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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
the collective title commonly given to the first five books of the O.T. In the present article we treat this important section of Scripture as a whole, in the light of modern criticism and discussion, reserving its component books for their separate heads. See Moses.
I. The Name. — The above is the Greek name given to the books commonly called the Five Books of Moses (ἡ πεντάτευχος sc. βιβλος; Pentateuchus sc. liber; the fivefold book; from τοῦχος , which, meaning originally "vessel, instrument," etc., came in Alexandrine Greek to mean "book"). In the time of Ezra and Nehemiah it was called "the Law of Moses" (Ezra 7:6); or "the book of the Law of Moses" (Nehemiah 8:1); or simply "the book of Moses" (Ezra 6:18; Nehemiah 13:1; 2 Chronicles 25:4; 2 Chronicles 35:12). This was beyond all reasonable doubt our existing Pentateuch. The book which was discovered in the Temple in the reign of Josiah, and which is entitled (2 Chronicles 34:14) the book of the Law of Jehovah by the hand of Moses," was substantially, it would seem, the same volume. In 2 Chronicles 34:30 it is styled "the book of the Covenant," and so also in 2 Kings 23:2; 2 Kings 23:21, while in 2 Kings 22:8 Hilkiah says, I have found "the book of the Law." Still earlier, in the reign of Jehoshaphat, we find a "book of the Law of Jehovah" in use (2 Chronicles 17:9). This was probably the earliest designation, for a "book of the Law" is mentioned in Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 31:26), though it is questionable whether the name as there used refers to the whole Pentateuch or only to Deuteronomy. The modern Jews usually call the whole by the name of Torah (תּוֹרָה ), i.e. "the Law," or Torath Mosheh (תּוֹרִת משֶׁה ), "the Law of Moses." The rabbinical title is חֲמַשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי הִתּוֹרָה the five fifths of the Law." In the preface to the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach, it is called "the Law," which is also a usual name for it in the New Testament (Matthew 12:5; Matthew 22:36; Matthew 22:40; Luke 10:26; John 8:5; John 8:17). Sometimes the name of Moses stands briefly for the whole work ascribed to him (Luke 24:27). Finally, the whole Old Testament is sometimes called a potiori parte, " the Law" (Matthew 5:18; Luke 16:17; John 7:49; John 10:34; John 12:34). In John 15:25; Romans 3:19, words from the Psalms, and in 1 Corinthians 14:21, from Isaiah, are quoted as words of the Law. (See LAW).
II. Present Form. — The division of the whole work into five parts has by some writers been supposed to be original. Others (as Leusden, Havernick, and Lengerke), with more probability, think that the division was made by the Greek translators. For the titles of the several books are not of Hebrew, but of Greek origin. The Hebrew names are merely taken from the first words of each book, and in the first instance only designated particular sections and not whole books. The MSS. of the Pentateuch form a single roll or volume, and are divided not into books, but into the larger and smaller sections called Parshiyoth and Sedarim. Besides this, the Jews distribute all the laws in the Pentateuch under the two heads of affirmative and negative precepts. Of the former they reckon 248; because, according to the anatomy of the rabbins, so many are the parts of the human body; of the latter they make 365, which is the number of days in the year, and also the number of veins in the human body. Accordingly the Jews are bound to the observance of 613 precepts; and in order that these precepts may be perpetually kept in mind, they are wont to carry a piece of cloth foursquare, at the four corners of which they have fringes consisting of eight threads apiece, fastened in five knots. These fringes are called צַיצְית, a word which in numbers denotes 600: add to this the eight threads and the five knots, and we get the 613 precepts.
The five knots denote the five books of Moses. (See Bab. Talmud. Maccoth, sect. 3; Maimon. Pref. to Jad Hachazakah; Leusden, Philol. p. 33.) Both Philo (de Abraham. ad init.) and Josephus (c. Apion. 1:8) recognize the division now current. Vaihinger supposes that the symbolical meaning of the number five led to its adoption; for ten is the symbol of completion or perfection, as we see in the ten commandments (and so in Genesis we have ten "n generations"), and therefore five is a number which, as it were, confesses imperfection and prophesies completion. The Law is not perfect without the Prophets, for the Prophets are in a special sense the bearers of the Promise; and it is the Promise which completes the Law. This is questionable. There can be no doubt, however, that this division of the Pentateuch influenced the arrangement of the Psalter in five books. The same may be said of the five Megilloth of the Hagiographa (Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther), which in many Hebrew Bibles are placed immediately after the Pentateuch. In some Jewish writers, however, there are found statements indicating that the Pentateuch was formerly divided into seven portions (comp. Jarchi, ad Proverb. 9: 1; ibique Breithaupt). In the Jewish canon the Pentateuch is kept somewhat distinct from the other sacred books of the Old Testament, because, considered with reference to its contents, it is the book of books of the ancient covenant. It is the basis of the religion of the Old Testament, and of the whole theocratical life. (See OLD TESTAMENT).
For the several names and contents of the five books we refer to the articles on each book, where questions affecting their integrity and genuineness separately are also discussed.
III. Unity of the Pentateuch. —
1. This is evinced in its general scope and contents. With a view to this point, we need only briefly observe here that this work, beginning with the record of creation and the history of the primitive world, passes on to deal more especially with the early history of the Jewish family. It gives at length the personal history of the three great fathers of the family; it then describes how the family grew into a nation in Egypt, tells us of its oppression and deliverance, of its forty years' wandering in the wilderness, of the giving of the law, with all its enactments both civil and religious, of the construction of the tabernacle, of the numbering of the people, of the rights and duties of the priesthood, as well as of many important events which befell them before their entrance into the Land of Canaan, and finally concludes with Moses's last discourses and his death. The unity of the work in its existing form is now generally recognised. It is not a mere collection of loose fragments carelessly put together at different times, but bears evident traces of design and purpose in its composition. Even those who discover different authors in the earlier books, and who deny that Deuteronomy was written by Moses, are still of opinion that the work in its present form is a connected whole, and was at least reduced to its present shape by a single reviser or editor (see Ewald, Geschichte, 1:170; Stfahelin, Kritische Unters. p. 1).
The question has also been raised whether the book of Joshua does not, properly speaking, constitute an integral portion of this work. To this question Ewald (Geschichte, 1:175), Knobel (Genesis, Vorbem. § 1, 2), Lengerke (Kenaan, 83), and Stahelin (Kritische Unlters. p. 91) give a reply in the affirmative. They seem to have been led to do so, partly because they imagine that the two documents, the Elohistic and the Jehovistic, which characterize the earlier books of the Pentateuch, may still be traced, like two streams, the waters of which never wholly mingle though they flow in the same channel, running on through the book of Joshua; and partly because the same work which contains the promise of the land (Genesis 15) must contain also — so they argue — the fulfillment of the promise. But such grounds are far too arbitrary and uncertain to support the hypothesis which rests upon them. All that seems probable is that the book of Joshua received a final revision at the hands of Ezra, or some earlier prophet, at the same time with the books of the law. The fact that the Samaritans, who it is well known did not possess the other books of Scripture, have besides the Pentateuch a book of Joshua (see Chronicon Samaritanum, etc., ed. Juynboll, Lugd. Bat. 1848), indicates no doubt an early association of the one with the other, but is no proof that they originally constituted one work, but rather the contrary. Otherwise the Samaritans would naturally have adopted the canonical recension of Joshua. We may therefore regard the five books of Moses as one separate and complete work.
2. More particularly, the order which pervades the book manifests its unity, although this is not, indeed, tediously formal or monotonous.
(1.) Chiefly its chronological order, the simplest of all, and such as might be expected to be predominant in a book which is in a large measure historical. This characteristic is obvious in respect to the position of the two books of Genesis and Deuteronomy at the beginning and the end; the former serving as an introduction, and the latter as a recapitulation. In like manner the story of the family of Abraham expands, when we come to Exodus, into that of the people of Israel: first, enslaved Israel attains to redemption, and next redeemed Israel is consecrated to the service of its Lord, who meets his people, delivers his law of life to them, and instructs them to set up his tabernacle in the midst of them. The book of Leviticus contains scarcely any history, and is occupied with the rules for the service of God in this tabernacle: it is the code for the spiritual life of Israel as the congregation of the Lord code published almost at once, and in a form substantially complete. The fourth book, that of Numbers, resumes the thread of the history, and conducts the redeemed and consecrated and organized host from Mount Sinai through the wilderness to the Land of Promise; including further legislation, of which they stood in need if they were to take a suitable place among the kingdoms of the world.
(2.) Yet obviously this book is not a dry series of annals, in which the chronological order is alone observable; still less is it the mere leaves of a journal in which the narrative of the three middle books was written down at the dates of the several occurrences, and left unchanged in all time coming. Whatever may have been written down in the form of a journal at the first (of which we have possibly an instance in Numbers 33), would be revised, extended, abbreviated, and rearranged by the author, ere it came from his hands a finished history. Therefore we find a systematic order, according to the internal or logical connection of the parts, even in the purely narrative portions. Thus Genesis 38 furnishes the account of transactions in the family of Judah which cannot but have stretched over a long course of time, of years apparently, including the greater part of the time that Joseph was alone in Egypt, and which very probably extended back to a date considerably earlier than that at which his captivity began: the entire series of events, however, being recorded in this one chapter, with a twofold advantage — that of being itself more distinctly set before us, and that of not interrupting the thread of Joseph's history in Egypt. Sometimes indeed we may be unable to determine whether the order in which events are narrated is the order of time or that of logical sequence; an uncertainty which meets us in other portions of sacred history, as well as outside of the Bible. But it is not surprising that this logical order predominates in the legislation; though even here the chronological order is by no means uncommon, because the laws sprang, to a considerable extent, out of the circumstances in which the people were placed from time to time. This peculiarity has given rise to repetitions, enlargements, rearrangements, and even in a limited degree to modifications, of earlier enactments, of which we have an instructive example in the varied order in which the parts of the tabernacle and its furniture are mentioned, first in the directions given to Moses in the mount, and, secondly, in the narrative of its actual construction.
(3.) A third principle of arrangement is the rhetorical, of which the instances are fewer. Indeed it is very much confined to Deuteronomy, in which Moses appears as the great prophet of Israel. It was a corollary from the plan of these discourses that Moses should present the topics in the form likeliest to tell upon the audience to whom he was giving a parting address; that he should group incidents and laws according to certain affinities or contrasts for the purpose of effect; that he should pass over some subjects in entire silence, should touch upon others lightly, and on another class still should enlarge at some length; and that he should often present them under peculiar aspects, in forms somewhat different from those in which we should have seen them if we had known them only from the earlier books. Yet such variety, subordinate in its amount, and existing for a special purpose, is in reality an additional proof of the unity of the Pentateuch, and of the comprehensiveness of the plan on which it has been written.
IV. Authority and Date of Composition. — This is preeminently the subject which calls for discussion here, as it has been largely disputed. The reply we give is the old and common one, namely, by Moses, during the wandering in the wilderness. We shall endeavor to state plainly and fairly the views and reasons both for and against it.
1. History of the Controversy. —
(1.) Adverse Writers. — At different times suspicions have been entertained that the Pentateuch as we now have it is not the Pentateuch of the earliest age, and that the work must have undergone various modifications and additions before it assumed its present shape.
So early as the 2d century we find the author of the Clementine Homilies calling in question the authenticity of the Mosaic writings. According to him the Law was only given orally by Moses to the seventy elders, and not consigned to writing till after his death; it subsequently underwent many changes, was corrupted more and more by means of the false prophets, and was especially filled with erroneous anthropomorphic conceptions of God, and unworthy representations of the characters of the patriarchs (Hom. 2:38, 43; 3:4, 47; Neander. Gnost. Systeme, p. 380). A statement of this kind, unsupported, and coming from a heretical, and therefore suspicious source, may seem of little moment; it is however remarkable, so far as it indicates an early tendency to cast off the received traditions respecting the books of Scripture; while at the same time it is evident that this was done cautiously, because such an opinion respecting the Pentateuch was said to be for the advanced Christian only, and not for the simple and unlearned.
Jerome, there can be little doubt, had seen some difficulty in supposing the Pentateuch to be altogether, in its present form, the work of Moses; for he observes (contra Helvid.): "Sive Mosen dicere volueris auctorem Pentateuchi sive Esram ejusdem instauratorem operis," with reference apparently to the Jewish tradition on the subject. Aben-Ezra († 1167), in his Comment. on Deuteronomy 1:1, threw out some doubts as to the Mosaic authorship of certain passages, such as Genesis 12:6; Deuteronomy 3:10-11; Deuteronomy 31:9, which he either explained as later interpolations, or left as mysteries which it was beyond his power to unravel. But for centuries the Pentateuch was generally received in the Church without question as written by Moses. In the year 1651, however, we find Hobbes writing: "Videtur Pentateuchus potius de Mose quam a Mose scriptus" (Leviathan, c. 33). Spinoza (Tract. Theol.-Polit. c. 8, 9, published in 1679) set himself boldly to controvert the received authorship of the Pentateuch. He alleged against it (1) later names of places, as Genesis 14:14 comp. with Judges 18:29; (2) the continuation of the history beyond the days of Moses, Exodus 16:35 comp. with Joshua 5:12; (3) the statement in Genesis 36:31, "before there reigned any king over the children of Israel." Spinoza maintained that Moses issued his commands to the elders, that by them they were written down and communicated to the people, and that later they were collected and assigned to suitable passages in Moses's life. He considered that the Pentateuch was indebted to Ezra for the form in which it now appears. Other writers began to think that the book of Genesis was composed of written documents earlier than the time of Moses. So Vitringa (Observ. Sacr. 1:3), Le Clerc (De Script. Pentateuchi, § 11), and R. Simon (Hist. critique du V. T. lib. i, c. 7, Rotterdam, 1685).
According to the last of these writers, Genesis was composed of earlier documents, the laws of the Pentateuch were the work of Moses, and the greater portion of the history was written by the public scribe who is mentioned in the book. Le Clerc supposed that the priest who, according to 2 Kings 17:27, was sent to instruct the Samaritan colonists, was the author of the Pentateuch. It was not till the middle of the last century, however, that the question as to the authorship of the Pentateuch was handled with anything like a bold criticism. The first attempt was made by a layman, whose studies we might have supposed would scarcely have led him to such an investigation. In the year 1753 there appeared at Brussels a work entitled Conjectures sur les memoires originaux, dont ii paroit que Moyse s'est servi pour composer le livre de Genese. It was written in his 69th year by Astruc, doctor and professor of medicine in the Royal College at Paris, and court physician to Louis XIV. His critical eye had observed that throughout the book of Genesis, and as far as the 6th chapter of Exodus, traces were to be found of two original documents, each characterized by a distinct use of the names of God; the one by the name Elohim, and the other by the name Jehovah. Besides these two principal documents, he supposed Moses to have made use of ten others in the composition of the earlier part of his work. Astruc was followed by several German writers on the path which he had traced; by Jerusalem, in his Letters on the Mosaic Writings and Philosophy; by Schultens, in his Dissertatio qua disquiritur, unde Moses res in libro Geneseos descriptas didicerit; and with considerable learning and critical acumen by Ilgen ( Urkunden des Jerusalemischen Tempelarchivs, 1er Theil, Halle, 1798) and Eichhorn (Einleitulng in d. A. T.).
But this "documentary hypothesis," as it is called, was too conservative and too rational for some critics. Vater, in his Commentar uber den Pentateuch (1815), and A. T. Hartmann. in his Linguist. Einl. in d. Stud. der Buicher des A. Test. (1818), maintained that the Pentateuch consisted merely of a number of fragments loosely strung together without order or design. The former supposed a collection of laws, made in the times of David and Solomon, to have been the foundation of the whole: that this was the book discovered in the reign of Josiah, and that its fragments were afterwards incorporated in Deuteronomy. All the rest, consisting of fragments of history and of laws written at different periods up to this time, were, according to him, collected and shaped into their present form between the times of Josiah and the Babylonian exile. Hartmann also brings down the date of the existing Pentateuch as late as the exile. This has been called the "fragmentary hypothesis." Both of these have now been superseded by the "supplementary hypothesis," which has been adopted with various modifications by De Wette, Bleek, Stahelin, Tuch, Lengerke, Hupfeld, Knobel, Bunsen, Kurtz, Delitzsch, Schultz, Vaihinger, and others. They all alike recognize two documents in the Pentateuch. They suppose the narrative of the Elohlst, the more ancient writer, to have been the foundation of the work, and that the Jehovist, or later writer, making use of this document, added to and commented upon it, sometimes transcribing portions of it intact, and sometimes incorporating the substance of it into his own work.
Yet though thus agreeing in the main, they differ widely in the application of the theory. Thus, for instance, De Wette distinguishes between the Elohist and the Jehovist in the first four books, and attributes Deuteronomy to a different writer altogether (Einl. ins A. T. § 150 sq.). So also Lengerke, though with some differences of detail in the portions he assigns to the two editors. The last places the Elohist in the time of Solomon, and the Jehovistic editor in that of Hezekiah; whereas Tuch puts the first under Saul, and the second under Solomon. Stahelin, on the other hand, declares for the identity of the Deuteronomist and the Jehovist, and supposes the last to have written in the reign of Saul, and the Elohist in the time of the Judges. Hupfeld (Die Quellen der Genesis) finds, in Genesis at least, traces of three authors, an earlier and a later Elohist, as well as the Jehovist. He is peculiar in regarding the Jehovistic portion as an altogether original document, written in entire independence, and without the knowledge even of the Elohistic record. A later editor or compiler, he thinks, found the two books, and threw them into one. Vaihinger (in Herzog's Encyklopadie) is also of opinion that portions of three original documents are to be found in the first four books, to which he adds some fragments of the 32d and 34th chanters of Deuteronomy. The fifth book, according to him, is by a different and much later writer. The pre-Elohist he supposes to have flourished about 1200 B.C., the Elohist some 200 years later, the Jehovist in the first half of the 8th century B.C., and the Deuteronomist in the reign of Hezekiah.
Delitzsch agrees with the writers above mentioned in recognising two distinct documents as the basis of the Pentateuch, especially in its earlier portions; but he entirely severs himself from them in maintaining that Deuteronomy is the work of Moses. His theory is this: the kernel or first foundation of the Pentateuch is to be found in the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 19-24), which was written by Moses himself, and afterwards incorporated into the body of the Pentateuch, where it at present stands. The rest of the laws given in the wilderness, till the people reached the plains of Ioab, were communicated orally by Moses and taken down by the priests, whose business it was thus to provide for their preservation (Deuteronomy 17:11, comp. 24:8; 33:10; Leviticus 10:11, comp. 15:31). Inasmuch as Deuteronomy does not pre-suppose the existence in writing of the entire earlier legislation, but on the contrary recapitulates it with the greatest freedom, we are not obliged to assume that the proper codification of the law took place during the forty years' wandering in the desert. This was done, however, shortly after the occupation of the land of Canaan. On that sacred soil was the first definite portion of the history of Israel written; and the writing of the history itself necessitated a full and complete account of the Mosaic legislation. A man, such as Eleazar the son of Aaron, the priest (see Numbers 26:1; Numbers 31:21), wrote the great work beginning with the first words of Genesis, including in it the Book of the Covenant, and perhaps gave only a short notice of the last discourses of Moses, because Moses had written them down with his own hand. A second — who may have been Joshua (see especially Deuteronomy 32:44; Joshua 24:26; and comp. on the other hand 1 Samuel 10:25), who was a prophet, and spake as a prophet, or one of the elders on whom Moses's spirit rested (Numbers 11:25), and many of whom survived Joshua (Joshua 24:31) — completed the work, taking Deuteronomy, which Moses had written, for his model, and incorporating it into his own book. Somewhat in this manner arose the Torah (or Pentateuch), each narrator further availing himself when he thought proper of other written documents.
Such is the theory of Delitzsch, which is in many respects worthy of consideration, and which has been adopted in the main by Kurtz (Gesch. d. A. B. i, § 20, and ii, § 99, 6), who formerly was opposed to the theory of different documents, and sided rather with Hengstenberg and the critics of the extreme conservative school. There is this difference, however, that Kurtz objects to the view that Deuteronomy existed before the other books, and believes that the rest of the Pentateuch was committed to writing before, not after, the occupation of the Holy Land. Finally, Schultz, in his recent work on Deuteronomy, recognises two original documents in the Pentateuch, the Elohistic being the base and groundwork of the whole, but contends that the Jehovistic portions of the first four books, as well as Deuteronomy, except the concluding portion, were written by Moses. Thus he agrees with Delitzsch and Kurtz in admitting two documents and the Mosaic authorship of Deuteronomy, and with Stahelin in identifying the Deuteronomist with the Jehovist. One other theory has, however, to be stated before we pass on. The author of it stands quite alone, and it is not likely that he will ever find any disciple bold enough to adopt his theory: even his great admirer Bunsen forsakes him here. But it is due to Ewald's great and deserved reputation as a scholar, and to his uncommon critical sagacity, briefly to state what that theory is. He distinguishes, then, seven different authors in the great Book of Origins or Primitive History (comprising the Pentateuch and Joshua). The oldest historical work, of which but a very few fragments remain, is the Book of the Wars of Jehovah. Then follows a biography of Moses, of which also but small portions have been preserved. The third and fourth documents are much more perfect: these consist of the Book of the Covenant, which was written in the time of Samson, and the Book of Origins, which was written by a priest in the time of Solomon. Then comes, in the fifth place, the third historian of the primitive times, or the first prophetic narrator, a subject of the northern kingdom in the days of Elijah or Joel. The sixth document is the work of the fourth historian of primitive times, or the second prophetic narrator, who lived between 800 and 750. Lastly comes the fifth historian, or third prophetic narrator, who flourished not long after Joel, and who collected and reduced into one corpus the various works of his predecessors. The real purposes of the history, both in its prophetical and its legal aspects, began now to be discerned. Some steps were taken in this direction by an unknown writer at the beginning of the 7th century B.C.; and then in a far more comprehensive manner by the Deuteronomist, who flourished in the time of Manasseh, and lived in Egypt. In the time of Jeremiah appeared the poet who wrote the Blessing of Moses, as it is given in Deuteronomy. A somewhat later editor incorporated the originally independent work of the Deuteronomist, and the lesser additions of his two colleagues, with the history as left by the fifth narrator, and thus the whole was finally completed. "Such," says Ewald (and his words, seriously meant, read like delicate irony), "were the strange fortunes which this great work underwent before it reached its present form."
(2.) Writers in favor of the Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch. — On the other side, however, stands an array of names certainly not less distinguished for learning, who maintain not only that there is a unity of design in the Pentateuch — which is granted by many of those before mentioned-but who contend that this unity of design can only be explained on the supposition of a single author, and that this author could have been none other than Moses. This is the ground taken by Hengstenberg, Havernick, Drechsler, Ranke, Welte, and Keil. The first mentioned of these writers has no doubt done admirable service in reconciling and removing very many of the alleged discrepancies and contradictions in the Pentateuch: but his zeal carries him in some instances to attempt a defense, the very ingenuity of which betrays how unsatisfactory it is; and his effort to explain the use of the divine names, by showing that the writer had a special design in the use of the one or the other, is often in the last degree arbitrary. Drechsler, in his work on the Unity and Genuineness of Genesis (1838), fares no better, though his remarks are the more valuable because in many cases they coincide, quite independently, with those of Hengstenberg. Later, however, Drechsler modified his view, and supposed that the several uses of the divine names were owing to a didactic purpose on the part of the writer, according as his object was to show a particular relation of God to the world, whether as Elohim or as Jehovah. Hence he argued that, while different streams flowed through the Pentateuch, they were not from two different fountain-heads, but varied according to the motive which influenced the writer, and according to the fundamental thought in particular sections; and on this ground, too, he explained the characteristic phraseology which distinguishes such sections. Ranke's work (Untersuchungen uber den Pentateuch) is a valuable contribution to the exegesis of the Pentateuch. He is especially successful in establishing the inward unity of the work, and in showing how inseparably the several portions, legal, genealogical, and historical, are interwoven together. Kurtz (in his Einheit der Genesis , and in the first edition of his first volume of the Geschichte des Alten Bundes) followed on the same side; but he has since abandoned the attempt to explain the use of the divine names. on the principle of the different meanings which they bear, and has espoused the theory of two distinct documents. Keil, also, though he does not despair of the solution of the problem, confesses (Luther. Zeitschr. [1851-2] p. 235) that "all attempts as yet made, notwithstanding the acumen which has been brought to bear to explain the interchange of the divine names in Genesis on the ground of the different meanings which they possess, must be pronounced a failure." Ebrard (Das Alter des Jehova-Namens) and Tiele (Stud. und Krit. 1852-1) make nearly the same admission. It is not fair, however, to require the advocates of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch to explain positively the reasons which impelled him to the peculiar use of these names. The causes of such a selection are often inscrutable, even to the writer himself. A sufficient reason is perhaps given in the supposition that Moses made use of documents written by different persons which contained those peculiarities. The want of uniformity observable in the same section in this respect shows that it is due to a twofold influence. It must be borne in mind that this peculiar distinction in the use of the sacred names is mostly confined to the book of Genesis (q.v.).
2. Direct Testimony of the Book to its own A uthorship and Date of Composition. —
(1.) Of this character is Exodus 17:14, "And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua; for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven:" a statement which becomes the more pointed if we read, as we have little hesitation in doing, not "in a book," but "in the book" (בִּסֵּפֶר ). This passage shows that the account to be inserted was intended to form a portion of a more extensive work, with which the reader is supposed to be acquainted. It also proves that Moses, at an early period of his public career, was filled with the idea of leaving to his people a written memorial of the divine guidance, and that he fully understood the close and necessary connection of an authoritative law with a written code, or זכרון . At any rate, the direct testimony to the fact that particular passages were written by Moses is of vast importance as a presumption that other passages were written by him also, although the contrary assertion has often been put forward: nay, many passages may be inferred a fortiori to have come from his pen. Or, where the inference might be unsafe, as in the instance now given, it is because of the extraordinary emphasis of the testimony in such a passage; not merely that the doom of Amalek was written by Moses in the book of the Lord for Israel, but also its being so expressly recorded that it was written. See also Exodus 24:4-7; Numbers 33:1-2; Deuteronomy 17:18-19 (a remarkable passage); 28-30, which repeatedly mention the written blessings and curses; Deuteronomy 27:1-13, a command to "write all the words of this law" on plastered stones, preparatory to the solemn reading of the blessings and the curses beside the altar which was to be erected when the people took possession of the center of the Promised Land (comp. the account of the fulfillment, Joshua 8:30-35). The most remarkable passage, however, is at Deuteronomy 31:9 : "And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it to the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel," and charged these ecclesiastical and civil heads of the community to read it to the assembled congregation of Israel during the eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles, on the occasion when it was most largely attended in the seventh year, the year of rest. Further (Deuteronomy 31:24-27): "And it came to pass when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in [or rather at] the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God; that it may be there for a witness against thee. For I know thy rebellion and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death?" It has often been said that no assertion could be more explicit, or made in more solemn circumstances, or with additions more calculated for discovering and demonstrating its falsehood unless the truth had been notorious. With this mass of evidence we must connect the warnings against adding to what Moses commanded, or taking from it (Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32); the circumstantial statement as to the discourses being addressed by Moses to the people (Deuteronomy 1:1-5); and along with these opening words of Deuteronomy, the closing words of Numbers (Numbers 36:13), as also the last words of Leviticus (Leviticus 27:34; also 25:1; 26:46). If all these statements are not to be set aside as an idle dream or a tissue of deliberate falsehoods, the very least which can be inferred from them is that the Pentateuch (at all events the part of it from the time when the people came to covenant with God at Mount Sinai) is from one writer; that the divine legislation was in the first place given from that mount, the substance or essence of which was concluded in the book of Leviticus; that there were appendices to this, recorded in the book of Numbers, on to the time when Israel stood upon the eastern bank of the Jordan, ready to cross over upon Jericho; and that there was a very solemn renewal of the covenant on the part of the generation which had grown up in the wilderness, to whom, in the book of Deuteronomy, Moses repeated much of the legislation and addressed his parting counsels. It may be made a question whether the hand of a later writer, who finished the Pentateuch, is perceptible from Deuteronomy 31:24 (comp. Deuteronomy 33:1, and ch. 34), or whether the words in Deuteronomy 31:24-30 are still the words of Moses.
In the former case we have two witnesses, viz. Moses himself, and the continuator of the Pentateuch; in the latter case, which seems to us the more likely, we have the testimony of Moses alone. It is true that the above passages do not define the limits of the book, nor prove its absolute identity with the existing copies of the Pentateuch. But other evidences will be found to supply this proof. We have already the fact that a book was written by Moses under the immediate authority of God, and that this book was intended to be of perpetual obligation. Now, supposing that the scriptural testimony of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch had ended here, although we shall see this is not the case, yet, even so, no moral doubt could exist that this design was carried into effect, and that the books thus preserved were substantially identical with those which have come down to us. For at this period the Jewish people suddenly take their place amid the settled nations of the world, and enter upon that grand and mysterious national life which has continued till our own day. It will not be denied by any that this race was distinguished from all others by many peculiar characteristics. Some of their national habits exhibited affinity in various points of detail with the surrounding polytheism amid which they dwelt; but their whole system was sharply separated, alike by the grandeur of its religious monotheism and by its complex social and civil organization, from that of all other nations. Their code of laws was penetrating enough to affix its indelible peculiarities on the race who lived under them, and to endow it with a force and elevation, a perpetuity of national life, and a world-wide influence, to which no parallel can be found in history, Such an effect would itself prove the existence of a cause as permanent as itself, for the precise ritual and ceremonial enactments of the system could never have been maintained without an authorized code of directions. When we inquire into the nature of that peculiar polity to which it is to be attributed, we find it in the books of Moses. The Pentateuch contains a system which explains the national life of the Jewish race, and which, in its turn, is equally explained by it. As we know, on the one side, that the Pentateuch was reduced by Moses to a written form, and, on the other side, that the phenomena of national Jewish life can only be explained by the influence of a positive written code, it is impossible not to put the two facts together, and identify the Mosaic books of the law with the code of subsequent times. In other words, the permanence of the effect proves the permanence of the cause. The subsequent history of the Jewish race would have sufficed to prove that the Mosaic code must have existed in a permanent form from that period till the present, even if no positive external proofs of the fact had existed. From the passages adduced above it is apparent, indeed, that the most numerous and direct testimonies occur in Deuteronomy; and the opinion has had learned advocates that these testimonies are to be restricted to this one book, which is therefore admitted to be from the pen of Moses, whereas it is alleged that there is no clear evidence as to the authorship of the other four. But he who takes up this position in good faith is likely soon to discover that Deuteronomy presupposes the existence of the others, and the general knowledge of their contents, by its incidental reference to subjects which are intelligible only when we turn to the fuller accounts given in these books: for example, the dispersion and settlement of the nations by the hand of God; the call of Abraham, that in his seed the families of the earth might be blessed; the patriarchal history generally, and the result of it, the sojourn of the children of Israel in Egypt; the destruction of Sodom and the neighboring cities; the relationship of the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites to Israel; the laws in reference to leprosy; the entire rules for the sacrificial services; the consecration of Aaron's family, and of the whole tribe of Levi in a wider sense, to these services; and the method of their support; and the laws on the subject of murder and manslaughter. Besides, the age of generalizations, such as we find in Deuteronomy, must be preceded by the age of particular enactments. Hence there are scarcely any who have intelligently believed that Deuteronomy is the work of Moses, who have not come to feel the necessity of acknowledging him to be (substantially at least) the author of the entire Pentateuch.
(2.) Pressed by these arguments, some of the sceptical critics have resorted to the opposite conclusion that the book of Deuteronomy itself, in which these striking testimonies are so largely found, is likewise not the production of Moses. It is of importance therefore to consider this question separately.
All allow that the Book of the Covenant in Exodus, perhaps a great part of Leviticus, and some part of Numbers were written by Israel's greatest leader and prophet. But Deuteronomy, it is alleged, is in style and purpose so utterly unlike the genuine writings of Moses that it is quite impossible to believe that he is the author. But how, then, set aside the express testimony of the book itself? How explain the fact that Moses is there said to have written all the words of this law, to have consigned it to the custody of the priests, and to have charged the Levites sedulously to preserve it by the side of the ark? Only by the bold assertion that the fiction was invented by a later writer, who chose to personate the great Lawgiver in order to give the more color of consistency to his work! The author first feigns the name of Moses that he may gain the greater consideration under the shadow of his name, and then proceeds to re-enact, but in a broader and more spiritual manner, and with true prophetic inspiration, the chief portions of the earlier legislation. But such a hypothesis is devoid of all probability. For what writer in later times would ever have presumed, unless he were equal to Moses, to correct or supplement the Law of Moses? And if he were equal to Moses, why borrow his name (as Ewald supposes the Deuteronomist to have done) in order to lend greater weight and sanction to his book? The truth is, those who make such a supposition import modern ideas into ancient writings. They forget that what might be allowable in a modern writer of fiction would not have been tolerated in one who claimed to have a divine commission, who came forward as a prophet to rebuke and to reform the people. Which would be more weighty to win their obedience, "Thus saith Jehovah," or "Moses wrote all these words?" It has been argued indeed that in thus assuming a feigned character the writer does no more than is done by the author of Ecclesiastes. He in like manner takes the name of Solomon that he may gain a better hearing for his words of wisdom. But the cases are not parallel. The Preacher only pretends to give an old man's view of life, as seen by one who had had a large experience and no common reputation for wisdom. Deuteronomy claims to be a law imposed on the highest authority, and demanding implicit obedience. The first is a record of the struggles, disappointments, and victory of a human heart. The last is an absolute rule of life, to which nothing may be added, and from which nothing may be taken (Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 31:1).
But, besides the fact that Deuteronomy claims to have been written by Moses, there is other evidence which establishes the great antiquity of the book.
(a) It is remarkable for its allusions to Egypt, which are just what would be expected supposing Moses to have been the author. It is a significant fact that Ewald, who will have it that Deuteronomy was written in the reign of Manasseh, is obliged to make his supposed author live in Egypt, in order to account plausibly for the acquaintance with Egyptian customs which is discernible in the book. Without insisting upon it that in such passages as Deuteronomy 4:15-18, or Deuteronomy 6:8, and Deuteronomy 11:18-20 (comp. Exodus 13:16), where the command is given to wear the law after the fashion of an amulet, or Deuteronomy 27:1-8, where writing on stones covered with plaster is mentioned, are probable references to Egyptian customs, we may point to more certain examples. In Deuteronomy 20:5 there is an allusion to Egyptian regulations in time of war; in Deuteronomy 25:2, to the Egyptian bastinado; in Deuteronomy 11:10, to the Egyptian mode of irrigation. The references which Delitzsch sees in Deuteronomy 22:5 to the custom of the Egyptian priests to hold solemn processions in the masks of different deities, and in Deuteronomy 8:9 to Egyptian mining operations, are by no means so certain. Again, among the curses threatened are the sicknesses of Egypt (Deuteronomy 28:60; comp. Deuteronomy 7:15). According to Deuteronomy 28:68, Egypt is the type of all the oppressors of Israel: "Remember that thou wast a slave in the land of Egypt," is an expression which is several times made use of as a motive in enforcing the obligations of the book (Deuteronomy 5:15; Deuteronomy 24:18; Deuteronomy 24:22; see the same appeal in Leviticus 19:34, a passage occurring in the remarkable section Leviticus 17-20, which has so much affinity with Deuteronomy). Lastly, references to the sojourning in Egypt are numerous: "We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt," etc. (Leviticus 6:21-23; see also Leviticus 7:8; Leviticus 7:18; Leviticus 11:3); and these occur even in the laws, as in the law of the king (Leviticus 17:16), which would be very extraordinary if the book had only been written in the time of Manasseh.
(b) The phraseology of the book, and the archaisms found in it, stamp it as of the same age with the rest of the Pentateuch. The form הוא, instead of היא, for the feminine of the pronoun (which occurs in all 195 times in the Pentateuch), is found thirty-six times in Deuteronomy. Nowhere do we meet with היא in this book, though in the rest of the Pentateuch it occurs eleven times. In the same way, like the other books, Deuteronomy has נִעִר of a maiden, instead of the feminine נִעֲרָה, which is only used once (Deuteronomy 22:19). It has also the third pers. pret. חִי, which in prose occurs only in the Pentateuch (Ewald, Lehrbuch, § 142 b). The demonstrative pronoun הָאֵל (which, according to Ewald, § 183 a, is characteristic of the Pentateuch) occurs in Deuteronomy 4:42; Deuteronomy 7:22; Deuteronomy 19:11, and nowhere else out of the books of Moses, except in the late book, 1 Chronicles 20:8, and the Aramaic Ezra 5:15. The use of the ה locale, which is comparatively rare in later writings, is common to Deuteronomy with the other books of the Pentateuch; and so is the old and rare form of writing תַּמְצֶאן, and the termination of the future in אּיּן . The last, according to Konig (A.-T. Stud. 2 Heft), is more common in the Pentateuch than in any other book: it occurs fifty-eight times in Deuteronomy. Twice even in the preterite (Deuteronomy 8:3; Deuteronomy 8:16) a like termination presents itself; on the peculiarity of which Ewald (§ 190 b, note) remarks, as being the original and fuller form. Other archaisms which are common to the whole five books are: the shortening of the Hiphil, לִרְאֹת, 33; לִעְשֵׁר, Deuteronomy 26:12, etc.; the use of קרה קרא, "to meet;" the construction of the passive with אֵה of the object (for instance, Deuteronomy 20:8); the interchange of the older כֶּשֶׂב (Deuteronomy 14:4) with the more usual כֶּבֶשׂ; the use of זָכוּר . (instead of זָכָר ), Deuteronomy 16:16; Deuteronomy 20:13, a form which disappears altogether after the Pentateuch; many ancient words, such as שְׁגִר יְקוּם אָבַיב (שֶׁגֶי, Exodus 13:12). Among these are some which occur besides only in the book of Joshua, or else in very late writers, like Ezekiel, who, as is always the case in the decay of a language, studiously imitated the oldest forms; some which are found afterwards only in poetry, as אֲלָפַים (Ezekiel 7:13; Ezekiel 28:4, etc.) and מְתַים, so common in Deuteronomy. Again, this book has a number of words which have an archaic character. Such are, חֶרְמֵשׁ (for the later מִגָּל ), טֶנֶא (instead of סִל ); the old Canaanitish הִצּאֹן עִשְׁתְּרוֹת, "offspring of the flocks;" יְשֻׁרוּן, which as a name of Israel is borrowed, Isaiah 44:2; הֵהַין (Deuteronomy 1:41), "to act rashly," הִסְכַּית, "to be silent;" הֶעֵַניק, (Deuteronomy 15:14), "to give," lit. "to put like a collar on the neck;" הַתְעִמֵּר, "to play the lord;" מִדְוֶה, "sickness."
(c) A fondness for the use of figures is another peculiarity of Deuteronomy. See Deuteronomy 29:17. Deuteronomy 18; Deuteronomy 28:13; Deuteronomy 28:44; Deuteronomy 1:31; Deuteronomy 1:44; Deuteronomy 8:5; Deuteronomy 28:29; Deuteronomy 28:49. Of similar comparisons there are but few (Delitzsch says but three) in the other books. The results are most surprising when we compare Deuteronomy with the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 19-24) on the one hand, and with Psalms 90 (which is said to be Mosaic) on the other. To cite but one example: the images of devouring fire and of the bearing on eagles' wings occur only in the Book of the Covenant and in Deuteronomy. Comp. Exodus 24:17 with Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 9:3; and Exodus 19:4 with Deuteronomy 22:11. So again, not to mention numberless undesigned coincidences between Psalms 90 and the book of Deuteronomy, especially chap. 32, we need only here cite the phrase מִעֲשֵׂה יָדִיַם (Psalms 90, 17), "work of the hands," as descriptive of human action generally, which runs through the whole of Deuteronomy 2:7; Deuteronomy 14:29; Deuteronomy 16:15; Deuteronomy 24:19; Deuteronomy 28:12; Deuteronomy 30:9. The same close affinity, both as to matter and style, exists between the section to which we have already referred in Leviticus (chap. 17-20, so manifestly different from the rest of that book), the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 19-24), and Deuteronomy.
(d) In addition to all this, and very much more might be said — for a whole harvest has been gleaned on this field by Schultz in the Introduction to his work on Deuteronomy — in addition to all these peculiarities which are arguments for the Mosaic authorship of the book, we have here, too, the evidence strong and clear from post-Mosaic times and writings. The attempt, by a wrong interpretation of 2 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 34, to bring down Deuteronomy as low as the time of Manasseh fails utterly. A century earlier the Jewish prophets borrow their words and their thoughts from Deuteronomy. Amos shows how intimate his acquaintance was with Deuteronomy by such passages as Deuteronomy 2:9; Deuteronomy 4:11; Deuteronomy 9:7, whose matter and form are both colored by those of that book. Hosea, who is richer than Amos in these references to the past, while full of allusions to the whole law (Hosea 6:7; Hosea 12:4, etc.; Hosea 13:9-10), in one passage (Hosea 8:12) using the remarkable expression, "I have written to him the ten thousand things of my law," manifestly includes Deuteronomy (comp. 11:8 with
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Pentateuch'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/p/pentateuch.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.