Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges.djvu/51

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xli
CHRONOLOGY

if the author had intended us to understand that the Ammonite and the Philistine oppressions were contemporaneous, he would have given a much more distinct intimation of his meaning than 106 ff., and have given it in its proper place in 131.[1]

Nöldeke has tried to solve the problem in another way.[2] He observes that the sum of the rule of the Minor Judges, including Jephthah, is seventy-six years, to which if we add the four years of Solomon before the building of the temple, we obtain another eighty; a coincidence which can hardly be accidental, and which, if designed, shows that the Minor Judges were included in the chronological system of the book. The total of the years ascribed to the judges and kings in the Books of Judges and Samuel, down to the fourth year of Solomon, is three hundred and eighty.[3] To this must be added the forty years of Moses, the years of Joshua (x), Samuel (y), and Saul (z). For Samuel he reckons (from 1 S. 72) twenty years. We have thus: 40 + 380 + 20 = 440 + x + z. In this system of forties we should naturally give to the unknown quantities (Joshua, Saul) twenty years each, or unequal numbers together making forty, obtaining thus exactly the four hundred and eighty of 1 K. 6. The years of foreign domination and of usurpers are, as usual in Oriental chronologies, not counted;[4] the beginning of each judge's rule being reckoned, not from the victory which brought him into power, but from the death of his predecessor.[5]

In principle, this appears to me the most probable hypothesis. I should be inclined, however, to divide the numbers somewhat differently. For Eli, instead of the forty years of H I should

  1. Compare the formal synchronisms in the Books of Kings.
  2. "Die Chronologie der Richterzeit," Untersuchungen zur Kritik d. A. T.'s, p. 173 ff.
  3. Othniel 40, Ehud 80, Barak 40, Gideon 40, Minor Judges 76 + 4 of Solomon = 80, Samson 20, Eli 40, David 40 = 380.
  4. Nöldeke makes the sum of these years 94; viz. Cushan 8, Eglon 18, Jabin 20, Midianites 7, Abimelech 3, Ammonites 18, Philistines 20 (deducting the twenty in the days of Samson, Jud. 1520).
  5. This is the method of Jewish and early Christian chronologers; see Euseb., Chron. ed. Schoene, ii. p. 35: post mortem Jesu subjectos tenuerunt Hebraeos aliengenae annis 8, qui junguntur Gothonielis temporibus, secundum Judaeorum traditiones; and so in every following case. So also Seder Olam, c. 12, and the Jewish commentators; see Meyer, Seder Olam, p. 383 ff.