Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges.djvu/43

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

recension gives us confidence that he left intact those features of his original which are of chief interest and importance for us, proving that in the invasion the tribes acted singly, or as they were allied by older ties or common interest; and that Israelite supremacy in Canaan was not achieved by one irresistible wave of conquest, but only after an obstinate struggle lasting for generations. Fragments of the same source, some of which are a welcome supplement to the narrative in Judges 1, are preserved in the Book of Joshua.[1]

On the Minor Judges, see above, p. xxviii f.

§ 6. The Composition of the Book of Judges.

If the results of the critical analysis outlined in § 4 and 5 are substantially correct, the genesis of the book may be conceived in some such way as the following:[2]

Early in the 9th century, the traditions of the invasion and settlement of Western Palestine, of the subsequent conflicts in various parts of the land with the native population or with new invaders, and of the heroic deeds of Israel's leaders and champions in these struggles, were collected and fixed in writing, probably as part of a historical work which included the patriarchal age, the migration from Egypt, and the history of Israel under the kingdom down to the author's own time (J).

Perhaps a century later, another book of similar character and scope was written, containing in part the same stories, but in a form adhering less closely to historical reality (E). A second recension of this work (E2) bears very distinctly the impress of the prophetic movement of the 8th century, and specifically of Hosea's teaching, and may be assigned to the end of the 8th or the beginning of the 7th century. The author's religious

  1. See p. 5 f.
  2. It must be borne in mind that any hypothesis we may frame is much simpler than the literary history of which it attempts to give account. J, E, JE, D, R, &c. represent, not individual authors whose share in the work can be exactly assigned by the analysis, but stages of the process, in which more than one—perhaps many—successive hands participated, every transcription being to some extent a recension.