The Presbyterian and Reformed Review, 26 (1896) 98-115.
Public domain. Di gitally prepared by Ted Hildebrandt (2003)
THE HOLINESS-CODE AND EZEKIEL
Lewis Bayles Paton
In Lev. xvii-xxvi a body of laws is found which is formally dis-
tinguished from the rest of the legislation of the Book of
Leviticus by having its own special hortatory conclusion
(chap. xxvi) and its own subscription, “These are the statutes
and judgments and laws, which the Lord made between him
and the children of
(xxvi. 46). This code contains almost entirely moral and religious
precepts. Ceremonial matters are introduced only when they have
some peculiar social or national importance. The commandments
are addressed, not to the priests, as is the case in the enclosing
Levitical legislation, but to the individual Israelite; and, as
in the Decalogue and the Book of the Covenant, the second person
singular is used throughout.
On the negative side this legislation views morality as opposition
to the practices of the heathen: "After the doings of the land of
(xviii. 3, cf. xviii. 24-26, xx. 23f., 26, xxii. 25). On the positive
side it regards all duty as summed up in the idea of holiness: "Ye
shall be holy for I the Lord your God am holy" (xix. 2, 8, 24,
xx. 3, 7, 26, xxi. 6f., 8, xxii. 32). This thought of the essential
unity of ethical obligation and of its basis in the holiness of God
is so strikingly characteristic of this body of laws that in 1877,
in an article in the Zeitschrift fur Lutherische Theologie, Klos-
termann gave it the happily chosen name of the" Holiness-Code."
The name has since come into general use, and, for convenience
of reference, I shall employ it in this article to designate the entire
legislation which is contained in Lev. xvii-xxvi, and shall repre-
sent it by the abbreviation H.
The style of this code is succinct to the last degree. The laws
are arranged in smaller and larger groups with great logical
exactness, and these groups are closed with the formula, "I am the
Lord" (twelve times); "I am the Lord your God" (eleven
times); "I am the Lord who sanctify you" (six times); or "I
am the Lord your God who have brought you out of the land of
THE HOLINESS CODE AND EZEKIEL 99
lay down at the beginning a general proposition, and then to give
an exhaustive enumeration of the cases in which the principle
holds good. In the grouping of these minor items great skill
is displayed, and instances are few where one feels that the
development of thought might have been improved by another
arrangement of the individual laws.
The most striking phenomenon, however, which one encounters
in a study of this legislation is its unique relation to the book of
the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel displays an affinity in thought
and in expression with it which he has with no other portion of the
Pentateuch, not even with Deuteronomy. The most elaborate
discussion of this affinity has been given by Horst in his treatise
Lev. xvii-xxvi und Hezekiel,
be sufficient to call attention merely to some of, the more striking
correspondences in diction and in thought. In the list which I
subjoin I have marked with an asterisk expressions which are
found only in H. and in Ezekiel.
The list is as follows: "Whatsoever man there be of the house
(xvii. 4: Ez. xxii. 7); "To go whoring after" (xvii. 7, xx. 5, 6:
Ez. xx. 30, xxiii. 30, etc.); "And I will set my face against"
(xvii. 10, xx. 3, 5, 6: Ez. xiv. 8, xv. 7); "I will cut him off from
the midst of his people" (xvii. 10, xx. 3, 5: Ez. xiv. 8); "He shall
bear his iniquity" (xvii. 16, etc.: Ez. xiv. 10, etc.); imitation of
the customs of
shall ye do and my statutes shall ye keep to walk therein"
(xviii. 4, etc.: Ez. xviii. 9, etc.); “Which if a man do he shall live
in them" (xviii. 5.: Ez. xx. 11, etc.); "Uncover the nakedness of
one's father " (xviii. 7: Ez. xxii. 10); "Thy sister the daughter of
thy father" (xviii. 9, Ez. xxii. 11); marriage with a daughter-in-law
(xviii. 15: Ez. xxii. 11); "It is wickedness" (xviii. 17, xix. 29,
xx. 14: Ez. xvi. 27, 43, 58, xxiii. 48f.); "Unto a woman in the
defilement of her uncleanness thou shalt not approach" (xviii. 19:
Ez. xviii. 6); "Defile oneself with a neighbour's wife" (xviii. 20:
Ez. xviii. 6, xxii. 11); "Cause to pass through the fire" (xviii. 21:
Ez. xvi, 21, xx. 26, 31); "Thou shalt not profane the name of thy
God" (xviii. 21, etc.: Ez. xx. 39, xxxvi. 20, 22); "The land is
defiled" (xviii. 25,27: Ez. xxxvi. 17f., xxxvii. 23); "Abomina-
tion" (xviii. 22, 27: Ez. vii. 3, 4, 8, etc.); "My sabbaths"
(xix. 3, 30, xxvi. 2: Ez. xxii. 8, etc.); "Corruption" lvgp
(xix. 7: Ez. iv.14); "Thou shalt not rob" (xix. 13: Ez. xviii. 7);
"Ye shall do no iniquity in judgment" (xix. 15: Ez. xviii. 8);
"In righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour " (xix. 15:
100 THE PRESBYTERIAN AND REFORMED REVIEW.
Ez. xviii. 8); against slander (xix. 16: Ez. xxii. 9); "Stand
against the blood of thy neighbour" (xix. 16: Ez. xxii. 9);
"Ye shall not eat with the blood" (xix. 26: Ez. xxxiii. 25); "An
alien shall ye not afflict (xix. 33: Ez. xxii. 7); just weights and
measures (xix. 35f.: Ez. xlv. 10); "He shall surely be put to
death" (xx. 2, 9, 27, xxiv. 16, 17, 21: Ez. xviii. 13); "The
people of the land" (xx. 2: Ez. xxii. 29); "Stone with stones"
xx. 2, 27: Ez. xvi. 40, xxiii. 47); "Curseth his father or his
mother" (xx. 9: Ez. xxii. 7); "Defile my sanctuary" (xx. 3:
Ez. v. 11, xxiii. 38); "Hide the eyes" (xx. 4: Ez. xxii. 26);
"Children of thy people " (xx. 17: Ez. xxxiii. 1); "His blood
shall be upon him " (xx. 9, etc.: Ez. xviii. 13, xxxiii. 4, 5); "Sepa-
rate between the clean and the unclean " (xx. 25: Ez. xxii. 26);
defilements for the dead (xxi. 2f.: Ez. xliv. 25); "Make bald"
(xxi. 5: Ez. xxvii. 31); "They shall not shave the edge of their
beard" (xxi. 5: Ez. xliv. 20); purity in the priest's wife (xxi. 7:
Ez. xliv. 22); "Profane the sanctuary of his God" (xxi. 12, 23:
Ez. xxiv. 21, xxviii. 18, xliv. 7); "That which dieth of itself or is
torn of beasts he shall not eat" (xxii. 8: Ez. xliv. 31); "Keep
my charge" (xxii. 9: Ez. xliv. 8, 16); "To be your God "
(xxii. 33: Ez. xi. 20, xiv. 11); "Branches" Jnf (xxiii. 40:
Ez. xvii. 8, 23); "Ye shall not wrong one another" (xxv. 14, 17:
Ez. xviii. 7); "Ye shall dwell in the land in safety" (xxv. 18, 19,
xxvi. 5: Ez. xxviii. 26, xxxiv. 25, 27, 28, xxxviii. 8, 11, 14,
xxxix. 26); "The land shall yield its crop"* (xxv. 19, xxvi. 4=
Ez. xxxiv. 27); "Ye shall eat your fill" (xxv. 19, xxvi. 5:
Ez. xxxix. 19).
In Lev. xxvi the coincidences of H. with Ez. are even more
numerous and striking than in the chapters which we have just
examined. The similarity which exists here is without a parallel
in Old Testament literature. The coincidences are as follows: "I
will give your rains in their seasons" * (xxvi. 4: Ez. xxxiv. 26);
"The trees of the field shall yield their fruit" * (4: Ez.
xxxiv. 27); "None shall make you afraid" (6: Ez. xxxix.
26); "I will cause evil beasts to cease out of the land" * (6: Ez.
xxxiv. 25); "The sword shall not go through your land"* (6 = Ez.
v. 17, xiv. 17); "I will turn unto you" (9: Ez. xxxvi. 9);
"Make you fruitful and multiply you " (9; Ez. xxxvi. 11, xxxvii.
26); "I will establish my covenant with you " (9: Ez. xvi. 60, 62);
"I will give my dwelling among you" * (11: Ez. xxv. 4, xxxvii.
27); "Abhor you" * (11, 15, 30, 44: Ez. xvi. 5, 45); "Walk
among you" (12: Ez. xix. 6, xxviii. 14); "Broken the bars of
(15: Ez. xvi. 59, xvii. 15f., 18f., xliv. 7); "The pride-of your,
THE HOLINESS- CODE AND EZEKIBIL. 101
power" (19: Ez. xxiv. 21, xxx. 6, 18, xxxiii, 28); “I will
send the beast of the field among you which shall rob you
of your children" * (22: Ez. v. 17, xiv. 15); “Cut off your
cattle" (22: Ez. xiv. 13, 17, 19, 21, xxv. 13, xxix. 8); “ Make you
few" (22: Ez. xxix. 15); “ Bring a sword upon you" (25:
Ez. v. 17, vi. 3, xi. 8, xiv. 17); "Send the pestilence upon you"
(25: Ez. xiv. 19, 21, xxviii. 23); “Break your staff of bread"
(26: Ez. iv. 16, v.16, xiv. 13); “They shall deliver your bread by
weight " * (26 : Ez. iv. 16); "Ye shall eat the flesh of your sons
and daughters" (29: Ez. v. 10); “Destroy your high places"
(30: Ez. vi. 3, 6); “Cut down your obelisks" (30: Ez. vi. 4, 6);
"Cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols" * (30:
Ez. vi. 4, 5); “Make your cities a waste" (31: Ez. vi. 6); “The
savour of your sweet odours" (31: Ez. vi. 13, xvi. 19, xx. 28, 41);
“Your enemies shall be astonished" (32: Ez. xxvi. 16, xxxii. 10);
“I will draw out the sword after you" (33: Ez. v. 2, 12, xii. 14);
“Your land shall. be desolation" (33: Ez. vi. 14, xv. 8, xxix.
9, 12); “The land of your enemies" (34, 36, 39, 41, 44:
Ez. xxxix. 27); “The land of your enemies shall eat you up"
(38: Ez. xxxvi. 13, 14); “Those that are left shall pine away
in their iniquity" * (39: Ez. iv. 17, xxiv. 23); “Trespassed"
(40: Ez. xxxix. 23, 36); “Uncircumcised heart" (41: Ez. xliv. 7.
9); “Because even because" (43: Ez. xiii. 10, xxxvi. 3); “In the
sight of the nations" * (45 : Ez. v. 8, xx. 11, 14, xxii. 16, xxviii. 25,
xxxviii. 23, xxxix. 27).
The list which we have now completed is a remarkable one.
Here are some ninety cases in which the expressions of H. are found
in Ez. also and in which the legislation of H. is reproduced in
Ez., often in the same language. Of these at least twenty are
phrases which are found only in H. and in Ez. It is evident, that
similarity of this sort cannot be due to a general correspondence of
age or standpoint in the two writers, but points to some special
literary relation between them. What is this relation?
The purpose of this article is to consider some of the modern
theories on this subject and to endeavor to determine which is the
most probable. The bearing of the question on Pentateuchal criti-
cism is too obvious to require any special comment, nor does the
importance of the answer which we give to it need to be empha-
sized. Accordingly, we may proceed immediately to the review
and the critique of the several theories.
I. Graf, who first exhibited at length the correspondences be-
tween H. and Ez., came to the conclusion that they could be
explained only by the supposition that Ezekiel himself was the
author of Lev. xvii-xxvi; and in his famous work, Die geschicht-
102 THE PRESBYTERIAN AND REFORMED REVIEW.
lichen Bucher des Alten Testaments (pp.81-83), he advocated this
theory with a great deal of ingenuity and learning. In a review of
Graf's book (Jahrbucher fur deutsche Theologie, 1866, p. 150 sq,),
Bertheau announced his adherence to the hypothesis. It was also
adopted by Colenso (Pentateuch) and by Kayser (Vorexilisches
Buch der Urgeschichte Israels).
The difficulty with this theory is, that, while it explains the sim-
ilarities between H. and Ez., it does not explain the differences.
The diction of H. is not the same as the diction of Ez. There are
a large number of words and phrases which occur frequently in
each but are not found in the other. H. differs also from Ez. in
its legislation (cf. Noldeke, Untersuchungen Zur Kritik des A, T:,
p. 63; Kuenen, Onderzoek, p. 277; Klostermann, Zeitschrift fur
Lutherzsche Theologie, p. 433 sq,). I will not discuss these differ-
ences in detail, for Graf's hypothesis has found no general accep-
tance. It is now conceded with practical unanimity among the
critics, that there are too many differences between Ez. and H. to
suppose that Ezekiel was the author of H.
II. A modified and much more tenable form of the Grafian
theory has been proposed by Horst in the treatise entitled Leviticus
xvii-xxvi und Hezekiel. He regards Ez. not as the author of this
code, in a strict sense of the word author, but as merely the col-
lector and editor of laws which were already in existence. This
theory allows for all the differences in diction and in legislation
between H. and Ez., and at the same time explains the fact that
Ezekiel's closest resemblances are with the hortatory portions of
this code, particularly with the great closing exhortation in Lev.
xxvi. There is scarcely a hortatory phrase of H. which is not found
in Ez., and Lev. xxvi seems to be, as Smend calls it, “essentially a
combination of phrases of Ez." A closer examination, however,
reveals the fact that this theory also cannot explain all of the phe-
1. It does not explain the fact, that the most characteristic edito-
rial formulre of Ez. are absent from H. If Ez. wrote H. we have
a right to expect that the commandments of the Lord will be
introduced here in much the same way in which they are intro-
duced in the book of his prophecy. There is nothing in the nature
of the contents of H. to compel him to abandon those set phrases
with which he introduces his message to
was the collector, he must have put his material in some sort of a
framework, and that framework we should expect to be similar to
the one in which he sets his prophetic utterances. This, however,
is not the case. Ez. has a number of formulae, which he uses con-
stantly, which are never found in H. For instance, he begins more
THE HOLINESS-CODE AND EZEKIEL. 103
than a hundred times with the phrase, "Thus saith the Lord Jeho-
vah." The words, "Son of man," introduce the address of the
Lord about ninety times. The introductory formula, "And the
word of Jehovah came (was)," occurs thirty-nine times; "The ora-
cle of the Lord Jehovah," eighty times; "As I live," sixteen
times. None of these phrases, however, occur in H., although all
are perfectly appropriate for use in that code. The last one in par-
ticular we should certainly expect to find because of the constant
use by H. of ynx "I" with some appositional expression.
Other frequent formulre of Ez. which are not found in H. are the
following: "The hand of Jehovah was upon me" (i. 3, iii. 14, 22,
viii. 1, xx:xiii. 22, xxxvii. 1, xl. 1); "Lift up my hand" (xx. 5, 6, 15,
23, xxxvi. 7, xliv. 12, xlvii. 14); "Whether they will hear or
whether they will forbear" (ii. 5, 7, iii. 11); "And thou hast deliv-
ered thy soul" (iii. 19, 21, xxxiii. 9, cf. xviii. 27, xxxiii. 5, xiv.
20), "For my name's sake" (xx. 9, 14, 22,44).
2. The hortatory passages in H. (Lev. xix. 25-30, ch. xx., xxii.
31-33, xxv. 18-22, xxvi. 3-45) certainly come from the hand of
the collector of the legislation, and if that collector was Ez.,
they should correspond closely with his style. It is true, that
many of the phrases of these hortatory passages are found scat-
tered through the book of Ez., but there are also wide differences
between these exhortations of H. and those of Ez. which forbid
the assumption that they come from the same hand. The most
fundamental difference is, that Ezekiel's exhortations are found
in connection with his prophecies and not with his legislation. The
code for the restored
warnings or exhortations of any sort. How does it happen, then,
that this code in Lev. xvii-xxvi, although it contains laws in
regard to sacrifice and other matters which could not be obeyed in
Ezekiel's day, is provided with terrible denunciations in case of dis-
Granted, however, that Ez. might have omitted the exhortation
in Ez. xl-xlviii, where it was more appropriate, and have appended
it in Lev. xvii-xxvi, where it was less appropriate, the difficulty
still remains unexplained, that the most frequent and most charac-
teristic hortatory phrases of Ez. are wanting from H. A number of
Ezekiel's expressions are, it is true, found in H., but they are not
the expressions which are most frequent in his book and which we
should most expect to find in any exhortation which he had
written. Some of these recurrent phrases are the following: "My
eye shall not pity and I will not spare" (v. 11, vii. 4, 9, .viii. 18, ix.
10, cf. ix. 5, xx. 17); "My hand is stretched out" (vi. 14, xiv. 9, 13,
xvi. 27, xxv. 7, 13, 16, xxxv. 3); "For they are a rebellious house "
104 THE PREBBYTERIA.N AND REFORMED REVIEW.
ii.5, 6, iii. 9, 26, 27, xii. 3, 25). "Behold I am against" (v. 8, xiii.
9, xxviii. 22, etc.); "I will do judgments" (v. 10, xi. 9, xxx. 14, 19);
"Finish my anger upon thee" (v. 13, vi. .12, vii. 8, xx. 8, 21);
"Judge according to one's way (deed)" (vii. 3, 8, xxiv. 14, xxxvi.
19); "Give one's way upon one's head" (ix. 10, xi. 21, xvi. 43, xxii.
81); "Pour out my indignation" (vii. 8, ix. 8, xiv, 19, xx. 8, 21, 84,
xxii. 22, 81, xxx. 15, xxxvi. 18); "Fall by the sword" (v. 12, vi.
12, xi. 10, xvii. 21, xxiii. 25, xxiv. 21, xxv. 18, xxx. 5, 17); "Into
the hand of strangers " (vii. 21, xi. 9, xxviii. 10, xxx. 12); "Go into
captivity" (xii. 11, xxx. 17, 18); "And I will spread my net" (xii.
18, xvii. 20, xxxii. 8); "Scatter to every wind" (v. 2, 10, 12, xii.
14); "Scatter among the lands" (vi. 8, xii. 15, xx. 20, xxii. 15, xxix.
12, xxx. 28, 26); "Remove among the nations" (xi. 16, xii. 15, xx.
28, xxxvi. 19, cf. xi. 17, xx. 34, 41, xxv. 7, xxxiv. 12); "Turn
from one's evil way" (iii. 19, xiii. 22, xxxiii. 11, cr. iii. 18;
xxxiii. 8); "Give rest to my fury" (v. 18, xvi. 42, xxi. 22, xxiv.
18); "Loathe oneself" (vi. 9, xx. 43, xxxvi. 31). "The fire of my
wrath" (xxi. 36, xxii. 21, 31, xxxviii. 19, cf. xxxvi. 5); "I will cut
off man and beast" (xiv. 13, 17, 19, 21, xxv. 13, xxix. 5, cf. xxxvi.
11); "Remember thy way" (xvi. 61, xx. 43, xxxvi. 31); "The
beast of the field. . . . the fowl of the heavens" (xxix. 5, xxxi. 6,
13, xxxii. 4, xxxviii. 20); "Bear shame" (xxxii. 24f., 30, xxxiv.
29, xxxvi. 6f., 15, xxxix. 26, xliv. 18); "Turn the fate" (xvi. 53,
xxix. 14, xxxix. 25).
This list is very significant. None of these phrases are found in
H., but they are Ezekiel's commonest hortatory expressions and
occur in his book more frequently than the phrases which he has in
common with H. Evidently this fact is adverse to the hypothesis
that Ez. was the author of the Holiness legislation.
Still more important is the fact, that H.'s most characteristic hor-
tatory formulre are not found in the book of Ez. The most free
quent and most characteristic hortatory formula of H. is the simple,
“I am Jehovah," which closes the minor groups of laws. Remark-
ably enough, this is never used by Ez. The simple formula, "His
blood upon him," which occurs six times in Lev. xx, is also not
used by Ez. The striking exhortation, "And thou shalt be afraid
of thy God" (Lev. xix. 14, 82, xxv. 17, 36, 48), is also lacking.
Other recurrent phrases of the hortatory passages of H. which are
not found in Ez. are, "Eat old store" (xxv. 22, xxvi. 10); "When
none pursueth" (xxvi. 17, 36, 37); "Walk contrary to me" (xxvi.
21, 23, 24, 27, 28, 40, 41); the sevenfold punishment for sin (xxvi.
18, 21, 24, 28); the depicting of flight before the enemy (xxvi. 7f.,
36f.); the description of the horrors of war (xxvi. 16).
Accordingly, a comparison of the hortatory passages in H. and in
THE HOLINESS-CODE AND EZEKIEL. 105
Ez., in spite of all the resemblances which it discloses, is unfavor-
able to the hypothesis that Ez. is the collector and editor of H.
3. A further argument against this theory may be drawn from
the difference between the personal characteristics of Ez. and the
editor of H. Ez. is singularly unmethodical. Accidental associa-
tion of ideas seems to determine the sequence of topics in his
prophecy. His legislation shows none of that fine analysis and
grouping of laws which we find in H. He has a sensitive con-
science and a vivid imagination, but he is not conspicuous for intel-
lectual vigor, and there is nothing in his book to indicate that he
possessed the ability to construct so clear and succinct a code as. H.
Another marked characteristic of Ez. is his sense of personal
responsibility (ii. 17-21, xxxiii. 1-9). In all his exhortations the
thought shines through, that he warns, not only for the sake of the
nation, but for his own sake, that he may "deliver his soul whether
they will hear or whether they will forbear." No trace of this sub-
jective standpoint appears in the exhortations of H. Here the
preacher is wholly objective; he thinks only of the penalty which
will fall upon
disappears behind his message.
The differences of Ezekiel's literary method from that of the
editor of H. are also unfavorable to the theory that the two are
identical. It may not be fair to compare his prophecies with H.
since it is natural that the styles of prophecy and of legislation
should be different; but it is surely allowable to compare the legis-
lation of Ez. xl-xlviii with H., and to expect, if Ez. was the author
of both, that the literary form will be the same. The characteristic
form of Ezekiel's legislation is the apocalypse. His enactments
are prefaced with visions accompanied with angelic interpretation
in which he receives the communications that are to be imparted
to the people and beholds the objects which he afterwards describes
in writing. In H. there is not a suggestion of all this. Here with-
out any scenic preliminaries or machinery of revelation, the law-
giver simply announces the commandments in the name of the Lord.
Again, the Holiness Code is expressly assigned to Moses, but Ez.
never puts his legislation into the mouth of another lawgiver.
Kuenen's remarks on this subject (Onderzoek, p. 277) are apposite:
"We are not in a position to say that Ez. would have felt a scruple
against ascribing legislation to Moses, but we can say that as far as
we know he never made use of this form of expression, and that
a priori we have no right whatever to expect it of him. In xl-
xlviii he makes Yahwe himself announce the regulations of the
restored theocracy. What could have induced him, a few years
earlier or later, to relegate similar precepts to the Mosaic age?"
106 THE PRESBYTERIAN AND REFORMED REVI.EW.
The style of the hortatory portions of H., in which we should
expect to find the closest resemblance to Ez., if he were the editor
of this legislation, is so much superior to anything that we find in
his book that it is impossible to believe that he has written these
passages. Lev. xxvi in particular is one of the most dramatic and
impressive addresses in the Old Testament, and although we find
most of its phrases in Ez., we search his book in vain for any pas-
sage where they are combined with the literary skill which is here
manifested. It is not without reason that Kuenen regards this
“difference in artistic skill" as decisive against the theory that Ez.
was the editor of H.
If now it be true that Ez. was neither the author nor yet the
collector of H., his coincidences with this code must be explained
by some theory of literary dependence of one upon the other.
Which one then is dependent? On this question modern criticism
is divided. Perhaps there is a majority at present in favor of the
view that Ez. is the earlier, and for this reason I shall review this
III. According to the Grafian school, H. forms the bridge from
Ez. to the Priestly Code, just as Ez. forms the bridge from Deuter-
onomy to H. In support of this theory Kuenen (Onderzoek, p. 279)
says: “Ezekiel's assumption of the legislator's office in xl sq. is
best explained on the supposition that the priestly toroth had not
been codified before his time. He thus appears to be the elder."
Similarly Cornill (Einleitung, p. 78) asks: "If Ezekiel knew H.,
why did he publish his own code for the future?" But one may
ask quite as appropriately, why H. should have given his code after
Ezekiel if the legislation of that prophet were known to him. The
difficulties which arise from the differences of the two legislations
are equally great, whether we suppose Ezekiel or H. to be the
earlier, and it is no more unlikely that Ez. should have made laws
superseding H. than that H. should have given laws superseding Ez.
From general considerations of this sort nothing can be proved in
regard to the relative age of the two works.
A much stronger argument is found in the fact that Ez. says
nothing about a high priest and apparently has no place for him in
his system of legislation, while H. discriminates sharply between
the high priest and the ordinary priests and requires a degree of
sanctity in the former which is not required of the latter. This, it
is said, indicates a development in the direction of the Priestly
Code. Ez. knows no distinction in the priesthood; in H. "the
priest that is greater than his brethren "appears; and in P we find
the high priest, the magnificent ruler of the sacerdotal caste. On
this point more than any other emphasis is laid by the school of
Graf in support of the proposition that H. is later than Ez.
THE HOLINESS-CODE AND EZEKIEL. 107
This argument would be a strong one, if there were no indica-
tions of the existence of such a functionary as the high priest of
H. before the time of Ez., and if there were no reason why Ez.
should ignore the high priest in his system. That there was a high
priest of some sort long before the time of Ez. is certain. The pre-
siding priest, who in preexi1ic times was the intermediary between
the king and the ordinary priest, and who in Samuel and Kings
bears the name of "the priest," kat ] e]coxh<n, held an hereditary office
and was the leader of the sacerdotal class. Granted that he was
only primus inter pares, the high priest of H. also is simply
vyHxm lvdgh Nhkh. This greater priest of H. agrees in all the
main features with the presiding priest of Samuel and Kings, and,
therefore, one must either deny the truthfulness of the representa-
tion of these books, or else admit that Ezekiel's silence does not
prove that the high priest had not yet come into existence. As
Baudipsen very appropriately remarks (A. T. Priesterthum, p. 128):
"It is unhistorical to infer from this absence of the high priest, as
well as from the silence of Deuteronomy, that down to the Exile
there was no high priest at all. The book of Kings is against it,
and from the nature of the case it is evident, that for practical rea-
sons there must have been early a head priest at Jerusa1em as well
as at the centres of the cultus of other peoples. At the head of the
returning exiles the high priest Joshua stands with undisputed pre-
The fact then is; that the absence of the high priest from Ez. does
not indicate that this functionary was not yet developed, but simply
that he is intentionally omitted. The reason for the omission is
obvious. Ezekiel's “prince" xyWn is meant to take the place of
the high priest. The preexilic kings never exercised such functions
as Ez. assigns to this ruler, and the facts, that the prince's land ad-
joins the priests', that he has the right of entering the temple
through the holy eastern gate, and that he has charge of the pro-
viding of sacrifices, show that he is given a quasi-priestly function.
Inasmuch as he is himself brought into direct relation to the
priests, there is no longer any need for the old high priest as an
intermediary, and Ez. drops him out of his scheme of legislation.
This omission, therefore, is due merely to an individual peculiarity
of Ez. (cf. Kayser, Jahrbucher fur protestantische Theologie, 1881,
p. 547; Horst, p. 95).
The case is similar in the law of the sabbatical year of rest for
the land. Ez. apparently does not know of this institution, while
H. elaborates it at great length. Here again Kuenen (Onderzoek,
p., 278) says, that "H. shows an advance on Ez." But the sabbat-
ical year is already enacted in the Book of the Covenant (Ex. xxiii.
108 THE PRESBYTERIAN AND REFORMED REVIEW.
10f.), and, therefore, the absence of this institution from Ez. does
not indicate that it had not yet been developed but only that Ez.
accidentally or intentionally omitted it. With just as much pro-
priety Kuenen might argue that H. is in advance of Ez. because he
has the feast of Pentecost which Ez. never mentions. Pentecost,
however, is an integral part of all the oldest legislation; and, there-
fore, Ezekiel's silence is without significance. The fact is, that Ez.
does not attempt to give a complete code, but presupposes a body of
institutions as already in existence to which he alludes in an inci-
dental manner. His silence, therefore, can never be construed as an
indication of ignorance of any institution, particularly when, as in
the case of the high priest, a reason can be seen for the omission.
These are the only particulars in which it is claimed that H.
shows a more developed legislation than Ez. Apart from this sup-
posed development, there are no literary or historical reasons for
thinking that H. is later than Ez. This argument, as we have just
seen, is not conclusive, and, on the other hand, there are a number
of points in which it is generally conceded that the legislation of
Ez. is an advance upon H. In the distribution of priestly functions,
in the classification of the “holy things," in the enumeration of the
sacrifices, and in the treatment of the feasts Ez. is certainly more
developed than H. This fact need not be exhibited in detail, inas-
much as it is conceded by Kuenen, Baentsch (Heiligkeitsgesetz,
explain it by the assertion that in these cases H. "adhered to the
older tradition" (Kuenen, Onderzoek, p. 279).
This claim, it seems to me, destroys all value of the argument
from the development of legislation. If in these cases H. followed
the older tradition, although he is later than Ez., why may we not
suppose that Ez. followed the older tradition in those cases in which
his legislation appears to be more primitive than H.? If a more
developed legislation is to be construed as an indication of a later
date, when it suits the purpose of our argument, and to be dismissed
as a relic of an older tradition, when it does not suit us to date the
document in accord with this indication; then no certain conclusion
is possible. Baentsch sets all these indications of the priority of
H. aside with the remark (p. 114), that the absence of the high,
priest from Ez. is so much more important an indication of age that
it outweighs these contrary indications and proves that H. is later
than Ez. This is a striking instance of the power of a foregone
conclusion. The fact is that, as far as any development is traceable
in legislation, Ez. shows the later form. This fact cannot lightly
be set aside by the assertion that H., although later, adheres to the
THE HOLINESS-GODE AND EZEKIEL. 109
IV. We are thrown back, accordingly, upon the only remaining
hypothesis, namely, that H. is the older document and that Ez.
makes use of it in his prophecy. This is the theory which is advo-
cated by Noldeke, Klostermann, Hofmann, Riehm. In its defense
the following arguments may be urged:
1. The theory has antecedent probability from the fact that Ez.
is an habitual quoter. No Old Testament writer is more dependent
upon his predecessors than this prophet. Lists of quotations have
been given already by Noldeke (p. 68 sq.), Klostermann (p. 417 sq.),
Hoffmann (Mag. f. d. Wissenschaft d. Judenthums, vii), Smend
(Ezechiel, p. xxiv). It is not necessary, therefore, to prove this here
in detail. On the other hand, H. has no striking points of simi-
larity with any other Old Testament writings than Deuteronomy
and Ez. If we suppose the author of H. to be the quoter, we must
assume that he intentionally ignores all the rest of the Hebrew lit-
erature except these two books and that, although he had before
him the complete legislation of Deuteronomy, he preferred to cull
the scattered precepts of Ez. and combine them into a law code.
Why he should have done this is inexplicable. On the other hand,
it is easy enough to see why Ez. should have used H. more fre-
quently than other works, if we suppose that this code was in exist-
ence in his time. Dealing specially with moral and religious
duties, this code had a value during the period of the Exile which
was not possessed by the ceremonial legislation, for the latter de-
pended upon the existence of the national sanctuary. The duties
prescribed in H. were such as could be carried out by those living
in a foreign land. The sins against which it warned were those
into which a people living among the heathen would be most likely
to fall. The situation here assumed, that Israel has just come out
many points of analogy with the situation of the exiles. What
was more natural, accordingly, than that Ez. should find in this
code more material suited to his purpose than elsewhere and that he
should quote from this document more frequently than from any
The antecedent probability, therefore, is all in favor of Ezekiel
being the quoter, and it is astonishing when Cornill says, "It is as
unlikely as possible that an author of the originality and scope of
Ezekiel should have modeled his style on a single chapter of the
Pentateuch (Lev. xxvi)." In reality Ezekiel is perhaps the least
original of all the Old Testament writers. His style is similar not
only to Lev. xxvi, but to all of H., and, instead of it being improb-
able that he should use this portion of the Pentateuch, there is
nothing which he would be more likely to use.
110 THE PRESBYTERIAN AND REFORMED REVIEW.
2. Passing now from these general considerations to specific rea-
sons for thinking that H. is prior to Ez., we observe, that the char-
acteristic expressions of H., almost without exception, are found in
Ez., while only a small proportion of the characteristic phrases of
Ez. are found in H. In other words, there is a fund of expressions
which are common to Ez. and to H., but outside of this fund H.
has scarcely any characteristic phrases while Ez. has a large number.
A list of Ezekiel's phrases which are not found in H. has been given
already. This list is by no means complete, and yet how dispro-
portionately great it is in comparison with the list of characteristic
expressions of H. which are not found in Ez.! Now what is the
most natural construction to put upon this fact? If H. quotes Ez.,
then it is hard to see why all of Ezekiel's favorite phraseology
should not be used in H.; but if Ez. quotes H., then it is perfectly
evident why practically all of H.'s characteristic expressions are
found in Ez. One must admit, therefore, that the proportion of
similarity in these two works is decidedly in favor of H. being the
3. The similarity of Ez. to H. is sporadic, and this can be ex-
plained more naturally by the supposition that Ez. occasionally
made use of H. than that H. selected portions of Ez. for quotation
and ignored other portions which were just as important and just as
appropriate. Ezekiel's coincidences with H. are found chiefly in
chaps. v, vi, xiv, xviii, xx and xxii. Outside of these chapters
there is an occasional use of certain stock phrases of H., but no
close parallelism of thought. The similarity of H. to Ez., on the
other hand, extends throughout the entire code, and although Lev.
xxvi is more closely parallel to Ez. than any other portion of the
code, it cannot be said that H.'s resemblance to Ez. is sporadic.
How are we to interpret this? Surely it is more natural to
suppose that Ez. used H. as a whole, but saw fit to quote it only
occasionally, rather than that H. selected a half dozen sections of
Ez., which he quoted almost entire and ignored the rest of the
In a number of cases the standing phrases of H. occur but once
in Ez. They are as
follows: "Any man of the house of
(Ez. xiv. 4-7), Mlylx "vanities " (xxx. 13), "I am the Lord who
sanctify" (xx. 12), hlxg "redemption" (xi. 15)," And I will cut
him off" (xiv. 8), "food of God" (xliv. 7), rcmm "sale" (vii. 13),
"bear sin" (xxiii. 49), lvgp "corruption" (iv.14), "turn unto"
(xxxvi. 9), llq "revile " (xxii. 7), "draw near to a woman"
(xviii. 6), Cqw "loathsome thing" (viii. 10). Which is the more
probable, that H. has hunted out these isolated words and phrases
of Ez. and has adopted them as his standing expressions, or that
THE HOLINESS-CODE AND EZEKIEL. 111
Ez. in his quotation of H. happened to insert these
expressions but once?
4. Even when Ez. is most closely parallel to H. he exhibits a
greater fullness of expression, which indicates that he has amplified
H. First of all we may note this amplifying tendency in the case
of the recurrent formulae of H. The most striking instance is Eze-
occurs in Ez., but is always accompanied with some appositive
expression. One cannot help thinking that the tendency in lan-
guage is for phrases to lose their force and to require to be
strengthened by additional words, so that antecedently it is
probable that hvhy ynx is more primitive than jynlx hvhy ynx.
Some additions to the primitive formula are found in, H. iteelf.
These all recur in Ezekiel, and besides them there are other addi-
tions of considerable length which are not found in H. The only
fair inference from this fact is, that the process of intensifying the
simple original formula has gone further in Ez. than in H. More-
over, R. uses the formulae "I am the Lord" and "I am the Lord
your God” absolutely, but in Ez. they are never found without con-
necting words such as "for," or "ye shall know that," or the
infinitive construction with b which is peculiar to Ez. Here again
it is more natural to suppose that the abrupt epigrammatic form of
expression, as we find it in H., is the more primitive, and that
Ezekiel's finished form with all of its syntactical exactness is the
The forceful brevity of the judgment pronounced so often in
Lev. xx , vb vymd, is impaired in Ez. by the addition of hyhy and
this need of inserting the copula indicates a later linguistic develop-
ment. The characteristic formula of H., "walk in the statutes and
keep the judgments (commandments) and do them" (xviii. 3, 4,
xx. 23, xxvi. 3), occurs with great frequency in Ez., but in Ez.
the formula seldom stands alone, but is usually accompanied with
an additional hortatory phrase (cf. Ez. v. 7, xi. 12, 20, xviii. 9).
These additional phrases are also found in H., but not in combina-
tion with the formula in question. Here again it is more probable
that Ez. for increased emphasis has combined two expressions of H.
in his quotation rather than that H. has secured that the formula
should always occur in its simple form by cutting the formulre of
Ez. in two and putting the second halves in other connections. In
a similar manner the simple phrase rHx hnz of Lev. xvii. 7,
xx. 5,6, is not strong enough for Ez., but must be intensified by the
addition of a variety of synonymous phrases (cf. xx. 30, xxiii. 3,
The formula" to profane the name of thy God';" or "to profane
112 THE PRESBYTERIAN AND REFORMED REVIEW.
my holy name," occurs in H. with stereotyped regularity (cf.
Lev. xviii. 21, xix. 12, xx. 3); but in Ez. it is employed with the
utmost flexibility of form and of grammatical relation. It is
enlarged, it is strengthened by phrases which state in what the
profanation consists, it is paraphrased in other language. Here
also it is perfectly clear that H. furnishes the original upon which
Ez. rings the changes.
The standing phrase of H., “And I will cut him off from the
midst of his kinsfolk," is apparently more original than the two
forms which occur in Ez., “I will cut him off from the midst of my
people," and" I will destroy him from the midst of my people
exhibit a simpler form in H. than in Ez., and that the only natural
construction which can be put upon this fact is that H. is older
Moreover, when we compare the individual passages in which
H. and Ez. correspond in thought or in diction, we find the same
relation which exists in the hortatory passages. Ez. has an ampli-
fied form which shows that he has used H. as a text on which he
has based his comments. For instance, in Lev. xviii. 3 we read,
the doings of the
not do, and after the doings of the
you shall ye not do." This simple, unqualified prohibition is made
the subject of the twentieth chapter of Ez. In verses 5-26 the
prophet amplifies upon the theme of doing according to the doings
theme of doing according to the doings of the
the first section he shows at great length the circumstances under
which God first gave the commandment, the details being drawn
from the narratives of Exodus and Deuteronomy. He shows how
ished them. In H., however, we meet but this one allusion to imi-
tation of the Egyptians. It is quite incredible, therefore, that a
legislator who was following Ez. should have limited himself to
this single brief proposition, if he had before him all of Ezekiel's
wealth of exhortation and of historical illustration. The dependence
of Ezekiel in this instance is proved by the fact that the law which
forms the main theme of the chapter is combined by him with other
enactments and other expressions of H. which are not combined
with it in Leviticus, and which are not strictly relevant. The con-
trast of the Lord's statutes and judgments to the statutes and
judgments of the heathen is found in H. and is natural. Ezekiel
imitates this in xx. 11, 13, 16, 19, 21, 24, but he adds to it the
duty of hallowing the Sabbath, which forms no true contrast to
THE HOLINESS-CODE AND EZEKIEL. 113
imitation of the heathen and is not inserted in this connection in H.,
but among the more specific ordinances of worship at the beginning
of chap. xix.
Ez. xx is full also of the phrases of Lev. xxvi, and in all of these
cases it is easier to suppose that Ez. in his exhortation has brought
together things which were disconnected in H., than that H. has
divided up and scattered in different portions of his code sets of
phrases which are regularly combined in Ez. The wearisome
repetitions of this chapter of Ez. and its extraordinary diffuseness
are alone sufficient evidence that it is not the original of the epi-
grammatic utterance of Lev. xviii. 3, particularly when we observe
that nearly all in this chapter which differs from H. is borrowed
from the Pentateuchal history or from Jeremiah.
Moreover, the prophet refers to this commandment not to imitate
the heathen, in such a way as to show that he had in mind a defi-
nite system of legislation which contained this precept. In verse
he says that God brought
ness and gave them His “statutes and judgments which if a man do
he shall live by them." Here obviously Ezekiel has specific
enactments in mind. What other enactments can they be than
the ones in Lev. xvii-xxvi, which uniformly speak of themselves
as statutes and judgments, and of which it is said in Lev. xviii. 5
that if a man do them he shall live by them? Among these
statutes and judgments given in the wilderness was the prohibition
of Egyptian idolatry (Ez. xx. 7). This stands in immediate con.
nection with the command to keep all of God's statutes and judg-
ments in Lev. xviii. 5, and it does not occur in this specific form in
any of the other codes to which Ez. might have referred. The
legislation which Ez. had in mind spoke of “hallowing my sab-
baths," but this is an expression which is characteristic of H.
Throughout this chapter, accordingly, Ez. speaks as only a man
could speak who had the legislation of H. before him in written
form (cf. Baentsch, p. 86f.).
The chief coincidences of Ez. with the legislation of H. are found
in chaps. xviii and xxii. Chap. xviii is little more than a
different arrangement of precepts which are found in H. Chap.
xxii enumerates many of the same precepts which are found in
xviii and adds others which are also found in H. In both of these
cases certain collocations of duties are favored by Ez., and are
frequently repeated together with duties which are not found in H.,
that of giving bread to the hungry, of covering the naked with a
garment, and of abstaining from eating upon the mountains or lift-
ing up one's eyes to the
catalogue of duties in Ez. is the basis of the legislation of H., why
114 THE PRESBYTERIAN AND REFORMED REVIEW.
are the laws not found in somewhat the same order in H. in which
they are found in Ez., and why are they not found in combination
with the other duties which Ez. emphasizes? On the supposition
that Ez. quotes H., we cannot explain why the precepts of Ez.
should have been scattered through H. so effectually that no two
stand together, nor why the commandment to aid the poor and the
prohibition of high-place worship should have been omitted. If,
on the other hand, we suppose that Ez. quotes H., we can readily
see how he should have made a selection out of the wealth of
material offered by H. of those particular precepts which seemed to
him most important.
In neither of these chapters does Ez. promulgate his precepts for-
mally as a system of legislation, but in xviii he brings them in as
illustrations of the kind of duties for which men shall be held
individually responsible, and in xxii as illustrations of the crimes
perpetrated by the princes of
that a prophet in calling sinners to account should quote the words
of the law, or that a lawgiver should go to the exhortations of the
prophet in order to find material for his new code?
Again, in these chapters Ez. enumerates without logical order or
principle, while in H. the laws are grouped with fine analytical
skill; and once more we may ask, whether it is more natural to
suppose that H. has classified and enlarged Ezekiel's rambling
statements of duties or that Ez. in quoting the law code from
memory abandoned its formal exactness of structure.
For these reasons we mast admit, it seems to me, that Ez. xviii
and xx necessitate the supposition that the prophet had before him
at least the legislation of Lev. xviii-xix. This is admitted by
Baentsch, the most recent critic of the holiness-legislation, in the
following words, "On the basis of the most conscientious investiga-
tion of details, I have reached the certainty that Lev. xviii-xx
is really older than Ez., and, in fact, in certain passages
underlies the statements of this prophet, I mean Ez. xviii, xx, xxii,
Even those critics who claim that Ez. is earlier than H. are com-
pelled to admit that these particular chapters of Ez. demand the
assumption of an older system of legislation as their basis. Thus
Kuenen says (Onderzoek p. 279), "It is perfectly true that
Ez. xviii. 6, 7 and xxii. 7-12 respectively imply that the com-
mandments now contained in Lev. xviii. 19, 20, xix. 13, 15, 35,
xxv. 14, 17, 36, and Lev. xix. 16, 30, 33, xx. 9, 10, etc., were by
no means evolved after Ezekiel's time, but could be assumed by
him as known to his cotemporaries in pretty much the same form
in which we have them in Pl." This admission Kuenen hastens to
THE HOLINESS-GODE AND EZEKIEL. 115
qualify, however, by the claim that here Ez. is not quoting from
H., but from the sources of H. This is a weak evasion of the
force of the facts. Every indication favors the view that Ez.
quotes H., and there is nothing that is really adverse to this
hypothesis; it is, therefore, wholly unwarranted to assume
earlier sources of H. for which there is no historical evidence.
This method of arguing cuts the foundation from under all
historical criticism, for it makes it impossible to prove
that any document is dependent upon another. By the same
method it would be possible to argue that the Book of the Cove-
nant is later than Deuteronomy, and that the apparent quotation of
it in Deuteronomy is due to use, not of it, but of its sources. Until
the existence of these hypothetical sources can be rendered proba-
ble, we are bound, it seems to me, to recognize that H. as we now
have it was used by Ez.
I conclude this investigation, therefore, with the claim that the
only theory which will explain all the facts of the relation of Ez.
to Lev. xvii-xxvi is that Ez. had this legislation before him as a
written code. The other questions which rise immediately when
this one is settled, whether Ezekiel knew any more of Leviticus
than these chapters, and how long before Ez. the holiness legisla-
tion was written, are problems which cannot be discussed within
the limits of this article.
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