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Dictionaries :: Exodus, the Book Of, 2

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International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

Exodus, the Book Of, 2:

II. Structure of the Book According to the Scriptures and According to Modern Analyses.

In the following section

(a) serves for the understanding of the Biblical text;

(b) is devoted to the discussion and criticism of the separation into sources.

1. In General:

(a) The conviction must have been awakened already by the general account of the contents given in I, 2 above, that in the Book of Exodus we are dealing with a rounded-off structure, since in seven mutually separated yet intimately connected sections, one uniform fundamental thought is progressively carried through. This conviction will only be confirmed when the details of these sections are studied, the sections being themselves again organically connected by one leading thought. Since, in addition, the Book of Genesis is clearly divided into ten parts by the ten toledhoth ("generations") (compare also the division made by typical numbers in articles LEVITICUS and DAY OF ATONEMENT), thus too the number seven, as itself dividing the Book of Exodus into seven parts, is probably not accidental; and this all the less, as in the subordinate parts too, a division is to be found according to typical numbers, this in many cases appearing as a matter of course, and in other cases traced without difficulty, and sometimes lying on the surface (compare 10 plagues, 10 commandments). Yet in all of the following investigations, as is the case in the articles GENESIS, LEVITICUS and DAY OF ATONEMENT, the demonstration of the fundamental thought must be the main thing for us. The division according to typical numbers is to be regarded merely as an additional confirmation of the literary unity of the book. We refer here first of all to a number of cases, where certain numbers independently of the separate chief parts combine the Biblical text into a unity. In Nu 14:22 R, Yahweh states that Israel had now tempted Him and been disobedient to Him ten times: compare Ex 14:11 ff JE(?) (Red Sea); 15:23 f JE (Marah); 16:2,3 P; 16:20 JE; 16:27,28 R (Manna); 17:1 ff JE (Massah and Meribah); 32:1 ff JE (Golden Calf); Nu 11:1 ff JE (Tuberah); 11:4 ff JE (Graves of Lust); 14:2 ff P and JE (Spies). Most of these cases are accordingly reported in the Book of Exodus, but in such manner that in this particular a clearly marked progress can be noticed, as Yahweh does not begin to punish until Ex 32; but from here on He does so with constantly increasing severity, while down to Ex 32 grace alone prevails, and in this particular, previous to Ex 32, there is found nothing but a warning (16:27). Ten times it is further stated of Pharaoh, in a great variety of forms of expression, that he hardened his own heart (7:13 P; 7:14 JE; 7:22 P; 8:15 P; 8:32 JE; 9:7,34,35 JE; 13:15 D); ten times the hardening is ascribed to God (4:21 JE; 7:3 P; 9:12 P; 10:1 R; 10:20 JE; 10:27 E; 11:10 R; 14:4,8 P; 17 P ?). Here already we must note that within the narrative of the miracles and the plagues at first there is mention made only of the hardening by Pharaoh himself (7:13 P; 7:14 JE; 7:22 P; 8:11 ff; 8:15 P; 8:28 JE; 9:7 JE, i.e. seven times) before a single word is said that God begins the hardening; and this latter kind of hardening thereupon alone concludes the whole tragedy (14:4,8 P; 17 P?). Ten months cover the time from the arrival at Sinai (19:1 P) to the erection of the sacred dwelling-place of God (40:17 P). Since, further, exactly three months of this time are employed in 19:10,16 JE; 24:3 ff JE; 24:16 P (ten days); 24:18 P (40 days); 34:28 J (40 days), there remain for the building of the tabernacle exactly seven months.

(b) What has been said does anything but speak in favor of the customary division of Exodus into different sources. It is generally accepted that the three sources found in Genesis are also to be found in this book; in addition to which a fourth source is found in Ex 13:3-16, of a Deuteronomistic character. It is true and is acknowledged that the advocates of this hypothesis have more difficulties to overcome in Exodus than in Genesis, in which latter book too, however, there are insufficient grounds for accepting this view, as is shown in the article GENESIS. Beginning with Ex 6 the chief marks of such a separation of sources falls away as far as P and J are concerned, namely, the different uses of the names of God, Elohim and Yahweh. For, according to the protagonists of the documentary theory, P also makes use of the name Yahweh from this chapter on; E, too, does the same from Ex 3:13 ff on, only that, for a reason not understood, occasionally the word Elohim is still used by this source later on, e.g. 13:17 ff; 18:1 ff. But as a number of passages using the name Elohim are unhesitatingly ascribed by the critics to J, this difference in the use of the name of God utterly fails to establish a difference of sources. To this is to be added, that J and E are at this place closely interwoven; that, while the attempt is constantly being made to separate these two sources, no generally accepted results have been reached and many openly acknowledge the impossibility of such a separation, or admit that it can be effected only to a very limited extent. Peculiarities which are regarded as characteristic of the different sources, such as the sin of Aaron in J, the staff of Moses in E, Sinai in J and the Priestly Code (P), Horeb in E, the dwelling of the Israelites in Goshen in J, but according to E their living in the midst of the Egyptians, and others, come to nought in view of the uniform text in the passages considered. This has been proved most clearly, e.g. by Eerdmans in his Alttestamentliche Studien, III ("Das Buck Exodus") in regard to many of these passages. Narratives of a similar character, like the two stories in which Moses is described as striking the rock to produce water (Ex 17:1; Nu 20:1 ff), are not duplicates, but are different events. Compare the different localities in Ex 17:7 and Nu 20:1, as also the improbability that Israel would without cause in the first passage have put into permanent form the story of its shame, and then in the latter there would have been an uncertainty as to the importance of this locality for the career of Moses; and finally, we must notice the distinction expressly made by the additional statement, "waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin," in Nu 27:12-14; De 32:51 (compare Eze 47:19; 48:28). Then, too, these occurrences, if we accept the division into J and E at this place, are not reduced to a single event, since both sources would share in both narratives. The same condition of affairs is found in Ex 16 in so far as JE comes into consideration, and in Ex 18 in comparison with Nu 11. In the case of Nu 11 there is express reference made to a former narrative by the word "again" and in the second case all the details in their differences point to different occurrences. Concerning other so-called duplicates in Ex, see later in this article. But the acceptance of P in contradistinction to the text of JE does also not lead to tangible results, notwithstanding that there exists a general agreement with regard to the portions credited to P. Not taking into consideration certain that are peculiar, the following sections are attributed to this source: Ex 1:1-7,13-15; 2:23, 25; 6:2-7:13, 6:28-30; Ex 7:19,20,21,22; 8:1-3,11-15; 9:8-12; 12:1-20,28,37,40-50; 13:1-2,20; Ex 14:1-4,8-10,15-18,21,22-23,29; 16:1-3,9-14,15-18,21-26,31-32,34,35; Ex 17:1; 19:1,2; 24:15-31:17; 34:29-40:38. It is claimed that in the Book of Genesis these sources constitute the backbone of the whole work; but this is not claimed for Ex. The sections ascribed to P constitute in this place, too, anything but an unbroken story. In both language and substance they are, to a certain extent, most closely connected with the parts ascribed to JE, and in part they are indispensable for the connection whence they have been taken (compare for details below). It is absolutely impossible to separate on purely philological grounds in the purely narrative portions in Exodus the portions belonging to P. That genealogies like Ex 6:14 ff, or chronological notices like 12:40,41,51; 16:1; 19:1, or directions for the cults like Ex 12; 25 ff have their own peculiar forms, is justified by self-evident reasons; but this does not justify the acceptance of separate authors. It is the result of the peculiar matter found in each case. We must yet note that the passages attributed to P would in part contain views which could not be harmonized with theological ideas ascribed to this source, which are said to include an extreme transcendental conception of God; thus in 16:10 the majesty of Yahweh suddenly appears to the congregation, and in 40:34 ff this majesty takes possession of the newly erected dwelling. In 8:19 mention is made of the finger of God, and in 7:1 Moses is to be as God to Pharaoh. In Ex 12:12 the existence of the Egyptian gods is presupposed and the heathen sorcerers are able to act in competition with Moses and Aaron for a while; 7:11,12,22; 8:3. P also describes the Passover, which on account of the handling of the blood in 12:7 cannot be regarded in any other light than as a sacrifice in the house, and in Nu 9:7,13, this act is expressly called a qorban Yahweh (?sacrifice of Yahweh'). Compare also the commands in Ex 12:10,43,48. But more than anything else, what has been said under (a) above goes to show that all these sources have been united in a way that characterizes the work of a systematic writer, and declares against any view that would maintain that these sources have been mechanically placed side by side and interwoven into each other. What has here been outlined for the whole book in general must now be applied to the different parts in particular.

2. In the Separate Pericopes:

(1) Exodus 1:8-7:7:

(a) Everything that is narrated in this section, which in so worthy a manner introduces the whole book, is written from a standpoint of the Egyptian oppression, from which human help could give no deliverance, but from which the mighty power of Yahweh, working through human agency, offered this deliverance. It is a situation which demands faith (4:31). This section naturally falls into ten pericopes, of which in each instance two are still more closely connected. Numbers 1 and 2 (1:8- 14,15-22), namely, the oppression through forced labor and the threat to take the life of the newly born males of the Israelites; and in contrast to this, the Divine blessing in the increase of the people in general and of the midwives in particular; numbers 3 and 4 (Ex 2:1-10,11-22), namely, the birth and youth of Moses stand in contrast. The child seems to be doomed, but God provides for its deliverance. Moses, when grown to manhood, tries to render vigorous assistance to his people through his own strength, but he is compelled to flee into a far-off country. Numbers 5 and 6 (Ex 2:23-4:17; 4:18-31) report the fact that also in the reign of a new Pharaoh the oppression does not cease, and that this causes God to interfere, which in Ex 2:23-25 is expressed in strong terms and repeatedly, and this again leads to the revelation in the burning bush (3:1 ff). And at the same time the narrative shows how little self-confidence Moses still had (three signs, a heavy tongue, direct refusal). The sixth pericope and also the beginning of the last four, describe, from an external viewpoint, the return of Moses to Midian, and his journey from there to Egypt. Here, too, mention is made of the troubles caused by Pharaoh, which God must remove through His power. This deliverance is not at all deserved by Israel, since not even any son in a family had up to this time been circumcised. On the other hand, everything here is what can be expected. Those who sought the life of Moses had died; the meeting with Aaron at the Mount of the Lord; in Egypt the faith of the people. In an effective way the conclusion (4:31) returns to the point where the two companion narratives (2:24 f) begin. After this point, constituting the center and the chief point in the introductory section, numbers 7 and 8 (Ex 5:1-6:1; 6:2-12), everything seems to have become doubtful. Pharaoh refuses to receive Moses and Aaron; the oppression increases; dissatisfaction in Israel appears; Moses despairs; even the new revelations of God, with fair emphasis on fidelity to the Covenant which is to unfold Yahweh's name in full, are not able to overcome the lack of courage on the part of the people and of Moses. Numbers 9 and 10, introduced by Ex 6:13 (6:14-27 and 6:28-7:7), show that after Moses and Aaron have already been mentioned together in 4:14,27 ff; 5:1 ff, and after it has become clear how little they are able of themselves to accomplish anything, they are now here, as it were, for the first time, before the curtain is raised, introduced as those who in the following drama are to be the mediators of God's will (compare the concluding verses of both pericopes, 6:27; 7:7), and they receive directions for their common mission, just at that moment when, humanly speaking, everything is as unfavorable as possible.

(b) The unity of thought here demonstrated is in this case too the protecting wall against the flood-tide of the documentary theory. For this theory involves many difficulties. In Ex 1:13 f there would be an account of the oppression by the Priestly Code (P), but the motive for this can be found only in the preceding verses, which are ascribed to JE; 2:24 speaks of the Covenant of God With Isaac, concerning which P is said to have reported nothing in the Book of Gen, as in the latter book a reference to this matter is found only in Ge 26:2-5 R; 26:24 J. In Ex 6:2 ff Moses and Aaron are mentioned; but as the text of P reads we know absolutely nothing from this source as to who these men are. According to 7:1 ff Aaron is to be the speaker for Moses before Pharaoh. But according to P neither Moses nor Aaron speaks a single word. The omissions that are found by critics in documents J and E-which, if they are separated, have lines of demarcation claimed for the separation that are very unsettled-we here pass over in silence.

On the critical theory, the narratives of the Priestly Code (P), in the Book of Ex, as also in Gen, would have discarded many of the stereotyped formulas characteristic of this source (compare Ex 2:23 ff; 6:2 ff; 7:1 ff), and in both form and contents would be made very similar to the rest of the text Ex 1:9,10,12 JE; 1:20 E; 7:1 P; and to a great extent expressions similar to these are here found and in part refer to these. The same must be said concerning 3:7 JE in its relation to 2:23 ff P; 6:6 ff (sibhloth) P in its relation to 1:11 JE; 2:11 E; 5:4,5 JE (in contrast 1:13,14; 2:23). JE, in 4:9 for "dry land," makes use of the term ha-yabbashah, which in Ge 1:9 f and Ex 14:16 is ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), and a different expression is used for this thought by J in Ge 7:22. In reference to Ex 7:1 P compare 4:14 E (?). In reference to the hardening of Pharaoh, which is found in all the sources (7:3 P), see above under 1a; in reference to the miracles, and their purpose of making Yahweh known to the Egyptians (7:3-5 P) see the following paragraph. The four generations mentioned in 7:14 ff P find their parallel in Ge 15:16 J (compare 46:8 ff); and the sons of Aaron mentioned in Ex 6:23 the Priestly Code (P), Nadab and Abihu, are mentioned also in the text of 24:1,9, ascribed to JE although, except in Le 10 the Priestly Code (P), their names are not found elsewhere in the Pentateuch. In reference to the repetitions, it must be said that Ex 1:13 P is either the continuation (in so far as the Israelites instead of being compulsory laborers became slaves), or is a concluding summary, such as is found frequently. The new revelation of God in Ex 6 the Priestly Code (P), according to chapter 3 JE, finds its psychological and historical motive in the account of the failure described in 5:1 ff JE, and in the discouragement of the Israelites and of Moses resulting therefrom. In the same way the renewed mention by Moses of his difficulties of speech (6:12 P; compare with 4:10 ff J and E (?)) is very characteristic of human ways, and this again necessitates the twice repeated consideration of this matter by God (6:30 R; 4:10 ff J and E (?); concerning the names of God, see GENESIS; GOD, NAMES OF).

One difficulty, which is also not made clear by the proposed division of sources, is found in the name of the father-in-law of Moses; since according to Ex 2:18 J, this name is Reuel, and according to 3:1; 18:1 JE, it is Jethro (4:18 E in the form "Jether"); in Nu 10:29 JE is called Hobab and a son of Reuel (the King James Version "Raguel") for all of these passages are ascribed to J or E. It is probable that the name Jethro is a title ("Excellency"); and as for the rest, in Nu 10:29 chothen probably does not mean father-in-law but brother-in-law (Jud 1:16; 4:11); or in Ex 2:18 we find father and in 2:21 daughter in the place of grandfather and granddaughter; otherwise we should be compelled to accept different traditions, by which view, however, the Mosaic authorship of Exodus would be made impossible (compare IV, below).

(2) Exodus 7:8-13:16:

(a) This section is separated as a matter of course from the rest by the typical number of ten plagues. It is introduced by the transformation of the rod into a serpent in the presence of Pharaoh (7:8-13). To explain the fact that there were ten plagues on the ground of the accidental combination of sources, is from the very outset a precarious undertaking. To this must be added the following reasons that indicate a literary editing of the material. All of the plagues are introduced by the same formula (7:12 JE; 8:1 J; 8:12 P; 8:16 JE; 8:20 JE; 9:1 JE; 9:8 P; 9:13 JE; 10:1,12 JE; 10:21 E; 11:1 E), and in connection with each plague the hardening of the heart of Pharaoh is mentioned (compare (1a) above); compare 7:22 P; 8:11 J; 8:15 P; 8:28 JE; 9:7 JE; 9:12 P; 9:34 JE; 9:35 JE; 10:1 R; 10:20 JE; 10:27 E; 11:10 R; 13:15 D. As is the case in the first section, we find here too in each instance two plagues more closely connected, namely, numbers 1 and 2 already externally united by the double address of Yahweh (compare 7:14 JE; 7:19 P and 7:26 J; 8:1 P), but also by the methods of punishment that are related to each other (water changed to blood and frogs); and, finally, by the extension of the plague (the Nile and beyond the river). In 3 and 4 we have to deal with insects (stinging flies and dung flies); in 5 and 6 with a kind of pest (pest among cattle, and boils); 7 and 8 are again formally joined by the repeated command of Yahweh to Moses in Exo 9:13,22 JE and 10:1,12 JE, as also by the fullness of the account the two show and their similarity, in both also use being made of the staff (9:23 f JE; 10:13 f JE), in the repetition of the emphasis put on the remarkable character of the plague (9:18,24; 10:6,14 JE). By both plagues vegetation is destroyed; and in the plague of locusts special reference is made also to the hail (compare 10:5,12,15). In the case of 9 and 10, the darkness constitutes a connecting link (compare 10:21 E; 11:4 J; 12:12 P; 12:30,31 JE). By the side of the occasional rhythm formed of two members there is also one formed of three members (after the manner of a triole in a measure of two beats). In the case of each group of three plagues, two are announced beforehand (thus 1 JEP and 2 JP; 4 JE and 5 JE; 7 JE and 8 JE; 10 EJ over against 3 the Priestly Code (P), 6 P and 9 E); the first of each group of three plagues, as 1, 4 and 7, is to be announced by Moses on the following morning to Pharaoh (7:15; 8:20; 9:13 JE). Also in regard to the impression caused by the plagues a distinct progress can be noticed, in this too, that the Egyptian sorcerers are active only down to the third plague. Naturally, too, over against these facts, further peculiarities can be pointed out in the separate plagues, e.g. the fact that Goshen, or rather that Israel, is spared in the 4th, 5th, 7th through 10th plagues (8:22; 9:6,26 JE; 10:23 E; 11:7 J); and in the mention made of the intercession in the 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th (8:8 J; 8:12; 9:28,33; 10:17 f JE) without thereby destroying the artistic construction of the whole that has been described above, or that in each such case of individuality of presenting the matter there is to be found a reason for claiming a separate source.

(b) In the same way, too, it is not a permissible conclusion, that in the first miracle and in the first three plagues mention is made of the fact that Aaron performed this miracle with his staff (Ex 7:8 ff, 19; 8:5-20 ff P). At any rate, in the parts ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), no absolute uniformity is to be found, since plagues 1 to 3 are commanded to Moses, while the 6th is commanded to Moses and Aaron (Ex 7:19; 8:1,20 over against EX 9:8); and since, further, in the 6th plague (Ex 9:8) it is Moses, and in the 10th (Ex 12:12) it is God Himself who really carries out the command, and not Aaron, as was the case in the introductory miracles and in the first three plagues. Further, according to JE (Ex 4:30), it appears that the presupposition is that we are to consider all of the addresses and actions in general as taking place through Aaron, even in those cases where this is not especially mentioned.

Only the 1st plague (Ex 7:14 ff) furnishes an apparent reason for the acceptance of two sources. In this case mention is made at times of the waters of the Nile only, and then of all other waters being changed into blood; and a separation from this point of view at least could be carried through. But this possibility disappears at once in the case of the 2nd plague (frogs), where the passage Ex 8:1-3, ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), which verses contain the consummation of the plague announced in 7:26-29 J (Hebrew), is altogether necessary for this connection; as otherwise the impression made upon Pharaoh by this plague, which is not mentioned in P at all, would be a torso. The similarity in the construction of the 2nd and the 1st plague, however (compare under (a) above), and the same difference in the mention made of the Nile and of the other waters in the 2nd plague, make it possible and even advisable in the case of the first plague, too, to discard the hypothesis of a difference in sources, because in the 2nd plague this difference cannot be carried out. Then, too, there would be other omissions found in P. According to the customary separation of sources, P would not contain the fulfillment of the threatened tenth plague announced in 12:12 at all. In the same way the statement in 12:28 refers to the carrying out of a command, the announcement of which to Israel in 12:21 ff would be found in another source. Further in 12:37a we would have the Priestly Code (P), as when the parts belonging to P have been eliminated, the other sources too would contain omissions in 12:21 ff, mostly JE; 12:37b E; 13:3 ff D. In the same way the announcement of a large number of miracles (7:3 P; 11:9 R) is too comprehensive, if these verses refer only to the narratives found in P. In addition, there is a remarkable similarity found in all of the narratives of P with those parts which are ascribed to JE; compare the first miracle in 7:8 ff with 4:2 ff J; 4:17 E. In the Priestly Code (P), too, as is the case with JE, it is stated that the purpose of the miracle is, that Pharaoh, or the Egyptians, or Israel, are to recognize that Yahweh is God and the Lord of the earth, or something to this effect (7:5 P; 7:17 JE; 8:10 R; 8:22; 9:14,29,30 JE; 10:2 R; 11:7 J; compare from the next section, 14:4 P; 14:18 the Priestly Code (P), which at the same time is also the fundamental thought that forms the connecting link of the whole section). The position of Ex 11:1-3 E between 10:28,29 E and 11:8 J constitutes a difficulty, because in the last-mentioned passages Moses is represented as standing continuously before Pharaoh. The announcement made by Yahweh to Moses, that one more plague is to come, and that the Israelites should borrow articles of value from the Egyptians, must in reality have been made before, but for good reasons it is mentioned for the first time at this place, in order to explain the confident utterance of Moses, that he would not again appear before Pharaoh (10:29). But the fact that according to 12:31 JE Pharaoh does in reality once more cause Moses and Aaron to be called, can readily be explained on the ground of the events that happened in the meantime.

The structure of Exodus 12 f contains nothing that could not have been written by one and the same author. Only Moses naturally did not at once communicate (12:21 ff) to the leading men of Israel the command given in 12:15 ff concerning the unleavened bread, which command had been given for later generations; and not until 13:3 ff is this command mentioned in connection with the order given to the people in the meantime concerning the firstborn (13:1 f). The further fact, that the story of the exodus reaches a preliminary conclusion in 12:42 before the details of the Passover (verses 3 ff) have been given, is in itself justifiable. As far as contents are concerned, everything in chapters 12 f, namely, the exodus, the festival of unleavened bread, the firstborn, and orders pertaining thereto, that the month of the exodus is to be regarded as the first month, etc., are closely connected with the Passover and the 10th plague. Because the latter had to be described more fully than the other plagues, we find already in 11:9,10, after the announcement of this plague and its results, a comprehensive notice concerning all the miracles through which Yahweh demonstrated how He, amid great manifestations of power (7:4 P) and with a mighty hand (6:1 JE), has led His people forth.

(3) Exodus 13:17-18:27:

(a) This section finds its connecting thought in the emphasis placed on the love of Yahweh, on His readiness to help, and His long-suffering in the leading of His at times murmuring people on the road to and as far as Sinai. This section covers two months. What is narrated, beginning with Ex 16:1, transpires even within a single two weeks (compare Ex 19:1). Number 1 (Ex 13:17-22), describes the journey to Etham (out of love God does not lead the people the direct way, since He fears that they will become unfaithful in the event of a battle; Joseph's bones are taken along, since God now really is taking care of His people (compare Ge 50:24,26); Yahweh's friendly presence is shown in the pillar of fire). Number 2 (Ex 14:1-31) contains the passage through the Red Sea (Yahweh the helper; compare Ex 14:10,15,13,14,30,21,24,26 f, 31, notwithstanding the murmuring of Israel, 14:11 f). Number 3 (Ex 15:1 ff) contains the thanksgiving hymn of Moses for Yahweh's help, with which fact each one of the four strophes begins (Ex 15:1 ff, 6 ff, 11,16 b ff). Number 4 (Ex 15:20 f) contains Miriam's responsorium. Number 5 (Ex 15:22-27) treats of Marah and Elim (Yahweh proves Himself to be Israel's helper and physician (Ex 15:25 f) notwithstanding the murmuring of Israel (Ex 15:24)). Number 6 introduces the last five pericopes, with a designation of the time (Ex 16:1-36), and describes the miraculous feeding with manna and quails. (The murmuring is particularly emphasized in Ex 16:2,7-9,12. Israel also gathers more than they have been directed to do (Ex 16:16 f); reserves some for the following day (Ex 16:19 f); collects some on the Sabbath (Ex 16:27); Yahweh, who in Ex 16:6-12 alone is mentioned in rapid succession no fewer than ten times, at first does not even utter a word of reproach, and when the Sabbath has been violated He does nothing more than reprove.) Number 7 (Ex 17:1-7) reports the help of Yahweh (Ex 17:4) at the Waters of Contention (Strife). He even appears on the rock (Ex 17:6), notwithstanding the murmuring (Ex 17:2-4,7). Number 8 (Ex 17:8-16) describes the victory over the Amalekites, which furnished the occasion for the erection of the memorial altar, called ?Yahweh-my- Banner.' Possibly in this connection Joshua ("Yahweh helps") was changed from Hosea (Nu 13:16). Compare Hengstenberg, Authenthic. des Pentateuches, II, 395 f. Number 9 (Ex 18:1-12) shows in a constantly changing variety of expressions that emphasis is laid on the impression which the deeds of God in connection with Israel make on Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, while he was visiting the latter (Ex 18:1,8-12). Effective in this connection is also the mention made of the symbolical names of the sons of Moses (Gershom, "I have been a sojourner in a foreign land"; and Eliezer, "The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh" (Ex 18:3 f)). Further, the name Mount of God (Ex 18:5; compare Ex 18:12) probably is a reminder of the fulfillment of Ex 3:12. Number 10 (Ex 18:13-17) shows how God helps Moses (compare Ex 18:19) through the advice of Jethro to appoint judges. In this part, too, Ex 13:17-18:27, we have ten sections, which can easily be arranged in groups of two and two. Thus numbers 1 and 2 are connected by their analogous beginnings (13:17,18 RE; 14:1,2 P) and by the cloud of fire (13:21 f JE; 14:19,24 J); numbers 3 and 4 by the responsive hymn; numbers 5 and 6, which already by the feeling of hunger and thirst are connected in thought, by their reference to the ordinances of Yahweh (15:25 D; 16:4 JE ?; 16:28 R); numbers 7 and 8 by the use made of Moses' staff (17:5,9 JE); numbers 9 and 10 by Jethro's person, and the close connection of their contents in point of time (18:13). Further, the Biblical text of this place is clearly presupposed in the list of stations, expressly stated to have been prepared at the command of Moses (Nu 33). This list, as is acknowledged on all sides, has the characteristics of P; and it takes into consideration not only the portions ascribed to this source, but also the text of JE. Compare Nu 33:9 (Marah and Elim) with Ex 15:22-27, and Nu 33:14 (lack of water in Rephidim) with Ex 17:1 ff.

(b) Over against the analysis into different sources the following data in detail can also be advanced. In P the last demonstration of the power of Yahweh over Pharaoh would be indeed endangered in Ex 14:4,15 ff, 21a, but afterward would not be related. In Ex 16:1 we cannot find in the Priestly Code (P), unless we bring in also 15:27 from JE, how Israel came to be in Elim. On the other hand, in 16:4 ff (JE?) the promise of bread from heaven is groundless without the preceding verses, which are attributed to P; and without 17:1 the Priestly Code (P), we do not know to what the word "there" in 17:3 belonging to JE refers, and how in 17:8 JE the Israelites had come to Rephidim. How entirely data taken from the language utterly fail here in establishing the separation of sources we see from the fact that in Exodus the distribution of the different portions and verses between P and E becomes a matter of doubt, and also in Ex 16 a harmony of view has not been gained as to whether only the Priestly Code (P), or in addition also J, E or JE have contributed to the text. The hymn found in Ex 15:1 ff, which certainly is an old composition, presupposes passages which are assigned to different sources, and in this way speaks for the unity of the text. Compare 15:2 with 14:30 J; 14:13 JE (?); 15:3 with 14:14 JE (?); 14:25 J; 14:4a with 14:9 P; 14:4b with 14:7 JE; 14:8 with 14:22 EP; 14:29 P; with 14:9. On the other hand, Ex 14:19 a and b cannot be utilized in favor of a division of sources E and J; but rather the analogous structure of this passage presupposes the same author, and there is only indicated what elsewhere is always a presupposition, namely, that God Himself has taken His abode somewhere in the cloud of fire (13:21,22 JE; 14:24 J; compare 40:34 ff P) Just as little are the two commands found in 14:16 to be divided between P and E and J, one stating what Moses does, and the other what Yahweh does, since both rather belong together (compare 9:22 f with 9:33; 10:13). At first glance 16:6 ff does not appear to be in its proper place, as Moses and Aaron in 16:6,7 have already told Israel what only in 16:9 ff is revealed through the appearance of Yahweh and His injunction to Moses. But these very verses are in harmony with the character of the whole section (compare under a above), since it is here stated that under all circumstances Israel is to be convinced of this, that Yahweh has proven Himself to be Yahweh, and has heard their murmuring. In addition, the appearance of Yahweh in 16:10 is clearly announced by 16:7. Accordingly, 16:9 ff serve only to confirm and strengthen what is found in 16:6 ff. The fact that not until in 18:2 JE Jethro brings the wife and the sons of Moses, while the latter himself according to 4:20 J had taken them along when he joined Israel, finds a satisfactory explanation in 18:2b. He sent them back doubtless because of the conduct of Zipporah on the occasion of the circumcision of her son (4:25 J). The fact that Jethro comes to Moses at the Mount of God (18:5 JE), while the latter does not arrive at Mt. Sinai until 19:1 ff according to P and J, is no contradiction; for by the Mount of God is meant the whole chain of Horeb, which Moses has already reached according to 17:6 JE; but Mt. Sinai is a single mountain. The special legal ordinances and decisions mentioned in 18:20 JE before the giving of the law (19 ff E and JE) are in perfect harmony with 15:25 D; 16:4 JE (?); 16:28 R.

(4) Exodus 19:1-24:18a:

(a) This fourth section contains the conclusion of the covenant at Mt. Sinai (compare 19:5 R at beginning; 24:7,8 JE toward the end). The contents cover a period of ten days (compare 19:10,11,16; 24:3,1 JE; 24:16 P). The text of this section can again be divided into ten pericopes. After the introduction (19:1-8), which contains a cardinal feature of Exodus (compare under I, 2 above), numbers 1 and 2 (19:9-19,20-25) report the preparation for the conclusion of the Covenant. Number 2 in Ex 19:23 refers expressly to number 1, but is distinguished from number 1 through the new addition in 19:20 after 19:18, as also through the express amplified application of the ordinances referring to purifications and the restriction of the prohibition to the priests (compare 19:22,21,24 with 19:10,12). Numbers 3 and 4 (Ex 20:1-17,18-26) contain the Decalogue and the directions for the cults, together with a description of the impression made by the revelation of the law. Numbers 5 and 6 (Ex 21:1-23:13 expressly circumscribed by a subscription, EX 23:14-19) contain legal ordinances and further directions for the cults. Numbers 3-6 accordingly contain the laws or the conditions of the Covenant. Now follow in numbers 7 and 8 the promises of the Covenant (Ex 23:20-26,27-33), which in verses 20 and 27, 23 and 28 and 24 and 32 f correspond to each other. Numbers 9 and 10 (Ex 24:3-8,9-18 a, combined more closely by Ex 24:1,2) describe the conclusion of the Covenant and the Covenant congregation in different stages. Further, typical numbers at this place also appear in the laws, numbers 3-6. Number 4 (Ex 20:18 ff) contains five directions (Ex 20:23,24,25,26); number 6 (Ex 23:14-19) is divided into 2 X 5 ordinances (compare the anaphoristic addition in Ex 23:14 and 17), namely, verses Ex 23:14,15 a, 15b, 16a, 16b-17,18a, 18b, 19a, 19b. Number 3 (Ex 20:1 ff, the Decalogue) contains, according to Ex 34:28; De 4:13; 10:4, "ten words" margin, according to the two tables doubtless divided into two groups of five each, no matter how in detail we may divide and number them. In the same way number 5 (21:1-23:13) falls into ten sections, separate in form and contents, yet belonging together; and these again are divided into 2 X 5 groups, as will appear presently. Taken altogether then we have in numbers 3-6 (Ex 20:1-23:19) 17 X 5 legal ordinances or groups of laws. While in the historical sections the divisions into 5 X 2 pericopes was made, we here find three times the division into 2 X 5, although here too the beginning of the last five pericopes in the second and third sections is particularly noticeable (compare Ex 9:8 and Ex 16:1), and in the same way a new division can be made at Ex 4:18. Number 5 (Ex 21:1-23:13) is, however, divided as follows: I and II (Ex 21:2-6,7-11) ordinances for the protection of slaves; III and IV (Ex 21:12-17,18-27) protection of life, or liberty, of the dignity of parents, and hygienic laws; V (Ex 21:28-22:3) harm to animals; VI (Ex 22:4-16) to property; VII (Ex 22:17-26) against witchcraft, against imitating the Canaanites, and lack of mercy; VIII (Ex 22:27-30) the relation to God; IX and X (Ex 23:1-5,6-12) ethical and humane law practice. I through IV accordingly contain laws pertaining to persons; V and VI those referring to things; VII through X, those referring to religion, morality, and administration of justice. But the chief line of demarcation is to be made after V; for I through V contain each four ordinances, VI through X each seven, which in the original text in almost each case are in their language separated from each other by particular conjunctions or by the construction. Only in VI (Ex 22:4-16) one command seems to be lacking; for only Ex 22:4,5,6 f, 9-12,13 f, 15 f are distinguished by the "ki" in the beginning; but the seventh ordinance is found in 22:8. Here too, in each case, II and I, two and two as a rule are more closely connected, after the manner of the division in the first three sections, 1:8-7:7; 7:8-13:16; 13:17-18:27; at least this is the case in I and II, III and IV through VII and VIII, IX and X.

(b) In this section, too, Ex 19:1-24:18 a, there is no real occasion for a division into sources. It is claimed that P is found only in 19:1,2a; 24:15-18; but 19:1,2a is indispensable for 19:2b on account of the word "there"; and before 24:15 ff there is an omission, if the preceding verses are to be ascribed to a different source. The duplicates 19:8,9; 19:18,20 are best explained by the assumption of a new beginning in 19:9 at 19:20 (compare above); 24:1,2, which at the same time introduces 24:9 ff, is placed before 24:3, because in point of time it belongs here. According to the original text, the translation at this place must read: "To Moses he spoke," in contrast to the ordinances which, in 21:1 ff, are addressed to the congregation of Israel. Certainly 24:3-8 is purposely formulated to show in almost the same words that 24:3 reports the Violation and 24:4 ff the writing of the decision to obey on the part of Israel (24:3b and 24:7b). It is not perfectly clear to the reader where Moses was during the promulgation of the Decalogue, whether upon the mountain or at the foot of the mountain (compare 19:24 f; 20:18 ff; but also De 5:5). In view of the importance of the matter itself and the vividness of the narrative and the continual change in the place where Moses abode, it is psychologically easily understood that the clearness of the account has suffered somewhat.

(5) Exodus 24:18b through 31:18:

(a) During the forty days which Moses tarries with God on the mountain, and at the conclusion of which he receives the two tables of the law (31:18), God converses with him seven times (25:1; 30:11,17,22,34; 31:1,12). Number 1 (25:1-30:10) contains directions in reference to the building of the Tabernacle, and laws for the priests serving in it. Numbers 2-6 bring a number of directions supplementing number 1, namely, number 2 (Ex 30:11-16), individual tax; number 3 (Ex 30:17-21), copper washing vessels; number 4 (Ex 30:22-33), oil for anointing; number 5 (Ex 30:34-38), incense; number 6 (Ex 31:1-11), the calling of Bezalel and Aholiab to be the master builders; additionally and in conclusion, number 7 (Ex 31:12-17), the Sabbath command. It is probably not accidental that the Sabbath idea is touched upon 7 times, namely, in addition to the present passage, also in (a) Ex 16:5 JE (?); 16:23-29 P and R; (b) 20:8-11 E; (c) 23:10-12 E; (d) 24:16 P; (e) 34:21 J; (f) 35:1-3 the Priestly Code (P), and that as is the case in this present passage, other passages too, such as 24:16 P; 35:1-3 P conclude a main section, and 22:10-22 a subordinate section, with this reference.

The first more complete pericope itself in Exodus (25:1-30:10) is, however, divided into 12 pieces (we cannot at this place enter into details in reference to the typical numbers found so often in the measurements of the Tabernacle, but can refer only to the cubical form of the Holy of Holies on the basis of 10 cubits), namely,

(1) contributions for the sanctuary (25:1-9);

(2) the holy ark (25:10-22);

(3) table of shewbread (25:23-30);

(4) golden candlesticks (25:31-40);

(5) tabernacle (26:1-37) in which at the same time the articles mentioned from 2 to 4 are placed (compare 26:33 ff);

(6) altar for burnt sacrifices (27:1-8);

(7) court (27:9-19) in which this altar stood (compare 40:29,33);

(8) oil for the lights (27:20,21);

(9) sacred garments for the priests (28:1-43);

(10) consecration of priests (29:1-37);

(11) the burnt sacrifices (29:38-46);

(12) incense altar (30:1-10).

The five articles included in 8 to 12 are combined into a contrast to the five in 1 to 7 by their express reference to the priests (compare in addition to 9 and 10 also 27:21; 29:44; 30:7 f, 10). With the incense altar, which was of great importance, and of equal importance with the great altar on the Day of Atonement (30:10), this section closes (compare (b)).

Thus it will under all circumstances be better to search for an explanation for putting oil in the place of the candlesticks and of the incense altar, which at first seems surprising, than in the case of every difficulty to appeal to a redactor's working without system or order. However, the entire portion Ex 24:18 b through 31:18 finds its explanation in the promise of 25:8 that Yahweh will dwell in the midst of Israel (compare 29:45 f). He is enthroned on the ark, in which the accusing law as the expression of the Divine will is deposited (for this reason called ha-?edhuth; 25:16,21; 26:33,14), but above the atonement lid, the kapporeth, at which on the Day of Atonement, the atonement ceremony is carried out (compare 25:17-22; Le 16); see DAY OF ATONEMENT.

(b) This whole section, with the exception of Ex 31:18 E (?) is ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), although at this place, though without good reasons, different strata are distinguished. In regard to the contradiction claimed to exist in the different persons to be anointed (high priest, or all the priests; compare 29:7 over against 28:41; 29:21), see LEVITICUS. Also the duplicates of the tamidh sacrifice and of the candlesticks (compare I, 3, above) are not at all the decisive factor in proof of a difference of sources within the parts treating of the priests, providing it can be shown that each passage stands where it belongs. With regard to the candlesticks, see LEVITICUS. In addition compare passages like Mt 10:39 and 16:25; 10:22 and 24,13; 6:14 ff and 18:35; 5:29 f and 18:8 ff; 19:30 and 20:16. But as far as attributing certain passages to P in general is concerned, it is self-evident that ordinances referring to the cults make use of technical terms pertaining to the cults, without this fact justifying any conclusion as to a particular author or group of authors. On the other hand, it could not at all be understood how P could so often call the Decalogue ha-?edhuth, without having contained this all-important law itself (compare Ex 25:16,21 f; 26:33 f; 34:29; 38:21, etc.). On the other hand, as is well known, the fourth commandment (Ex 20:8-11) expressly refers back to Ge 2:2,3, that is, to P; also Ex 23:15 to 12:20.

(6) Exodus 32:1-35:3:

(a) God's promise to dwell in the midst of Israel, the turning-point in the fifth section, seems to have become a matter of doubt, through the apostasy of Israel, but is nevertheless realized in consequence of the intercession of Moses and of the grace of God, which, next to His primitive holiness, is emphasized very strongly. This entire sixth section is to be understood from this standpoint. As was the case in the preceding section, the forty days are prominent in this too (compare 34:28 J with 24:18 P). We can divide the contents here also into ten pericopes. Number 1 (32:1-14) reports that Yahweh tells Moses of the idolatry with the golden calf, that He is determined to destroy Israel, but is influenced to change this determination by the intercession of Moses. Number 2 (32:15-29) describes the wrath of Moses and the punishment through him. He breaks the tablets into pieces, grinds the golden calf into powder, reproves Aaron, dissolves through the Levites the curse which had for this reason impended over them since Ge 49:5-7 and causes this to be changed into a blessing: three thousand killed. Number 3 (32:30-35) reports that Yahweh at the petition of Moses will send some of His angels, but later on will punish the people for their sins. Number 4 (33:1-6) reports that Yahweh Himself no longer accompanies His people, which, on the one hand, is an act of grace, since the presence of God would even harm the people, but on the other hand is a punishment, and is felt as such by Israel. Number 5 (33:7-11) declares that God meets Moses only outside of the camp in a tent, but communes with him face to face. Number 6 introduces the last six pericopes in a natural way, since God's grace is appearing in constantly increasing glory (33:12-33). Here we have the petition of Moses to Yahweh that He in person should accompany him and show him His glory (Yahweh's grace is made especially prominent in 33:12,13,16,17,19). Number 7 (34:1-10) describes the preparation for the new conclusion of the covenant; Yahweh appears to Moses as the gracious, merciful, long-suffering kind, and faithful God, so that Moses again appeals to His grace. Number 8 (34:11-28) describes the new establishment of the covenant on the basis of the renewal of the Divine and grandiose promises of ordinances pertaining to religion and cults, and the ten words. Number 9 (34:29-35) describes how, in consequence of his close communion with God, Moses' face shines. Number 10 (35:1-3) contains the Sabbath command (see (5a)). Numbers 9 and 10 give expression to the renewed covenant relationship. If we again in the larger group 1 to 8 take two and two together we find that each of these four groups contains a petition of Moses: Ex 32:11 ff; 33:30-32; 33:12 ff; 38:8,9. The entire section brings out equally prominently the love and the holiness of God, and does this in such a way that both characteristics find their expression in each group of two of these ten numbers. The progress beyond the third section (leading Israel to Sinai) is noticeable, since the murmuring is in each case followed only by an expression of the love of God; but equally this present section stands in contrast to Nu 11 ff, where, on the occasion of the continuous murmuring of Israel the love of God is not indeed ignored, but it must take a place in the background as compared with His punitive holiness, which is particularly apparent in the story of the return of the spies in Nu 14:11 ff. Here is at once seen the great similarity with the present section of Nu 14:12,15,16,17 ff and with Ex 32:10,12; 34:6 f, but at the same time the great difference caused by a divergency of the events (compare Nu 14:21 ff). In contrast to this, Ex 32:34 refers back to Nu 14, and Ex 32:35 is a proleptic judgment based on this experience.

(b) It is incomprehensible how critics have found in the renewal of the covenant caused by the apostasy of Israel and in the conditions of this renewal, namely, in the Books of the Covenant and in the Decalogue, duplicates, which are distributed between E and J (Ex 20:1 ff; 21 ff; 24:8-34:1 ff, 28; 34:11-26; 34:27). But in Ex 34:11-26 there is no sign of the number ten being used in connection with the ordinances referring to the religion and the cults. Goethe's attempt to find at this place the original Decalogue, which effort is constantly being repeated, is accordingly without any foundation, even in the use of the number ten. In 34:28 b, according to 34:1 and tradition (compare De 10:2,4; also Ex 24:12; 31:18), Yahweh is to be regarded as the subject. Again Ex 33:4 and 5 ff are not duplicates. In 33:4 the people are described as having laid aside their ornaments a single time as a sign of repentance; according to 33:5,6 the people permanently dispense with these, a state of mind which makes it possible for God again to show His mercy. It is an arbitrary assumption that these ornaments were used in the construction of the Tabernacle, the building of which had been announced beforehand in Ex 25 ff, so that in front of 33:7 a parallel account to 35 ff P taken from JE would have been omitted. In 33:7 ff according to the text the author has in mind a tent already in existence, which up to this time had been standing within the camp and now had to be taken without, because Yahweh for the present can no longer dwell in the midst of the people (32:34; 33:3,1), until Moses, through his intercession, again makes this possible (33:15-17; 34:9,10). And the promised tabernacle takes the place of the provisional tent (Ex 35 ff), which, as is done by the Septuagint, is probably to be preferred to Moses' own tent. In the Priestly Code (P), to whom 34:29 ff is attributed, such a provisional arrangement is presupposed in 34:35, since already at this place, and before the building of the tabernacle in Ex 35 ff, mention is made of the fact that Moses entered for the purpose of receiving the revelation of God. This accordingly presupposes what is reported in 33:7 ff. Even without the facts mentioned and for other reasons, too, an omission must be accepted before 34:29 ff; for 34:29 speaks of the tables of the Law, concerning the origin of which P has reported nothing; and in 34:32 concerning the commandments which Moses received on Mr. Sinai and had imparted to the people, which, however, do not refer to the directions that were given in Ex 25 ff, since these, according to 35:4 ff, are yet to be expressly communicated to the people.

(7) Exodus 35:4-40:38:

(a) The construction of the Tabernacle. This section is divided into four pericopes, each with four subdivisions (compare Structure of Leviticus 16 in DAY OF ATONEMENT). The same principle of division is found also in the history of Abraham and in De 12-26. Number I (Ex 35:4-36:7) describes the preparation for the construction:

(1) Ex 35:4-19 appeals for contributions for this purpose;

(2) 35:20-29, contributions;

(3) 35:30-36:1, characterization of the builders;

(4) 36:2-7, delivering the contributions to the builders.

Numbers II and III (Ex 36:8-38:31; 39:1-31) report the construction of the Tabernacle and the preparation of the priests garments (compare Ex 39:32,1);

Number II:

(1) Ex 36:8-38, dwelling-place;

(2) 37:1-38:9, utensils;

(3) 38:10-20, court;

(4) 38:24-31, cost of 38:1-3;

Number III

(1) 39:2-7, shoulder garment;

(2) 39:8-21, pocket;

(3) 39:22-26, outer garment;

(4) 39:27-31, summary account concerning coats, miter, bonnets, breeches, girdle, diadem.

Number IV (39:32-40:38) reports the completion:

(1) 39:32-43, consecration of these objects;

(2) 40:1-15, command to erect;

(3) 40:16-33, carrying out this command;

(4) 40:34-38, entrance of the glory of Yahweh.

In this way the dwelling of Yahweh, which had been promised in 25:8 the Priestly Code (P), and in Ex 32-34 JE had been uncertain, has become a reality. The whole section is closely connected with Ex 25-31, yet is independent in character. The full details found in both groups are completely justified by the importance of the object. It is self- evident that at this place, too, the language of the cults is demanded by the object itself.

(b) The attempts to distribute this section among different authors are a total failure in view of the unity of the structure, which is independent also over against Ex 25-31. Since the numbers given in 38:26 agree entirely with the numbers gathered later in Nu 2:32, it is evident that for the latter the lists for the contributions were used, which in itself is very probable because it was practical. In case this section is ascribed to P it is inexplicable how the writer can in Ex 40:34 ff speak of the pillar of fire as of something well known, since this has not yet been mentioned in the parts ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), but has been in 13:21 f JE; 14:19,24 J.

Continued in next article…

Written by Wilhelm Moller

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