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that the arrival of the Israelites in Canaan, which is throughout represented in the Pentateuch as still future, is, in fact, presupposed all through; and that the later date of its compilation is thus betrayed. It is evident that, if well founded, this objection would be fatal. But what are the facts?

The charge is founded (Kuenen, Hist. Krit. Onderz. i. 22-27) upon such passages as Gen. xxxvi. 31; Exod. xv. 13, 17; xvi. 35; Lev. xxvi. 34, 35; Num. xii. 3; xv. 32; xxi. 3; Deut. iii. 14. We will take up these passages in order, and must first remark that whereas Dr. Kuenen and his school usually proceed in the first place to disintegrate a book-to take it to pieces, and assign the different component parts of it to different hands-it is in this instance apparently convenient to insist that the book must be considered as one homogeneous whole, to which no additions have been made, and of which every part is answerable for every other. Orthodox writers, on the contrary, whilst firmly maintaining the Pentateuch to have been substantially the work of Moses, have been just as willing to allow that it had undergone during the slow process of transcription, a kind of editing, in which a paragraph or a sentence had here and there been avowedly added, or perhaps merely put into the wide margin of the papyrus roll as an illustration, and by some later transcriber removed into the main stream of the text. Thus, so early as the fourth century, we find the great Biblical critic S. Jerome writing in his letter against Helvidius, ‘Sive Mosen dicere volueris auctorem Pentateuchi sive Esram ejusdem instauratorem operis,' alluding to the constant, widespread and most probable tradition among the Jews, that this editor of the Law was Ezra himself. It would be long to give anything like a catena of writers who have expressed themselves in a similar way. We will mention two only. Thomas Hartwell Horne (Introduction to the Holy Scriptures, vol. i. pp. 68-70) fully acknowledges the presence of certain non-Mosaic paragraphs. Canon Perowne, in his article 'Pentateuch,' contributed to Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, concludes that there is abundant evidence to show that, though the main bulk of it is Mosaic, certain detached portions of it are of later growth.'

The fact is, we think, unquestionable; and there are two distinct ways of accounting for it. The first is that adopted by Dr. Kuenen and his school, which consists in inferring that the writer, living at a time comparatively modern, has been endeavouring to throw himself back into remote antiquity, and to produce a document that should have the appearance

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of the Mosaic age; and, in so doing, has unintentionally betrayed his real stand-point. We may remark, in passing, that such an attempt, made in such an early age, would infallibly have betrayed itself, not by one or two, but by absolute shoals of anachronisms. The writer would have certainly reproduced the social institutions, the habits, the usages of the age in which he wrote. Take, for example, the so-called letter to Abgarus, or those Epistles of Phalaris, upon which Bentley displayed his great critical powers, and how unmistakably they betray the hand of the forger by their cast of language and the tone of thought prevailing in them, no less than by actual historical mis-statement! So, we may feel sure, would it have been with the Pentateuch had it really been the work of some priest or prophet living hundreds of years subsequent to the events which it professes to narrate. It was a profound remark of Ewald, that the ancients had no idea whatever of local colouring.' We are by no means sure, indeed, that the laborious study of manners and costumes by which modern writers seek to complete the illusion of the reader, has had any existence whatever before the present century. Certainly Shakspeare had no conception of it. All his characters from Greek and Roman history are really Englishmen masquerading in classical costumes and under ancient names. The same thing is true of Chaucer ; and, to go further afield, of Tasso in the Gerusalemme, and of the Divina Commedia. With all respect, therefore, to the learned persons who have adopted this theory, we hold that the very conception of some writer or writers unknown, about the time of the Babylonian captivity, having forged a treatise in the name of Moses, and imitated the manners and 'customs of the Mosaic period with such rare fidelity that the lynxeyed critics of a later day can find little or nothing on that score to object to-that such a theory contains within itself an anachronism greater than any other that might be named, and more entirely alien to the spirit of the time to which it is assigned.

We are thrown back, then, upon the other alternative—of these passages being editorial additions or marginal notes; and we propose to examine this hypothesis at some length.

We say that when examined they one and all announce themselves in this character to a fair and unbiassed judgment. Take, for instance, Gen. xxxvi. Is it not obviously an interruption of the dynastic register or list of the dukes' (7) of Edom? It is useless to speculate as to the hand which inserted this explanatory note. There it is; but to assign to the

entire book a later date on account of it would be absurd. Yet that is the practice of our sapient critics.

Exod. xv. 15, 17, would require a very forced interpretation to make them bear the meaning which the critic desires, that the Sanctuary was already established. It is spoken of indeed as past, but it is relatively to the preceding verb―i.e. it will be past when the thing foretold shall take place. Furthermore, the passage is a highly poetical one, and will not, in any case, bear the weight of the inference thus laid upon it.

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In Exod. xvi. 35 occurs another explanatory note relating to the length of time, i.e. forty years, during which manna was eaten, and relating that it ceased when they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.' We know the fact itself from Joshua v. 10-12, where it is related with circumstantial detail. Moses could not have written this (as was long ago pointed out by Dean Graves '1), since the incident did not take place until after his death. It may possibly have been written in the interval between the settlement in Canaan and the compilation of the Book of Joshua, or more probably is a redaction of that passage by some later hand. In any case it is of little importance. The narrative clearly ended at 'to be kept for your generations.'

The next passage referred to is Lev. xxvi. 34, 35, to which what is said above of the relativity of tenses applies fully. The object of the chapter is to warn the people to 'keep my sabbaths.' Then the possible (too possible, and unfortunately too probable!) case of the non-observance of these sabbaths is considered, and in denouncing the hypothetical penalty, the hypothetical offence is naturally put in the past, as it is put, e.g., in every Act of Parliament which deals with a criminal offence, and is only rendered applicable by the actual occurrence of the offence, which is therefore spoken of as past. We venture to say that the thing meant could not have been expressed in any other way; and we would suggest to the critic to try his hand at expressing it otherwise.

Num. xii. 3, 'the man Moses was very meek,' introduces a difficulty, but it is a difficulty of interpretation, and has but a remote bearing on the question of authenticity. If there is a certain harshness in supposing the passage to have been written by Moses concerning himself, there is surely a greater difficulty in supposing any other person presuming to write in such a tone of him either then or afterwards. Canon 1 Donnellan Lectures on the Last Four Books of the Pentateuch,

part i.

Espin's note on the passage in the Speaker's Commentary seems to us unreasonably dogmatic in its tone; and on the whole, where there is but a choice of difficulties, we feel disposed to adopt the method, advocated amongst others by Horne, of rendering 'was depressed or afflicted' rather than 'meek.' Num. xv. 32-36, again, is obviously alien to the structure of the passage, which is an exposition of the Law suddenly interrupted by this incident without preface or introduction, and as abruptly resumed on v. 37. Upon this passage and others like it, the suggestion of Mr. B. Street1 is worth considering, that judges were in the habit of inserting in their copies of the Law, under each of the commandments, a record of cases which had been decided in accordance with, or with reference to, its principle. Num. xxi. 3 is again obviously post-Mosaic; whilst of Deut. iii. 14, the entire verse, the same may be said, it being inserted in the third person into the course of a consecutive narrative in the first, which is resumed (in the first person again) with verse 15.

In examining these passages, however, we have been dealing with merely preliminary and subordinate arguments. Whatever real weight there is in the rationalist attack is manifestly derived from other considerations. As the author of Deuteronomy the People's Book observes on p. 25:

'The real evidence lies elsewhere. Some of it is so shadowy as clearly to be tied on as an appendage to other and stronger proof. Critics cannot be expected to make this confession in as many words, nor do we ask them; but the strong evidence is manifestly that which they put in the forefront for popular apprehension.'

The apparently formidable objections to the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch are three :

I. The Book of the Law was unknown as late as the reign of Josiah; for at that time (2 Chron. xxxiv. 14-22) a copy is said to have been discovered in the Temple, and both sovereign and people were entirely unacquainted with it, and read it apparently with the greatest surprise.

2. The Book of Deuteronomy relates (chaps. x. and xii.) with great emphasis and circumstantial detail the institution of a central altar for sacrifice and burnt-offering. Now this idea of a central altar does not appear in the history of Israel until the reign of Josiah, or, at the earliest, the reign of Hezekiah, seventy years before.

'The thing seems never to have been thought of till then. There was no such rule for Shiloh, or even for Moriah, for more than three

1 Restoration of Paths to Dwell in.

Strahan and Co., 1872.

hundred years after the Temple was built. Altars might be raised, sacrifices might be offered, people might worship Jehovah with acceptance on any hill-top and at any place they pleased, till the discovery of the "programme" curtailed their rights.'

And thus a distinct case is sought to be established of ideas proper to a later age being attributed to an earlier.

3. There is to be found also in Deuteronomy (xvii. 14-20) a reference to the possibility or the probability of a king being chosen, and to the dangers which were to be apprehended from the ambition of such a monarch. And the details of this passage are strikingly like events that afterwards took place during the reign of Solomon; from which correspondence our critic concludes that the one is derived from the other, and that we have here 'a history of what was long past put in prophetic form as if it were still future.'

We shall examine each of these pillar-arguments for the post-exilic theory; and having, as we hope, done something to show their entire unlikelihood, will then put together some suggestions respecting the probable function of this book, and the estimate of it which history and critical science alike enable us to form respecting it.

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1. As to the first point, then, it is too easily assumed that the 'Book of the Covenant,' found by Hilkiah in a chamber of the Temple during its restoration, was the Book of Deuteronomy alone, and not the entire Pentateuch or Law of Moses.' Such arguments as are adduced to identify the book read with Deuteronomy alone are attenuated and doubtful in the extreme. It is indeed expressly called 'the Law' in 2 Chron. xxxiv. 15; and we are by no means certain that the present divisions between the five books existed at that time. probability is that they are due to the arranging hand of Ezra or his fellow labourers, and that in the reign of Josiah they existed as sections, only slightly separated in the process of transcription, upon the same roll of parchment or, more probably, papyrus.


But whatever this 'Book of the Law' may have been (it may be rejoined), whether the Five Books or the Deuteronomy alone, it was unknown both to Josiah and to his subjects, as their surprise and alarm abundantly show. We have to account for this fact, one which would have seemed highly improbable beforehand.

But if we look more closely into the incident, we find that this ignorance of Josiah and his people was not an absolute ignorance of everything concerning this newly-discovered Law. It was such a degree of ignorance, and no greater,

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