Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges.djvu/29

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xix
JUDGES II. 6—XVI. 31: AGE

still a worship of Yahweh. In Judges the apostasy is complete; the people abandons Yahweh for the Baals and Astartes.[1]

The conclusions to which an examination of the contents of the book leads are confirmed by the evidence of its vocabulary and style, in which the affinity to the literature of the end of the 7th century is unmistakable. In the commentary these parallels are noted, and they need not be repeated here.[2]


§ 4. The Sources of Judges ii. 6-xvi. 31.

The characteristics which have been discussed in the last section appear chiefly in the introduction (26–36) and at the beginning of the histories of the several judges. The stories themselves, with the exception of that of Othniel (37–11), show few traces of the author's distinctive conceptions or expressions.[3] Some of them—for instance, Samson's adventures among the Philistines—have little or no relation to the purpose of the book; others relate of the judges things which must have been offensive to the author, such as Gideon's setting up the ephōd and the sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter; in all, the religious ideas, the language, and style, are entirely unlike his own.[4] It is plain therefore, that the author of Jud. 26–1631 did not write these stories himself, but took them from older sources.

These sources cannot have been oral tradition, or unwritten popular legends,[5] for, apart from the difficulty of supposing that oral tradition had transmitted to so late a time such lifelike and truthful pictures of a state of society that had passed away cen-

  1. See Stade, GVI. ii. p. 21. It is to be observed, however, that in the theory of the Deuteronomic writers, the local cults on the high places were not prohibited till after the building of the temple.
  2. See especially on 26–36 37–11 and the introductions to the several storias; cf. also Kue., HCO2. i. p. 339; Bu., 'Richt. u. Sam., p. 91f., 128; Kö., Einl., p. 254.
  3. Kitt. thinks it very probable that the author of 37–11 also wrote 625–32 72–8 822f.; but these passages appear to me to be derived from one of the chief sources of the book.
  4. Compare the story of Ehud (312–30) with that of Othniel (37–11). The latter shows us, better than anything else, what these histories would be like if the author had written them himself. We may also compare the chapters of ancient history with which the author of Chronicles supplements Kings,—all, of course, in his own peculiar manner.
  5. Stähelin, al.