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BOOK OF EXODUS.
became jealous of this foreign band of strangers, and threatened their destruction, when an able and resolute man conceived the idea of freeing his people from oppression, and succeeded in carrying it into execution'. This forms the completion of the mighty drama, and all the critical objections or inferences in any way connected with it have been already fully examined?
The remaining portion of Exodus, to which the author is evidently in haste to proceed, contains laws for the most part of a sacerdotal character, which are promulgated in a continuous series; and the scene of legislation remains on Mount Sinai (on which Moses had been originally consecrated to his office at the burning bush3), until the holy tent or tabernacle was prepared for the abode of Jehovah. The act of promulgation itself was concealed by a brilliant manifestation of the Deity. ..
The sacerdotal legislation is continued in the third book (called Leviticus) which is occupied with various laws regarding the feasts and sacrifices and the ritual ; it contains fuller details, or repetitions, of many points which had been previously noticed; but the whole is more loosely connected, and the general formula, that “ Jehovah spake unto Moses,” supplies an easy means of prolonging the narrative at pleasure.
The fourth book (Numbers) commences with a census of the people, whence it derives its name; and it proceeds not merely to detail the wanderings of the Hebrews in the
· Exod. i.-xviii. 26.
3 Called sēneh, which has an etymological similarity with Sinai. “ And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush : and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.”Exod. iii. 2.
BOOK OF NUMBERS.
Arabian desert?, but to supply several additions to the laws; and it would appear, from its want of plan (which has often been a matter of surprize), that it was merely intended to form a supplement to the two books which precede it. Many of its laws are however new, especially those of a statistical nature; such for instance as relate to the census, the encampment, the boundaries of Canaan, &c.; and in this point of view the book of Numbers might be termed the code of state laws of the Israelites. The concluding verse? would seem to imply that the compiler considered the code as complete; for the people had reached the plains of Moab on the Jordan, opposite to Jericho, and were ready to advance into Palestine; the conquest of that country had already commenced, dispositions had been even made for dividing it into the districts which were subsequently assigned to the tribes, and the necessary instructions had been given to Joshua; so that we might have proceeded at once, without any break in the narrative, to the book of Joshua; yet notwithstanding this, the fifth book begins afresh with the earlier laws, and recounts them all over again, but with so many modifications and contradictions, not necessarily implying the existence of the preceding books, as would seem to countenance the opinion that this compendium of the laws, which makes most decided claim to the name and authority of Moses, and is the first which is cited in history, was also the first which existed in a written form4. This book, named from its
See supra, Chapter VIII. p. 86. ? “These are the commandments and the judgements, which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses unto the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.”—Numb. xxxvi. 13.
3 See chapter xxxii. 4 See supra, Chapter XXI., and De Wette, Einleitung (Introd.) $ 156,
repetition of the law, Deuteronomy (or second law], shows more internal connection than those which precede it, and presents a very different and almost entirely apologetic character. It is written in an independent but somewhat diffuse and rhetorical style, and not unfrequently adopts, a moralizing tone, or that style of paternal admonition which characterizes the later prophets'. The language is clearly that of the later literary period, as De Wette and Gesenius have completely succeeded in showing?. In short, both the style of expression and the mode of conception belong completely to the period of the Babylonish exile; the blessing and the prayer of Moses more especially are written precisely in the poetical style of Jeremiah, though the blessing [of the twelve tribes] is a manifest imitation of the 49th chapter of Genesis. And yet, strange as it may seem, these very indications of a later age have been actually used to prove that the book of Deuteronomy was written by Moses himself. Jahn very characteristically commences his defence of the Pentateuch with this books, in which, as he tells us, “ Moses has fallen into that diffuse and garrulous style common to old age;" and he then proceeds to infer an earlier date for the preceding books, by showing their connection with it. Eichhorn supposes that “we hear the voice of the aged father on the very brink of the grave.” Rosenmüller also has recourse to this proof of the declining powers of Moses“, to say nothing of the insignificant apology of Werners.
See Vater, Comm. iï. 693. ? De Wette, Dissertatio, &c., Jenæ, 1805. Gesenius, Gesch. der hebr. Spr. (Hist. of Heb. Lang.) p. 32. 3 Einleitung (Introd.) ii. 15.
4 Prol. p. 12. 5 Geschichtliche Auffassung der drey ersten Kapit. der Genesis. Historical Conception of the three first chapters of Genesis, p. 67, &c.]
De Wette, on the other hand, commences his critical remarks on Deuteronomy with the assertion, that if in the preceding books of the Pentateuch the reader may have held firm his belief in a prevailing tradition, or in a partial historical foundation, this book (of Deuteronomy) seems as if written purposely to refute such a belief, inasmuch as the traces of fiction in it are manifest enough to convince the most careless observert. Some of the preceding chapters of this work? have already sufficiently decided on which side the balance of evidence preponderates [i. e. in favour of the origin of the Pentateuch at a much later date than that of Moses].
THEORY RESPECTING THE PORTIONS OF THE PENTA
TEUCH WHICH ARE SEVERALLY CHARACTERIZED BY THE ADOPTION OF THE NAMES OF ELOHIM OR JEHO
VAH FOR THE DEITY.-UNITY OF GENESIS. The fragmentary structure of Genesis was long since noticed by Vitringa, Rich. Simon, Le Clerc, and other writers; but it was not until the middle of the eighteenth century that a physician, named Astruc, suggested a critical theory, which appeared to throw a new light on the manner in which Genesis (and more or less the whole Pentateuch) had been originally composed?
It is known to be the practice of eastern historians to borrow whole passages, word for word, from other writers, without stating their authority, and to work up their own materials with the expressions and phrases of their predecessors?. Now the clearest proofs exist of the adoption of this practice by the Hebrews, particularly in the books of the Kings and Chronicles, which contain extracts from more ancient annals; and Astruc distinguished two principal narratives in Genesis, which the composer appeared to have adopted with all their peculiarities of style and conception, scarcely making an attempt to incorporate them
Conjectures sur les Mémoires Originaux dont il paroit que Moise se servit pour composer le livre de la Génese. Bruxelles, 1753.
2 For examples see Stähelin, Krit. Untersuchungen über die Genesis (Critical Researches on Genesis), p. 114. Basle, 1830.