Imágenes de páginas

latter is in constant and intimate communication with His chosen people. For any others, He has no concern whatever. He is minister both of the domestic and foreign policy of the Israelites. He sides with them in battle, if they please Him, without the slightest reference to the justice of their cause. He directs their maraudings, and rewards them with the spoil of the conquered. Above all things, He is jealous of defection; and vindictive and cruel in the punishment of it. He is full of crafty subterfuge: sometimes tempting and hardening, sometimes exasperating, sometimes putting lying spirits even into men's hearts, in order to ensnare them, or to compass some contemptible design. In nothing does He appear consistent, save in unaccountable caprice. This picture of the God of Israel, as drawn by the Jehovists, would probably not have differed much from that of any tribal God, had other Semitic traditions been preserved as faithfully as was the Hebrew.

The wide difference, however, between the Elohistic and Jehovistic conceptions is not by any means the only ground for believing that, in the historical and traditionary parts of the Pentateuch, we have the work of at least two authors, if not two sets of authors: the Elohistic having supplied the original matter in a fragmentary state; which matter was long afterwards compiled, revised, altered, and added to, by the Jehovists. It is incredible that any work by a single hand should be so wanting in symmetry, so incoherent and inconsistent, as the Pentateuch. Systems of legislation are indiscriminately mixed up with historical narrative. As regards the Law, we have distinct codes suited to a people in various stages of civilisation. As regards history, we have repetitions which in great part are contradictory. Furthermore, we are assured by Hebrew scholars of the highest competency, that the varieties

1 “You only have I known of all the families of the earth, &c.” (Amos iii. 2.)

of style are as marked as those of Chaucer and our own. The record of creation is twice given: each time the Creator being differently named ;-as the complementary theory of authorship would lead us to expect. We have two accounts of the Deluge interwoven in consecutive chapters. It is impossible to reconcile, and equally hard to connect, the fragments of the two. The facts are given in the following order.

The seventh chapter of Genesis opens with Jehovah's instructions to Noah to prepare for the flood, which is to begin at the end of a week, and last forty days and forty nights. Of every clean beast, and of fowls he is to take “by sevens ;” of the unclean" by two." Noah does as he is commanded. “And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.” All this happens, as we are expressly told, when “Noah was six hundred years old.”

At the eleventh verse begins another account, by repeating with greater accuracy the age of Noah. “In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened, and the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.” The selections by sevens is not mentioned. This time “two and two of all flesh ” enter the ark with Noah. “And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.” .

In the next chapter the narrative goes on to say, “And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat, and the waters decreased continually until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen. And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; and he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from

off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove, &c. But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot," &c. After “other seven days,” the dove is again despatched, and returned with an olive leaf in her mouth. “And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove which returned not again to him any more."

Compare these dates, and see how they tally as to the duration of the flood. The waters prevailed for 150 days, i.e., from the seventeenth of the second month, to the seventeenth of the seventh month of Noah's six hundredth year. On the 150th day, or after forty days' rain and 110 days of submersion, the ark grounded on the top of Ararat. So far is clear. But what are we to make of the statement in the next verse, that the tops were not visible till the first of the tenth month, i.e. (counting always from the seventeenth of the second month), 226 days from the beginning of the flood, or forty days rain and 186 submersion ? Again, the following verse still further complicates the puzzle. The raven and dove experiments are first made at the end of forty days. After seven days the dove comes back with an olive leaf; showing that the tops (if olives grew so high) were nearly bare. After another seven days the land is sufficiently dry to provide the dove with food. This gives only fourteen days for submersion after the rain had ceased; and only 54, as against 150 in one account and 226 in another, for the total number.

One more puzzle yet remains. In immediate conjunction with the final departure of the dove, it is written, “ And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth

1 Mount Ararat is 17,212 feet with perpetual snow. The olive above the sea-level; and is covered will pot survive our English winters.

dried.” Now, from the seventeenth of the second month of Noah's six hundredth year, to the first day of his six hundredth and first year, gives 317 days. But to this, according to the last verse of all, we must tack on another fifty-seven days, making a total of 374.

As the two names-Elohimn and Jehovah—are made use of, one would think some of this confusion might reasonably be ascribed to a multiplicity of authors. Drs. Keil and Delitzsch are of a contrary opinion. They hold that the interchange of the names of Jehovah and Elohim actually proves identity of authorship. “That the variations in the names of God furnish no criterion by which to detect different documents is evident enough, from the fact that in chap. vii. 1, it is Jehovah who commands Noah to enter the ark, and in verse 4, Noah does as Elohim had commanded; whilst in verse 16, in two successive clauses Elohim alternates with Jehovah; the animals entering the ark at the command of Elohim, and Jehovah shutting Noah in.”1 The argument is not a strong one.

A few instances of repetition and divergence deserve some passing notice. In Gen. xii. 13, Abram, fearing the Egyptians will kill him for the sake of his wife, said unto Sarai, “Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister, that it may be well with me, &c.” In chap. xxvi. 7, the same story recurs of Isaac, who tells the men of Gerar that Rebekah is his sister; “lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for. Rebekah.” In Exodus and in Numbers there are varied versions of the manna and the quails. Each of the same books gives its own version of the tapping of the rock. Each also recounts differently God's message to the elders. Of God's appearance to Moses on Mount Sinai, and of the presentation of the two tables of stone, there are three accounts : (Ex. xix., xx., xxiv.; Deut. v.) In Exod. xxiv. Moses is spoken of in the third person, “And the Lord said

1 Commentary on the Pentateuch, Keil and Delitzsch, vol. i. p. 144.

unto Moses, Come up to Me into the mountain and be there; and I will give thee tables of stone and a law and commandments which I have written,” &c. After Moses had been forty days and forty nights in the mount, instead of producing the ten commandments, he gives chapter upon chapter of levitical ordinances concerning the making of the ark, the curtains of the tabernacle, the hem of the priestly garments, the lamp oil, the pattern of the candlesticks, even to “the tongs thereof, and the snuff-dishes thereof,” &c. &c., the whole being prefaced with, “The Lord spake unto Moses, saying." All this, however, up to chap. xxxi., looks like an interpolation, for in chap. xxxii., Moses is still on the mount, whence the Lord orders him to descend in consequence of the corrupt practices of the people during his absence. The wrath of God being kindled, He threatens to “consume” the Israelites, but Moses dissuades him, “and the Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people.” It is now that Moses comes down with the tables. “And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.” Notwithstanding this, upon seeing " the calf and the dancing,” Moses“ cast the tables out of his hand and brake them beneath the mount.” God then orders him (chap. xxxiv.) “to hew two tables of stone like unto the first.” The result is a set of commandments quite distinct from our decalogue, as taken from Ex. xx. and Deut. v. For instance, the third commandment is, “The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread, &c. All that openeth the matrix is mine, and every firstling," &c. The fifth commandment—"Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, &c., and the feast of the ingathering at the year's end." The sixth—“Thrice in the year shall all your men-children appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel.” The seventh—“Thou shalt not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven," &c. The eighth—“Neither

« AnteriorContinuar »