Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel, by Julius Wellhausen, , at sacred-texts.com
In the historical books the tradition is developed by means of supplement and revision; double narratives occur here and there, but not great parallel pieces of connected matter side by side. In the Hexateuch additions and supplements have certainly taken place on the most extensive scale, but the significant feature is here that continuous narratives which can and must be understood each by itself are woven together in a double or threefold cord. Critics have shown a disposition, if not in principle yet in fact, to take the independence of these so-called sources of the Hexateuch as if it implied that in point of matter also each is a distinct and independent source. But this is, even a priori, very improbable. Even in the case of the prophets who received their word from the Lord the later writer knows and founds upon the earlier one. How much more must this be the case with narrators whose express business is with the tradition? Criticism has not done its work when it has completed the mechanical distribution; it must aim further at bringing the different writings when thus arranged into relation with each other, must seek to render them intelligible as phases of a living process, and thus to make it possible to trace a graduated development of the tradition.
The striking agreement of the different works, not only in matter, but in their arrangement of the narratives, makes the office of criticism as now described not less but more necessary. There is no primitive legend, it is well known, so well knit as the biblical one, and thus it is no wonder that it became the frame for many others and infused into them some of its own colour. This connection is common in its main features to all the sources alike. The Priestly Code runs, as to its historical thread, quite parallel to the Jehovist history. This alone made it possible to interfuse the two writings as we now have them in the Pentateuch.
[paragraph continues] That this was not done altogether without violence is less to be wondered at than that the violence which was done is so small, and particularly that the structure of each writing is left almost unimpaired. This can only be explained from the intimate agreement of the two works in point of plan. When the subject treated is not history but legends about pre-historic times, the arrangement of the materials does not come with the materials themselves, but must arise out of the plan of a narrator: even the architecture of the generations, which forms the scaffolding of Genesis, is not inseparably bound up with the matters to be disposed of in it. From the mouth of the people there comes nothing but the detached narratives, which may or may not happen to have some bearing on each other: to weave them together in a connected whole is the work of the poetical or literary artist. Thus the agreement of the sources in the plan of the narrative is not a matter of course, but a matter requiring explanation, and only to be explained on the ground of the literary dependence of one source on the other. The question how this relation of dependence is to be defined is thus a much more pressing one than is commonly assumed. 1
This, however, is not the place to attempt a history of the development of the Israelite legend. We are only to lay the foundation for such a work, by comparing the narrative of the Priestly Code with the Jehovistic one. In doing so we shall see that Buttmann (Mythologus, i. p. 122 seq.) is right in asserting against de Wette (Beiträge, ii.), that, the Jehovistic form of the legend is the earlier of the two. 2
1. The Bible begins with the account of the Priestly Code of the creation of the world. In the beginning is chaos; darkness, water, brooding spirit, which engenders life, and fertilises the dead mass. The primal stuff contains in itself all beings, as yet undistinguished: from it proceeds step by step the ordered world; by a process of unmixing, first of all by separating out the great elements. The chaotic primal gloom yields to the contrast of light and darkness; the primal water is separated by the vault of heaven into the heavenly water, out of which there grows the world above the firmament which is withdrawn from our gaze, and the water of the earth: the latter, a slimy mixture, is divided into land and sea, whereupon the land at once puts on its green attire. The elements thus brought into existence, light, heaven, water, land, are then enlivened, pretty much in the order in which they were created, with individual beings; to the light correspond the lamps of the stars, fishes to the water, to the heaven the birds of heaven, and the other creatures to the land. The last act of creation is markedly emphasised. "And God said: Let us make man after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the living creatures of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man after His own image, in the image of God created He him, and He created them male and female. And God blessed them, and said: Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the face of the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given unto you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed-fruits: to you it shall be for food: and to every beast of the earth and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given the green herb for meat. Thus the heavens and the earth were made and all the host of them, and on the seventh day God ended His work, and blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it." (Gen. i. 1-ii. 4a).
It is commonly said that the aim of this narrative is a purely religious one. The Israelite certainly does not deny himself in it: the religious spirit with which it is penetrated even comes at some points into conflict
with the nature of its materials. The notion of chaos is that of uncreated matter; here we find the remarkable idea that it is created in the beginning by God. Brooded over by the Spirit, it is further of a nature for development to take place out of it, and the trait that the creation is represented throughout as a separation of elements which in chaos were mixed together, betrays even now the original design: but in the Hebrew narrative the immanent Spirit has yielded to the transcendent God, and the principle of evolution is put aside in favour of the fiat of creation. Yet for all this the aim of the narrator is not mainly a religious one. Had he only meant to say that God made the world out of nothing, and made it good, he could have said so in simpler words, and at the same time more distinctly. There is no doubt that he means to describe the actual course of the genesis of the world, and to be true to nature in doing so; he means to give a cosmogonic theory. Whoever denies this confounds two different things—the value of history for us, and the aim of the writer. While our religious views are or seem to be in conformity with his, we have other ideas about the beginning of the world, because we have other ideas about the world itself, and see in the heavens no vault, in the stars no lamps, nor in the earth the foundation of the universe. But this must not prevent us from recognising what the theoretical aim of the writer of Gen. i. really was. He seeks to deduce things as they are from each other: he asks how they are likely to have issued at first from the primal matter, and the world he has before his eyes in doing this is not a mythical world but the present and ordinary one.
The pale colour which generally marks the productions of the earliest reflection about nature, when they are not mythical theories, is characteristic of Gen. i. also. We are indeed accustomed to regard this first leaf of the Bible as surrounded with all the charm that can be derived from the combination of high antiquity and childlike form. It would be vain to deny the exalted ease and the uniform greatness that give the narrative its character. The beginning especially is incomparable: "The earth was without form and void, and darkness lay upon the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the water. Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light." But chaos being given, all the rest is spun out of it: all that follows is reflection, systematic construction; we can easily follow the calculation from point to point. The considerations are very simple which lead the writer to
make first what is great appear, and then what is small; first the foundation and then that which exists upon it, the water before the fishes, heaven before the birds of heaven, land and plants before the animals. The arrangement of the things to be explained stands here for the explanation; there is nothing more than a succession which proceeds from the simple to the complicated; there is no effort of fancy to describe the process more closely; everywhere cautious consideration which shrinks from going beyond generalities. Only the framework of creation, in fact, is given; it is not filled up. Hence also the form of the whole, the effect of which cannot be reproduced in an epitome; the formula gets the better of the contents, and instead of descriptions our ears are filled with logical definitions. The graduated arrangement in separating particular things out of chaos indicates the awakening of a "natural" way of looking at nature, and of a reasoned reflection about natural objects, just as this is manifest in the attempts of Thales and his successors, which are also remarkable as beginnings of the theory of nature and of an objective interest in the things of the outer world, but further than this do not exactly rouse us to enthusiasm. 1
The first sentence of the Jehovistic account of the beginning of the world's history has been cut off by the reviser. [It was all a dry waste] when Jehovah formed the earth, and nowhere did the green herb spring up, for Jehovah had not yet caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But a mist (?) went up out of the earth, and watered the face of the ground. And Jehovah formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Then he planted a garden far to the eastward in Eden, in the place where the four chief rivers of the earth part asunder from their common source; there grow among other fine trees the tree of life and the tree of knowledge. In this garden Jehovah placed the man, to dress it and keep it and to eat of all the trees, forbidding him to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge only. But the man is utterly alone in his garden: he must have company that is suitable for him. So Jehovah first forms the beasts, if perchance the man will associate with them and make friends with them. He brings them to him one after another to see what impression they make on him, and what the man will call them. He calls them by their right names, ox, ass, bear,
thus expressing his feeling that he finds in them nothing relate to himself, and Jehovah has to seek other counsel. Then he forms the woman out of a rib of the sleeping man, and causes him to awake. Wearied as it were by all the fruitless experiments with the beasts, the man cries out delighted when he looks at the woman: This surely is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone; she may be called wo-man.
Thus the scene is drawn, the persons introduced, and an action secretly prepared: now the tragedy begins, which ends with the expulsion of man from the garden. Seduced by the serpent, man stretches out his hand after the food which is forbidden him, in order to become like God, and eats of the tree of knowledge. The first consequence of this is the beginning of dress, the first step in civilisation; other and sadder consequences soon follow. In the evening the man and his wife hear Jehovah walking in the garden; they hide before Him, and by doing so betray themselves. It is useless to think of denying what has taken place, and as each of them puts the blame on the other, they show themselves one after the other to be guilty. The sentence of the judge concludes the investigation. The serpent is to creep on its belly, to eat dust, and to perish in the unequal contest with man. The woman is to bear many children with sorrow, and to long for the man, who yet will be her tyrant. The principal curse is directed against the man. "Cursed be the ground for thy sake: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to, thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field, till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Sentence being thus spoken, Jehovah prepares the man and woman for their future life by making coats of skins to dress them with. Then turning to His celestial company, "Behold," He says, "the man is become like one of us to know good and evil; and now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever." With these words he drives man out of Paradise, and places before it the cherubs, and the flaming sword, which turns every way, to keep the way of the tree of Life (Gen. i. 4b-iii. 24).
The gloomiest view of life as it now is, lies at the root of this story. Man's days are mere hardship and labour and task-work, a task-work with no prospect of relief, for the only reward of it is that he returns to the earth from which he was taken. No thought appears of any life after
death, and life without death might have been, but has been forfeited, now the cherub guards the approach to the tree of life, of which man might have eaten when in Paradise but did not. This actual, cheerless lot of man upon the earth is the real problem of the story. It is felt to be the very opposite of our true destiny; at first, things must have been otherwise. Man's lot now is a perversion of what it was at first, it is the punishment of primeval guilt now resting on us all. At first man lived in Paradise; he had a happy existence, and one worthy of his nature, and held familiar intercourse with Jehovah; it was his forbidden striving after the knowledge of good and evil that drove him out of Paradise and brought all his miseries upon him.
What is the knowledge of good and evil? The commentators say it is the faculty of moral distinction,—conscience, in fact. They assume accordingly that man was in Paradise morally indifferent, in a state which allowed of no self-conscious action and could not be called either good or evil. A state like this not being an ideal one, some of them consider that man gained more than he lost by the fall, while others admit that it could not be the divine intention to keep him always at this stage of childish irresponsibility, and that this cannot be the view of the narrator either.
But it is plain that the narrator is not speaking of a relative prohibition of knowledge, but an absolute one: he means that it is only for God, and that when man stretches out his hand towards it he is transcending his limits and seeking to be as God. On the other side he cannot of course mean to say that conscience is a doubtful blessing, and its possession to be deplored, or that it is a thing that God in fact refuses to men and reserves to Himself alone. The knowledge spoken of cannot be moral knowledge. What could the assertion mean that God would have no one but Himself know the difference between good and evil, and would deny to man this knowledge? One would think that conscience is a thing belonging specifically to man and not to God.
And what could be the sense of representing Adam and Eve as so intent to know what was sin and what was virtue? No one is curious about that, and sin never came into existence in the way of ethical experiment, by men's desiring to know what it is. And it is manifestly assumed that men knew in paradise that obedience to Jehovah was good and disobedience evil. And finally, it conflicts with the common tradition of all peoples to represent the first man as a sort of beast; he
is regarded as undeveloped only in point of outward culture. The knowledge which is here forbidden is rather knowledge as such, general knowledge, or getting the eyes opened, as it is afterwards called. This is what transcends, in the writer's view, the limits of our nature; prying out the secret of things, the secret of the world, and overlooking, as it were, God's hand to see how He goes to work in His living activity, so as, perhaps, to learn His secret and imitate Him. For knowledge is to the ancient world also power, and no mere metaphysic. This knowing in the highest sense is the attribute of God alone, who stands in the creative centre of things and penetrates and surveys the whole; it is sealed to man, who has to labour and weary himself at little things. And yet the forbidden good has the most powerful attraction for him; he burns to possess it, and instead of resigning himself in trust and reverence he seeks to steal the jewel which is jealously guarded from him, and so to become like God—to his own sorrow.
This explanation is not new; it is the old and popular one, for which reason also Goethe adopted it in Faust. One objection certainly may be taken to it; the words are not merely knowledge, but knowledge of good and evil. But good and evil in Hebrew mean primarily nothing more than salutary and hurtful; the application of the words to virtue and sin is a secondary one, these being regarded as serviceable or hurtful in their effects. Good and evil as spoken of in Gen. ii. iii. point to no contrast of some actions with others according to their moral distinctions: the phrase is only a comprehensive one for things generally, according to the contradictory attributes which constitute their interest to man, as they help or injure him: for, as said, he desires to know not what things are metaphysically, but what is the use of them. 1 Besides the lengthier expression we have the shorter one, knowledge, simply (iii. 6); and it must also be remarked that the phrase is not: know the good and the evil, but know good and evil.
But more, we must regard this knowledge not as it affects the individual, but in the light of history; what is meant is what we call civilisation. As the human race goes forward in civilisation, it goes backward in the fear of God. The first step in civilisation is clothing; and here this is the first result of the fall. The story is continued in chapter iv. Adam's sons begin to found cities, Jubal is the first musician,
[paragraph continues] Cain discovers the oldest and the most important of the arts, that of the smith—hence the sword and bloody vengeance. Of the same tendency is the connected story of the city and the tower of Babel, in which is represented the foundation of the great empires and cities of the world, which concentrate human strength and seek to use it to press into heaven itself. In all this we have the steps of man's emancipation; with his growing civilisation grows also his alienation from the highest good; and—this is evidently the idea, though it is not stated—the restless advance never reaches its goal after all; it is a Sisyphus-labour; the tower of Babel, which is incomplete to all eternity, is the proper symbol for it. The strain is that strain of unsatisfied longing which is to be heard among all peoples. On attaining to civilisation they become aware of the value of those blessings which they have sacrificed for it. 1
It was necessary to discuss the notion of knowledge at some length, because the misunderstanding of this point on the part of philosophers and theologians has cast over our story an appearance of modernness, which has, in its turn, done something to influence general opinion as to the age of this story compared with the other. Having got rid of this impression we turn to those features of Gen. ii. iii. which help to determine positively its relation to chapter i.
What has been untruly asserted of Gen. i. is true of Gen. ii. iii. The Jehovist narrative does shine by the absence of all efforts after rationalistic explanation, by its contempt for every kind of cosmological speculation. The earth is regarded as being at first not moist and plastic but (as in Job xxxviii. 38) hard and dry: it must rain first in order that the desert may be turned into a green meadow, as is the case still every year when the showers of spring come. The ground further requires cultivation by man that the seed may spring forth. No regard is paid to any natural sequence of the acts of creation: man, the most helpless of all beings, appears first, and finds himself placed on a world entirely bare, without tree or bush, without the animals, without woman. Man is confessedly the exclusive object of interest, the other creatures are accounted for by their importance to him, as if this only conferred on them a right to exist. The idea explains matter: mechanical possibility is never consulted, and we do not think of asking about it. Want of taste could find no lower deeps than when this or
that scholar goes from Gen. ii. 21 to count his ribs, or comes to the conclusion that the first man was hermaphrodite.
In the first account we stand before the first beginnings of sober reflection about nature, in the second we are on the ground of marvel and myth. Where reflection found its materials we do not think of asking; ordinary contemplation of things could furnish it. But the materials for myth could not be derived from contemplation, at least so far as regards the view of nature which is chiefly before us here; they came from the many-coloured traditions of the old world of Western Asia. Here we are in the enchanted garden of the ideas of genuine antiquity; the fresh early smell of earth meets us on the breeze. The Hebrews breathed the air which surrounded them; the stories they told on the Jordan, of the land of Eden and the fall, were told in the same way on the Euphrates and the Tigris, on the Oxus and the Arius. The true land of the world, where dwells the Deity, is Eden. It was not removed from the earth after the fall; it is there still, else whence the need of cherubs to guard the access to it? The rivers that proceed from it are real rivers, all well known to the narrator, they and the countries they flow through and the products that come from these countries. Three of them, the Nile, the Euphrates, and the Tigris, are well known to us also; and if we only knew how the narrator conceived their courses to lie, it would be easy to determine the position of their common source and the situation of Paradise. Other peoples of antiquity define the situation of their holy land in a similar manner; the streams have different names, but the thing is the same. The wonderful trees also in the garden of Eden have many analogies even in the Germanic mythology. The belief in the cherubs which guard Paradise is also widely diffused. Krub is perhaps the same name, and certainly represents the same idea, as Gryp in Greek, and Greif in German. We find everywhere these beings wonderfully compounded out of lion, eagle, and man. They are everywhere guardians of the divine and sacred, and then also of gold and of treasures. The ingredients of the story seem certainly to have parted with some of their original colour under the influence of monotheism. The Hebrew people no doubt had something more to tell about the tree of life than now appears. It is said to have been in the midst of the garden, and so it seems to have stood at the point whence the four streams issued, at the fountain of life, which was so important to the faith of the East, and which
[paragraph continues] Alexander marched out to discover. Paradise, moreover, was certainly not planted originally for man, it was the dwelling of the Deity Himself. Traces of this may still be recognised. Jehovah does not descend to it from heaven, but goes out walking in the garden in the evening as if He were at home. The garden of Deity is, however, on the whole somewhat naturalised. A similar weakening down of the mythic element is apparent in the matter of the serpent; it is not seen at once that the serpent is a demon. Yet parting with these foreign elements has made the story no poorer, and it has gained in noble simplicity. The mythic background gives it a tremulous brightness: we feel that we are in the golden age when heaven was still on earth; and yet unintelligible enchantment is avoided, and the limit of a sober chiaroscuro is not transgressed.
The story of the creation in six days played, we know, a great part in the earlier stages of cosmological and geological science. It is not by chance that natural science has kept off Gen. ii. iii. There is scarcely any nature there. But poetry has at all times inclined to the story of Paradise. Now we do not require to ask at this time of day, nor to argue the question, whether mythic poetry or sober prose is the earlier stage in the contemplation of the world.
Intimately connected with the advanced views of nature, which we find in Gen. i., is the "purified" notion of God found there. The most important point is that a special word is employed, which stands for nothing else than the creative agency of God, and so dissociates it from all analogy with human making and shaping—a word of such exclusive significance that it cannot be reproduced either in Latin, or in Greek, or in German. In a youthful people such a theological abstraction is unheard of; and so with the Hebrews we find both the word and the notion only coming into use after the Babylonian exile; they appear along with the emphatic statement of the creative omnipotence of Jehovah with reference to nature, which makes its appearance, we may say suddenly, in the literature of the exile, plays a great part in the Book of Job, and frequently presents itself in Isa. xl.-lxvi. In Gen. ii. iii., not nature but man is the beginning of the world and of history; whether a creation out of nothing is assumed there at all, is a question which only the mutilation of the commencement (before ii. 4b) makes it not quite impossible to answer in the affirmative. At any rate it is not the case here that the command of the Creator sets things in
motion at the first so that they develop themselves to separate species out of the universal chaos; Jehovah Himself puts His hand to the work, and this supposes that the world in its main features was already in existence. He plants and waters the garden, He forms man and breathes life into his nostrils, He builds the woman out of the man's rib, having made a previous attempt, which was unsuccessful, to provide him with company; the beasts are living witnesses of the failure of His experiments. In other respects, too, He proceeds like a man. In the evening when it grows cool He goes to walk in the garden, and when there discovers by chance the transgression which has taken place, and holds an investigation in which He makes not the least use of His omniscience. And when He says: "Behold, the man is become like one of us to know good and evil: and now lest he stretch forth his hand, and take of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever," that is not said in irony, any more than when He expresses Himself on the occasion of the building of Babel; "Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of their doings, and now nothing will be too difficult for them that they have imagined to do; go to, let us go down and confound their language." That at the same time the majesty of Jehovah is in no way compromised is the mystery of poetic genius. How would the colourless God of abstraction fare in such a situation?
The treatment, finally, of the microcosm in the two accounts, reflects the difference between them. In chap. i. man is directed at the very outset to the ground on which he moves to this day: "Replenish the earth, and subdue it," he is told; a perfectly natural task. In chaps. ii. iii. he is placed in Paradise, and his sphere of activity there, nestled, as he may be said still to be, in the lap of the Deity, is very limited. The circumstances of his life as it now is, the man's toil in the fields, the woman's toil in bearing children, do not answer to his original destiny; they are not a blessing, but a curse. In the Jehovistic narrative man is as wonderful to himself as the external world; in the other he is as much a matter of course as it is. In the one he sees astonishing mysteries in the difference of the sexes, in marriage, in child-birth (iv. 1); in the other these are physiological facts which raise no questions or reflections: "He made them male and female, and said, Be fruitful and multiply." There his attitude towards the beasts is one of mixed familiarity and bewilderment; he does not know exactly what to make of them; they are allied to him and yet not quite suitable
society for him; here they are beings not related to him, over which he rules.
The chief point in which the difference between the two accounts comes to a head is this. In Gen. ii. iii., man is virtually forbidden to lift the veil of things, and to know the world, represented in the tree of knowledge. In Gen. i. this is the task set him from the beginning; he is to rule over the whole earth, and rule and knowledge come to the same thing—they mean civilisation. There nature is to him a sacred mystery: here it is a mere fact, an object; he is no longer bewildered over against nature, but free and superior. There it is a robbery for man to seek to be equal with God: here God makes him at first in His own image and after His own likeness, and appoints him His representative in the realm of nature. We cannot regard it as fortuitous that in this point Gen. i. asserts the opposite of Gen. ii. iii.; the words spoken with such emphasis, and repeated i. 27, v. 1, ix. 6, sound exactly like a protest against the view underlying Gen. ii. iii., a protest to be explained partly by the growth of moral and religious cultivation, but partly also no doubt due to the convulsive efforts of later Judaism to deny that most firmly established of all the lessons of history, that the sons suffer for the sins of the fathers. 1
What are generally cited as points of superiority in Gen. i. over Gen. ii. iii. are beyond doubt signs of progress in outward culture. The mental individuality of the two writers, the systematiser and the genius, cannot be compared, and the difference in this respect tells nothing of their respective dates; but in its general views of God, nature, and man, Gen. i. stands on a higher, certainly on a later, level. To our way of thinking its views are more intelligible, simpler, more natural, and on this account they have been held to be also older. But this is on the one hand to identify naturalness with originality, two things which every one knows not to be the same, and on the other hand it is applying a standard to prehistoric tradition which applies to historical tradition only: freedom from miracle and myth count in favour of the latter, but not of the former. But the secret root of the manifest preference long shown by
historic-critical theology for Gen. i. appears to lie in this, that scholars felt themselves responsible for what the Bible says, and therefore liked it to come as little as possible in conflict with general culture. 1
2. After the beginning of the world we have in Gen. i.-xi., both in the Priestly Code and in the Jehovist, the transition from Adam to Noah (cap. iv. v.), then the flood (vi.-ix.), then the transition from Noah to Abraham (cap. x. xi.).
In the dry names, which are enumerated in Gen. v. and Gen. iv. Buttmann recognised the remains of an historical connection once woven together out of primitive stories. These narratives were evidently mythological: their original contents are destroyed both in Gen. v. (Q) and in Gen. iv. (JE), but only the list of the Jehovist now bears the appearance of a ruin. In the other the fragments have been used for a careful new building in which they no longer look like fragments. Here they are made to serve as the pillars of a chronology which descends from Adam to Moses, computing the period from the one to the other as 2666 years. These 2666 years represent 26⅔ generations of a hundred years each: namely, 1-20 Adam to Abraham, 21 Isaac, 22 Jacob, 23 Levi, 24 Kohath, 25 Amram, 26 Aaron; the last ⅔ of a generation is Eleazar, who was a man of mature years at the time of the Exodus. 2
Such a chronology is totally at variance with the simplicity
of the legend. 1 It is also evident, that if even in the case of the historical books the systematic chronology is no older than the period of the exile, that of the Pentateuch must be of still later origin. For the historical period there were certain fixed points for chronology to lay hold of; it cannot have begun with the patriarchs and gone on to the kings, it must have begun with the kings and then gone higher up to the patriarchs; it must have begun at the lower end, where alone it had any firm ground to stand on. The belief that the men of the early world lived to a great age is no doubt old, but the settled chronology, based on the years in which each patriarch begat his son, is an artifice in which we manifestly see the doctrinaire treatment of history which was coming into vogue for later periods, attempting to lay hold of the earliest legends as well. Only when the living contents of the legend had completely disappeared could its skeleton be used as a framework of chronology.
Buttmann has also shown that the elements of the ten-membered genealogy of Q (Gen. v.) and of the seven-membered of JE (Gen. iv.) are identical. In Q, Noah comes after Lamech at the end, and at the beginning Adam Cain is doubled and becomes Adam Seth Enos Cainan. Adam and Enos being synonymous, this amounts to Adam Seth Adam Cainan: that is to say Adam Seth are prefixed, and the series begins anew with Enos Cainan, just as in JE. The Priestly Code itself offers a remarkable testimony to the superior originality of the Jehovist genealogy, by ascribing to Lamech, here the ninth in order, the age of 777 years. This can only be explained from JE, where Lamech is seventh in order, and moreover specially connects himself with the number seven by his speech. Cain is avenged seven times, and Lamech seventy times seven. Another circumstance shows Q to be posterior to E. The first man is called here not Ha Adam as in JE, but always Adam, without the article (v. 1-5), a difference which Kuenen pertinently compares with that between ὁ Χριστός and Χριστός. But in Q itself (Gen. i.) the first man is only the generic man; if in spite of this he is called simply Adam (Gen. v.), as if that were his proper name, the only way to account for this is to suppose a reminiscence of Gen. ii. iii., though here the personification does not as yet extend to the name.
We come to the story of the flood, Gen. vi.-ix. In JE the flood is well led up to: in Q we should be inclined to ask in surprise how the earth has come all at once to be so corrupted, after being so far in the best of order, did we not know from JE. In omitting the fall, the fratricide of Cain, the sword-song of Lamech, the intercourse of the sons of God with the daughters of men, and parting with the distinctive gloomy colouring which is unmistakably spread over the whole early history of man in JE, the Priestly Code has entirely lost the preparation for the flood, which now appears in the most abrupt and unaccountable way. As to the contents of the story, the priestly version here agrees to an unusual extent with the Jehovistic one; differing from it chiefly in the artificial, mathematical marking out of the framework. The flood lasts twelve months and ten days, i.e., exactly a solar year. It begins in the six hundredth year of Noah, on the seventeenth of the second month, rises for one hundred and fifty days, and begins to fall on the seventeenth of the seventh month. On the first month the tops of the mountains become visible; in the six hundred and first year, on the first of the first month, the water has abated; on the twenty-seventh of the second month the earth is dry. God Himself gives instructions and measurements for the building of the ark, as for the tabernacle: it is to be three stories high, and divided throughout into small compartments; three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits broad, thirty cubits high; and Noah is to make it accurately according to the cubit. When the water is at its height, on the seventeenth of the second month, the flood is fifteen cubits above the highest mountains—Noah having apparently not forgotten, in spite of his anxiety, to heave the lead and to mark the date in his log-book. This prematurely modern measuring and counting cannot be thought by any one to make the narrative more lifelike; it simply destroys the illusion. All that is idyllic and naive is consistently stripped off the legend as far as possible. As the duration of the flood is advanced from forty days (JE) to a whole year, its area also is immeasurably increased. The Priestly Code states with particular emphasis that it was quite universal, and went over the tops of the highest mountains; indeed it is compelled to take this view by its assumption that the human race was diffused from the first over the whole earth. Such traits as the missions of the birds and the broken-off olive-leaf are passed over: poetic legend is smoothed down into historic prose. But the value and the charm of the story depend on such little traits as these; they are not mere incidents, to
poetry they are the most important thing of all. These are the features which are found just in the same way in the Babylonian story of the flood; and if the Jehovist has a much greater affinity with the Babylonian story than the Priestly Code, that shows it to have preserved more faithfully the international character of those early legends. This appears most plainly in his accounting for the flood by the confounding of the boundaries between spirit and flesh, and the intercourse of the sons of God and the daughters of men: the Jehovist here gives us a piece, but little adulterated, of mythical heathenism—a thing quite inconceivable in Q.
The Priestly Code has the rainbow, which the Jehovist, as we now have him, wants. But we have to remember that in Genesis vi.-ix. the Jehovist account is mutilated, but the priestly one preserved entire. If the rainbow occurred both in JE and in Q, one of the accounts of it had to be omitted, and according to the editor's usual procedure the omission had to be from JE. It is accordingly very possible that it was not at first wanting in JE; it agrees better, indeed, with the simple rain, which here brings about the flood, than with the opening of the sluices of heaven and the fountains of the deep, which produce it in Q, and it would stand much better after viii. 21, 22 than after ix. 1-7. In the Priestly Code, moreover, the meaning of the rainbow is half obliterated. On the one hand, the story is clumsily turned into history, and we receive the impression either that the rainbow only appeared in the heavens at this one time after the flood, or that it had been there ever since; on the other hand, it is made the token of the covenant between Elohim and Noah, and the use of language in other passages, with the analogy of Gen. xvii., would point to the covenant described in ix. 1-7: the rainbow would then be the counterpart of circumcision. 1 The covenant, i.e., the law of ch. ix. 1-7, a modification
of the first ordinance given to Adam (i. 229, 30) for the world after the flood which still subsists, is for the Priestly Code the crown, the end, the substance, of the whole narrative. Its interest in the law always completely absorbs the simple interest of its story.
We have also to remark that in this source vengeance for the spilling of blood is not the affair of the relatives but the affair of God; and that it is demanded for man as man, whether master or slave, and no money compensation allowed. The words sound simple and solemn: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man." Yet the religious notion of humanity underlying this sentence is not ancient with the Hebrews any more than with other nations; cf. Gen. iv. 15, 24, and Exod. xxi. 20 seq. 1
The ark lands, according to Q, on Mount Ararat. In JE, as we have it, no landing-place is named. But this is not original, as mythic geography belongs to the Jehovist in all other passages where it occurs. In Q the primitive history is never localised, the whole earth is given to man for a dwelling from the first. In JE, on the contrary, they live first in the land of Eden far to the East, and presumably high up in the North; expelled from Eden they come to the land of Nod, where Cain builds the town of Enoch, and departing from this district, which is still far to the East, they settle in the land of Shinar, at the mouths of the Euphrates and Tigris, where they build the town of Babel. Shinar is the point of departure of that history of the world which is no longer merely mythical, it is the home of the present human race. In this point the contrast is very noticeable between the local definiteness of the Jehovist legend, which lends it the character of the idyllic, and the vague generalness of the other. In Shinar, according to JE, Gen. xi. 1-9, men are still all together, and they desire to remain together there. Not to be scattered, they build a great city, which is to hold them all; and to make themselves a name, they add to it a high tower which is to reach heaven. Jehovah, perceiving in these attempts the danger of further progress in the same direction, comes down to confound their language, and by such violent means brings about the dispersion of the human race by the unity of which He feels himself threatened. In Q it is understood that men are scattered over the whole earth; they are never represented as all living at one point, and pains are accordingly
taken to describe the flood as quite universal. The division of the people comes about quite simply in the way of genealogy, and the division of the languages is not the cause but the result of it. Accompanying this we find once more a notable difference in point of mental attitude; what JE regards as unnatural, and only to be understood as a violent perversion of the original order, is in Q the most natural thing in the world.
The period between the flood and Abraham is filled up in Q by another ten-membered genealogy, which, to judge from the analogy of Genesis iv., had probably only seven members in JE. It cannot have been wanting there, and may have passed straight from Shem to Heber, and left out the grandfather Nahor (x. 21, 24, xxiv. 15, xxix. 5), who is even less to be distinguished from his grandson of the same name than Adam from Enos. The original dwelling-place of the Terahites is, according to Q, not the Mesopotamian Haran (Carrhæ), as in JE (xii. 1, xxiv. 4), but Ur Casdim, which can only mean Ur of the Chaldees. From there Terah, the father of Abraham, Nahor, and Haran, is said to have emigrated with Abraham and Lot, the son of Haran, who was already dead. If this was so, Nahor must have stayed at Ur Casdim, and Haran must have died there. But neither of these assumptions is consistent with the indications of the narrative. The different aspirates notwithstanding, it is scarcely allowable to separate the man Haran from the town Haran and to make him die elsewhere. It is equally impossible to regard Ur in Chaldæa as the residence of Nahor, whether the grandfather or the grandson of the same name matters nothing; for it is obviously not without relation to real facts that the place, which in any case must be in Syria, where the Nahorides Laban and Rebecca dwell, is called in J the town of Nahor, and in E Haran. Even in Q though Nahor stays in Ur, Laban and Rebecca do not live in Chaldæa, but in Padan Aram, i.e., in Mesopotamian Syria. What helps to show that Ur Casdim does not belong to the original form of the tradition, is that even in Serug the father of Nahor, we are far away from Babylon towards the West. Serug is the name of a district which borders Haran on the North; how can the son of Serug all at once leap back to Ur Casdim? What the reasons were for making Babylon Abraham's point of departure, we need not now consider; but after having left Ur Casdim with Terah, it is curious how he only gets as far as Haran, and stays there till his father's death. In Q also it is from Haran that he
enters Palestine. Here, if anywhere, we have in the doubling of the point of departure an attempt to harmonise and to gain a connection with JE.
3. The view is happily gaining ground that, in the mythical universal history of mankind in Gen. i.-xi., the Jehovist version is more primitive than the priestly one. And we are, in fact, compelled to adopt this view when we observe that the materials of the narratives in question have not an Israelite, but a universal ethnic origin. The traces of this origin are much more distinctly preserved in the Jehovist, whence it comes that comparative mythology occupies itself chiefly with his narratives, though without knowing that it is doing so. The primitive legend has certainly undergone alterations in his hands too; its mythic character is much obliterated, and all sorts of Israelite elements have crept in. Even the fratricide of Cain, with the contrast in the background between the peaceful life of the Hebrews in the land of Canaan and the restless wanderings of the Cainites (Kenites) in the neighbouring desert, quite falls out of the universal historical and geographical framework. Still more does the curse of Canaan do so; here the trait is evidently old, that Noah was the first to make wine, but this has been made a merely subordinate feature of a pronouncedly national Israelite narrative. But in the Jehovist the process of emptying the primitive legend of its true meaning and contents has not gone nearly so far as in the Priestly Code, where it actually creates surprise when some mythic element shines through, as in the cases of Enoch, and of the rainbow.
The mythic materials of the primitive world-history are suffused in the Jehovist with a peculiar sombre earnestness, a kind of antique philosophy of history, almost bordering on pessimism: as if mankind were groaning under some dreadful weight, the pressure not so much of sin as of creaturehood (vi. 1-4). We notice a shy, timid spirit, which belongs more to heathenism. The rattling of the chains at intervals only aggravates the feeling of confinement that belongs to human nature; the gulf of alienation between man and God is not to be bridged over. Jehovah does not stand high enough, does not feel Himself secure enough, to allow the earth-dwellers to come very near Him; there is almost a suggestion of the notion of the jealousy of the gods. This mood, though in many ways softened, is yet recognisable enough in Gen. ii. iii., in vi. 1-4, and xi. 1-9. In the Priestly Code it has entirely disappeared; here man no longer feels himself under a
secret curse, but allied to God and free, as lord of nature. True, the Priestly Code also recognises in its own fashion the power of sin—this we saw in the chapter on sacrifice; but sin as the root of ruin, explaining it and capable of being got rid of, is the very opposite of blind, not-to-be-averted fate. The slavery of sin and the freedom of the children of God are in the Gospel correlated. The mythical mode of view is destroyed by the autonomy of morality; and closely connected with this is the rational way of looking at nature, of which we find the beginnings in the Priestly Code. This view of nature presupposes that man places himself as a person over and outside of nature, which he regards as simply a thing. We may perhaps assert that were it not for this dualism of Judaism, mechanical natural science would not exist.
The removal of colour from the myths is the same thing as the process of Hebraising them. The Priestly Code appears to Hebraise less than the Jehovist; it refrains on principle from confounding different times and customs. But in fact it Hebraises much more: it cuts and shapes the whole of the materials so that they may serve as an introduction to the Mosaic legislation. It is true that the Jehovist also placed these ethnic legends at the entrance to his sacred legend, and perhaps selected them with a view to their forming an introduction to it; for they are all ethical and historical in their nature, and bear on the problems of the world of man, and not the world of nature. 1 But with the Jehovist justice was yet done to some extent to the individuality of the different narratives: in the Priestly Code their individuality is not only modified to suit the purpose of the whole, but completely destroyed. The connection leading up to the Torah of Moses is everything, the individual pieces have no significance but this. It follows of course from this mode of treatment that the connection itself loses all living reality; it consists, apart from the successive covenants, in mere genealogy and chronology. De Wette thinks all this beautiful because it is symmetrical and intelligible, and leads well up to a conclusion. But this will not be every one's taste; there is such a thing as poetical material without manufacture.
How loosely the narratives of the primitive history are connected
with each other in the Jehovist we see very clearly in the section dealing with the flood. It disagrees both with what goes before and with what follows it. The genealogy Gen. iv. 16-24 issues not in Noah but in Lamech; instead of Shem, Ham, and Japhet, the sons of Noah, we have Jabal, Jubal, Tubal, the sons of Lamech, as the inaugurators of the second period. We have also the characteristic difference, that Shem, Ham, and Japhet give us a division of mankind according to nations, while Jabal, Jubal, Tubal give a division according to guilds, which are necessarily those of the same people, as no people consists entirely of musicians or entirely of smiths. And it is undoubtedly the aim of chapter iv. 16 seq. to describe the origin of the present civilisation, not of that which is extinct, having been destroyed by the flood. Tubal-Cain is the father of the smiths of the present, not of those before the flood; Jubal the father of the musicians, Jabal of the shepherds of the narrator's own period; hence they stand at the end of the genealogy and open the second period. But as Gen. iv. 16-24 does not look forward to the flood, so neither does Gen. xi. 1-9 (the building of the tower of Babel) look back to it. This piece is obviously not the continuation of chapter x. That chapter brought us to a point at which the earth was occupied by different peoples and different tongues; and here (xi. 1) we are suddenly carried back to a time when the whole earth was of one language and one speech. Can this have been the time when Noah's family made up the whole population of the earth? or in other words, does xi. 1-9 go back before chap x. and join on to vi.-ix.? Manifestly not: "the whole earth" (xi. 1) is not merely Shem and Ham and Japhet; the multitude of men who seek by artificial means to concentrate themselves, and are then split up into different peoples, cannot consist of only one family. The point of view is quite different from what it would be if chaps. vi.-ix. were taken into account; the narrator knows nothing of the flood, which left Noah's family alone surviving out of the whole world. Nor would it avail to place xi. 1 at a period so long subsequent to the flood that the family might have increased again to a great people; even this would not give the requisite connection with the idea of Noah and his three sons. If the latter united themselves afterwards in one family, and one coherent people thus grew out of them, which was then split up by a higher power into different languages, then Shem, Ham, and Japhet entirely lose their significance as the great heads of the nations.
The fact is simply this, that the whole section of the flood (Gen. vi.-ix.) is an isolated piece without any connection with the rest of the narrative of the Jehovist. Another strange erratic boulder is the intercourse of the sons of God with the daughters of men (Gen. vi. 1-4). 1 The connection between this piece and the story of the flood which follows it, is of the loosest; and it is in entire disagreement with the preceding part of the Jehovist narrative, as it tells of a second fall of man, with a point of view morally and mentally so different from that of the first, that this story can in no wise be regarded as supplementing or continuing that one. In Gen. vi. 1-4 morality has nothing to do with the guilt that is incurred. We have further examples which illustrate the fragmentary character of the Jehovist primitive history as we have it, in the story of the fratricide of Cain, and the curse of Canaan, which indeed ought not to be here at all, but belong by rights to the history of the patriarchs.
We may close this section by reproducing the words in which Buttmann (i. 208 seq.) indicates his disagreement with De Wette in regard to the treatment of the early legends of the Bible: they are well worth noting. "Thoroughly familiar with the antiquities of the race in whose sacred writings these monuments have been preserved to us, De Wette recognises and follows the national spirit of that race in their most ancient records. In this way he discovers amidst these ruins the thread of an old connection, a kind of epos, the theme of which was the glorification of the people of Israel, a theme which finds a prelude even in the primitive history of the human race. This view is of the first importance for the object he has before him, which is the true criticism of these books; and for the moment other considerations must necessarily yield to it. My object in this whole investigation is only to find the universal element in the legends of different nations, and especially to discover what is common property in the myths of the different branches of the great family of nations to which the Hebrews and the Greeks and we ourselves alike belong. Thus each myth reveals itself to me as existing for itself, having a basis and completeness of its own, and even when I find it in other nations I at once assert for it its character as already known to me. Thus De Wette and I come to differ in the view we take of individual myths. To him they commonly appear as spontaneous free inventions of individual men for their own purposes;
not in the ignoble sense in which the vulgar view speaks of the religious narratives of ancient peoples, but free inventions in which there is no intention to deceive. I, on the contrary, can allow no invention in these oldest portions of mythology. A true myth is never invented; it is handed down. It is not true, but it is honest. From small elements which fancy offered as true, these myths arose and grew, without any contributor to their growth feeling that he had of himself added to them. Those only had any conscious intention in the matter, who touched up the oldest pure myths, and drew them into the great circle of their national history; and their intention, though conscious, was quite innocent and harmless, as De Wette describes it. Now De Wette sees the chief traces of that unity, or of that national epos which winds its way through the Mosaic history, in the Elohim document. For his critical purpose, therefore, this document is the most important, and it he for the most part follows. My aim forbids me to attend to anything but the inner completeness of the stories taken one by one, and this I see most clearly in the Jehovah fragments; whence I have had to yield the preference to them in the foregoing discussions. Should each of us attain his end, our views will excellently supplement each other."
We may add that just that linked unity of its narrative, which has procured for the Priestly Code the title of the "main stock," shows that it presents us with a more developed form of the myths; while the Jehovist, just because of the defective connection (in form) of his "fragments," which long caused him to be regarded as a mere filler-up of the fundamental work, must be judged to stand nearer to the fountain.
1. In the history of the patriarchs also, the outlines of the narrative are the same in Q and in JE. We find in both Abraham's immigration into Canaan with Sarah and Lot, his separation from Lot, the birth of Ishmael by Hagar, the appearance of God for the promise of Isaac, Isaac's birth, the death of Sarah and Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac's marriage with Rebecca, Jacob and Esau, Jacob's journey to Mesopotamia and the foundation of his family there, his return, Esau, Joseph in Egypt, Jacob in Egypt, Jacob's blessing on Joseph and his other sons, his death and burial. The materials here are not mythical but national, and therefore more transparent, and in a certain sense more historical. It is true, we attain to no historical knowledge of the
patriarchs, but only of the time when the stories about them arose in the Israelite people; this later age is here unconsciously projected, in its inner and its outward features, into hoar antiquity, and is reflected there like a glorified mirage. The skeleton of the patriarchal history consists, it is well known, of ethnographic genealogy. The Leah-tribes are connected with the Rachel-tribes under the common father Jacob-Israel: then entire Israel is connected with the people of Edom under the old name of Isaac (Amos vii. 9, 16). Isaac again is connected under Abraham with Lot, the father of Moab and Ammon. All these nearly related and once closely allied Hebrew tribes are shown to be intimately connected with the inhabitants of the Mesopotamian desert, and sharply marked off from the Canaanites, in whose land they dwelt. The narrative speaks of its characters as succeeding each other in time or contemporary; in this form it indicates logical or statistical subordination and co-ordination. As a fact the elements are generally older than the groups and the smaller groups than the greater. The migrations which are mentioned of peoples and tribes are necessary consequences of the assumed relationship. It would be quite possible to present the composition and relative position of any given people at a given time in a similar way in the form of a genealogical early history. True genealogy can scarcely represent precisely the existing relations. It cannot always be determined as a matter of fact whether a tribe is the cousin or the brother or the twin-brother of another tribe, or whether there is any affinity at all between the two; the affinity can be understood and interpreted in different ways, the grouping always depends to some extent on the point of view of the genealogist, or even on his likings and antipathies. The reason why the Arameans are made so nearly related to the Israelites is probably that the patriarchal legend arose in Middle and North Israel; as indeed the pronounced preference shown for Rachel and Joseph clearly proves to have been the case. Did the legend belong originally to Judah, it is likely that more prominence would be given to the Cainite (Kenite) tribes of the peninsula of Sinai, which, as it is, are too much thrust into the background; for there can be no doubt that in the earliest history of Israel these tribes were of no small importance. Nor are apparent contradictions wanting in the ethnographic genealogy. Ishmael, Edom, and the Cainite tribes first mentioned, come into mutual contact in different ways, which may be quite naturally explained from different views and
arrangements of their mutual relationships. And lastly we may add that the genealogical form lends itself to the reception of every sort of materials. In the patriarchal legend, however, the ethnographic element is always predominant. Abraham alone is certainly not the name of a people like Isaac and Lot: he is somewhat difficult to interpret. That is not to say that in such a connection as this we may regard him as a historical person; he might with more likelihood be regarded as a free creation of unconscious art. He is perhaps the youngest figure in the company, and it was probably at a comparatively late period that he was put before his son Isaac. 1
In the Jehovist this skeleton of ethnographic genealogy is found covered throughout with flesh and blood. The patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are not mere names, but living forms, ideal prototypes of the true Israelite. They are all peace-loving shepherds, inclined to live quietly beside their tents, anxious to steer clear of strife and clamour, in no circumstances prepared to meet force with force and oppose injustice with the sword. Brave and manly they are not, but they are good fathers of families, a little under the dominion of their wives, who are endowed with more temper. They serve Jehovah in
essentially the same way as their descendants in historical times; religion with them does not consist of sacrifice alone, but also of an upright conversation and trustful resignation to God's providence. Jacob is sketched with a more realistic touch than the other two; he has a strong dash of artifice and desire of gain, qualities which do not fail to secure the ends he aims at. He escapes from every difficulty and danger, not only safely but with profit: Jehovah helps him, but above all he helps himself, without showing, as we should judge, any great scruple in his choice of means. The stories about him do not pretend to be moral, the feeling they betray is in fact that of undissembled joy in all the successful artifices and tricks of the patriarchal rogue. Of the subordinate figures Esau is drawn with some liking for him, then Laban, and the weak-kneed saint, Lot. Ishmael is drawn as the prototype of the Bedouin, as a wild ass of a man, whose hand is against every man, and every man's hand against him.
It is remarkable that the heroes of Israelite legend show so little taste for war, and in this point they seem to be scarcely a true reflection of the character of the Israelites as known from their history. Yet it is not difficult to understand that a people which found itself incessantly driven into war, not only dreamed of an eternal peace in the future, but also embodied the wishes of its heart in these peaceful forms of the golden age in the past. We have also to consider that the peaceful shepherd life of the patriarchs is necessary to the idyllic form in which the early history of the people is cast; only peoples or tribes can make war, not single men. 1 This also must serve to explain why the historical self-consciousness of the nation finds so little expression in the personal character of the patriarchs. It makes vent for itself only in the inserted prophecies of the future; in these we trace that national pride which was the fruit of the exploits of David, yet always in a glorified form, rising to religious exaltation.
In the traits of personal character ascribed to the patriarchs they represent substantially the nature and the aspirations of the individual Israelite. The historic-political relations of Israel are reflected with
more life in the relations borne by the patriarchs to their brothers; cousins, and other relatives. The background is never long concealed here, the temper of the period of the kings is everywhere discernible. This is the case most clearly perhaps in the story about Jacob and Esau. The twins are at variance, even in the womb; even in the matter of his birth the younger refuses precedence to the elder, and tries to hold him back by the heel. This is interpreted to the anxious mother by the oracle at Beersheba as follows: "Two nations are in thy womb, and two peoples are separated from thy bowels, and the one people shall be stronger than the other, and the elder shall serve the younger." The boys grow up very different. Esau is a rough and sunburnt hunter, ranges about in the desert, and lives from day to day without care: Jacob, a pious, smooth man, stays at home beside the tents, and understands the value of things which his unsophisticated brother disregards. The former is the favourite of his father, the autochthonous Isaac, the latter is preferred by the mother, the Aramæan Rebecca; the former stays in his own land and takes his wives from the original population of south Canaan and the Sinaitic peninsula, the latter emigrates, and brings his wives from Mesopotamia. Thus the contrast is distinctly prefigured, which at a later time appeared, between the rough Edom, sprung from the soil and having his roots in it, and smoother, more civilised Israel, which had more affinity with the great powers of the world. By means of deceit and trickery the younger brother succeeds in depriving the elder of the paternal blessing and of the right of the first-born; the elder, in consequence of this, determines to kill him, and the situation becomes strained. Edom was a people and a kingdom before Israel, but was then overshadowed by Israel, and even subjugated at last by David: hence the fierce hatred between the brother nations, of which Amos speaks. The words of the blessing of Jacob show this quite distinctly to be the historical basis of the legend, a basis of which the Jews were perfectly conscious: we hear in the blessing of repeated attempts of the Edomites to cast off the yoke of Israel, and it is predicted that these efforts will be at last successful. Thus the stories about Jacob and Esau cannot have taken form even in outline, before the time of David; in their present form (Gen. xxvii. 40) their outlook extends to times still later. The roots of the legend being thus traceable in later history, a circumstance which the Jehovist does not attempt to conceal, it is no more than an apparent anachronism
when he takes occasion to give a complete list of the Edomite kings down to David, interspersing it with historical notes, as, for example, that Hadad ben Bedad (possibly a contemporary of Gideon) defeated the Midianites on the plains of Moab. In the story of Jacob and Laban, again, the contemporary background shines through the patriarchal history very distinctly. The Hebrew, on his half-migration, half-flight from Mesopotamia to the land of Jordan, is hotly pursued by his Aramean father-in-law, who overtakes him at Gilead. There they treat with each other and pile up a heap of stones, which is to be the boundary between them, and which they mutually pledge themselves not to overstep with hostile intentions. This answers to the actual state of the facts. The Hebrew migration into Canaan was followed by the Aramæan, which threatened to overwhelm it. Gilead was the boundary between the two peoples, and the arena, during a long period, of fierce conflicts which they waged with each other. The blessing of Jacob, in the oracle on Joseph, also mentions the Syrian wars: the archers who press Joseph hard, but are not able to overcome him, can be no other than the Arameans of Damascus, to whose attacks he was exposed for a whole century. Joseph here appears always as the pillar of the North-Israelite monarchy, the wearer of the crown among his brethren, a position for which he was marked out by his early dreams. The story of Joseph, however, in so far as historical elements can be traced in it at all, and not merely the free work of poetry, is based on much earlier events, from a time when the union was just being accomplished of the two sections which together became the people of Israel. The trait of his brother's jealousy of him points perhaps to later events. 1
The historical associations which form the groundwork of the stories of the other sons of Jacob are also comparatively old. They afford us almost the only information we possess about the great change which must have taken place in the league of the tribes soon after Moses. This change principally affected the group of the four old Leah tribes
which were closely connected with each other. Reuben assumes the rights of his father prematurely and loses the leadership. Simeon and Levi make, apart from the others, a faithless attack on the Canaanites, and collective Israel lets them suffer the consequences alone, so that they succumb to the vengeance of their enemies and cease to be tribes. Hence the primogeniture is transferred to Judah. Judah also suffers great losses, no doubt in the conflict which accompanied the settlement in the land of Canaan, and is reduced to a fraction of his former importance. But this breach is made good by fresh accessions from the mother-stock of the Leah tribes, by the union of Pharez and Zarah, i.e. of Caleb, Kenaz, Cain (Ken), Jerahmeel, with the remnant of ancient Judah. The Jehovist narratives about Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, are undoubtedly based on occurrences connected with the period of the conquest of the holy land; but this is not the place to trace the historical interpretation of the stories further. 1
It may, however, be remarked, and it is important to do so, that even where true historic motives are indisputably present in the patriarchal legend, it is not exactly a reproduction of the facts as they occurred. In reality Edom always kept up his hatred against Israel and suppressed his feeling of relationship (Amos i. 11); in Genesis he meets his brother returning from Mesopotamia, and trembling with anxiety at the encounter, in a conciliatory temper which is quite affecting. The touch is one to reflect no small honour on the ancient Israelite. To set against this we have the touch, manifestly inspired by hatred, of Gen. xix. 30-38. No one can fail to wonder why the daughters of Lot are nameless, but this shows that they are inserted between Lot and his sons Moab and Ammon purely for the sake of the incest. Sympathies and antipathies are everywhere at work, and the standpoint is throughout that of Northern Israel, as appears most evidently from the circumstance that Rachel is the fair and the beloved wife of Jacob, whom alone in fact he wished to marry, and Leah the ugly and despised one who was imposed on him by a trick. 2 On the whole, the rivalries which really existed are
rather softened than exaggerated in this poetical illustration of them; what tends to unity is more prominent and is more carefully treated than what tends to separation. There is no trace of any side glances at persons and events of the day, as, e.g., at the unseemly occurrences at the court of David, and as little of any twisting or otherwise doctoring the materials to make them advance this or that tendency.
But these stories would be without point were it not for other elements which enter into them and attach them to this and that particular locality. In this aspect we have first of all to consider that the patriarchs are regarded as the founders of the popular worship at Shechem, Bethel, Beersheba, and Hebron, as we saw above, p. 30. A whole series of stories about them are cultus-myths; in these they discover by means of a theophany that a certain spot of earth is holy ground; there they erect an altar, and give it the name of the place. They dwell exclusively at places which were afterwards regarded as primeval sanctuaries and inaugurate the sacrifices which are offered there. The significance of these stories is entirely bound up with the locality; they possess an interest only for those who still sacrifice to Jehovah on the same altar as Abraham once did, under the same sacred oak of Moreh or Mamre. In the same way the patriarchs discover or excavate the caves, or springs, or wells, and plant the trees, which their posterity still count sacred or at least honourable, after the lapse of thousands of years. In some cases also striking or significant formations of the earth's surface receive a legendary explanation from the patriarchal age. Were the Dead Sea not there, Sodom and Gomorrha would not have perished; were there not a small flat tongue of land projecting into the marsh from the south-east, Lot would have directed his flight straight to the mountains of his sons Moab and Ammon, and would not have made the détour by Zoar, which only serves to explain why this corner was not included in the ruin to the area of which it properly belongs. The pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was turned was still pointed out in the days of Josephus; perhaps the smoke of the furnace which Abraham saw from the Jewish shore the morning after the catastrophe has some connection with the town of the same name which was situated there. 1 The origin of Mount Gilead is explained from its historical
significance: it is an immense mound which was once heaped up by Laban and Jacob in order to serve as a boundary between Aram and Israel. In many instances the names of places gave rise to a legend which does not always hit upon the true reason of the name. The spring of Lahai Roi, for example, is an instance of this. The discovery of this spring saved Hagar and Ishmael from dying of thirst. Hagar called the name of Jehovah who spoke with her, El Roi (God of Seeing), for she said, "Have I seen God, and am I kept in life after my seeing?" Wherefore the well is called Beer Lahai Roi (he lives who sees me); it is between Kadesh and Berdan. According to Judges xv. 18-20, 2 Sam. xxiii. 11, a more correct interpretation of Lahai Roi would be "jawbone of the antelope"—this being the appearance presented by a series of rocky teeth standing close together there. 1
The original motive of the legend, however, as we have now indicated it, appears in the Jehovist always and everywhere covered over with the many-coloured robe of fancy. The longer a story was spread by oral tradition among the people, the more was its root concealed by the shoots springing from it. For example, we may assume with regard to the story of Joseph that, just because it has almost grown into a romance, its origin stretches back to a remote antiquity. The popular fancy plays as it will; yet it does not make such leaps as to make it impossible to trace its course. Miracles, angels, theophanies, dreams, are never absent from the palette. When Rachel eats the mandrakes which Reuben had found, and which Leah had given up to her, and they remove her barrenness so that she becomes the mother of Joseph, we have a story based on a vulgar superstition. Purely mythical elements are found isolated in the story of Jacob's wrestling with the Deity at the ford of the Jabbok. Etymology and proverbs are a favourite motive, and often give rise to lively and diversified tales. Even in pieces which we should be inclined to attribute to the art of individuals, old and characteristic themes may be involved. The story of Jacob and Laban, for example, is entirely composed of such materials. The courtship at the well is twice repeated with no great variation. The trait of the father-in-law's wish to get his oldest daughter first off his hands and craftily bringing
her to the son-in-law after the wedding-feast, is scarcely due to the invention of an individual. The shepherd's tricks, by which Jacob colours the sheep as he likes, have quite the flavour of a popular jest. The observance of hospitality or transgressions against it, occupy a prominent place in the Genesis of the Jehovist; Lot's entertainment, and the Sodomites' insulting maltreatment, of the Deity who comes among them in disguise, is an incident that appears in the legends of many races. There is little psychological embellishment, little actual making-up; for the most part we have the product of a countless number of narrators, unconsciously modifying each other's work. How plastic and living the materials must have been even in the ninth and eighth century, we see from the manifold variants and repetitions of the same stories, which, however, scarcely change the essential character of the themes.
One more trait must be added to the character of the Jehovist. Each of his narratives may be understood by itself apart from the rest; the genealogy serves merely to string them together; their interest and significance is not derived from the connection in which they stand. Many of them have a local colour which bespeaks a local origin; and how many of them are in substance inconsistent with each other, and stand side by side only by compulsion! The whole literary character and loose connection of the Jehovist story of the patriarchs reveals how gradually its different elements were brought together, and how little they have coalesced to a unity. In this point the patriarchal history of the Jehovist, stands quite on the same footing with his legend of the origins of the human race, the nature of which we have already demonstrated.
2. It is from the Jehovistic form of the legends that we derive our picture of the patriarchs, that picture which children learn at school and which they find it easy to retain. To compare the parallel of the Priestly Code it is necessary to restore it as a whole, for few are aware of the impression it produces.
"And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran, and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan, and into the land of Canaan they came (xii. 4b, 5). And the land was not able to bear them that they might dwell together, for their
substance was great so that they could not dwell together. And they separated themselves the one from the other; Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the Kikkar. 1 And it came to pass when God destroyed the cities of the Kikkar, that God remembered Abram, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt. . . (xiii. 6, 11b, 12ab, xix. 29). And Sarai was barren: she had no child. And Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And Hagar bare Abram a son; and Abram called his son's name which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram" (xi. 30, xvi. 3, 15, 16) Then follows the covenant of God with Abram, whose name he now changes to Abraham, and the institution of circumcision as the mark of those who belong to the covenant; then the announcement of the birth of Isaac by Sarai, now ninety years old, who is henceforth to be called Sarah, and Isaac's nomination as heir of the covenant in place of Ishmael (chap. xvii.). "And Sarah bore Abraham a son at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac, after eight days, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was an hundred years old when Isaac his son was born unto him (xxi. 2-5). And the life of Sarah was an hundred and twenty seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kirjath-Arba, the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan" (xxiii. 1, 2). Then comes the treaty of Abraham, reported with all due legal accuracy, with Ephron the Hittite, from whom he purchases the cave of Machpelah, which is over against Mamre, for a family burying-place (xxiii.). "And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, a hundred and seventy five years. And Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years; and was gathered to his fellow tribesmen. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron ben Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; the field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth; there was Abraham buried and Sarah his wife. And after Abraham was dead, God blessed his son Isaac" (xxv. 7-11a). Next come the
[paragraph continues] Toledoth (generations) of Ishmael according to the regular practice of first exhausting the collaterals (xxv. 12-17). "These are the Toledoth of Isaac the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac. . .and Isaac was 40 years old when he took Rebecca to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan Aram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. . . .And Isaac was 60 years old when Esau and Jacob were born (xxv. 19, 20, 26c). And Esau was 40 years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath, the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and they were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah. And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob also take such wives of the daughters of Heth, of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do to me? Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; arise, go to Padan-Aram to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father, and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. And El Shaddai will bless thee, and make thee fruitful and multiply thee, and give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee and to thy seed with thee, that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham. And Isaac sent away Jacob, and he went to Padan-Aram unto Laban ben Bethuel, the Syrian, the brother of Rebecca, Jacob and Esau's mother. And Esau saw that Isaac blessed Jacob, and sent him to Padan-Aram to take him a wife from thence, and that as he blessed him, he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Now Jacob hearkened to his father, and went to Padan-Aram. But Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the sister of Nebaioth to be his wife (xxvi. 34 seq., xxvii. 46, xxviii. 1-9). And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for her handmaid. And he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife. And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid (xxix. 24, 28b, 29). And the sons of Jacob were twelve. The sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun. The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. The sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid: Dan and Naphtali. The sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid: Gad and Asher; these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padan-Aram (xxxv. 23-26) . . . . [and Jacob took] all his goods which he had gotten, the gear
of his property which he had gotten in Padan-Aram, to go home to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan (xxx). 18). And God appeared unto Jacob when he was coming home from Padan-Aram, and blessed him; and God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob; thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name. And God said unto him; I am El Shaddai; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; and the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. And God went up from him in the place where He talked with him. And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him Bethel (xxxv. 9-13, 15). And they departed from Bethel; and when there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath, Rachel died, and was buried there in the way to Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem (xxxv. 16a, 19, cf. xlviii. 7, xlix. 31). And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto Kirjath-Arba, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac dwelt as strangers. And the days of Isaac were a hundred and eighty years. And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days; and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him" (xxxv. 27-29.) Then follow the generations of Esau in chapter xxxvi. 1 "And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the souls of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan, and went into the land of Seir from the face of his brother Jacob. For their riches were more than that they might dwell together, and the land of their sojourn could not bear them because of their cattle. And Esau dwelt in Mount Seir; Esau is Edom. And Jacob dwelt in the land of the sojourn of his father, in the land of Canaan (xxxvi. 6-8, xxxvii. 1). These are the Toledoth of Jacob . . . (xxxxvii. 2). And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his seed with him, his sons, and his sons’ sons, and all his seed, brought he with him into Egypt" (xlvi. 6, 7). Then follows the enumeration of the seventy souls of which his seed was then composed. "And Jacob and his sons came to Egypt to Joseph; and Pharaoh the king of Egypt heard it. And Pharaoh said to Jacob, How many are the days of the years of thy life? And Jacob said to Pharaoh, The days of the years of my sojourning are
a hundred and thirty years; few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers, in the days of their sojourning. And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best part of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded (xlvii. 5b, 6, LXX, xlvii. 7-11). And they settled there, and grew and multiplied exceedingly. And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years, and the whole age of Jacob was 7 years and 140 years (xlvii. 27b, 28). . . .And Jacob said unto Joseph, El Shaddai appeared unto me at Luz, in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, and said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of peoples; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession. And now thy two sons which were born unto thee in Egypt, before I came unto thee in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon. And the issue which thou begettest after them shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance. And when I came from Padan, Rachel died to me in the land of Canaan, in the way, when there was but a little way to come into Ephrath, and I buried her there, in the way to Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem (xlviii. 3-7, and v. 7, cf. xlix. 31). . .[and his other sons also] he blessed; and he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people, bury me with my fathers in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which field Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite, for a hereditary burying-place-there they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah—the possession of the field and of the cave that is therein from the children of Heth. And Jacob made an end of commanding his sons, and he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his fellow-tribesmen (xlix. 28b-33). And his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham had bought for a hereditary burying-place from Ephron the Hittite, over against Mamre (l. 12, 13). And these are the names of the children of Israel which came into Egypt, with Jacob they came, every one with his house; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulon, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher. And all the souls that came out of Jacob's loins were seventy souls; and Joseph was in
[paragraph continues] Egypt. And the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, and the land was filled with them, and the Egyptians made the children of Israel their servants with rigour, in all their work which they wrought by them with rigour, and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage (Exod. i. 1-7, 13, 14). And the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage; and they cried, and their cry because of the bondage came up unto God, and God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and God took notice (ii. 23-25). And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am Jehovah. I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by the name of El Shaddai; but by my name Jehovah was I not known unto them; and I made a covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, that the Egyptians keep them in bondage, and I have remembered my covenant" (vi. 2 seq.).
That is the whole of it. As a rule nothing more is aimed at than to give the mere links and articulations of the narrative. It is as if Q were the scarlet thread on which the pearls of JE are hung. In place of the somewhat loose connections of the Jehovist, the narrative of the Priestly Code shows a firmly jointed literary form; one remarkable feature of which is to be seen in the regular titles which stand at the head of the various sections. Each section begins with the words אלה תולדות (hae sunt generationes), from which Genesis derives its name. 1 In the rest of the historical literature of the Old Testament nothing like this as yet appears. It is also characteristic that whenever the title occurs, introducing a new, section, the contents of the preceding section are first of all briefly recapitulated so as to show the place of the link upon the chain.
The Priestly Code enters as little as possible on the contents of the various narratives. The predicates are stripped off, so far as they admit of such treatment, and the subjects duly entered in a catalogue with connecting text. In this way the history almost shrinks to the compass of a genealogy with explanations—the genealogy at least forms the principal contents of the history, and here appears in such proportions
and such systematic fashion as nowhere else. This has been regarded as a proof that Q belongs to an older stage of development of Hebrew historiography than JE. There can be no doubt, it is said, 1 that the oldest Hebrew, or indeed Oriental, history began with the historical notices and traditions inserted in the tribal or family catalogues. Yet we know positively that in the Books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings, there are no genealogical statistics at all, while Chronicles, and what belongs to Chronicles, is full of them. We know also that songs such as those in Josh. x. 12, 13; Jud. v.; 2 Sam. i. 19 seq., iii. 33 seq. are the oldest historical monuments, and that a number of them are found in JE and not a single one in Q. Herder's theory of the development of history out of genealogy will not apply here, 2 but indeed what we have to do with here is not history proper at all, but folklore.
It is true that with the Jehovist also the genealogy underlies the narrative as its skeleton. It is the natural chain to link the different stories together, and even at a time when the latter were still separate and only circulated orally, the genealogy was not unknown to the people. When stories were told of Isaac and Ishmael, and Lot and Esau, every one knew at once who these personages were, and how they were related to Israel and to one another. But this was merely the presupposition of the narratives, known as a matter of course to the hearers; the interesting element in them consisted in those traits which the Priestly Code omits. Stories of this kind compel attention because they set forth the peculiarities of different peoples as historically and really related to each other, not according to an empty embryological relation. It is the temper displayed by different races, not the stem of their relationship, that makes the point of the stories; their charm and their very life depend on their being transparent and reflecting the historic attitude of the time which gave them birth. The clearer the traces they display of love and hatred, jealousy of rivals and joy in their fall, the nearer are we to the forces which originated the tradition about early times. In the Priestly Code all those stories are absent in which there is anything morally objectionable,
[paragraph continues] —those for example in which the cowardice of the patriarchs endangers the honour of their wives, those of Sarah's cruel jealousy of Hagar, and of the unlovely contention of Leah and Rachel for husband and children, of the incest of Lot's daughters, of the violation of Dinah. All hatred, and strife, and deceit in the patriarchal family disappear: Lot and Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, agree to separate: of the tricks of Laban and Jacob to each other, of the treachery of Simeon and Levi to Shechem, of the enmity Joseph's brethren bore to him, there is not a word in the Priestly Code. It is not merely that "psychological decorations," as they have been called, are left out; the very heart of the business has been cut out. That Moab and Ammon, Ishmael and Edom, were Hebrew peoples, all more nearly or more distantly related to the Israelites, that the Aramæans too were closely connected with the Hebrews by blood and by marriage, that this tribe lives in one district contiguous to Palestine, that in another—this is what the Priestly Code has to tell. Dry ethnographical and geographical facts like these are presented in a genealogical form; all we learn of the patriarchs is their marriages and births and how they separated to the various dwelling-places of their descendants. And folklore could not possibly be directed to such facts as these at a period when these relations were all matters of fact and familiar to every child. The Priestly Code, moreover, strips the legends of the patriarchs of their local as well as their historical colour; they are kept at a distance from all the places of the sacredness of which the Jehovist makes them the founders. 1 No historical geography is needed in order to understand the narrative of the Priestly Code in Genesis: but that is only to say
that it stands quite away from the soil out of which oral tradition arises. It deals in no etymology, no proverbs nor songs, no miracles, theophanies nor dreams, and is destitute of all that many-coloured poetic charm which adorns the Jehovistic narratives. But this proves not its original simplicity but its neglect of the springs from which legend arises, and of its most essential elements. 1 What remains is anything but historical objectivity: it is the formula and nothing more.
As with the legend of the beginnings of things, so with the legend of the patriarchs: what is essential and original is the individual element in the several stories; the connection is a secondary matter, and only introduced on the stories being collected and reduced to writing. But
in the Priestly Code the individuality of the several stories is simply destroyed: to such an extent is the connection dwelt on. What meaning is there in the statement that Jacob was all at once called Israel, i.e., Fight-God (xxxv. 10), if no mention is made of his wrestling with El, which was the occasion of his change of name? Have we anything like the true history of Joseph in the Priestly Code? Can we regard it as the original history, when the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is dismissed in a subordinate clause, as is done in xix. 29? The remarkable admission has been made, 1 that it is plain from the summary manner of reporting of the Priestly Code, that the author could have told his story at much greater length, had it been consistent with the plan of his work to do so, and that this certainly points to sources where greater detail was used. The more detailed source, however, which is thus taken for granted, need by no means, it is said, have been a written one, and least of all the Jehovistic narrative before us; on the contrary, we are told, the state of the case is best satisfied by the assumption that the author held a more detailed narrative to be unnecessary, because the oral tradition, living in the mouth of the people, was quite able to fill in the colours in his outlines and to convert his chronistic notices into living pictures. But this is merely an attempt to elude the necessity for exactly comparing the Priestly Code and the Jehovist. The question is, which of the two writings stands nearest to the starting-point? Is it the one which attaches most importance to elements which are foreign to the nature of oral tradition altogether and only added in literary composition? It would be a curious thing if the writing down of the tradition began with writing down what the legend did not contain. What is set before us in the Priestly Code is the quintessence not of the oral tradition, but of the tradition when already written down. And the written account of the primitive history which it employs is the Jehovistic narrative. The order in which the popular legends are there placed here becomes the very kernel of the narrative. There the plan was hidden behind the execution, but here it comes forward not indeed essentially changed, but sharp and accentuated, as the principal feature of the whole.
3. The Jehovist still lives in the spirit of the legend, but the Priestly Code is strange to that spirit, and does violence to the legend, by treating
it from its own point of view, which is quite different from the old one. Moral and religious culture is further advanced; and hence the removal of real or apparent offences against morality and of notions which are too childish, or superstitious, or even mythical. If the Godhead appears, it must not be patent to the senses, at least it must not be seen in visible form. Jehovah speaks with Jacob, but not in a dream from the heavenly ladder; He reveals Himself to Moses, but not in the burning bush; the notion of revelation is retained, but the subsidiary incidents which must be added to make a concrete of the abstract, are stripped off. It is a matter of indifference under what forms or through what media a man receives revelation, if only the fact stands sure; in other words, revelation is no longer a living reality of the present, but a dead dogma for the past. The progress of culture in the Priestly Code is most of all evident in the learned historical treatment with which the legend is overlaid. First of all there is the chronology, which we encountered even in the legend of the origins of mankind, and which is naturally continued in the patriarchal legend. Here indeed we see with special plainness how foreign learned calculation is to the poetical materials; in some instances the facts lead to quite a different view from that of the numbers. Following the numbers of the Priestly Code we may, with the Rabbis, regard Shem and Eber as the venerable heads of the Jewish school in which the child Jacob learned his letters and the Torah. Then Jacob's sojourn in Mesopotamia lasts about eighty years, and all this time Isaac is lying on his death-bed; after being long dead for us, he suddenly appears again, but only to die. And hand in hand with the chronology there goes the general predilection of the Priestly Code for numbers and names, which displays itself even in Genesis, though not nearly so marked there as in the later books of the Pentateuch. Oral folklore can very well contain round numbers, such as the twelve sons and the seventy souls of the family of Jacob, the twelve wells and the seventy palm trees at Elim, the seventy elders and the twelve spies; but a chronological system, whole lists of exact and considerable numbers, bare catalogues of personal names, none of them having any significance, dates and measurements such as those in the account of the flood in the Priestly Code, require writing even to originate, not to speak of transmitting them. These art-products of pedantry toke the place of the living poetic detail of the Jehovist narrative; the element of episode has to give way to the seriousness of dry history.
[paragraph continues] It is also a mark of historical pedantry that the mixing up of the period of the patriarchs with a later period is avoided as anachronistic. In the Jehovist the present everywhere shines through, he in no way conceals his own age; we are told that Babylon is the great world-city, that the Assyrian Empire is in existence, with the cities of Niniveh and Calah and Resen; that the Canaanites had once dwelt in Palestine, but had long been absorbed in the Israelites. The writer of the Priestly Code is very careful not to do anything like this. 1 He brushes up the legend and makes history of it according to the rules of art; he kills it as legend, and deprives it of all real value, such as it possesses, not indeed for the history of primitive times, but for that of the age of the kings.
The history of the first men and of the patriarchs is divided by the Priestly Code into three periods, each of them opened by a covenant. The covenant with Adam (Gen. i. 28-ii. 4) is the simplest; it is not called a covenant, but it is the basis of the second covenant with Noah (ix. 1-17), which modifies it in important particulars, and brings it nearer to the present age. The covenant with Abraham (Gen. xvii.), which alone is ratified with the succeeding patriarchs, does not apply to the whole of mankind, but only to Abraham's seed, and especially to Israel. The first sign of the covenant is the Sabbath (Gen. ii. 3; comp. Exod. xxxi. 12 seq.; Ezek. xx. 12, 20), the second the rainbow (Gen. ix. 12), the third circumcision (xvii. 10). The first parent of mankind is enjoined to use a purely vegetable diet, the father of mankind after the, flood receives permission to slaughter animals; but he is expressly ordered not to eat flesh in the blood, and besides, to shed the blood of no man. What is said to Noah remains good for Abraham; but to the latter God promises that his posterity by Sarah shall possess the land of Canaan, and this is further assured by the purchase of the cave of Machpelah for a family burying-place, the purchase being executed according to all the forms of law, with prolonged negotiations. Further, God reveals Himself to Abraham as El Shaddai, and under this name He also manifests Himself to Isaac (xxviii. 3) and Jacob (xxxv. 11), repeating to them the promise of the possession of the land. It is pointed out with emphasis that God was not known to the pre-Mosaic time under His Israelite name, that He revealed Himself to the patriarchs only as El Shaddai, and as Jehovah first to Moses (Exod. vi. 2, 3). With a similar intention,
which is not far to seek, the time of the patriarchs is kept free of the other Mosaic forms of worship; hence we have here no sacrifices nor altars, no distinction of clean and unclean beasts, nor anything of the kind. Now till within a short time ago, there was a great inclination (no one will be found at this date to acknowledge that he felt it) to admire the sobriety and faithfulness of the Priestly Code, as shown in this observance of the different religious stages. But in fact we can only admire these advantages in it, if we believe that the religion was at first naturalistic, that then all at once it became a good deal more positive, and then quite positive in the year 1500 B.C. How can we regard it as showing historical faithfulness, that the patriarchs were allowed to slaughter, but not to sacrifice, and that first the Sabbath was introduced, then the rainbow, then circumcision, and at last sacrifice, under Moses? It is natural that Jacob at Bethel should give tithes of all that he possesses, unnatural that the eponymous hero should not in worship above all things have left a good example to his posterity. What is it but a theory, that the name Jehovah was first revealed to Moses, and through him to the Israelites, and that it was quite unknown before?—a theory which certainly cannot be upheld, for Moses could have done nothing more irrational than to introduce a new name for the God of their fathers, to whom he directed his people,—and yet a theory which, from the correlation between Jehovah the God of Israel and Israel the people of Jehovah, readily suggests itself, and is not altogether peculiar to the author of the Priestly Code. 1 He had a pattern which suggested certain lines, and these he traces strongly and with a system; and he even goes so far as to avoid the name of Jehovah even in his own narrative of the pre-Mosaic period. Even when speaking in his own person, he says Elohim, not Jehovah, down to Exodus vi.
The three periods and the three corresponding covenants of the early age are preliminaries to the fourth period and the fourth covenant.
[paragraph continues] The narrator everywhere has an eye to the Mosaic law, and the thought of it determined the plan which comes so prominently into view in his representation of the origins of human history. The great features of this plan are the great official transactions of Jehovah with the patriarchs. In these we have not a narrative but only speeches and negotiations; the preliminary laws are given in them, which, as they advance step by step, prepare the way for the great Law, namely, the Mosaic. The law of worship has taken the place of the legend of worship. In the legend the sacred usages and customs arise, as it were, spontaneously, in connection with any occasion, placed in the early sacred time, which may serve to account for them. Jehovah does not make it statutory that the sinew of the thigh may not be eaten; but He wrestles with Israel, and injures the sinew of his thigh during the wrestling, and for this reason the children of Israel do not eat thereof. In the following story it is explained how it came about that the Israelites circumcise young boys (Exod. iv. 25 seq.). As Moses was returning from Midian to Goshen, he spent a night on the road, and Jehovah fell upon him with the intention of killing him. His wife, Zipporah, however, took a flint and cut off the foreskin of her son, and touched Moses לְרַנְלָיו with it, saying, Thou art a blood-bridegroom to me. Then Jehovah let him go. Thus Zipporah circumcises her son instead of her husband, makes the latter symbolically a blood-bridegroom, and thereby delivers him from the wrath of Jehovah to which he is exposed, because he is not a blood-bridegroom, i.e., because he has not submitted to circumcision before his marriage. In other words, the circumcision of male infants is here explained as a milder substitute for the original circumcision of young men before marriage. 1 Compare with this the style in which in Gen. xvii. the Priestly Code institutes the circumcision of male children on the eighth day after birth. This institution completely throws into the shade and spoils the story out of which it arose, namely, the promise of the birth of Isaac as a reward to Abraham of the hospitality he showed Jehovah at Hebron. But there is more than a difference in form, there is a material contradiction between the Jehovistic legend and the priestly
law. The law purifies the legend, that is to say, denies all its main features and motives. As we saw in the first chapter there is a conscious polemic at work in the representation in the Priestly Code that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob erect no altars, and practice no religious rites, and that they have no connection with the sacred places with which in JE they are inseparably associated. The popular religious book preserved to us in the Jehovistic Genesis, not corrected to any great extent, though certainly to some extent, tells how the ancestors and representatives of Israel founded the old popular worship at the principal sites at which it was kept up. The law of the legitimate cultus of Jerusalem, as it lies before us in the Priestly Code, reforms and destroys the old popular worship on the basis of Mosaic, i.e., prophetical ideas. The tabernacle does not harmonize with the sanctuaries of Hebron, Beersheba, Shechem, Kadesh, Mahanaim, Lahai-Roi, Bethel; the patriarchs live at Hebron only because they are to be buried there, not to entertain the Deity under the oak of Mamre and to build an altar there. The heretical maççebas, trees and wells, disappear, and with them the objectionable customs: that God should have summoned Abraham to offer up to Him his only son is an idea the Priestly Code could not possibly entertain. The whole material of the legend is subordinated to legislative designs: the modifying influence of the law on the narrative is everywhere apparent.
The attitude of Judaism to the old legend is on the whole negative, but it added some new elements. While the patriarchs are not allowed to sacrifice, only to slaughter, they have, on the other hand, the Sabbath 1 and circumcision. In this they are like the Jews in Babylon, who were deprived of the national cultus, and replaced it with these two symbols of religious membership and union, which were independent of the temple of Jerusalem. In the exile, after the cessation of the service of the altar, the Sabbath and circumcision attained that significance as symbols—in the genuine old meaning of the Greek word—as practical symbols of Judaism, which they retain to the present day. The emphasis is noteworthy with which the Priestly Code always insists on the fact that the patriarchs sojourned in a strange land, that they were
[paragraph continues] Gerim. If we also consider that Abraham is said to have migrated into Palestine from Ur, from Chaldæa, it is hardly possible to reject the idea that the circumstances of the exile had some influence in moulding the priestly form of the patriarchal legend. In spite of all the efforts of the historian, and all the archaic appearance of his work, it may in that case still be the fact that the surroundings of the narrator found positive expression in his description of the patriarchal times.
In the Jehovistic history-book Genesis is a most important part, and occupies at least a half of the whole work: in the Priestly Code, Genesis quite disappears in comparison with the later books. Only with the Mosaic legislation does this work arrive at its own ground, and it at once stifles the narrative under a mass of legislative matter. Here also there is a thin historical thread running parallel to the Jehovist, but we constantly lose sight of it from the repeated interruptions made by extensive ritual laws and statistical statements.
"These last four books of Moses have been made quite unreadable by a most melancholy, most incomprehensible, revision. The course of the history is everywhere interrupted by the insertion of innumerable laws, with regard to the greater part of which it is impossible to see any reason for their being inserted where they are." The dislocation of the narrative by these monstrous growths of legislative matter is not, as Goethe thinks, to be imputed to the editor; it is the work of the unedited Priestly Code itself, and is certainly intolerable; nor can it be original; the literary form of the work at once shows this. It is still possible to trace how the legal matter forces its way into the narrative, and once there spreads itself and takes up more and more room. In the Jehovist, one form of the tradition may still be discerned, according to which the Israelites on crossing the Red Sea at once proceeded towards Kadesh, without making the detour to Sinai. We only get to Sinai in Exod. xix., but in Exod. xvii. we are already at Massah and Meribah, i.e., on the ground of Kadesh. That is the scene of the story of Moses striking water out of the rock with his staff: there the fight with the Amalekites took place—they lived there and not at Sinai—there also the visit of Jethro, which requires a locality at some distance from his home (at Sinai), a place where the people had not merely a temporary
encampment, but their permanent seat of justice. 1 Hence the narratives which are told before the arrival at Sinai are repeated after the departure from it, because the locality is the same before and after, namely, the wilderness of Kadesh, the true scene of the Mosaic history. The institution of judges and elders concludes the narrative before the great Sinai section, and begins the narrative after it (Ex. xviii., Num. xi). The story of the manna and the quails occurs not only in Exod. xvi., but also in Num. xi; and the rocky spring called forth by Moses at Massah and Meribah is both in Exod. xvii. and Num. xx. In other words, the Israelites arrived at Kadesh, the original object of their wanderings, not after the digression to Sinai but immediately after the Exodus, and they spent there the forty years of their residence in the wilderness. Kadesh is also the original scene of the legislation. "There He made them statute and judgment, and there He proved them," we read in a poetical fragment, before the Sinai section (Exod. xv. 25), which is now placed in the narrative of the healing of the waters at Marah, but stands there quite isolated and without bearing on its context. The curious conjunction of judgment and trial points unmistakably to Massah and Meribah (i.e., judgment and trial-place), that is, to Kadesh, as the place spoken of. But the legislation at the seat of judgment at Kadesh is not represented as a single act in which Moses promulgates to the Israelites once for all a complete and comprehensive body of laws; it goes on for forty years, and consists in the dispensation of justice at the sanctuary, which he begins and the priests and judges carry on after him according to the pattern he set. This is the idea in the extremely instructive narrative in Exod. xviii., of which Kadesh is the scene. And in this way the Torah has its place in the historical narrative, not in virtue of its matter as the contents of a code, but from its form as constituting the professional activity of Moses. It is in the history not as a result, as the sum of the laws and usages binding on Israel, but as a process; it is shown how it originated, how the foundation was laid for the living institution of that Torah which still exists and is in force in Israel.
The true and original significance of Sinai is quite independent of the legislation. It was the seat of the Deity, the sacred mountain, doubtless not only for the Israelites, but generally for all the Hebrew
and Cainite (Kenite) tribes of the surrounding region. The priesthood of Moses and his successors was derived from the priesthood there: there Jehovah appeared to him in the burning bush when he was keeping the sheep of the priest of Midian, from there He sent him to Egypt. There, to the Israelites, Jehovah still dwelt long after they had settled in Palestine; in the song of Deborah He is summoned to come from Sinai to succour His oppressed people and to place Himself at the head of His warriors. According to the view of the poet of Deut. xxxiii. the Israelites did not go to Jehovah to Sinai, but the converse; He came to them from Sinai to Kadesh: "Jehovah came from Sinai and shone from Seir unto them; He lightened from Mount Paran and came to Meribath Kadesh." 1 But it is not difficult to see how it came to be thought more seemly that the Israelites should undertake the journey to Jehovah. This was at first put in the form that they appeared there before the face of Jehovah to worship Him and offer Him a sacrifice (Exod. iii. 12), and at their departure they received the ark instead of Jehovah Himself, who continued to dwell on Sinai (Exod. xxxiii.); for the ark represents Jehovah, that constitutes its significance, and not the tables of the law, which were not in it at first. It was a further step to make Sinai the scene of the solemn inauguration of the historical relation between Jehovah and Israel. This was done under the poetic impulse to represent the constituting of the people of Jehovah as a dramatic act on an exalted stage. What in the older tradition was a process which went on quietly and slowly, occupied completely the whole period of Moses, and was at the beginning just such as it still continued to be, was now, for the sake of solemnity and vividness, compressed into a striking scene of inauguration. If this were done, the covenant between Jehovah and Israel must receive a positive (as well as a negative) character, that is to say, Jehovah Himself must announce to the people the basis and the conditions of it. Thus the necessity arose to communicate in this place the contents of the fundamental laws, and so the matter of the legislation made its way into the historical narrative. But that it did not belong originally to this place we see from the confusion which obtains even in the Jehovistic Sinai section (Exod. xix.-xxiv., xxxii.-xxxiv.). The small
bodies of laws which are here communicated may in themselves be old enough, but they are forced into the narrative. It is only of what is relatively the most recent corpus, the Decalogue (in E), that this cannot be asserted.
As the Jehovistic work was originally a pure history-book, so Deuteronomy, when it was first discovered, was a pure law-book. 1 These two works, the historical and legal, were at first quite independent of each other; only afterwards were they conjoined, perhaps that the new law might share in the popularity of the old people's book, and at the same time infuse into it its own spirit. It made it the easier to do this, that, as we have just seen, a piece of law had already been taken up into the Jehovistic history-book. To the Decalogue, at the beginning of the period of the forty years, was now added Deuteronomy at the close of that period. The situation—of which the law itself knows nothing—is very well chosen, not only because Moses is entitled when making his testament to anticipate the future and make a law for the time to come, but also because, the law being placed at the close of his life, the thread of the narrative is not further interrupted, the law being simply inserted between the Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua. This combination of Deuteronomy with the Jehovist was the beginning of the combination of narrative and law; and the fact that this precedent was before the author of the Priestly Code explains how, though his concern was with the Torah alone, he yet went to work from the very outset and comprised in his work the history of the creation, as if it also belonged to the Torah. This manner of setting forth the Torah in the form of a history book is not in the least involved in the nature of the case; on the contrary, it introduces the greatest amount of awkwardness. How it came about can only be explained in the way above described; an antecedent process of the same nature in literary history led the way and made the suggestion. 2
As from the literary point of view, so also from the historical, the Moses of the Jehovist appears more original than the Moses of the Priestly Code. To prove this is, it is true, the aim of the entire
present work: yet it will not on that account be thought out of place if we take advantage of this convenient opportunity for a brief sketch and criticism of the conflicting historical views of Moses and his work in the two main sources of the Pentateuch. According to the Priestly Code Moses is a religious founder and legislator, as we are accustomed to think of him. He receives and promulgates the Torah, 1 perhaps not as a book—though, when we come to think of it, we can hardly represent the transaction to ourselves in any other way—but certainly fixed and finished as an elaborate and minutely organised system, which comprises the sacred constitution of the congregation for all time to come. The whole significance of Moses consists in the office of messenger which he holds as mediator of the law; what else he does is of no importance. That the law is given once for all is the great event of the time, not that the people of Israel begins to appear on the stage of the world. The people is there for the sake of the law, not the law for the sake of the people. With the Jehovist, on the contrary, Moses’ work consists in this, that he delivers his people from the Egyptians and cares for it in every way in the wilderness. In the prelude scene from his youth, when he smites the Egyptian and seeks to adjust the dispute of his brethren (Exod. ii. 11 seq.), his whole history is prefigured. His care for the Israelites embraces both catering for their sustenance, and making and preserving peace and order among them (Num. xi.). The Torah is but a part of his activity, and proceeds from his more general office as the guardian of the young people, who has, as it were, to teach the fledgling to fly (Num. xi. xii.). According to Exod. xviii. his Torah is nothing but a giving of counsel, a finding the way out of complications and difficulties which had actually arisen. Individuals bring their different cases before him; he pronounces judgment or gives advice, and in so doing teaches the people the way they should go. Thus he is the beginner of the teaching of Jehovah which lives on after him in priest and prophet. Here all is life and movement: as Jehovah Himself, so the man of God, is working in a medium which is alive; is working practically, by no means theoretically, in history, not in literature. His work and activity may be told in a narrative, but the contents of it are more than a system, and are not to be reduced to a compendium; it is
not done and finished off, it is the beginning of a series of infinite activities. In the Priestly Code the work of Moses lies before us clearly defined and rounded off; one living a thousand years after knows it as well as one who saw it with his eyes. It is detached from its originator and from his age: lifeless itself, it has driven the life out of Moses and out of the people, nay, out of the very Deity. This precipitate of history, appearing as law at the beginning of the history, stifles and kills the history itself. Which of the two views is the more historical, we can accordingly be at no loss to decide. It may be added that in the older Hebrew literature the founding of the nation and not the giving of the law is regarded as the theocratic creative act of Jehovah. The very notion of the law is absent: only covenants are spoken of, in which the representatives of the people undertake solemn obligations to do or leave undone something which is described in general terms.
Another point of difference must be mentioned here, though indeed it is a matter which has been before us more than once already. That which is in the Priestly Code the subject-matter of the Torah of Moses, namely, the institution of the cultus, the Jehovist traces to the practice of the patriarchs—one more result of the difference between law and legend. The Moses of the Priestly Code conflicts not only with the future, but with the past; he comes into collision with history on every side. That view is manifestly the only natural one according to which the worship is not specifically Israelite, not a thing instituted by Moses in obedience to a sudden command of the Deity, but an ancestral tradition. But at the time when the Priestly Code was drawn up the worship was certainly the one thing that made Israel Israel. In it the church, the one congregation of worship, takes the place of the people even in the Mosaic age—sorely against history, but characteristically for the author's point of view.
Now even such authorities as Bleek, Hupfeld, and Knobel have been misled by the appearance of historical reality which the Priestly Code creates by its learned art here as well as in the history of the patriarchs. They have regarded the multiplicity of numbers and names, the minute technical descriptions, the strict keeping up of the scenery of camp-life, as so many signs of authentic objectivity. Nöldeke made an end of this critical position once for all, but Colenso is properly entitled to the
credit of having first torn the web asunder. 1 The boldness with which numbers and names are stated, and the preciseness of the details about indifferent matters of furniture, do not prove them to be reliable: they are not drawn from contemporary records, but are the fruit solely of late Jewish fancy, a fancy which, it is well known, does not design nor sketch, but counts and constructs, and produces nothing more than barren plans. Without repeating the description of the tabernacle in Exod. xxv. word for word, it is difficult to give an idea how circumstantial it is; we must go to the source to satisfy ourselves what the narrator can do in this line. One would imagine that he was giving specifications to measurers for estimates, or that he was writing for carpet-makers and upholsterers; but they could not proceed upon his information, for the incredibly matter-of-fact statements are fancy all the same, as was shown in chap. i. The description of the tabernacle is supplemented in the Book of Numbers by that of the camp; the former being the centre, this is the circle drawn about it, and consists of an outer ring, the twelve secular tribes, a middle ring, the Levites, and an innermost one, the sons of Aaron: a mathematical demonstration of the theocracy in the wilderness. The two first chapters contain the census of the twelve tribes, and their allocation in four quarters, nothing but names and numbers. To this first census chap. xxxiv. adds another at the close of the forty years, in which the various detailed figures are different, but the total is about the same. This total, 600,000 warriors, comes from the older tradition, but is proved to be quite worthless by the fact that in a really authentic document the levy of Israel in the time of Deborah is stated to be 40,000 strong. Still, the Priestly Code is entitled to the credit of having made the total a little less round, and of having broken it up into artificial component parts. The muster of the people is followed in Num. iii. iv. by the dedication of the tribe of Levi to the sanctuary, in compensation for the firstborn males of the Israelites who up to that time had not been sacrificed nor yet redeemed. There are 22,273 firstborn males to be provided for, and there are 22,000 male Levites above a month old. The 273 extra firstborn males are specially redeemed at five shekels a head. What accuracy! But what of the fact that a people of at least two millions has only 22,273 firstborn males, or say 50,000 firstborn of both sexes? This gives an average of forty children to every woman, for the
firstborn in the sense of the law is that which first opens the womb. The continuation of Num. iii. iv. is in chapter viii. As the Levites are an offering of firstlings to the sanctuary on the part of the people, which, however, is not to be sacrificed but made over to the priests, the characteristic rite of this sort of sacred due has to be gone through with them, namely, an act imitating that of throwing into the flame of the altar (Aristeas 31, l. 5). To think of Moses and Aaron heaving the 22,000 men! Not less striking as an example of this kind of fiction is the story of Num. xxxi. Twelve thousand Israelites, a thousand from each tribe, take the field against Midian, extirpate without any fighting—at least nothing is anywhere said of this important point—the whole people, slay all the men and a part of the women, take captive the unmarried girls, and suffer themselves no loss whatever. The latter point is asserted very definitely. "The captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds came to Moses, and said to him, Thy servants have taken the sum of the men of war which are under our charge, and there lacketh not one of us." Of the immeasurable booty of men and cattle Jehovah assigns half to those who took the field and took part in the battle, the other half to the congregation; and the former are to give the 500th part to the priests, the latter the 50th part to the Levites. The execution of this order is especially reported as follows: "The booty which the men of war had taken was 675,000 sheep, 72,000 beeves, 61,000 asses, and 32,000 women that had not lain by man. And the half which was the portion of them that went out to war was 337,500 sheep, and Jehovah's tribute of the sheep was 675; 36,000 beeves, tribute to Jehovah 72; 30,500 asses, tribute to Jehovah 61; 16,000 persons, tribute to Jehovah 32. And Moses gave the tribute to Jehovah to Eleazar the priest. But the other half, which Moses divided to the children of Israel, the half due to the congregation, was 337,500 sheep, 36,000 beeves, 30,500 asses, 16,000 persons, and of the children of Israel's half Moses took one of fifty and gave them to the Levites." The calculation of the contribution to Jehovah was quite easy for Moses, as the 500th part of the half is equivalent to the 1000th part of the whole; he had only to leave off the thousands from the first totals. In conclusion, the captains brought offerings to Jehovah of golden dishes, chains, bracelets, rings, and earrings, altogether 16,750 shekels weight, as atonement for their souls "But that was only the gold which the captains had taken as booty, for the men of war had
taken spoil, every man for himself." We may perhaps be allowed to speculate as to the relation between these 16,750 shekels which in this passage the captains alone offer to the tabernacle of the gold ornaments of the Midianites, and the 1700 shekels which in Judges viii. the whole people dedicate of the gold ornaments of the Midianites to set up an image in Ophra.
It is less easy to account on the theory of pure fiction for the numerous names sometimes arranged together like a catalogue than for reported circumstances and numbers. There can certainly be no doubt that the forty places which are mentioned in the list of encampments in the wanderings, really existed in the region the Israelites are reported to have traversed. But he who is satisfied with this as evidence that we have before us here a historical document of primitive antiquity, will never be disturbed by criticism. Was it such a difficult matter to find out forty definite stations in the wilderness for the forty years of the wanderings? Even if the elements of the composition are not fictitious, that is far from proving the composition itself to be authentic. And in the case of lists of the names of persons, the elements are often of an extremely doubtful nature; and here it is well to keep in view the principle of Vatke (op. cit. p. 675) that no confidence is to be placed in subjects devoid of predicates, and that persons are not to be taken for real who have nothing to do. The dozens of names in Num. i. vii. x. are almost all made to the same pattern, and have no similarity whatever to the names genuinely old. The fact that the name of Jehovah does not enter into their composition only shows that the composer was not forgetful of his religio-historical theory.
By its taste for barren names and numbers and technical descriptions, the Priestly Code comes to stand on the same line with the Chronicles and the other literature of Judaism which labours at an artificial revival of the old tradition (p. 180, seq., 214, seq., 226). Of a piece with this tendency is an indescribable pedantry, belonging to the very being of the author of the Priestly Code. He has a very passion for classifying and drawing plans; if he has once dissected a genus into different species, we get all the species named to us one by one every time he has occasion to mention the genus. The subsuming use of the prepositions Lamed and Beth is characteristic of him. He selects a long-drawn expression wherever he can; he does not weary of repeating for the hundredth time what is a matter of course (Num. viii.), he hates
pronouns and all abbreviating substitutes. What is interesting is passed over, what is of no importance is described with minuteness, his exhaustive clearness is such as with its numerous details to confuse our apprehension of what is in itself perfectly clear. This is what used to be described in the phraseology of historical criticism as epic breadth. 1
2. Having thus attempted to describe the general contrast of the Priestly Code and the Jehovist in the Mosaic period, it remains for us to compare the several stories in the two works. The Exodus from Egypt is everywhere regarded as the commencement of Israelite history. In the Priestly Code it is made the epoch of an era (Exod. xii. 2), which is afterwards dated from, not only in years but even in months and days. It is unquestionable that this precise style of dating only came into use among the Hebrews at a very late period. We find in the historical books only one statement of the month in which an event took place (1 Kings vi. 38), and in that case the day is not given. To the prophetic writers dates were of some importance, and the growth of the practice may to some extent be traced with them. Amos first came forward "two years before the earthquake." 2 The most precise date in Isaiah is "the year in which king Uzziah died." Numbers of years are first found in Jeremiah, "the thirteenth year of king Josiah," and a few more instances. All at once there was a change: Haggai and Zechariah, prophets who grew up in the Babylonian exile, always give dates, not only the year and month, but the day of the month as well. In the Priestly Code this precise reckoning, which the Jews obviously learned from the Chaldeans, is in use from the age of Moses onwards.
In the Jehovist the ostensible occasion of the Exodus is a festival which the children of Israel desire to hold in honour of their God in the wilderness. In the Priestly Code this occasion disappears; there can
be no pre-Mosaic festivals. But with this the reason falls away for which Jehovah kills the firstborn of the Egyptians, He does it because the king of Egypt is keeping from Him the firstborn of the Israelites, which ought to be offered to Him at the festival; for the celebration in question is the sacrificial festival of the first-fruits of cattle in spring. In the older tradition the festival is the first thing; it explains the circumstances of the Exodus and the time of year at which it took place: in the later one the relation is reversed—the killing of the firstborn of the Egyptians leads to the sacrifice of the firstborn of Israel, the Exodus in spring is followed by the festival in spring as its consequence. The Priestly Code follows this younger tradition, and deviates from the original account still more widely in the view it gives of the passover. It obliterates completely the connection between the passover and the sacrifice of the firstborn, and represents it not as a giving of thanks to Jehovah for having slain the firstborn of Egypt, but as instituted at the moment of the Exodus to induce Jehovah to spare the firstborn of Israel. How all this is to be understood and judged of we have discussed more at large in the chapter on the festivals (p. 87, 100, 102.).
As to the accounts given in the two sources of the crossing of the Red Sea, all we can say is that that of the Jehovist (J) is the more complicated. According to him the sea is dried up by a strong wind, and the Egyptians succeed at first in crossing it, and encounter the Hebrews on the eastern shore during he night. "But in the morning watch Jehovah turned, in the pillar of fire and of the cloud, against the host of the Egyptian, and overthrew the host of the Egyptian, and hindered the wheels of his chariot and caused him to drive heavily. Then the Egyptian said: I will flee before Israel, for Jehovah fighteth for them against Egypt. But the sea turned back towards morning to its ordinary level, and the Egyptians fled against it, and Jehovah shook them into the midst of the sea" (Exod. xiv. 24, 25, 27). According to the Priestly Code 1 the waves meet over the pursuers, before they reach the further shore; the idea is much simpler, but poorer in incidental features.
The miracle of the manna (Exod. xvi.) is taken advantage of in the Priestly Code as a very suitable occasion for urging on the people a
strict sanctification of the Sabbath: none falls on the seventh day, but what is gathered on the sixth keeps two days, while at other times it requires to be eaten quite fresh. This pursuit of a legal object destroys the story and obscures its original meaning, as no one can help seeing. Nor is it any sign of originality, rather of senility, that in the Priestly Code the manna is not eaten raw, but boiled and baked.
At Mount Sinai Moses receives, according to the Priestly Code, the revelation of—the model of the tabernacle, and he follows the pattern thus presented to him in the construction, down below, of the real tabernacle. All further revelation takes place, even in Moses’ time, as far as possible in the tabernacle (Exod. xxv. 22). Even Sinai must not stand any longer than necessary by the side of the one legitimate seat of Deity. 1 The tables of the law, it appears, are silently presupposed without being mentioned beforehand, it being of course assumed that the readers would know all about them from the old tradition. The outside of the ark, however, is furnished in the most extravagant style, and with a splendour which other descriptions of the chest of acacia-wood are far from suggesting. The ark in the Priestly Code differs indeed in every way from the appearance of it in 1 Kings vii. 23 seq. We are reminded of the Haggada by the covering which Moses has to put before his face, which is shining with the reflection of the glory of Jehovah (Exod. xxxiv. 29-35), and by the making of the brazen laver of the looking-glasses of the women who serve the temple (Exod. xxxviii. 8, cf. Num. xvii. 1, 9); these traits do not, it is true, belong to the original contents of the Priestly Code, but they belong to its circle.
From Sinai the old tradition takes us by this and that station, mentioned by name, without delay to Kadesh. Here the chief part of the forty years’ sojourn in the wilderness is spent; this, as we said before, is the true scene of all the stories that are told about Moses. The Priestly Code takes us in this period, as in the legend of the patriarchs, not to definite places, but up and down in the wilderness of Sinai, in the wilderness of Paran, in the wilderness of Sin. Kadesh is with evident intention thrust as far as possible into the background—no doubt on account of the high sanctity the place originally had as the encampment for many years of the Israelites under Moses.
The spies are sent out according to the Jehovist from Kadesh,
according to the Priestly Code from the wilderness of Paran. In the former authority they penetrate to Hebron, whence they bring back with them fine grapes, but they find that the land where these grow is not to be conquered. In the latter they proceed without any difficulty throughout the whole of Palestine to Lebanon, but have nothing to bring back with them, and advise against attacking the land because they have not found it particularly desirable, as if its advantages had been accessible to faith alone and not to be discovered by unbelieving eyes, as was actually the case in the time of Haggai and Zechariah, and at the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. To the genuine Israelite of old, however, the goodness of his beloved land was not a mere point of faith which he could ever have doubted. In the former source, as we judge from Deut. i. 23, only the number of the spies was given; in the latter all the twelve are named. In the former Caleb is the only good spy, in the latter Caleb and Joshua. At first probably neither the one nor the other belonged to this story; but Caleb easily came to be named as an exception, because he actually conquered the district from Kadesh to Hebron, which the spies had declared it impossible to take, and which the Israelites, alarmed by their account, had not ventured to attack. Joshua, again, was added from the consideration that, according to the principle enunciated by the Jehovist in Num. xiv. 23, 24, he must have shared the merit of Caleb, because he partook of the same exceptional reward with him.
In the Jehovist Moses alone instructs the spies and receives their report on their return; in the Priestly Code Moses and Aaron do so. In the oldest source of the Jehovist (J) Aaron has not yet made his appearance; in the Priestly Code Moses must not do any public act without him. 1 Moses is still the moving spirit here as well as there, but Aaron is the representative of the theocracy, and pains are taken to secure that he shall never be absent where the representatives of the theocracy are brought face to face with the community. The desire to introduce the leader of the hierocracy, and with its leader the hierocracy itself, into the Mosaic history, has borne the most remarkable fruits in the so-called story of the rebellion of the company of Korah. According to the Jehovistic tradition the rebellion proceeds from the Reubenites, Dathan, and Abiram, prominent members of the firstborn tribe of Israel, and
is directed against Moses as leader and judge of the people. According to the version of the main-stock of the Priestly Code (Q), the author of the agitation is Korah, a prince of the tribe of Judah, and he rebels not only against Moses, but against Moses and Aaron as representing the priesthood. In a later addition, which, to judge from its style, belongs likewise to the Priestly Code, but not to its original contents, the Levite Korah appears at the head of a revolt of the Levites against Aaron as high priest, and demands the equalisation of the lower with the higher clergy. Starting from the Jehovistic version, the historical basis of which is dimly discerned to be the fall of Reuben from its old place at the head of the brother-tribes, we have no difficulty in seeing how the second version arose out of it. The people of the congregation, i.e., of the church, having once come on the scene, the spiritual heads, Moses and Aaron, take the place of the popular leader Moses, and the jealousy of the secular grandees is now directed against the class of hereditary priests, instead of against the extraordinary influence on the community of a heaven-sent hero. All these changes are the natural outcome of the importation of the hierocracy into Mosaic times. From the second version we can go further and understand the origin of the third. In the earlier version the princes of the tribe of Reuben were forced to give way to a prince of the tribe of Judah. In the progress of time Korah the prince of the tribe of Judah is replaced by the eponymous head of a post-exilic Levitical family, of the same name. The contest between clergy and aristocracy is here transformed into a domestic strife between the higher and the inferior clergy, which was no doubt raging in the time of the narrator. Thus the three versions are developed, the origin and collocation of which appears from every other point of view to be an insoluble enigma. The one arises out of the other in the direct line of descent: the metamorphoses took place under the influence of great historical changes which are well known to us; and in the light of Jewish history from Josiah downwards they are by no means unintelligible. 1
We come to the migration of the Israelites to the land east of the Jordan. According to the Jehovist the neighbouring tribes place obstacles in their way, and the land in which they desire to settle has to
be conquered with the sword. The Priestly Code tells us as little of all this as in an earlier instance of the war with Amalek; from all it says we should imagine that the Israelites went straight to their mark and met with no difficulty in the region in question; the land is ownerless, and the possession of it is granted by Moses and Eleazar to the two tribes Reuben and Gad (Num. xxxii.). But that war may not be completely wanting under Moses, we have afterwards the war with the Midianites, on which we have already commented (Num. xxxi.). There is not much story about it, only numbers and directions; and in verse 27 there is a suspicion of 1 Sam. xxx. 24, as if that passage were the groundwork of the whole. The passage is extremely interesting as showing us the views taken of war by the Jews of the later time who had grown quite unaccustomed to it. The occasion of the war also is noticeable; it is undertaken not for the acquisition of territory, nor with any other practical object, but only to take vengeance on the Midianites for having seduced some of the Israelites to uncleanness.
The elders of Midian, so the story goes, went to the soothsayer Balaam to ask his advice as to what should be done against the Israelite invaders. He suggested a means by which the edge of the invasion might be broken; the Midianites should give their daughters to the Israelites for wives, and so deprive the holy people of their strength, the secret of which lay in their isolation from other peoples. The Midianites took Balaam's advice and succeeded in entangling many of the Israelites with the charms of their women; in consequence of which Jehovah visited the faithless people with a severe plague. The narrative of the Priestly Code up to this point has to be pieced together from Num. xxxi. 8, 16 and Joshua xiii. 22, and from what is implied in the sequel of it; at this point the portion of it begins which is preserved to us (Num. xxv. 6 seq.), and we are told how the plague was ultimately stayed. A certain man coolly brings a Midianitish woman into the camp before the very eyes of Moses and the weeping children of Israel: then the young hereditary priest Phinehas takes a spear, transfixes the godless pair, and by this zeal averts the anger of Jehovah. This narrative is based on the Jehovistic one, which is also preserved to us only in part (Num. xxv. 1-5), about the backsliding of Israel in the camp of Shittim to the service of Baal-Peor, to which they were seduced by the daughters of Moab. In the Priestly Code the idolatry has
quite disappeared, all but some unconscious reminiscences, and no sin is alleged but that of whoredom, which in the original story merely led up to the main offence. This is done manifestly with the idea that marriage with foreign women is in itself a falling away from Jehovah, a breach of the covenant. This change was extremely suitable to the circumstances of exilic and post-exilic Judaism, for in these later days there was no immediate danger of gross idolatry, but it took a good deal of trouble to prevent heathenism from making its way into the midst of the people under the friendly form of mixed marriages. The version of the Priestly Code, however, mixes up with the Baal-Peor story of the Jehovist the figure of Balaam, which is also borrowed from the Jehovist but entirely transformed in the process. In the form under which he appears in the early history he transgresses all the ideas of the Priestly Code. An Aramæan seer, who is hired for money and makes all sorts of heathen preparations to prophesy, but who yet is not an impostor, but a true prophet as much as any in Israel, who even stands in the most intimate relations with Jehovah, though cherishing the intention of cursing Jehovah's people—that is too much for exclusive Judaism. The correction is effected by the simple device of connecting Balaam with the following section, and making him the intellectual instigator of the devilry of the Midianitish women; and in this new form which he assumes in the Priestly Code he lives on in the Haggada. The reason for changing the Moabites into Midianites is not made clear; but the fact is undoubted that the Midianites never lived in that part of the world.
In the Book of Numbers the narrative sections, which are in the style and colour of the Priestly Code, have more and more the character of mere additions and editorial supplements to a connection which was already there and had a different origin. The independent main stock of the Priestly Code, the Book of the Four Covenants, or the Book of Origins (Q), more and more gives way to later additions, and ceases altogether, it appears, at the death of Moses. It is at least nowhere to be traced in the first half of the Book of Joshua, and so we cannot reckon as part of it those extensive sections of the second half, belonging to the Priestly Code, which treat of the division of the land. Without a preceding history of the conquest these sections are quite in the air; they cannot be taken as telling a continuous story of their own, but presuppose the Jehovistic-Deuteronomic work. In spite of
distaste to war and to records of war (1 Chron. xxii. 8, xxviii. 3), an independent work like the Book of the Four Covenants could not possibly have passed over the wars of Joshua in silence.
A comparison of the different accounts of the entry of the Israelite tribes into the occupation of the conquered land may close this discussion. The Priestly Code, agreeing in this with the Deuteronomistic revision, represents the whole of Canaan as having been made a tabula rasa, and then, masterless and denuded of population, submitted to the lot. First the tribe of Judah receives its lot, then Manasseh and Ephraim, then the two tribes which attached themselves to Ephraim and Judah, Benjamin and Simeon, and lastly the five northern tribes, Zebulon, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan. "These are the inheritances which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua ben Nun, and the heads of the tribes of the children of Israel divided for an inheritance by lot in Shiloh before Jehovah at the door of the tabernacle."
According to the Jehovist, Judah and Joseph appear to have had their territory allocated to them at Gilgal (xiv. 6), and not by lot, and to have entered into occupation of it from there. A good while afterwards the land remaining over is divided by lot among the seven small tribes still unprovided for, from Shiloh, or perhaps originally from Shechem (xviii. 2-10). Joshua alone casts the lot and gives instructions; Eleazar the priest does not act with him. Even here the general principle of the Priestly Code, which knows no differences among the tribes, is somewhat limited; but it is much more decidedly contradicted by the important chapter, Judges i.
The chapter is, in fact, not a continuation of the Book of Joshua at all, but a parallel to it, which, while it presupposes the conquest of the east-Jordan lands, does not speak of the west-Jordan lands as conquered, but tells the story of the conquest, and that in a manner somewhat differing from the other source. From Gilgal, where the "Angel of Jehovah" first set up his tent, the tribes march out one by one to conquer their "lot" by fighting; first Judah, then Joseph. We hear only of these two, and with regard to Joseph we only hear of the very beginning of the conquest of his land. There is no mention of Joshua; nor would his figure as commander-general of Israel suit the view here given of the situation; though it would very well admit of him as leader of his tribe. The incompleteness of the conquest is acknowledged unreservedly; the Canaanites lived on quietly in the
cities of the plain, and not till the period of the monarchy, when Israel had grown strong, were they subdued and made tributary. This chapter, as well as the main stem of the Book of Judges, corresponds to the Jehovistic stratum of the tradition, to which also passages in Joshua, of an identical or similar import, may be added without hesitation. The Angel of Jehovah is enough to tell us this. The difference which exists between it and the Jehovistic main version in the Book of Joshua is to be explained for the most part by the fact that the latter is of Ephraimite origin, and in consequence ascribes the conquest of the whole land to the hero of Ephraim or of Joseph, while Judges i. leans more to the tribe of Judah. Moreover, we find in the Book of Joshua itself the remnant of a version (ix. 4-7, 12-14) in which, just as in Judges i., the actors are the "men of Israel," who "ask counsel of the mouth of Jehovah," while elsewhere Joshua alone has anything to say, being the successor of Moses, and drawing his decisions from no source but the authority of his own spirit. And finally, we have to consider Exod. xxiii., 20 seq., where also there is a correspondence with Judges i., in the fact that not Joshua but the Angel of Jehovah (Judges v. 23) is the leader of Israel, and that the promised land is not conquered all at once but gradually, in the process of time.
Judges i. presents certain anachronisms, and is partly made up of anecdotes, but these should not prevent us from acknowledging that the general view given in this chapter of the process of the conquest, is, when judged by what we know of the subsequent period of Israel, incomparably more historical than that in the Book of Joshua, where the whole thing is done at once with systematic thoroughness, the whole land being first denuded of its inhabitants, and then divided by lot among the different tribes. The latter view may have come about partly from a literal interpretation of "lot" (Jud. xviii. 1), an expression which properly applies to the farm of a family but is here used for the territory of a tribe. It was also favoured no doubt by the tendency to compress a long development into its first great act; and as this tendency is carried out with the greatest thoroughness in the Priestly Code, that document stands furthest from the origin of the tradition. 1 The same conclusion is led up to by the circumstance that
the tribe of Joseph is never mentioned, one of the two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, being always spoken of instead, and that these two tribes are almost put out of sight by Judah. And yet Joshua, the leader of Ephraim, is leader here also of all Israel, having been preserved from the old original tradition, which was Ephraimitic.
It involves no contradiction that, in comparing the versions of the tradition, we should decline the historical standard in the case of the legend of the origins of mankind and of the legend of the patriarchs, while we employ it to a certain extent for the epic period of Moses and Joshua. The epic tradition certainly contains elements which cannot be explained on any other hypothesis than that there are historical facts underlying them; its source is in the period it deals with, while the patriarchal legend has no connection whatever with the times of the patriarchs. 1 This justifies the difference of treatment. Our last result is still the same: whether tried by the standard of poetry or by that of history, the Priestly Code stands both in value and in time far below the Jehovist.
3. In rough strokes I have sought to place before the reader's view the contrast between the beginning and the end of the tradition of the Hexateuch. It would not be impossible to trace the inner development of the tradition in the intermediate stages between the two extremities. To do this we should have to make use of the more delicate results of the process of source-sifting, and to call to our aid the hints, not numerous indeed, but important, which are to be found in Deuteronomy and in the historical and prophetical books, especially Hosea. It would appear that legend from its very nature causes those who deal with it to strike out variations, that it cannot be represented
objectively at all. Even at the first act of reducing it to writing the discolouring influences are at work, without any violence being done to the meaning which dwells in the matter. We can trace first of all the influence on the tradition of that specific prophetism which we are able to follow from Amos onwards. This is least traceable in the old main source of the Jehovist, in J; and yet it is remarkable that the Asheras never occur in the worship of the patriarchs. The second Jehovistic source, E, breathes the air of the prophets much more markedly, and shows a more advanced and thorough-going religiosity. Significant in this view are the introduction of Abraham as a Nabi, Jacob's burying the teraphim, the view taken of the maççeba at Shechem (Jos. xxiv. 27), and above all the story of the golden calf. The Deity appears less primitive than in J, and does not approach men in bodily form, but calls to them from heaven, or appears to them in dreams. The religious element has become more refined, but at the same time more energetic, and has laid hold even of elements heterogeneous to itself, producing on occasion such strange mixtures as that in Gen. xxxi. 10-13. Then the law comes in and leavens the Jehovistic narrative, first the Deuteronomic (in Genesis even, and then quite strongly in Exodus and Joshua), while last of all, in the Priestly Code, under the influence of the legislation of the post-exile restoration, there is brought about a complete metamorphosis of the old tradition. The law is the key to the understanding even of the narrative of the Priestly Code. All the distinctive peculiarities of the work are connected with the influence of the law: everywhere we hear the voice of theory, rule, judgment. What was said above of the cultus may be repeated word for word of the legend: in the early time it may be likened to the green tree which grows out of the ground as it will and can; at a later time it is dry wood that is cut and made to a pattern with compass and square. It is an extraordinary objection to this when it is said that the post-exile period had no genius for productions such as the tabernacle or the chronology. It certainly was not an original age, but the matter was all there in writing, and did not require to be invented. What great genius was needed to transform the temple into a portable tent? What sort of creative power is that which brings forth nothing but numbers and names? In connection with such an age there can be no question at least of youthful freshness. With infinitely greater justice may it be maintained that such theoretical modelling and adaptation of
the legend as is practiced in the Priestly Code, could only gain an entrance when the legend had died away from the memory and the heart of the people, and was dead at the root.
The history of the pre-historic and the epic tradition thus passed through the same stages as that of the historic; and in this parallel the Priestly Code answers both as a whole, and in every detail, to the Chronicles. The connecting link between old and new, between Israel and Judaism, is everywhere Deuteronomy.
The Antar-romance says of itself, that it had attained an age of 670 years, 400 years of which it had spent in the age of ignorance (i.e. old Arabic heathenism), and the other 270 in Islam. The historical books of the Bible might say something similar, if they were personified, and their life considered to begin with the reduction to writing of the oldest kernel of the tradition and to close with the last great revision. The time of ignorance would extend to the appearance of "the book," which, it is true, did not in the Old Testament come down from heaven all at once like the Koran, but came into existence during a longer period, and passed through various phases.
296:1 The agreement extends not only to the thread of the narrative, but also to particulars, and even to expressions. I do not speak of mabbul (flood), or tebah (ark), but the following examples have struck me:—In Q Gen. vi. 9, Noah is said to be righteous in his generations, in JE vii. 1 he is righteous in his generation—an unusual form of speech, which gave a vast amount of trouble to the Rabbins and to Jerome. Similarly Q Gen. xvii. 21, the son whom Sarah shall bear at this set time next year, and JE xviii. 14: at the same time I will come to thee again next year, and then Sarah shall have a son. In the same way Q Exod. vi. 12 vii. 1. (Moses) I am of uncircumcised lips. (Jehovah) See, I make thee a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet; compared with JE iv. 10, 16. (Moses) I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue; (Jehovah) Aaron shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. Comp. Gen. xxvii. 46, with xxv: 22.
296:2 The line indicated by Buttmann was first taken up again by Th. Nöldeke in his Essay on the main-stock of the Pentateuch, which opened the way to a proper estimate of the narrative part of the work.
299:1 "There is nothing whatever in the piece that merits the name of invention but the chronological order of the various creations." Buttmann, p. 133.
302:1 Sur. 20, 91. Hudh. 22, 10 (Agh. xv. 105, 12). Hamasa, 292, 8 seq. Tabari i. 847, 18.
303:1 Dillmann thinks this idea insipid: Genesis (1882), p. 44.
307:1 A coarser counterpart to Gen. ii. iii, is Gen. vi. 1-4. Here also there is a kind of fall of man in an attempt to overpass the boundary between the human race and the divine. In the priestly narrative (Q) the gulf between spirit, which is divine substance, and flesh, which is human substance, is bridged over by the doctrine of man's creation in the image of God.
308:1 I merely assert that Gen. ii. iii. is prior to Gen. i.; I do not believe the story of Paradise and of the Fall to be very old with the Israelites. We are led to think so by the fact that the man and the woman stand at the head of the genealogy of the human race; a place we should rather expect to be assigned to the serpent (according to primitive Semitic belief the serpent was by no means opposed to God). This is the case in the Chronicon Edessenum and in Abyssinian legend, and a trace of this is perhaps preserved in the name of Eve, as Nöldeke thinks. The name certainly receives this interpretation in Philo (de agric. Noe, § 21) and in the Midrash Rabba on Gen. iii. 20 (D. M. Z. 1877, p. 239, 326). Moreover, the true seat of God to the Hebrews was Mount Sinai, and the original Hebrew life was the nomadic life of the patriarchs, not gardening or agriculture. And finally we cannot believe barbarians to have indulged in reflections on the advantages and disadvantages of civilisation. The materials of Genesis ii. iii. can hardly have been imported before the time of Solomon. Where they came from we can scarcely guess; it would be most natural to think of the Phœnicians or the Canaanites generally, and this theory is favoured by Gen. iv. But in JE Babel is regarded as the last home of the primitive human race, Eden and Nod having preceded it; and the Hebrews probably derived the legend in the last instance from Babylon. But this does not prove that this or that parallel brought forward by Assyriologists is necessarily of value.
308:2 So Nöldeke in the Jahrbb. für protest. Theol., 1875, p. 344. Genesis xv. 13-16 expressly states that the generation is reckoned as 100 years in this period.
309:1 "Exact chronological dates are a sure sign of later working up of old poetical legends." Buttmann, I. p. 181.
311:1 The celestial bow is originally the instrument of the arrow-darting God, and therefore a symbol of His hostility; but He lays it out of His hand to signify that He has laid aside His wrath, and it is a token of His reconciliation and favour. When there has been such a storm that one might dread a repetition of the flood, the rainbow appears in heaven, the sun, and grace, breaking forth again. In the O. T. קשת has not the meaning of a mere arc, it always means the war-bow. And what is most important of all, the Arabs also always take the iris to be the war-bow of God; Kuzah shoots arrows from his bow, and then hangs it up in the clouds (D. M. Z. 1849, p. 200 seq.). With the Jews and their kin, the rainbow has retained far into Christian times a remarkably near relation to the Deity. It is singular that the Edomites have a God named Kaus, as well as Kuzah.
312:1 De Wette, Beiträge, p. 57. The religious notion of the people is old.
315:1 Yet it is possible the selection presented him with no difficulty, since cosmological myths were not popular tales, but priestly speculations, with which he was quite unacquainted.
317:1 See p. 307, note 1.
320:1 The stories about Abraham and those about Isaac are so similar, that they cannot possibly be held to be independent of each other. The stories about Isaac, however, are more original, as may be seen in a striking way on comparing Gen. xx. 2-16 with xxvi 6-12. The short and profane version, of which Isaac is the hero, is more lively and pointed; the long and edifying version in which Abraham replaces Isaac, makes the danger not possible but actual, thus necessitating the intervention of the Deity and so bringing about a glorification of the patriarch, which he little deserved. All the commentators on Genesis indeed, regard chap. xx. as the original of xxvi.; they do not base their judgment, however, on a comparison of the parallel passages, but merely consider that as the father is older than the son, the story about the father is older than the corresponding story about the son; and they regard Isaac generally as a mere echo of Abraham. The obviousness of this principle is too great, and against it we have to consider that the later development of the legend shows a manifest tendency to make Abraham the patriarch par excellence and cast the others into the shade. In the earlier literature, on the other hand, Isaac is mentioned even by Amos, Abraham first appears in Isa. xl.-lxvii. Micah vii 20 belongs to the exile, and the words "who redeemed Abraham" in Isaiah xxix. 22 are not genuine; they have no possible position in the sentence, and the idea of the salvation of Abraham (from the fire of the Chaldæans) is of late occurrence. I certainly do not mean to maintain that Abraham was not yet known when Amos wrote; but he scarcely stood by this time at the same stage as Isaac and Jacob. As a saint of Hebron he might he of Calibite ordain, and have something to do with Ram (1 Chron. ii.). Abram may stand for Abiram, as Abner for Abiner and Ahab for Ahiab. The name Abu Ruham occurs in the Hadith as nomen proprium viri.
321:1 This consideration is certainly less decisive than the foregoing one. Jacob is a peaceful shepherd, not only because of the idyllic form of the narrative, but in his own being and character. He forms the strongest contrast to his brother Esau, who in spite of the idyllic form is a man of war. Such exceptions as Gen. xiv. and xlviii. 22 (chap. xxxiv.) only prove the rule.
323:1 It deserves to be considered that at first Joseph is in Egypt alone, and that his brothers came after, at his request. When the notion of united Israel was transferred to the distant past, one consequence was that the fortunes of the part could not be separated from those of the whole. In the same way, Rachel being an Aramæan, Leah must be one too. Perhaps the combination of Rachel and Leah in a national unity was only accomplished by Moses. Moses came from the peninsula of Sinai (Leah) to lead the Israelites there from Goshen (Joseph). The designation of Levite he could not receive in Joseph, only in Leah.
324:1 See "Israel," sec. 2, infra. Gen. iv. 1-15 is a similar tribal history. The old tribe of Cain, the name of which is indicative of settlement and culture, appears to have been broken up and scattered to the four winds in very early times (Jud. v. 24) in the same way as Levi, with which it appears to have divided the priesthood. We have already said that Gen. iv. 1-l5 can only have found its way into the primitive legend by interpolation.
324:2 This, however, only warrants us to conclude that these legends first arose in p. 325 Ephraim, not that they were written down there in the form in which we have them.
325:1 Joshua הנבשן xv. 62 is no doubt more correctly הכבשן: the name, having the article prefixed to it, must be susceptible of a clear meaning.
326:1 Compare Onugnathos and the camel's jawbone in Vakidi, op. cit. p. 298, note 2: Jakut iv. 353, 9 seq. ראי is an obsolete name of an animal. For הלם, Gen. xvi. 15, we should read אלהים (cf. 1 Sam. iii. 13), and before אחרי we should probably insert ואחי.
328:1 Where the Dead Sea was afterwards.
330:1 Only part of this chapter, however, belongs to the Priestly Code.
332:1 Αὕτη ἡ βίβλος γενέσεως ii. 4 LXX. Hence Ewald's name for the Priestly Code, which is very appropriate for Genesis, or perhaps generally for the book of the four covenants—the Book of Origins.
333:1 Riehm, "die s.g. Grundschrift des Pentateuchs" in Studien und Kritiken, 1872, p. 296.
333:2 Nor in the case of the Arabs, as has been well shown by Sprenger against Caussin de Perceval (Essai, preface, p. ix.).
334:1 Hupfeld gives a curious turn to this, saying that in the Priestly Code Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have much more permanent settlements. But it is this work that insists so often on the fact that the patriarchs were pilgrims and had nowhere a fixed residence: it only says that Abraham dwelt in the land of Canaan, and names no particular place even as the scene of the theophany in chap. xvii. It is only when the question of burying Sarah and Abraham arises that there is a change. Something must be done, and the field of Machpelah near Hebron is acquired (no doubt JE reported this, but the account of it in that source is lost) as a possession of the patriarchal family, where it now settles more permanently. That Isaac and Jacob continue to dwell at the grave of Abraham is a statement of which the significance is negative rather than positive, and on the other hand the patriarchal journeys up and down in JE are not designed to represent them as wandering nomads, but serve to bring them in contact with all the sacred places with which they had special associations.
335:1 Riehm (op. cit. p. 302 seq.) thinks it is made out that the religious tradition of remote antiquity is distinguished by its "modest simplicity", and by a "style suited to its exalted subject." Only in the course of time was it adorned with all sorts of miraculous and mysterious elements, and that by the "fancy of the people," which, however, does not so easily gain entrance into serious literature(!) He appeals to the fact that the conception of angels, though certainly long developed with the people, occurs in the earlier prophets only in isolated instances, and in the later prophets, as Ezekiel, Zechariah, Daniel, more frequently. It is difficult to sift out what is true and what is false in this confused argument. In the Priestly Code there are, it is true, no angels, but on the other hand we have Azazel and Seirim (2 Chron. xi. 15; Isa. xiii. 21, xxxiv. 14, comp. supra, p. 51), for where the gods are not, the ghosts have sway. In one of the two main sources of the Jehovist (J), we find chiefly the Mal’ak Jahve (message of Jehovah); that is Jehovah Himself in so far as He appears and manifests Himself, whether in a natural phenomenon or in human form. Different are the B’ne Elohim, beings of divine substance: they perhaps are indicated in the 1st plural in the mouth of Jehovah (Gen. iii. 22, xi. 7). Both of these are doubtless very old. In the other principal source (E) a mixture appears to have taken place: the heavenly hosts are not only the children and companions of Deity, but also its messengers, conductors of the communication between heaven and earth (xviii. 12); here we have the Mal’akim beside God and in the plural. This view also is not exactly a late one, as we see from the vision of Micaiah (1 Kings xxii. 19). What does Riehm mean by high antiquity? A period from which no monuments are preserved to us? Why does he limit his attention to the prophetic literature? He concedes that the idea of angels was early present "in the fancy of the people," and he should have been equal to the further concession that those who wrote down the folklore occupied a somewhat different position to popular belief from that of the prophetic preachers of repentance. Not even the historical books admit of being measured by the same standard in this matter as the pre-historic tradition. And which is the more original—that the angels use a ladder as in Genesis, or that they have wings as in Isaiah? And finally as for the reference to Ezekiel (?), Zechariah, and Daniel, the difference appears to me to be tolerably plain between a systematic angelology which operates always with numbers and names and the childlike belief in angels. The former removes God to a distance, the latter brings Him near.
336:1 Riehm, op. cit. p. 292.
338:1 Hence also archaisms such as Kirjath-Arba, Luz, Ephrath. Compare the antiquarian lore in Deuteronomy i.-iv. and in Gen. xiv.
339:1 Exod. vi. 2, 3 (Q) = iii. 13, 14 (JE). The burning bush shows the theophany in the Jehovist to be the earlier. In the Priestly Code it almost loses the character of a theophany entirely. But this is also quite clear on a comparison of Exodus vii. 1 (Q) and iv. 16 (JE). The phrase vii. 1, "Behold, I make thee a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet," is a degradation of the corresponding passage, iv. 16 "Aaron shall be to thee for a mouth, and thou shalt be to him for a god." For if Aaron is the prophet or the mouth of Moses, then in the original and only appropriate way of thinking of the matter, Moses is a god for Aaron, not for Pharaoh. By the way: is there anything in the similarity between Sene and Sinai?
340:1 That this is in fact the original custom is clear from the word חתן, which signifies both circumcision and bridegroom (or in Arabic, son-in-law). This explains the meaning of חתן דמים in Exod. iv. 25. The original usage is still in force with some Arab tribes. In Gen. xxxiv. Shechem has to submit to circumcision before marriage.
341:1 The Sabbath is not a Mosaic institution according to the Priestly Code. But it is presupposed in Exod. xvi., and according to Gen. ii. 3, it was in force from the beginning of the world. With the old Israelites the Sabbath was much less important in relation to worship than the festivals: in Judaism the opposite was the case.
343:1 Kadesh is also called Meribah, the seat of justice, or Meribath Kadesh, the seat of justice at the holy spring. Meribah is in its meaning the same as Midian.
344:1 We do not know where Sinai was situated, and the Bible is scarcely at one on the subject. Only dilettanti care much for controversy on the matter. The Midian of Exod. ii. tells us most: it is probably Madian on the Arabic shore of the Ked sea. In our passage Sinai seems to be S.E. of Edom; the way from Sinai to Kadesh is by Seir and Paran.
345:1 Chap. xii.-xxvii. The two historical introductions, chap. i.-iv. and chap. v.-xi. were added later, as well as the appendices, chapter xxviii. seq.
345:2 That the author of the Priestly Code had before him the combination of the Sinai legislation of the Jehovist and Deuteronomy is shown further by the circumstance that he has both a legislation at Mount Sinai and a legislation in the Arboth Moab, and in addition to these one in the wilderness of Sinai.
346:1 The law might accordingly be called Moses, as with the Ethiopians the Psalter is called David.
348:1 See Kuenen in the Theol. Tijdschrift, 1870, p. 393-401.
351:1 Riehm, p. 292. "The style is quiet, simple, free from all rhetorical and poetical ornament, and the expression in speaking of similar objects has an epic uniformity. Impressive as many pieces are, just from their unassuming simplicity and objectivity, there is nowhere any apparent effort to produce effect or to raise the interest of the reader by the resources of literary art." For an opposite opinion compare Lichtenberg, Werke, ii. 162.
351:2 Agh. xv. 11, 17: when al-Walid b. al-Mughira was dead, the Arabs dated after his death to the year of the elephant, which thereafter was made an epoch. According to others they reckoned nine years after the death of Hisham b. al-Mughira, to the time when they built the Caaba, and then they dated from the building of the Caaba. Comp. the ‘Âm al Ramâda and the ‘Âm al Ru ‘âf.
352:1 And the younger tradition generally: also according to the song Exod. xv., which apart from the beginning, which is old, is a psalm in the manner of the Psalms and has no similarity with the historical songs, Jud. v., 2 Sam. i., Num. xxi.
353:1 Compare, however, Jahrbb. für Deutsche Theologie, 1877, p. 453, note 1.
354:1 In the same way, in the former source Joshua always acts alone; in the latter, he always has the priest Eleazar at his side. Compare notes on pp. 142, 143.
355:1 The details of the demonstration will be found in the Jahrbb. für Deutsche Theologie, 1776, p. 572 seq., 1877, p. 454, note, and in the Leyden Theol. Tijdschrift, 1878, p. 139 seq.
359:1 In the Deuteronomistic revision (Josh. xxi, 43-45) there is still a trace of hesitation, a certain difficulty in parting with the old view altogether (Deut. vii. 22; p. 360 Judg. iii. 1, 2); and besides the motives for the change are much plainer here: the Canaanites are extirpated to guard against the infection of the new settlers with their idolatry.
360:1 Some isolated statements there are here also to which the historical standard may be applied. We may call it a more accurate representation that Hebron was inhabited in the time of Abraham by the, Canaanites and Perizzites, than that the Hittites dwelt there at that time. The latter, according to 2 Sam. xxiv. 6 (Bleek, Einleitung, 4th edition, pp. 228, 597), dwelt in Coele-Syria, and according to 2 Kings vii. 6, in the neighbourhood of the Aramæans of Damascus. The statement that the Israelites received from Pharaoh because they were shepherds the pasture-land of Goshen on the north-east frontier of Egypt and there dwelt by themselves, is to be preferred to the statement that they were settled among the Egyptians in the best part of the land.