Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges.djvu/52

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xlii
INTRODUCTION

adopt the reading of G, twenty. The forty years of Philistine rule coincide with the time of Samson (20) and Eli (20); Samuel liberated Israel from their yoke (1 S. 7). Abimelech is not counted in the succession of rulers, as Nöldeke and most recent chronologists rightly assume;[1] but it does not appear to have been noted that the same is true of Saul. For the Judaean author of this chronology his rule was illegitimate; David was the immediate successor of Samuel.[2] This inference is confirmed by 1 S. 131, where a later hand has attempted to supply the lack of a statement about the length of Saul's reign with the usual formula borrowed from the Books of Kings,[3] but seems to have left the numbers blank.

We have, then, the following scheme: Moses 40 years, Joshua x, Othniel 40, Ehud 80, Barak 40, Gideon 40, the Minor Judges with Jephthah 76, Samson 20, Eli 20, Samuel y, David 40, Solomon 4 = 400 + x + y = 480. We may then suppose that the author gave Joshua and Samuel forty years each, an hypothesis which in each case has some slight external support. Joshua lived, like his ancestor Joseph, to the age of 110 years, which, as in Joseph's life,[4] may most naturally be divided into 30 + 40 + 40. To Samuel, of whose life and work he had such a full account, the deliverer and judge, the maker and unmaker of kings, it is antecedently improbable that the author reckoned only half a generation; especially as Samuel was an old man when he died.

If 1 K. 61 is the summation of the numbers in Judges and Samuel, and from the same hand, it would follow that the systematic chronology in Judges was not introduced by the Deuteronomic author, but by a later editor, who may have substituted his own cyclic numbers for older ones.[5] But the author of Judges may, himself, conceivably have constructed his chronology on a basis of forty years to the generation. In either case, the length of the oppressions, and of the rule of the Minor Judges (with

  1. Probably Jud. 9 was not contained in the Deuteronomic Judges; but in any case he was regarded as a usurper.
  2. Observe that Samuel ruled Israel as long as he lived, 1 S. 715.
  3. Not the formula of Judges or Samuel.
  4. Gen. 4146; cf. Gutschmid in Nöldeke, p. 192 f.
  5. The 76 years of the Minor Judges plus the 4 of Solomon would be the most conclusive evidence of this.