Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges.djvu/32

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xxii
INTRODUCTION

ch. 9, which has obviously not passed through the hands of the Deuteronomic author.[1] But ch. 17, 18, and the primary version of the story in ch. 19–21 are akin to the older narratives in 26–1631; ch. 16, the death of Samson, is unquestionably from the same source as ch. 13–15; ch. 9, itself composite, is too closely connected with ch. 6–8 to be of different origin. The simplest hypothesis is, that these chapters were contained in the earlier collection, but were omitted by the Deuteronomic author from his book, as unsuitable to his purpose.[2]

The older book seems to have contained the histories of Ehud, Deborah and Barak, Gideon, Abimelech, Jephthah, and Samson;[3] not improbably also the story of Micah's idols and the migration of the Danites, and the original form of that of the Levite and his concubine. In what order these stories stood, we cannot make out. Chapters 17, 18, and 19–21, if included in the book, would have their natural place near its beginning; they certainly cannot have stood where they now do, in the midst of the history of the "days of the Philistines," between Samson and Eli. Chapter 106–16, a formal and extended introduction resembling 26–21, can hardly have been designed to occupy its present position.[4]

It is a question of more importance whether the pre-Deuteronomic Judges (to use this name for brevity)[5] contained other histories not included in the canonical Book of Judges.

The death of Samson (1631) is not the end of a period or a turning point in the history, such as an author would naturally choose for the end of a book; nor is it at all probable that a writer who begins with an introduction of some length, setting forth in advance the moral of the history, would bring his work to so abrupt a conclusion without a word of retrospective comment. It has long been noticed that in 1 Sam. the account of the death of Eli (418) is followed by the words, "Now he had judged Israel

  1. Bu.; see below, p. 234, 238.
  2. For a different hypothesis see below, p. xxxvi f.
  3. There is, at least, no apparent reason to ascribe any of these stories to an independent source.
  4. See further, below, p. xxiii f. For conjectures about its original position, see p. 276.
  5. Meaning by it the collection which preceded the Deuteronomic Book of Judges, 26–1631.