proof of their objective reality. All paragraphs, clauses,

and parts of clauses, in which a certain class of alleged

criteria occur, are systematically assigned to one docu-

ment, and those having another class of criteria are,

with like regularity, assigned to another document; and



114     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

when the process is complete, all the criteria of one class

are in one document, and those of the other class are in

the other document, simply because the critic has put

them there. The documents accord with the hypothesis

because they have been constructed by the hypothesis.

          (2) The proofs relied upon for diversity of diction are

factitious, and can be applied with like effect to any

book of any author. All words in one of the so-called

documents which do not chance to be found in the oth-

ers are carefully gathered out and strung together in a

formidable list. Any one treatise of an author can in

this way equally be made to prove that any other of his

treatises was not written by him, or any part of one to

prove that the remaining portion came from another

hand. That certain words which occur in one series of

paragraphs or sections do not occur in another proves

nothing unless it can be shown that the writer had oc-

casion to use them. Especially is this the case when

the words adduced, are in familiar and common use, or

are the only words suited to express a given idea; these

obviously cannot be classed as the peculium of any

one writer.1  Also when they are of infrequent occur-

rence, and so give no indication of a writer's habitual

usage, or are words belonging to one particular spe-

cies of composition. It is not surprising that poetic

words should not be found in a document from which

poetic passages are systematically excluded; or that

legal words and phrases should be limited to the docu-

ment to which the legal passages are regularly assigned;

or that words appropriate to ordinary narrative should

 

          1 My friend Professor McCurdy, of Toronto University, pertinently

suggests in a private note that much of the critical argument from dic-

tion would prove too much if it proved anything. If words of this de-

scription furnish a criterion, it would imply not merely a diversity of

writers, but writers using different dialects or languages.



          THE UNITY OF TRE PENTATEUCH             115

 

chiefly abound in those documents to which the bulk of

such narrative is given. Since the entire ritual law is

given to P, and the great body of the history, together

with all the poetical passages, to JE, a corresponding

difference of diction and style must necessarily result

from this diversity of theme, and of the character of the

composition, without being by any means suggestive of a

difference of writers. When the words alleged to be

characteristic of one of the documents occur but rarely

in that document, and are absent from the great majority

of its sections, this must, on the critical hypothesis, be

regarded as accidental; so may their absence from the

sections of the other document be.

          It must also be remembered that a writer who has a

reasonable command of language may vary his expres-

sions in conveying the same idea. It is not a safe as-

sumption that he cannot use words or phrases in any

place which he has not used elsewhere. Thus Dillmann

("Die Nicher, Exodus and Leviticus," p. 619), argues

that a peculiar diction is not always indicative of separate

authorship. After saying that the passage of which he

is speaking has some of the characteristics of J, but

“much more that is unusual and peculiar,” he adds, "The

most of this nature may be accounted for partly by the

poetic and oratorical style, and partly by the new and

peculiar objects and ideas that were to be expressed,

and it can scarcely suffice to justify the conclusion of an

altogether peculiar writer, from whom we have nothing

besides."

          (3) When synonymous expressions are used to con-

vey the same idea this does not justify the assumption

that they have been taken from different documents, and

that they severally represent the usage of distinct writ-

ers. They are not to be explained in this superficial and

mechanical manner. Synonyms are not usually exact



116    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

counterparts. There is commonly a distinction, more or

less clear, which may be observed between them, some

slight difference in their meaning or their association,

which governs their employment and leads to the use of

one rather than another in particular connections.

          (4) The alleged criteria frequently conflict with each

other, and with the criteria derived from the divine

names. Words or phrases said to be characteristic of

one writer meet in the same section, or even in the same

sentence, with those that are said to characterize the

other. In such cases the critics resort to various sub-

terfuges to relieve the situation. Sometimes they admit

that what has been considered characteristic of one docu-

went is found likewise in another, which is equivalent to

a confession that it is not a distinctive criterion at all.

At other times they claim that two texts have been

mingled, and that expressions or clauses from one docu-

ment have been interpolated in the other, whereas these

blended criteria simply prove that the same writer freely

uses both in the same connection. Again, at other times

they claim that such passages belong originally to

neither document, but are insertions by the redactor,

who is always at hand to account for phenomena at vari-

ance with the hypothesis, when no other mode of escape

is possible. It is obviously possible by such devices to

carry through any hypothesis, however preposterous. If

all opposing phenomena can be set aside as interpola-

tions, or as the work of the redactor, the most refractory

texts can be tortured into accordance with the critic's

arbitrary presuppositions.

          (5) The critic is engaged in solving an indeterminate

equation. The line of partition depends upon the

criteria, and the criteria depend upon the line of parti-

tion; and both of these are unknown quantities. Of

necessity the work is purely hypothetical from first to



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH                117

 

last, and the liability to error increases with every step

of the process. A mistake in the criteria will lead to a

wrong partition, and this to further false criteria, and so

on indefinitely; and there is no sure method of correct-

ing or even ascertaining the error. The critic resembles

a traveller who without guide or compass is seeking to

make his way through a trackless forest, so dense as to

shut out the sight of the heavens. He will inevitably

diverge from a straight course, and may gradually and

imperceptibly be turned in the opposite direction from

that in which he started. Or he may prove to be only a

dreamer, whose beautiful creations are but airy phan-

toms.

          (6) The complexity of the problem with which the

critic has undertaken to deal becomes more obvious the

further he proceeds. At the outset his work is compara-

tively simple; the fewer the criteria the more readily

they are applied. By the aid of such ingenious devices

as have already been indicated he makes his way

through Genesis with tolerable ease. But in the middle

books of the Pentateuch difficulties crowd upon him, as

is shown by the wide divergence of the critics in their

efforts to cope with them, and in the book of Joshua it

becomes a veritable medley. It is the natural result of

an attempt to apply criteria gathered elsewhere to fresh

passages for which they have no affinity. Partitions are

made which find no sanction in an unbiassed examina-

tion of the passages themselves, and are merely forced

upon them for the sake of consistency with a previously

adopted scheme of division. This is repeatedly con-

fessed by the critics themselves. Thus Wellhausen,1 in

beginning his discussion of Gen. xxxvii.-l. says: "The

principal source for this last section of Genesis also is

 

          1 Jahrbueher fur Deutsche Theologie, 1876, p. 442, or in the sepa-

rate reprint, Die Composition des Hexateuchs, p. 52,



118   THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

JE. It is to be presumed that this work, here as else-

where, is compounded of J and E; our former results

constrain to this assumption, and would be shaken if this

were not capable of proof."

          The various arguments urged in support of the divi-

sive hypothesis in its different forms have now been suc-

cessively examined and found wanting. The alternation

of divine names can be otherwise explained, and more-

over it can only be brought into harmony with the parti-

tion hypothesis by a free use of the redactor, and the

assumption of repeated changes of the text. Ex. vi. 3

has not the meaning that the critics attribute to it. The

continuity of the documents is broken by serious chasms,

or maintained by very questionable methods; and it is

necessary to assume in numerous instances that the

documents originally contained paragraphs and sections

similar to those which the critics have sundered from

them. The alleged parallel passages are for the most

part falsely assumed identifications of distinct events.

And the diversity of diction, style, and ideas is made

out by utterly fallacious and inconclusive methods. But

while the attempted proof of lack of unity signally fails,

the positive evidence of unity abides and never can be

nullified. The great outstanding proof of it is the un-

broken continuity of the history, the consistent plan

upon which the whole is prepared, and the numerous

cross-references, which, bind it all together as the work

of one mind. Separate and independent documents

mechanically pieced together could no more produce

such an appearance of unity as reigns throughout the

Pentateuch than a faultless statue could be formed out

of discordant fragments of dissimilar materials.

          The futility of the methods by which the Pentateuch

has been parcelled into different documents may further

be shown by the readiness with which they can be ap-



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH             119

 

plied, and with equal success, to writings the unity of

which is indisputable. The fact that a narrative can be

so divided as to form from it two continuous narratives,

is reckoned by the critics a demonstration of its compo-

site character, and a proof that the parts into which it has

been severed are the original sources from which it has

been compounded. This may be tested by a couple of

passages selected at random-the parables of The Prodi-

gal Son and of The Good Samaritan.

 

                   THE PRODIGAL SON, Luke xv. 11-32.

          A                                                                 B

11. A certain man had two                  (A certain man had two sons

sons: 12. and the younger of

them said to his father, Father,

give me the portion of thy sub-

stance that falleth to me. . . .

13. And not many days after the          12b. and he divided unto

younger son gathered all to-                them his living.

gether, . . . and there he

wasted his substance with riot-            13b. And (one of them) took

ous living.                                          his journey into a far country.

                                                          . . . 14. And when he had

                                                          spent all, there arose a mighty

                                                          famine in that country. . . .

14b. and he began to be in                  15. And he went and joined him-

want.                                                  self to one of the citizens of that

                                                          country; and he sent him into

                                                          his fields to feed swine. 16. And

                                                          he would fain have been filled

                                                          with the husks that the swine

16b. And no man gave unto                did eat. . . . 17. But when

him.                                                   he came to himself he said, How

20. And he arose, and came to            many hired servants of my fath-

his father; . . . and he ran,                    er's have bread enough and to

and fell on his neck, and kissed           spare, and I perish here with

him. 21. And the son said un-              hunger! 18. I will arise and go

to him, Father, I have sinned               to my father, and will say unto



120     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

                   A                                                       B

against heaven, and in thy sight:           him, Father, I have sinned

I am no more worthy to be called        against heaven, and in thy sight :

thy son. 22. But the father said            19. I am no more worthy to be

to his servants, Bring forth                  called thy son: make me as one

quickly the best robe, and put it          of thy hired servants. . . .

on him; and put a ring on his               20b. But while he was yet afar

hand, and shoes on his feet:. . .           off, his father saw him, and was

24. for this my son was dead,             moved with compassion : . . .

and is alive again. . . . And                  23. and (said) Bring the fatted

they began to be merry. 25.                 calf, and kill it, and let us eat,

Now his elder son was in the               and make merry. . . . 24b. he

field: and as he came and drew           was lost, and is found. . . .

nigh to the house, . . . 28. he               25b. (And the other son) heard

was angry, and would not go in:          music and dancing. 26. And he

and his father came out, and en-          called to him one of the ser-

treated him. 29. But he an-                  vants, and inquired what these

swered and said to his father, Lo,        things might be. 27. And he

these many years do I serve thee,        said unto him, Thy brother is

and I never transgressed a com-          come; and thy father hath killed

mandment of thine: and yet                 the fatted calf, because he hath

thou never gavest me a kid, that           received him safe and sound

I might make merry with my                . . . 32b. and he was lost

friends: 30. but when this thy               and is found.

son came, which hath devoured

thy living with harlots, thou

killedst for him the fatted calf.

31. And he said unto him, Son,

thou art ever with me, and all

that is mine is thine. 32. But

it was meet to make merry and

be glad : for this thy brother

was dead, and is alive again.

          There are here two complete narratives, agreeing in

some points, and disagreeing in others, and each has its

special characteristics. The only deficiencies are en-

closed in parentheses, and may be readily explained as

omissions by the redactor in effecting the combination. A



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH               121

 

clause must be supplied at the beginning of B, a subject

is wanting in ver. 13b, and ver. 25b, and the verb “said”

is wanting in ver. 23. As these omissions occur exclu-

sively in B, it may be inferred that the redactor placed A

at the basis, and incorporated B into it with only such

slight changes as were necessary to adapt it to this pur-

pose.

          A and B agree that there were two sons, one of whom

received a portion of his father's property, and by his

own fault was reduced to great destitution, in consequence

of which he returned penitently to his father, and ad-

dressed him in language which is nearly identical in

both accounts. The father received him with great ten-

derness and demonstrations of joy, which attracted the

attention of the other son.

          The differences are quite as striking as the points of

agreement. A distinguishes the sons as elder and

younger; B makes no mention of their relative ages. In

A the younger obtained his portion by solicitation, and

the father retained the remainder in his own possession;

in B the father divided his property between both of his

sons of his own motion. In A the prodigal remained in

his father's neighborhood, and reduced himself to penury

by riotous living; in B he went to a distant country and

spent all his property, but there is no intimation that he

indulged in unseemly excesses. It would rather appear

that he was injudicious; and to crown his misfortunes

there occurred a severe famine. His fault seems to have

consisted in having gone so far away from his father and

from the holy land, and in engaging in the unclean occu-

pation of tending swine. In A the destitution seems to

have been chiefly want of clothing; in B want of food.

Hence in A the father directed the best robe and ring and

shoes to be brought for him; in B the fatted calf was killed,

In B the son came from a distant land, and the father saw



122       THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

him afar off; in A he came from the neighborhood, and

the father ran at once and fell on his neck and kissed

him. In B he had been engaged in a menial occupation,

and so bethought himself of his father's hired servants,

and asked to be made a servant himself; in A he had

been living luxuriously, and while confessing his un-

worthiness makes no request to be put on the footing of

a servant. In A the father speaks of his son having been

dead because of his profligate life; in B of his having

been lost because of his absence in a distant land. In A,

but not in B, the other son was displeased at the recep-

tion given to the prodigal. And here it would appear

that R has slightly altered the text. The elder son must

have said to his father in A, "When this thy son came,

which hath devoured thy substance with harlots, thou

didst put on him the best robe." The redactor has here

substituted the B word "living"1 for "substance," which

is used by A; and with the view of making a better con-

trast with "kid" he has introduced the B phrase, "thou

killedst for him the fatted calf."

 

          THE GOOD SAMARITAN, Luke x. 29-37.

                   A                                                                 B

29. But he (the lawyer, ver.

25) desiring to justify himself,

said unto Jesus, And who is my

neighbor? 30. Jesus made an-

swer and said, A certain man was                  30b. And (a certain man) *fell

going down from Jerusalem to                      among robbers, which both

Jericho; . . . and they beat                             stripped him . . , and de-

him, . . . leaving him half                     parted. . .

dead. 31. And by chance a cer-

tain priest was going down that                     *Omitted by R. (   ).

 

          1 No scholar will need to be informed that "living" ver. 13, has a

different sense and represents a different word in the original from " liv-

ing," ver. 12.



THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH              123

 

                   A                                                       B

way: and when he saw him, he             32. And [in like manner] * a

passed by on the other side. . . .                   Levite, [also] * when he came to

33. But a certain Samaritan,                 the place, [and saw him, passed

as he journeyed, came where he          by on the other side.]

was: . . .                                             33b. and when he saw him,

34. and came to him, and                    was moved with compassion....

bound up his wounds, pouring            34b. And he set him on his

on them oil and wine, . . .                    own beast, and brought him to

and took care of him.                         an inn. . . . 35. And on

                                                          the morrow he took out two

                                                          pence, and gave them to the

36 Which of these [three]*,                 host, and said, Take care of him;

thinkest thou, proved neighbor            and whatsoever thou spendest

unto him? . . . 37. And he                    more, I, when I come back again,

said, He that showed mercy on           will repay thee.

him.                                                   37b. And Jesus said unto him

                                                          . . . that fell among the rob-

                                                          bers, . . Go, and do thou

                                                          likewise.

                             *Inserted by R [    ].

 

          Both these narratives are complete; only a subject

must be supplied in B, ver. 30b, the omission of which

was rendered necessary by its being combined with A.

"Three" is substituted for "two" in A, ver. 36, for a

like reason. R has tampered with the text and materi-

ally altered the sense in ver. 32, from his desire to put the

Levite on the same plane with the priest in ver. 31, the

language of which he has borrowed; the genuine text of

B will be restored by omitting the insertions by R, which

are included in brackets. He has likewise transposed a

brief clause of B, in ver. 37b, and added it at the end of

ver. 36. These changes naturally resulted from his mak-

ing A the basis, and modifying what he has inserted

from B into accordance with it. Hence the necessity of

making it appear that it was not the Levite, but the

Samaritan, who befriended the injured traveller, and that



124     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

Jesus spoke not to the traveller, but to the lawyer. In

all other respects the original texts of the two narratives

remain unaltered.

          Both narratives agree that a man grievously abused

by certain parties was treated with generous kindness by

a stranger; and that Jesus deduced a practical lesson

from it. But they differ materially in details.

          A relates his story as a parable of Jesus in answer to

a lawyer's question. B makes no mention of the lawyer

or his question, but seems to be relating a real occur-

rence.

          The spirit of the two is quite different. A is anti-

Jewish, Jewish, B pro-Jewish. In A the aggressors are Jews,

people of Jerusalem or Jericho or both, and a priest piti-

lessly leaves the sufferer to his fate; while it is a Samar-

itan, with whom the Jews were in perpetual feud, who

takes pity on him. In B the aggressors are robbers,

outlaws whose nationality is not defined, and it is a Le-

vite who shows mercy.

          Both the maltreatment and the act of generosity are

different. In A the sufferer is beaten and half killed,

and needs to have his wounds bound up and liniments

applied, which is done by his benefactor on the spot.

In B he was stripped of all he had and left destitute,

but no personal injury was inflicted; accordingly he was

taken to an inn, and his wants there provided for at the

expense of the Levite who befriended him.

          The lesson inculcated is different. In A it is that the

duty of loving one's neighbor is not limited to those of

the same nation, nor annulled by national antipathies.  

In B it is that he who has been befriended himself

should befriend others.

          It is not worth while to multiply illustrations. Those

now adduced are sufficient to give an idea of the method

by which the critics undertake to effect the partition of



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH             125

 

the Pentateuch; and to show how they succeed in creat-

ing discrepancies and contradictions, where none really

exist, by simply sundering what properly belongs to-

gether. The ease with which these results can be ac-

complished, where obviously they have no possible sig-

nificance, shows how fallacious and inconclusive this

style of argument is. No dependence can be placed upon

a process that leads to palpably erroneous conclusions in

other cases. An argument that will prove everything,

proves nothing. And a style of critical analysis which

can be made to prove everything composite is not to

be trusted.

          The readiness with which a brief, simple narrative

yields to critical methods has been sufficiently shown

above. That extended didactic composition is not proof

against it is shown in a very clever and effective manner

in “Romans Dissected,” by E. D. McRealsham, the pseu-

donym of Professor C. M. Mead, D.D., of Hartford

Theological Seminary. The result of his ingenious and

scholarly discussion is to demonstrate that as plausible

an argument can be made from diction, style, and doc-

trinal contents for the fourfold division of the Epistle to

the Romans as for the composite character of the Penta-

teuch.

          Two additional incongruities which beset the partition

of the Pentateuch may be briefly mentioned here, as

they are illustrated by the specimens above given of the

application of like methods to the parables. The first

is, that the narratives into which the critics resolve the

Pentateuchal history, and from which they claim that

this has been compounded, are, as a whole and in all

their parts, inferior in symmetry and structural arrange-

ment to the history as it lies in the existing text. On

the critical hypothesis precisely the reverse should be the

case. If the history is a conglomerate, in which hetero-



126    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

geneous materials have been compacted, the critical sev-

erance which restores the component parts to their orig-

inal connection and exhibits each of the primary narra-

tives in its pristine form, and purged of all interpolations

and extraneous matter, must remove disfigurements and

reunite the broken links of connection designed by the

early narrators. The intermingling of goods of different

patterns has a confusing effect. It is only when they are

separated, and each is viewed by itself, that its proper

pattern can be traced and its real beauty discerned.

But when the separation spoils and mars the fabric, we

must conclude that what has taken place is not the reso-

lution of a compound into its primary constituents, but

the violent rending asunder of what was really a unit,

the breaking of a graceful statue into misshapen frag-

ments.

          The second incongruity to be alluded to here concerns

what the critics consider the restored original narratives,

not taken separately, each by itself, but in their relation

to one another. The critics take what in its present

form, as it lies before us in the Pentateuch, is harmoni-

ous, symmetrical, and complete, and they deduce from it

two or more narratives, between which there are discrep-

ancies, contrarieties, and contradictions; and these are

produced simply by the putting asunder of what in the

existing text to all appearance properly belongs together.

And it thereby writes its own condemnation. Harmony

does not arise from combining the incongruous, but dis-

cord naturally follows upon the derangement of parts,

which properly fitted into one another are harmonious.

          A word may further be added concerning the marvellous

perspicacity, verging on omniscience, claimed by the crit-

ics, who undertake to determine with the utmost assurance

the authorship not merely of books, or large sections or

paragraphs, but of individual sentences and clauses, and



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH             127

 

fragments of clauses. They undertake to point out to

the very last degree of nicety and minuteness not only

what J and E and D and P have separately written, how-

ever involved these may be with one another, but what

precise changes each of a series of redactors has intro-

duced into the original text of each, and what glosses

have been added by a still later hand, and what modifi-

cations were introduced into the successive editions

through which the principal documents have severally

passed before or since their combination. They further

profess to be able to distinguish the primary and some-

times discordant elements which entered into the orig-

inal constitution of the principal documents, and what

belongs to the various stages by which P was brought

by a series of diaskeuasts to its present complexity and

elaboration. One would think that the critics would be

awed by the formidable character of the task which they

have set for themselves. But they proceed with un-

daunted front as though they had an unerring scent

which could track their game through the most intricate

doublings and convolutions; and as though positive as-

sertions would compensate for the dubious nature of the

grounds upon which their decisions often rest.

          If further proof were needed of the precarious character

of the methods and results of this style of subjective

criticism, it is abundantly supplied by similar exploits

conducted in other fields, where they can be subjected to

the sure test of ascertained facts. The havoc wrought in

the writings of Homer, belonging to a remote antiquity,

or in the "Nibelungenlied," produced in the obscurity of

the Middle Ages; is not so much to our present purpose

as the systematic onset upon Cicero's orations against

Catiline, of whose genuineness there is indubitable proof.

Madvig's account of the matter, to which my attention

was directed by Professor West, of Princeton University,



128      THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

and of which he has obligingly furnished the translation,

is here given in a note.1

 

            1 Let us relate the history of the discussion. It began with F. A.

Wolf,* who cast doubt in a general way upon several of Cicero's Ora-

tions. Following Wolf came Eichstaedt, who reviewed Wolf's book in

1802, and took the position that at least one of the Catilinarian Orations

ought to be included in the condemnation bestowed upon other orations.

Wolf quickly followed Eichstaedt and condemned the Third Oration,

and in subsequent comments and remarks stated the question in such a

way as to leave it uncertain which oration he meant, or whether it was

one of two orations, and so, in 1826, Clude, thinking he was following

out the opinion of Wolf, proved to his own satisfaction and the satisfac-

tion of some others, that it was the Second Oration which was spurious.

But shortly afterward (in 1827) Benecke, by producing the very words

of Wolf from one of his letters showed that Wolf meant the Third Ora-

tion. In the meantime the Fourth Oration had fallen under the dis-

pleasure of other critics, notably Zimmermann and Bloch, and so Ahrens,

in 1832, passed sentence on the unfortunate oration, embracing the

Third Oration at the same time in his condemnation. Finally came

Orelli, in 1836, and fearing, I suppose, that such inconsistencies of opin-

ion would end in contempt and ridicule, decided that all three were

spurious.

            "In addition to other evidence from ancient writers which was easily

answered, there stood opposed to this conclusion the authority of Cicero

himself, who in the First Epistle of the Second Book of his Letters to

Atticus makes abundant reference to his own consular orations, and

enumerates one by one the four Orations against Catiline.

            "And so no other course was left the critics except to come to the in-

credible conclusion that genuine orations of Cicero, delivered on a most

famous occasion, had so faded out of remembrance by the time of Au-

gustus (for Ahrens admits that the orations we possess are as old as this)

that spurious orations could be put in their place and meet with accept-

ance, without any contemporary objection, in spite of the fact that one

genuine oration out of the four still remained, and was put together

with the three false ones. Orelli met the emergency heroically (forti

remedio), for he cut out the whole of this passage from the middle of

Cicero's Letter to Atticus. Consequently no statement remained regard-

ing the various Catilinarian orations published by Cicero himself.

Thereupon Orelli excogitated a pleasant hypothesis (fabulam lepidam)

to the effect that a forger first supplied the three orations, and then, in

order to insure their acceptance, inserted in the Letter of Cicero a forged

The critic of Homer and father of the destructive literary criticism.



            THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH            129

 

          My colleague, Dr. Warfield, has also pointed me to an

instructive instance which is still more recent. It is

thus described by Dr. Heinrici:1 "How easily one is

led astray by assuming a course of thought supposed

to be requisite, is shown in a very instructive man-

 

statement in regard to these same orations. But inasmuch as Cicero's

Letters were then in circulation, we might ask, How was it that this

forger inserted his forgery not only in his own copy of Cicero's Letters,

but in the copies of all other readers whom he wished to deceive, and

so managed it that no other copy of this Letter should remain extant

written in any other manner? But the same critical shrewdness helps

the critics at this juncture. The forger is that very man who edited

the volume of Letters after Cicero's death, namely, Marcus Tullius Tiro,

the freedman. What! Tiro, the faithful freedman to whom Cicero en-

trusted his Letters, and who wrote the life of his dead patron accurately

and affectionately, and upon whom no suspicion ever fell, was he a

forger? 'Yes, indeed' they answered, ‘and he did it with good in-

tention.' Orelli says, ‘He thought that he would honor his noble pa-

tron most if Cicero's illustrious performance were made celebrated not

merely by one but by four orations.' What a marvellous license of

imagination and credulity of doubt! So, then, Tiro did not think the

matter would be famous by reason of his narrative of Cicero's life, but,

although he had never uttered a word in a public assembly, or written

even a short oration, he yet thought that the glory of his patron, the

greatest orator of Rome, would be increased by Tiro's forging orations

under Cicero's name. Yet why not? For the very critic, who is every-

where finding fault with the wretched inconsistencies of Tiro's writings,

yet in former times had actually admired Cicero on account of these

false orations." Madvig: Opuscula Academica, Hauniae, 1887, pp. 671

sqq.

            Dr. West adds: "Madvig's reductio ad absurdum is complete.

There are numerous other instances in Latin criticism that are in-

structive. Ribbeck's youthful venture at the text of Juvenal, Peerl-

kamp's exploits in Horace, the discussion forty years ago regarding the

treatise De Trinitate, ascribed to Boethius, and the treatment of Coasar's

Commentaries on the Gallic War, ought not to be forgotten. Schoell's

slashing editing of Plautus in our own time is also a case in point.

Happily the spirit which at present rules Latin studies is historical and

inductive. The other reminds us of the old proverb about the Sabines

--Sabini quod volunt somniant."

            1 Meyer's Kommentar uber den 1 Cor., seventh edit., 1888, Vorrede.



130 THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

ner by Scherer's ingenious analysis of the Prologue

of Faust in his Goethe-Studies. It should set up a

beacon to warn classical philologists against overhasty

interpolation-criticism, since it shows how in a piece of

writing, whose composition by one author is beyond

question, profound diversities of style and inner contra-

dictions exist. Scherer proposes to explain them from

differences in the time of composition and subsequent

combination. And now the oldest manuscript of Faust

has been published by Erich Schmidt, which proves that

it was the ‘young Goethe’ who wrote the prologue at

one effort essentially as it now stands. It is the same

‘young Goethe’ who speaks both in the ferment of

youth and in a disillusioned old age."

          It has been claimed that the general agreement among

critics of various schools in regard to the partition is such

as to establish in the main the correctness of their con-

clusions. Where not only avowed antisupernaturalists

like Wellhausen, Kuenen, and Stade, but Dillmann, who

openly antagonizes them, and believing scholars like

Delitzsch and Driver are in accord, are we not con-

strained to yield assent to their positions? To this we

reply

          1. That this is not a question to be decided by author-

ity but by reason and argument.

          2. The consensus of divisive critics settles, not the

truth of the hypothesis, but what they consider its most

plausible and defensible form. The partition of the

Pentateuch is a definite problem with certain data, to

which any solution that is offered must adapt itself.

Experiments without number have been made to ascer-

tain the practicability of this partition, and what lines of

division offer the best chance of success. The ground

has been surveyed inch by inch with the most scrupulous

care, its possibilities ascertained, and diligent search



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH           131

 

made for the best methods of guarding weak points,

protecting against assault, overcoming difficulties, clos-

ing up gaps, and dealing with intractable passages.

And the present agreement of critics, so far as it goes,

indicates what is believed to be the most practicable

mode of carrying out the hypothesis that has yet been

devised.

          3. The agreement of the critics is by no means per-

fect. While at many points there is a general consent,

at others there is wide divergence. Dillmann differs

from Wellhausen, and he from Kuenen, and Julicher

from them all. Many are content to follow the promi-

nent leaders more or less implicitly, but critics of inde-

pendence and originality continue to propose new expe-

dients and offer fresh conjectures. Difficulties gather as

the work proceeds. In large portions of Genesis there is

comparative agreement; in the middle books of the Pen-

tateuch the diversities greatly multiply; and in Joshua,

the crown of the Hexateuch, there is the most discordant

medley.

          4. A large number of eminent scholars accept the

critical partition of the Pentateuch in general, if not in

all its details. It has its fascinations, which sufficiently

account for its popularity. The learning, ability, and

patient toil which have been expended upon its elabora-

tion, the specious arguments arrayed in its support, and

the skill with which it has been adapted to the phenom-

ena of the Pentateuch and of the Old Testament gener-

ally, have given to it the appearance of great plausibility.

The novel lines of inquiry which it opens make it attrac-

tive to those of a speculative turn of mind, who see in

it the opportunity for original and fruitful research in

the reproduction of ancient documents, long buried un-

suspected in the existing text, which they antedate by

centuries. The boldness and seeming success with



132    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

which it undertakes to revolutionize traditional opinion,

and give a new aspect to the origin and history of the

religion of the Old Testament, and its alliance with the

doctrine of development, which has found such wide

application in other fields of investigation, have largely

contributed to its popularity. And those who have a

bias against the supernatural or the divine authority of

the Pentateuch see in this hypothesis a ready way of

disposing of its Mosaic origin and of the historic truth

of whatever they are indisposed to accept.

          The various forms of the partition hypothesis and the

several arguments by which they are supported have

now been examined. The arguments have been found

inadequate and it will elsewhere be shown in detail that

the hypothesis cannot be fitted to the phenomena of the

Pentateuch.1 Its failure is not from the lack of ingenuity

or learning, or persevering effort on the part of its advo-

cates, nor from the want of using the utmost latitude of

conjecture, but simply from the impossibility of accom-

plishing the end proposed. While, however, the hy-

pothesis has proved futile as an attempt to account for

the origin of the Pentateuch, the labor spent upon it

has not been entirely thrown away, and it has not been

without positive advantage to the cause of truth. (1) It

has demonstrated the impossibility of such a partition.

The experiment has been tried in every way that the

utmost ingenuity could devise, but without success. (2)

It has led to the development of a vast mass of positive

evidence of unity, which would not otherwise have been

so diligently sought for, and might not have been

 

          1 Its incompatibility with the book of Genesis is demonstrated in a

companion volume, The Unity of the Book of Genesis. The reader

is likewise referred to the discussion of the remaining books of the

Pentateuch in articles by the author in the Hebraica for 1890 and sub-

sequently.



          THE UNITY OF THE PENTATEUCH          133

 

brought to light.  (3) It has led to the elucidation and

better understanding of the Pentateuch from the neces-

sity thus imposed of minute and thorough investigation

of the meaning and bearings of every word and sentence,

and of the mutual relations of every part. It verifies

the old fable of a field which was dug over for a chimeri-

cal purpose, but the labor thus expended was rewarded

by an unlooked-for harvest, sprung from seed which lay

unsuspected in the soil.1

 

          1 Crisis Hupfeldiana, by W. Kay, D. D., Oxford and London, 1865, is

a trenchant review of Hupfeld's hypothesis as set forth in Bishop

Colenso's Pentateuch and Joshua, Part V.

          The Elements of the Higher Criticism, by Professor A. C. Zenos, New

York, London, and Toronto, 1895, is a very clear and satisfactory pres-

entation of the nature and objects of the higher criticism, together with

its methods and its history, both in its application to the Old and to the

New Testament.



 

                                                V

 

                       GENUINENESS OF THE LAWS

 

          THE first and second stages of opposition to the Mo-

saic authorship of the Pentateuch have now been re-

viewed. There yet remain to be considered the third

and fourth lines of objection, which are based upon the

triplicity of the legal codes and the non-observance of

the laws. This brings us to the third and last stage of

opposition.

          The next phase of the critical movement, which issued

in the present reigning school of divisive criticism,

wrought as sudden and complete a revolution in the

ideas of scholars of this class as the speculations of Dar-

win effected in Natural History, when the denial of the

unity of the human race collapsed on the instant, and it

was held instead that all animated being had sprung from

common germs. And the lever which effected the over-

throw was in both cases the same, that is, the doctrine

of development. This at once exalted the speculations

of Ewald and Hupfeld to a prominence which they had

not previously attained, and made them important factors

in the new advance. From Ewald was borrowed the

idea that the composition of the Pentateuch was not

accomplished at a stroke by one act, whether of supple-

menting or of combining pre-existing documents, but

took place in successive stages by a series of enlarging

combinations. From Hupfeld were derived the two pil-

lars of his scheme--the continuity of the Jehovist docu-

ment and the composite character of the Elohist--or, in

 

                                      134



          GENUINENESS OF THE LAWS                     135

 

other words, that the Jehovist did not merely make addi-

tions to a pre-existing work, but wrote an independent

work of his own and that there were two Elohists instead

of one. Thus both Ewald and Hupfeld, without intend-

ing or imagining it, smoothed the way for the rise of a

school of criticism with ideas quite diverse from their

own.

          The various attempts to partition the Pentateuch had

thus far been based on exclusively literary grounds.

Diction, style, ideas, the connection of paragraphs and

sentences supplied the staple arguments for each of the-

forms which the hypothesis had assumed, and furnished

the criteria from which all conclusions were drawn.

Numerous efforts had been made to ascertain the dates

to which the writers severally belonged. Careful studies

were instituted to discover the bias under which they

respectively wrote, as suggesting the influences by which

they might be supposed to be surrounded, and hence

their historical situation. They were diligently searched

for historical allusions that might afford clews. But with

all the pains that were taken no sure footing could be

found, and the critics agreed not together. Conjectures

ranged ad libitum through the ages from the time of

Moses, or his immediate successor, Joshua, to that of

Josiah, eight centuries later. And while the internal cri-

teria were so vague, there was no external support on

which the whole hypothesis could rest, no objective

proof that the entire fabric was not a sheer figment of

the imagination. Amid all diversities, however, two

points were universally agreed upon, and regarded as

settled beyond contradiction: (1) The Elohist was the

groundwork of the Pentateuch; it supplied the scheme

or general plan, into which the other parts were fitted.

And as it was the oldest, so it was historically the most

reliable and trustworthy portion. The Jehovist was



136     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

more legendary, depending, as it was believed to do,

upon later and less credible traditions. (2) Deuteronomy

was the latest and the crowning portion of the Penta-

teuch, by the addition of which the whole work was ren-

dered complete.

 

                   DEVELOPMENT HYPOTHESIS.

 

          Here the Development Hypothesis came in with its

revolutionary conclusions. It supplied the felt lack of

its predecessors by fixing definite dates and offering ob-

jective proof of their correctness. The conclusions de-

duced from the examination of the Pentateuch itself are

verified by an appeal to the history. Arguments are

drawn, not as heretofore, from the narratives of the Pen-

tateuch but from its institutions; not from its historical

portion but from its laws. The principle of development

is applied. The simplest forms of legislation are to be

considered the most primitive. As the Israelites devel-

oped in the course of ages from rude nomadic tribes to a

settled and well-organized nation, their legislation natu-

rally grew in complexity and extent. Now the Pentateuch

obviously contains three distinct codes or bodies of law.

One is in Exodus xx.-xxiii. which is called in the original

text the Book of the Covenant (Ex. xxiv. 7). This Moses

is said to have written and read to the assembled people

at Mount Sinai as the basis of the covenant relation there

formally ratified between Jehovah and Israel. Another

is the Deuteronomic Law, which Moses is said to have

rehearsed to the people in the plains of Moab, shortly

before his death, and to have delivered in writing to the

custody of the priests, to be laid up alongside of the ark

of the covenant (Deut. xxxi. 24-26). A third is the Ritual

law, or Priest code, contained in the later chapters of

Exodus, the book of Leviticus, and certain chapters of



          GENUINENESS OF THE LAWS                137

 

Numbers. This law is declared in the general and in all

its parts to have been communicated by God to Moses.

          The advocates of this hypothesis, however, take issue

with these explicit statements, and affirm that these

codes could not have had the origin attributed to them.

It is maintained that they are so diverse in character and

so inconsistent in their provisions that they cannot have

originated at any one time or have proceeded from any

one legislator. The Book of the Covenant, from its sim-

plicity and brevity, must have belonged to an early stage

in the history of the people. From this there is a great

advance in the Deuteronomic code. And the Ritual law,

or Priest code, is much the most minute and complicated

of all, and hence the latest in the series. Long periods

must have elapsed, and great changes have taken place in

the condition of the people to have wrought such changes

in their institutions.

          The Book of the Covenant makes no mention of a

priesthood, as a separate order of men alone authorized

to perform sacred functions. The Deuteronomic code

speaks of priests, who are constantly designated "the

priests, the Levites," from which it is inferred that the

sacerdotal prerogative inhered in the tribe as such, and

that any Levite might be a priest. The Priest code lim-

its the sacerdotal office to the family of Aaron: other

Levites were simply their servants and attendants, per-

forming menial functions at the sanctuary, but not al-

lowed to offer sacrifice.

          In the Book of the Covenant sacrifices are not regu-

lated by statute, but are the free, spontaneous gift of the

offerer unto God, in grateful acknowledgment of the di-

vine benefits. In Deuterronomy certain kinds of offerings

are specified, but with no fixed requisition of number

and quality, and these are to be joyously partaken of by

the offerer and his family and friends before the LORD.



138     THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

In the Levitical code additional kinds of sacrifice are re-

quired, not mentioned elsewhere, and everything is rigor-

ously fixed by statute--what particular animal is to be

offered in each species of sacrifice or on any given occa-

sion; its sex and age, and sometimes even its color; its

accompaniments and the precise ceremonies to be ob-

served are specified. The whole has become a matter of

ritual, an affair of the priests, who absorb as their per-

quisites what had previously fed the devotion of the

offerer.

          All this, and much beside, is urged as indicating the

progressive development in the Israelitish institutions

as represented in these codes, which are hence regarded

as separated by long intervals of time. The fallacy lies

in putting asunder what really belongs together. All

belong to one comprehensive and harmonious body of

law, though each separate portion has its own particular

design, by which its form and contents are determined.

That the Book of the Covenant is so brief and element-

ary in matters of worship is because of its preliminary

character. It was intended simply to be the basis of

God's covenant with Israel, not to develop in detail the

duties growing out of that covenant relation. That Deu-

teronomy does not contain the minute ceremonial require-

ments to be found in Leviticus is no indication that the

latter is the subsequent development of a more ritualistic

age. It is simply because there was no need of repeat-

ing details which had already been sufficiently enlarged

upon elsewhere. The Priest code was for the guidance

of the priests, in conducting the ritual; Deuteronomy for

the people at large, to whom the great lawgiver addressed

his earnest warnings and exhortations as he was on the

point of being taken from them. The differences and

discrepancies alleged in these laws are for the most part

capable of being satisfactorily harmonized. If a few



           GENUINENESS OF THE LAWS                     139

 

puzzles remain insoluble by us, they are not more than

might be expected in :matters of so ancient date, so

foreign from modern ideas and usages and in regard to

which we are so imperfectly informed. If we had more

knowledge our present difficulties would doubtless vanish,

as others once considered formidable have long since dis-

appeared.

          The Book of the Covenant, primitive as it is, neverthe-

less could not have been enacted in the desert; for it has

laws respecting fields and vineyards and olive-yards and

standing grain and grain in shocks (Ex. xxii. 5, 6; xxiii.

11), and offerings of first-fruits (xxii. 29, xxiii. 19), and six

years of tillage with a sabbatical year whose spontaneous

products should be for the poor and the beasts of the

field (xxiii. 10, 11), and harvest feasts and feasts of in-

gathering (xxiii.). All these have no application to a

people in the desert. They belong to a settled people,

engaged in agriculture. Such a law, it is alleged, could

only have been given after the settlement of the people

in Canaan.

          The law of Deuteronomy, while greatly expanded be-

yond the Book of the Covenant in its provisions, has one

marked and, characteristic feature which serves to define

the period to which it belongs. The Book of the Cove-

nant (Ex. xx. 24), sanctions altars in all places where God

records his name. Deuteronomy, on the other hand (ch.

xii.), strictly limits the offering of sacrifice to the one

place which Jehovah should choose. Now, it is said, the

period of the judges and the early kings is marked by a

multiplicity of altars and worship in high places in ac-

cordance with the Book of the Covenant. But in the

reign of king Josiah, more than eight hundred years

after the settlement in Canaan, the high places were

abolished and sacrifice was restricted to the altar in Jeru-

salem. And this was done in obedience to the require.



140    THE HIGHER CRITICISM OF THE PENTATEUCH

 

ments of a book of the law then found in the temple (2

Kin. xxii. 8). That book was Deuteronomy. It was the

soul of the entire movement. And this is the period to

which it belongs.

          This new departure, though successful so long as the

pious Josiah lived, spent its force when he was taken

away; and under his ungodly successors the people re-

lapsed again into the worship on high places, the popu-

lar attachment to which had not been eradicated. This

was effectually broken, however, by the Babylonish cap-

tivity, which severed the people from the spots which

they had counted sacred, until all the old associations

had faded away. The returning exiles, impoverished and

few in number, were bent only on restoring the temple in

Jerusalem, and had no other place at which to worship.

It was then and under these circumstances that Ezra

came forthwith a fresh book of law, adapted to the new

state of things, and engaged the people to obedience

(Neh. viii.). This book, then first produced, was the

Ritual law or the Priest code. It also limits sacrifice to

one place, as was done by Deuteronomy; but in the lat-

ter this was regarded as a new departure, which it would

be difficult to introduce, and which is, therefore, reiter-

ated and insisted upon with great urgency (Deut. xii.).

In the Priest code, on the contrary, it is quietly as-