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by Joseph Exell
§ 1. TITLE AND GENERAL CHARACTER.
This Book, which ranks as the closing book of the Pentateuch, the Fifth of the Fifths of the Law (חׄמֶשׁ חוׄמְשֵׁי תּוׄרָת), as the Jews designate it, is in the Hebrew canon named from its two initial words, 'Elleh Had-debharim אֵלֶה הַדְּבָרִים), or simply Debharim, according to an ancient usage with the Jews. The name Deuteronomy it received from the Greek translators, whom the Vulgate follows (Δευτερονοìμιον, Deuteronomium). Probably this was the name in use among the Hellenistic Jews, for this may be regarded as a fair rendering of the phrase, Mishneh Hat-torah (מִשְׁנֶה הַתּוׄרָה), "Iteration of the Law," by which some of the rabbins designate this book — a phrase taken from Deuteronomy 16:18, though there having a different sense (see note on the passage). The name "Deuteronomy" is thus somewhat misleading, as it is apt to suggest that there is in this book either a second code of laws or a recapitulation of laws already delivered, whereas it is rather a summary, in a hortatory manner, of what it most concerned the people to keep in mind, both of the Lord's doings on their behalf, and of what it was his will they should specially observe and do when settled in the Promised Land. Many parts of the Law, as already promulgated, are not so much as alluded to; very few new laws are enunciated; and in general it is the civil and social rather than the ceremonial institute, the personal and ethical rather than the political and official aspect of the Law, that is dwelt upon. This character of the book some of the rabbins have signalized By the title Sepher Tokahoth, "Book of Admonitions or Reproofs," with special reference to Deuteronomy 28:0. The unsuitableness of such a title to the Book as "Deuteronomy," was long ago pointed out by Theodoret, who asserts ('Quaest. 1. in Deuteronomy') that it is not a second Law that Moses here gives, but that he only recalls to memory what had been already given. The book is thus neither properly historical nor properly legislative, though in a measure it is both. It is historical, inasmuch as it records certain things said and done at a particular time in the history of Israel; and it is legislative, inasmuch as it enunciates certain statutes, ordinances, and rules which the people were bound to observe. But properly it is a hortatory book — a book of orations or discourses (דְבָרִים), in which the subjectivity of the author is throughout prominent. In this respect it is markedly different from the earlier books of the Pentateuch, in which the objective element prevails. "In Deuteronomy it is the paraenetic element that is especially predominant; in place of the objective rigorous injunction, there is here the most impressive exhortation; in place of the letter, legally imperative and averse from development, which finds the ground of its highest necessity in itself, there prevails here reflection on the Law, and on this line the latter is brought nearer to the feelings. The book has thus a prophetic coloring, the germ of which we have already seen in the close of Leviticus, but which has here a wider compass and authoritative significance. The book is a foretype of the prophetic discourse; and from this peculiarity may be explained how, for instance, a later prophetism (Jeremiah and Ezekiel) connects itself with this type".
§ 2. CONTENTS OF THE BOOK.
The book consists chiefly of three lengthened addresses, delivered by Moses to the people on the eastern side of the Jordan, after they had obtained possession by conquest of the region stretching northwards from the borders of Moab towards those of Aram. After a brief notice of the circumstances of time and place when the addresses were uttered (Deuteronomy 1:1-5), the first address begins. Moses first of all recalls to the recollection of the people certain important particulars in their past history, with the view apparently of preparing them for the admonitions and injunctions he is about to lay upon them (Deuteronomy 1:6-3:29). This recapitulation is followed by a series of earnest exhortations to obedience to the Divine ordinances, and warnings against idolatry and the forsaking of Jehovah, the God of their lathers, and the only true God (Deuteronomy 4:1-40). To this address is appended a short historical notice of the appointment of three cities of refuge on the east side of the Jordan (vers. 41-43).
The second address, which is also introduced by a brief notice of the circumstances under which it was delivered (Deuteronomy 4:44-49), extends over twenty-one chapters (Deuteronomy 5-26.). In it Moses goes over the leading ethical precepts of the Law which he, as the servant of God, had already declared to the people. He begins by reminding them how God had made a covenant with them in Horeb, and then, having repeated the "ten words" of the covenant — the ten commandments which Jehovah spake to the assembled multitude — and having uttered a general exhortation to obedience (Deuteronomy 5:1-33), he proceeds to admonish the people to love Jehovah the one God, to be obedient to his Law, to teach it diligently to their children, and to avoid all intercourse with the idolatrous nations of Canaan, on the possession of which they were about to enter. This admonition is enforced by threatening of judgments on idolaters; victory over the Canaanites is promised; the gradual but utter extinction of these idolatrous peoples is foretold; and a command is given to destroy all objects of idolatrous worship to be found in the land (Deuteronomy 6:1-7:26). A cursory review of God's dealings with Israel in guiding them through the wilderness is then taken, as furnishing ground for enforcing obedience to the Law; the danger of self-confidence and forgetfulness of God is pointed out; cautions are given against self-righteousness and spiritual pride; and, to enforce these, the people are reminded of their sins and rebelliousness in the wilderness, of Moses' intercession for them, and of God's grace and goodness, especially as shown in his restoring the two tables after they had been broken, and writing on them anew the law of the ten commandments (Deuteronomy 8:1-10:5).
At this point a short notice of the journeyings of the Israelites in the region of Mount Her is introduced, with notices of the death of Aaron, of the continuance of the priesthood in his family, and of the separation of the tribe of Levi to the service of the sanctuary (Deuteronomy 10:6-11). The address is then resumed, and the people are exhorted to fear, obey, and love the Lord; and this is enforced by reference to God's claims upon them, the blessings that would ensue if they yielded to these claims, and, on the other hand, the curse that disobedience would bring upon them. In connection with this the command is given that, when they should be come into the Promised Land, the blessing should be put upon Mount Gerizim and the curse upon Mount Ebal, the situation of which is indicated (Deuteronomy 10:12-11:32).
After this Moses enters on a more minute detail of the laws which the people were to observe when settled in Canaan. Directions are given as to the destruction of all monuments of idolatry, and they are enjoined to preserve the worship of Jehovah and to present the appointed offerings to him in the place which he should choose, where also the sacrificial meal was to be eaten (Deuteronomy 12:1-28). All intercourse with idolaters and all curious inquiries concerning their rites are to be avoided; all who would seduce to idolatry are to be put to death, even though they pretended to be prophets and to speak under Divine sanction; even the nearest relations who act this part are not to be spared; and an idolatrous cities are to be destroyed (Deuteronomy 12:29-13:18). The people are cautioned against joining in or imitating the mourning customs of the heathen, and against eating the flesh of unclean animals or of animals that had died of themselves; they are directed as to the laying aside of tithes for sacrificial meals and for the poor; they are enjoined to observe the seventh year of release for poor debtors and of emancipation for the bondman; they are commanded to dedicate to the Lord the first-born of sheep and oxen; and they are instructed to observe the three great feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 14:1-16:17). From these religious regulations Moses passes on to others more of a civil and social character, giving directions as to the appointment of judges and magistrates, the trial of idolaters and criminals of various classes, the choice and duties of a king, and the rights of priests and Levites; the promise of a Great Prophet like unto Moses, whom they are to hear and obey, is given; and the proper test by which any one pretending to be a prophet is to be tried, is prescribed (Deuteronomy 16:18-18:22). Following these come some regulations as to the appointment of cities of refuge for the manslayer, the maintenance of landmarks and boundaries, the number of witnesses required to establish a charge against any one, the punishment of false witnesses, the conduct of war, exemption from service in war, the treatment of enemies, the besieging of towns, the expiation of murder where the murderer is unknown, the treatment of women taken in war, the just exercise of paternal authority, and the burial of malefactors who had been executed (Deuteronomy 19:1-21:23). The address is concluded by a series of miscellaneous injunctions relating to rights of property, the relation of the sexes, regard for animal and human life, the avoidance of what would confound distinctions made by God in the natural world, the preservation of the sanctity of the marriage bond, and the observation of integrity and purity in all the relations of life, domestic and social After appointing the eucharistic services on the presentation of the firstfruits and tenths of the products of the field, the address is wound up with a solemn admonition to attend to and observe what the Lord had commanded (Deuteronomy 22:1-26:19).
In his third address, after directing that the Law should be inscribed on two stone pillars to be set up on Mount Ebal, when the people should have obtained possession of Canaan, Moses proceeds to charge them to proclaim in the most solemn manner, after offering burnt offerings and sacrifices, the blessing and the curse by which the Law was sanctioned, the former on Mount Gerizim, the latter on Mount Ebal (Deuteronomy 27:1-26). He then more fully sets forth the blessings that should come upon the people if they hearkened to the voice of the Lord, and the curses that would befall them if they neglected his word or refused to obey it (Deuteronomy 28:1-68). Moses then recapitulates what the Lord had done for Israel, and, after again referring to the blessings and curses of the Law, adjures the people to accept the covenant which God was graciously pleased to make with them, to adhere to it constantly, and so, having blessing and curse, life and death, set before them, to choose the former for themselves and their posterity (Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20).
These three addresses of Moses to the people are followed by an account of the closing scenes and acts of his life. A few words of encouragement addressed to the people introduce the appointment of Joshua to be his successor as the leader of Israel; the Law written out by Moses is handed over to the custody of-the priests, with a command that it shall be renal every seventh year to the people at the Feast of Tabernacles; Joshua is summoned with Moses into the presence of Jehovah, and receives from him his commission and authority; and Moses is commanded to write a song, and teach it to the people (Deuteronomy 31:1-22). The active life of Moses was now drawing to its close. He puts the last hand on the writing of the Law; composes the song which God had commanded him to write; utters a few words of encouragement to Joshua; delivers the book of the Law to the priests that bore the ark of the covenant, with the injunction to them to put it in the side of the ark; and summons the elders of the tribes and their officers to hear from his lips, ere he left them, his solemn charge, and listen to the words of the song he had composed (vers. 23-29). Then follows the song itself; after which comes a short exhortation to the people by Moses, followed by the Divine intimation of the approaching decease of their great leader and lawgiver (Deuteronomy 32:1-52). Next is inserted the blessing which Moses pronounced upon Israel in its separate tribes (Deuteronomy 33:1-29); and to this is appended an account of the death and burial of Moses, with his eulogium (Deuteronomy 34:1-12). With this the book terminates.
§ 3. DESIGN OF THE BOOK.
From the survey of the contents of this book, it is apparent that it is not intended as a supplement to the other books of the Pentateuch, but rather is to be viewed as a closing appeal, on the part of the great leader of Israel, to those whom he had conducted and formed into a nation, directed towards inducing them to keep inviolate the covenant of the Lord, that it might be well with them and their children. With this in view, Moses selects those facts in the past history of the people the remembrance of which was most fitted to preserve them in their dependence upon and allegiance to Jehovah, and those parts of the legislation already enacted as bore most closely on the covenant relation of Jehovah to his people. It is in accordance with this design that laws of a general kind, or such as relate to official functionaries and acts, should be only briefly referred to or altogether passed over; and also that instructions as to the proper ordering of matters which could be attended to only after the settlement of the nation in Canaan, should form an important dement among the farewell counsels of him who had brought them to the confines of that land, but was not himself to enter it with them.
§ 4. AUTHOR AND DATE OF THE BOOK.
This book presents in the general such a uniformity of representation and character, such sameness of style and method, that there can be no hesitation in accepting it as, in the main, the work of one author. Was that author Moses? That he was is the commonly received belief, handed down from a remote antiquity, and which was not seriously questioned till comparatively recent times. Many objections, however, have been advanced against it of late; and this renders it necessary that the evidence, both in support of the traditionary belief and against it, should be carefully collected and weighed.
I. In favor of the Mosaic authorship of the book there is —
1. The weight of traditional authority. In the Christian and in the Jewish Church, so far back as we can trace, this book has been reputed the work of Moses. As to this there can be no legitimate question; the fact is indubitable. The stream of testimony may be traced from the Christian Fathers of the second century after Christ, with hardly a break, up to the time of David (cf. 1 Kings 2:3; 1 Kings 8:53; 2 Kings 14:5, 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Kings 18:6, 2 Kings 18:12, with Deuteronomy 29:9; Deuteronomy 9:26; Deuteronomy 24:16; Deuteronomy 10:20). Moses is thus, so to speak, in possession, with a title which has been admitted for more than three thousand years. On those, therefore, who would dislodge him lies the burden of proving that this title is false; and this can be done only by showing from internal evidence that the book cannot be the writing of Moses. It will be incumbent on them also to show how this title could have been acquired, if purely fictitious — how this universal belief could have arisen, if without foundation in fact.
2. The testimony of our Lord and his apostles, as recorded in the New Testament, gives special weight to this tradition. Our Lord quotes from this book as part of the sacred writings, using the formula, "It is written," by which is indicated that the passages quoted are from the sacred canon (comp. Matthew 4:4; Matthew 9:7, Matthew 9:10, with Deuteronomy 8:8; Deuteronomy 6:16; Deuteronomy 6:13), and recognizing it as the "Law" given by God to Israel (Matthew 22:24 compared with Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 10:12). He expressly refers to and cites this book as the work of Moses; and he implicitly attests this by assenting to the assertion of it by others. St. Peter, in his address to the people who were collected together after the healing of the lame man at the gate of the temple, cites a passage from this book as the saying of Moses (Acts 3:22); St. Stephen does the same in his apology to the Sanhedrim (Acts 7:37); St. Paul quotes from this book as from Moses, in the same way as he quotes from the Book of Isaiah as from Isaiah (Romans 10:19, Romans 10:20), and at other times prefaces his citation with the words, "It is written" (Born. 12:19; Galatians 3:10); and the apostles generally freely refer to the Law, i.e. the Thorah, or Pentateuch, including, of course, the fifth book, as of Moses. Now, the testimony of our Lord and his apostles cannot be regarded as a mere link in the chain of tradition on this point. It s that, but it is more than that; it is an authoritative declaration, from which it is maintained there is no appeal. Jesus, "the faithful and true Witness," and himself "the Truth," could utter only what is true; and knowing that his words, even the most minute and least weighty, were to endure forever (Matthew 24:35), and to guide the judgments and opinions of men to the latest generations, he would be careful to order his speech so as in every case to express only what was in accordance with truth and fact. But it may be asked, "Might not our Lord have cited a passage from one of the Pentateuchal books as a saying of Moses, merely because these books were commonly called by the name of Moses, without meaning to affirm that they were actually written by him; just as one who had adopted the Wolfian theory of the composition of the' Iliad' and ' Odyssey ' might nevertheless continue to cite from these as the works of Homer, though he doubted if Homer ever existed, and felt sure that no one man composed these poems as they are now extant?" But this it may be replied that the cases are not parallel. When one quotes from the 'Iliad,' or the 'Odyssey,' or from any classic writing, it is for the sake of the sentiment or expression that the quotation is made, and it matters not how the source of the quotation is designated, provided the designation be such as shall direct the reader or hearer to where the passage quoted is to be found. In our Lord's citations from the book of the Law, however, the important thing is not the mere words of the passage or the mere sentiment of it, but the authority of the utterance, and as that was derived entirely from its being part of the Law given by Moses in whom the Jews trusted (John 1:17; John 5:45; John 7:19), it was essential to the validity of his argument that it should be from Moses and none other that his citation was made. When, therefore, our Lord adduced a passage as a saying of Moses, he must have meant that the saying adduced was actually uttered by Moses — in other words, that it was found in a book which not only carried on it the name of Moses as a popular and convenient designation, but of which Moses was really the author.
3. The antiquity of the book favors the ascription of it to Moses as its author. That the book is of early date -;s shown partly by the allusions to it in books that come after it in the canon, partly by certain peculiarities of language by which it is marked, and partly by certain statements and references contained in it.
(1) In the Book of Jeremiah there are so many expressions, phrases, utterances, coincident with such in Deuteronomy, that there can be no doubt that the author of the one book must have had the other before his mind whilst composing his own. The only question that can be raised is whether Jeremiah cited from Deuteronomy or the author of Deuteronomy cited from Jeremiah, if indeed the same person were not the writer of both books. This point will come to be considered subsequently; at present it is sufficient to note that these coincidences afford certain evidence of the existence of the Book of Deuteronomy in the time of Jeremiah.
That it was known to Isaiah and used by him may be inferred from a comparison of the following passages: — Isaiah 1:2 with Deuteronomy 32:1; Isaiah 1:10 with Deuteronomy 32:32; Isaiah 1:17 with Deuteronomy 28:27; Isaiah 27:11 with Deuteronomy 32:28; Isaiah 41:8 with Deuteronomy 7:6 and 14:2; Isaiah 41:10 with Deuteronomy 31:6; Isaiah 42:2 with Deuteronomy 32:15; Isaiah 46:8 with Deuteronomy 32:7; Isaiah 1:0. I with Deuteronomy 24:1; Isaiah 58:14 with Deuteronomy 32:13; Isaiah 59:10 and 65:21 with Deuteronomy 28:29; Isaiah 62:8, etc., with Deuteronomy 28:31. In Amos and Hosea there are allusions to passages in this book which prove that it was known in their day. Of these the following may be noted: —
Amos 4:6-10 and 5:11 compared with Deuteronomy 28:15, etc. In Deuteronomy certain judgments are announced as to come on Israel if apostate and impenitent; in Amos certain judgments are declared as having come on Israel because of their apostasy and impenitency; and the two are so closely identical that the prophet must be regarded as describing the fulfillment of a threatening predicted by the lawgiver. Famine, drought, blasting, and mildew, the ravages of the locust, pestilence, the diseases of Egypt, and the calamities of war are described by the prophet as what had come on Israel; and these are what are threatened in Deuteronomy in the same or equivalent words. Compare especially Amos 4:6 with Deuteronomy 28:17, Deuteronomy 28:38 Deuteronomy 28:40; Amos 4:7 with Deuteronomy 28:23, Deuteronomy 28:24; Amos 4:9 with Deuteronomy 28:22, Deuteronomy 28:38, Deuteronomy 28:42; Amos 4:10 with Deuteronomy 28:21, Deuteronomy 28:27, Deuteronomy 28:26; Amos 5:11 with Deuteronomy 28:30, Deuteronomy 28:39.
In Amos 6:12 the prophet charges the people with having "turned judgment into gall (rosh), and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock (la'anah)." Compare Deuteronomy 29:18 , where the people are warned against apostasy, "Lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood (rosh we la'anah)."
Amos 8:14, "They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy God, O Dan, liveth" (cf. 2 Kings 12:28, 29). Deuteronomy 9:21, "And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made," etc.; Deuteronomy 6:13, "Thou shalt fear Jehovah thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his Name."
Amos 9:14, Amos 9:15, "And I will turn (weshabhti) the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith Jehovah thy God." Deuteronomy 30:3, "Then Jehovah thy God shall turn (weshabh) thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither Jehovah thy God hath scattered thee;" ver. 5, "And Jehovah thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed;" ver. 9, "And Jehovah thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, for good," etc. "This passage forms the basis of all the passages in the Old Testament in which the very peculiar formula שָׁב שְׁבוּת occurs" (Hengstenberg).
Turning now to Hosea, the following correspondences with Deuteronomy may be noted: —
Hosea 4:14, "They sacrifice with the kedeshoth" (women consecrated to prostitution in the service of a heathen deity). Deuteronomy 23:17, Deuteronomy 23:18, "There shall be no kedeshah [consecrated harlot] of the daughters of Israel... thou shalt not bring the hire of a kedeshah... into the house of the Lord." Only in these passages and in Genesis 38:21, Genesis 38:22, is this word found. Hosea 5:10, "The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bounds (massigei gebul)." Deuteronomy 19:14, "Thou shalt not remove thy neighbor's landmark (lo tassig gebul);" Deuteronomy 27:17, "Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor's landmark (massig gebul)." Hosea 5:14, "I will take away, and none shall rescue (eyn matzil)." Deuteronomy 32:39, "And there is none that rescueth out of my hand (eyn m'yadi matzil)." (Cf. also Hosea 2:10 [Hebrews 12:0].) Hosea 6:1, "Come, and let us return unto the Lord; for he hath torn, [cf. Hosea 5:14] and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up." Deuteronomy 32:39, "I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal."
Hosea 8:13, "They shall return (yashubhu) to Egypt." Deuteronomy 28:68, "The Lord shall bring thee (heshibhka) into Egypt again."
Hosea 12:13, "By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved." Deuteronomy 18:18, "A Prophet... like unto thee." Only here is Moses described as a prophet.
Hosea 13:6, "According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore have they forgotten me." Deuteronomy 8:14, "Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God," etc.
Hosea 13:9, "This (shihethka) hath corrupted [destroyed] thee, O Israel, that thou art against me [who am] in thy help." Deuteronomy 32:5, "A perverse nation hath become corrupt towards him (shiheth lo);" Deuteronomy 33:26, "Who rideth upon the heaven in thy help."
The coincidences thus noted are not, it must be confessed, all of equal weight and evidential value; but, on the other hand, none of them can be certainly declared to be accidental, and some are of such a character as almost to force the conclusion that the prophets Hosea and Amos had in their hands the Book of Deuteronomy, and freely cited from it. Assuming this, something more is proved than that this book was extant in the days of these prophets. As these were prophets, not of Judah, but of Israel, their references to Deuteronomy may indicate the reception of that book in Israel as a sacred book; and as it is not probable that any book would be so received in the kingdom of Samaria which had not been carried by the ten tribes with them when they broke off from Judah, it would follow that this book was known and reverenced at the time of the separation. But if it was thus accredited in the beginning of the reign of Rehoboam, the probability is that it was so in the reigns of his predecessors, Solomon and David; for it is incredible that it could have attained to universal acceptance at the moment of his accession to the throne, if it had not been by long usage already established. It may indeed be said that the better part of Israel was never wholly alienated from Judah religiously, but continued to regard the temple at Jerusalem as the national sanctuary. But that this would have led to the acceptance by the nation generally of a book pretending to be from God, which was unknown to their fathers, and which had come into existence in Judah after the separation of the tribes, cannot be believed; national enmity and sectarian jealousy, to say nothing of pious zeal for God, would have effectually prevented that, the more especially in respect of a book by which their whole religious position and system was condemned.
The conclusion above announced is corroborated by the references to Deuteronomy in the narrative of the Books of Kings.
Reference has been already made to passages in these books in which the Book of Deuteronomy is expressly referred to as the Law of Moses, and as written by Moses. What has now to be considered are allusions to things contained in that book, and apparent quotations from it.
1 Kings 8:51, "For they are thy people... which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron." Deuteronomy 4:20, "And the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth from the furnace of iron, out of Egypt."
1 Kings 17:1. Here Elijah announces to Ahab that the judgment threatened in Deuteronomy 11:16, Deuteronomy 11:17, against idolatry in Israel, should now be inflicted, because of his having set up an altar to Baal, and placed beside it an Asherah for idol-worship.
1 Kings 18:40. In the order given by Elijah as to the treatment of the priests of Baal, the prophet follows the Divine injunction as given in Deuteronomy 13:15, Deuteronomy 13:16, and 17:5; without which it is inconceivable that he should have ventured to enjoin on the king such extreme measures.
1 Kings 21:10. The appointment of two witnesses in order to convict Naboth of blasphemy points to the observance in Israel of the law recorded in Deuteronomy 17:6, Deuteronomy 17:7; Deuteronomy 19:15.
1 Kings 22:11. "The symbolical act of the false prophet Zedekiah, here described, is an embodying of the figure in Deuteronomy 33:17. This illustrious promise, specially applicable to the posterity of Joseph, was the basis on which the pseudo-prophets built; only they overlooked the one thing, that the promise was conditional and the condition was not realized..... The reference to the Pentateuch here is the more important since Zedekiah was one of the prophets of the calves, and since the symbolical act could have been undertaken only on the presumption that its meaning, resting on the Pentateuch, was intelligible to those present, and especially to the kings" (Hengstenberg, 1:182).
2 Kings 2:9. Elisha, as the firstborn of Elijah in a spiritual sense — his γνηìσιον τεìκον, according to their common office as prophets — asks of Elijah that the portion legally due to the firstborn son might be his, that a double portion (פִי שְׁנַיִם) of his father's possessions, his spirit, might be given to him. This points back to Deuteronomy 21:17, where the law relating to the right of the firstborn is enunciated. It is noticeable that in both passages the same peculiar phrase, פִי שְׁנַיִם, a mouthful of two, occurs, and in this sense only in these two passages. 2 Kings 6:28-30. The extreme horror of the king on hearing the woman's story, and his penitential observance in consequence, are best accounted for by a reference to Deuteronomy 28:53, Deuteronomy 28:57, Deuteronomy 28:58. The king recognized in what the woman told him a fulfillment of the threatening denounced in this passage; and so, while the lesser calamities that had befallen his people in consequence of the siege of the city by the Syrians had failed to move him, this most terrible tale filled him with horror and drove him to penitence.
2 Kings 14:6. Here is an express quotation of a law which is found only in Deuteronomy 24:16.
2 Kings 18:6, "For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him," etc. Deuteronomy 10:20, "Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave," etc.
Besides these references to Deuteronomy, there are many in the two Books of Kings to other parts of the Pentateuch, going to prove that that book in its entireness was known and accepted in the kingdom of Israel from the time of its first establishment. "Indeed," as has been remarked, "the entire action and operation of the prophets in the kingdom of Israel is an inexplicable riddle if we do not assume the public recognition of the Pentateuch in this kingdom as its basis. With all the annoyances which the prophets occasioned to the kings, and the priests who were in close alliance with them, there never came to be a systematic and thoroughgoing persecution of them so as to extirpate them. This suggests, unless we set aside all probability and all historical analogies, the possession by them of an external right whereby hatred against them was restrained, and the following out of extreme measures prevented. But on what could such an outward right be well based if not on the public acknowledgment of the Pentateuch, on which they grounded their censures, with which they connected their threatenings, and whose prophet-law they maintained against their opponents?" (Hengstenberg, 1:140).
Ascending to the earlier books, the following correspondences between them and Deuteronomy may be noted: —
2 Samuel 7:6, "During all [the time] that I walked with all the children of Israel," etc. Deuteronomy 23:14, "For Jehovah thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp" (cf. Leviticus 26:12, "And I will walk amongst you "). Only in these three passages does this peculiar phraseology occur. 2 Samuel 7:23, "And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself... thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?" Deuteronomy 7:8, "The Lord hath redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt" (cf. also Deuteronomy 9:26; Deuteronomy 13:5; Deuteronomy 15:15; Deuteronomy 21:8; Deuteronomy 24:18). This expression may be said to be specially Deuteronomic.
1 Samuel 2:2, "There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God." Deuteronomy 4:35, "Know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him;" Deuteronomy 32:4, Deuteronomy 32:15, Deuteronomy 32:18, Deuteronomy 32:31, "He is the Rock, his work is perfect... the Rock of his salvation... the Rock that begat thee... For their rock is not as our Rock," etc. 1 Samuel 2:6, "The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up." Deuteronomy 32:39, "See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal," etc. 1 Samuel 2:29, "Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded?" Deuteronomy 32:15, "Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked." The verb בִעַט, to kick, occurs only in these two places.
1 Samuel 8:1, "And it came to pass that Samuel when he was old made his sons judges over Israel." Deuteronomy 16:18, "Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates." In making his sons judges, Samuel was carrying into effect the law enunciated in Deuteronomy. As Samuel thus obeyed the Law, so his sons transgressed it, for they took bribes (shohad, 1 Samuel 8:3), contrary to the injunction, "Thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift [bribe, shohad]," etc. (Deuteronomy 16:19). 1 Samuel 8:5, "Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations." Deuteronomy 17:14, "And shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me."
1 Samuel 10:1, "The Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance." Deuteronomy 32:9," The Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." 1 Samuel 10:25, "Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom," etc. The manner (the law, the legitimate order, mishpat) of the kingdom was what had been prescribed; and it is only in Deuteronomy that this prescription is given (cf. Deuteronomy 17:14, etc.).
1 Samuel 15:2, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt." Deuteronomy 25:17, "Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt."
1 Samuel 28:3, "Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land." Deuteronomy 18:10, Deuteronomy 18:11, "There shall not be found in thee... a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard."
Judges 1:20, "And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses said." Deuteronomy 1:36, "Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon."
Judges 2:2, "I said... And ye shall make no league (lo tikrethu berith) with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars." etc. Deuteronomy 7:2, "Thou shalt... utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them (lo tikroth lahem berith);" Deuteronomy 12:3, "And ye shall overthrow [throw down] their altars." Judges 2:3, "And their gods shall be a snare unto you." Deuteronomy 7:16, "Neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee." Judges 2:15, "The hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them." Deuteronomy 28:15, etc. Judges 2:18, "For it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them." Deuteronomy 32:36, "For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone."
Judges 4:14, "And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee?" Deuteronomy 9:3, "Understand therefore this day, that the Lord thy God is he which goeth over before thee."
Judges 5:4, Judges 5:5, "Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water. The mountains melted before the Lord, even that Sinai from before the Lord God of Israel." Deuteronomy 33:2, "The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran," etc. Judges 5:8, "They chose new gods (elohim hadashim)." Deuteronomy 32:17, "They sacrificed... to gods whom they knew not, to new (hadashim) gods that came newly up," etc.
Judges 11:15, "Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon,' etc. Deuteronomy 2:9, Deuteronomy 2:19, "And the Lord said, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession... When thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession."
Judges 14:3. The parents of Samson expostulate with him as to his intention to take a wife "of the uncircumcised Philistines." But there was no reason why he should not do this, if it so pleased him, except that it was expressly prohibited by the law of God as recorded in Deuteronomy 7:8. It would thus appear that that law was known and recognized as binding on the people of God in the days of the judges.
Ruth 4:2-12, "And he took ten men of the elders of the city," etc. The entire narrative in this context points to the law of the levirate in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. "The real relation of the god [kinsman] in Ruth to the yabam [husband's brother] in the law is unquestionable. 'Each was bound to raise offspring to the dead from the wife of the dead. The reason in both cases was the same, that the name of the dead might not perish from Israel, nor from his family. In fine, in both cases, if the party refused to marry the wife of the deceased, this was attested by the taking off of the shoe'. No less undeniable and still more decisive is the verbal reference to the law, which is equivalent to an actual citation of it. Compare only Deuteronomy 25:6, 'And the firstborn which she beareth יָקוּם עַל־שֵׁם אָחִיו הַמֵּת,' with Ruth 4:5, 'Of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance (לְהָקִים שֵׁם־הַמֵּת עַל־נַחֲלָתוׄ).' The name of the dead could only be raised up, according to the law, by a son being ascribed to him. This kind service Boaz was prepared to render to him; the god must either do what Boaz proffered, or he must transfer to him, as the next god, the right of redemption. Still more complete is the reference to Deuteronomy 25:6 in Ruth 4:10, 'I take to me Ruth as my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, and that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place.' According to Deuteronomy 25:9, the transaction between the brother-in-law and the sister-in-law must take place in the presence of the elders; in Ruth 4:2 it is said, 'He took ten men of the elders of the city.' In Deuteronomy 25:9 it is said, 'So shall it be done unto that man who buildeth not up his brother's house;' with which compare Ruth 4:11, 'The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel;' i.e. since thou, according to the prescription, hast builded up the house of thy brother, may the Lord make, etc. That Deuteronomy is older than the Book of Ruth is seen from this, that the author of the latter describes the symbolical act of pulling off the shoe as a usage that had descended to his time from former times, whilst in Deuteronomy it appears as then in common use, and of itself clear" (Hengstenberg, 2:104). It may be added that it is by reference to the usage prescribed in Deuteronomy that the words of Naomi to her widowed daughters-in-law (Ruth 1:11) are to be understood.
It does not seem necessary to carry this investigation further; the instances adduced are 'sufficient to show that when the Books of Samuel, Judges, and Ruth were written, the Book of Deuteronomy was extant and commonly known; for the alternative hypothesis, that the author of Deuteronomy, writing at a time subsequent to the appearance of these books, carefully picked out of them a number of small particulars and adapted the statements of his own book to these, so as to give the appearance of an undesigned coincidence between his book and the others, is too violent to be entertained. It thus appears that all through the history of Israel, from the times immediately succeeding those of Moses and Joshua, this Book of Deuteronomy was known and in common use in Israel.
(2) The antiquity of this book is vouched for by the archaisms with which it abounds. "The use of הוּא in both genders, which occurs one hundred and ninety-five times in the Pentateuch, is found thirty-six times in Deuteronomy; while of the eleven places in which הִיא is written not one is in this book. In Deuteronomy, as in the other books, a maiden is called נַעַר; only in one passage (Deuteronomy 22:19) is נַעֲרָה used. The demonstrative pronoun הָאֵל, which is not found out of the Pentateuch except in 1 Chronicles 20:8 (cf. Ezra 5:15; Aramaic), is not only to be read in Genesis 19:8, Genesis 19:25; Genesis 26:3, Genesis 26:4; Leviticus 18:27; but runs through Deuteronomy (cf. Deuteronomy 4:42; Deuteronomy 7:22; Deuteronomy 19:11). So also the He locale, so rare in the later usage of the language, the old rare writing תִּמצֶאן (Jahn in Bengel's 'Archiv.,' 2:582) and the future ending וּ־ן are common. The last of these, according to the investigation of Konig (Heft. 2. of his 'Alt-test. Studien'), is more frequent in the Pentateuch than in any other Old Testament book, and is found in Deuteronomy fifty-eight times, as also twice in the Pret. 8:3, 16 יָדְעוּן, of which the Old Testament has only one other instance — Isaiah 26:16. Among these archaisms common to Deuteronomy with the other Pentateuchal books may be reckoned also the shortening of the Hiph, לַעְשַׂר (Deuteronomy 26:12), and often the use of קָרָא equivalent to קָרָה, to meet; the construction of the passive with the אֶת of the object (e.g. Deuteronomy 20:8); the changes of the common כֶּבֶשׂ into כֶּשֶׂב, lamb (Deuteronomy 14:4); the use of זֶכוּר equivalent to זָכָר, a word lost to the post-Pentateuchal language (Dietrich, 'Abhandlungen,' s. 89), Deuteronomy 16:16; Deuteronomy 20:13; and many old words, such as אָבִיב and יְקוּם, and among these such as are found only in Joshua, as אַשְׁדּוׄת, or in Ezekiel, whose language is framed on that of the Pentateuch, like מִין. Also in hapaxlegomena, which in an old language abound, Deuteronomy is not poor. Examples of these are חֶרְמֵשׁ (for the later מַגָּל); the old Canaanitish עַשׁתְּרוׄת הַצּאׄן, increase of the flock; יְשֻׁרוּן (as a name of Israel, borrowed by Isaiah 44:2); חִסְכִּית, to be silent; הֶעְגֶיִק, to lay upon the neck; הִתְעַמֵּר to take possession of, to lay hands on. To the antique and genuinely Mosaic peculiarities of the Deuteronomist belongs also his love of pictures: a root of hemlock and wormwood sprouts (Deuteronomy 29:18), head and tail (Deuteronomy 28:13, Deuteronomy 28:44), the saturated with the thirsty (Deuteronomy 29:19); and comparisons: as a man beareth his son (Deuteronomy 1:31), as bees do (Deuteronomy 1:44), as a man chasteneth his son (Deuteronomy 8:5), as the eagle fluttereth (Deuteronomy 28:49), as the blind gropeth (Deuteronomy 28:29). Of such comparisons I know only three in the other books: 'As the ox licks up the grass of the field' (Numbers 22:4, in the Balaam section); 'As a flock that hath no shepherd' (Numbers 27:17); 'As the guardian bears the suckling' (Numbers 11:12); both in the mouth of Moses". To these may be added certain words and phrases found in the earlier books, but which would seem to have become obsolete or to have been regarded as archaic in the times subsequent to that of Samuel: — As for instance, שְׁעָרִים, gates, for habitations generally; nineteen times in Deuteronomy; elsewhere once, in Exodus 20:10, in a document acknowledgedly Mosaic; and occasionally but rarely in poetical pieces (Psalms 87:2 [but see Hengstenberg in loc; Isaiah 3:26; Isaiah 60:18 (?); Jeremiah 14:2). שׁׄטֵרִים, officers; seven times in Deuteronomy; elsewhere Exodus 5:6, Exodus 5:10, Exodus 5:14, Exodus 5:15, Exodus 5:19; Numbers 11:16; Joshua 1:10; Joshua 3:2; Joshua 8:33; Joshua 23:2; Joshua 24:1; Chronicles six times. רֵיקָם, empty, in the sense of without an offering; Deuteronomy 16:16; Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:20; 1 Samuel 6:3; not elsewhere. עִנָּה אִשָׁה, to humble a woman; Deuteronomy 21:14; Deuteronomy 22:24, Deuteronomy 22:29; Genesis 34:2; Judges 20:5; 2 Samuel 13:12, 2 Samuel 13:14; Lamentations 5:11; Ezekiel 22:10, Ezekiel 22:11. סוּר יָמִין וְשְׂמאׄל, to turn to the right hand or to the left, of departures from God's Law; Deuteronomy 5:32; 17:28; Deuteronomy 28:14; Joshua 1:7; Joshua 23:6. הֶָׄקֻסר ארִיד יָמִים, to prolong days, to live long; eleven times in Deuteronomy; elsewhere only Exodus 20:12; Joshua 24:31; Judges 2:7; 1 Kings 3:14; Ecclesiastes 8:13; Isaiah 53:10. תְמוּנָה, likeness, similitude; Deuteronomy 4:12, Deuteronomy 4:15, Deuteronomy 4:16, Deuteronomy 4:23, Deuteronomy 4:25; Deuteronomy 5:8; Exodus 20:4; Numbers 12:8; Job 4:16 (image, form, shape); Psalms 17:15. כׄהֵן; this term is in Deuteronomy, as in the other Pentateuchal books, used only of persons exercising sacerdotal functions; in later times it came to be used also of civil officers and counselors of the sovereign (cf. 2 Samuel 8:18; 2 Samuel 20:26; 1 Kings 4:2, 1 Kings 4:5; 1 Chronicles 27:5). אִשֶּׁה, fire offering; Deuteronomy 18:1; often in the Pentateuch; once in Joshua 13:14; and once in 1 Samuel 2:28. כִלְאַיִם, two things heterogeneous; Deuteronomy 22:9; elsewhere only in Leviticus 19:19. גוׄזָל a young bird; Deuteronomy 32:11; Genesis 15:9; not found elsewhere. זָכוּר, a male; Deuteronomy 16:19; Deuteronomy 20:13; elsewhere only Exodus 23:17; Exodus 34:23. נָקֵבָה, female; Deuteronomy 4:16; often in the Pentateuch; once in Jeremiah 31:22. אָבִיב, the month Abib; Deuteronomy 16:1; Exodus 9:31; Exodus 13:4; Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18; Leviticus 2:14; nowhere else. שֶׁגֶר, young of a beast; Deuteronomy 7:13, 28; Deuteronomy 4:18, 51; elsewhere only Exodus 13:12. יְקוּם, substance, living thing; Deuteronomy 11:6; Genesis 7:4, Genesis 7:23; nowhere else. סֶנֶה, bush; Deuteronomy 33:16; elsewhere only in Exodus 3:2, Exodus 3:3, Exodus 3:4.
(3) The antiquity of the book is further guaranteed by certain statements and references contained in it.
Deuteronomy 7:1, etc. Intercourse with the nations of Canaan is here strenuously forbidden to the Israelites. This was fitting before they took possession of that land; at a later period such a prohibition would have been superfluous, if not ridiculous.
Deuteronomy 25:9. Reference is here made to the taking off of the shoe as a symbol of the transference of an inheritance, in a way which shows, as already observed, that the usage was then common. In the time of the judges this was regarded as a usage of "the former time" (Ruth 4:7). The time of Deuteronomy, therefore, must have preceded that of the judges.
Deuteronomy 25:17, etc. The Israelites are commanded to remember what Amalek did to them by the way, as they came out of Egypt, etc. Such an injunction it would have been absurd to publish in writing at a much later period in the history of Israel, long after the Amalekites had ceased to exist as a nation. So also of the Canaanites (Deuteronomy 20:16-18).
Deuteronomy 17:14, etc. It is here assumed that at some future time the people of Israel would propose to set a king over them, like all the nations about them, and directions are given as to the choice of a king in this case, and as to the conduct of the king when he should be chosen. The fair presumption from this is that the book in which these are recorded must have been written before the time of Samuel; for it is not credible that any wrier would have introduced into his narrative any such statements posterior to the election of Saul to be King of Israel. Especially is it to be noted that one of the directions given is that the king is "not to multiply horses, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way." Such a cautionary injunction was fitting at a time when there was some danger of the people being seduced into returning to Egypt; at a later period, long after they had been settled in the Promised Land, it would be simply preposterous. It has indeed been said, on the other hand, that, had this book been then extant, Samuel must have known this passage, and in that case would not have rebuked the people as he did for their sin in desiring a king. There would be some force in this did the passage in Deuteronomy contain an enactment that a king should be chosen or express approval of such an act. But this is not the case; rather is the contrary implied, for it is plain, from the manner in which the subject is introduced, that the anticipated act was not regarded by the speaker with approval, but was rather viewed by him as a willful departure from an order instituted by God, prompted by a desire on the part of the people to be like to the nations around them; in fact, a species of apostasy from Jehovah, second only to a renunciation of him for other gods. When Samuel, therefore, rebuked the people, even whilst conceding their request, he spoke in the very spirit of this passage, and not improbably with this very passage in his mind.
It has also been urged that, as the appointment of a king was incompatible with the Theocracy, it is highly improbable that any such thing would have been contemplated and legislated for by Moses. It is to be observed, however, that the king whom it was supposed the people were to be allowed to set up was not to be an autocrat or one whose rule was to be independent; he was to be one whom God should choose, and who was to be under law to God, and so was really to be the vicegerent of Jehovah, the Great King. By the appointment of such a king, therefore, the Theocracy remained intact. The administration of government by means of a king whom God should choose no more superseded the supreme kingship of Jehovah, than the administration of law by judges interfered with his supremacy as Lawgiver and Judge.
It is further asked — Had this passage been in existence and known, how could Solomon have dared to contravene it as he did by multiplying wives and sending to Egypt for horses? But Solomon, we know, dared to do many things which were contrary to law, both Divine and human. His having many wives and concubines was as much against the law of the Decalogue as against the law in Deuteronomy 17:14-17.
Deuteronomy 27:11-26. Directions are here given concerning blessing and cursing on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. These, however, are of a very general character, details evidently being left to the discretion of the parties by whom the injunction was to be carried into effect. An author writing after the event would, it is presumed, have been more precise, and would have so framed his statement as to present to his readers a distinct and easily apprehensible representation of the whole transaction.
Deuteronomy 19:1-10. Here it is enacted that, on the establishment of the people in Canaan, the land is to be divided, and certain cities to be set apart as places of refuge for the manslayer. This is a law which could be obeyed only at the time of the entrance of the people on the possession of the land, and which, therefore, it would be absurd to prescribe in a book written long after that took place.
In several parts of the book allusion is made to the condition of the Israelites as then in the wilderness, and to their experiences there as then recent (cf. Deuteronomy 1-3.; Deuteronomy 4:3, Deuteronomy 4:4, Deuteronomy 4:44-49; Deuteronomy 7:1; Deuteronomy 8:1; Deuteronomy 9:1; Deuteronomy 11:8, etc., 30, 31; 13:12; 18:9; 19:1; 27:2). Unless, then, the book be put aside as a pure fiction, it must be accepted as of an age not later than the time of the arrival of the Israelites on the eastern side of the Jordan.
From these considerations the high antiquity of this book may be fairly inferred. This not only falls in with the supposition that it is in the main the writing of Moses, but lends support to that supposition; for Moses is the only person of whom we know anything who at that early period can be supposed to have composed such a book, and as the book professes to be his, the presumption is very strong that he and no other is the author of it.
4. The aspect and attitude of the writer, both retrospective and prospective, are those of one in the position of Moses at the time immediately before the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan. The book presents itself as Mosaic, and with this the entire costume and coloring of the book is in keeping. "There is nowhere even a single expression which is not suited to the position of Moses at that time; the standpoint throughout the whole book is the same; the situation is ever that of one on the borders of the Promised Land. To that which in later times was the center of the popular life — to Jerusalem and its temple, to the kingdom of David — there is not a single reference such as would transgress historical limits. The occupation of the land is only in the general assumed as about to take place; nothing is said as to the special relations of Israel in the land when conquered. The principal foes are the Canaanites, who, from the beginning of the period of the judges, retire into the background, and; after Judges 5., nowhere play any notable part. (For exact acquaintance with the early relations of the peoples in the Mosaic times, see Deuteronomy it.; in respect of the geography of the scene of the last wandering, Deuteronomy 1:1, etc.) Specially noticeable are the very vivid reminiscences of Egypt; the motives to kindness towards servants thence taken (Deuteronomy 5:15; Deuteronomy 15:15; Deuteronomy 16:12; Deuteronomy 24:18); the references to diseases peculiar to Egypt in the threatening of punishments (Deuteronomy 28:27, Deuteronomy 28:35); the references to deliverance from thence in the promises (Deuteronomy 7:15; Deuteronomy 28:60); the exaltation of Canaan by comparison with Egypt (Deuteronomy 11:10); a highly graphic representation of the old Egyptian agriculture, to which the monuments bear witness." Besides these references to Egyptian usages, etc., may be mentioned the command to bear the words of the Law as an amulet on the hand and breast (Deuteronomy 6:8, etc.; 11:18; cf. Exodus 13:16), and to inscribe them on the door-posts of the house (Deuteronomy 11:20); the command to write the Law on stones plastered with mortar (Deuteronomy 27:18); the mode of punishment by the stick, the Egyptian bastinado (Deuteronomy 25:2, Deuteronomy 25:3); the method of irrigation (Deuteronomy 11:10); the function of the scribe in the military arrangements of the Egyptians (Deuteronomy 20:5). There are also frequent retrospective glances in the-book to the residence of the Israelites in Egypt as of recent occurrence (Deuteronomy 6:21, etc.; 7:8, 18; 11:3). Such a statement also as the following is intelligible only on the supposition that it is the utterance of one addressing those who were contemporaneous with the event referred to: — "Your eyes have seen what the Lord did because of Baal-peor: for all the men that followed Baal-peor, the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from among you. But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day" (Deuteronomy 4:3, Deuteronomy 4:4). The inference is irresistible: either these words were uttered at the time indicated by "this day" or the statement is a fiction. These allusions are so numerous and precise that it may with justice be said, "If Deuteronomy is not the work of Moses, there is here the most exquisite of literary frauds, and that in an age which had not as yet acquired the art of transporting itself into foreign individualities and situations" (Hengstenberg).
5. The passage just quoted suggests a weighty consideration in favor of the Mosaic authorship of this book. If the book is not by him, if it is the production of a later age, it must be regarded as a forgery. For beyond all question, the book not only contains discourses alleged to have been uttered by Moses, but also claims to have been written by him (cf. Deuteronomy 1:1; Deuteronomy 29:1; Deuteronomy 31:1, Deuteronomy 31:9-11, Deuteronomy 31:24). Are we, then, to pronounce this book a forgery? If so, the book cannot be regarded as one of the ἱεραÌ γραìμματα, the sacred writings — as really belonging to the γραφηì Θεοìπνευστος, as being a book given by Divine inspiration. For the religions consciousness recoils from the thought that God would either originate or sanction a deliberate untruth. We may admire the genius of the man who could produce so consummately skilful a fiction; but we can never believe that it was by Divine direction and with help from above that he composed it, or that it was sent forth with the authorization of him "all whose words are true." Nor is it easy to conceive how what must have been known to be a fraud could have found acceptance and been reckoned among the sacred writings of the Jews. It has, indeed, been pleaded that there was no fraud in the case; that, as all knew that the book was not written by Moses, none were deceived by the ascription of it to him, any more than those who heard Herodotus read his' history at the Olympic games were deceived by the ascription to his heroes of the speeches which he had himself composed. But on this supposition, how are we to account for the author of the book ascribing it to Moses at all? Herodotus made speeches for his characters and inserted them in his history, merely to give completeness to his story and as a display of literary skill. But no such motive could have induced the author of Deuteronomy, supposing him to be stone prophet or scribe of a later age, to have ascribed his work as a whole to Moses. He could do this only in the hope of thereby investing it with greater authority, and procuring for it a more ready acceptance and deferential regard. But for this it was essential that the book should be believed to be by Moses; the moment it was known not to be by him, the author's design would be wholly frustrated. The author must, therefore, have intended it to be accepted as really the work of Moses; and if it was not so accepted, it must have been repudiated as a too manifest forgery to be endured. Its acceptance by the Jews and its place in the canon is thus utterly unaccountable on the supposition that it is the production of a writer of an age later than that of Moses.
II. These considerations give strong support to the traditional belief that this book is what it professes to be — the work of Moses. It is possible, however, that other considerations, drawn from the book itself, may outweigh these, so as to make it uncertain whether Moses wrote this book or not, if they do not render it highly probable that it must be ascribed to some later writer. Such considerations, it is maintained, are to be found, and they have been strenuously urged by many critics of note as fatal to the claims of the book to be regarded as the genuine work of Moses. To these attention must now be directed.
1. It is alleged that not only is this book in style, phraseology, and manner of thought different from the other Pentateuchal books, but that its contents present so many discrepancies to the other books that it cannot be regarded as the product of the same author.
This consideration, it is obvious, is of force as against the genuineness of Deuteronomy only on the assumption that the other books of the Pentateuch are the writing of Moses. If this be denied or questioned, the objection becomes invalid. For in that case any alleged discrepancies would prove nothing more than that tiffs book is not from the same hand as the other books; they would leave the claims of this book, which professes to be the work of Moses, unaffected.
It may also occur to the inquirer that, even on the assumption just referred to, the force of an argument of this sort is not great. For whilst it is quite conceivable that the style and phraseology and manner of thought of an author may differ at one period of his life from what they were at another, or may acquire a different character as they are used on different subjects or with a different purpose, and that in the course of forty years such changes may take place in the condition, circumstances, and relations of a community that an author writing near the end of that period may have much to narrate concerning them that is not in accordance with what he has narrated in books written long before; it is to be noted that such discrepancies are the very things a forger would be most careful to avoid. His aim would be to imitate the style and manner of thought of his author as closely as possible, and as he would have before him what that author had written, he would be careful to conform all his own statements to what he found set forth by him. If discrepancies, then, are found to exist between Deuteronomy and the other Mosaic writings, this would rather be in favor of the genuineness of the former than otherwise.
As respects style and method and manner of thought, such variations as may be detected in this book from the earlier books are sufficiently accounted for by the fact that, whilst the latter are purely narrative or didactic, this is hortatory and admonitory. The style and manner of a legislative code, or even of simple narration, must needs be departed from in a popular address, unless the speaker means to exhaust the patience of his audience and thereby frustrate his own effort. "A good example of the fundamental difference in legal style between the Levitical Law and the Deuteronomic code is found in Numbers 35:0. compared with Deuteronomy 19:0.". That differences of expression and phraseology are to be found in these two passages is manifest at a glance; but that they are "fundamental," or such as would disprove identity of authorship in the two writings, may be denied. For these differences are only such as may be found in the writings of any author who has occasion to repeat in substance what he had put forth more at large in an earlier writing. In Numbers the cities are called throughout "cities of refuge," in Deuteronomy they are described as cities to which the homicide may flee (for refuge, of course); in Numbers the man for whom a place of refuge was to be provided is described as one who had slain another "at unawares" (bishgaga, through error or mistake), in Deuteronomy he is described as one who killeth his neighbor "ignorantly" (bibhli da'alh, without knowledge, unintentionally), but also as one who had done it "unawares" (Deuteronomy 4:42); in Numbers it is "any person" who is supposed to be killed, in Deuteronomy it is "his neighbor" whom the homicide is said to slay; in Numbers the murderer is described as one who "thrust him [his victim] of hatred" (b'sin'ah), in Deuteronomy it is said "if any man hate" (sonay) — in the one place the noun is used, in the other the cognate verb. Such differences surely cannot be regarded as "fundamental." Of more weight, apparently, is the difference in the description of what constitutes murder as distinguished from simple homicide, given in the two books respectively; the one book giving a detailed description, while the other furnishes only one exemplary illustration from actual experience of what is intended. But this is only such a difference as might be expected between a legal document and a popular address in reference to the same subject. Another difference alleged is that "the judges in the one are 'the congregation,' in the other 'the elders of the city.'" But there is a mistake here. In Deuteronomy nothing is said about "judges;" the function assigned to the elders is executive, not judicial; they are to apprehend the criminal and bring him to suffer the penalty to which he had been adjudged. "In addition," it is said, "there is a substantial difference in the laws themselves, inasmuch as Deuteronomy says nothing about remaining in the city of refuge till the death of the high priest." Had Deuteronomy said that the refugee was to remain till his own death in the city of refuge, or till the death of some other person than the high priest, there would have been a substantial difference between the two laws; as it is, Deuteronomy only omits what it was not needful for the speaker to state. When it is remembered that these differences are alleged as "fundamental," it will be seen of how little moment are the other differences in style and phraseology which may be adduced between Deuteronomy and the other Pentateuchal books.
Of the material discrepancies alleged, the following are the most important: — Deuteronomy 1:22, etc. Here the sending of the spies is said to have been at the suggestion of the people, whereas in Numbers 13:1, Numbers 13:3 it is by command from God that the spies are said to be sent. There is, however, no real discrepancy here; the passage in Deuteronomy simply contains an addition to the narrative in Numbers. The proposal originated with the people, but it was not until authorized by God that Moses carried it into effect. For the rest, the two narratives are in full accordance.
Deuteronomy 1:37; Deuteronomy 3:26; Deuteronomy 4:21. In these passages Moses appears as casting the blame of his exclusion from the Promised Land on the people, whereas in Numbers 20:12 it is in consequence of his own defective faith, and in Numbers 27:14 as a punishment for his rebelliousness, that this is said to have come upon him. But that there is no discrepancy here is rendered certain by the fact that in Deuteronomy 32:51 the same cause is assigned for his exclusion as in Numbers. The two statements are easily reconciled. The immediate reason of the exclusion was Moses' own sin; the ultimate reason was the rebelliousness of the people, which gave occasion to that sin (cf. note on Deuteronomy 1:37).
In Deuteronomy it is prescribed that sacrifices shall be offered only in one place, whereas the other books say nothing of this, and in one passage express mention is made of many places of worship (Exodus 20:24). But
(1) it is not true that no mention is made of this in the other books, for in Leviticus 17:8, Leviticus 17:9 the law regarding the offering of sacrifice only in the one place, viz. at the door of the tent of meeting, is announced even under more stringent conditions than in Deuteronomy; and
(2) the declaration in Exodus 20:24 was uttered shortly after the giving of the Law on Sinai, when the people had the prospect of moving from place to place, and of the sanctuary moving with them, and was intended to assure them that wherever that sanctuary was pitched there worship might be acceptably offered.
When Numbers 18:20-32 is compared with Deuteronomy 14:22-29, it is alleged that "it cannot escape any one who makes the comparison without prejudice, that the two laws differ from each other in respect both of content and character." In Numbers it is prescribed that the Levites shall not have any fixed possession among the sons of Israel, but shall receive, for the service in the sanctuary binding on them, all the tithes which properly belong to Jehovah, and from these they shall again pay a tenth part to Aaron the priest. In Deuteronomy, on the contrary, the Israelites are enjoined to bring before the sanctuary the tithe of all the produce of their fields and their cattle, either in kind or in money, and there, in honor of Jehovah, to eat it with their families in joy and festivity; only along with this it is enjoined that they are not to forsake the Levite who has no possession of his own, but each third year they must retain all the tithes of their income and bestow them as a beneficence on the Levite, the stranger, the widow, and the orphan in their gates. These two laws, it is alleged, differ so both in content and in character that it cannot be supposed that Moses could have enacted both; and as the enactment in Numbers is undoubtedly the original, that in Deuteronomy must belong to a later age (Bleek). That these two laws differ from each other is indisputable, and the difference is such that, supposing them to relate to the same object, there is no possibility of harmonizing them; the one must exclude the other. But it is conceivable that Moses, after enacting the general law of tithes as a provision for the Levites, should, in the prospect of the people settling in a rich and fertile land where the produce of their possessions would be great, prescribe the giving of an additional tithe, to be devoted to sacred festivity and for the benefit of the poor and needy, in which benefit the Levite was to share. That such an additional tithe was actually made and rendered by the Israelites in Palestine, appears certain from the testimony of the Talmudists and Josephus; by the former of whom the מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי, or second tithe, is distinguished from the מַעֲשֵׂר רִאשׁוׄן, the first tithe — that for the Levites; and the latter of whom expressly says that, besides the two tithes which were to be levied yearly, one for the Levites and another for feasting, there was to be every third year a third tithe for distribution to the poor and needy ('Antiq.,' 4:8, 22). In the Book of Tobit the second tithe (δεκαìτη δευìτερα) is mentioned (1:7), and the LXX. refer to the δευìτερον ἐπιδεìκατον (Deuteronomy 26:11). There seems no doubt, then, as to the existence of a second tithe among the Jews. What is called the "third tithe" (Josephus, l.c.; Tobit 1:8), was only "this second tithe converted into the poor tithe, to be given to and consumed by the poor at home". This being the case, we are justified in regarding the law in Deuteronomy as not exclusive of that in Numbers, but rather as supplementary to it, as an additional prescription for the benefit of the Levites, who as a tribe were without possessions in the land, as well as the poor and destitute. As both laws were apparently in operation at a late period, the one obviously does not abrogate or exclude the other, and therefore there is no reason why both should not have been appointed by Moses.
Deuteronomy 12:17, Deuteronomy 12:18. Here the people are enjoined to eat the firstlings of their herds before the Lord, in the place which he shall choose. But in Numbers 18:15-18 the flesh of the firstlings is said to belong to the priest: "The flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine." How, then, it is asked, could the people eat the firstlings if they were to be given to the priest? There is here, it must be allowed, an apparent contradiction. It is, however, only apparent. The qualifying clause, "as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine," indicates that it was not the whole animal that was to be given to the priest; the distribution was to be according to the norm established in the case of the shelamim, or peace offerings (Leviticus 7:28, etc.), that is, after the fat had been burnt on the altar, the wave breast and the right shoulder were to be the portions of the priest. The rest of the animal, therefore, remained with the offerer, and might be eaten by him. There is thus between the two laws no real contradiction (see note in Exposition). "It is not said in Numbers that all the flesh of the firstlings belongs to the priests, nor in Deuteronomy that the people are to eat all of it" (Curtiss).
According to Exodus 29:27, Exodus 29:28, and Leviticus 7:28-34, the breast and the right shoulder of all thank offerings belonged to the priest; according to Deuteronomy 18:3, he was to receive the fore leg, the two cheeks, and the maw. This latter ordinance is said to be an alteration of the earlier law, which cannot be supposed to have proceeded from Moses. But what is prescribed in Deuteronomy as the priest's due is not said there to be all that he shall receive; it appears rather as an addition to what the earlier law assigned to him. This is "evident from the context, since the heave leg and the wave breast belonged to the firings of Jehovah mentioned in ver. 1, which the priests had received as an inheritance from the Lord; that is to say, to the tenuphoth of the children of Israel, which the priests might eat with their sons and daughters, though only with such members of their house as were Levitically clean (Numbers 18:11); and also from the words of the present command, viz. that the portions mentioned were to be a right of the priests on the part of the people, on the part of those who slaughtered slain offerings, i.e. to be paid to the priest as a right that was due to him on the part of the people" (Keil). Whether it was from animals offered in sacrifice alone that this portion was to be given to the priests, or whether the right of the priests extended also to animals slain for domestic use, has been made a matter of question. But this is immaterial as regards the relation of the law in Deuteronomy to the law in Exodus and Leviticus; for in either case the portions assigned to the priests were a gift from the people, distinct from and in addition to what the priest claimed as part of his inheritance from the Lord.
"In the other books the Levites appear always as servants of the sanctuary, in sharp distinction from the priests the sons of Aaron. In Deuteronomy the Levites appear as sustaining priestly functions, and the priests are called 'sons of Levi' or 'the priests the Levites,' as elsewhere only in the later books" (Bleek). That the priests should be described as "the sons of Aaron" is only what might be expected, inasmuch as the priesthood was restricted to the Aaronic family; and that they should be called "sons of Levi" and" Levites" is equally natural, seeing all the priests were descended from Levi, and belonged to that tribe. The only thing to be accounted for is that in the earlier books they should be described as "sons of Aaron" and never be called "Levites" or described as "sons of Levi," and that in Deuteronomy they should never be described as "sons of Aaron" but always as "Levites" or "sons of Levi." Is this a mere difference of phraseology, or does it imply such a difference in the actual constitution of the priestly order as to necessitate the conclusion that the Book of Deuteronomy belongs to a later age than that of Moses? In regard to this it may be observed:
(1) The mere fact that an author uses expressions, names, or titles which are found elsewhere only in books of later date, affords no proof that his book itself is of later date than that traditionally assigned to it, because the expressions, names, or titles may have originated with him or come into use in his time.
(2) The mere fact that certain phrases or names used by an author are not found in books confessedly written by him but older than the date ass]greed to this particular book, affords no proof that his book was written at a much later date, because the new words, names, or phrases may have come into use during his lifetime, but after his earlier writings were issued.
(3) As a considerable time elapsed between the writing of Exodus and Leviticus and the writing of Deuteronomy, phraseology which was fitting at the earlier period may have become less fitting at the later, and consequently Moses may have felt it necessary to depart in his latest writing from phraseology which he used freely in his earlier writings.
(4) The appointment of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood preceded the consecration of the tribe of Levi to the service of the sanctuary, and was an appointment wholly independent of that tribe. The priesthood was at first that of a family, not that of a tribe; it was purely Aaronic, not in any proper sense Levitical. At first, then, it was only as "sons of Aaron" that the priests could be designated; but after the consecration of the tribe to which that family belonged, such designations as "sons of Levi," "the priests the Levites," became fitting designations of the priests. The phrase "sons of Aaron" was thus the earlier, the phrase "sons of Levi" the later, formula of designation. It is not improbable that gradually the earlier designation fell into desuetude, and the later came to be that alone in use; and in this case Moses, writing near the end of his life, would naturally use the designation which by that time had come to be the proper designation of the priests.
As respects the discharge of priestly functions by the Levites, it may be observed:
(1) In the general that, as the tribe of Levi included the priestly order, what was done by the priests may be popularly described as done by Levites; just as one might say that a certain act was the act of the Church, though properly it was the act of only certain officials in the Church. On this principle we may account for its being stated that the tribe of Levi was separated by Jehovah to bless in his Name (Deuteronomy 10:8), though this was the special function of the priests; just as in Deuteronomy 10:8 and 31:25 it is said that it was the duty of the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant, whereas this belonged specially to the Kohathites, a family in that tribe.
(2) As in a graduated hierarchy the higher office includes the lower, so the duties properly belonging to the lower functionary may, on occasions of special solemnity, be undertaken by the higher. Thus we may account for the priests on special occasions bearing the ark, which ordinarily it was the part of the Kohathites to do (cf. Deuteronomy 31:9).
(3) When those who are set apart as ministers to a superior functionary are called actually to assist him in his service, they may without offence partake of the privileges which belong properly to the superior. On this ground we may account for the statement in Deuteronomy 18:1, Deuteronomy 18:8, that the Levite who might of his own choice attend upon the service of the sanctuary should have the privilege of partaking with the priest of the sacrifices offered there, though this, according to the Law, was the privilege of the priest only (cf. Leviticus 6:18, Leviticus 6:29; Leviticus 7:6). As the Law allotted these to the priest, but did not prohibit the giving of a portion of them to the attendant Levite, the prescription that the Levite was to have a share with the priest is not a repeal of the older enactment, but only an addition to it.
"According to Numbers 35:1-8, the Levites were to have cities assigned to them as their own, in all forty-eight, with fields attached for their cattle, and these were by lot given to them by Joshua. Of any such relations, of special cities of the Levites, nothing is found in Deuteronomy; here the same appear, at least for the most part, as homeless, living scattered among the rest of the Israelites in the different towns; this is presumed, and legal prescriptions refer to it (cf. Deuteronomy 12:12, Deuteronomy 12:18, etc.; 14:27-29; 16:11, 14; 18:6; 26:12) (Bleek). In these passages the Levite is represented as living within the gates of the people, and this is assumed. Even if the town had been occupied wholly by the Levites, they might still have been said to dwell within the gates of the people, inasmuch as the towns allotted to them were not in a region of their own as a tribe, but were taken from the portions of the other tribes throughout the country. It is further assumed in this objection that Deuteronomy makes the only source of maintenance for the Levites to be the share in the sacrificial feasts of the tithes which it assigns to them; whereas the right of the Levites to partake of the tithes received from the nation is distinctly recognized in Deuteronomy, as in the earlier law (cf. Deuteronomy 10:9; Deuteronomy 14:22; Deuteronomy 18:2; Deuteronomy 26:12).
2. It is alleged that there are statements in the book which could not have been made by Moses, but betray the hand of a writer of a much later age.
Deuteronomy 1:1. The expression, "beyond the Jordan (בְּעֵבֶר הַיַרְרֵן)," here and in ver. 5, is, it is alleged, plainly the writing of one whose position was on the west of that river, and therefore must have been written after the death of Moses. It must strike one, however, that it is very improbable that any one writing in the person of Moses, and wishing o be taken for Moses, would make a mistake of this sort, and on the very threshold of his work betray himself so foolishly. There is, however, no mistake in the case. The phrase, "beyond the Jordan," was the established and current designation of the country to the east of the Jordan where Moses then was; nor is there any reason to believe that this came into vogue only after the Israelites had occupied Canaan. Moses, therefore, dating his book from the place where it was written, indicates that place by its proper name, the name by which alone it was known. So also in referring to localities within Palestine, he describes them by the names given to them by the inhabitants of the country, and by which they were properly known. Thus as the common name for "westward" was in Hebrew "seaward," and the name for "southward" was "towards the Negeb" (the usual appellation of the arid district to the south of Palestine), Moses uses these terms even when writing where the sea was not to the west or the Negeb to the south of the place where he was. This, indeed, has been urged as an argument against the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. But without reason; for when designations are once given to localities, they become proper names, and are used without respect to their original or etymological signification. It is simply absurd to ask, "Would Moses, writing at Sinai, have spoken of the Negeb as to the south of him when it was really to the north?" Moses says nothing of the sort. Writing in Hebrew, and for Hebrews, he uses the expression, "towards the Negeb," because that is the Hebrew for "southward." Suppose a person, writing in Edinburgh, to say of a certain event that it took place in Norfolk, or of a locality that it is in Sutherland; what would be thought of a critic who should argue that neither statement could have been written in Edinburgh, because in relation to that city Norfolk (North-folk) lies to the south, and Sutherland (Southern-land) lies to the north? Or, suppose Caesar, when on the north of the Alps, to have dated one of his Commentaries from Transalpine Gaul, would any one have held this to prove that that book was spurious, and must have been written by some one south of the Alps? Deuteronomy 2:12. The remark, "As Israel did unto the land of his possession, which the Lord gave unto them," presupposes a time when the Israelites were already in possession of Canaan, and had expelled the peoples formerly dwelling there — a time, therefore, posterior to that of Moses. Here it is assumed that the land referred to is Canaan, and on this assumption it appears certain that the passage could not have been written by Moses. But is it Canaan that is here referred to? In Deuteronomy 3:0. similar phraseology is used of the district east of the Jordan, already captured by the Israelites, and assigned to the two and a half tribes; in ver. 18 it is described as the land which the Lord their God had given them "to possess," and in ver. 20 as their "possession" which had been assigned to them by Moses. As these tribes were part of Israel, the land of their possession might well be called "the land of the possession of Israel;" and it is to this, doubtless, and not to Canaan, that Moses here refers. This is rendered certain by the fact that it is for the purpose of encouraging the people to go on to the conquest of Canaan, that the reference to what had already been achieved by them is made. A later writer would never have committed the gross absurdity of representing Moses as encouraging the people to undertake the conquest of Canaan, by telling them that they had already conquered that land and were in possession of it.
Deuteronomy 19:14 and 20:5, 6. Here, it is alleged, certain relations which imply a later period are assumed as present. But this overlooks the ideal standpoint of the Deuteronomic legislation, which is that of faith in the Divine promise that Israel should certainly possess and dwell in the land of Canaan. Hence the speaker throughout speaks as if the people were already settled there, and legislates accordingly. In the passages cited he simply assumes that certain relations, which were sure to exist after the people were settled in the land, already existed.
Deuteronomy 23:12, Deuteronomy 23:13. This is adduced as in itself a very convincing proof of the unhistorical character of the whole narrative, because it involves the absurdity of enacting what was obviously impracticable (Colenso). But this assumes that the enactment has reference to the conduct of the people whilst encamped in the wilderness, whereas the precept has reference to a camp such as soldiers might form should they at any time march out against their enemies. It is to the preservation of the purity of a military camp in the time of war that the injunction has respect, and not to anything connected with the domestic encampment of the people, either in the wilderness or elsewhere. It would have been absurd had Moses given such an instruction as this to the whole camp of the Israelites during their wanderings, especially had he reserved it till the very close of their wanderings, just when instructions of this sort became unnecessary.
In Deuteronomy 32:0, and 33, are passages which have been alleged as against the genuineness of the book. As these apply specially to that part of the book, and do not directly affect the book as a whole, the consideration of them may be deferred till the question of the integrity of the book comes under notice. (See § 6.)
3. As against the antiquity of the book, it is alleged that certain things forbidden or denounced in the book were done by individuals in times subsequent to those of Moses; and this, it is alleged, would not have been had the book been in existence at the time in which these persons lived. Thus in Deuteronomy 16:22 it is enjoined, "Neither shalt thou set up a macceba; which the Lord thy God hateth." A macceba was a pillar, usually of rough, unhewn stone, and when set up beside an altar was there for idolatrous purposes; and this is what is forbidden here. Notwithstanding this, maccebas it is alleged, continued to be set up for worship even by men of eminent piety among the Israelites; in proof of which the following passages are referred to: — Joshua 24:26; 1 Samuel 6:14; 1 Samuel 7:12; 2 Samuel 20:8; 1 Kings 1:9; 1 Kings 7:21; Hosea 3:4. "This detail is one of the clearest proofs," it is said, "that Deuteronomy was unknown till long after the days of Moses. How could Joshua, if he had known such a law, have erected a macceba, or sacred pillar of unhewn stone, under the sacred tree by the sanctuary at Shoehorn?" 'The Old Testament in the Jewish Church,' p. 354. But what proof is there that it was a macceba which Joshua erected? The record simply says it was "a great stone," and the same is the expression used in the majority of the other passages, in some without the epithet "great;" in none but the last does the term macceba occur. By what right, then, is it assumed that these stones were of the kind forbidden in Deuteronomy? All maccebas, it may be supposed, were stones, but all monumental stones were not maccebas. The word used in 1 Kings 7:21 is "pillar" ('druid), and this certainly was not a macceba; what Solomon set up by Divine direction "in the porch of the temple" were pillars, monumental as well as ornamental, but not in any way connected with worship except as they stood at the entrance to the place of worship. The significance of the pillars appears from their names. "They were the monumental witnesses that the God of the covenant had now taken forever his abode in this sanctuary in the midst of his people, and would manifest thence his might and majesty for their help". As for the Hosea passage, it has no bearing on the point at issue; in declaring that Israel should be without worship of any kind, sacred or idolatrous, it only declares implicitly what the history attests explicitly, that idolatrous usages had been in Israel, not that these were ever regarded as lawful, or were practiced by those who professed to be worshippers of Jehovah.
But "this law," it is added, "was unknown to Isaiah, who attacks idolatry, but recognizes macceba and altar as the marks of the sanctuary of Jehovah," and in proof of this Isaiah 19:19 is adduced, "In that day there shall be an altar to Jehovah within the land of Egypt, and a pillar (macceba) at the border thereof to Jehovah." But this passage asserts something very different from what it is adduced to prove; it asserts that the pillar was erected, not at the sanctuary of Jehovah, but at the border of the land of Egypt. It is not, therefore, a macceba of the kind condemned in Deuteronomy that is here referred to, but a stone set up as a landmark or terminal index. The reference, consequently, is irrelevant to the present discussion.
4. Much weight is attached to the fact that, not only during the unsettled times of the judges, when "there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes," but on to a Tater period, even to the time of David, the law of a central sanctuary at which alone sacrifice was to be offered was disregarded, and even pious men, like Samuel and David, scrupled not to offer sacrifice at any place where they might chance to be at the time; conduct which, it is maintained, argues on their part a total ignorance of any such law as that in Deuteronomy 12:6, Deuteronomy 12:11, and by consequence the non-existence of that law, or of the book in which it is recorded, in their day, seeing, had the book existed, they could not have been ignorant of what it prescribes. This has been put forth as conclusive against the pretensions of the book to be of a date as early as the time of Moses. On examination, however, it will be found not to be by any means so conclusive as has been pretended.
(1) It is to be observed that the mere fact of the non-observance of a law, even by good men, does not necessarily involve the assumption that the law was not then known or did not then exist. This is only a conjecture, which the critic puts forth as accounting for the fact, and which can be accepted only as it appears probable. But on what does the alleged probability of this conjecture rest? Only on the counter-improbability of good men acting as Samuel and others did had the law been then in existence. That is to say, it is probable they did not know the law because it is not probable that, had they known it, they would have neglected it. To one accustomed to weigh historical evidence, this cannot but appear anything but conclusive. Good men often do very unexpected things; and unless we know all the circumstances, it is impossible to determine beforehand what they will do or will not do in any particular case. Even when all the circumstances are known, the chances of any given course being followed are not such that a prudent man will risk much on the anticipation.
(2) So far as the circumstances are known to us, they suggest another and different reason for the conduct of the pious men of Samuel's time in the matter referred to than that adduced by the objector; they make it highly probable that the law of the central sanctuary was neglected, not because it was unknown, but because the means of observing it were wanting. The central sanctuary was where God chose to put his Name, and where was his habitation (Deuteronomy 12:5, Deuteronomy 12:21), and this was where the ark of the covenant was. There it was that God had engaged to meet his people, and there it was that his Name was put (Exodus 25:22; 2 Samuel 6:2). Now, during the whole of Samuel's time and part of that of David, the ark was in abeyance, nor was there any sanctuary in which it was placed. After the destruction of the sanctuary at Shiloh, the ark was for a season a captive in the land of the Philistines, and when at length it was restored, it was only to find temporary accommodation in private houses and unconsecrated courts, until it was brought up by David to Jerusalem. During all this time, therefore, there was no central sanctuary to which the worshipper could bring his offering, and consequently no one place more legitimately appropriate for this act of worship than another. The alternative before the men of that time was thus, either to omit the offering of sacrifice altogether or to offer it at such places as were most convenient and suitable for such a service. They chose the latter; and in so doing they obeyed the earlier and more general law (Exodus 20:24), while they neglected the later and more special one — not because they were ignorant of the latter, but because they had not the means of obeying it.
(3) It is to be noted that the law in Deuteronomy appointing the one place for sacrificial worship is not absolute and unconditioned. It is expressly qualified by the condition of the Lord's giving them rest from all their enemies round about (Deuteronomy 12:10). Until this was done, then, the law was in abeyance; so that, if circumstances required, other methods than that which it prescribed of observing the primary and absolutely imperative ordinance of sacrifice might be followed. We find, accordingly, that it was only as it was considered that the Lord had given them rest from their enemies that it was deemed fitting to fix upon a certain place to which the people might repair as to the dwelling-place of Jehovah, to present their worship and offerings. Thus, after the occupation of the land by the Israelites, it was not until the land was subdued before them, and the Lord had given them rest round about, that the congregation of the children of Israel assembled at Shiloh, and set up the tent of meeting there. The rest, however, which was then given to them was not destined to be permanent. Times of unsettlement ensued, and at length the sanctuary at Shiloh was everted and the ark of the covenant carried away by hostile invaders; nor was it till the time of David that it could be said definitively that the Lord had given rest to his people from all their enemies, as he had promised. Then at length the occasion had arrived when a house might be built for the Lord to dwell in; and David, recognizing this, determined, seeing "the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies," to build a house unto the Name of the Lord; and though he was not permitted to carry this into effect, because of the wars in which he had been engaged in the earlier part of his reign, his purpose was approved of by God (2 Samuel 7:1; 1 Kings 8:18). The fact that in the usages of the nation there was this connecting of a time of rest from all enemies with the setting up of a fixed place for the sanctuary, is surely a strong indication that the law of Deuteronomy was all along known and respected by them; and, at the same time, we may see from this how it was that, pending the arrival of the promised rest, good men were found offering worship and sacrifices elsewhere than at a central sanctuary.
(4) That the law of Deuteronomy respecting the offering of sacrifice only at the place which the Lord should appoint was known and reverenced from the earliest times, is placed beyond doubt, not only by the constant references, in the early historical books, to the "house of the Lord" as the place where worship and sacrifice were to be offered, but especially by what is recorded in Joshua 22:0. The indignation of the people against their brethren who had erected an altar on the border of Jordan before they crossed it to return to their own possession on the eastern side of that river; the earnestness with which the latter hastened to assure the people that they had erected the altar, not to establish an independent worship, but rather that it might stand as a permanent witness that they still adhered to and claimed to have part in Jehovah as their God; and the solemnity with which they disclaimed any intention to rebel against the Lord by building an altar for burnt offerings, for meat offerings, or for sacrifices besides the altar of the Lord that was before the tabernacle; — all incontestably show that this law was known and recognized as imperative at the time of the settling of the people in the Promised Land. It was this law which they who had built the altar so earnestly disclaimed having broken; it was zeal for this law which stirred the other tribes to such wrath against their brethren when they supposed it had been violated by them.
5. Great stress has also been laid on the fact that non-priestly men, like Samuel, David, and Solomon, offered sacrifices, contrary to the express law which enacts that this shall be done only by the priest. This law appears only in the middle books of the Pentateuch (Leviticus 1:9, etc.; 5:8, etc.); but it is assumed in Deuteronomy as existing, and the objection may therefore be considered here. In regard to it, it might he observed that, though the law constitutes the priest as the proper presenter of the sacrifice, it does not enact that no other but a priest shall at any time or under any circumstances present sacrifice. It was according to order that the priest should present the sacrifice; but order is not so imperatively binding that it may never under any circumstances be departed from. If laymen, then, on special occasions, assumed to themselves this priestly function, this does not prove that the law was unknown to them and did not exist in their day; it only shows that on such occasions the law might be suspended and neglected without offence. Especially was this allowable when, by a special manifestation, God came to his servants, and so virtually consecrated the place where he appeared and authorized his servants, though not priests, to offer sacrifice and worship him; as in the case of the people at Bochim (Judges 2:1-5), of Gideon (Judges 6:20-22, Judges 6:25), and Manoah (Judges 13:16-23). In other cases it may be asked — Did these non-priestly men really themselves make sacrifices? It is said, "They sacrificed to the Lord," or , "They offered sacrifices;" but does this mean that with their own hands they slew the victims and offered the blood upon the altar? Are not such statements to be understood according to the old juridical brocard, "Qui facit per alium facit per se" — as simply intimating that the persons named presented sacrifice in the legal way by means of the priest? In the case of Solomon this must be the interpretation put upon the phrase; for as that monarch, at the dedication of the temple, "offered unto the Lord two and twenty thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep" (1 Kings 8:63), it would be monstrous to suppose that he killed all these animals himself and presented them with his own hand on the altar. Besides, be it observed that there was an offering and an offering; the man who brought the sacrificial victims offered, and the priest who presented to the Lord offered. This is evident from the very terms of the law in question (cf. Leviticus 1:3, etc.; 2:1; 6:1, 4; Deuteronomy 12:14; Deuteronomy 18:3, Deuteronomy 18:4, etc.). We interpret fairly, then, when we understand the assertion that Samuel, David, and others offered sacrifice, as meaning nothing more than that they brought the victims which were offered in sacrifice according to the law.
From this survey it appears that there is nothing in the contents of this book or in the conduct of notable individuals in relation to its enactments that effectually militates against the conclusion, so strongly vouched for by the general character of the book as well as by particular statements in it, as to its being the writing of Moses.
§ 5. RELATION TO JEREMIAH.
It must strike every one who compares Deuteronomy with the writings ascribed to the prophet Jeremiah that the author of the one book must have been very familiar with the other. The resemblances between the two are numerous and marked. Words are used in both which are found nowhere else; passages in the one are identical with, or closely similar to, passages in the other; sentiments prominent in the one are prominent also in the other; and, in general tone and form of thought, the two remarkably resemble each other.
To account for these points of resemblance, it seems sufficient to suppose that the prophet, from much familiarity with the Book of Deuteronomy, had so transported into his own mind its phraseology and sentiments that these naturally flowed from his pen when he himself began to write. That Jeremiah would be well acquainted with Deuteronomy can be readily believed. As a priest, the study of the Law in all its parts must have been his occupation from his youth upward; and called as he was to act as a reprover and admonisher of the people in dark and disastrous times, Deuteronomy would be the part of the Pentateuch to which he would most frequently turn, both that he might feed his own mind with thoughts appropriate to his position, and that he might have suggested to him what it would be fitting to address to the people. In his time also the Book of the Law was discovered and drawn from its obscurity into prominent notice, and a fresh impulse given to the study of it both among the rulers and teachers of the nation and through the community at large. That book was probably the entire Pentateuch, possibly the original copy placed in charge of the priests by Moses, and which had been allowed for many years to fall out of sight; but the part which seems to have excited most interest and been most attended to was undoubtedly Deuteronomy. This book, therefore, must have been constantly before the mind of Jeremiah during his ministry in Judaea, and if so, it is no wonder that its words and phrases and sentiments should be found so frequently recurring in his writings.
To some it has appeared that more than this is to be inferred from the resemblances which the writings of Jeremiah bear to Deuteronomy; and they have advanced the opinion that this book itself is from the pen of the prophet of Anathoth. For this opinion, however, the support is of the slightest. A number of words common to both writings, a similarity of phraseology, an occasional identity of sentiment and mode of thought, can never be held to furnish adequate proof of an identity of authorship, for it is always open to the inquirer to account for these coincidences by presumed acquaintance on the part of the later writer with the writings of the earlier. It would be otherwise were there a large number of words, phrases, and sentiments peculiar to both writings, i.e. found in both of them but nowhere else. This, however, is not the case with the writings of Jeremiah and Deuteronomy. On the contrary, a large number of words peculiar to the one are not found in the other, and in respect of sentiment also considerable diversity prevails. The discord between the two is thus greater than the agreement; so that if the question of authorship is to be determined by such considerations — and by these alone is it proposed to determine it — the only conclusion to which we can come is that the Book of Deuteronomy and the writings of Jeremiah are not from the same author nor are even of contemporary authorship. For the details bearing on this question, see Konig, 'Alt-test. Studien,' 2 Heft.; 'The Mosaic Origin of the Pentateuch, considered by a Layman of the Church of England,' pp. 179-189; 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 1. pt. it. p. 795.
Before passing from this part of the subject, it is necessary to advert to the reproach which is cast upon the prophet by the supposition that he was the author of the Book of Deuteronomy. Whether he wrote this book of his own accord, or, as has been suggested, conspired with his relative Hilkiah to produce it and give it forth as the Book of the Law found in the temple, the prophet must be regarded as having deliberately lent himself to falsehood, to practice an imposition in the name of God upon the people. Can this be believed of one like Jeremiah, or indeed of any one who was a true prophet of Jehovah? It has indeed been said that, in that early age, "when notions of literary property were yet in their infancy, an action of this kind was not regarded as unlawful. Men used to perpetrate such fictions as these without any qualms of conscience." Kuenen, ' Religion of Israel,' 2:18, 19. This may be true of the later times of ancient literature, when the making of books had become a source of livelihood, and was practiced by many who, not having power enough to write what would command attention of itself, used to send forth their productions under the veil of some great and venerable name; but of the early age of literature it is not true, nor was the practice at any time regarded as laudable, Galen, a very competent witness, says that it was not till the age of the Ptolemies, when kings were rivaling each other in the collecting of libraries, that the roguery (ῥαδιουργιìα) of forging writings and titles began; and this was done by those who hoped thereby to obtain money by presenting to the kings books pretending to be written by illustrious men (Galen, 'Comment. it. in Hip. de Nat. Horn.'). It is plain from this that even when this practice was most common it was not regarded as lawful; but, on the contrary, was even among heathens denounced as a "roguery." and least of all is it true in respect of the sacred literature of the Hebrews. There is not the shadow of evidence that such practices were known among the Hebrews of the time of Jeremiah or any earlier time, and one can hardly conceive the possibility of such a thing being tolerated among them. Be this, however, as it may, the fact remains that if Jeremiah wrote this book and issued it as a writing of Moses, he was guilty of a forgery and a falsehood; and thus not only is a shadow cast over his character as a man, but his reputation as a prophet is damaged. For if he could publish as from Moses what was not from Moses but from himself, what security is there that what he utters as a message from the Lord is not merely some invention of his own? To those who look upon the ancient Hebrew prophets as mere litterateurs, who exercised their craft as they best could, according to the measure of their own powers, this may seem a very small matter; but those who believe that the prophet of old was one chosen by God to be the medium of communication between God and man, one who was moved by the Holy Ghost to speak what he uttered, and who was bound under the most solemn sanctions to speak God's word faithfully to the people, will not so regard it. To them it will appear nothing less than an impeaching of the claims of one of the greatest of the prophets to be an ambassador from God and interpreter of his mind to men, and by consequence a detracting from the authorship of his writings as Divine, and not of his only, but by implication of all the prophetic Scriptures.
§ 6. INTEGRITY OF THE BOOK.
Whilst accepting the book as, on the whole, the writing of Hoses, it may yet be fairly inquired whether every part of it as we now have it proceeded from his pen, or whether there may not be portions of it which are additions to the original writing, or interpolations introduced by some later writer. That there are such has been confidently affirmed.
The parts which have been thus stigmatized are chiefly these: the title and introduction (Deuteronomy 1:1-5; the ethnological notices (Deuteronomy 2:10-12, Deuteronomy 2:20-23); the account of the cities of refuge on the east of Jordan (Deuteronomy 4:41-43); Moses' song (Deuteronomy 32:1-43); the blessing of the tribes (Deuteronomy 33:1-29); the account of Hoses' last journey, death, and burial (Deuteronomy 34:1-12).
Regarding the first of these, it may suffice to say that, though it is quite possible that the title and introduction may have been prefixed to the original work by a later hand, there is nothing to show that this is really the case; and whilst, on the one hand, there is no reason why this may not have been written by the author of the work himself, it is, on the other, probable that it was placed there by him, since without it his work commences so abruptly that it is inconceivable that any skilled writer should have allowed it to go forth in such condition.
The passages containing the ethnographical notices have, it must be confessed, very much the appearance of being interpolations, and may possibly be glosses that have been introduced by some editor of the work into the text. At the same time, it is not incredible that Moses may have inserted, parenthetically, the notices which these passages contain. The mention of the Moabites, to whom God had given a possession by expelling from the land its former occupants, not unnaturally leads to a description of the nations so expelled; and this it was of use for Moses to give, because it showed the Israelites that the right of the children of Lot to the undisturbed occupancy of their territory rested on the same grounds as rested the right of the Israelites to the lands they had taken from the Amorites, and as would rest their right to the occupancy of the land the Lord was about to give them in Canaan; and further, because it showed that, if the children of Lot could cast out nations so mighty and powerful as the Emim, and the children of Esau could dispossess the Horim, there was no reason to dread that Israel would be baffled in grappling with the Anakim, who then possessed Canaan and were of the same race as the Emim. There was thus a practical end to be gained by the insertion of such notices, if done by Moses; whereas if done by a later editor they would possess only a slight antiquarian interest, hardly sufficient to induce any one to take the trouble of writing them, certainly not sufficient to induce any judicious editor to incorporate them with the text. The presumption, therefore, is in favor of their having been inserted by Moses himself. A modern writer would have thrown them into a note; but as this method had not come into use in ancient times, it was only by way of parenthesis that Moses could introduce them. Whichever hypothesis be adopted, whether these passages be regarded as written by Moses or whether they be pronounced to be the insertions of a later writer, as they are manifestly excrescences, their excision would not in any way affect the integrity of the book.
The passage, Deuteronomy 4:41-43, has been supposed to be an interpolation on the ground that it has no relevance either to what goes before or to what follows. But were this the case, why should the passage have been inserted at all? It could not drop into this place by accident; and he must be a bungling editor indeed who should gratuitously insert in the body of another man's work a passage which has no relation to the context in the midst of which it is thrust. If, however, Hoses himself inserted this passage, we may see at once why he did so. He had just finished his first address, and was about to enter upon his second. An interval between the two thus ensued, and during this Moses, in obedience to the Divine injunction (Numbers 35:6, Numbers 35:14), set apart cities of refuge in the district to the east of Jordan, recently conquered by the Israelites. Not improbably (as has been suggested) he chose this time for doing this, "not only to give the land on that side its full consecration and thoroughly confirm the possession of the two Amoritish kingdoms on the other side of the Jordan, but also to give the people, in this punctual observance of the duty devolving upon it, an example for their imitation in the conscientious observance of the commandments of the Lord, which he was now about to lay before the nation" (Keil). The passage is, therefore, not only in its proper place as part of the historical narrative, but it has a close, intimate relevancy to the main theme of Moses' admonitions in his addresses to the people.
The song or ode contained in Deuteronomy 32., though expressly declared to have been composed by Moses, uttered by him in the hearing of the people, and written by him to be preserved in Israel as a witness against them should they apostatize from Jehovah, has been adjudged by many critics to be the production of some unknown writer of a much later age. This judgment is grounded partly on the language and style of the ode, partly on certain statements in it which it is alleged contain allusions to events and circumstances in the later history of Israel.
1. It is alleged that the style and tone of this composition are so different from the style and tone of the preceding part of this book, that it cannot be regarded as proceeding from the same author. This, however, is really saying nothing more than that this is a poem, whereas the preceding part of the book is in prose. For in a poem the style of language and tone of thought are necessarily different from what characterizes prose compositions; to the poet belong "thoughts that breathe and words that burn," and he is no poet whose thoughts and words are not of this sort. When, therefore, an author passes from simple narrative or expository and hortatory discourse, to give utterance to feeling and sentiment in song, he of necessity adopts a style and mode of thought more or less differing from those of his other compositions, else his utterance ceases to be poetry. Now, this ode is poetry of a very high order; and to this its peculiarity of expression and sentiment is due, not to its being the production of another than the author of the other parts of this book.
It is further to be observed that, whilst this ode differs in diction and cast of sentiment from the preceding parts of this book, as poetry differs from prose, there is nothing in it alien from or contradictory of the sentiments and utterances of Moses in his addresses to the people, reported in the preceding parts of this book. On the contrary, there are not a few coincidences both in thought and expression which may well be regarded as pro tanto proofs of an identity of authorship in this and the other parts of this book.
Worthy of notice also are the coincidences between this ode and Psalm 90., a composition admittedly of great antiquity, and which is with much probability attributed to Moses as its author. Both in mode of expression and in cast of sentiment the two odes resemble each other (comp. Deuteronomy 32:7, Deuteronomy 32:18, Deuteronomy 32:4, Deuteronomy 32:36, with Psalms 90:1, Psalms 90:15, Psalms 90:13, Psalms 90:16), and thus favor the supposition that both have proceeded from one author.
2. It is urged that this song is so constructed that the Divine guidance of Israel (ver. 12, etc.) and their ingratitude (ver. 15, etc.) are referred to as things already past. But this ignores the prophetic character of the song, and mistakes the style of prophetic utterance. Moses was a prophet; and the prophets, or seers, not only looked to the future, but beheld it as present; and the energy of their perception of it stamped itself on their words so that they very frequently represent as actually before them or as already
, if the early date of this song be denied, these Aramaisms would go to show that it must have been written in the latest age of ancient Hebrew literature. This, however, no one will accept; the latest date supposed for it by any of those who refuse to regard it as Mosaic is the age immediately succeeding the revolt of Jeroboam. These Aramaisms, then, so far as they have any weight, point to an early age for the composition of this song; and so fall in with the supposition that it was written by Moses.
4. The song, it is alleged, contains allusions to a state of things which did not arise till the time of the kings after the revolt of Jeroboam; it dwells upon the falling away of Israel from allegiance to Jehovah, upon the evils of this, and upon the hope of a restoration to forfeited privileges when the Lord should remember his covenant with Israel and be "merciful to his land and to his people;" and such it is supposed could be the theme of a poet only after he had witnessed a state of religious degeneracy and political disorder such as emerged in Israel after the revolt of the ten tribes. It is to be observed, however, that the language of the song is in this respect quite general; there is no part of the description which indicates a reference to the condition of the people at any special time during the decline of the Israelitish kingdom; nor is the apostasy of the people, with its melancholy results, more pointedly alluded to here than it is in other parts of Deuteronomy, as for instance in Deuteronomy 28:0. The truth is, that the possibility of this and the dread of it pressed continually on the mind of Moses at this time, and breaks forth throughout his farewell addresses; and if here his language becomes more animated and his delineation more vivid, it is only because there is here the impassioned utterance of the poet, whilst in his addresses he restrains himself within limits befitting hortatory address.
But even supposing it could be shown that in this ode there are references to things which actually occurred in the history of the nation at a later period, it would not follow that the song could not have been written by Moses. For we must not ignore the prophetic character of the song. Moses was a prophet — a prophet of the highest order, the very type and paradigm of a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:18), and he here speaks as one on whom the prophetic afflatus had fallen, and whose mental eye had been opened so that he saw in vision scenes and events yet future as if they were actually present. The standpoint, therefore, of the poet is not his own time, but a time into which he is transported; and the people to whom he speaks are not his own contemporaries, but those whom he sees in vision — Israel in the after-time. This is characteristic of all prophetic utterances; the prophet speaks of what is yet future as if the whole were before his eyes at the time. The assertion, therefore, "that the entire ode moves within the epoch of the kings who lived many centuries after the time of Moses, rests upon a total misapprehension of the nature of prophecy, and a mistaken attempt to turn figurative language into prosaic history" (Keil).
It may, indeed, be affirmed that such a thing as a presentation to the inner sense of the prophet of things yet future is an impossibility; but this is a mere dogmatic assumption, which not only cannot be proved, but which is made in the face of facts that are incontestable. Now, if it was possible for Moses under the hand of the Lord to see the future, to have a vision of the nation falling away from the Lord and suffering under calamities which their apostasy had brought upon them, what more natural, what more fitting than that, ere he finally retired from the post he had so long occupied as their leader, teacher, and ruler, he should sound in their ears a loud note of warning such as this ode contains, and should leave the ode with them as a perpetual protest against their unfaithfulness, and an enduring witness for God amongst them?
The genuineness of Deuteronomy 33., containing the blessing of the tribes, has been called in question on very much the same grounds as those on which the song of Moses, in the preceding chapter, has been assailed. It is needless to repeat what has been already advanced in reply to the arguments founded on peculiarity of style, diction, and general literary character in this composition as compared with the prosaic parts of this book. But this chapter has more the appearance of a mere appendix to the book than the song has; it is not said to have been written by Moses, as the song is said to have been written by him; and it appears with a heading which must be ascribed to the pen of another than Moses, for, by describing Moses as "the man of God," the author of this heading clearly distinguishes himself from Moses, and applies to him a phrase by which, apparently, it was customary at a later period to designate him. This makes it necessary that we should see whether in the contents of this poem there is, as alleged by many modern critics, anything incompatible with the supposition that it was composed and uttered by Moses.
1. The allusions to the localities of some of the tribes in Canaan indicate, it is said, an acquaintance with a state of things which did not exist till after the division of the land by Joshua, and a knowledge of the country such as Moses could not have possessed. Thus it is said of Zebulun, "They shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand" (ver. 19); of Naphtali, that they should "possess the west and the south" (ver. 23); and of Asher, that he should "dip his foot in oil," and that his "shoes should be iron and brass" (vers. 24, 25). It must be allowed, however, that these descriptions are far from precise, and indicate nothing beyond a very general acquaintance with the form of the country as a whole, and the character of the district assigned to each of these tribes. Now, not to mention that Moses might have visited Canaan while a shepherd in the desert, it cannot be supposed that he would be so long on the confines of Canaan, and where he would come into intercourse with many who had explored that country from end to end, without making himself acquainted with it so far at least as the general topography of it was concerned, along with the natural peculiarities of its different districts. And as the division of the land and the location of the different tribes had been already arranged (Numbers 34:0.), it required no great intelligence on the part of Moses to foretell to Zebulun that he should draw wealth from the sea on the borders of which he was to be located, or to assign to Naphtali that he should possess a district fanned by the sea-breeze and turned to the genial south, or to announce to Asher that his should be rich and fertile soil and that his dwelling should be strong and secure (see the notes on these passages in the Exposition). Even, then, if we look on Moses as simply a man of superior intelligence, and take no account of him as a prophet, there seems no reason in what these verses contain for our concluding that they could not have been uttered by him.
2. It is alleged that in ver. 5 there is reference to a monarchical form of government as existing when this poem was composed. But this rests on an entire misconception of what this verse states. The king there spoken of is not one of the kings of Judah or Israel, neither is he Moses himself, but Jehovah, the true King of Israel from the first (see note).
3. Ver. 7 is alleged to contain a reference to the division caused by the secession of the ten tribes, and an aspiration for a reunion of the whole under the scepter of Judah. This, however, rests on what is a misinterpretation of the verse. There is nothing here about the divisions of Israel, or about the sorrow of Judah over these and Judah's desire that they might be healed. The verse simply expresses a wish that Judah may ever have a safe and jubilant return from conflict, that he may always have strength to defend himself, and may obtain help from Jehovah against all his enemies whoever they might be. Such a wish might be uttered at any time; it is, in fact, correlative to what Jacob predicted long before concerning Judah's leadership of his brethren and successes in war (Genesis 49:8, Genesis 49:9), and no more refers to the peculiar state of things in Israel at any subsequent period of its history than does the utterance of the patriarch. It is, besides, absurd to take the words, "bring him unto his people," as equivalent to "bring his people back to him."
4. "The contents of most of the utterances, and especially the conclusion of the whole ode (vers. 26-29), make it indubitable that it was composed at a time when the people of Israel, including the ten tribes, were on the whole in a happy condition." "The original composition of this ode appears, as is most probable, to have been made in the period between the death of Solomon and the beginning of the Assyrian Exile, most probably in 800 B.C., when both kingdoms were governed by strong and powerful kings, Israel by Jeroboam II. and Judah by Uzziah." So Bleek, following here the leadership of Graf against his own earlier opinion that this ode is older than the blessing of Jacob. Ewald's view is that it was written about the time of Josiah; whilst Hoffmann and Maurer bring it down to the date of the Exile. It may suffice here to cite, in opposition to the view of these critics, the words of Knobel, who, no less than they, maintains the late origin of this poem: "There is no trace here of allusion to national misfortunes which befell the Hebrews in the Syrian, Assyrian, and Chaldean periods. The political no less than the religious condition of the people was satisfactory; at least, the author does not even remotely refer to any religious indecencies such as are so strongly denounced in Deuteronomy 33:0.; rather does he commend Zebulun and Issachar for bringing 'sacrifices of righteousness' (ver. 19). All this forbids the placing of this ode in the time of the Exile, or in the time of Josiah (Ewald, 'Gesch. Isr.,' 1:171), or in that of the second Jeroboam (Graf), or indefinitely in the period of the two kingdoms; it belongs to a much earlier time, though it did not, as the older critics thought, originate in that of Moses;... it declares itself to be of the time when David was a fugitive from Saul". This opinion of Knobel is just as arbitrary as any of those which he condemns; for none of them does the text give any real authority. Knobel's "own arguments," as has been justly observed, "ought in consistency to have carried him further, and led him to place it much earlier. For it is impossible to explain how the disasters, apostasies, and confusion of the latter part of Saul's reign, and still more those of the times of the judges, could have happened at a date not long before that, in which the song was penned". It may be added that the differences of these critics as to the probable date of this poem sufficiently show the insecurity of the data on which their conclusions rest; for unless the historical events and actual facts supposed to be alluded to in a poem are so described as not to be mistakable, it cannot be known that there are any such allusions in the piece at all.
There seems no substantial reason, then, for doubting or questioning the genuineness of this sacred poem. Whether Moses wrote it or not, he must be accredited with the authorship of it; and if he was the author of it, he probably also committed it to writing — else how could it have been preserved?
That the concluding chapter of the book is not from the pen of Moses, but is the production of a later age, is so evident from the contents of the chapter that no one now thinks of disputing it. Philo, indeed ('De Vita Mosis,' 3. § 29), and Josephus ('Antiq.,' 4:8, 48) do not hesitate to ascribe it to Moses, who they think was enabled to narrate his own death and burial by Divine inspiration; and in this they have been followed by not a few of a former age. In the Talmud, Joshua is said to be the author of this chapter, which he appended to the writing of Moses after his death ('Baba Bathra,' fol. 14, 2); and this also has been extensively accepted. The whole chapter, however, cannot have been written by Joshua, for the statement in ver. 6, "No man knoweth of his sepulcher unto this day," and the declaration in ver. 10, that "There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses," evidently proceed from a much later age than that of Joshua. The whole chapter may have been written and appended to the original writing of Moses by Ezra, who was "a ready scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given" (Ezra 7:6), and of whom Jewish tradition attests that "the Thorah was forgotten by the Israelites until Ezra went up from Babylon and re-established it".
As a whole, then, with one acknowledged and one or two possible but slight exceptions, this book may be pronounced the genuine production of the great leader and legislator of Israel.
§ 7. ANALYSIS OF THE BOOK, TITLE AND INTRODUCTION.
I. FIRST OR INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS. Deuteronomy 1:6-4:40.
The new beginning and review of the journeyings of Israel from Kadesh to the river Arnon, the frontier of the Amorites. Deuteronomy 2:1-23.
First war of conquest. Deuteronomy 2:24-3:17.
Conclusion of historical recapitulation. Deuteronomy 3:18-20.
Joshua appointed Moses' successor. Deuteronomy 3:21-29.
Admonitions and exhortations. Deuteronomy 4:1-40.
Appointment of three cities of refuge beyond Jordan. Deuteronomy 4:41-43.
II. SECOND ADDRESS OF MOSES. Deuteronomy 4:44-26:19.
Introduction. Deuteronomy 4:44-49.
The Decalogue the basis of the covenant, the essence of the whole Law, and the condition of life and felicity. Deuteronomy 5:1-33.
First and great commandment. Deuteronomy 6:1-25.
Entire separation from idolatry. Deuteronomy 7:1-26.
Exhortations to obedience enforced by a review of God's dealings with Israel in the wilderness. Deuteronomy 8:1-20.
Dissuasives from self-righteousness. Deuteronomy 9:1-29.
Renewed exhortations to obedience. Deuteronomy 10:1-11:32.
Announcement of particular statutes and rights. Deuteronomy 12:1-26:19.
III. THIRD ADDRESS OF MOSES. Deuteronomy 27:1-28:68.
The Law to be inscribed on stones, an altar to be built, and the blessing and curse to be uttered on Gerizim and on Ebal when Canaan was occupied by the Israelites. Deuteronomy 27:1-13.
Curses and blessings pronounced, judgments threatened in case of disobedience.Deuteronomy 27:14-28:68; Deuteronomy 27:14-28:68.
IV. RENEWAL OF THE COVENANT IN THE PLAINS OF MOAB, AND EXHORTATION TO KEEP IT. Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20.
V. EXHORTATION TO THE PEOPLE AND TO JOSHUA; DELIVERY OF THE LAW TO THE PRIESTS; MOSES COMMANDED TO COMPOSE A SONG; CHARGE TO JOSHUA, Deuteronomy 31:1-30.
VI. SONG OF MOSES. Deuteronomy 32:1-43.
Moses' last words. Deuteronomy 32:44-52.
VII. BENEDICTION OF MOSES. Deuteronomy 33:1-29.
VIII. DEATH, BURIAL, AND ENCOMIUM OF MOSES. Deuteronomy 34:1-12.
§ 8. LITERATURE.
HISTORICO-CRITICAL. Carpzov, 'Introductio ad Libros Canonicos, V.T. Omnes'; Eichhorn, 'Einleitung in das A. T.'; Jahn, 'Einleit. in die Gottlicher Bucher des Alt. Bundes'; Augusta ' Grundriss, Einer Hist.-Krit. Einleit. ins A. T.'; De Wette, ' Lehrbuch der Hist.-Krit. Einleit. in die Kanon. und Apokryph. Bucher des A. B.'; Havernick, 'Handbuch der Hist.-Krit. Einleit. in das A. T.'; ' Introduction to the Pentateuch'; Hengstenberg, 'Die Authentic des Pentateuches'; 'Genuineness of the Pentateuch'; Keil, 'Lehrbuch der Hist.-Krit. Einleit. in die Kanon. Schriften des A.T.'; Bleek, 'Einleit. in d. A.T.'; Riehm, 'Die Gesetzgebung Mosis im Lande Moab'; Davidson, 'Introduction to the Old Testament'; Colenso, ' The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua critically examined'; 'The Mosaic Origin of the Pentateuch considered'; Kuenen, 'Religion of Israel' (2 vols.); Vaihinger, Art. "Pentateuch" (in Herzog's 'Encyclopedia,'Bde. 11.); Curtiss, 'The Levitical Priests: A Contribution to the Criticism of the Pentateuch'; Wellhausen, 'Geschichte Israels'; Robertson Smith, 'The Old Testament in the Jewish Church'; 'Deuteronomy the People's Book.'
EXPOSITORY. Besides the general commentaries, in all of which expositions of Deuteronomy are to be found, the following more special treatises may be enumerated: — Calvin, 'Commentarii in Quatuor Reliq. Mosis Libros in Formam Harmoniae Digest.' ap. Opp. Omnia; Gerhard, 'Comm. super Deuteronom.'; Ainsworth, 'Annotations on the Five Books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Song of Solomon'; Rosenmuller, 'Scholia in Pentateuchum in Compendium Redacta'; Baumgarten, 'Theologischer Commentar zum Pentateuch'; Schultz, 'Das Deuteronomium'; Knobel, 'Die Bucher Numeri, Deuteronom. und Josua erklart; Vitringa, Commentarms in Carmen Mosis cum Prolegomenis; Dathe, Dissertatio in Canticum Mosis in Opuscc. ad Crisin. et Interpretationem Wet. Test. Spectantia'; Ewald, 'Das Grosse Lied' (in 'Jahrb. d. Bibl. Wissenschaft'), 1857; Kamphausen, 'Das Lied Mosis'; Hoffmann, 'Comment. in Mosis Benedictiouem'; Graf, 'Der Segen Mosis'.
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12