Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges.djvu/38

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xxviii
INTRODUCTION

this element (E2) approach the standpoint of the latter authors that it is difficult, if not impossible, to decide whether certain passages or verses should be attributed to the one or the other.[1] Fortunately, the similarity which makes the analysis uncertain makes it also of less importance. The author of the later element in E (E2) may have lived toward the end of the 8th century or in the first half of the 7th.[2]


The Triumphal Ode, ch. 5, is much older than the corresponding prose narrative, or than any other of the stories in the book.[3] Whether it was included in J, or in E, or in both of them, cannot be certainly determined. The closing formula, 531b, may have been added or transposed by an editor. The Ode was in all probability preserved in one of the collections of old Hebrew poetry, such as the Book of Jashar, or the Book of the Wars of Yahweh;[4] but, like other poems from those collections, may early have been incorporated into the prose histories.

The brief notices of the so-called Minor Judges (101–5 128–15) begin and close with formulas which, while they have a certain likeness to those which introduce and conclude the stories of the other judges, have also a distinctive difference.[5] Of each of the five we read that he "judged Israel" so many years, but of the oppressions and deliverances which in the rest of the book alternate with such regularity nothing is said; of their exploits there is no record; indeed, beyond the places where they were buried and perhaps the number of their posterity, nothing whatever is narrated of them. Most, if not all, the names of these "judges " appear to be those of clans rather than individuals; and the years of their rule seem to be independent of the chronological scheme of the book and to disturb its symmetry. It has been conjectured that the names were introduced by an editor to make up the number of twelve judges;[6] and Wellhausen has strengthened this hypothesis by the observation that the sum of the years of the

  1. It is not impossible, for example, that in the introduction (26–36) a part of what, with Budde, I have ascribed to E, is in reality the work of Rje.
  2. It is worthy of notice that the "commandments of Yahweh" are mentioned only in 217 34; "the covenant of Yahweh," only in 21, 20 (Kö., Einl., p. 257).
  3. See p. 127–132.
  4. Compare 51 with Ex. 151.
  5. See p. 270 f.
  6. Nöldeke and many recent scholars.