Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges.djvu/49

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xxxix
CHRONOLOGY

in 1 K. 61, however, a large discrepancy appears. The sum of the years of the oppressions and of the judges is four hundred and ten years. To this must be added the forty years in the wilderness; the days of Joshua, from the invasion of Canaan until he and all his generation passed away (Jud. 27–10), for which no numbers are given (x); the forty (or twenty) years of Eli (1 S. 418); the years in which Samuel judged Israel (1 S. 715,) (y), and the reign of Saul (1 S. 131,) (z), for neither of which have we any data; the forty years of David (1 K. 211); and four years of Solomon[1] before the building of the temple was begun: that is, 40 + x + 410 + 40 + y + z + 40 + 4 = 534 + x + y + z. In this sum x + y + z (Joshua, Samuel, Saul) must represent a considerable number of years;[2] but even neglecting them, the total greatly exceeds the 480 of Kings. Various hypotheses have been proposed to bring them into harmony. One way by which this can be accomplished is to suppose that the oppressions and deliverances related in the Book of Judges were not successive, but in part synchronous. They were, in fact, without exception, local struggles; and it is not only conceivable, but highly probable, that while one part of the land was enjoying security under its judge, other tribes were groaning under the foreign yoke.[3] Thus Herzfeld supposes that for one hundred and seventeen years, from the victory of Othniel over the Aramaeans to the beginning of the Midianite forays, the history runs parallel; the subjection of the southern tribes by the Moabites, their deliverance by Ehud, and the long peace which followed, falling in the same period with the oppression of the north by the Canaanites, the war of liberation under Deborah and Barak, and the forty years' security which their

  1. According to the Hebrew way of reckoning.
  2. Josephus gives Joshua 25; Samuel 12; Samuel and Saul contemporaneously 18; Saul after the death of Samuel 22. The Christian chronologists do not differ very widely; Eusebius gives Joshua 27; Samuel and Saul jointly 40. We should hardly say that these estimates are excessive. For the whole period Josephus reckons 592 years (antt. viii. 3. 1 § 61; x. 8, 5 § 147) or 612 (antt. xx. 10, 1 § 230; c. Ap. ii. 2 § 19), or in still different ways; see P. Brinch, Examen chronologiae Flav. Josephi, c. 4; Herzfeld, Chronologia judicum, p. 12 f.
  3. On the considerations which may be urged in favour of the hypothesis of synchronisms, see Walther, in Zusätze zur Allg. Welthist., 1747, ii. p. 400 ff.° (cited by Bachmann).