Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges.djvu/50

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INTRODUCTION

victory gained.[1] This synchronism, which is not suggested by a syllable in the text of Judges, is only made out by a series of arbitrary assumptions, such as that nineteen years elapsed between the victory of Othniel and the Moabite invasion. With much greater show of probability, others suppose that the subjugation of the Israelites in Gilead by the Ammonites coincided with the oppression of their brethren in Canaan by the Philistines. Such an hypothesis not only offers no intrinsic difficulty, but seems to be commended by Jud. 106–8, where we read that, as a punishment for their fresh defection, Yahweh sold the Israelites into the power of the Philistines and the Ammonites. In the following chapters, the author narrates, first, the Ammonite oppression, the deliverance of Gilead by Jephthah, and the rule of his successors, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon (ch. 11. 12); and then (131) takes up the story of the long struggle with the Philistines which is so inseparably connected with the beginnings of the kingdom in Israel. The forty years of Philistine oppression, with which the forty years of Eli coincide, thus cover also the eighteen years of Ammonite rule east of the Jordan, the six of Jephthah, seven of Ibzan, ten of Elon (41), while the eight years of Abdon would fall in the time of Samuel. In this form the hypothesis was proposed by Sebastian Schmid;[2] and, often in combination with other synchronisms, has been accepted by many commentators and chronologists.[3] In this way the length of the period is greatly reduced, but the exact equation with the four hundred and eighty years of 1 K. 61 is obtained only by attributing to the unknown quantities, x, y, and z, in the other member entirely arbitrary values. The most serious objection to the synchronistic hypothesis in any form is, that the chronology of the book is, on the face of it, continuous;

  1. That the twenty years of Canaanite oppression and the forty years of peace which followed fell in the eighty years of peace which the south enjoyed after the death of Eglon, is a hypothesis propounded by older chronologists (Beza, Marsham). Others think that the forty years' peace under Gideon in Central Palestine coincided with the forty years of Barak in the North; &c. On these and other theories see Ba., p. 64 f.
  2. Appendix chronologica ad librum Judicum, 1684.
  3. Vitringa, Carpzov, Marsham, Walther; Ke., Ew., Hgstbg., al.; most recently, with different modifications and more or less artificial subsidiary hypotheses, Bachmann and Köhler.