Gen. vi. 5. And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented Jehovah &c.
|Gen. vi. 12. And Elohim saw the earth, and behold it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.|
7. And Jehovah said, I will blot out man whom I have created from on the face of the ground.
|13. And Elohim said to Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold I will destroy them with the earth.|
|vii. 1. And Jehovah said to Noah ... Thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.||vi. 9. Noah a righteous man was perfect in his generation. With Elohim did Noah walk.|
|vii. 2. Of all cattle which is clean thou shalt take to thee by sevens, male and his female; and of all cattle which is not clean, two, male and his female.||vi. 19. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of all shalt thou bring into the ark to preserve alive with thee: male and female shall they be.|
|3. Also of fowl of the air by sevens, male and female, to preserve seed alive on the face of all the earth.||20. Of fowl after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every thing that creepeth on the ground after his kind, two of all shall come unto thee that thou mayest preserve (them) alive.|
|vii. 4. For in yet seven days I will send rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will blot out all the substance which I have made from or the face of the ground.||vi. 17. And I, behold I do bring the flood, waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven: all that is in the earth shall perish.|
|vii. 5. And Noah did according to all that Jehovah commanded him.||vi. 22. And Noah did according to all that Elohim commanded him; so did he.|
Without carrying this parallelism farther at length, we will merely indicate by references the traces of the two documents in the rest of the narrative of the Flood : — vii. 1,6, on the Jehovah side, answer to vi. 18, vii. 11, on the Elohim side; vii. 7, 8, 9, 17, 23, to vii. 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 21, 22; viii. 21, 22, to ix. 8, 9, 10, 1 1. (2.) But again we find that these duplicate narratives are characterized by peculiar modes of expression; and that, generally, the Elolistic and Jehovistic sections have their own distinct and individual coloring. There is therefore, it seems, good ground for concluding that, besides some smaller independent documents, traces may be discovered of two original historical works, which form the basis of the present Book of Genesis and of the earlier chapters of Exodus. Of these there can be no doubt that the Elohistic is the earlier. The passage in Ex. vi. establishes this, as well as the matter and style of the document itself. Whether Moses himself was the author of either of these works is a different question. Both are probably in the main as old as his time; the Elohistic certainly is, and perhaps older. 4. But we may now advance a step farther. There are certain references of time and place which clearly prove that the work, in its present form, is later than the time of Moses. When, for instance, it is said (Gen. xii. 6, comp. xiii. 7), "And the Canaanitc was then in the land," toe obvious meaning of such a remark seems to be that the state of things was different in the time of the writer; and the conclusion is, that the words must have been written after the occupation of the land by the Israelites. The principal notices of time and place which have been alleged as bespeaking for the Pentateuch a later date are the following : — (a.) References of time. Ex. vi. 26, 27, need not be regarded as a later addition, for it obviously sums up the genealogical register given just before, and refers back to ver. 13. But it is more naturally reconcilable with some other authorship than that of Moses. Again, Ex. xvi. 33-36, though it must have been introduced after the rest of the look was written, may have been added by Moses himself, supposing him to have composed the rest of the book. Moses there directs him to have composed the rest of the book. Moses there directs Aaron to lay up the manna before Jehovah, and then we read : "As Jehovah commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony " (i.e. the Ark) "to be kept. And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited ; they did eat manna until they come unto the borders of the land of Canaan." Then follows the remark, "Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah." It is clear then that this passage was written not only after the Ark was made, but after the Israelites had entered the Promised Land. The difficulty is greater with a passage in the Book of Genesis. The genealogical table of Esau's family (chap, xxxvi.) can scarcely be regarded as a later interpolation. It docs not interrupt the order and connection of the book; on the contrary, it is a most es sential part of its structure; it is one of the ten "generations" or genealogical registers which form, so to speak, the backbone of the whole. Here we find the remark (ver. 31), "And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel." No unprejudiced person can read the words, " before there reigned any king over the children of Israel," with out feeling that, when they were written, kings had already begun to reign over Israel. Either then we must admit that the Book of Genesis did not exist as a whole till the times of David and Solomon, or we must regard this particular verse as the interpolation of a later editor. Similar remarks may perhaps apply to Lev. xviii. 28. This undoubtedly assumes the occupation of the Land of Canaan by the Israelites. The great difficulty connected with this pas sage, however, is that it is not a supplementary remark of the writer's, but that the words arc the words of God directing Moses what he is to say to the children of Israel (ver. 1 ). (4.) In several instances, older names of places give place to those which came later into use in Canaan. In Gen. xiv. 14 and in Deut. xxxiv. I, occurs the name of the well-known city of Dan. In Genesis, we can only fairly account for its appearance by supposing that the old name Laish originally stood in the MS., and that Dan was substituted for it on some later revision. In Josh. xiv. 15 (comp. xv. 13, 54) and Judg: i. 10, we are told that the original name of Hebron before the conquest of Canaan was Kirjath-Arba. In Gen. xxiii. 2, the older name occurs, and the explanation is added evidently by some one who wrote later than the occupation of Canaan), " the same is Hebron." Another instance of a similar kind is the occurrence of Hormah in Num. xiv. 45, xxi. 1-3, compared with Judg. i. 17. So far, then, judging the work simply by what we find in it, there is abundant evidence to show that, though the main bulk of it is Mosaic, certain detached portions of it are of later growth. We are not obliged, because of the late date of these portions, to bring down the rest of the book to later times. III. We are now to consider the evidence lying outside of the Pentateuch itself, which bears upon its authorship and the probable date of its composition. This evidence is of three kinds : first, direct mention of the work as already existing in the later books of the Bible; secondly, the existence of a book substantially the same as the present Pentateuch amongst the Samaritans ; and, lastly, allusions less direct, such as historical references, quotations, and the like, which presuppose its existence. 1. We have direct evidence for the authorship of the Law in Josh i. 7, 8, and viii. 31, 34, xxiii. 6, xxiv. 26, in all which places Moses is said to have written it. The Book of Judges does not speak of the Book of the Law. No direct mention of it occurs in the Books of Samuel. The first mention of the Law of Moses after the establishment of the monarchy is in David's charge to his son Solomon, on his deathbed (1 K. ii. 3). The allusion seems to be to parts of Deuteronomy, and therefore favors the Mosaic authorship of that book (comp. viii. 9, 53). In 2 K. xi. 12, "the testimony is put into the hands of Joash at his coronation. This must have been a book containing either the whole of the Mosaic law, or at least the Book of Deuteronomy. Ir. the Books of Chronicles, far more frequent mention is made of " the Law of Jehovah," or " the book of the Law of Moses " — a fact which may be accounted for partly by the priestly character of those books (comp. 1 Chr. xvi. 40, xxii. 12, 13; 2 Chr. xii. 1, xiv. 4, xv. 3, xvii. 9, xxv. 4, xxxi. 3, 4, 21, xxxiii. 8, xxxiv. 14, xxxv. 26). In Ezra and Nehemiah, we have mention several times made of the Law of Moses, and here there can be no doubt that our present Pentateuch is meant; for we have no reason to suppose that any later revision of it took place. At this time, then, the existing Pentateuch was regarded as the work of Moses. The Books of Chronicles, though undoubtedly based upon ancient records, are probably in their present form as late as the time of Ezra. Hence it might be supposed that if the reference is to the present Pentateuch in Ezra, the present Pentateuch must also be referred to in Chronicles. But this does not follow. The Book of Ezra speaks of the Law as it existed in the time of the writer; the Books of Chronicles speak of it as it existed long before. Hence the author of the latter (who may have been Ezra), in making mention of the Law of Moses, refers of course to that recension of it which existed at the particular periods over which his history travels. In Dan. ix. 11, 13, the Law of Moses is mentioned; and here again a book differing in nothing from our f resent Pentateuch is probably meant. In the Prophets and in the Psalms, though there are many allusions to the Law, evidently as a written document, there are none as to its authorship. 2. Conclusive proof of the early composition of the Pentateuch, it has been argued, exists in the fact that the Samaritans had their own copies of it, not differing very materially from those possessed by the Jews, except in a few passages which had probably been purposely tampered with and altered: such for instance as Ex. xii. 40; Deut. xxvii. 4. If this point could be satisfactorily established, we should have a limit of time in one direction for the composition of the Pentateuch. It could not have been later than the times of the earliest kings. It must have been earlier than the reign of Solomon, and indeed than that of Saul. History leaves us altogether in doubt as to the time at which the Pentateuch was received by the Samaritans. Copies of it might have been left in the northern kingdom after Shalmaneser's invasion, though this is hardly probable; or they might have been introduced thither daring the religious reforms of Hezekiah or Josiah. But the actual condition of the Samaritan Pentateuch is against any such supposition. It agrees so remarkably with the existing Hebrew Pentateuch, and that too in those passages which are manifestly interpolations and corrections as late as the time of Ezra, that we must look for some other period to which to refer the adoption of the Books of Moses by the Samaritans. This we find after the Babylonish exile, at the time of the institution of the rival worship on Gerizim. Till the return from Babylon, there is no evidence that the Samaritans regarded the Jews with any extraordinary dislike or hostility. But the manifest distrust and suspicion with which Nehemiah met their advances when he was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem provoked their wrath. From this time forward, they were declared and open enemies. A full discussion of this question would be out of place here. We incline to the view of Prideaux, that the Samaritan Pentateuch was in fact a transcript of Ezra's revised copy. The saint view is virtually adopted by Gesenius. 3. We are now to consider evidence of a more indirect kind, which bears not so much on the Mosaic authorship as on the early existence of the work as a whole. This last circumstance, however, if satisfactorily made out, is, indirectly at least, an argument that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. Hengstenberg has tried to show that all the later books, by their allusions and quotations, presuppose the existence of the Books of the Law. He traces, moreover, the influence of the Law upon the whole life, civil and religious, of the nation after their settlement in the land of Canaan. Now, beyond all doubt, there are numerous most striking references, both in the Prophets and in the Books of Kings, to passages which are found in our present Pentateuch. It is established in the most convincing manner that the legal portions of the Pentateuch already existed in writing before the separation of the two kingdoms. Even as regards the historical portions, there are often in the later books almost verbal coincidences of expression, which render it more than probable that these also existed in writing. But now if, as appears from the examination of all the extant Jewish literature, the Pentateuch existed as a canonical book; if, moreover, it was a book so well known that its words had become household words among the people; and if the prophets could appeal to it as a recognized and well-known document, — how comes it to pass that in the reign of Josiah, one of the latest kings, its existence as a canonical book seems to have been almost forgotten? Yet such was evidently the fact. How are we to explain this surprise and alarm in the mind of Josiah, betraying as it does such utter ignorance of the Book of the Law, and of the severity of its threatening, except on the supposition that, as a written document, it had well-nigh perished? This must have been the case, and it is not so extraordinary a fact perhaps as it appears at first sight. It is quite true that, in the reign of Ahaz, the prophet Isaiah directed the people to turn "to the Law and to the Testimony;" and Hezekiah, who succeeded Ahaz, had no doubt reigned in the spirit of the prophet's advice. But the next monarch was guilty of outrageous wickedness, and filled Jerusalem with idols. How great a desolation might one wicked prince effect, especially during a lengthened reign! To this we must add, that at no time, in all probability, were there many copies of the Law existing in writing. It was probably then the custom, as it still is in the East, to trust largely to the memory for its transmission. The ritual would easily be perpetuated by the mere force of observance, though much of it doubtless became perverted, and some part of it perhaps obsolete, through the neglect of the priests. The command of Moses, which laid upon the king the obligation of making a copy of the Law for himself, had of course long been disregarded. Here and there perhaps only some prophet or righteous man possessed a copy of the sacred book. The bulk of the nation were without it. The oral transmission of the Law and the living witness of the prophets had superseded the written document, till at last it had become so scarce as to be almost unknown. On carefully weighing all the evidence hither to adduced, we can hardly question, without a literary skepticism which would be most unreasonable, that the Pentateuch is to a very considerable extent as early as the time of Moses, though it may have undergone many later revisions and corrections, the last of these being certainly as late as the time of Ezra. But as regards any direct and unimpeachable testimony to the composition of the whole work by Moses, we have it not. Only one book out of the five — that of Deuteronomy — claims in express terms to be from his hand. And yet, strange to say, this is the very book in which modern criticism refuses most peremptorily to admit the claim. It is of importance therefore to consider this question separately. All allow that the Book of the Covenant id 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! 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. 1. It is remarkable for its allusions to Egypt, which ore just what would be expected sup posing Moses to have been the author. In xi. 10, there is an allusion to the Egyptian mode of irrigation; in xx. 5, to Egyptian regulations in time of war; in xxv. 2, to the Egyptian bastinado. Again, among the curses threatened are the sicknesses of Egypt, xxviii. 60 (comp. vii. 15). According to xxviii. 68, Egypt is the type of all the oppressors of Israel. Lastly, references to the sojourning in Egypt are numerous (vi. 21-23 ; see also vii. 8, 18, xi. 3). The phraseology of the book, and the archaisms found in it, stamp it as of the same age with the rest of the Pentateuch. 2. A fondness for the use of figures is another peculiarity of Deuteronomy. See i. 31, 44, viii. 5, xxviii. 13, 29, 44, 49, xxxix. 17, 18. The results are most surprising when we compare Deuteronomy with the Book of the Covenant (Ex. xix.-xxiv.) on the one hand, and with Ps. xc. (which is said to be Mosaic) on the other. 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, of post-Mosaic times and writings. The attempt by a wrong interpretation of 2 K. xxii. and 2 Chr. xxxiv. 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. Since, then, not only Jeremiah and Ezekiel, but Amos and Hosea, Isaiah and Micah, speak in the words of Deuteronomy, as well as in words borrowed from other portions of the Pentateuch, we see at once how untenable is the theory of those who, like Ewald, maintain that Deuteronomy was composed during the reign of Manasseh, or, as Vaihinger does, during that of Hezekiah. But, in truth, the book speaks for itself. No imitator could have written in such a strain. We scarcely need the express testimony of the work to its own authorship. But, having it, we find all the internal evidence conspiring to show that it came from Moses. We therefore declare unhesitatingly for the Mosaic authorship of Deuteronomy. Briefly, then, to sum up the results of our inquiry. 1. The Book of Genesis rests chiefly on documents much earlier than the time of Moses, though it was probably brought to very nearly its present shape either by Moses himself, or by one of the elders who acted under him. 2. The Books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, are to a great extent Mosaic. Besides those portions which are expressly declared to have been written by him, other portions, and especially the legal sections, were, if not actually written, in all probability dictated by him. 3. Deuteronomy, excepting the concluding part, is entirely the work of Moses, as it professes to be. 4. It is not probable that this was written before the three preceding books, because the legislation in Exodus and Leviticus as being the more formal is manifestly the earlier, whilst Deuteronomy is the spiritual interpretation and application of the Law. But the letter is always before the spirit; the thing before its interpretation. 5. The first composition of the Pentateuch as a whole could not have taken place till after the Israelites entered Canaan. It is probable that Joshua, and the elders who were associated with him, would provide for its formal arrangement, custody, and transmission. 6. The whole work did not finally assume its present shape till its revision was undertaken by Ezra after the return from the Babylonish Captivity.
William Smith, A Dictionary Of the Bible Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History, p. 715-721