Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges.djvu/31

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xxi
PRE-DEUTERONOMIC BOOK OF JUDGES

consistency which the critics have observed would thus be due to interpolation.[1] The alternative hypothesis is, that the author of 26–1631 used as the basis of his work an older collection of tales of the Israelite heroes, in which the varying fortunes of Israel in those troublous times were already made to point the moral that unfaithfulness to Yahweh was the prime cause of all the evils that befell the people,—a pre-Deuteronomic Book of the Histories of the Judges.[2]

The considerations which incline the balance of probability to the second of these hypotheses are the following: (a) The elements which are admitted by all not to belong to the principal Deuteronomic stratum in the book do not seem to be superimposed upon it, but embedded in it; and they are more intimately united with their context than the additions by which later editors often try to heighten the effect of their text are wont to be. (b) If the author or editor of the present Book of Judges made all these additions in 26–1631, we should expect to find his mark upon ch. 17, 18, 19–21 also, which certainly invited a moral comment and application quite as much as some of the stories in the body of the work; but no trace of such an improvement is to be discovered in those chapters. (c) The language of the parts of the book in question is distinguished from that of the Deuteronomic writers and editors generally by a more marked affinity to one of the older sources of the Hexateuch (E).[3] (d) Some of the tales, e.g. that of Gideon (ch. 6–8), are composite; two somewhat different versions of the story have been united by a third hand, which does not appear to be that of the author of the book, but of an earlier redactor. It is not a remote conjecture that this redactor is also the author of the non-Deuteronomic element in the introduction (26–36) and other parts of the book, (e) The Deuteronomic Book of Judges did not include ch. 17, 18, 19–21; the closing formula, 1520, may perhaps be taken as evidence that it did not contain ch. 16;[4] 833–35 is an editorial substitute for

  1. So Kittel, Stud. u. Krit., 1892, p. 44 ff; GdH. i. 2. p. 7–9. To this later hand he ascribes: 11a, 4a, 8f. 21b–5a, 13, 17, 20–22 34–6, 31 67–10 109–16 (except perhaps v.10a).
  2. We., Sta., Bu., Dr., Co.
  3. Kitt. accounts for this by supposing that R (the editor of our Judges) formed his style on older models.
  4. Bu., Co.; against this view see Kitt., GdH. i. 2. p. 12.