Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges.djvu/45

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
xxxv
COMPOSITION OF JUDGES

omitted the Minor Judges,[1] possibly also ch. 16, the tragic end of Samson; this would account for the premature closing formula, 1520.[2] On the other hand, he added the deliverance of Israel from Cushan-rishathaim by Othniel (37–11), as a typical exemplification of the theory set forth in the introduction (26–36), and perhaps with the additional motive of giving a judge to Judah, which in the older book was almost the only tribe that furnished none. The system of chronology is Deuteronomic, as appears from its relation to the system of the Books of Kings, but whether in its present form it is the work of D is less certain; see § 7.

Upon the general introduction, 26–36, as well as upon the introductions to the stories of the several judges, D impressed the unmistakable Deuteronomic stamp. In his judgement of the history he had been anticipated by E2 and JE, but his more rigorous pragmatism and his distinctive style can in most cases be distinguished with sufficient certainty from the work of his predecessors. In 26–36, especially in 26–19, the Deuteronomic element is very closely combined with the older text. Budde, whose opinion I have followed in the commentary,[3] thinks that D did not, in this somewhat awkward way, intrude his own point of view into the introduction of JE, but substituted a new introduction for JE's; the two were united, to their mutual detriment, by the final, post-exilic redactor. The other hypothesis has, however, the advantage of simplicity, and the considerations which weigh against it are perhaps overestimated.[4]

The Deuteronomic Judges did not supplant the older work upon which it was founded; JE's history was in, existence long after the exile. In the 5th or 4th century b.c., an editor united the two books, and produced the present Book of Judges. In doing so, he naturally included those parts of JE which D had omitted, Jud. 11–25 9 17 18 19–21; possibly also the Minor Judges, 101–5 128–15.[5] The secondary version of the war with Benjamin in ch. 19–21 is perhaps his work; and in other parts of the book traces of his hand may be discerned in minor glosses; some of these may, however, be of still later date.

  1. This depends in part upon the decision of the difficult questions of the chronology; see § 7.
  2. Budde.
  3. P. 63f.
  4. See Kuenen, HCO2. i. p. 339 f.
  5. See above.