Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel, by Julius Wellhausen, , at sacred-texts.com
In the history of Hebrew literature, so full as it is of unfortunate accidents, one lucky circumstance at least requires to be specially mentioned. Chronicles did not succeed in superseding the historical books upon which it was founded; the older and the newer version have been preserved together. But in Judges, Samuel, and Kings even, we are not presented with tradition purely in its original condition; already it is overgrown with later accretions. Alongside of an older narrative a new one has sprung up, formerly independent, and intelligible in itself, though in many instances of course adapting itself to the former. More frequently the new forces have not caused the old root to send forth a new stock, or even so much as a complete branch; they have only nourished parasitic growths; the earlier narrative has become clothed with minor and dependent additions. To vary the metaphor, the whole area of tradition has finally been uniformly covered with an alluvial deposit by which the configuration of the surface has been determined. It is with this last that we have to deal in the first instance; to ascertain its character, to find out what the active forces were by which it was produced. Only afterwards are we in a position to attempt to discern in the earlier underlying formation the changing spirit of each successive period.
1. The following prologue supplies us with the point of view from which the period of the judges is estimated. "After the death of Joshua, the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, the Baals and Astartes. And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He delivered them into the hands of
spoilers, that spoiled them and sold them into the hand of their enemies round about; whithersoever they went out the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them; and they were greatly distressed. Nevertheless the Lord raised up unto them judges, and was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge, for it repented the Lord because of their groanings, by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. And it came to pass when the judge was dead that they returned and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way. And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel," &c. &c. (Judges ii.).
Such is the text, afterwards come the examples. "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and forget the Lord their God, and served the Baals and Astartes. Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Chushan-Rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia, and they served him eight years. And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised up to them a helper, Othniel b. Kenaz, and delivered the king of Mesopotamia into his hand, and the land had rest forty years. And Othniel b. Kenaz died." The same points of view and also for the most part the same expressions as those which in the case of Othniel fill up the entire cadre, recur in the cases of Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson, but there form only at the beginning and at the end of the narratives a frame which encloses more copious and richer contents, occasionally they expand into more exhaustive disquisitions, as in vi. 7, x. 6. It is in this way that Judges ii.-xvi. has been constructed with the workman-like regularity it displays. Only the six great judges, however are included within the scheme; the six small ones stand in an external relation to it, and have a special scheme to themselves, doubtless having been first added by way of appendix to complete the number twelve.
The features which characterise this method of historical work are few and strongly distinctive. A continuous chronology connects the times of rest and their separating intervals, and thereby the continuity of the periods is secured. In order justly to estimate this chronology, it is necessary to travel somewhat beyond the limits of Judges. The key to it is to be found in 1 Kings vi. 1. "In the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of
Egypt, in the fourth year of the reign of Solomon, he began to build the house of the Lord." As observed by Bertheau, and afterwards by Nöldeke, who has still farther pursued the subject, these 480 years correspond to 12 generations of 40 years each. Analogously in 1 Chron. v. 29-34 [vi. 2-8], 12 high priests from Aaron to Ahimaaz are assumed for the same period of time, and the attempt was made to make their successions determine those of the generations (Num. xxxv. 28). Now it is certainly by no means at once clear how this total is to be brought into accord with the individual entries. Yet even these make it abundantly plain that 40 is the fundamental number of the reckoning. The wandering in the wilderness, during which the generation born in Egypt dies out, lasts for 40 years; the land has 40 years of rest under Othniel, Deborah, and again under Gideon; it has 80 under Ehud; the domination of the Philistines lasts for 40 years, the duration also of David's reign. On the necessary assumption that the period of the Philistines (Judges xiii. 1), which far exceeds the ordinary duration of the foreign dominations, coincides with that of Eli (1 Sam. iv. 18), and at the same time includes the 20 years of Samson (Judges xvi. 31), and the 20 of the interregnum before Samuel (1 Sam. vii. 2), we have already 8 × 40 accounted for, while 4 × 40 still remain. For these we must take into account first the years of the two generations for which no numbers are given, namely, the generation of Joshua and his surviving contemporaries (Judges ii. 7), and that of Samuel to Saul, each, it may be conjectured, having the normal 40, and the two together certainly reckoning 80 years. For the remaining 80 the most disputable elements are the 71 years of interregna or of foreign dominations, and the 70 of the minor judges. One perceives that these two figures cannot both be counted in,—they are mutually exclusive equivalents. For my own part, I prefer to retain the interregna; they alone, so far as we can see at present, being appropriate to the peculiar scheme of the Book of Judges. The balance of 9 or 10 years still remaining to be applied are distributed between Jephthah (6 years), and Solomon (down to the building of the temple), who claims 3 or 4 years, or, if these are left out of account, 3 years may be given to Abimelech.
The main thing, however, is not the chronology, but the religious connection of the events. The two are intimately associated, not only formally, as can be gathered from the scheme, but also by a real inner connection. For what is aimed at in both alike is a connected view of
large periods of time, a continuous survey of the connection and succession of race after race, the detailed particulars of the occurrences being disregarded; the historical factors with which the religious pragmatism here has to do are so uniform that the individual periods in reality need only to be filled up with the numbers of the years. One is reminded of the "Satz," "Gegensatz," and "Vermittelung" of the Hegelian philosophy when one's ear has once been caught by the monotonous beat with which the history here advances, or rather moves in a circle. Rebellion, affliction, conversion, peace; rebellion, affliction, conversion, peace. The sole subjects of all that is said are Jehovah and Israel; their mutual relation alone it is that keeps the course of things in motion, and that too in opposite directions, so that in the end matters always return to their original position.
"They did what was evil in the sight of Jehovah, they went a-whoring after strange gods,"—such is the uninterrupted key-note. Although Jehovistic monolatry is so potently recommended from without, it yet takes no firm root, never becomes natural to the people, always remains a precept above and beyond their powers. For decennia on end indeed they hold fast to it, but soon their idolatrous tendency, which has only been repressed by fear of the judge during his lifetime, again finds expression; they must have a change. Now this rebellion is indeed quite indispensable for the pragmatism, because otherwise there would be nothing at all to tell; it is on the unrest in the clock that the whole movement depends. But at the same time this is of course no extenuation; the conduct of the people is manifestly totally inexcusable, the main actions, the deeds of the judges, are for this manner of historical treatment always only proofs of Israel's sin and of the unmerited grace of Jehovah that puts them to shame.
That all this is no part of the original contents of the tradition, but merely a uniform in which it is clothed, is admitted. Numero Deus impare gaudet. It is usual to call this later revision Deuteronomistic. The law which Jehovah has enjoined upon the fathers, and the breach of which He has threatened severely to punish (ii. 15, 21), is not indeed more definitely characterised, but it is impossible to doubt that its quintessence is the injunction to worship Jehovah alone and no other God. Now in this connection it is impossible to think of the Priestly Code, for in that document such a command is nowhere expressly enjoined, but, on the contrary, is assumed as a matter of course.
[paragraph continues] Deuteronomy, on the other hand, has in fact no precept on which it lays greater emphasis than the "Hear, O Israel"—that Jehovah is the only God, and the worship of strange gods the sin of sins. This precept was apprehended much more clearly by contemporaries than the moral demands in the interest of humanity and kindness which are also insisted on in Deuteronomy, but are not new, being derived from older collections; on this side alone, in so far as it follows up the monotheism of the prophets into its practical consequences within the sphere of worship, has Josiah's law-book had historical importance, on this side alone has it continued to act upon Ezekiel and those who came after him. If, then, the norm of the theocratic relationship assumed in the redaction of the Book of Judges is to be sought in a written Torah, this can indubitably only be that of Deuteronomy. The decisive settlement of the question depends in a comparison with the Book of Kings, and must accordingly be postponed until then.
2. As for the relation between this superstructure and that on which it rests, there is a striking difference between the two styles. The revised form in which the Book of Judges found its way into the canon is unquestionably of Judæan origin, but the histories themselves are not such,—nay, in the song of Deborah, Judah is not reckoned at all as belonging to Israel. The one judge who belongs to the tribe of Judah is Othniel, who however is not a person, but only a clan. What is said of him is quite void of contents, and is made up merely of the schematic devices of the redactor, who has set himself to work here, so as to make the series open with a man of Judah; the selection of Othniel was readily suggested by Judges i. 12-15. Here again we have an exception which proves the rule. More important are the inner differences which reveal themselves. To begin with the most general,—the historical continuity on which so much stress is laid by the scheme, is in no way shown in the individual narratives of the Book of Judges. These stand beside one another unconnectedly and without any regard to order or sequence, like isolated points of light which emerge here and there out of the darkness of forgetfulness. They make no presence of actually filling up any considerable space of time; they afford no points of attachment whereon to fasten a chronology. In truth, it is hardly the dim semblance of a continuity that is imparted to the tradition by the empty framework of the scheme. The conception of a period of the judges between Joshua and Saul, during which judges ruled over Israel
and succeeded one another almost as regularly as did the kings at a later period, is quite foreign to that tradition. It is impossible to doubt that Judges i., xvii., xviii. have the best right to be reckoned as belonging to the original stock; but these portions are excluded from reception within the scheme, because they have nothing to say about any judges, and give a picture of the general state of affairs which accords but ill with that plan. 1
At the bottom of the spurious continuity lies an erroneous widening of the areas in which the judges exerted their influence. Out of local contiguity has arisen succession in time, what was true of the part having been transferred to the whole; it is always the children of Israel in a body who come upon the scene, are oppressed by the enemy, and ruled by the judges. In reality it is only the individual tribes that come into the action; the judges are tribal heroes,—Ehud of Benjamin, Barak and Deborah of Issachar, Gideon of Joseph, Jephthah of Gilead, Samson of Dan. It was only for the struggle against Sisera that a number of tribes were united, receiving on that account extraordinary praise in the song of Deborah. It is nowhere said "at the time when the judges ruled," but "at the time when there was yet no king over Israel, and every man did what was right in his own eyes;" the regular constitution of the period is the patriarchal anarchy of the system of families and septs. And in chap. i, division and isolation are made to appear not unclearly as the reason why the Canaanites were so long of being driven out from the greater cities; matters did not change until Israel became strong, that is to say, until his forces were welded into one by means of the monarchy.
But the unity of Israel is the presupposition upon which rests the theocratic relation, the reciprocal attitude between Israel and Jehovah, whereby according to the scheme the course of the history is solely conditioned. In the genuine tradition the presupposition disappears, and in connection with this the whole historical process assumes an essentially different, not to say a more natural aspect. The people are no longer as a body driven hither and thither by the same internal and external impulses, and everything that happens is no longer made to depend on the attraction and repulsion exercised by Jehovah. Instead of the alternating see-saw of absolute peace and absolute affliction, there prevails throughout the whole period a relative unrest; here peace, there struggle and conflict. Failure and success alternate, but not as the uniform consequences of loyalty or disobedience to the covenant. When the anonymous prophet who, in the insertion in the last redaction (chap. vi. 7-10), makes his appearance as suddenly as his withdrawal is abrupt, improves the visitation of the Midianites as the text for a penitential discourse, the matter is nevertheless looked at immediately thereafter with quite different eyes. For to the greeting of the angel, "Jehovah is with thee, thou mighty man of velour," Gideon answers, "If Jehovah be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all His miracles, of which our fathers told us? "He knows nothing about any guilt on the part of Israel. Similarly the heroic figures of the judges refuse to fit in with the story of sin and rebellion: they are the pride of their countrymen, and not humiliating reminders that Jehovah had undeservedly again and again made good that which men had destroyed. Finally, with what artificiality the sins which appear to be called for are produced, is incidentally made very clear. After the death of Gideon we read in chap. viii. 33, "the children of Israel went a-whoring after the Baals, and made Baal Berith their god." But from the following chapter it appears that Baal or El Berith was only the patron god of Shechem and some other cities belonging to the Canaanites; the redactor transforms the local worship of the Canaanites into an idolatrous worship on the part of all Israel. In other cases his procedure is still more simple,—for example, in x. 6 seq., where the number seven in the case of the deities corresponds with the number seven of the nations mentioned in that connection. Ordinarily he is content with "Baals" or "Astartes" or "Asheras," where the plural number is enough to show how little of what is individual or positive
underlies the idea, not to mention that Asheras are no divinities at all, but only sacred trees or poles.
In short, what is usually given out as the peculiar theocratic element in the history of Israel is the element which has been introduced by the redaction. There sin and grace are introduced as forces into the order of events in the most mechanical way, the course of events is systematically withdrawn from all analogy, miracles are nothing extraordinary, but are the regular form in which things occur, are matters of course, and produce absolutely no impression. This pedantic supra-naturalism, "sacred history" according to the approved recipe, is not to be found in the original accounts. In these Israel is a people just like other people, nor is even his relationship to Jehovah otherwise conceived of than is for example that of Moab to Chemosh (chap. xi. 24). Of theophanies and manifestations of the Godhead there is no lack, but the wonders are such as to make one really wonder. Once and again they interrupt the earthly nexus, but at the same time they form no connected system; they are poetry, not prose and dogma. But on the whole the process of history, although to appearance rougher and more perplexed, is nevertheless in reality much more intelligible, and though seemingly more broken up, actually advances more continuously. There is an ascent upward to the monarchy, not a descent from the splendid times of Moses and Joshua (Judges i. 28-35, xiii. 5, xviii. 1).
One narrative, it is true, apart from that relating to Othniel, which is not to be reckoned here, is exactly what sacred history ought to be in order to fit into the theoretical scheme,—I mean Judges xix.-xxi. To appreciate it rightly it will be well first of all to cast a glance upon the preceding narrative relating to the migration of the tribe of Dan to the north. The Danites, 600 strong, fall upon the Canaanite town of Laish not because it lies within the limits assigned to the people of God, and because its conquest is a duty—though they inquire of the oracle, they are nevertheless far from relying on the divine right so plainly made known in the Book of Joshua—but because it is inhabited by a peaceable and unsuspecting people, which is quite defenceless against such a band of desperadoes; and they have as little scruple in practicing the same treachery to Israelites such as Micah. They take it that might is right, and recognise no restraining consideration; their conduct is natural to the verge of absolute shamelessness. And
yet they are pious in their way; how highly they value Jehovah they show by this, that they steal His image out of the house of God, and the priest who keeps it into the bargain. As for the religious usages mentioned in the two chapters, hardly an abomination forbidden by the Law is wanting: the private sanctuary in the possession of the Ephraimite Micah, the grandson of Moses as priest in his service and pay, ephod and teraphim as the requisite necessaries in the worship of Jehovah; and yet all this is so recounted by the narrator as if it were all quite regular and void of offence, although his purpose in doing so is not to narrate temporary departures from rule, but the origin of permanent institutions at a chief sanctuary of ancient Israel. One is translated into another world on passing from this to the narrative immediately following, about the shameful deed of the Benjamites and their exemplary punishment; a greater or more instructive contrast as regards religious history is hardly to be found in all the Old Testament. In Judges xx.-xxi. it is not as invariably elsewhere the individual tribes which act, not even the people Israel, but the congregation of the covenant, which has its basis in the unity of worship. The occasion of their action is a sin committed in their midst which must be done away; it is the sanctity of the theocracy which brings these 400,000 men to arms and fills them at once with unction and with sanguinary zeal. The clerical instincts have entirely taken possession of this uniform mass, have passed into their flesh and blood, and moulded them into a single automaton, so that all that takes place is invariably done by all at once. No individuals come to the front, not even by name, still less by deeds of velour; the moral tone is anything but heroic. When the godless reprobates of Gibeah seek to assail the person of the Levite who is passing the night there, he hands over to them his wife in order to save himself, and all Israel finds nothing objectionable in this revolting act of cowardice, the opinion probably being that by his conduct the holy man had kept the sinners from still graver guilt. "Of the Mosaic law not a word is said in these chapters, but who could fail to perceive that the spirit which finds its expression in the law pervaded the community which acted thus? Had we more narratives of similar contents we should be able to solve many a riddle of the Pentateuch. Where under the monarchy could we find an Israel so united, vigorous, earnest, so willing to enter upon the severest conflict for the sake of the highest ends? "Thus Bertheau, rightly feeling that this story has a quite
exceptional position, and contradicts all that we learn from other quarters of the period of the judges or even the kings. Only we cannot reckon it a proof of the historic value of the story, that it gives the lie to the rest of the tradition in the Books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings, and is homogeneous not with these books but with the Law. On the other hand, the writer betrays himself with a self-contradiction, when, unconsciously remembering the preceding chapters, he laments the disorganisation of the time he is dealing with (xix. 1, xxi. 25), and yet describes Israel to us as existing in a religious centralisation, such as demonstrably was never attained in the earlier life of the nation, but only came about as a consequence of the exile, and is the distinctive mark of Judaism.
As this narrative is not one of those included in the Deuteronomistic scheme of the Book of Judges, there may be a question whether it presupposes the Deuteronomic law only, or the priestly law as well. Its language has most points of contact with Deuteronomy; but one extremely important expression and notion, that of "the congregation of the children of Israel," points rather to the Priestly Code. The same may be said of Phinehas ben Eleazar ben Aaron (xx. 28). The latter, however, occurs but once, and that in a gloss which forms a very awkward interruption between "and the children of Israel inquired of Jehovah," and the word "saying" which belongs to that phrase. We have also to remark that there is no mention of the tabernacle, for which there is no room in addition to Mizpeh (p. 256), so that the principal mark of the Priestly Code is wanting. It is only in preparation, it has not yet appeared: we are still standing on the ground of Deuteronomy, but the way is being prepared for the transition.
3. Going a step further back from the last revision we meet with an earlier effort in the same direction, which, however, is less systematically worked out, in certain supplements and emendations, which have here and there been patched on to the original narratives. These may be due in part to the mere love of amplification or of talking for talking's sake, and in so far we have no further business with them here. But they originated partly in the difficulty felt by a later age in sympathising with the religious usages and ideas of older times. Two instances of this kind occur in the history of Gideon. We read (vi. 25-32), that in the night after his call Gideon destroyed, at the commandment of Jehovah, the altar of Baal in Ophra, his native town, as well as the
[paragraph continues] Ashera which stood beside it; and that in place of it he built an altar to Jehovah, and burned on it a yearling bullock, with the wood of the Ashera for fuel. The next morning the people of Ophra were full of indignation, and demanded that the author of the outrage should be given up to them to be put to death; his father, however, withstood them, saying, "Will ye contend for Baal? Will ye save him? If he be a god, let Baal contend (Heb. Jareb Baal) for himself." In consequence of this speech Gideon received his second name of Jerubbaal. This conflicts with what is said in an earlier part of the chapter. There Gideon has already made an altar of the great stone under the oak of Ophra, where he saw Jehovah sitting, and has offered upon it the first sacrifice, which was devoured by flames breaking out of themselves, the Deity Himself ascending in the flames to heaven. Why the two altars and the two stories of their inauguration, both tracing their origin to the patron of Ophra? They do not agree together, and the reason is plain why the second was added. The altar of a single stone, the flames bursting out of it, the evergreen tree, the very name of which, Ela, seems to indicate a natural connection with El, 1—all this was in the eyes of a later generation far from correct, indeed it was Baal-work. A desire that the piety of Gideon should be above suspicion gave rise to the second story, in which he erects an altar of Jehovah in place of the former altar of Baal. How far this desire attained its end we may best judge from the kindred effort to remove another ground of offence, which lies in the name Jerubbaal. In accordance with the occasion out of which the name is said to have arisen it is said to mean, "Let Baal contend." Etymologically this derivation is extremely far-fetched, and from every point of view impossible: the name of a god is only assumed by those who are his worshippers. In Hebrew antiquity Baal and El are interchangeable and used indifferently; Jehovah Himself is spoken of up to the times of the prophet Hosea as the Baal, i.e., the lord. This is distinctly proved by a series of proper names in the families of Saul and David, Ishbaal, Meribaal, Baaljada, to which we may now add the name Jerubbaal given to the conqueror of Midian.
[paragraph continues] If then even in the time of the kings Baal was by no means simply the antipode of Jehovah, whence the hostile relation of the two deities, which Jerubbaal displays by the acts he does, although he praises the great Baal by wearing his name? The view, also, that the Ashera was incompatible with the worship of Jehovah, does not agree with the belief of the earlier age; according to Deut. xvi. 21, these artificial trees must have stood often enough beside the altars of Jehovah. The inserted passage itself betrays in a remarkable manner that its writer felt this sort of zeal for the legitimate worship to be above the level of the age in question. We receive the impression that the inhabitants of Ophra do not know their worship of Baal to be illegitimate, that Gideon also had taken part in it in good faith, and that there had never been an altar of Jehovah in the place before.
Of a somewhat different form is a correction which is to be found at the close of the history of Gideon (viii. 22 seq.). After the victory over the Midianites the Israelites are said to have asked Gideon to be king over them. This he declined out of regard to Jehovah the sole ruler of Israel, but he asked for the gold nose-rings which had been taken from the enemy, and made of them an image of Jehovah, an ephod, which he set up in Ophra to be worshipped. "And all Israel went thither a-whoring after it, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his house." Now the way in which such a man acts in such a moment is good authority for the state of the worship of Israel at the time, and not only so, but we cannot impute it to the original narrator that he chose to represent his hero as showing his thankfulness to the Deity by the most gratuitous declension from His worship, as in fact crowning His victory with an act of idolatry. This is seen to be the more impossible when we consider that according to the testimony of Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah, such images were even in the Assyrian period a regular part of the belongings of the "houses of God" not only in Samaria but in Judah as well. We have also to remember that the contradiction between a human kingship and the kingship of Jehovah, such as is spoken of in these verses, rests upon theories which arose later, and of which we shall have more to say. 1 Studer will thus be correct in his assertion that the
old tradition could not see anything in Gideon's refusing the gold for himself and dedicating it to God but a fine proof of his unselfishness and piety, and that in viii. 22-27 we have a secondary product, in which the original features of the story are distorted so as to make them suit later tastes. The second hand has unfortunately supplanted in this instance the work of the first. The older narrative breaks off (viii. 21) with the words: "Gideon took away the ornaments that were on the necks of the camels of the kings." What he did with them we do not learn, but naturally we must suppose that it was of them that he made the ephod. According to the secondary passage, which begins immediately after viii. 21, he used for this purpose the nose-rings which the whole of Israel had taken from all the Midianites, amounting in weight to 1700 shekels, besides the ornaments of the kings and of their camels. The proportion is similar to that between the 600 Danites in chap. xviii. and the 25,700 Benjamites in chap. xx., or between the 40,000 men of Israel in v. 8, and the 400,000 in xx. 2.
4. In the last place it is possible to trace even in the original narratives themselves certain differences of religious attitude which indicate to us unobtrusively and yet clearly that tendency in the development of the tradition which reached its end in the revision and ornamentation of which we have hitherto been speaking. This is especially the case with regard to those narratives which are preserved to us in a double form. These are not frequent in Judges, but they do occur. A very simple case of the kind is seen on comparing chap. iv. with chap. v.
The Canaanites again lift their heads under their great king Sisera, and from their towns in the plains harass the hill villages of the new settlers. Deborah unites the Hebrew tribes for the contest. From the North and from the South the hosts of Jehovah descend before our eyes towards Jezreel, the prophetess Deborah at their head, the warrior Barak at her side. The conflict takes place at the brook Kishon, and ends with the defeat of the kings of Canaan. Sisera himself is killed in the flight by Jael, the wife of a nomad Kenite. Such are the contents of the song in chap. v. In the preceding narrative (chap. iv.) we should expect to find a historical commentary on the song, but we find a mere reproduction in which the special features of the story are blurred and falsified. Instead of the kings of Canaan we have the king of Canaan, as if Canaan had been a kingdom. Sisera, the head of the Canaanite kings, is transformed into a mere general; the oppression of
the Hebrews is made general and indefinite. Jael murders Sisera when he is lying in a deep sleep by driving a tent-peg into the ground through his temples. There is nothing of this in the song: there he is drinking when she strikes the blow, and is conceived as standing at the time, else he could not bow down at her feet and fall, and lie struck dead where he fell (ver. 27).
In the song the campaign is prepared with human means. Negotiations are carried on among the tribes, and in the course of these differences crop up. The lukewarmness or the swelling words of some tribes are reproved, the energetic public spirit and warlike courage of others praised. In the narrative, on the contrary, the deliverance is the work of Jehovah alone; the men of Israel are mere dummies, who show no merit and deserve no praise. To make up for this, interest is concentrated on the act of Jael, which instead of being an episode becomes the central point of the whole narrative. Indeed it is announced as being so, for Deborah prophesies to Barak that the glory of the conflict will not be his but a woman's, into whose hand the enemy is to be sold; it is not the hero, not human strength, that accomplishes what is done: Jehovah shows His strength in man's weakness. And Barak's part in the work is depreciated in yet another way. Deborah summons him to go not to the battle, but to the holy hill of Tabor, where Jehovah will bring about what is further to happen; he, however, objects to this, and insists that the prophetess herself shall go with him. This is regarded as a caprice of unbelief, because the prophetess is thought to have exhausted her mission when she transmitted the command of the Deity to His instrument: she has appeared for no end but to make it known through her prophecy that Jehovah alone brings everything to pass. In the song this is different. There Barak is not summoned against his will; on the contrary, he has a personal motive for taking up arms: "Arise, Barak; take captive thy captors, thou son of Ahinoam." And the prophetess has not only to prophesy; she works in a more psychological manner; she is part of the battle, and inflames with her song the courage of the fighting battalions: "Awake, Deborah, awake, sing the song!" 1 Throughout these variations of the prose reproduction we feel that the rich colour of the events as they occurred is bleached
out of them by the one universal first cause, Jehovah. The presence and energy of Jehovah are not wanting in the song; they are felt in the enthusiasm which fills the Hebrew warriors, and in the terror and panic which confound the prancing vigour of the foe. But in the prose narrative, the Divine action is stripped of all mystery, and mechanic prophecy finds no difficulty in showing distinctly and with sober accuracy what the part of the Deity in the history has been. But the more special the intervention of Deity, the further is it from us; the more precise the statements about it, the less do we feel it to be there.
There is another instance in the Book of Judges of the occurrence of the same historical material in two different forms; it is the story of Gideon of the Manassite house of Abiezer. Studer saw that there is a break between viii. 3 and viii. 4, and that the two stories, from the one of which we pass to the other at that point, have to be understood separately; viii. 1-3 is the conclusion of the first story. We have been told how, after the success of the first attack on the Midianites, Gideon raised the levy of all Israel for the pursuit, and how then the Ephraimites seized the fords of the Jordan before the arrival of the flying nomads and got the two leaders of the Midianites into their hands. Now we hear in conclusion that the Ephraimites, elated by their success began to find fault with Gideon, but that he pacified their wrath by saying, "What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? God hath delivered into your hand the princes of Midian, and what was I able to do in comparison of you?" A domestic contention like this about the respective shares in the victory could only arise when the victory had been gained, when the strife with the enemy was fought out; the metaphor of harvest and gleaning shows that the victory was complete and all the fruits of it gathered in. Chapter viii. 1-3 concludes the business, and the following narrative is not a continuation of what has gone before, but a second version of the story in which many of the circumstances are quite different. According to vii. 23 seq. there was a great army on foot, but in viii. 4 seq. Gideon has only his own three hundred men with him. In viii. 1-3 the vintage and the gleaning are over and the object of the fighting is attained; but in viii. 4 seq. Gideon pursues the enemy without any interruption, and when he asks the men of Succoth and Penuel for bread for his wearied and hungry troops, they inquire sarcastically whether he is already certain of success, so that
it should be necessary for them to espouse his cause. The two chiefs who in the former account are called the princes Oreb and Zeeb, and are already taken, are here called the kings Zebah and Zalmunna, and are not taken yet. Unfortunately the beginning of viii. 4 seq. is not preserved, and we cannot make out whether the pursuit in which we find Gideon here engaged was preceded by an action. Such a supposition is not exactly impossible, yet the distance to which the nomads had carried their booty, and their carelessness in camp, make it more likely that the occurrence was like that in 1 Sam. xxx. This, however, makes no difference as to the particulars with regard to which the two narratives conflict with each other.
But how did the difference arise? This we shall best learn by comparing the beginnings of the two stories. We remarked that the second, as it stands, wanted a beginning, but what is wanting may be to some extent supplied from what follows. According to viii. 4 seq., Gideon's aim is to get hold of the two kings of the Midianites: these appear all through as the particular enemies whom he is pursuing: as to the rest of the Midianites he is more or less indifferent. And the reason, as we learn from viii. 18 seq., is that the two kings had slain his brothers at Tabor; it is to take vengeance for them that he sets out to pursue the slayers, and does not rest till they are in his hand. It is the duty of blood-revenge which causes him to take the war-path with his household, unconcerned by the disproportion in numbers between his followers and theirs: it is the powerful sentiment of family which sets him in motion and causes him to become, as it were incidentally, the liberator of Israel from the spoilers. In the first account (vi. 11-viii. 3) these natural motives have completely disappeared, and others have taken their place which are almost of an opposite character. Before anything has happened, before the Midianites have made their yearly incursion, Gideon, who expects nothing of the kind, is summoned by a theophany to battle against them. When they arrive he is seized by the Spirit and sets out against them. What is human in him has no part in the act he is called to do; flesh and blood set themselves against it. He is impelled by the direct impulse of Jehovah, and here, of course, he goes forth in behalf of the public interests of Israel, against the Midianites, not against their princes personally. And accordingly everything possible is done to cast the man into the shade behind the Deity. Gideon, according to the second account a distinguished and
royal man, is in the first of a poor house and family; in the second story he is remarkable for irrepressible energy, but here he is timid and shrinking up to the last moment, and new miracles have constantly to be wrought to encourage and strengthen him. The 32,000 men with whom he takes the field he is ordered by Jehovah to send away all but l,000 and again all but 300, "lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me, and say, Mine own hand hath saved me." The weapons with which the nocturnal attack of the 300 is made are torches, pitchers, and trumpets; the men have not a hand left to hold swords (vii. 20); and the hostile army has accordingly to do itself the work of its own destruction (vii. 22).
Few of the deviations of the religious version from the natural one are not transparent; one of these few is the removal of the scene to this side of the Jordan. Most of them are at once recognisable as due to the process of glorification, illumination, and religious inflation, by which the body of the tradition is etherealised and the story lifted up into the region of the air. For example, the company of Gideon at the main action, the attack on the hostile camp, consists of 300 men in chap. vii. as well as in chap viii.; but in chap. vii., to draw out the significance of the small number, they are treated as the last residuum of what was at first quite a considerable army; and this gives rise to a long story. We may also remark that chap. vi. begins with the relation in which the judge stood to the sanctuary of his native town, while chap. viii. closes with this. In the one case he discovers by a theophany, like the patriarchs in Genesis, the sacredness of the altar-stone under the oak; in the other he sets up, in far more realistic fashion, the plated image (ephod) he has made of the golden ornaments of the Midianite kings. History has to take account principally, if not exclusively, of the natural version, which is dry in tone and lets things speak for themselves, not overlaying the simple story with the significance of its consequences. The relation, however, is somewhat different from that which we found existing between Judges iv. and v. Chap. vi. seq. is not based directly on chap. viii., but was probably formed from independent oral material Though the local colour is lively, the historical reminiscences are extremely vague, and there has been a much freer growth of legend than in Jud. iv., producing pictures of greater art and more naïveté. But in the field of miracle poetry is manifestly earlier than prose.
In the case of those narratives which have come down to us in double form, the difference of standpoint is unmistakable; but it may also be perceived in cases where we have no direct parallels to compare. How noticeably does the story of Abimelech differ, say from that of Jephthah which follows it, in the rich detail of its facts, and in the spontaneous interest it shows in the secondary and subordinate links in the chain of events! There is no gilding with a supernatural nimbus; facts are simply and plainly set down such as they are; the moral is left to speak for itself as the story goes on. In the Samson legends again we find two souls united, as it were, in one body. Traits belonging to the rough life and spirit of the people are wrought, especially at the beginning and end of the narrative, into a religious national form; yet the two stand in an inner contrast to each other, and it is scarcely probable that the exploits of this grotesque religious hero were at first conceived in the Spirit of Jehovah, of which, in the story as we have it, they are the product. More probably the religious way of telling the story was preceded by a way considerably more profane; but we cannot now separate the older stage from that which is more recent. We may also remark that the contrast of historical and unhistorical is obviously inapplicable to this case, and, moreover, is unessential for the end we have in view. Only it may stand as a general principle, that the nearer history is to its origin the more profane it is. In the pre-Deuteronomic narratives, the difference is to be recognised less in the kind of piety than in the degree of it.
1. The comprehensive revision which we noticed in the Book of Judges has left its mark on the Books of Samuel too. As, however, in this case the period is short, and extremely rich in incident, and really forms a connected whole, the artificial frame- and net-work does not make itself so much felt. Yet it is by no means wanting, as the dates of themselves indicate, whose place in the chronological system was shown above. It is worthy of notice how very loosely these are fitted into their context. In 1 Samuel iv. 18 seq. we read: "And when the messenger made mention of the ark of God, Eli fell backwards off his seat, and his neck brake, and he died, for he was an old man and heavy, and he judged Israel forty years; and when his daughter-in-law,
the wife of Phinehas, who was with child, heard the tidings," etc. The statement of the date is not altogether inappropriately dragged in, indeed, yet it is easy to see that it is dragged in. In 2 Sam. ii. 8-13 we read: "Abner, the captain of Saul's host, took Ishbaal the son of Saul, and brought him over the Jordan to Mahanaim, and made him king over Gilead and Geshur, and Jezreel, and Ephraim, and Benjamin, and all Israel. Ishbaal was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. And the time that David was king in Hebron was seven years and six months. And Abner and the servants of Ishbaal went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon, and Joab with the servants of David went out to meet him." The words in italics manifestly interrupt the connection; and with regard to Ishbaal's dates we have also to remark that from what we learn of him elsewhere he was, in the first place, still in the years of pupilage, and in the next must have reigned as long in Mahanaim as David in Hebron. The number two connected with his reign is to be explained as in the case of Saul (1 Sam. xiii. 1): Saul was. . . years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years over Israel. In this verse, which is not found in the LXX, the number for the years of his life is wanting; and originally the number for the years of his reign was left out too: the two is quite absurd, and has grown out of the following word for year, which in Hebrew has a somewhat similar appearance.
In company with the chronological formulas, we find also the religious (1 Sam. vii. 2-4). "While the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel came together after Jehovah. And Samuel spake unto the whole house of Israel, saying: 'If ye do return to Jehovah with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and the Astartes from among you, and prepare your hearts unto Jehovah, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.' And the children of Israel did put away the Baals and Astartes, and served Jehovah only." We are not told, in what precedes this passage, of any act of declension from Jehovah, and according to chap. iv. the Israelites showed no want of faith in Jehovah in the unfortunate battle with the Philistines. This taking for granted that the yoke of a foreign rule was laid on them as a punishment for their sins is characteristic. A further example occurs in the speech of Samuel (1 Sam. xii.), which, as the introduction to the time of the kings,
may be compared with Judges ii., the introduction to the time of the judges. "Stand still that I may reason with you before Jehovah of all the righteous acts of Jehovah with which He did right to you and to your fathers! When Jacob was come into Egypt, your fathers cried to Jehovah, and He sent Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this land. And when they forget Jehovah their God, He sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the host of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and the Moabites, and they fought against them. And they cried unto Jehovah, and said, We have sinned, because we have forsaken Jehovah and have served Baal and Astarte, but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies and we will serve Thee. And Jehovah sent Jerubbaal, and Barak, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelled safe. And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay, but a king shall reign over us, when Jehovah your God is your king. Now therefore behold the king whom ye have desired; behold, Jehovah has set a king over you. If ye will hear Jehovah and serve Him and obey His voice, and not rebel against the commandment of Jehovah, good: but if ye rebel against the commandment of Jehovah, then shall the hand of Jehovah be against you as it was against your fathers." It is the familiar strain: rebellion, affliction, conversion, peace, Jehovah the keynote, and the first word and the last. The eye does not dwell on the details of the story; the gaps in the tradition are turned to account as well as its contents, which are concentrated at so few points. Details are regarded only as they bear on the whole; the periods are passed in review in a broad and general style, and the law enunciated which connects them with one another. In doing this Samuel seems to presuppose in his hearers a knowledge of the biblical history in a distinct form; and he even speaks without hesitation of his own historical significance. The hearers are bidden to look back upon a period in the living movement of which they themselves are standing, as if it were a dead past. As they are thus lifted up to the height of an objective contemplation of themselves and their fathers, in the end the result which was to be expected takes place: they become conscious of their grievous sin. Confronted with the Deity they have always an uneasy feeling that they deserve to be punished.
2. The Deuteronomist revision asserts itself, it is true, only in these
two places, or rather this one place; but this is the principal epoch in the book—the transition to the monarchy which is associated with the name of Samuel. And on this account the revision here acts the more trenchantly; it is not only an addition to give a new flavour to the older tradition; it changes the nature of the tradition entirely. For the passages we have just quoted from it are merely fragments of a considerable connected historical scheme. The first piece of this scheme, vii. 2-17, first claims our attention. After summoning the children of Israel to repentance (vii. 2-4), Samuel convokes an assembly of them at Mizpeh, near Jerusalem, in order to entreat for them that the Philistine affliction may be turned away. This measure is of course closely connected with the previously-mentioned abolition of idolatry: for, after the guilt has ceased, the punishment also must be removed. They assemble, draw water to pour it out before Jehovah, fast, and confess their sins, at Mizpeh. When the Philistines hear this, they are on the spot the very same day and fall upon the assembly at its prayers. Samuel, however, sacrifices a sucking lamb and cries for help to Jehovah, and the engagement takes place while he is so occupied. Jehovah thunders terribly against the Philistines and throws them into disorder, so that they are forced to yield, and are pursued to a great distance. And the Philistines, this is the end of the narrative, were humbled and came no more into the coasts of Israel; and the hand of Jehovah was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel, and the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were recovered; Ekron and Gath and their coasts did Israel take from the Philistines, and there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.
The mere recapitulation of the contents of this narrative makes us feel at once what a pious make-up it is and how full of inherent impossibilities: to think of all that is compressed into the space of this one day! But we have also to remark the utter contradiction of the whole of the rest of the tradition. In the history which follows we find the domination of the Philistines by no means at an end; not only do they invade the Israelite territory several times in Samuel's lifetime, they are in possession of the land of Israel, and one of their governors lives at Gibeah in the midst of Benjamin. The struggle with them is the true and real origin and task of the monarchy. The writer had no idea that Samuel had discharged this labour and won this victory already, and had even "restored" Ekron and Gath. On the contrary,
the yoke of the Philistines lay most heavily on Israel just in his days.
There cannot be a word of truth in the whole narrative. Its motives, however, are easily seen. Samuel is a saint of the first degree (Jer. xv. 1), and in the theocracy, i.e., in the religious community such as ancient Israel is represented to have been, cut to the pattern of Judaism, such a man must take his place at the head of the whole. His influence must have prevailed to exclude idolatry and unfaithfulness to Jehovah on the part of the people; and the general character of the time must on the whole have answered to the type he set before it. But here a very unpleasant difficulty suggests itself. If the fact of Samuel being at the head is sufficient guarantee that all was as it should be within the state, how can there have been such great pressure externally, so as to endanger the very existence of the people? If men do their part, how can Jehovah fail to do His? On the contrary, it must be believed that the righteousness which prevailed within had its counterpart in the external vindication of His people by Jehovah. Even under Samuel the Philistines were with God's help driven across the border, and as long as he lived they were not seen within it again. The piety of a praying assembly was suitably acknowledged by Jehovah, who dropped into its lap a success such as in after times the sword of warlike kings sought long and in vain to achieve.
But this example of history corrected does not stand alone, and becomes completely intelligible only when taken in connection with the similar pieces which belong to it. 1 Sam. vii. is continued in chap. viii., and chap. viii. again in x. 17-xii. 25. Samuel, after setting the land free from foreign tyranny, conducts a quiet and successful reign till old age comes upon him. His sons, however, whom he has made his assessors, do not walk in his steps; and the elders of Israel make this the occasion to ask him to give them a king. But this is a mere pretext for their sinful desire to shake off the divine rule and to be like the heathen round about them. Samuel is extremely indignant at their ingratitude, but is directed by Jehovah to comply with their request. "They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them; according to all the works that they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, wherewith they have forsaken Me and served other gods. so do they also unto thee." It is in vain that Samuel exhibits to them an alarming catalogue of the
rights of the king: they are not to be moved from their determination, and he accordingly summons a general convention of the people at Mizpeh (viii. 22, x. 17). There, after the opening lecture, lots are drawn for the king, and Saul is chosen, whereupon Samuel has still to write down the law of the kingdom and lay it up before Jehovah. The people are then dismissed; "and Saul also went home to Gibeah, and with him the warriors whose heart God had touched, but the children of Belial despised him, and said 'How shall this man save us!'"
But Saul is at this point only king de jure; he does not become king de facto until after he has proved himself, chap. xi. After an interval of a month (x. 27 LXX) the men of Jabesh, besieged by the Ammonites and in great straits, send messengers throughout Israel to implore speedy assistance, since in seven days they have to surrender to their enemies and each of them to lose his right eye. The messengers come to the town of Saul, Gibeah in Benjamin, and tell their message before the people; the people lift up their voices and weep. Saul meanwhile comes from the field with a yoke of oxen, and, observing the general weeping, asks what has happened. The story is told him, and at once the Spirit of God comes upon him and his anger is kindled greatly; he hews in pieces his oxen and sends the pieces throughout Israel with the summons: Whoever does not come forth to the battle, so shall it be done to his oxen! And the fear of Jehovah falls on the people, and they go out as one man and relieve the besieged town. Hereupon "the kingdom is renewed" for Saul at Gilgal, and only now does Samuel abdicate his government, in the long speech (chap. xii.) a considerable portion of which was given above.
That chap. xi. is now an integral part of this version of the history is clear from xii. 12, and also from xi. 12-14. But it was not originally designed for this connection. For we hear nothing of the warriors who according to x. 26 were in company with Saul; it is not on his account that the messengers of Jabesh came to Gibeah. When the supposed king comes home from ploughing, nothing is done to indicate that the news concerns him specially: no one tells him what has happened, he has to ask the reason of the general weeping. He summons the levy of Israel not in virtue of his office as king, but in the authority of the Spirit, and it is owing to the Spirit acting on the people that he is obeyed. Only after he has showed his power and defeated the Ammonites do the people make him king (xi. 15); the "renewal" of the kingdom (xi. 14), after
a month's interval, is a transparent artifice of the author of viii. 10, 1) seq. to incorporate in his own narrative the piece which he had borrowed from some other quarter: the verses xi. 12-14 are due to him.
Chapter xi. stood originally in connection with the other narrative of the elevation of Saul (ix. 1-X. 16). Hero Saul first appears engaged in searching for strayed she-asses. After a vain search of several days he arrives in the neighbourhood of Ramah, and at the suggestion of his servant applies for information as to the asses to a seer there, to Samuel. His approach has been announced to the seer by Jehovah the day before: "To-morrow I will send to thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be ruler over My people Israel; he shall save them from the Philistines." He was accordingly expecting him, and had instituted a sacrificial feast on the bamah for him even before he arrived. At this moment Samuel has gone down to the town between the sacrificial act and the meal which followed it, and just as he is going back to his guests he meets in the gate Saul, who is asking for him, and at a whisper from Jehovah he recognises in him his man. He takes him up with him to the bamah, reassures him about the asses, and then at once tells him to what high things he is called, and gives him convincing proofs that he had reckoned on his presence at the feast as the guest of the occasion. He then gives him lodgings for the night, and accompanies him on his way next morning. The servant is sent on a little way before, Samuel stands still and anoints Saul, for a sign that he is chosen by Jehovah to be the king and deliverer of Israel, and in conclusion instructs him that, when the opportunity for action comes, he is to use it, in the consciousness that God is with him. On his way home three signs come to pass which the seer had announced to him. He is thus assured that all that was said to him was true; his heart is changed by degrees till he cannot contain himself; on his arrival at Gibeah his acquaintances are struck with his strange demeanour, but he does not disclose even to his most intimate friend at home what Samuel had said to him, but waits for the things that shall come to pass.
This is the point arrived at in x. 16. It is clear that thus far no conclusion has yet been reached: the seed that is sown must spring up, the changed spirit must produce its effects. And this requirement is abundantly satisfied if chap. xi. is regarded as immediately continuing the story from x. 16. After about a month, the opportunity presents
itself for Saul to act, which Samuel had bidden him to look for. While others are weeping at the disgrace which threatens an Israelite town at the hands of the Ammonites, he is filled with the Spirit and with rage, the arrow is still in his heart from that conversation, and he now does "what his hand finds to do." The result is a great success; the word of the seer finds its fulfilment in the most natural way in the world.
If chap. xi. belongs originally to the narrative of ix. 1.-x. 16, it follows at once that the other sections are dependent and later. But what is the inner relation of the one version to the other? They coincide in their ideas here and there. In the one story Saul seeks the asses and finds the crown, in the other he hides himself among the stuff and is drawn forth king. In the one he is called by the seer, in the other he is chosen by lot—the divine causality operative in both cases. But how the idea is exaggerated at the later stage, and how nakedly it is put forward! And if there is this similarity of view, yet the deviation of the secondary version from the original is much more striking than the resemblance. For its tendency we are prepared by chapter vii. Samuel has set his countrymen free from their enemies, and ruled over them afterwards in righteousness and prosperity; why then should they desire a change in the form of government? They have just as much and as little reason for desiring this as for the falling away from Jehovah, which also is a periodical craving on their part, whenever they have had some years' rest: it is the expression of the deep-seated heathenism of their nature. That is the account of chapter viii. with what belongs to it. Chapter ix. seq., however, gives quite a different account. Here, at the end of the period of the judges, Israel is not at the summit of power and prosperity, but in a state of the deepest humiliation and the means of saving the people from this state is seen in the monarchy alone. And this difference is closely connected with another as to the view taken of the authority of Samuel. In chap. viii. as in chap. vii. he is the vicegerent of Jehovah, with unlimited authority. He feels the institution of the monarchy to be his own deposition, yet the children of Israel by no means rebel against him; they come to him to ask him for a king. He might have refused the request; he might also have given them a ruler according to his own good pleasure, but as a correct theocrat he leaves the decision to Jehovah. At the end he solemnly lays down the government he has hitherto carried on, and hands it over to his successor. The latter is superior to him in point of title, but not
in point of power: indeed in the latter respect he is rather inferior to Samuel, being a mere earthly prince (xii. 23 seq.). But how do matters stand in chap. ix. seq.? Here Samuel is quite a stranger to Saul, who knows neither his name nor his residence. Only his servant has heard of Samuel, who enjoys a high reputation as a seer in his own neighbourhood. What we are to think of when we read of a seer of that period, we are clearly and circumstantially informed: for Samuel is consulted as to the whereabouts of strayed she-asses, and a fee of a quarter of a silver shekel is tendered to him for his advice. This seer stands, it is clear, above the average of those who practiced the same calling; yet his action on the history is quite within the limits of what was possible, say to Calchas: it exhibits not a trace of the legislative and executive power of a regent of the theocracy. He does not bring help; he only descries help and the helper. The very event which, according to chap. viii. seq., involved the removal of Samuel from his place and his withdrawal to the background of the history, is here the sole basis of his reputation: the monarchy of Saul, if not his work, is his idea. He announces to the Benjamite his high calling, interpreting in this the thoughts of the man's own heart (ix. 19). With this his work is done; he has no commission and no power to nominate his successor in the government. Everything else he leaves to the course of events and to the Spirit of Jehovah which will place Saul on his own feet.
In the great difference which separates these two narratives we recognise the mental interval between two different ages. In the eyes of Israel before the exile the monarchy is the culminating point of the history, and the greatest blessing of Jehovah. It was preceded by a period of unrest and affliction, when every man did what was right in his own eyes, and the enemies of Israel accordingly got everything their own way. Under it the people dwell securely and respected by those round about; guarded by the shelter of civil order, the citizen can sit under his own vine and his own fig-tree. That is the work of the first two kings, who saved Israel from his spoilers, and gave him power and rest. No difference is made between them in this respect: the one commenced the work which the other completed (1 Sam. ix. 16, xiv. 48; 2 Sam. iii. 18, xix. 9). Before them there was no breathing space left in the hard work of fighting, but now there is time to think of other things. Even Deuteronomy, which was written not long before the exile, regards the period before the monarchy as a time of preparation
and transition, not to be counted complete in itself: Israel must first acquire fixed seats and a settled way of living, and then Jehovah also will choose a seat for Himself and make known His desires with regard to the cultus. David brought things so far that the people had room and struck firm roots into the ground, and ceased to tremble before their enemies, who had kept them on the strain from the beginning, and all the days of the judges; and under his successor the time came when the temple could be built and higher interests receive attention. That Hebrew antiquity knew nothing of any hostility or incompatibility between the heavenly and the earthly ruler is plain from the title Anointed of Jehovah, and from the hope of the prophets, whose ideal future would be incomplete without a human king. The ancient Israelites were as fully conscious as any other people of the gratitude they owed to the men and to the institutions by whose aid they had been lifted out of anarchy and oppression, and formed into an orderly community, capable of self-defence. Of this the Books of Samuel afford the most eloquent testimony. 1
The position taken up in the version of 1 Sam. vii. viii. x. 17 seq. xii., presents the greatest possible contrast to this way of thinking. There, the erection of the monarchy only forms a worse stage of backsliding from Jehovah. There can be no progress beyond the Mosaic ideal; the greater the departure from it the greater the declension. The capital sin of placing a human ruler on the throne of Jehovah makes even the period of the judges appear not quite black. Dark as the colours are with which that period is generally painted, it held fast to the original form of the theocracy, and so appears somewhat brighter: at last indeed, to heighten the contrast, it is represented as a splendid age. Under the rule of Samuel, everything was as it should be. Should we ask, how were things then? what was exactly the nature of the theocratic constitution? we receive, it is true, no satisfactory answer to the question.
[paragraph continues] We might draw conclusions with regard to the body from the head: but what sort of an idea can we form of the position of Samuel? As he appears in these chapters, we entirely fail to dispose of him in any of the categories applicable to the subject; he is not a judge, not a priest, not a prophet,—if at least we use these words with their true historical meaning. He is a second Moses? Yes, but that does not tell us much. So much only is clear, that the theocracy is arranged on quite a different footing from the kingdoms of this world, and that it amounts to a falling away into heathenism when the Israelites place a king at their head like other nations, and he keeps courtiers and ministers, officers and soldiers, horses and chariots. It is accordingly a spiritual community: the spiritual character of the regent places this beyond doubt. Samuel admonishes the people to give up idolatry; he presides at the great day of repentance at Mizpeh, which forms an epoch in the sacred history; and Jehovah can refuse nothing to his prayers and cries (xii. 1 7). "God forbid," he says in taking leave of them (xii. 23), "that I should cease to pray for you and teach you the good way." Such is his position: and the citizens of the theocracy have the corresponding duty of cultivating the worship of Jehovah, and not withdrawing themselves from the guidance of the representative of Deity. They do not need to trouble themselves about means for warding off the attacks of their enemies; if they fast and pray, and give up their sins, Jehovah hurls back the foe with His thunder and lightning, and so long as they are pious He will not allow their land to be invaded. All the expenses are then naturally superfluous by which a people usually safeguards it own existence. That this view is unhistorical is self-evident; and that it contradicts the genuine tradition we have seen. The ancient Israelites did not build a church first of all: what they built first was a house to live in, and they rejoiced not a little when they got it happily roofed over (xi. 15). But we have still to add, in conclusion, that the idea here before us can only have arisen in an age which had no knowledge of Israel as a people and a state, and which had no experience of the real conditions of existence in these forms; in other words. It is the offspring of exilic or post-exilic Judaism. At that time the nation was transformed into a religious community, whose members were at liberty to concentrate themselves on what they held to be the great business of life, worship and religiousness, because the Chaldeans or the Persians had relieved them of all care for worldly concerns. At that time, accordingly, the theocracy existed, and it is from
that time that it is transported in an idealised form to early times. The material basis on which the theocracy rested in fact, namely, the foreign domination, is put out of sight, and it is counted heathenism in the old Israelites that they cared for the external conditions of their national existence, that they are a people in the full sense of the word, and seek to maintain themselves as such with the weapons which are found necessary in the work-a-day world. It naturally never came into the heads of these epigoni to conceive that the political organisation and centralisation which the monarchy called into being provided the basis for the organisation and centralisation of the worship, and that their church was merely a spiritualised survival of the nation. What is added to Moses is taken away from the monarchy.
One more point has to be noticed. The chapters vii. viii. x. 17 seq. xii. betray a close relationship with Judges xix.-xxi., not only by their general tendency, but by a geographical detail in which the two passages agree. It is only here that Mizpeh, near Jerusalem, occurs as the place of meeting of all Israel; we find no further mention of the place in the whole period of the judges and the kings. Only after the destruction of Jerusalem is it mentioned, and there as the centre of the new Jewish community instituted by the Chaldeans (Jer. xl. seq.) as the substitute of the old capital. It appears once more, and in a similar character, in 1 Macc. iii. 46 seq. at a time when the temple of Jerusalem was in the hands of the Syrians, and the Jews could not get to it. The Mizpeh of Judges xx., 1 Sam. vii. 10, is probably the same as that of Jer. xl. seq., and intended to be, like these, in place of Jerusalem, the only legitimate sanctuary, which, however, did not exist at that early time. This is a further proof of the post-Deuteronomic and Jewish origin of these narratives, but at the same time an indication that, with every inclination to the views of the Priestly Code, the writer yet had not that code before him. For in that work the projection of Jerusalem into the period before Solomon is carried out in quite a different way: the tabernacle renders Mizpeh superfluous. It has also to be remarked that the rite of pouring out water (1 Sam. vii.) is foreign to the Priestly Code.
3. The relation of Saul to Samuel is a subject which lends itself readily to general views, and the development of the tradition is visible in it in other particulars besides those we have mentioned. Taking the view of 1 Samuel vii. viii. xii. as the lower limit, the narrative nearest in character is the story about Samuel contained in an insertion in chap. xiii.
[paragraph continues] After Saul is made king at Gilgal by the levy with which he relieved Jabesh, he selects from it a body of men who camp with him and Jonathan at Gibeah and the neighbouring Michmash: and Jonathan, by killing the officer at Gibeah, gives the signal for battle with the old enemy of his race. The Philistines advance, and take up a position to the north of Gibeah, with only a deep valley between them and the Israelites. But Saul, we hear all at once, xiii. 7 (cf. ver. 4) was yet in Gilgal, and waited seven days for Samuel, according to the set time the latter had appointed; but Samuel did not come, and the warriors began to scatter. As he was himself offering the sacrifice without which no campaign could be commenced, Samuel arrived, and at once opened upon him. Saul defended his act with great force: the people were scattering, and Samuel had not come at the appointed time, and as the Philistines had advanced close up to Gibeah, he had found it impossible to delay longer, and had offered the sacrifice in order to advance against them. To all this Samuel's only answer was: "Thou hast done foolishly; if thou hadst kept the commandment of Jehovah, He would have established thy kingdom for ever, but now thy kingdom shall not continue; Jehovah has sought Him a man after His own heart, and appointed him to be ruler over His people, because thou hast not kept that which Jehovah commanded thee." So he said, and walked off; but Saul went with the army from Gilgal to Gibeah. At Gibeah, the following verse (xiii. 16) goes on, abode Saul and Jonathan, and their men, when the Philistines encamped in Michmash.
The change of place distinctly shows the whole passage about the meeting of the king with the prophet at Gilgal (xiii. 7-15) to be an insertion by a later hand. At the beginning of the narrative Saul is at Gibeah (ver. 2, 3), and the Philistines seek him there, and halt before the place because they meet with resistance. All at once, at ver. 7, it is assumed without being stated, that Saul had stayed at Gilgal since he was chosen king till now, and had only now advanced from there against the Philistines who were waiting for him before Gibeah. Verse 16, however, gives us the impression that Saul had been posted at Gibeah with his men for some time, when the Philistines took up their camp over against them. Only in this way is justice done to the contrasted participle of state (sedentes) and inchoative perfect (castrametati sunt). And in the sequel the triumphant continuation of the story, especially in chap. xiv., shows no indication that the ominous scene in Gilgal weighed on the mind of Saul, or of the people, or of the historian.
According to xiii. 7-15, Saul is to wait seven days for Samuel at Gilgal. Here there is a reference to x. 8, where the seer says to the future king, "Thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal, and I will come after thee there to offer sacrifices; seven days shalt thou tarry till I come and show thee what thou shalt do." This verse is condemned by other arguments than its connection with xii. 7-15. Samuel's object at this point, according to x. 1-7, is to overcome the reluctance of the Benjamite who had gone forth to seek his asses, to undertake the high calling announced to him, and to inspire him with faith and confidence,—not to give him unintelligible directions as to what he is to do first when he has actually become king, and how long he has to wait for the seer at Gilgal. The schoolmaster tone of x. 8 is particularly out of place after the preceding words of ver. 7, that, when the three signs have come to pass, Saul is to do what his hand finds, because God is with him. This is surely giving him perfect freedom of action, and for the reason that God's Spirit is working in him, which "bloweth where it listeth," and suffers no interference from any authority. 1
This insertion is based on an older account of the breach between Samuel and Saul in 1 Sam. xv. Here also the matter of dispute is a sacrifice, and Gilgal is the scene; and this alone serves to explain how Gilgal is adhered to in xiii. 7-15 in spite of all impossibility, as being the right and necessary place for the occurrence. Jehovah, by the mouth of Samuel, commands the king to devote the Amalekites to destruction because of an act of treachery they had committed against Israel in ancient times, and to spare no living thing. Saul accordingly makes war on the Amalekites and defeats them; but he does not carry out the proscription entirely, as he spares the best of their cattle and their king Agag, whom he takes prisoner. At Gilgal, where the victory is celebrated before Jehovah, he is called to account for this by Samuel, and states that he intended the booty for a sacrifice to Jehovah. His statement, however, makes no impression. "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams: behold, rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as
idolatry and teraphim. Because thou hast rejected the word of Jehovah, He also hath rejected thee." The king acknowledges his guilt, and tries to pacify Samuel; but the latter turns from him in anger, and when Saul lays hold of him, his mantle tears. "Jehovah hath torn the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and given it to one better than thee; and the Truthful One of Israel will not lie nor repent; for He is not a man, that He should repent." Yet at Saul's entreaty that he would at least not refuse to honour him before the people, Samuel takes part in the sacrifice, and even begins it by hewing Agag in pieces before Jehovah. Then they part, never to see each other again; but Samuel mourns for Saul, that Jehovah had repented of having made him king over Israel. There is another narrative intimately connected with this one in subject and treatment, thought and expression, namely, that of the witch of Endor. When Saul, shortly before the battle in which he fell, surveyed the hostile army, he was seized with anxiety and terror. He inquired of Jehovah, but received no answer, neither by dreams, nor by the ephod, nor by prophets. In his extremity he was driven into the arms of a black art which he had formerly persecuted and sought to extirpate. By night and in disguise, with two companions, he sought out a woman at Endor who practiced the raising of the dead, and after reassuring her with regard to the mortal danger connected with the practice of her art, he bade her call up Samuel. She, on seeing the spirit ascending, at once perceives that the man he had come up to converse with is the king himself; she cries out loud, but allows herself to be reassured, and describes the appearance of the dead person. Saul does not see him, only hears him speak. "Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? Jehovah doeth to thee as He spake by me: He rends the kingdom out of thy hand, and gives it to another, because thou obeyedst not the voice of Jehovah, nor executedst His fierce wrath upon Amalek; to-morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me, and Jehovah also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hands of the Philistines." At these words Saul falls all his length on the ground. He had eaten nothing all the day before and all night; he is with difficulty induced to take some food: then he rises up with his men to go and meet his fate (1 Sam. xxviii. 3-25).
Comparing with this original the copy in xiii. 7-15, we are struck, in the first place, with the placing of the rupture so much earlier. Scarcely is Saul made king when he is deposed, on the spot, at Gilgal. And for
what reason? Samuel has fixed, in a purely arbitrary fashion, the time he is to wait, and Saul waits, and makes arrangements for departure only when the time has run out, although the need is pressing; and for this he is rejected! It is clear that Samuel has from the first felt towards him as a legitimate prince feels to a usurper; he has arranged so as to find an occasion to show unmistakably where they both stand. Strictly speaking he did not find the occasion, Saul having observed the appointed time; but the opinion is present, though unexpressed, that the king was not entitled to sacrifice, either before the expiry of the seven days or at any time: his sacrificing is regarded as sacrilege. And thus the autonomous theocracy stands all at once before our eyes, which no one thought of before Ezekiel. We are reminded of the stories of Joash and Uzziah in the Chronicles. The incidents in 1 Sam. xv. xxviii. are similar, but the spirit of the narrative is different and more antique. The rejection does not come here with such mad haste, and we do not get the impression that Samuel is glad of the opportunity to wash his hands of the king. On the contrary, he honours him before the people, he mourns that Jehovah has rejected him; and Saul, who never again sees him alive, turns to him dead in the hour of his extremity, and does not regard him as his implacable enemy. Again, in the former case the king's offence is that he has too low an estimate of the sacredness of sacrifice, and fails to regard the altar as unapproachable to the laity: while in the latter case he is reproached with attaching. to sacrifice far too high a value. In the former case, in fine, the Deity and the representative of the Deity act with absolute caprice, confront men stiffly with commands of incredible smallness, and challenge them to opposition; in the latter, the conduct of Samuel is not (supposing it to have been the custom to devote enemies to destruction) unintelligible, nor his demeanour devoid of natural spirit; he appeals not to an irresponsible position, but to the manifest truth that obedience is better than the fat of rams.
Not that chapters xv. and xxviii. belong to the original growth of the tradition. In the case of xxviii. 3-25 it is easy to show the insertion: the thread of xxviii. 1, 2, coming from chapter xxvii. is continued at xxix. 1. According to xxviii. 4 the Philistines have advanced as far as Shunem in Jezreel; in xxix. 1 they are only at Aphek in Sharon, and they do not go on to Jezreel till xxix. 11. To prove an insertion in the case of chap. xv. we might point to the fact that there is a direct connection
between xiv. 52 and xvi. 14; but this must be proved somewhat circumstantially. Let it suffice, then, to say that in the preceding narrative of Saul's history, the war with the Amalekites appears in quite a different light (ix. 1-x. 16, xi. xiii. xiv.; cf. also Num. xxiv. 7). The occasion of it, according to xiv. 48, lay in the needs of the time, and the object was the very practical one of "saving Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them." There is nothing here to suggest that the campaign was undertaken in consequence of a religious command, to punish the Amalekites for an offence over which long ages had passed, and information about which could only be gathered from historical books dealing with the age of Moses. Both the narratives, chap. xv. as well as chap. xxviii, are preludes of events afterwards to happen. At chap. xvi. David appears upon the scene; he is thenceforth the principal person of the story, and thrusts Saul on one side. Chapter xv. is the prophetic introduction to this change. The fact had been handed down that Saul was chosen by Jehovah to be king. How was it possible that in spite of this his rule had no continuance? Jehovah, who as a rule does not change His mind, was mistaken in him; and Samuel, who called the king, had now to his great sorrow to pronounce the sentence of rejection against him. The occasion on which he does this is evidently historical, namely, the festival of victory at Gilgal, at which the captured leader of the Amalekites was offered up as the principal victim. The sacrifice of Agag being quite repugnant to later custom, it was sought to account for it by saying that Saul spared the king, but Jehovah required his death, and caused him to be hewn in pieces at the altar by Samuel. The rest could easily be spun out of this; it is superfluous to discuss how. Chapter xxviii., again, is related to chap. xv. as the second step to the first. No proof is wanted to show that this is the prophetic shadow cast before the fall of Saul in his last fight with the Philistines. His turning to the witch to call up to him the departed Samuel suggests in the most powerful way his condition of God-forsakenness since Samuel turned away from him. And, to conclude—the general colouring of the hostile relation between Saul and Samuel is borrowed from the actual relations which must have come to subsist between the prophets and the kings, particularly in the kingdom of Samaria (1 Kings xiv. 7). In their treatment of this relation our narratives manifestly take up the prophetic position;
and the doctrinal ideas of which they are made the vehicles clearly show them to be prophetic conceptions.
4. David is the first hero of Judah whom we meet with; and he at once throws all others into the shade. His acts are narrated to us in two detailed and connected works which are mutually complementary. The first of these is contained in 1 Sam. xiv. 52-2 Sam. viii 18, and in it we are circumstantially informed how David rose to the throne. There follows his principal achievement as king, the humiliation of the Philistines and the foundation of Jerusalem, the work concluding with a short notice of other remarkable circumstances. This narrative is preserved to us complete, only not in the earliest form, but with many interruptions and alterations. The second work, 2 Sam. ix.-2 Kings ii. is mutilated at its commencement, but otherwise almost completely intact, if 2 Sam. xxi.-xxiv. be removed. It tells chiefly of the occurrences at the court of Jerusalem in the later years of the king, and carefully traces the steps by which Solomon, whose birth, with its attendant circumstances, is narrated at the outset, reached the throne over the heads of his brothers Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah, who stood before him. Both works are marked by an essentially historical character. The treatment is much more detailed, while not nearly so poetical as in the history of Saul (1 Sam. ix. seq.). There are no exaggerations, such as xiv. 46 seq. The second is the better work of the two, and frequently affords us a glance into the very heart of events, showing us the natural occasions and human motives which gave rise to the different actions. The point of view is, however, the narrow one of Jerusalem; for example, the real reasons of the revolt of the men of Judah under Absalom are scarcely even hinted at. The leading sentiment of the writer, there can be no doubt, is enthusiasm for David, but his weaknesses are not concealed; the relations prevailing at his court, far from edifying as they are, are faithfully reported, and the palace intrigue which placed Solomon upon the throne is narrated with a naïveté which is almost malicious. The first work (1 Sam. xvi.-2 Sam. viii.) gives a less circumstantial narrative, but follows the thread of events not less conscientiously, and is based on information little inferior to that of the second. The author's partisanship is more noticeable, as he follows the style of a biographer, and makes David the hero of the history from his very first appearance, although king Saul is the ruling and motive power in it. But Judaistic leanings were unavoidable, and they
have not gone so far as to transform the facts, nor indeed operated in a different way or to a greater degree here than local interest in the tribal hero, which is always the earliest motive for narration, has done in other cases. This praise applies to 1 Sam. xvi. seq., however, only so far as its original form goes. It is different with the insertions, here very numerous, which have crept into the older connection, or replaced a genuine piece of the old story with a newer edition of it. In these the tendency to idealise the founder of the dynasty of Judah has worked creatively, and here we find rich materials for the history of the tradition, in the rude style in which alone it is possible as yet to construct that history. The beginning of the first work especially is overgrown with later legendary formations.
David, known as a man of courage and prudence, and of a skilful tongue, and recommended, moreover, by his skill on the harp, came to the king's court and became his armour-bearer (xvi. 14-23). He so approved himself in the war with the Philistines that Saul advanced him step after step, and gave him his daughter in marriage (xviii. 6 seq.). But the success and fame of the man of Judah filled Saul with jealousy, and in one of his fits of frenzy (to which x. 10 also shows him to have been subject) he threw his javelin at David, who was seeking to drive away the evil spirit by his playing (xix. 8-10). David agreed with Jonathan that it was advisable for him to absent himself, but this only confirmed the king's suspicions, which prompted him to destroy the priests of Nob, because their head had provided David with food and consulted the oracle for him (xxi 2-7, xxii. 6-23). The fugitive himself Saul failed to lay hands on; he gathered round him his own family and other desperate men, and became their leader in the wilderness of Judah (xxii. 1-5, xxiii. 1-13, xxv. 2 seq.). To escape the repeated persecutions of Saul, he at length passed over to the country of the Philistines, and received the town of Ziklag in Judah as a fief from the hands of the prince Achish (xxvii. 1 seq.).
Such is the beginning of the history of David according to the simple thread of the old narrative. The first accretion we notice is the legend of the encounter of the shepherd boy with Goliath (xvii. 1-xviii. 5), which is involved in contradiction both with what goes before and with what follows it. According to xvi. 14-23, David, when he first came in contact with Saul, was no raw lad, ignorant of the arts of war, but "a mighty valiant man, skilful in speech, and of a goodly
presence;" and according to xviii. 6 the women sang at the victorious return of the army, "Saul has slain his thousands of the Philistines, and David his tens of thousands," so that the latter was the leader of Israel beside the king, and a proved and well-known man. Evidently something of a different nature must originally have stood between xvi. 23 and xviii. 6. Now the fate of the story of Goliath (xvii. 1-xviii. 5) involves that of the story of the anointing of David (xvi. 1-13), which is dependent on it (xvi. 12, xvii. 42); and, as we have already decided that chapter xv. is a secondary production, xiv. 52 joins on at once to xvi. 14. In xviii. 6 seq., where we are told of the origin of Saul's jealousy, several of the worst additions and interruptions are wanting in the LXX, especially the first throwing of the javelin (xviii. 9-11) and the betrothal to Merab (xviii. 17-19). The insertions are most varied and confusing in the account of the outbreak of the hostility of Saul and of David's flight (chapters xix. xx). Chapter xix. 1-7, a pointless and artificial passage, betrays its later origin by its acquaintance with chapter xvii.; xviii. 29a (LXX) is continued at xix. 8. After Saul's spear-cast David takes flight for the first time, but at verse 11 he is still at home, and makes his escape the second time with the aid of feminine artifice, going to Samuel at Ramah, but to appear in chap. xx. at Gibeah as before. The king remarks his absence from table; Jonathan assures him of his father's favour, which, however, David doubts, though he has no distinct evidence to the contrary. When quite certain of the deadly hatred of the king, David takes flight in earnest; in chapter xxi. seq. we find him at Nob on his way to Judah, but at xxi. 10 he goes away afresh from the face of Saul. It is evident that in reality and in the original narrative the flight took place only once, and that it must from the first have been directed to the place of refuge, i.e., to Judah. This is enough to dispose of xix. 11-24: the twentieth chapter is impossible in the connection, at least in its present form, and in chapter xxi. verses 8-10 and 11-16 must be left out. In the section which deals with the freebooter life of David, chaps. xxiii-xxvii., considerable pieces have been added; xxvii. 7-12 of course is one; but also the encounters of David with his pursuers. There are two versions: the one, xxvi. 1-25, is placed before chapter xxvii. on account of verse 19; the other, xxiii. 14-xxiv. 22, is placed before chapter xxv. to avoid too near a contact. There is a good deal of verbal coincidence between the two, and we are entitled to regard the shorter and more pointed version (chapter xxvi.)
as the basis. But the sequence (xxvi. 25, xxvii. 1) shows beyond a doubt that chapter xxvi. does not belong to the original tradition. The process of inserting the additions naturally was not completed without all sorts of editorial changes in the older materials, e.g., xvi. 14.
Though proceeding from the same root, these offshoots are by no means of the same nature, nor do they all belong to the same stage of the process. Some of them are popular legends and unconscious fictions. Of this nature is the story of Michal, who takes the part of her husband against her father, lets him down in the evening with a rope through the window, detains the spies for a time by saying that David is sick, and then shows them the household god which she has arranged on the bed and covered with the counterpane (xix. 11-17). The scenes in which Saul and David meet are of a somewhat different colour, yet we notice that the conviction that the latter is the king of the future does not interfere with the recognition of the former as the king de facto and the anointed of Jehovah; Saul too appears not wicked, but blinded. The secondary version (xxiii. 14 seq.) contains (not to speak of the distinctly later insertion between verse 15 and 19), in addition to the touching features of the story, a good-natured jest, telling how the two played hide-and-seek round a hill, which took its name from the circumstance. These stories present certain marks which serve to fix their date in the history of the religion: one is, that the image in David's house is spoken of quite simply; another, the expression in xxvi. 19, "If Jehovah have stirred thee up against me, let Him accept an offering, but if it be men, cursed be they before Jehovah, because they have driven me out this day from the fellowship in the land of Jehovah, and obliged me to serve other gods." It is perhaps not by mere chance that this speech is wanting in the parallel version, and that there is added in place of it a formal act of recognition which Saul pays at the end to his destined successor. As for the story of Goliath, it is also quite artless, but its religious colouring is much more marked. The speech with which David goes to meet the giant is characteristic on this side (xvii. 4 seq.): "Thou comest to me with a sword and with a spear, but I come unto thee in the name of Jehovah of hosts, whom thou hast defied. This day will He deliver thee into mine hand, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that this assembly (הקהל = Israel) may know that Jehovah saveth not with sword and spear, for the battle is His."
[paragraph continues] This approaches to the religious language of the post-Deuteronomic time. According to 2 Samuel xxi. 19, Goliath of Gath, whose spear-shaft was as thick as a weaver's beam, 1 fought in the wars, not in Saul's time, but in that of his successor, and was killed, not by a shepherd boy but by a warrior of Bethlehem named Elhanan.
The theme of David and Jonathan has no doubt a historical basis, but for us it is found only in second-hand versions. The story of the farewell (chapter xx.) must be placed in this category. Yet it appears to point back to an earlier basis, and the earlier story may very possibly have belonged to the connection of the original work. For the shooting of the arrow could only have a meaning if it was impossible for the two friends to have an interview. But as the story goes, they come together and speak out freely what they have in their hearts, and so the dumb signal is not only superfluous, but unintelligible and meaningless. But if the most characteristic trait of the whole story does not fit into it as it now stands, that is just saying that the story has not come down to us in its true form. Originally Jonathan only discharged the arrow, and called to his boy where it lay; and David, hid in the neighbourhood of the shooting range, heard in the call to the boy the preconcerted signal. In calling that the arrow was nearer him or beyond him, Jonathan was apparently telling the boy, but in reality telling his friend, to come towards him or go farther away from him. The latter was the case, and if so, the friends could not enter into conversation; the tearful farewell then disappears, and the sentimental speeches spoken before it in the same style, in which Jonathan virtually admits that his father is right, and yet decidedly espouses David's cause, disregarding the fact that David will deprive him of his inheritance. 2
Chapter xviii. 6 seq. manifests tendency in a bad sense, even apart from the additions of the Masoretic text. Here Saul's enmity against David is carried back to the very beginning of their relations together, and even his friendship is represented as dissembled hatred. All the honours with which the king covers his armour-bearer are interpreted as practices to get rid of him. He makes him his son-in-law in order to expose him to deadly danger in his efforts to procure the hundred foreskins of the Philistines which were the price of the daughter. The connection cannot dispense with xviii. 6 seq., but at the same time it is beyond doubt that the venomous way of interpreting the facts is a mark of later revision. For Saul here practices his perfidies with the cognisance of his servants, who must therefore have been well aware of his disposition towards David; but the old narrator proceeds on the opposite assumption, that his hatred appeared all at once, and that David had been held by all up to that time to be one of the king's favourite servants: cf. xxi. 2-xxii. 14 seq., not to speak of chapter xx. And this alone agrees with the nature of Saul as it is everywhere described to us.
It is a characteristic circumstance that the corruption of the tradition is greatest in those narratives in which Samuel enters into the history of David. There are two insertions of this kind. According to xix. 18-24 David flees to the old man at Ramah, where the school of the prophets is; Saul sends messengers to take him, but these, when they come near Samuel and see him in command of a troop of ecstatic enthusiasts, are seized by the frenzy like the rest. The second set of messengers whom Saul sends, and the third, fare no better; and Saul has at last to come himself. But he also is drawn into the vortex, tears off his clothes and dances before Samuel and David, the only self-possessed spectators of the bacchantic company, till he falls down; and he lies naked as he is a whole day and a whole night upon the ground—whence the proverb, "Is Saul also among the prophets?" But that David when he fled, fled in earnest and went in the direction of Judah, instead of amusing himself by going first towards the north, is perfectly evident, as much so as that it is a serious abuse of the spirit of prophecy to make it serve ends which are foreign to its nature, and turn it into a mere instrument for the personal safety of David, who had
no need whatever to wait for Saul at Ramah to play him a trick there. The narrative, which is unknown to the author of xv. 35, arose out of the proverb which is quoted in it, but this receives elsewhere (x. 12) a much more worthy interpretation. We can scarcely avoid the suspicion that what we have before us here is a pious caricature; the point can be nothing but Samuel's and David's enjoyment of the disgrace of the naked king. For the general history of the tradition the most interesting circumstance is that Samuel has here become the head of a school of prophets and the leader of their exercises. In the original view of the matter (chaps. ix. x.) he appears alone and independent, and has nothing to do with the companies of the ecstatics, the Nebiim. He is a Rōeh or seer, not a Nabi or prophet. True, it is asserted in the gloss, ix. 9, that the two words mean the same thing, that what is now called Nabi was formerly called Rōeh. But that is scarcely quite correct. The author of ix. x. knows the name Nabi very well too, but he never applies it to Samuel; he only uses it, in the plural, of the troops of Jehovah—intoxicated dervishes. He gives it quite a different meaning from Rōeh, and also quite a different meaning from that in which Isaiah and Jeremiah use the word Nabi. 1 We cannot doubt that these distinctions rest on a historical basis, and only gradually melted away in later times: so that Samuel the seer need not be degraded into one of the flagellants.
David's flight to Samuel presupposes some previous relation to him, and xix. 18 seq. seems to point back to xvi. 1-13. In this piece David's career begins with his being anointed king in Saul's place at Jehovah's command, when a mere shepherd boy, who was not even counted in the family he belonged to. But in the sequel no one knows anything about this. Even in the story of Goliath (which in other respects harmonizes better with xvi. 1-13 than any other piece) the older brothers, here three, not seven, know nothing of the anointing of the youngest, although they were present and heard their own claims discussed (xvii. 28). In the stories of David's persecution also, chapter xxiv. xxvi., Saul alone is the sacred person, the anointed of Jehovah, not David. A belief that David is chosen for high things by God is quite a different matter from an anointing which has already taken place in fact. And if consequent and antecedent be inseparable,
we must remember how, according to xv. 35, Samuel not only withdraws himself from Saul till his death, but also feels grieved for him till his death. It is a harsh transition from xv. 35: "Samuel came no more to see Saul till the day of his death, because he mourned over him," to xvi. 1: "and Jehovah spake to him, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him?" But it appears clearly that the appointment of the successor was connected with, and a consequence of, the deposition of the predecessor.
The anointing of David by Samuel is at the same time the set-off to the anointing of Saul by Samuel. This is clearly seen on comparing x. 6, xi. 6, "and the Spirit of God leapt upon Saul," with xvi. 13, 14, "and the Spirit of Jehovah leapt upon David, and it departed from Saul." In the former case the inspiration is a momentary foaming over, in the latter (the leaping notwithstanding) it is a permanent property; and this difference alone leaves no doubt as to where the original is to be looked for, and where the imitation. Saul alone, according to the old tradition, was made king in a divine, i.e. an overpowering and ideal manner: David was made king in a tedious human way, and after many intermediate stages. Of Saul alone was it originally told that the sudden outbreak of the spirit with which he, unelected as he was, summoned the levy of Israel, placed himself at its head, defeated the Ammonites, and became king, was quietly prepared by an old seer, who pointed out to him his great calling, and filled him with confidence in himself by secretly anointing him in the name of Jehovah. All that was known of David was how by his own energy he raised himself from a soldier to be the leader of a band, from that to be the vassal prince, under the Philistines, of Ziklag and Judah, and from a vassal prince to be the independent and powerful king of Israel. He also was anointed, not, however, beforehand by God, but after his elevation, by the elders of Judah and Israel. But this human origin and this inferiority in point of divine consecration to a predecessor whose kingdom, as it turned out, Jehovah had not made to stand, was found by a later age to be unworthy of him: he must at least have received his anointing from Samuel as well as Saul. And this was accordingly made good by the legend (xvi. 1-13). It is a step further on this downward path that in the Judaistic version (x. 17 seq.) all mention is omitted of the anointing of Saul.
We return to Samuel. The Books of Samuel take their name from
him, and he is a figure of great importance, if not for the history itself, yet for the history of the tradition, the progress of which may be measured by the change of view about his person. In the views taken about him we may distinguish four stages. Originally (ix. 1-x. 16) he is simply a seer, but at the same time a patriotic Israelite, who feels deeply the need of his country, and uses his authority as seer to suggest to the ear and to the mind of one whom he recognises as fit for the purpose, his destination to be Israel's deliverer and leader. This relation between seer and warrior must be held fast and regarded as historical if Samuel is to mean anything at all. Similar instances are those of Deborah and Barak in earlier times, and later, that of Elisha and Hazael, and still more, that of Elisha and Jehu. Samuel's greatness consists in this, that he rouses to activity the man who comes after him, and is greater than he: after kindling the light which now burns in its full brightness, he himself disappears. But his meteoric appearance and disappearance excited wonder, and this in early times produced a story of his youth, in which, while still a boy, he predicts the ruin of pre-monarchical Israel (1 Sam. i.-iii.). After he has done this, darkness closes completely around him. Even in chapter iv. he has completely disappeared, and when we meet him again he is an old man. On the other side the circumstance that we hear nothing more of the seer after his meeting with Saul, caused it to be believed that a rupture very soon took place between the two.
This belief we meet with at the second stage of the tradition which is represented by the prophetical narratives recorded in chaps. xvi. and xxviii. It arose out of the inconsistency involved in the fact that Jehovah did not afterwards confirm in his reign the man whom He had chosen to be king, but overthrew his dynasty. Thus it becomes necessary that Samuel, who anointed Saul, should afterwards sorrowfully reject him. Even here he appears no longer as the simple seer, but as a prophet in the style of Elijah and Elisha who regards the Lord's anointed as his own handiwork, and lays on him despotic commands (xv. 1), though according to x. 7 he had expressly left him to be guided by his own inspiration.
The transition from the second to the third stage is easy. Here Samuel, after withdrawing the unction from Saul, at once transfers it to David, and sets him up against his rejected predecessor as being now de jure king by the grace of God. The respect with which he is regarded
has meanwhile increased still further; when he comes to Bethlehem the elders tremble at his approach (xvi. 4 seq.); and in xix. 18 seq. he has a magical power over men. Up to this stage, however, he has always been regarded as intellectually the author of the monarchy. It is reserved for the last (exilian or post-exilian) stage of the development of the tradition to place him in the opposite position of one who resists to the uttermost the desire of the people to have a king. Here pre-monarchical Israel is advanced to a theocracy, and Samuel is the head of the theocracy, which accounts for the feelings aroused in him by their demand.
The modern judgment has been prejudiced in Saul's favour by Samuel's curse, and to David's disadvantage by Samuel's blessing; the picture of the one has not suffered from the blackening so much as that of the other from the glorification. 1 Some critics, who are unencumbered either by prejudice or by knowledge of the subject, regard Saul as the antagonist and David as the creature of the clerical lust of rule, of which they see the embodiment in Samuel. But this view gives Samuel a powerful position over against the king such as he cannot have possessed unless he had broad ground under his feet and an influence well and extensively organised. Did he find support in the Nebiim? These were only then rising into view out of an irregular enthusiasm which was not yet confined to any definite circle or school; and besides, the old tradition speaks of a close connection between them and the king, but not between them and the seer. The belief that the latter was the founder and president of their guild is based on the worthless anachronistic anecdote, 1 Sam. xix. 18 seq. Or was Samuel in conspiracy with the priests against Saul? This is inferred from 1 Sam. xxi.-xxii. where Abimelech of Nob provides David with bread on his wanderings, and expiates this offence with his own death and that of the whole race of Eli. But in the first place these priests
have no connection with Samuel. In the second place there is nothing to make it probable that they had an understanding with David, or were acquainted with his ambitious plans if he had then begun to cherish them. In the third place, it is positively certain that they represented no distinct power in the state as against the king, but on the contrary were entirely the creatures of his smile or frown; on the occurrence of a faint suspicion they were put to death to a man without a dog barking to remonstrate. The liberal view we are discussing of Samuel's relation to Saul and David is based on the erroneous assumption that Samuel had the hierocracy to rest on in his acts of opposition to the monarchy. But the student who carries back the hierocracy to these early times has still to learn the very elements of what is necessary to a true historical appreciation of Hebrew antiquity.
It is in the Book of Kings that the last revision works most unrestrictedly. Here also chronological and religious elements combine to the building up of the framework, and we begin with examining the chronological system.
From the exodus from Egypt to the beginning of the building of the temple was a period of 430 years; and from the latter to the destruction of Jerusalem, a period, according to the numbers of the kings of Judah, of 430 years, or reckoning the exile, of 480 years, as before. In Chronicles, the succession from Azariah ben Ahimaaz, who was, according to the correct reading, the first to officiate in the temple of Solomon, to Jozadak, who was carried away in the captivity, consists of eleven high priests; thus, reckoning the exile, we have again twelve generations of 40 years each. The detailed figures which compose the total are here more complicated, which is no doubt partly due to the fact that some of them are dates which the reviser found given. Yet in this instance also the number 40 is the basis of calculation, as we see in the reigns of the kings of Judah. From the division of the kingdom to the destruction of Samaria in the 6th year of Hezekiah, the numbers are as follows: Rehoboam and Abijam, 20; Asa, 41; Jehoshaphat, Joram, Ahaziah, Athaliah, 40; Joash, 40; Amaziah and Uzziah, 81; Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, 38. From the destruction of Samaria to the last date in Kings (2 Kings xxv. 27), Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, have 80; Josiah,
[paragraph continues] Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, 79 ¼. Let him believe who can that it is a mere chance that the figures 41 + 81 + 38 make up exactly 40 + 80 + 40.
The series of the kings of Israel is in point of chronology dependent on the series of Judah. According to the numbers of the latter, 393 years elapsed from the division of the kingdom to the Babylonian captivity; and if we assume with Ezekiel (iv. 4) that Samaria fell 150 years earlier than Judah, 243 years remain for the duration of the northern kingdom. The figures given amount in fact to 242 years. These 150 Israelite years, from the destruction of Samaria to the destruction of Jerusalem, exceed, it is true, by 17 the sum of the parallel years of Judah; and the Israelite years from 1 Jeroboam to 9 Hosea fall short of the years in Judah from 1 Rehoboam to 6 Hezekiah by about the same number. This shows that no effort was made at first to synchronise the individual reigns in the two series. The 242 years of the northern kingdom are divided, by the epoch of 1 Jehu, into 98 and 144. If we take them at 240, the half of 480, the 98 must be changed into 96, which then agree with the contemporary 96 Jewish years. The deduction must be made at the reign of Baasha. Then we get the following play of figures: Jeroboam 22, Nadab 2, Baasha 22, Elah 2, Omri 12, Ahab 22, Ahaziah 2, Joram 12. That is to say, the eight kings have together 96 years, the first four and the last four 48 each. Two have the average number 12; the other 6 consists of three pairs of father and son; and the twice 12 years belonging to each pair are divided so that the father gets 12 + 10, and the son 12 - 10, obviously because the father was considered much more important than the son. 1
The great period thus marked off and artificially divided into sub-periods, is surveyed and appraised at every important epoch in sermon-like discourses. These are much more frequent in Kings than in Judges and Samuel. It makes no difference whether the writer speaks in his own person, or by the mouth of another; in reviews of the past he speaks himself, 2 Kings xvii.; in anticipations of the future he makes another speak (1 Kings viii. ix.). A few examples must be cited to show what we mean.
The great epoch of the work is the building of the temple. On this occasion Solomon makes a great dedicatory oration, in which he entreats Jehovah to hear from heaven the prayer of those who shall seek Him in this place. He concludes as follows: "If they sin against Thee (for there is no man that sinneth not) and Thou be angry with them and deliver them to be carried away captive into the land of the enemy, far or near, if they then bethink themselves and make supplication to Thee, saying, We have sinned and have done perversely and are guilty, and so return unto Thee with all their heart and all their soul in the land of the enemies which led them away captive, and pray unto Thee toward their land which Thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which Thou hast chosen, and the house which Thou hast built for Thy name, then hear Thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people their unfaithfulness, and give them compassion before them that carried them away captive, that they may have compassion upon them. For they be Thy people and Thine inheritance, which Thou broughtest forth out of Egypt from the midst of the furnace of iron, and didst separate them to Thyself from among all the people of the earth, as Thou spakest by Moses thy servant." What Jehovah answered to this we learn in chapter ix. "I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication which thou hast made before me; I have hallowed this house, to put my name there for ever, and mine eyes and
my heart shall be there perpetually. If thou wilt walk before me, as did David thy father, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments, I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. But if ye or your children turn away from me, and will not keep my statutes and my judgments which I have set before you, but worship other gods, then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them, and this house which I have hallowed for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people, and this house a ruin. And when they ask: Why hath Jehovah done thus to this land and to this house? the answer shall be: Because they forsook Jehovah their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them and served them."
The division of the kingdom is also a very marked era in the history. It is introduced by a prophecy of Abijah to the first Jeroboam. "Behold, I rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee; but he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen; because he has forsaken me, and worshipped Astarte of Sidon, and Chemosh of Moab, and Milcom of Ammon, and has not walked in my ways to do that which is right in my eyes, my statutes, and my judgments, like David his father. And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do what is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments as David my servant did, that I will be with thee and build thee a sure house as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever."
We pass over a series of prophecies in a similar strain which occur regularly at the changes of dynasty in the northern kingdom, and cite only the concluding words which accompany the fall of the kingdom of the ten tribes (2 Kings xvii.). This fall came about "because the children of Israel sinned against Jehovah their God, which brought them up out of the land of Egypt, and feared other gods, and walked in the statutes of the heathen whom they had driven out, and in the innovations of the kings of Israel; and because the children of Israel
imputed to Jehovah their God things which are not so, and built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchman to the fenced city; and they set up pillars and Asheras on every high hill and under every green tree, and there they sacrificed in all the high places, as did the people whom Jehovah had driven out before them: and wrought wicked things to provoke Jehovah to anger, and served the abominations which Jehovah had forbidden. Yet Jehovah testified to them by all the prophets and seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes according to all the torah which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent unto you by my servants the prophets; but they would not hear, but hardened their necks like their fathers, that they did not believe in Jehovah their God; and they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies with which He warned them, and they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom Jehovah had charged them that they should not do like them. And they left all the commandments of Jehovah their God, and made them molten images and an Asherah, and worshipped the whole host of heaven, and served Baal; and they caused their children to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of Jehovah, to provoke Him to anger. And Jehovah was very wroth with Israel, and removed them out of His sight; there was none left but the men of Judah only. But they of Judah also kept not the commandment of their God, but walked in the manner of Israel: and Jehovah rejected the whole race of Israel, and humbled them, and delivered them unto the hand of spoilers, until He had cast them out of His sight." No special concluding discourse is given for Judah, but that for Israel applies to Judah as well. This we see both directly from the last words of the passage cited, and from the circumstance that two very characteristic abominations in the foregoing catalogue, the worship of the host of heaven and the sacrifice of children, were introduced, according to the testimony of the prophets, which alone can determine the point, not in the eighth but only in the seventh century, under Manasseh, and accordingly are not chargeable on Israel, but only on Judah.
The water accumulates, so to speak, at these gathering places of the more important historical epochs: but from these reservoirs it finds its
way in smaller channels on all sides. 1 The first question asked with regard to each ruler is, what position he took up to the pure religion—whether he did what was right or what was evil in the sight of Jehovah. Even in the case of those who only reigned a week, this question receives an answer. In general it has to be stated that they did evil. All except David and Hezekiah and Josiah, were defective, says Jesus Sirach (xlix. 4),—not quite accurately perhaps, but yet truly in so far as there is always some objection even to the good kings. But the sin here reproved is no longer, at least not principally, the worship of strange gods; it is the perverted worship of Jehovah. A more special standard, and therefore a stricter one, is now employed, and we know the reason of this: the temple having once been built in the place which Jehovah has chosen for Himself, the kindly naturalness hitherto belonging to His worship comes to an end (Deut. xii. 8): and in particular the prohibition of the bamoth comes into force (1 Kings iii. 2). That these continued to exist is the special sin of the period, a sin widespread and persistent. It is aggravated by the fact, that with the bamoth all kinds of unlawful abuses crept into the worship of Jehovah, Maççebas and Asheras, evergreen trees, and prostitutes of both sexes. Israel, continually compared with Judah in the matter, is further charged with a second great sin, the sin of Jeroboam, i.e., the golden calves at Bethel and at Dan. The religious estimate combines with the chronological facts to form that scheme in which every single reign of the kings of Israel and Judah is uniformly framed. Sometimes the frame is well filled in with interesting matter, but in not a few cases historical matter is almost entirely absent. The scheme appears most nakedly in such chapters as 1 Kings xv. xvi., 2 Kings xiii. xiv. xv.
That this redaction of our book is essentially uniform with that of the two historical books which precede it, requires no proof. Only it has here a warmer and more lively tone, and a much closer relation to the facts. In consequence of this we find it much easier to determine the point of view from which it proceeds. The mere fact that the
narrative extends to the destruction of Jerusalem, nay, to the death of the captive king Jehoiachin, shows that we must place the date of the work not earlier than the Babylonian exile, and, indeed, the second part of the exile. The chronology reckons the exile in the period of 480 years, giving 50 years to it; and this would bring us still lower down; but it is open to us to assume that this is a later modification, which has not further affected the general character of the work. 1 The writer looks back on the time of the kings as a period past and closed, on which judgment has already been declared. Even at the consecration of the temple the thought of its destruction is not to be restrained; and throughout the book the ruin of the nation and its two kingdoms is present to the writer's mind. This is the light in which the work is to be read; it shows why the catastrophe was unavoidable. It was so because of unfaithfulness to Jehovah, because of the utterly perverted tendency obstinately followed by the people in spite of the Torah of Jehovah and His prophets. The narrative becomes, as it were, a great confession—of sins of the exiled nation looking back on its history. Not only the existing generation, but the whole previous historical development is condemned—a fashion which we meet with first in Jeremiah (ii. 1 seq., iv. 3), who was actually confronted with the question as to the cause of the calamity. 2 Ezekiel carried out this negative criticism of the
past to greater lengths, with particular reference to the abominations of the older worship (chapter xvi., xx., xxiii.); and it is also to be found in Isa. xl.-xlvi. (xlii. 24, xliii. 27), though here it is supplemented by a positive and greatly more suggestive view; we find it also in Deut. xxviii.-xxx., and in Lev. xxvi. The whole of the past is regarded as one enormous sin, which is to be expiated in the exile (Jer. xxxii. 30; Ezek. xviii. 2, xxxiii. 10; Isa. xl. 1); the duration of the punishment is even calculated from that of the sin (Leviticus xxvi. 34). The same attitude towards old times is continued after the return (Zech. viii. 13 seq., ix. 7 seq.; Nehem. ix. 7 seq.).
The treatment is naturally from a Judæan point of view. Outside of Jerusalem the worship of Jehovah is heretical, so that the political revolt of the Northern Israelites was at the same time an ecclesiastical schism. Yet they are not excluded in consequence from community with the people of God, as in the Chronicles: the old traditions are not thrown so completely overboard as yet: only after the destruction of Samaria by the Assyrians does Judah continue the history alone. Almost the same reverence is paid to David and his house as to the city and the temple. His house has the promise of eternal continuance, with regard to which the writer likes to make use of the words of Jer. xxxiii. 17. The book closes, doubtless not by chance, with the liberation from prison of the Davidide Jehoiachin; this is the earnest of greater things yet in store. In the words of Abijah to Jeroboam, also, when he says that the humiliation of the house of David and the revolt from it of the ten tribes will not last for ever, we see the Messianic hope appear, which, as we learn from Haggai and Zechariah, largely occupied the minds of the Jews at the time of the exile and after it.
In the case of the books of Judges and Samuel it is not perhaps possible to decide with perfect certainty what was the norm applied by the last reviser in forming his estimates of the past. In the Books of Kings there can be no doubt on this point. The writer deals not only in indefinite references to the will of Jehovah, which Israel ought to
obey, but resists; he speaks now and again (1 K. ii. 3, 2 K. xiv. 6, xvii. 37) of the written Torah in which the judgments and statutes of Jehovah are contained, a difference which indicates, one must allow, a historical feeling. Now the code which is implicitly regarded as the standard is that the discovery of which under Josiah is circumstantially narrated in 2 Kings xxii. xxiii., viz., Deuteronomy. We are led to this conclusion, it is allowed on all hands, both by the phraseology of the reviser and by the spirit of his judgments. He condemns those sins specially against which Deuteronomy and the reformation of King Josiah were directed. And the one verbal quotation made from the book of the Torah is from Deuteronomy (2 Kings xiv. 6; Deut. xxiv. 16). On the other hand, there are clear signs that the author of the revision was not acquainted with the Priestly Code. Nowhere is any distinction drawn between priests and Levites; the sons of Aaron are never mentioned. The idea of a central sanctuary before Solomon is contradicted by 1 Kings iii. 2. In one section only, a section which has been greatly exposed to corrections and interpolations of all kinds, namely, the description of the temple and its consecration, 1 K. vi.-viii., do we meet with signs of the influence of the Priestly Code, especially in the Massoretic text; in the Septuagint this is not so much the case. The most important example of this has already been investigated, p. 43, 44.
If, accordingly, we are fully justified in calling the revision Deuteronomistic, this means no more than that it came into existence under the influence of Deuteronomy, which pervaded the whole century of the exile. The difference between Deuteronomistic and Deuteronomic is one not of time only but of matter as well: 1 Deuteronomy itself has not yet come to regard the cultus in this way as the chief end of Israel, and is much closer to the realism of the actual life of the people. A difference in detail which allows of easy demonstration is connected with the mode of dating. The last reviser distinguishes the months not by their old Hebrew names, Zif, Bul, Ethanim, but by numbers, commencing with spring as the beginning of the year. In this he differs not only from his older sources (1 Kings vi. 37, 38, viii. 2), but also from Deuteronomy.
2. This revision is, as we expect to find, alien to the materials it found to work on, so that it does violence to them. They have been
altered in particular by a very one-sided selection, which is determined by certain religious views. In these views an interest in the prophets mingles with the interest in worship. It is not meant that the selection is due entirely to the last reviser, though it is thoroughly according to his taste; others had probably worked before him in this direction. But for us it is neither possible nor important to distinguish the different steps in the process of sifting through which the traditions of the time of the kings had to pass.
The culminating point of the whole book is the building of the temple; almost all that is told about Solomon has reference to it. This at once indicates to us the point of view; it is one which dominates all Judaistic history: the history is that of the temple rather than of the kingdom. The fortunes of the sanctuary and its treasures, the institution and arrangements of the kings with reference to worship—we are kept au courant about these, but about hardly anything else. The few detailed narratives given (2 Kings xi seq. xvi. xxii. seq.) have the temple for their scene, and turn on the temple. Only in xviii. seq. does the prophetical interest predominate.
As for the kingdom of Israel, the statements about the cultus of that state are very scanty and for the most part rather vague. Here the prophetical narratives come to the front, generally such as are told from the prophetic point of view, or at least tell of the public appearances and acts of the prophets. Here and there we are told of occasions on which the Northern kingdom came in contact with Judah; here the Jewish feeling appears which dictated the selection. What is merely historical, purely secular, is communicated only in the scantiest measure: often there is nothing but the names and succession of the kings. We learn hardly anything about King Omri, the founder of the town of Samaria and re-founder of the kingdom, who seems to have reduced Judah also to the position of a dependent ally, nor do we learn more about Jeroboam II., the last great ruler of Israel; while the conflict with the Assyrians and the fall of Samaria are despatched in a couple of verses which tell us scarcely anything at all. Sometimes a brilliant breaks in on the surrounding night (2 Kings ix. x.), but after it we grope in the dark again. Only so much of the old tradition has been preserved as those of a later age held to be of religious value: it has lost its original centre of gravity, and assumed an attitude which it certainly had not at first. It may have been the case in Judah that the
temple was of more importance than the kingdom, but there can be no doubt that the history of Israel was not entirely, not even principally, the history of prophecy. The losses we have to deplore must have affected the Israelitish tradition most seriously.
The damage done by the revision by its positive meddling with the materials as found in the sources, is not so irreparable; yet it is considerable enough. The change of colour which was effected may be best seen and characterised in the far-reaching observations which introduce the Israelite series of kings; "Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David; if this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of Jehovah at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again to their rightful lord, and they will kill me, and become subject again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, Cease to go up to Jerusalem; behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; for the people went as one man, even unto Dan. And he made temples of high places, and took priests from the midst of the people which were not of the house of Levi; whomsoever he would he installed as priest of the high places" (1 K. xii. 26-30, xiii. 33). The perversion is scarcely so great as in Chronicles, but the anachronism is sufficiently glaring in the mode of view discernible in these reflections of Jeroboam, who appears to feel that the Ephraimite kingdom was illegitimate in its origin and could only be kept separate from the south by artificial means. The blessing of Jacob and the blessing of Moses show us what the sentiment of Northern Israel actually was. In the former Joseph is called the crowned of his brethren, in the second we read "His first-born bullock, full of majesty (the king), has the horns of a buffalo, with which he thrusts down the peoples; these are the ten thousands of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh." Whence came the charm of the name of Ephraim but from its being the royal tribe, and the most distinguished representative of the proud name of Israel? Of Judah we read in the same chapter, "Hear, Jehovah, the voice of Judah, and bring him back to his people." There can be no doubt what the people is to which Judah belongs: we cannot but agree with Graf, that this tribe is here regarded as the alienated member, and its reunion with the greater kingdom spoken of as the desire of Judah itself, and this is not so remarkable
when we reflect that the part belongs to the whole and not the whole to the part. Only by long experience did Judah learn the blessing of a settled dynasty, and Ephraim the curse of perpetual changes on the throne.
Judah's power of attraction for the inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom is thought to lie in the cultus of the Solomonic temple; and Jeroboam is said to have tried to meet this by creating new sanctuaries, a new form of the worship of Jehovah, and a new order of priesthood. The features in which the Samaritan worship differed from the Jewish pattern are represented as intentional innovations of the first king, in whose sin posterity persisted. But in making Bethel and Dan temples of the kingdom—that he set up high places, is a statement which need not be considered—Jeroboam did nothing more than Solomon had done before him; only he had firmer ground under his feet than Solomon, Bethel and Dan being old sanctuaries, which Jerusalem was not. The golden calves, again, which he set up, differed in their gold but not in their object from the ephods and idols of other kinds which were everywhere to be found in the older "houses of God"; e.g. from the brazen serpent at Jerusalem. 1 Even Eichhorn remarked with force and point, that though Elijah and Elisha protested against the imported worship of Baal of Tyre, they were the actual champions of the Jehovah of Bethel and Dan, and did not think of protesting against His pictorial representation; even Amos makes no such protest, Hosea is the first who does so. As for the non-Levitical priests whom the king is said to have installed, all that is necessary has been said on this subject above (p. 138 seq.).
A remarkable criticism on this estimate of the Samaritan worship follows immediately afterwards in the avowal that that of Judah was not different at the time, at any rate not better. In the report of Rehoboam's reign we read (1 Kings xiv. 22 seq.): "They of Judah also set up high places and pillars on every high hill, and under every green tree, and whoredom at sacred places was practiced in the land." This state of things continued to exist, with some fluctuations, till near the time of
the exile. If then the standard according to which Samaria is judged never attained to reality in Judah either, it never existed in ancient Israel at all. We know the standard is the book of the law of Josiah: but we see how the facts were not merely judged, but also framed, in accordance with it.
One more instance is worthy of mention in this connection. King Solomon, we are told, had, besides the daughter of Pharaoh, many foreign wives, from Moab, Ammon, and other peoples, intermarriage with whom Jehovah had forbidden (Deut. xvii 17). And when he was old, they seduced him to the worship of their gods, and he erected on the Mount of Olives at Jerusalem high places for Chemosh of Moab, and for Milcom of Ammon, and for the gods of his other wives. As a punishment for this Jehovah announced to him that his kingdom should be torn from him after his death and given to his servant, and also raised up adversaries to him, in Hadad the Edomite, who freed Edom, and in the Syrian Rezon teen Eliadah, who made Damascus independent. And by the prophet Abijah of Shiloh, he caused the Ephraimite Jeroboam, who then had the supervision of the forced labour of the house of Joseph in the fortification of the city of David, to be nominated as the future king of the ten tribes. So we read in 1 Kings xi. But Edom, and, as it appears, Damascus as well, broke away from the kingdom of David immediately after his death (xi. 21 seq., 25); and the fortification of the citadel, in which Jeroboam was employed when incited to revolt by Abijah, though it falls somewhat later, yet belongs to the first half of Solomon's reign, since it is connected with the rest of his buildings (ix. 15, 24). Now Solomon cannot have been punished by anticipation, in his youth, for an offence which he only committed in his old age, and the moral connected with these events is contradicted by chronology and cannot possibly be ascribed to the original narrator. The Deuteronomistic revision betrays itself, in fact, in every word of xi. 1-13. To the original tradition belongs only the mention of the many wives—without the reprobation attached to it,—and the statement about the building of the altars of Chemosh and Milcom and perhaps Astarte, on the Mount of Olives, where they stood till the time of Josiah (2 Kings xxiii. 13). The connection of the two events, in the relation of cause and effect, belongs to the last editor, as well as the general statement that the king erected altars of the gods of all the nationalities represented by his wives.
In the Books of Kings, it is true, the tradition is not systematically translated into the mode of view of the Law, as is the case in Chronicles. What reminds us most strongly of Chronicles is the introduction from time to time of a prophet who expresses himself in the spirit of Deuteronomy and in the language of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and then disappears. 1 In this way the Law is introduced into the history in a living way; the prophets keep it effective and see it applied, according to the principle stated, 2 Kings xvii. 13, which is founded on Jer. vii. 25; Deut. xviii. 18: "Jehovah testified to them by all the prophets and seers saying, Turn ye from your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes, according to all the Torah which I commanded your fathers and which I sent unto you by my servants the prophets." The most unblushing example of this kind, a piece which, for historical worthlessness may compare with Judges xix.-xxi. or 1 Sam. vii. seq., or even stands a step lower, is 1 Kings xiii. A man of God from Judah here denounces the altar of Bethel, at which King Jeroboam is in the act of offering sacrifice, in these terms: "O altar, altar, behold a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places, that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burned upon thee." And to guarantee the truth of this prophecy, to be fulfilled three hundred years afterwards, he gives the sign that the altar shall burst asunder, and the ashes of the sacrifice upon it be poured out—which at once takes place. This legend, however, does not really belong to the Deuteronomist, but is a still later addition, as is easily to be seen from the fact that the sentence xii. 31 is only completed at xiii. 34. It deserves remark that in the two verses which introduce the thirteenth chapter, xii. 32 seq., the feast of tabernacles is fixed, in accordance with the Priestly Code, as the 15th of the 7th month.
3. In this case also we are able to discern considerable shades and gradations in the sources the reviser had at command. In the Books of Kings for the first time we meet with a series of short notices which arrest attention, in the surroundings they are in, by their brevity and directness of statement and the terseness of their form, and have the semblance of contemporary records. In spite of their looseness of arrangement these form the real basis of our connected knowledge of the period; and the religious chronological framework is regularly filled in with them (e.g. 1 Kings xiv.-xvi.); their loose connection and neutral tone made it specially easy for later editors to interweave with them additions of their own, as has actually been done to no small extent. 1 These valuable notes commence even with Solomon, though here they are largely mixed with anecdotic chaff. They are afterwards found principally, almost exclusively, in the series of Judah. Several precise dates point to something of the nature of annals, 2 and with these the characteristic then might be thought to be connected, which frequently introduces the short sentences, and as it now stands is generally meaningless. In what circles these records were made, we can scarcely even surmise. Could we be certain that the reference to the royal temple of Judah, which is a prevailing feature of them, is due not to selection at a later time but to the interest of the first hands, we should be led to think of the priesthood at Jerusalem. The loyalist, perfectly official tone would agree very well with this theory, for the sons of Zadok were, down to Josiah's time, nothing else than the obedient servants of the successors of David, and regarded the unconditional authority claimed by these kings over their sanctuary as a matter of course (2 K. xvi. 10 seq., xii. 18). These notices, however, as we have them, are not drawn from the documents
themselves, but from a secondary compilation, perhaps from the two sets of chronicles cited at the end of each reign of the kings of Israel and those of Judah, from which at all events the succession of the rulers appears to the drawn. These chronicles are not to be identified, it is clear, with the original annals. The book of the annals must be distinguished from the Dibre-hajamim themselves. Whether the chronicle of Israel—hardly anything out of which is communicated to us—was composed much earlier than the chronicle of Judah (which seems to close with Jehoiachim), and whether it and the chronicle of Solomon (1 K. xi. 41) are a quite independent work, I am inclined to consider doubtful.
The excerpts from the annals are interrupted by more extensive episodes which are interwoven with them, and are also embraced in the Deuteronomistic scheme. Of these the Jewish ones are the minority, the greater part are Samaritan, but they all belong to a very limited period of time. I select the miraculous history of Elijah as an example of these, to show the sentiment and the change of sentiment in this instance also.
The prophet Elijah, from Tishbeh in Gilead, appears before King Ahab of Samaria, and says, "By the life of Jehovah the God of Israel, whom I serve, there shall not be dew nor rain these years but according to my word." The story begins abruptly; we require to know that Ahab, stirred up by Jezebel, has been propagating in Israel the worship of the Tyrian Baal, and has killed the prophets of Jehovah by hundreds: this is the reason of the punishment which comes on him and his land (xviii. 13, 22). Elijah vanishes as suddenly as he appeared. We find him again at the brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan; then in the land of Baal with a widow at Zarepta; while following his fortunes we are made to feel in a simple and beautiful way the severity of the famine. Ahab in the meantime had sent out messengers to take him, and had required of every state to which the vain search had extended, an oath that he was not to be found there. Now, however, necessity obliged him to think of other things; he had to go out himself with his minister Obadiah to seek fodder for the still remaining war-horses (Amos vii. 1). In this humiliating situation he all at once met the banished man. He did not believe his eyes. "Is it thou, O troubler of Israel?" "I have not troubled Israel, but thou and thy father's house!" After this greeting Elijah challenged the king to institute a
contest between the 450 prophets of Baal, and him, the only prophet of Jehovah left remaining. A trial by sacrifice took place on Mount Carmel before the whole people. Each party was to prepare a bullock and lay it on the altar without setting fire to the wood; and the divinity who should answer by fire was the true God. The prophets of Baal came first and sought after their own manner to influence their deity. They shouted and leapt wildly, wounded themselves with swords and lances till they were covered with blood, and kept up their raving ecstasy from morning till mid-day, and from mid-day till evening. During this time Elijah looked at them and mocked them, saying, "Cry louder, for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is somehow engaged, or he is asleep and must be awaked." At last his turn came; he repaired the altar of Jehovah, which was broken down, spread the pieces of the sacrifice upon it, and, to make the miracle still more miraculous, caused them to be flooded two or three times with water. Then he prayed to Jehovah, and fire fell from heaven, and consumed the sacrifice. The people, up to this point divided in their mind, now took the side of the zealot for Jehovah, laid hold of the prophets of Baal, and slaughtered them down below at the brook. A great storm of rain at once came to refresh the land.
This triumph of Elijah was only a prelude. When Jezebel heard what had happened she swore vengeance against him, and he fled for his life to Beersheba in Judah, the sanctuary of Isaac. Wearied to death he lay down under a juniper-bush in the wilderness, and with the prayer, It is enough: now, O Jehovah, take away my life, he fell asleep. Then he was strengthened with miraculous food by a heavenly messenger, and bidden to go to Horeb, the mount of God. He arrived there after a long journey, and withdrew into a cave; a rushing wind sweeps past; the wind and the earthquake and the lightning are the forerunners of Jehovah; and after them He comes Himself in the low whispering that follows the storm. His head covered, Elijah steps out of the cave and hears a voice ask what ails him. Having poured out his heart, he receives the divine consolation that his cause is by no means lost; that the direst vengeance, the instruments of which he is himself to summon to their task, is to go forth on all the worshippers of Baal, and that those 7000 who have not bowed their knee to Baal shall gain the day—"Thou shalt anoint Hazael to be King over Damascus, and Jehu ben Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be
king over Israel, and Elisha ben Shaphat to be prophet in thy room; and him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay, and him that escapeth the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay." The account of the execution of these commands by Elijah is at present wanting; we shall soon see why it was omitted. The conclusion of chapter xix. only tells us that he called Elisha from the plough to follow him. Of the account of the judgment which overtook the worshippers of Baal, this group of narratives contains only the beginning, in chapter xxi. Ahab wanted to have a vineyard which was situated beside his palace in Jezreel, his favourite residence: but Naboth, the owner, was unwilling to enter on a sale or an exchange. The king was angry, yet thought he could do no more in the matter; but Jezebel of Tyre had other notions of might and right and said to him, "Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? be of good courage; I will get thee the vineyard." She wrote a letter to the authorities of the town, and got Naboth put out of the way by means of corrupt judges. As Ahab was just going to take possession of the vineyard which had fallen into his hands, his enemy came upon him. The prophet Elijah, always on the spot at the right moment, hurled the word at him, "Hast thou killed and also taken possession? Behold, in the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick thy blood also." Here this story breaks off. What follows is not the true continuation.
The thread of the narrative xvii.-xix. xxi. is also broken off here, without reaching its proper conclusion. The victory of Jehovah over Baal, of the prophet over the king, is wanting; the story of Naboth is, as we said, only the introduction to it. We are sufficiently informed about the facts, but in form the narratives do not answer to the announcement in chapter xix. and xxi.; they are drawn from other sources. According to xix. 1 7 the Syrian wars ought to result in vengeance on the worshippers of Baal, and specially on the idolatrous royal house; but in the narrative of the wars (1 Kings xx. xxii. 2 Kings vii. ix.) this point of view does not prevail. On the contrary, Ahab and Joram there maintain themselves in a manly and honourable way against the superior power of Damascus it is only after the extirpation of Baal worship under Jehu that affairs took an unfortunate turn, and Hazael, who brought about this change, was not anointed by Elijah
but by Elisha (2 K. viii. 7 seq.) 1 The massacre at Jezreel, too, which is predicted in the threat of 1 K. xxi. 19, would need to be told otherwise than in 2 K. ix. x., to form a proper literary sequel to the story of Naboth. According to 1 K. xxi. 19 the blood of Ahab is to be shed at Jezreel; according to 2 K. ix. 25 his son's blood was shed there, to avenge Naboth. It is true, the explanation is appended in xxi. 27-29, that, as the king took to heart the threats of Elijah, Jehovah made a supplementary communication to the prophet that the threat against Ahab's house would only be fulfilled in the days of his son; but who does not see in this an attempt to harmonise conflicting narratives? 2 A whole series of subordinate discrepancies might be mentioned, which prove that 2 K. ix. x. does not look back to the story of the murder of Naboth as told in 1 K. xxi. According to ix. 25, 26, the dispute was not about the vineyard, but about the field of Naboth, which lay some distance from the town. His family was put to death along with him, and on the following day, when Ahab rode out in company with Jehu and Ben Deker to take possession of the field, the word of the prophet (not framed so specially against him personally) met him: "Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth and of his sons, and I will requite it in this plat."
With the help of these other accounts, among which there is a considerable group of uniform character (1 K. xx. xxii. 2 K. iii. vi. 24-xii. 20. ix. 1-x. 27) favourably distinguished from the rest, we are placed in a position to criticise the history of Elijah, and to reach a result which is very instructive for the history of the tradition, namely that the influence of the mighty prophet on his age has after all been appraised much too highly. His reputation could not be what it is but for the wide diffusion of Baal worship in Israel: and this is not a little exaggerated.
[paragraph continues] Anything like a suppression of the national religion at the time of Elijah is quite out of the question, and there is no truth in the statement that the prophets of Jehovah were entirely extirpated at the time and Elijah alone left surviving. The prophetic guilds at Bethel, Jericho, and Gilgal continued without any interruption. In the Syrian wars prophets of Jehovah stand by the side of Ahab; before his last campaign there are four hundred of them collected in his capital, one of them at least long known to the king as a prophet of evil, but left alive before and left alive now, though he persisted in his disagreeable practices. Of the sons whom Jezebel bore him, Ahab called one Ahaziah, i.e. Jehovah holds, and another Jehoram, i.e. Jehovah is exalted: he adhered to Jehovah as the god of Israel, though to please his wife he founded at Samaria a temple and a cultus of the Syrian goddess. This being so, Elijah's contest with Baal cannot have possessed the importance attributed to it from the point of view of a later time. In the group of popular narratives above referred to, there is no trace of a religious commotion that tore Israel asunder: the whole strength of the people is absorbed in the Syrian wars. The kings are the prominent figures, and do well and according to their office in battle: Elijah stands in the background. From several indications, though from no direct statements, we learn of the high esteem which Ahab enjoyed from friend and foe alike (xx. 31, xxii. 32-34 seq.). Joram also, and even Jezebel, are drawn not without sympathy (2 K. vi. 30, ix. 31). We can scarcely say the same of Jehu, the murderer, instigated by the prophets, of the house of Ahab (2 K. ix. 10).
It is the fact, certainly, that the prophets’ hatred of Baal succeeded at last in overturning the dynasty of Omri. But in what manner was this done? At a time when King Joram was prevented by a wound he had received from being with his army in the field, a messenger of Elisha went to the camp, called the captain apart from a banquet at which he found him, to a secret interview, and anointed him king. When Jehu returned to his comrades at their wine, they asked him what that mad fellow had wanted, and, his evasive answers failing to satisfy them, he told them the truth. They at once raised him on an improvised throne, and caused the trumpets to proclaim him king: they were quite ready for such an exploit, not that they cared in the least for "that mad fellow." Jehu justified their confidence by his astounding mastery in treachery and bloodshed, but he placed his reliance entirely on
the resources of his own talent for murder. He was not borne along by any general movement against the dynasty; the people, which he despised (x. 9), stood motionless and horrified at the sight of the crimes which came so quickly one after another; even a hundred years afterwards the horror at the massacre of Jezreel still lived (Hosea i. 4). The crown once gained, the reckless player showed his gratitude to the fanatics, and sent the priests and worshippers of Baal after the priests of Jehovah whom he had slaughtered along with all belonging to the royal house (x. 11). The manner in which he led them into the snare (x. 18 seq.) shows that no one had thought before this of regarding him as the champion of Jehovah; and even at this time his zeal was manifestly only ostensible: he was not fighting for an idea (x. 15. seq.). Thus we see that Baal did not bring about the fall of the house of Ahab, but common treason; the zealots employed for their purposes a most unholy instrument, which employed them in turn as a holy instrument for its purposes; they did not succeed in rousing the people to a storm against Baal, far from it. The execution of Naboth seems to have excited greater indignation: it was a crime against morals, not against religion. Even in the history of Elijah the admission is made that this struggle against Baal, in spite of his sacrificial victory on Carmel, was in the end without result, and that only the judicial murder of Naboth brought about a change in the popular sentiment. But according to 2 K. ix. 25, this murder proved a momentous event, not because it led, as we should expect, to a popular agitation, but from the fortuitous circumstance that Jehu was a witness of the never-to-be-forgotten scene between Ahab and Elijah, and seemed therefore to the prophets to be a fit person to carry out his threatenings.
It is certainly the case that the grand figure of Elijah could not have been drawn as we have it except from the impression produced by a real character. 1 But it is too much torn away from the historical position it belongs to, and is thereby magnified to colossal proportions.
[paragraph continues] It may be said of this class of narratives generally, that the prophets are brought too much into the foreground in them, as if they had been even in their lifetime the principal force of Israelite history, and as if the influence which moved them had ruled and pervaded their age as well. That was not the case; in the eyes of their contemporaries they were completely overshadowed by the kings; only to later generations did they become the principal personages. They were important ideally, and influenced the future rather than the present; but this was not enough, a real tangible importance is attributed to them. In the time of Ahab and Jehu the Nebiim were a widespread body, and organised in orders of their own, but were not highly respected; the average of them were miserable fellows, who ate out of the king's hand and were treated with disdain by members of the leading classes. Amos of Tekoa, who, it is true, belonged to a younger generation, felt it an insult to be counted one of them. Elijah and Elisha rose certainly above the level of their order; but the first, whose hands remained pure, while he no doubt produced a great impression at the time by his fearless words, effected nothing against the king, and quite failed to draw the people over to his side: while Elisha, who did effect something, made use of means which could not bear the light, and which attest rather the weakness than the strength of prophecy in Israel.
4. Let us conclude by summing up the results to which we have been led by our eclectic pilgrimage through the historical books. What in the common view appears to be the specific character of Israelite history, and has chiefly led to its being called sacred history, rests for the most part on a later re-painting of the original picture. The discolouring influences begin early. I do not reckon among these the entrance of mythical elements, such as are not wanting even in the first beginnings to which we can trace the course of the tradition, nor the inevitable local colour, which is quite a different thing from tendency. I think only of that uniform stamp impressed on the tradition by men who regarded history exclusively from the point of view of their own principles. Here we observe first a religious influence, which in the Books of Samuel and Kings turns out to be the prophetical one. The view appears to me erroneous that it is to the prophets that the Hebrew people owe their history as a whole. The song, Judges v., though perhaps the oldest historical monument in the Old Testament, cannot be cited in support of that view, for even if it were actually composed
by Deborah, the seer stands in no connection with the prophets. Least of all can the colleges of the B’ne Nebiim at Gilgal and other places be regarded as nurseries of historic tradition: the products which are to be traced to these circles betray a somewhat narrow field of vision (2 Kings ii., iv. 1-6, 23). The prophets did not form the tradition at first, but came after, shedding upon it their peculiar light. Their interest in history was not so great that they felt it necessary to write it down; they only infused their own spirit into it subsequently.
But the systematic recoining of the tradition was only effected when a firmer stamp had become available than the free ideas of the prophets, the will of God having been formulated in writing. When this point was reached, no one could fail to see the discrepancy between the ideal commencement, which was now sought to be restored as it stood in the book, and the succeeding development. The old books of the people, which spoke in the most innocent way of the most objectionable practices and institutions, had to be thoroughly remodelled according to the Mosaic form, in order to make them valuable, digestible, and edifying, for the new generation. A continuous revision of them was made, not only in the Chronicles, at the beginning of the Greek domination, but, as we have seen in this chapter, even in the Babylonian exile. The style of the latter revision differed from that of the former. In Chronicles the past is remodelled on the basis of the law: transgressions take place now and then, but as exceptions from the rule. In the Books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings, the fact of the radical difference of the old practice from the law is not disputed. In these works also the past is in some cases remodelled on the basis of the ideal, but as a rule it is simply condemned. That is one difference; another has to be added which is of far greater importance. In the Chronicles the pattern according to which the history of ancient Israel is represented is the Pentateuch, i.e. the Priestly Code. In the source of Chronicles, in the older historical books, the revision does not proceed upon the basis of the Priestly Code, which indeed is completely unknown to them, but on the basis of Deuteronomy. Thus in the question of the order of sequence of the two great bodies of laws, the history of the tradition leads us to the same conclusion as the history of the cultus.
233:1 The redaction, as is well knows, extends only from ii. 6 xvi. 31, thus excluding both i. 1-ii. 5, and xvii. 1-xxi. 24. But it is easy to perceive how excellently the first portion fits into its place as a general introduction to the period between Moses and the monarchy, and how much more informing and instructive it is in this respect than the section which follows. There exists besides a formal connection between i. 16 and iv. 11. As regards chaps. xvii., xviii., this story relating to the migration of Dan northwards is plainly connected with that immediately preceding where the tribe still finds itself "in the camp of Dan," but is hard pressed and obtains no relief even with the aid of Samson. In the case of chaps. xix.-xxi., indeed, it admits of doubt whether they were excluded from the redaction, or whether they were not extant as yet; but it is worth noticing that here also chaps. xvii., xviii. are assumed as having gone before. The Levite of Bethlehem-Judah testifies to this, and especially the reminiscence contained in xix. 1, which, as we shall see, has nothing to rest on in chaps. xix.-xxi. Compare further xx. 19 with i. 1 seq.
238:1 אלה, אלון, in Aramaic simply tree, in Hebrew the evergreen, and in general the holy tree (Isaiah i. 29 seq.) mostly without distinguishing the species. Not only are oaks and terebinths included, but also palms. For the אלון דבורה at Bethel is elsewhere called תמר; Elim derives its names from the 70 palms, and the same may be the case with Elath on the Red sea.
239:1 "The words of Gideon are only intelligible on the presupposition that the rule of Jehovah had a visible representative prophet or priest. But this was not the case in the period of the judges, as Gideon's own history shows us." Vatke, p. 263. We see besides from ix. 1 seq. that Gideon really was the ruler of Ephraim and Manasseh.
241:1 Ver. 12 is a summons to begin the battle, and Deborah cannot here be singing the song of triumph which celebrates its happy issue. For a similar reason the translation given above, "take captive thy captors," is the more natural and correct.
254:1 In Balaam's view of the happy future of Israel (Numbers xxiii. seq.), the monarchy is spoken of as one of Israel's chief blessings. Generally (xxiii. 21): "Jehovah his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them." With reference to Saul (xxiv. 7): "And his king triumphs over Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted." To David (xxiv. 17): "I see him, though not now; I behold him, though not nigh: there rises (זרח) a star out of Jacob and a rod out of Israel, and smites in pieces the temples of Moab and the skull of all the sons of Seth: and Edom also becomes a conquest." According to Deuteronomy xxxiii. 4, 5, the monarchy and the Torah are the two great gifts of God's grace to Israel.
258:1 It is also clear that the writer of x. 8, xiii. 7-15 cannot possibly have found Samuel in Gilgal in chap. xi. before making him go there in chap. xiii. We have already seen xi. 12-14 to be a later addition; the name of Samuel must be interpolated in xi. 7, too. In fact in xi. 15 the people, i.e., the army, acts quite of itself even in our present text. Hence it follows also, that x. 8, xiii. 7-15 are older than vii. viii. x. 17 seq. xii.
266:1 This expression occurs in 1 Sam. xvii., and shows this legend to be dependent on 2 Sam. xxi. xxiii., a collection of anecdotes about heroes from the Philistine wars of David in the genuine short popular style. Cf., on 1 Chron. xii., supra, p. 173.
266:2 Only in one direction does he set limits to his self-denial: he makes the future king solemnly promise to spare his family. Here manifests itself an interest belonging to the time of the narrator. The oriental custom according to which the new ruler extirpates the preceding dynasty, was not systematically carried out by David, and a special exception was made in favour of a son left by Jonathan. "All my father's house," says Meribaal (2 Sam. xix. 28), "were dead men before my lord the king yet thou didst set me at thy table: what right have I therefore yet to complain unto the king (even about injustice)?" Now this son of Jonathan was the ancestor of a Jerusalem family which flourished till after the exile. Older traits in 1 Sam. xx. are the importance attached to the new moon, the family sacrifice at Bethlehem, perhaps p. 267 the stone אבן אצל which appears to have implied something inconsistent with later orthodoxy, the name being in two passages so singularly corrupted.
268:1 As the words are used in 1 Samuel ix., Isaiah and Jeremiah would rather be called Rōeh; and this is the justification of the gloss, ix. 9.
271:1 The efforts of later writers to glorify David are at their worst in their account of his last testament (1 Kings ii. 1-12). Even the language betrays this piece as a post-Deuteronomic insertion (v. 2-4); the contents are borrowed from the succeeding narrative. But in the narrative Solomon's conduct towards Adonijah, Abiathar, Joab, and Shimei is not dictated by any means by the testament, but by other considerations; and it is the declared object of the narrator to show how Solomon's throne was established by the removal of the elements of danger. Nor do the acute calculations of the weak old king agree very well with the general impression given of him at this time by 1 Kings i. ii.
273:1 Numbers of the kings of Judah from Solomon: 37+ 17+ 3 + 41 + 25 + 8 + 1 + 6 + 40 + 29 + 52 + 16 + 29 + 55 + 2 + 31 + 11 + 11=430 years. Jehoahaz and Jechoiachin are not counted; if they are included and a year allowed for them, we must say 36 for Solomon. Numbers of the kings of Israel from 1 Jeroboam: 22 + 2 + 24 +2+ 12 + 22 + 2+ 12 + 28 + 17 + 16 + 41 + 1 + 10 + 2 + 20 + 9. The artificial relations of the numbers, as explained above, were communicated to me by Ernst Krey. On the point that the synchronisms do not belong to the original arrangement, see Jahrb. für Deutsche Theol., 1875, p. 607 seq. The correct view of Ezekiel iv. was first published by Bernhard Duhm (Theol. dir Proph., p. 253). The number 390, given in the Massoretic text in verse 5 for the duration of the captivity of the northern Israelites, is impossible. For Ezekiel cannot mean that they have been 350 years in exile already, and on the other hand he cannot reckon the remaining period of their punishment at more than 40 years, because 40 years is his calculation of the period of exile of Judah, and the restitution of Israel and that of Judah are in his view to p. 274 take place at the same time; and indeed that of Egypt as well, obviously because brought about by the same cause (xxix. 1 1-16), the fall of the Chaldeans, which may be expected to take place in 40 years. The number 390 has got into verse 5 by mistake from verse 9, where it is used of a quite different subject, not the years of the exile, but the days of the last siege of Jerusalem. The gloss verse 13 rests on a similar confusion. The Septuagint correctly gives for the Israelite exile the number of 150 years, or 190, according as the last 40 years in which their punishment continued, along with that of Judah, were included or omitted. It may be remarked that 390 = 240 + 150. Compare further Robertson Smith, in the Journal of Philology, vol. x., p. 209-213.
277:1 Such additions as מצות יהוה, 1 Kings xviii. 18 [LXX has correctly יהוה, without מצות] עזבו בריתך [LXX correctly עזבו without בריתך] and more extensive ones, as 1 Kings xviii. 31, 32a; 2 Sam. vii. 2b (אשר נקרא ונו) I do not reckon because they proceed from various periods, and are mostly younger than the Deuteronomic revision, and belong rather to textual than to literary criticism. It is certainly in itself very important to detect and remove these re-touchings. The whole old tradition is covered with them.
278:1 Krey surmises that the last date mentioned, the liberation from prison of, Jehoiachin in the 37th year after his accession to the throne, was originally intended to form the lower limit of the chronology, especially as the periods of 40 years under which, as we have seen, the Jewish figures naturally fall, come exactly to this date. But if this be the case, we cannot regard the 4th or 5th year of Solomon as the era started from, for then there is no room for the 36 or 37 remaining years of Solomon's reign. But such a starting-point is entirely unnatural; Solomon's 40 years cannot be torn up in this way: if we are to make a division at all in that period, it must be at the disruption of the monarchy, the natural point of departure for the series of kings of Israel and of Judah. It deserves remark, that the 37 years of Jehoiachin, at the close of the older mode of calculation, which perhaps only tried to bring out generations of 40 years, but also perhaps a period of 500 years from David (40 + 40 + 20 + 41 + 40 + 40 + 81 + 38 + 80 + 79¼), answer to the 37 years of Solomon at the beginning of the method now carried through. That a process of alteration and improvement of the chronology was busily carried on in later times, we see from the added synchronisms of the kings of Israel and Judah, from the uncertain statements in the Book of Judges, some of them parallel with each other (e.g., the interregna and minor judges, and the threefold counting of the time of the Philistines) and even from the variants of the LXX.
278:2 The fall of Samaria suggested similar reflections to the earlier prophets with reference to the northern kingdom, but their views are, as a rule (Amos v., Isa. ix.), p. 279 not nearly so radical nor so far-fetched. Hosea does certainly trace the guilt of the present up to the commencement, but he exemplifies the principle (like Micah, chapter vi.) chiefly from the early history of Jacob and Moses: as for the really historical period he belongs to it too much himself to survey it from so high a point of view. In this also he is a precursor of later writers, that he regards the human monarchy as one of the great evils of Israel: he certainly had very great occasion for this in the circumstances of the time he lived in.
280:1 Post-deuteronomic, but still from the time of the kings, are 1 Sam. ii. 27 seq.; 2 Sam. vii, 1 seq.; 2 Kings xviii. 13, 17 seq., xix. 1 seq.; chaps. xi. xii. xxi. xxiii.
283:1 "Although Jeroboam had lived in Egypt, it would he wrong to say that he brought animal worship with him from that country, as wrong as to regard Aaron's golden calf as a copy of Apis. The peculiarity of the animal-worship of Egypt, and of its bull-worship in particular, was that sanctity was attributed to living animals." Vatke, p. 398. Egyptian gods cannot help against Egypt, Exod. xxxii. 4; 1 Kings xii. 28.
285:1 Cf. Kuenen, Profeten onder Israël (1875), ii. p. 143; English translation (1877), p 398. One of these Deuteronomistic prophecies is cited above, p. 275. They are in part anonymous, e.g., 2 Kings x. 30, xxi. 10 seq., in part connected with old names, e.g., 1 Kings xvi. 1 seq. In many instances no doubt the reviser found flints in his sources and worked them out in his own style; thus, 1 Kings xiv. 7 seq., xxi 21 seq. 2 Kings ix. 7 seq. In these passages the Deuteronomistic ideas and the phraseology of Jeremiah and Ezekiel are distinctly present (הנני מביא רעה), but detached expressions of an original type also occur,—which, it is true, are then constantly repeated, e.g., עצור ועזוב. Names, too, like Jehu ben Hanani, are certainly not fictitious: we are not so far advanced as in Chronicles. Cf. 1 Sam. ii. 27 seq.; 2 Sam. vii. 1 seq.
286:1 The passage discussed above, 1 Kings xi. 1 seq., gives a good example of this; we at once pick out the terse אז יבנה ונו from the barren diffuseness surrounding it.
286:2 5th of Rehoboam (1 K.s xiv. 25); 23rd of Jehoash (2 K. xii, 6); 14th of Hezekiah (2 K. xviii. 13); 18th of Josiah (2 K. xxii. 3); 4th and 5th of Solomon (1 K. vi. 37, 38). These dates occur, it is true, partly in circumstantial Jewish narratives, but these are intimately related to the brief notices spoken of above, and appear to be based on them. It may be surmised that such definite numbers, existing at one time in much greater abundance, afforded the data for an approximate calculation of the figures on which the systematic chronology is built up. These single dates at any rate are not themselves parts of the system. The same is true of the statements of the age of the Jewish kings when they ascended the throne. These also perhaps go back to the "Annals." The אז is found 1 K. iii. 16, viii. 1, 12, ix. 11, xi. 7, xvi. 21, xxii. 50; 2 K. viii. 22, xii. 18, xiv. 8, xv. 16, xvi. 5.
290:1 The same applies to Jehu (2 K. ix. 1 seq.). This is the reason of the above remarked omission after 1 K. xix. 21: cf. Thenius's commentary.
290:2 In spite of xxi. 27-29, an attempt is made at xxii. 38 to show that the threat was fulfilled in Ahab himself. We are told that Ahab was shot in his chariot and that his servants brought his body from Ramoth-Gilead to bury it there. Then we read xxii. 38 "and they washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood, and the harlots bathed in it, according to the word of Jehovah." Thus it is explained how the dogs were able to lick his blood in Samaria, though it had had plenty of time to dry up after the battle! The fact was unfortunately over-looked that according to xxi. 19 the dogs were to lick the blood of Ahab not at Samaria but at Jezreel, the place of Naboth. The verse xxii. 38 is an interpolation which does credit to Jewish acuteness.
292:1 The distance of the narrator is not so very great in point of time from the events he deals with. He is a North-Israelite, as the אשר ליהודה of xix. 3 shows: this may also be gathered from xix. 8 compared with Deut. i. 2. A man of Judah could not easily make so considerable a mistake about the distance, though we have to remember that with this narrator the situation of Horeb can scarcely have been that which we have long been accustomed to assume. Another sign of antiquity is the way in which Elijah is represented as combating Baal in Israel, and in the land of Sidon associating with the worshippers of Baal on the most friendly terms (Luke iv. 25 seq.).