The Holiness-Code and Ezekiel: Paton

                          The Presbyterian and Reformed Review, 26 (1896) 98-115.

                        Public domain. Di gitally prepared by Ted Hildebrandt (2003)  





                                         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 Israel in Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses"

(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

Egypt wherein ye dwelt shall ye not do, and after the doings

of the land of Canaan whither I bring you shall ye not do"

(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


Egypt " (six times). Within each subdivision the method is to

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, Colmar, 1881. Here it will be

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

of Israel" (Lev. xvii. 3, etc.: Ez. xiv. 4, 7); "Shed blood"

(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 Egypt (xviii. 3: Ez. xx. 7f.); "My judgments

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:


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

your yoke" * (13: Ez. xxxiv. 27); "Break my covenant"

(15: Ez. xvi. 59, xvii. 15f., 18f., xliv. 7); "The pride-of your,



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-



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 Israel in his oracles. If he

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



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 Israel in Ez. xl-xlviii is accompanied by no

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 "



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



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 Israel if it continues in sin, and his own personality

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?"



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

theory next.

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.



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.



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,

Erfurt, '93), and other advocates of the priority of Ez. These critics

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

older tradition.



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

of the land of Egypt and is about to enter the land of Canaan, had

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.



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

older work.

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 Israel "

(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



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-

kiel's use of the phrase hvhy ynx. In this simple form it never

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,

5, 19).

The formula" to profane the name of thy God';" or "to profane



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

Israel." In general it may be said that all of the recurrent formulae

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

than Ez.

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,

"After the doings of the land of Egypt wherein ye dwelt shall ye

not do, and after the doings of the land of Canaan whither I bring

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

of the land of Egypt, and in verses 27 sq. he develops the other

theme of doing according to the doings of the land of Canaan. In

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

Israel disobeyed the command in the wilderness and how God pun-

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



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

10f. he says that God brought Israel out of Egypt into the wilder-

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 idols of Israel. Now we may ask, if this

catalogue of duties in Ez. is the basis of the legislation of H., why




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 Jerusalem). Which is more likely,

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



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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