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tial facts, and characteristic marks. Nations and individuals brought into relationship with the chosen people, he describes more or less fully according to the closeness of the connection, and finally dismisses. Such historic facts of the chosen nation itself as have no bearing on his purpose, or are superseded by other statements, are omitted. Why minutely recount the occurrences at all the halting-places, if the most striking are narrated? Why should he relate anything more of Hur and Jethro than what concerns the purpose of his narrative? Why cumber bis history with the thirty-eight comparatively uneventful years while they may have been quietly pursuing their rural occupations, spread out over the region southeast of Palestine, when the grand characteristic events — the deliverance, the lawgiving and organization, the gracious interposition and the judgments - are given in full? Why burden his graphic story with four hundred stagnant years in Egypt? The sacred historian understood his work better than the critic who requires a story to be told after the manner of Mistress Quickly.
(ii.) It is objected that there is not sufficient difference between the language of the Pentateuch and that of the books written about the time of the captivity to correspond with the interval of nearly a thousand years.
This is a matter of judgment on a question of degree. Dr. Davidson is too familiar with the Hebrew language to deny the fact of a difference: “ We do not say that there are no diversities of language between the Pentateuch and later books; but that the differences are such as disagree with the fact of a thousand or nine hundred years' interval."} Differences, then, are admitted. But Dr. Davidson is obliged to admit more yet.
« Nothing is proved by the list of forms peculiar to the Pentateuch, except that Moses wrote portions; and that these obtained a sort of sanctity which gave their diction some prominence.
* Davidson's Introduction, Vol. I. p. 104.
Later writers may have proceeded in part on the model of his usus loquendi.” 1
The question then is simply this: How much more difference ought there to be between the earlier and the later Hebrew ? A question which would doubtless receive as many answers as there are critics. It is, however, asserted, in general, that so slight a difference in the lapse of a thousand years would be without a parallel in the history of language. We answer:
(1.) If this were true, it is also true that the circumstances were without a parallel. (a) In general, a singular fixedness of oriental habits, such as has preserved in many respects the same manners and the same local names in Pal. estine for three thousand years. (6) The nation, as a whole, was for the greater part of the time bound to the same soil, with very slight relations to foreign nations – intentionally so. (c) The Hebrews were immediately encircled by tribes that used the same language with themselves. (d) Their mode of life remained substantially the same during that whole period; none of those advances in science, art, or modes of living took place which so rapidly change the speech of men. (e) Their institutions were designedly framed and fixed so as to maintain through their whole history the same great circles of thought and speech, and to keep all portions of the nation in annual (or rather triannual) contact with each other and the central seat of influence. (f) As Dr. Davidson suggests, their writers must have formed their style greatly on the constant use of the Pentateuch.
(2.) But secondly, the phenomenon is not without a parallel. Waiving all questionable examples (as of the Arabic and the Chinese), “ the Syriac dialect of the second century in the Peshito or Syriac version, is the same as is read in Abulfaragius or Bar Hebraeus, a writer of the thirteenth.” 2 It is useless to reply (as does Dr. Davidson) that“ the analogy
1 Davidson's Introduction, Vol. I. p. 105. The italics are ours.
is vitiated by the fact that the Syriac was gradually dying away after the Arabian conquest, and was therefore incapable of receiving new forms." 1 The fact is admitted; but it is alleged that the circumstances were peculiar in this
So they were in the other. If peculiar circumstances can in one case preserve a language substantially unchanged for a thousand years, they can in another. The objection is extinguished.
(3.) Finally, the objection is also annihilated by facts concerning the Hebrew which the objectors themselves admit. (a) It is admitted by this whole class of writers that we have genuine specimens of David's composition, less than half way from Moses to Malachi. De Wette admits as “undoubtedly genuine,” Psalms vi., viii., xv., xxiii., xxix., xxx., xxxii.,ci. Ewald, Psalms iii., iv., vii., viii., xi., xviii., xix., xxiv., xxix., xxxii., ci., cx. Hitzig ii., iv., vii., viii., xi., xiii., XV., xvi., xvii., xviii., xix. Davidson thinks these writers too restricted, and would add to the list some (e. g. xvi.) which they have excluded. Colenso would include many more. Even J. Olshausen, who is so chary of admitting David's authorship of any of the Psalms that he even denies the double testimony concerning Psalm xviii. (found in the psalm, and in the narrative 2 Sam. xxii.), is obliged to admit that of the “noble poem,” 2 Sam. i. 19-27, “ hardly any other than David could be the poet.” 5 Knobel, Tuch, and Bleek place the “ Elohistic” portion of the Pentateuch as early as the time of Saul; Lengerke, in the time of Solomon; Stähelin, in that of the Judges or Saul. Now the lapse of time from David to Ezra was about six hundred years — a period when the nation was subjected to foreign influences vastly more than during the four hundred years previous; yet the Hebrew of Ezra and other later writers
1 Davidson's Introduction, Vol. I. p. 104.
ette's Introduction, $ 269.
presents no such radical change of the language as would have made the Psalms difficult of apprebension by them, But this is not all. (6) These same critics are constrained to admit that portions of the Pentateuch are as old as the time of Moses. Such is the distinct admission of Dr. Davidson, as quoted above. De Wette says of Num. xxi. 17-18, 27-30," the following odes may be referred with certainty to the time of Moses."1 Knobel says that Moses gave laws, and that “ he even published such laws in writing, e.g. the Decalogue; although to what extent he did it is uncertain.” ? Bleek goes further, and specifies Exodus XXV. - xxxi.; Leviticus i. - viii., xi. - XV., xvi., xvii.; Numbers x. 1-8, xix. Davidson specifies more than twenty whole. chapters which must have come from Moses with very slight change, among which he regards Ex. xxv.- xxxi., " as probably written down by him in its present state.” 3 Indeed, conceding, as these writers must, that Moses was the original lawgiver, and conceding too the universal habit of writing, it would be preposterous alike to deny that he committed portions of those laws to writing, and to assert that all his genuine productions must have disappeared from the “ books of Moses.” Accordingly, as Saalschütz truly remarks, “ the most sweeping criticism holds that some portions are the genuine productions of Moses.” 4. The objection, then, drawn from the language of the Pentateuch is annihilated by the admitted fact that portions of it are as old as Moses. The theory that a greater change must have taken place is refuted by the fact that it did not. And this consideration presses with greatest force on those writers who, like Knobel, find it most difficult to decide what is Mosaic in the Pentateuch and what is not. Should they attempt to evade by implying (with De Wette) a later revi. sion, then we may inquire by what right they assume the
i De Wette's Introduction, $ 149.
• Saalschütz, Das Mosaische Recht, Vorwort, p. 29. Vol. XXL No. 84.
process of revision so far as suits their convenience, and deny it any further.
3. We proceed to a class of irrelevant objections. They really concern rather the quality of the composition than the question whether Moses was its author; but they are, some of them, so commonly alleged in this connection, and with so much of popular show, that they cannot properly be dismissed without notice.
(i.) The progressive character of the legislation is alleged against the composition of the Pentateuch by Moses. is derogatory to the divine perfections to suppose, as the advocates of the Mosaic authorship do, that Jehovah spoke to Moses enacting such and such rules, and sometime after changing or rescinding what he had expressly appointed. In making enactments for his people, the Almighty Legislator could not have proceeded in this way.” 1
This argument is brought "against the Mosaic authorship”; and it well illustrates the random character alike of the assertions and the logic which are expended on this theme. (1) As to the fact itself — what is the whole course of revelation but a series of progressive disclosures, keeping pace with the changing circumstances as they were shaped by divine Providence, often accompanied (as at and after the food) with the introduction of what might be called a change in the outward policy of government ? And the New Testament dispensation - does it not include the repeal of a great mass of observances enforced for hundreds of years with the sternest of divine sanctions ? Or will the objector deny all this too? (2) The progressive character of the legislation is really one of the strongest marks of authenticity. Laws engrafted on the changing circumstances, carry evidence, so far, of having originated in those circumstances; and Colenso even attempts to cast discredit on the legislation in the wilderness by citing provisions that contemplated the permanent home in Palestine. The entire absence of enactments for transient uses and changing
I Davidson's Introduction, Vol. I. p. 75.