Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges.djvu/48

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15. 1211. Rule of Elon 10
16. 1214. Rule of Abdon [1]8
17. 131. Domination of the Philistines 40
18. 1520 (1631).Rule of Samson 20

The first thing that will be noticed in this table is the frequency with which the numbers forty (No. 2. 6. 8. 17), eighty (No. 4), and twenty (No. 5. 18) recur in it.[2] Each of the greater judges, except Jephthah, secures his country from the attacks of its foes for forty, or twice forty, or half of forty, years. This phenomenon becomes still more striking when we observe that it is not confined to the Book of Judges, but runs through the chronology of the whole period: The wandering in the wilderness lasted forty years; Eli judged Israel forty years (1 S. 418);[3] David reigned forty years (1 K. 211); Solomon forty (1 K. 1142). In 1 K. 61, finally, we read, that from the exodus until Solomon began to build the temple, in the fourth year of his reign, was four hundred and eighty years.[4] It is obvious that we have here to do with a systematic chronology, in which a generation is reckoned at forty years, and the period made to consist of twelve generations.[5]

When we compare the numbers given in Judges with the total

  1. Fl. Jos., antt. v. 7, 15, names Abdon, but does not give the years of his rule.
  2. Compare also No. 15 (ten), and observe how No. 3. 10. 11. 12 balance on either side of twenty.
  3. G 20: 'ΑΣΘ, Fl. Jos. 40.
  4. G 440 (GL ἈΣ 480), for some reason reckoning eleven generations instead of twelve. See Preuss, Die Zeitrechnung der Septuaginta, 1859, p. 74 ff.
  5. So Hecataeus of Miletus attempted to construct a chronology of Greek antiquity on the basis of the genealogies, reckoning forty years to a generation; see E. Meyer, Forschungen, i. p. 169 ff.; GdA. ii. p. 8 f. The second great period of Hebrew history, from Solomon to the return from Babylon, is also four hundred and eighty years; see Wellhausen, Prol3., p. 283 ff.; Stade, GVI. i. p. 89 ff. In conformity with this theory, 1 Chr. 63 ff. gives in the first period the names of twelve high priests; in the second, according to the corrected text (see G), from the first high priest who officiated in the new temple to Jehozadak, who was carried away to Babylon, eleven. The four hundred and ninety years which Daniel computes for the last period, to the coming of the kingdom of the saints, is of almost exactly the same length, though calculated on a different basis (seventy weeks of seven years). On the frequency of 40 in chronologies &c, see Bredow's Dissertatio de Georgii Syncelli Chronographia, prefixed to the Bonn ed. of Syncellus, ii. p. 53 ff.