Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

General Editor for the Old Testament and Apocrypha:—


Dean of Ely



In the Revised Version

With Introduction and Notes


The Rev. S. R. DRIVER, D.D.








at the University Press





The present General Editor for the Old Testament in the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges desires to say that, in accordance with the policy of his predecessor the Bishop of Worcester, he does not hold himself responsible for the particular interpretations adopted or for the opinions expressed by the editors of the several Books, nor has he endeavoured to bring them into agreement with one another. It is inevitable that there should be differences of opinion in regard to many questions of criticism and interpretation, and it seems best that these differences should find free expression in different volumes. He has endeavoured to secure, as far as possible, that the general scope and character of the series should be observed, and that views which have a reasonable claim to consideration should not be ignored, but he has felt it best that the final responsibility should, in general, rest with the individual contributors.



THE preparation of the present commentary has occupied longer time than I expected. The Book of Exodus either deals with, or touches on, many different subjects, upon most of which much has been written, and which frequently raise difficult and complex problems. Had not able guides cleared and smoothed the way, I should have shrunk from the task imposed upon me by the General Editor. Naturally, I had constantly beside me the masterly commentary of Dillmann. Dillmann was a learned and accomplished scholar, of critical yet sober judgement, and gifted, as the present Dean of Canterbury has justly observed, with ‘strong sense and historical capacity.’ On historical questions, especially, I have been glad to have the benefit of Dillmann’s judgement; and I have generally in such cases allowed the reader to know what Dillmann’s conclusions were. Dillmann’s Commentary on Exodus and Leviticus appeared, however, in 1880; and naturally it needs now to be supplemented, in some respects, by more recent works. Among these I must name in particular the very thorough and ably written commentary of Bäntsch (1903). Bäntsch’s death, in 1910, at a comparatively early age, was a great loss to Biblical science. On special questions,—such as Egyptian history, the route of the Exodus, the ancient limits of the Isthmus of Suez, the characteristics of the Sinaitic Peninsula,—and on frequent details in the exegesis, there were naturally many other authorities whom I had to consult: the note, for instance, on one word, stacte, in Exodus 30, involved a correspondence with Sir W. Thiselton-Dyer, in addition to much independent research. The researches and discoveries of recent years have shewn that the customs and institutions of the Hebrews present many analogies with those of other nations; and references have in consequence had frequently to be made both to ancient original documents, such as the Code of Hạmmurabi, and also to modern works dealing with archaeology, travel in the East, and anthropology. In preparing my notes, I found it a great help to be able to refer the reader for fuller information to one or other of the two valuable repertories of Biblical learning which we now possess, the large Dictionary of the Bible, edited by Dr Hastings, and the Encyclopaedia Biblica. The greater part of my notes were in type when the excellent commentary of Mr (now Dr) McNeile in the ‘Westminster Commentaries’ appeared, marked by a felicitous combination of critical insight with the religious feelings and belief of an English Churchman. It was a satisfaction to me to find how often he had reached independently the same conclusions as those which I had reached myself; and I was glad sometimes to be able to refer to his work. To the General Editor I am indebted for a most careful reading of the proofs, as well as for numerous suggestions, to most of which I have gladly given effect. And I have to thank Mr F. LI. Griffith, Reader in Egyptology in the University of Oxford, for much valuable help on points connected with Egyptology.

Exodus is a striking and fascinating book. It sets before us, as the Hebrews of later ages told it, and in the vivid, picturesque style which their best historians could always command, the story of the deliverance from Egypt: it exhibits some of their most characteristic laws and institutions, ceremonial observances, and religious ideals, in different stages of their growth; the writers in it, one and all, are manifestly men filled and moved by the Spirit of God; and it possesses a deep and abiding spiritual value. It has been my privilege and my endeavour to do the best that I could, consistently with the limits at my disposal, to explain and illustrate, and to help the reader to appreciate, the varied contents of the book. Some of the conclusions which I have adopted may be novel to some readers, and appear to them to be ill-founded: but while there are undoubtedly details which are, and from the nature of the case must probably always remain, uncertain, these conclusions, I am persuaded, rest in their broader outlines upon secure foundations, which neither have been, nor are likely to be, overthrown. I say this with full knowledge of what has been said by various writers on the other side. Assiduous and painstaking as the labours of some of these writers have been, it does not appear to me that they have been successful either in shaking the great cumulative argument which shews that the traditional position is untenable, or in finding a better explanation of the facts presented by the Old Testament itself than, substantially,—I expressly do not say, in every particular,—that which is commonly associated with the name of Wellhausen1[1]. True religion will not suffer in consequence. There was a time when the belief that the earth moved round the sun was universally believed to be subversive of the Christian faith: that belief is now held universally by all civilized races; and the Christian faith remains as secure as ever. It is not the object of criticism either to weaken or to overthrow the Christian faith, but, the Old Testament being admittedly the record of a progressive revelation, it is the object of criticism to ascertain, so far as the best means at our disposal enable us to do so, the stages and the means by which this revelation was given, and the record of it was written. From a study with such aims the cause of Christian truth has surely much to gain, and nothing to fear1[2].

[1] To preclude misunderstanding, I may add that with regard, for instance, to the pre-prophetic religion of Israel, and the historical value of the narratives relating to the earlier history of Israel, I agree with Kittel (see his, unfortunately, poorly translated Scientific Study of the OT., 1910) rather than with Wellhausen. But Kittel, though he opposes Wellhausen on some points, can appreciate his merits; and remarks justly (p. 57) that ‘the science [not ‘criticism,’ as in the translation, p. 75] of the OT., on this and other fields, owes more to’ him ‘than to any other living man.’ Nor do I assign Deuteronomy to the reign of Josiah; and I believe, of course, that large elements of pre-exilic usage are codified in P (cf. Wellh. Hist. pp. 366, 404).

[2] See further, on the subject of the last paragraph, a brochure entitled The Higher Criticism; Three Papers by S. R. Driver, D.D., and A. F. Kirkpatrick, D.D. (1905); being a reprint of a paper by the present Dean of Ely on ‘The Claims of Criticism upon the Clergy and the Laity,’ read originally at the Church Congress at Northampton in 1902; and of two papers by the present writer, one on ‘The Old Testament in the Light of To-day,’ from the Expositor, Jan. 1901, pp. 27 ff., and the other on ‘The permanent religious value of the Old Testament,’ from The Interpreter, Jan. 1905, pp. 10 ff.

S. R. D.

5 February 1911


List of Principal Abbreviations employed

Chronological Table


§ 1.Name and Contents

§ 2.Sources and Literary Structure of the Book of Exodus

§ 3.The Contents of Exodus arranged according to the Sources

§ 4.History of Egypt during the Israelites’ sojourn in it

§ 5.Historical and Religious character of Exodus


Additional Notes:—

On Exodus 3:14 (‘I will be that I will be’)

On the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart

On the sites of Pi-haḥiroth, Migdol, and Baal-ẓĕphôn (Exodus 14:2)

On the passage of the Red Sea

On the manna

On the ‘covenants’ mentioned in the Pentateuch

The Theophany on Sinai

The site of Sinai

The Ark

On the Ephod

On the Urim and Thummim

Tabular synopsis of laws in Exodus 34 and in Exodus 23:12; Exodus 23:15-19; Exodus 13:12-13Tabular synopsis of contents of Exodus 35-40, 25-31

The Nash Papyrus of the Decalogue


Appendix i. The Passover

Appendix ii. The date of the Decalogue

Appendix iii. The Code of Hạmmurabi

Appendix iv. The Historical character of the Tent of Meeting, as described by P



Asiatic captives making bricks under Thothmes III

Mouth of Wâdy ‘Aleyat, shewing an Acacia tree

Jebel Serbâl from the Upper Palms in Wâdy ‘Aleyat

Râs Ṣufṣafeh

Wâdy ed-Deir. Convent of St Catharine, and steps leading up to Jebel Mûsâ

The Table of Presence-bread, with incense-cups, and two silver trumpets, as depicted on the Arch of Titus

The Golden Lampstand, as reconstructed by Prof. A. R. S. Kennedy

Model of P’s Tent of Meeting, as reconstructed by Prof. Kennedy

A ‘Frame,’ with its bases

The Altar of Burnt-offering

The Court of the Tent of Meeting

List of principal abbreviations employed, and of authorities mentioned sometimes without further specification

Abu’l-WalidJewish Grammarian and Lexicographer, c. a.d. 985–1040.

AJSL.American Journal of Semitic Languages.

al.alii (others), or aliter (elsewhere).

ATLAO.Alfred Jeremias, Das AT. im Lichte des alten Orients, 1904, ed. 2 (much enlarged), 1906.

Auth. & Arch.Authority and Archaeology, edited by D. G. Hogarth, 1899 (pp.1–152, on archaeological illustrations of the Old Testament, by S. R. Driver).

Bä.B. Bäntsch, Exodus-Leviticus-Numeri übersetzt und erklärt (1903). In Nowack’s Handkommentar zum AT.

Benz. Arch. (or Benz.)I. Benzinger, Hebr. Archäologie, 1894, ed. 2 (enlarged), 1907.

BreastedJ. H. Breasted (American Egyptologist). Name often cited alone as authority for dates; see his History of Ancient Egypt (1906), pp. 21 ff., 597 ff., or his smaller History of the Ancient Egyptians (1908), pp. 23ff., 419 ff.

C.-H.J. E. Carpenter and G. Harford-Battersby, The Hexateuch, 1900, vol. I (reprinted as a separate vol. under the title The Composition of the Hexateuch, 1902) describing the grounds of the analysis, and characteristics of the different sources; vol. II containing the text in the RV., with the sources distinguished typographically, and critical notes.

CIS.Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum (Parisiis 1881 ff.).

DDeuteronomy, Deuteronomic: see pp. xi–xiii.

D2Deuteronomic passages in Josh., Jud., Kings.

DB.A Dictionary of the Bible, edited by J. Hastings, D.D. (4 vols. 1898–1902, a fifth, supplementary vol., 1904).

DelitzschFranz Delitzsch (d. 1890), author of Commentaries on Genesis, Job, Proverbs, &c.

Del. HWB.Friedrich Delitzsch (son of the preceding), Assyrisches Handwörterbuch, 1896.

Di., Dillm.Aug. Dillmann, Exodus und Leviticus erklärt, 1880. Appeared as the 2nd edition of Knobel’s Commentary (1857), many excerpts from which, distinguished by inverted commas, are incorporated in it.

Di.-Ryss.Dillmann’s Exodus und Leviticus, edited by V. Ryssel, 1897. (Dillmann’s Commentary, revised and brought up to date. Ryssel’s additions can be distinguished only by a comparison of Dillmann’s own Commentary of 1880. In the present volume ‘Di.’ or ‘Dillm.’ always gives Dillmann’s own opinion.)

EHexateuchal source: see p. xi.

EB.Encyclopaedia Biblica, ed. by Rev. T. K. Cheyne, D.D., D. Litt., and J. S. Black, LL.D. (4 vols. 1899–1903).

EbersG. Ebers, Durch Gosen zum Sinai, 1872, ed. 2, 1881.

EHH.A. H. Sayce, The Early History of the Hebrews, 1897.

ErmanA Erman, Life in Ancient Egypt, 1894.

EVV.English Versions (used in cases where AV. and RV. agree).

G.-K.Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, as edited and enlarged by E. Kautzsch. Translated from the 28th German edition by A. E. Cowley, 1910.


Griffith (F. LI.)English Egyptologist.

HSee p. xiii.

HCM.A. H. Sayce, The ‘Higher Criticism’ and the Verdict of the Monuments, 1894.

Holz.H. Holzinger, Genesis erklärt, 1898. In Marti’s Kurzer Hand-Commentar zum AT.

JSee p. xi.

JBL.Journal of Biblical Literature.

KAT.3Die Keilinschriften und das A T., 1903, by H. Zimmern (pp. 345–653) and H. Winckler (pp. 1–342).

KB.E. Schrader, Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek (transliterations and translations of Babylonian and Assyrian inscriptions, by various scholars). 6 vols., 1889–1900.

Ke.C. F. Keil, Genesis und Exodus, ed. 3, 1878.

KimchiDavid Kimchi, of Narbonne, Jewish Grammarian, Lexicographer, and Commentator, a.d. 1160–1235.

Kn., Knob.Aug. Knobel, Exodus und Leviticus erklärt, 1857. Cited from the extracts incorporated in Dillmann’s Commentary.

L. and B.W. M. Thomson, The Land and the Book; or Biblical illustrations drawn from the manners and customs, the scenes and scenery of the Holy Land. Three large volumes, of which Southern Palestine and Jerusalem (1881) is cited as L. and B. i, Central Palestine and Phoenicia (1883) as L. and B. ii, and Lebanon, Damascus, and Beyond Jordan (1886) as L. and B. iii.

LOT.S. R. Driver, Introduction to the Literature of the OT., 1891, ed. 8, 1909 (this work was re-set for the 6th edition, 1897; but the pagination of edd. 1–5 is indicated in the text of edd. 6–8).

MaimonidesMosheh Maimuni, of Cordova, great Jewish Legalist, a.d. 1135–1204.

Masp. i., ii.G. Maspero, The Dawn of Civilization, ed. 4, 1901; and The Struggle of the Nations, ed. 2, 1910.

Mass. TextThe Heb. Text of the OT., as ‘handed down’ by the ‘Massoretic’ scholars (c. 6–10 cent. a.d.).

McNeileA. H. McNeile, The Book of Exodus, with Introduction and Notes, 1908. In the ‘Westminster Commentaries.’

NHB.H. B. Tristram, The Natural History of the Bible, ed. 2, 1868.

NHWB.J. Levy, Neuhebräisches und Chaldäisches Wörterbuch, 1876–89.

Nowack, Arch.W. Nowack, Hebräische Archäologie, 1894.

Onk.Onkelos, author (or redactor) of the principal Aramaic Targum on the Pentateuch.

O.S.Ordnance Survey of the Peninsula of Sinai, 1869.

OTJC.2W. R. Smith, Old Testament in the Jewish Church, ed. 2, 1892.

PThe priestly narrative (or priestly writer) of the Hexateuch (see p. xi).

P2, P3Secondary strata of P (see p. xii top; pp. 328f., 378).

Pesh.Peshiṭto (the Syriac version of the Bible).

PetrieFlinders Petrie, English Egyptologist. Name often cited alone as authority for dates: see his History of Egypt, vols. 1 (to the 16th Dyn.), 11 (17–18 Dyn.), 111 (19–30 Dyn.).

PRE.3Realencyklopädie für Protestantische Theologie und Kirche, ed. 3, edited by A. Hauck, 1896–1909.

P.S.Payne Smith, Thesaurus Syriacus.

Ps.-Jon.Targum on the Pentateuch (later than that of Onkelos), formerly attributed falsely to Jonathan, the author (or redactor) of the Targum on the prophets.

RRedactor or compiler.

RJE, RD, RPSee pp. xi, xii.

RashiRabbinical abbreviation of R(abbi) Sh(ĕlômöh) (Solomon) Y(iẓḥâḳi) (i.e. son of I(saac)), of Troyes, Jewish Commentator, a.d. 1040–1105.

Rel. Sem. W. R. Smith, The Religion of the Semites, ed. 2, 1894.

Riehm, HWB.Ed. Riehm, Handwörterbuch des Biblischen Altertums, ed. 2, 1893.

Rob.Edw. Robinson, Biblical Researches in Palestine and the adjacent regions: a Journal of Travels in the years 1838 and 1852, in three volumes, ed. 2, 1856.

RVm.Margin of the Revised Version.

SaadiahJewish philosopher, and translator of the OT. into Arabic. Born in Egypt. Died a.d. 942.

Sam.Samaritan Text of the Pentateuch.

S. and P.A. P. Stanley, Sinai and Palestine in connexion with their history (ed. 1864). A shilling edition appeared in 1910; but, though the text is unabridged, it does not contain the numerous footnotes, or the vocabulary of topographical words (pp. 481–534), in the larger edition.

SBAk.Sitzungsberichte der Berliner (Königlich Preussischen) Akademie der Wissenschaften.

SBOT.Sacred Books of the Old Testament, edited by P. Haupt.

We., Wellh.J. Wellhausen.

Wilk.-B.The Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, by Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson. A new edition, revised and corrected by Sam. Birch. Three vols., 1878.

ZATW.Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft.

ZDMG.Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft.

ZDPV.Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palaestina-Vereins.

The spaces, sometimes left in the text (as Exodus 29 after vv. 3, 4, 6, &c.), indicate a break, before the introduction of a new subject, but not sufficiently marked to call for a new paragraph.

The letters on the margin (J, E, P, &c.) indicate the sources, of which the text appears to be composed.

A small ‘superior’ figure attached to the title of a book (as KAT.3[3]), or to its author’s name (as Dillm.2), indicates the edition of the work referred to.

[3] Die Keilinschriften und das A T., 1903, by H. Zimmern (pp. 345–653) and H. Winckler (pp. 1–342).

In citations, the letters a and b (or, sometimes, c and d) denote respectively the first and second (or third and fourth) parts of the verse cited.

A dagger (†), appended to a list of references, indicates that it includes all instances of the word or phrase referred to, occurring in the OT.

In the transliteration of Semitic words or proper names, certain letters, commonly confused in English, but distinct in the original, are sometimes (but not uniformly) distinguished. Where distinctions have been made,’ = א; ‘ = ע, ع; gh = غ; = ח, ح; ch (in Arabic words) = خ; dh = ذ; = ק, ق; or = צ, ص; = ט, ط.



First dynasty of Babylon  (Ungnad’s date) 2232–1933

Hammurabi (6th king of the First Dynasty)    2130–2088

Abraham (if Amraphel = Hạmmurabi)    c. 2100

The Kasshite Dynasty    1757–1182

Rule of the Hyksos in Egypt  (Petrie) 2098[4]–1587

    (Breasted) 1680[5]–1580.

Eighteenth Egyptian Dynasty    (Petrie) 1587–1327

Thothmes III    1503–1449

Biblical date of the Exodus    1491

Amenhôtep III    Age of the Tell el-Amarna Letters. Canaan an Egyptian province.    1414–1383

Amenhôtep IV (Khun-aten)    Abdi-ḥiba, Egyptian governor of Jerusalem, threatened by the Ḥabiri.    1383–1365

Nineteenth Dynasty    1328–1202

Seti I    1326–1300

Rameses II    1300–1234

Merenptah    1234–1214

Probable real date of the Exodus    c. 1230

Seti II    1214–1209

Twentieth Dynasty    1202–1102

Rameses III    1202–1171

Rameses IV    1171–1165

David (Biblical date)    1058–1017

David (date as corrected by Assyrian data[6])    c. 1010–970

[6] See the writer’s Isaiah, his Life and Times (in the ‘Men of the Bible’ series), p. 13; or DB. i. 401.

[4-5] For the grounds of this great divergence between Petrie and Breasted, see the Addenda to the 7th and 8th editions of the present writer’s Genesis, pp. XVIII, XIX (obtainable separately). From the 18th Dynasty onwards, Breasted’s dates are mostly a few years lower than Petrie’s (which are followed elsewhere in this Table), but never more than 8 or 9 years, and usually less.


§ 1. Name and Contents

The Book of Exodus derives its name through the Vulg. Exodus from the LXX. Ἔξοδος, i.e. the Outgoing or Departure (cf. Hebrews 11:22), viz. of the children of Israel from Egypt. By the Jews, in accordance with their practice of calling the books of the Pentateuch after one or more of their opening words, it is known as וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת (Origen, Ουελεσμωθ), ‘And these are the names …,’ or, more commonly, simply as שְׁמוֹת, Shemôth, ‘names.’ The Book carries on the history of the Israelites from the death of Joseph in Egypt (Genesis 50) to the erection of the Tabernacle by Moses in the wilderness of Sinai on the 1st day of the 2nd year of the Exodus (Exodus 40:1; Exodus 40:17).

Outline of contents:—

I. Chs. 1–11. Events leading to the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt.

Chs. 1–2. The increase of the Hebrews in Egypt. The birth and education of Moses, and his flight to Midian.

Chs. Exodus 3:1 to Exodus 7:13. Moses commissioned by Jehovah to be the deliverer of his people. His unsuccessful endeavour to obtain their release from the Pharaoh.

Chs. Exodus 7:14-24. The first nine Plagues.

II. Chs. 12–18. The departure of the Israelites from Egypt, and their journey as far as Rephidim.

Chs. 12–13. The last Plague. Institution of the Passover, and the Feast of Unleavened Cakes. The death of the firstborn of the Egyptians. The departure from Egypt. Law for the consecration of the firstborn. The journey to Etham.

Chs. 14–15. The passage of the Red Sea (ch. 14). Moses’ song of triumph (Exodus 15:1-18). The journey from the Red Sea to Elim (Exodus 15:22-27).

Ch. 16. The journey from Elim to the wilderness of Sin. Manna and quails given.

Ch. 17. The Israelites reach Rephidim. Water given to them at Massah. The victory over Amalek.

Ch. 18. The visit of Jethro to Moses. Appointment of judges to assist Moses in the administration of justice.

III. Chs. 19–40. Israel at Sinai.

Ch. 19. Arrival at Sinai. The theophany on the mount.

Ch. Exodus 20:1-21. The Decalogue (vv. 1–17). Introduction to the Book of the Covenant (vv. 18–21).

Chs. Exodus 20:22 to Exodus 23:33. The Book of the Covenant.

Ch. 24. The ratification of the covenant. Moses ascends the mount to receive the tables of stone, and directions for the construction of a sanctuary.

Chs. 25:1–31:18a. The directions given to Moses for the construction and equipment of a sanctuary, and for the vestments and consecration of the priests.

Chs. Exodus 31:18-18. The Episode of the Golden Calf, and incidents arising out of it or mentioned in connexion with it.

Chs. 35–40. Execution of the directions given to Moses in chs. 25–31:18a.

For a more detailed summary, exhibiting the distribution of the narrative between the different sources, see p. xviii ff.

§ 2. Sources and Literary Structure of the Book of Exodus

The Book of Exodus, like the other books of the Hexateuch, is of composite origin, and reached its present form by a series of stages, being built up gradually on the basis of excerpts from pre-existing documents or sources. The principal grounds on which this conclusion of modern criticism respecting the sources and structure of the Hexateuch rests, are stated in the General Introduction to the Pentateuch in the present series: here, therefore, the conclusion will be taken for granted; and all that will be attempted will be to explain, as far as may be necessary or possible, the details of the composition of the book, and to give an outline of the narrative contained in each of the sources. The two oldest sources of which Exodus is composed are those now commonly known as ‘J’ and ‘E’—the former, called ‘J’ on account of its author’s almost exclusive use of the sacred name Jehovah, written probably in Judah in the 9th cent b.c., and the latter, called ‘E’ on account of the preference, frequently shewn in Genesis and Numbers not less than in Exodus, for Elohim (‘God’), written probably a little later in the Northern Kingdom. The principal materials out of which these two narratives were constructed were partly oral tradition, and partly (esp. in chs. 20–23, Exodus 34:10-28) written laws. Excerpts from these two sources were combined together, so as to form a single continuous narrative (JE), by a compiler, or redactor (RJE), who sometimes at the same time made slight additions of his own, usually of a hortatory or didactic character, and who lived probably in the early part of the 7th cent. b.c. The parts derived from J and E are in tone and point of view (as in the other books of the Hexateuch) akin to the writings of the great prophets: the additions which seem to be due to the compiler approximate in both style and character to Deuteronomy (7th cent b.c.). The other source used in Exodus is the one which, from the priestly interests conspicuous in it, is commonly denoted by ‘P’: this is evidently the work of a priestly school, whose chief interest it was to trace to their origin, and embrace in a framework of history, the ceremonial institutions of the people. Exodus 1-24 contains only a few fragmentary excerpts from P; but the fact that chs. 25–31:18a and 35–40 belong to it—to say nothing of nearly the whole of Leviticus—is sufficient to substantiate what has been just said. There are reasons for thinking (pp. 328 f., 378) that what has here been denoted by P, though it all bears the same priestly stamp, is not throughout the work of the same hand, but that parts of it (e.g. most of chs. 30–31, 35–40) are of later origin than the rest. It is probable that P was written, partly during the Babylonian exile, partly during the century that followed the return to Judah. The materials upon which it was based were partly, it seems, historical traditions current in priestly circles, partly the knowledge of pre-exilic Temple usage possessed at the time, the whole of the latter being arranged, developed, and systematised so as to form an ideal picture of the theocracy, as it was supposed to have existed in the Mosaic age. A second compiler or redactor (RP), living in the 5th or 4th cent. b.c., taking P as the framework of his narrative, inserted into it large portions of JE, and so, except perhaps for a very few still later additions (e.g. Exodus 38:21-31), produced Exodus—not of course as an isolated book, but as a part of the Hexateuch—in its present shape.

The discourses of Deuteronomy must have been united to JE, before the latter was combined with P. The compilation of the entire Hexateuch will thus have been effected in three main stages: first, J and E were combined by a compiler, RJE; secondly, the discourses of Deuteronomy were combined with the whole thus formed by a second compiler, RD; and thirdly, P was combined with JED, or the whole formed by JE and D, by a third compiler, Rp. The sources, and gradual formation, of the Hexateuch may be exhibited approximately by the diagram on p. xiii (cf. Bennett, Exodus, in the Century Bible, p. 18).

The reader who desires to view the Hexateuch in its historical perspective, should thus think of it as a series of strata: the oldest and lowest stratum consisting of JE—for J and E, as they are very similar in character and tone, may, for many practical purposes, be grouped together as a single stratum—expanded here and there by additions made by RJE; the second stratum consisting of the discourses of Deuteronomy, written in the 7th cent b.c., and combined with JE not long afterwards; and the third and latest stratum consisting of P. And when a verse or passage of the Hexateuch is quoted or referred to, he should cultivate and strengthen his historical sense by thinking of it not as a part of the Hexateuch generally, but as a part of the particular stratum to which it belongs.

Customs, Laws, and Oral Traditions.

* I.e. the discourses of Deuteronomy (excluding the few verses excerpted from JE, or added afterwards from P: see LOT. p. 72). The discourses of Dt. themselves, also, embody many passages dependent directly upon JE (see LOT. pp. 75 f., 80–82; Chapman, General Introd. to the Pentateuch, 1911, pp. 90–95): this is indicated in the diagram by the dotted line connecting Deuteronomy with JE. The historical parts of P are not entirely independent of JE; but they are not based upon JE, in the manner in which the discourses of Dt. are.

† The ‘Law of Holiness,’ i.e. the laws, partly moral and partly ceremonial, excerpted from some older source, and found now in Leviticus 17-26, and probably in a few other parts of Ex.-Numb., embedded in a framework of P. See LOT. p. 47 ff., Chapman, pp. 111 f., 240 ff.

There were, it has been said, three main stages by which the compilation of the Hexateuch was effected: for in all probability the new form presented by the Hexateuch at each of these stages was itself not the work of a single hand, but the result of a more or less gradual literary process. As has been just remarked, there seem clearly to be in P some strata of later origin than others: but it is in JE’s account of the legislation at Sinai (Exodus 19:2 b – Exodus 24:15 a, Exodus 31:18 b – Exodus 34:28) that the process by which parallel narratives and collections of laws were combined together and, at times, amplified by hortatory additions, seems to have been more than usually protracted and complicated. As a natural consequence of this complication, the skein is correspondingly difficult to unravel. The marks of composition are indeed unambiguous: but the phenomena calling for explanation are varied and involved; and when we seek to fix the details of the process by which these sections of the Pent. reached their present form, it is difficult to be sure that we have found the right clues, and so more than one hypothesis can be framed which will, at least in appearance, account for the facts. It lies beyond the scope of the present Commentary to consider in detail different hypotheses; and all that has been attempted is to indicate what seems on the whole to be the most probable view of the structure, and mode of composition, of these narratives, but with the frank recognition that there are details which are uncertain, and on which, probably, certainty will never be attained. Indeed, as regards JE in general, it is to be remembered that the criteria distinguishing J and E from each other are less numerous and strongly marked than those distinguishing P from JE as a whole; so that, while there is hardly ever any doubt as to the limits of P, there are passages of JE in which, from the insufficiency or ambiguity of the criteria, the analysis is uncertain, and different critics may arrive at different conclusions1[14].

[14] A full discussion of the grounds of the analysis is impossible within the limits of the present Commentary; the principal grounds are, however, generally pointed out, as occasion arises, in the notes; comp. also McNeile’s Exodus, pp. xii–xxxiii.

Readers to whom the methods of compilation described above may seem improbable may be reminded that there are many cases,—in other parts of the OT., in the Synoptic Gospels, in Arabic historians, and in mediaeval English Chronicles,—in which they can be seen in actual operation: see the examples quoted by Chapman, Introd. Appendix VII.

The literary characteristics of the sources are most strongly marked in the case of P. The following is a list of the principal expressions, phrases, and usages characteristic of P, occurring in Exodus, with the passages in which notes upon them will be found, and other occurrences cited1[15]. An expression, phrase, or usage of a word is the more characteristic of a particular writer, the more rarely it occurs elsewhere; and most of those here quoted are confined to P, or to P and the other principal priestly writers, Ezekiel 2[16], Ezra and the Chronicler, only a few occurring sporadically elsewhere. The sign* marks expressions occurring noticeably, once or oftener, in Ezek.; † marks those found also in Chr. or Ezr.-Neh. (in parts the work of the Chronicler).

[15] Limits of space preclude these being given here. Comp. the lists, with full citation of occurrences, in McNeile, pp. iii–v; LOT. p. 131 ff. (also p. 156 n.); and Chapman, Appendix II (p. 207 ff.).

[16] On the resemblances of P, and esp. of H, to Ezekiel, comp. LOT. pp. 49 f., 130–135, 145–9; Chapman, p. 240 ff.

soul (= person) Exodus 1:5; * exceedingly (unusual Heb.) Exo Exodus 1:7; * with rigour Exodus 1:13; * remembered his (my) covenant Exodus 2:24, Exodus 6:5; El Shaddai Exodus 6:2; * to establish a covenant Exodus 6:4; * land of their sojournings Exodus 6:4; * judgements (unusual word) Exodus 6:6; * and ye (or they) shall know that I am Jehovah Exodus 6:7, Exodus 7:5 (some 50 times in Ezek.); to be to you (thee, them) a God Exodus 6:7; I am Jehovah Exodus 6:8; These are … (as both superscription and subscription) Exodus 6:14; † fathers’ house (= clan or family) Exodus 6:14; according to their generations Exodus 6:16 (cf. LOT. p. 131, No. 7); heads of the fathers Exodus 6:25; hosts (of Israel at the Exodus) Exodus 6:26; magicians Exodus 7:11; to harden or be hardened (of the heart) Exodus 7:13 (also in E); * months denoted by their number Exodus 12:2 (see the note: other late writers besides Ez. do the same); the congregation (of Israel) Exodus 12:3; for a keeping Exodus 12:6, Exodus 16:23; between the two evenings Exodus 12:6; plague (lit. blow = Heb. négeph) Exodus 12:13; throughout your generations Exodus 12:14; an ordinance (or statute: Heb. ḥuḳḳâh) for ever Exodus 12:14, Exodus 27:21; that soul shall be cut off from Israel Exodus 12:15; holy convocation Exodus 12:16; * this self same day Exodus 12:17; * in all your habitations (also rendered dwellings) Exodus 12:20; settler Exodus 12:45; * homeborn (or native) Exodus 12:48; to come (or draw) near (for a sacred rite) Exodus 12:48, Exodus 36:2; * to get me glory Exodus 14:4; before Jehovah Exodus 16:9; * the glory of Jehovah (meaning a fiery glow, see the note) Exodus 16:10; This is the thing which Jehovah hath commanded Exodus 16:16; a head (lit. skull), in enumerations Exodus 16:16; to remain over or (Hiph.) have over (‘âdaph—only in P) Exodus 16:18; rulers of the congregation or * rulers alone (in Numbers 2, 7, Numbers 17:2; Numbers 17:6 al., and in Ez., rendered princes) Exodus 16:22 (LOT. p. 134.; McNeile, p. v); solemn rest (shabbâthôn) and sabbath of solemn rest (shabbath shabbâthôn) Exodus 16:23, Exodus 31:15; the testimony (the Decalogue) Exodus 16:34, and p. 193; according to the commandment (mouth) of Jehovah Exodus 17:1; to dwell (of Jehovah, the cloud, or the glory) Exo Exodus 24:16 (cf. the ‘Dwelling’ Exodus 25:9); * contribution (těrûmâh) Exodus 25:2 (see the note); † the Dwelling Exodus 25:9; the ark of the testimony Exodus 25:16; † the mercy-seat (or propitiatory) Exodus 25:17; work of the designer [or pattern-weaver) Exodus 26:1; work of the embroiderer Exodus 26:36; work of the weaver Exodus 28:32 (see on these three terms p. 281); * to bring near (for a sacred purpose) Exodus 28:1 (cf. to come or draw near, above, Exodus 12:48); Aaron’s ‘sons’ (representing the ordinary priests) Exo Exodus 28:1; Exodus 28:40 (cf. on Exodus 30:30); with thee (him, &c.) appended to an enumeration Exodus 28:1; to bear the iniquity of (= to be responsible for) Exodus 28:38; to fill the hands of a priest (= to install) Exodus 28:41; * to minister in the holy place (or sanctuary) Exodus 28:43; a statute (Heb. ḥôḳ) for ever Exodus 28:43 (cf. above, Exo Exodus 12:14); his (thy, &c.) seed after him (thee, &c.) Exodus 28:43; the appendix (of the liver) Exodus 29:13; to toss or throw (blood) Exodus 29:16; * a soothing odour (‘sweet savour’] and an offering made by fire (Heb. a firing) Exodus 29:18; fillings (viz. of hands, i.e. instalment of a priest) Exodus 19:22; to wave and wave-offering Exodus 29:24; Exodus 29:27 (cf. on Exodus 35:22); * † to ‘heave’ (i.e. to lift off from a larger mass, and appropriate to some sacred purpose) Exodus 29:27 (cf. on Exodus 25:2); stranger (= non-priest) Exodus 29:33; * to ‘un-sinExodus 29:36; * † to make atonement Exodus 29:36 (for the altar), Exodus 30:10; * † most holy Exodus 29:37; to become holy (i.e. to be forfeited to the sanctuary, or given over to the Deity) Exodus 29:37; ‘issâron (‘tenth part,’—only in P) Exodus 29:40; * † continual (of standing ceremonial institutions or observances) Exodus 29:42; † half (unusual word) Exodus 30:13; the sacred shekel Exodus 30:13; to be cut off from one’s father’s kin Exodus 30:33; a perpetual (or everlasting) covenant Exodus 31:16; the tables of the testimony Exodus 31:18 a (cf. on Exodus 24:12)1[17]. See also p. 46 (genealogies); pp. 55, 57 (in P’s narrative of the Plagues); p. 113 (on ch. 14). For instances of repetition, and diffuseness of style, see on Exodus 6:27, Exodus 12:17-20, Exodus 14:29, Exodus 31:16 f.; and for recurring types of sentence, on Exodus 7:6, Exodus 13:20, Exodus 19:1-2 a.

[17] Add also to the points of contact between P in Exodus and Ezek. to lift up the hand (i.e. to swear) Exodus 6:8 (twice in P), and inheritance (môrâshâh) Exodus 6:8 (once in P),—both unusual expressions, but both occurring several times in Ezek.

Expressions occurring in secondary strata of P (see pp. 328, 378):—the altar of incense (see p. 328 f.) Exodus 30:27, Exodus 31:8, Exodus 35:15, Exodus 37:25; the altar of burnt offering Exodus 30:28 (see p. 329); plaited (?) garments Exodus 31:10; the veil of the screen Exodus 35:12; the brazen (bronze) altar Exodus 38:30 (see p. 329); as Jehovah commanded Exodus 39:1; the Dwelling of the tent of meeting Exodus 39:32; the golden altar Exodus 39:38 (see on Exodus 30:3); the arrangement (of the Presence-bread) Exodus 40:4; also to do warfare (of serving women and Levites) Exodus 38:8 b (see the note).

Expressions characteristic of H (the ‘Law of Holiness,’ Leviticus 17-26):—I am Jehovah Exodus 6:8; * my sabbaths Exodus 31:13; *I am Jehovah which sanctifieth you Exodus 31:13; * to profane Exodus 31:14; shall surely be put to death (also in Exodus 21-23) Exodus 31:14. Comp. LOT. p. 49 f.

Recurring expressions in J are noted on Exodus 3:18 (twice), Exodus 4:22, Exodus 7:13 (to be or make heavy, of Pharaoh’s heart) pp. 56, 57 (in J’s narrative of the plagues), and on Exodus 24:12. See also McNeile, p. vii f.

For recurring expressions in E, see on Exodus 3:1 (Horeb, not ‘Sinai’); Exodus 4:22, Exodus 7:13 (to harden or be hardened, of Pharaoh’s heart); pp. 56, 57; and on Exodus 24:12. See also McNeile, p. viii. f.

On the more general characteristics of J, E, and P reference may be made to LOT. pp. 117–130, or to the writer’s Genesis, pp. xvii–xxv.

The following passages, mostly of a didactic or parenetic (hortatory) character, are generally regarded as expansions of the original narrative, due to the compiler of JE (RJE), or, in some cases, esp. those in Exodus 20:2 b, Exodus 20:4 b, Exodus 20:5 a, Exodus 20:10 b, Exodus 20:12, to a subsequent Deuteronomic redactor (RD):—Exodus 9:14-16; Exodus 10:1 b – Exodus 10:2 (to which some would add Exodus 7:17 a (to that I am Jehovah), Exodus 8:10 b, 22b (to the end, &c.), Exodus 9:29 b (that thou, &c.), Exodus 11:7 b,—all resembling Exodus 9:14 b, Exodus 10:2 end), Exodus 12:25-27 a, the setting of the laws in ch. 13 (see p. 106), viz. Exodus 13:3 (from Remember), Exodus 13:5; Exo 13:8-9; Exo 13:11; Exo 13:14-16, Exodus 15:26 (see the note), Exodus 18:1 b – Exodus 18:4, Exodus 19:5-6 (expansion of an older nucleus), the explanatory additions in the Decalogue (see p. 192), viz. Exodus 20:2 b, Exodus 20:4-6, Exodus 20:7 b, Exodus 20:9-10 (v. 11 RP), Exodus 20:12 b, Exodus 20:17 (after house), Exodus 22:21 b – Exodus 22:22; Exo 22:24, Exodus 23:9 b, Exodus 23:12 b (see p. 372), Exodus 23:15 (from seven: from Exodus 34:18; Exodus 34:20), Exodus 23:17 (from Exodus 34:23), Exodus 23:23-25 a, Exodus 23:31-33, Exodus 32:9-14, Exodus 34:10 b – Exodus 34:13 a, Exodus 34:15-16; Exo 34:18 b, Exodus 34:21 b (p. 372), Exodus 34:24. Many of these (see e.g. on Exodus 15:26) approximate in style and tone to Deuteronomy; these are, no doubt, pre-Deuteronomic; but those with a strong Deuteronomic colouring (as Exodus 20:2 b, Exodus 20:4 b, Exodus 20:5 a, Exodus 20:10 b, Exodus 20:12) will have been written under the influence of Dt., and be post-Deuteronomic. See the notes on the passages cited.

A list of Deuteronomic expressions1[21] in Exodus—sometimes, probably, original in JE or RJE, and adopted thence by the writer of Deuteronomy, sometimes (esp. in ch. 20) occurring in passages introduced into Ex. by a writer influenced by Deuteronomy (see the notes):—a mighty hand Exo Exodus 3:19, Exodus 6:1, Exodus 13:9, Exodus 32:11 (cf. might of hand Exodus 13:3; Exodus 13:14; Exodus 13:16 †); a stretched out arm Exodus 6:6 (adopted by P from Dt.); house of bondage (lit. of slaves) Exodus 13:3; Exodus 13:14, Exodus 20:2; which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee Exodus 13:5; Jehovah’s ‘servant’ (of Moses) Exodus 14:31; hearken to the voice Exodus 15:26 (see note), Jehovah thy God Exodus 15:26 (cf. on Exodus 20:2), that which is right in his eyes, give ear, commandments … and statutes, and keep, all in Exodus 15:26; special possession Exodus 19:5 (cf. a holy nation ibid., in Dt. a holy people); which brought thee out of the land of Egypt Exodus 20:2; other gods Exodus 20:3, Exodus 23:31, cf. other god Exodus 34:14; heaven above … earth beneath Exodus 20:4; bow down … serve Exodus 20:5; to love God Exodus 20:6; thy gates Exodus 20:10; to be long (of days) Exodus 20:12; upon the land which Jehovah thy God is giving thee Exodus 20:12; the two tables of stones Exodus 34:1; Exodus 34:4 (see on Exodus 24:12); which I am commanding thee this day Exodus 34:11; take heed to thyself Exodus 34:12; dispossess Exodus 34:24; the ten words (the Decalogue), only in a gloss, Exodus 34:28 end.

[21] Comp. LOT. p. 99 ff.; Chapman, App. IV, p. 232 ff.

§ 3. The Contents of Exodus arranged according to the Sources

Chs. 1–2 Growth of the people in Egypt, and the measures taken to check it. The birth and early years of Moses.

J (Exodus 1:6; Exodus 1:8-12; Exodus 1:20 b, Exodus 2:11-23 a). Growth of the Israelites into a numerous people. To check their further increase, the Pharaoh compels them to build Pithom and Ra‘amses. Moses twice interposes chivalrously on behalf of a wronged compatriot. On account of his slaughter of the Egyptian, he flees to Midian.

E (Exodus 1:15-20 a, Exodus 1:21-22, Exodus 2:1-10). The two midwives of the Hebrews are commanded to destroy all male infants. The command being disregarded, the Egyptians themselves are commanded to drown all the male infants of the Hebrews in the Nile. The birth and education of Moses.

P (Exodus 1:1-5; Exodus 1:13-14, Exodus 2:23-25). The names of Jacob’s sons who came down into Egypt. Their increase; and the hard service imposed upon them by the Egyptians. God hears their cry, and remembers the covenant made by Him with the patriarchs (Genesis 17:7 f.).

Chs. Exodus 3:1 to Exodus 7:13 Moses commissioned by Jehovah to be his people’s deliverer, and to demand their release from the Pharaoh.

J (Exodus 3:2-4 a, Exodus 3:5; Exodus 3:7-8; Exodus 3:16-18, Exodus 4:1-16; Exodus 4:19-20 a, Exodus 4:22-26; Exodus 4:29-31, Exodus 5:3; Exodus 5:5Exodus 6:1). Jehovah appears to Moses in the burning bush, and bids him return to Egypt, and announce to his people their approaching deliverance. He is to ask of the Pharaoh permission for them to go three days’ journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to Jehovah (Exodus 3:2-4 a, 5, 7–8, 16–18). Moses objects that the people will not listen to him; and is given three signs to work before them (Exodus 4:1-9). He objects further that he is ‘heavy in mouth and tongue’ (i.e. not fluent): but Jehovah promises that He will be with him, to give him words; and afterwards, as he still demurs, that Aaron, the ‘Levite’ (Exodus 4:14), shall be his spokesman with the people (Exodus 4:10-16). He returns to Egypt. The people believe him gladly (Exodus 4:29-31); but the Pharaoh peremptorily refuses to let them go for the three days into the wilderness. The tasks of the Israelites are increased. Moses, reproached for this, appeals to Jehovah, who tells him in reply that He will effect His people’s deliverance (Exodus 5:3, Exodus 5:5 to Exodus 6:1).

E (Exodus 3:1; Exodus 3:4 b, Exodus 3:6; Exo 3:9-15; Exo 3:19-22, Exodus 4:17-18; Exodus 4:20-21; Exo 4:27-28, Exodus 5:1-2; Exodus 5:4). God appears to Moses on Horeb, and tells him that he is to be his people’s deliverer. He objects that he is unsuited either to treat with Pharaoh, or to become his people’s leader; but God promises to be with him and assist him. He objects further that he does not know what to give as the name of the God who has sent him; and in reply the name I will be is revealed to him (Exodus 3:1; Exodus 3:4 b, Exodus 3:6; Exodus 3:9-15). God gives Moses a wonder-working rod, with which he is to do the ‘signs’ (which must have been described in a preceding part of E, no longer preserved) before Pharaoh (Exodus 4:17). Returning to Egypt, with Aaron, he goes with him to ask Pharaoh to allow the people to bold ‘Jehovah’s feast’ in the wilderness. Pharaoh refuses. The sequel is told in the words of J (Exodus 5:5 to Exodus 6:1).

P (Exodus 6:2 to Exodus 7:13). God tells Moses that He was known to the patriarchs as El Shaddai (‘God Almighty’), but that He now reveals Himself to Moses as Yahweh. He remembers His covenant with the patriarchs, and will deliver the Israelites, their descendants. Moses tells the people this; but they refuse to listen to him (contrast Exodus 4:31 in J). Jehovah bids Moses demand of Pharaoh Israel’s unconditional release (contrast the ‘three days’ of J, Exodus 3:18; and Exodus 5:1 in E): he objects that if his own people will not listen to him, Pharaoh is much less likely to do so, especially as he is ‘uncircumcised of lips’ (not fluent); Aaron is therefore appointed to be his spokesman before Pharaoh (and not as in J, Exodus 4:16, before the people). Jehovah will ‘harden’ Pharaoh’s heart, that He may multiply His signs and portents in Egypt, and bring forth His people with ‘great judgements.’ Aaron, at Moses’ direction (cf. Exodus 7:19, Exodus 8:5; Exodus 8:16 P), turns his rod into a tannin, to satisfy Pharaoh of his and his brother’s mission (contrast in J, Exodus 4:1-5; Exodus 4:30, where Moses turns his rod into a naḥash, to satisfy the Israelites); but the portent is imitated by the Egyptian magicians, and the Pharaoh’s heart becomes ‘hard’ (Exodus 7:8-13). A genealogy of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Moses and Aaron (Exodus 6:13-30).

Chs. Exodus 7:14 to Exodus 11:10 The first nine Plagues.

In the narrative of the Plagues, the accounts of J, E, and P are distinguished remarkably from each other by a number of recurring differences, both of representation and expression (see, for particulars, pp. 55–57). The summary which here follows is too condensed to exhibit all these differences, though a few may be noticed by the attentive reader; for instance, the formal announcement to Pharaoh, with which the account of a plague always opens in J, the rod in Moses’ hand in E, but in Aaron’s hand in P, and the different terms used to denote the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart.

The first plague (Exodus 7:14-25). The waters of Egypt smitten. From J, E, and P.

J (Exodus 7:14-15 a, Exodus 7:16-17 a, Exodus 7:17 c – Exodus 7:18, Exodus 7:20 c – Exodus 7:21 a, Exodus 7:23-25). After notice given by Moses to Pharaoh, Jehovah smites the Nile, and its waters are turned into blood; the fish die, and the river becomes fetid.

E (Exodus 7:15 b, Exodus 7:17 b, Exodus 7:20 b). Moses, at Jehovah’s direction, smites the Nile with his rod; and its waters are turned into blood.

P (Exodus 7:19-20 a, Exodus 7:21 b – Exodus 7:22). Aaron, at Moses’ direction, stretches out his rod over—not the Nile only, but—all the waters in Egypt, and they become blood. The magicians do likewise; and Pharaoh’s heart remains ‘hard,’ and he ‘hearkens not’ to Moses and Aaron.

The second plague (Exodus 8:1-15). The frogs, From J and P.

J (Exodus 8:1-4, Exodus 8-15 a). After notice given by Moses to Pharaoh, frogs come up out of the Nile, and swarm over the whole land. Pharaoh begs Moses and Aaron to intercede for him; if the frogs are removed, he will let the people go to sacrifice to Jehovah: they are removed; but Pharaoh nevertheless makes his heart ‘heavy.’

P (Exodus 8:5-7; Exodus 8:15 b). Aaron, at Moses’ direction, stretches out his rod over the streams, Nile-canals, and pools of Egypt; frogs come up, and cover the land. The magicians do similarly; and Pharaoh ‘hearkens not’ to Moses and Aaron.

The third plague (Exodus 8:16-19). The gnats (mosquitoes). P only.

P (Exodus 8:16-19). Aaron, at Moses’ direction, stretches out his rod, and smites the dust of the earth, and it becomes gnats throughout the land. The magicians cannot imitate this plague, and acknowledge in it the ‘finger of God.’ Pharaoh’s heart, however, remains ‘hard.’

The fourth plague (Exodus 8:20-32). The dog-flies. From J only.

J (Exodus 8:20-32). After notice given by Moses to Pharaoh, dog-flies are sent through the whole of Egypt, except the land of Goshen. Pharaoh grants the Israelites permission to sacrifice to Jehovah in Egypt. Moses declines this offer, lest they should offend the Egyptians; and repeats the demand for a three days’ journey into the wilderness. Pharaoh agrees to this: and only again begs Moses to intercede for a removal of the plague. Moses does this; but Pharaoh’s heart remains ‘heavy.’

The fifth plague (Exodus 9:1-7). The murrain on cattle. From J only.

J (Exodus 9:1-7). After notice given by Moses to Pharaoh, a fatal murrain is sent upon all the cattle of Egypt, except that belonging to the Israelites. Pharaoh sends to ascertain the facts about the cattle of the Israelites: but his heart nevertheless remains ‘heavy.’

The sixth plague (Exodus 9:8-12). The boils. From P only.

P (Exodus 9:8-12). Moses, at Jehovah’s direction, takes two handfuls of soot from a kiln, and tosses it towards heaven; it thereupon becomes a boil breaking out upon man and beast. The magicians are not only unable to imitate this plague, but are themselves attacked by it. Jehovah, however, ‘hardens’ Pharaoh’s heart; and he ‘hearkens not’ to Moses and Aaron.

The seventh plague (Exodus 9:13-35). The hail. From J and E.

J (Exodus 9:1-7; Exodus 9:13-21; Exodus 9:23 b–34). After notice given by Moses to Pharaoh, Jehovah rains a destructive hail upon all the land of Egypt, except Goshen. Pharaoh this time admits that he has sinned, and a third time begs Moses to intercede for him: when the hail ceases, he will let the people go. Moses does entreat for him: the hail ceases; but Pharaoh sins yet more, and makes his heart ‘heavy.’

E (Exodus 9:22-23 a, Exodus 9:31-32?, Exodus 9:35 a). Moses, at Jehovah’s direction, stretches out his rod toward heaven; and thunder, hail, and lightning are sent upon the land of Egypt. All vegetation is smitten, except wheat and spelt, which were not yet up. But Pharaoh’s heart is ‘hardened’; and he will not let Israel go.

The eighth plague (Exodus 10:1-20). The locusts. From J and E.

J (Exodus 10:1-11; Exodus 10:13 b, Exodus 10:14 b – Exodus 10:15 a, Exodus 10:15 c – Exodus 10:19). After notice given by Moses to Pharaoh, that, if he will not let the people go, his land will be smitten with a plague of locusts, he offers, at the suggestion of his servants, to let the men go alone. Moses declines this offer: the whole people must go, with their families and their cattle: for they have to keep Jehovah’s feast. Pharaoh refuses these terms; and an east wind then brings the locusts, which devour all the herbage which the hail had left. Pharaoh a second time confesses that he has sinned, and a fourth time begs Moses to intercede for a removal of the plague. Moses does this; and a west wind drives the locusts into the Red Sea.

E (Exodus 10:12-13 a, Exodus 10:14 a, Exodus 10:15 b, Exodus 10:20). Moses, at Jehovah’s direction, stretches out his rod over the land of Egypt, and locusts come up, and devour all the vegetation which the hail had left. Jehovah, however, ‘hardens’ Pharaoh’s heart; and he will not let the people go.

The ninth plague (Exodus 10:21-29). The darkness. From J and E. Followed closely (ch. 11) by the announcement of the tenth plague.

J (Exodus 10:24-26; Exodus 10:28-29 : J’s announcement and description of the plague itself are not preserved). Pharaoh offers to let the people go with their families, but without their flocks and herds. Moses declines this offer: the cattle are required for sacrifices. Pharaoh declares that he will see Moses’ face no more. Moses replies (Exodus 11:4-8) that at midnight Jehovah will destroy all the firstborn of the Egyptians; and leaves his presence in ‘hot anger.’

E (Exodus 10:21-23; Exodus 10:27). Moses, at Jehovah’s direction, stretches out his hand toward heaven; and there is darkness in Egypt for three days, only the children of Israel having light in their dwellings. Jehovah ‘hardens’ Pharaoh’s heart; and he will not let the people go. He tells Moses (Exodus 11:1) that He will bring one more plague upon Pharaoh, which will secure the release of the people.

Exodus 11:9-10 (P). How the portents wrought before Pharaoh had produced no effect upon him.

The plagues are thus distributed between the sources, so far as they are at present extant, as follows:—

  J  E  P

1.  Nile-water turned to blood  Nile-water turned to blood  All water in Egypt turned to blood

2.  Frogs    Frogs

3.      Gnats

4.  Dog-flies    

5.  Murrain on cattle    

6.      Boils

7.  Hail  Hail  

8.  Locusts  Locusts  

9.  Darkness  Darkness  

10.  Death of firstborn  Death of firstborn (only announced)  Death of firstborn

Apart from merely literary features, the following are the principal characteristic differences between the three sources. In J, the earliest source, the plague is announced by Moses, but brought, and afterwards removed, by Jehovah, without further human intervention; in E it is brought, without any previous announcement, by Moses with his rod, or once (Exodus 10:22, the darkness) by his hand; in P, except in the case of the boils (Exodus 9:10), it is brought by Aaron stretching out his rod at Moses’ direction. The difference with regard to the rod recurs in other parts of Exodus: the rod is in Moses’ hand in E in Exodus 4:17; Exodus 4:20 b, Exodus 14:16 a, Exodus 17:5; Exodus 17:9, and in Aaron’s hand in P in Exodus 7:9. In J, again, except in the ninth plague (Exodus 10:21-29), where the introduction to the plague is taken from E, there is regularly an interview with Pharaoh, and a formal demand is made for the release of the people; the plagues also gradually increase in both impressiveness and severity[23], the later ones thus produce a proportionately greater effect upon the Pharaoh, and he gives way more and more[24]. In P there is no interview with the Pharaoh, no demand is made of him, and, till the tenth plague comes, there is no difference in the Pharaoh’s attitude. Thus in J the plagues have the practical object of gradually making the Pharaoh yield; in P they are little more than marvels, or signs of power (‘I will multiply my signs and my portents,’ Exodus 7:3; cf. Exodus 11:9), wrought by Aaron with his rod, and designed to accredit Moses and Aaron as Jehovah’s representatives: only the tenth plague has a different character, and is also differently described. In P, too, both the introductory sign (Exodus 7:8-13) and also the first two plagues are imitated by the Egyptian magicians; it is a contest between Moses and Aaron and the magicians, in which (Di.) the superiority of God and His agents gradually comes clearly out, till in the end the magicians cannot even protect themselves against the plague (Exodus 7:11 f., Exodus 7:22, Exodus 8:7; Exodus 8:18 f., Exodus 9:11). Finally, J represents the Israelites as confined to Goshen (see on Exodus 8:22), while E pictures them as living side by side with the Egyptians (Exodus 3:22).

[23] Notice the statement in regard to the hail and the locusts that nothing similar had ever been seen before in Egypt (Exodus 9:10; Exodus 9:24; Exodus 10:6; Exodus 10:14).

[24] Observe how, after first breaking his promise to let the people go (Exodus 8:8; Exodus 8:15 a), Pharaoh agrees afterwards, however reluctantly, to one point after another in Moses’ demands (Exodus 8:25; Exodus 8:28 b; Exodus 10:7; Exodus 10:10-11; Exodus 10:24; Exodus 12:31 f.); notice also, in J’s accounts of the later plagues, his confession that he has sinned in Exodus 9:27, Exodus 10:16, the impression made upon his courtiers and ministers in Exodus 9:20, Exodus 10:7, and the anger with which, after the ninth plague, he declares that he will see Moses’ face no more (Exo Exodus 10:28).

Chs. 12–13 Institution of the Passover, and Feast of Unleavened Cakes. The last plague. The departure from Rameses. Law for the sanctity of the firstborn. Journey to Etham.

J (Exodus 12:21-24; Exodus 12:27 b, Exodus 12:29-34, Exodus 12:37 b – Exodus 12:39; Exo 12:42 (?), Exodus 13:3 d, Exodus 13:4; Exo 13:6-7; Exo 13:10; Exo 13:12-13; Exo 13:21-22). Moses gives the elders of Israel instructions for the observance of the Passover (Exodus 12:21-24). [RJE. Its meaning to be explained to the children of future generations, Exodus 12:25-27 a.] At midnight the firstborn of the Egyptians are smitten; and Pharaoh now lets the whole people go unconditionally, with their families and their cattle. Numbering 600,000 adult males, they journey from Rameses to Succoth; and having no time to leaven their dough, they bake it into unleavened cakes, Exodus 12:34; Exodus 12:37-39; Exodus 12:42 a? [an explanation of the feast of Unleavened Cakes]. Laws for the annual observance of the feast of Maẓẓoth (Unleavened Cakes), and for the sanctity of the firstborn of man and beast, Exodus 13:3-16,—in a setting due probably to RJE. Jehovah precedes the people, in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night, to guide them in the way (Exodus 13:21-22).

E (Exodus 12:35-36, Exo Exodus 13:17-19). The Israelites are to proceed to Canaan not by the direct route through the land of the Philistines (where they might be forcibly opposed), but by way of the Red Sea. They take the bones of Joseph (Genesis 50:25 E) with them.

P (Exo Exodus 12:1-20; Exodus 12:28; Exodus 12:37 a, Exodus 12:43-51, Exodus 13:1-2; Exodus 13:20). Regulations for the observance of the Passover (Exodus 12:1-13), and of the feast of Maẓẓoth (Unleavened Cakes), Exodus 12:14-20. Supplementary regulations relating to the Passover, intended chiefly to define who might partake of it (Exodus 12:43-51). The firstborn of man and beast to be sacred to Jehovah (Exodus 13:1-2). The Israelites journey from Succoth to Etham.

Ch. 14. The passage of the Red Sea.

J (Exodus 14:5-7; Exodus 14:10 a, Exodus 14:19 b, Exodus 14:20 b, Exodus 14:21 b, Exodus 14:24-25; Exo 14:27 b, Exodus 14:30-31). Pharaoh finding that the Israelites have ‘fled,’ i.e. left the land not for three days merely, but without any intention of returning, starts in pursuit of them. They complain to Moses, who promises them deliverance. The pillar of cloud removes from before them, and stands behind them. An east wind drives back the water, and they cross on dry land. The Egyptians attempt to retreat, but are cut off by the returning waters.

E (fragmentary: Exodus 14:10 b, Exodus 14:16 a [to rod], Exodus 14:19 a, Exodus 14:20 a). The Israelites, when they see the Egyptians overtaking them, cry out to Jehovah. Moses is commanded to lift up his rod. The angel of God, which went before the Israelites, removes, and comes behind them.…

P (Exodus 14:1-4; Exodus 14:8-9 a, Exodus 14:16 b [from and stretch]—Exodus 14:18; Exo 14:21 a, c, Exodus 14:22-23; Exo 14:26-27 a, Exodus 14:28-29). Israel is to encamp by the Red Sea: Pharaoh will then think they are in his power; Jehovah will ‘harden’ his heart, and he will pursue after them: by his overthrow Jehovah will get Himself glory. Pharaoh overtakes them: Moses stretches out his hand over the sea: the waters divide, forming a ‘wall’ on each side, and the Israelites pass through. Moses again stretches out his hand; and the waters close over the pursuing Egyptians.

It may be observed that in P the miracle is much greater than in J,—the waters dividing and reuniting at a signal given by Moses, and the wall of water on each side, while in J the only agency is the wind.

Ch. 15. Moses’ Song of triumph. The journey from the Red Sea to Elim.

J (Exodus 15:1-18). Moses’ Song of triumph.

E (Exodus 15:20-27). Miriam and the other women praise Jehovah for the overthrow of the foe. The people journey to Marah, where Moses sweetens the bitter water. [RJE. Promise that if Israel is obedient to Jehovah, He will keep it free from the diseases which He has brought upon the Egyptians, Exodus 15:26.] The people move on to Elim.

Ch. 16. The people journey to the wilderness of Sin. Manna and quails given.

J (Exodus 16:4-5; Exodus 16:13 b – Exodus 16:15 a, Exodus 16:27-30). [The people complaining of want of food,] Jehovah promises to provide them daily with manna from heaven; and on the sixth day with manna sufficient for two days.

P (Exodus 16:1-3; Exodus 16:6-13 a, Exodus 16:15 b – Exodus 16:26, Exodus 16:31-36). The people arrive at the wilderness of Sin. They complain of want of food: Jehovah promises to give them quails in the evening and manna in the morning.

Ch. 17. The Israelites move on to Rephidim. Water given to them at Massah (J), or at Meribah (E). The victory over Amalek.

P (Exodus 17:1 a). Arrival of the Israelites at Rephidim.

J (Exodus 17:2 end, Exodus 17:3; Exo 17:7 a, c).… The people thirst for water, and complain to Moses. For having thus put Jehovah to the proof, by doubting His presence to help, the place is called ‘Massah’ (i.e. Proving).

E (Exodus 17:1 b, Exodus 17:2 a, Exodus 17:4-7 [middle clause], Exodus 17:8-16). The people, having no water to drink, ‘strive’ (i.e. expostulate) with Moses. He smites the rock with his rod, and brings forth water from it. The place is called ‘Meribah’ (i.e. Striving). Defeat of the Amalekites by Joshua.

Ch. 18. (E). The visit of Jethro to Moses. At Jethro’s suggestion Moses appoints subordinate judges to assist him in the administration of justice.

Chs. 19–24. The arrival of Israel at Sinai. The theophany on the mountain. The Decalogue; and the Book of the Covenant. The ratification of the Covenant.

J (Exodus 19:3 b – Exodus 19:9; Exo 19:11 b – Exodus 19:13; Exo 19:18; Exo 19:20-25, Exodus 24:1-2; Exodus 24:9-11). Jehovah calls Moses to the foot of the mount, and announces to him His covenant. Three days afterwards He descends upon Sinai in fire and smoke; and having called Moses up to Him, directs him to prevent the too curious people from trespassing upon the mountain. The narrative breaks off in the middle of a sentence (Exodus 19:25; see the note). [Originally, perhaps, there followed here the nucleus of Exodus 34:1-4; Exodus 34:10-28, containing J’s account of the establishment of the covenant at this time (see p. 364). E’s account follows immediately, vv. 3–8.] Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders, go up into the mount, where they have a vision of God (Exodus 24:1-2; Exodus 24:9-11).

E (Exodus 19:2 b – Exodus 19:3 a, Exodus 19:10-11 a, Exodus 19:14-17; Exo 19:19; Exodus 20:1 to Exodus 23:33; Exodus 24:3-8; Exodus 24:12-15 a). Moses goes up the mountain to God, and receives instructions to sanctify the people for a theophany on the third day (Exodus 19:2 b – Exodus 19:3 a, Exodus 19:10-11 a). He goes down and does this; and on the third day the theophany takes place. The people are led to the foot of the mount; Moses takes part in a dialogue with God (Exodus 19:19; see the note), God answering him in trumpet-tones. The Decalogue is proclaimed (Exodus 20:1-17). After this, Moses enters into the thick darkness where God was, and receives from Him a collection of laws (Exodus 20:22 to Exodus 23:33), on the basis of which Jehovah establishes a covenant with Israel (Exodus 24:3-8). Moses re-ascends the mount to receive certain ‘tables of stone’ which God had written, and remains there forty days (Exodus 24:12-15 a).

P (Exodus 19:2 a, Exodus 24:15 b – Exodus 24:18 a). The people arrive at the wilderness of Sinai (Exodus 19:2 a, 1). The cloud covers the mount for six days; on the seventh day Moses is summoned up into the mount (Exodus 24:15 b – Exodus 24:18 a) to receive directions for the construction of a sanctuary (ch. 25 ff.).

Chs. Exodus 25:1 to Exodus 31:18 a (P). The directions given to Moses for the construction and equipment of a sanctuary, and for the vestments and consecration of the priests.

a.The Ark, Table of Presence-bread, and Candlestick (ch. 25).

b.The curtains forming the ‘Dwelling,’ and the wooden framework supporting them, the veil, and the screen (ch. 26).

c.The court round the sanctuary, and the Altar of Burnt-offering (ch. 27).

d.The vestments (ch. 28), and ritual for the consecration (ch. 29) of the priests.

e.The Altar of incense, provision for the maintenance of public service, the Bronze Laver, the holy anointing oil, and the Incense (ch. 30).

f.The nomination of Beẓal’el and Oholiab; and the observance of the Sabbath (ch. 31).

Chs. Exodus 31:18 b – Exodus 34:35. The Episode of the Golden Calf and incidents arising out of it, or mentioned in connexion with it.

J (Exodus 32:25-34, Exodus 33:1; Exodus 33:3-4; Exodus 33:12-13; Exodus 33:17-23, Exo Exodus 34:6-9 [see p. 367], Exodus 33:14-16, Exodus 34:1 a, Exodus 34:2-4 [except ‘like unto the first’], Exodus 34:5; Exo 34:10-28).… (a) The people having rebelled against Jehovah, the Levites, responding to Moses’ summons, slay 3000 of them. They are rewarded for their zeal with the priesthood. Moses magnanimously offers his life for the people. Jehovah replies that he may lead the people on to Canaan, but refuses to go with them Himself. They strip themselves of their ornaments (Exodus 33:1-4). Moses entreats Jehovah to let him know whom He will send with him on the way to Canaan, and craves of Him a vision of His glory (Exodus 33:12-13; Exodus 33:17-23). Jehovah proclaims His (moral) glory in a theophany (Exodus 34:6-8). Moses entreats Him to forgive His people, and Himself to go with them to Canaan; and receives the promise that His ‘presence’ will go with them (Exodus 34:9, Exodus 33:14-16). (b) Moses is commanded to hew two tables of stone, and to take them up the mount to Jehovah (Exodus 34:1 a, Exodus 34:2-5). Jehovah establishes a covenant with Israel on the basis of a corpus of laws on worship (Exodus 34:10-28,—expanded in parts by RJE). These laws are a different recension of those on the same subject, contained in the ‘Book of the Covenant,’ viz. Exodus 23:12; Exodus 23:14-15 a, Exodus 23:16; Exo 23:18-19, and in Exodus 13:12-13. On their probable original place in the lacuna after Exodus 19:25, see pp. 252, 364.

E (Exodus 31:18 b, Exodus 32:1-8 [RJE vv. 9–14], Exodus 32:15-24; Exo 32:35, Exodus 33:5 a, c, Exodus 33:6-11, Exodus 34:1 [from like], 4 [the words like unto the first]). Moses receives from God the two tables of stone (Exodus 31:18 b: see Exodus 24:13). Aaron, instigated by the people, who are disheartened by Moses’ long absence (Exodus 24:18 b), makes a molten calf, and they worship before it. (Probably RJE: Jehovah declares to Moses that He will exterminate the people, and make him the ancestor of a great nation; but is diverted from His purpose by Moses’ intercession, Exodus 32:9-14.) Moses, returning to the camp with the tables of stone in his hand, sees the calf and the dancing, throws down the tables in anger, and breaks them. He then grinds the calf to powder; and makes the people drink it. Aaron, rebuked by Moses for what he has done, makes excuses (Exodus 32:15-24). The people are told to remove their ornaments (Exodus 33:5 a, c, Exodus 33:6). How Moses used to take a tent, and pitch it outside the camp, and call it the Tent of Meeting: Moses used to go out to it from the camp to commune with Jehovah, who, when Moses entered the Tent, would descend in a pillar of cloud, and speak with him. Joshua was the custodian of the Tent (Exodus 33:7-11).

P (Exodus 34:29-35). How Moses’ face used to shine, when he came down from communing with Jehovah on mount Sinai (the original sequel of Exodus 25:1 to Exodus 31:18 a).

Chs. 35–40 (P). Execution of the directions given in chs. 25–31 for the construction of a sanctuary and the consecration of a priesthood: viz.

a.The observance of the Sabbath; presentation of contributions for the work by the people; appointment of Beẓal’el and Oholiab (Exodus 35:1 to Exodus 36:7).

b.The curtains, and wooden framework, of the ‘Dwelling,’ the veil, and the screen (Exodus 36:8-38).

c.The Ark, Table of Presence-bread, Candlestick, Altar of incense, Anointing Oil, and Incense (ch. 37).

d.The Altar of burnt-offering, the Bronze Laver, the Court round the Tabernacle, and the account of the amount of metal used in the work (ch. 38).

e.The vestments for the priests, and the delivery to Moses of the completed work of the Tabernacle (ch. 39). The account of the consecration of the priests follows in Leviticus 8.

f.Erection of the Tabernacle on the first day of the second year of the Exodus (ch. 40).

§ 4. History of Egypt during the Israelites’ Sojourn in it

If the tradition recorded in Exodus 1:11 be correct,—and the fact is not of a nature likely to be falsified by tradition,—that the Israelites built Raamses and Pithom, the Pharaoh of the oppression must have been Rameses II (1300–1234 b.c.1[32]); for M. Naville has already shewn that Pithom was founded by Rameses II; and it follows from this that the Rameses from whom Raamses derived its name will have been the same king. And Exodus 2:23; Exodus 4:19, naturally imply that, in the view of the narrator (J), the Pharaoh from whom in the end Moses delivered his people was the immediate successor of the Pharaoh of the oppression, i.e. the successor of Rameses II, Merenptah (1234–1214 b.c.).

[32] So Petrie: the dates of other recent authorities do not materially differ (1310–1244, Meyer; 1292–1225, Breasted). See the Addenda to the writer’s Genesis, ed. 7 (1909), pp. XVII–XIX, XLVI. In the sequel Petrie’s dates are followed.

Accepting, then, this date, let us survey very briefly the history and condition of Egypt during the time that the Israelites must have been resident in it. If the Exodus took place under Merenptah, and if the Israelites were really 430 years in Egypt (Exodus 12:40),—which, however, is very uncertain (see p. xlv),—the migration of Jacob and his family must have taken place c. 1660–40 b.c., while the foreign kings, called the Hyksos, were ruling in Egypt, and not long before their expulsion in b.c. 15872[33]. Their rule was followed by that of the Eighteenth dynasty (b.c. 1587–1328). The Eighteenth dynasty had its seat at Thebes; its rule marked the most brilliant period of Egyptian history. Syene (now Aṣṣuân), at the first Cataract, marked the S. limit of Egypt proper (Ezekiel 29:10; Ezekiel 30:6, RVm.); but the third ruler of this Dynasty, Thothmes I (1541–1516), conquered Kush (Ethiopia) to above the third Cataract (19° 50′ N.), marched his army through Palestine as far as Carchemish, on the Euphrates, and set up there two pillars to mark the limits of Egyptian territory in Asia. Thothmes II (1503–1449) made a series of expeditions into Asia. In his twenty-third year he advanced as far as Megiddo, where he defeated the combined forces of the peoples of Syria, who had united against him: the names of the 360 places which fell in consequence into his hands are inscribed upon the walls of the great temple of Ammon at Karnak. The first 119 of these places are within, or near, the border of Canaan: some of the identifications are uncertain: but those which are clear include, for instance, Megiddo, Taanach, Ibleam (Joshua 17:11), Acco, Joppa, Gezer, and Beth-anath (Jdg 1:33). See the 119 names in Petrie, Hist. of Egypt, ii. 323 ff. Other expeditions followed into the same regions. No other Egyptian king penetrated so far into Asia, or caused the name of Egypt to be so widely feared.

[33] The singular theory of Eerdmans (Expositor, Sept. 1908, p. 193 ff.) that the ‘Hebrews’ were distinct from the ‘Israelites,’ that the former were in Egypt from c. 1500 b.c. (for ‘400 years,’ Genesis 15:13), and the latter (including Joseph!) only from c. 1205 b.c. (for ‘four generations,’ Genesis 15:16), and that the Exodus took place c. 1125 b.c. under Rameses XII, is too improbable to need serious discussion, Cf. Skinner, Genesis (1910), pp. xv, 502.

Some inscriptions from this reign contain interesting references to brick-making in Egypt. Thus the illustration given on p. 39 is accompanied by these inscriptions:

For the new building of the store-house of the god Amon, of Apt (Thebes).

Captives whom his Majesty carried away, building the temple of his father Amon.

The taskmaster says to his labourers, ‘The stick is in my hand, be not idle.’

And another inscription, evidently part of a foreman’s report, reads thus:

Number of builders, 12, besides men for moulding the bricks in their own towns (?), brought to work on the house. They are making the due number of bricks every day: they are not remiss in their labours for the new house. I have thus obeyed the command given by my master.

Under Amenhotep (Amenophis) III (1414–1383) the power of Egypt was at its height. The Tell el-Amarna letters (many of which belong to this reign) reveal to us the sovereigns of Babylonia, Assyria, Mitanni, and other nations eager to secure the friendship of Egypt. Vast temples were built by the king at Thebes; sculpture and other arts flourished as they had never done before. Amenophis IV (1383–1365) is remarkable as having effected a religious revolution in Egypt, and introduced a species of monotheism. He broke with the existing polytheism, dispossessed the various priesthoods, excised the name ‘gods’ wherever it appeared in the temples, and proclaimed as the sole god of Egypt the sun-god, whom Amenophis revered as the source of all life, power, and force in the universe1[34]. This monotheism did not indeed long survive Amenophis himself; but it was a noteworthy phenomenon at the time. At a spot about 100 miles S. of Cairo, now called Tell el-Amarna, Amenophis IV built for himself a new capital, as a centre for this sun-worship; and it is the large collection of cuneiform tablets found there in 1887, belonging partly to the reign of Amenophis III, and partly to that of Amenophis IV, which has shed such a surprising light on the political condition of Syria and Palestine at the time. Both countries were provinces of Egypt, administered by Egyptian governors stationed in their principal fortresses. Under Amenophis IV, however, the authority of Egypt was considerably weakened: its supremacy was threatened partly by the Hittites, partly by formidable invading hordes called in the letters of Abdi-ḥiba, the governor of Jerusalem, Ḥabiri1[35], partly by the native population, and partly by intrigues and rivalries between the Egyptian governors themselves. In these letters to the Egyptian king, these governors frequently dilate upon the dangers to which they are exposed, and beg earnestly for military help: if it is not forthcoming, the country is lost to Egypt. Under the last few rulers of the Eighteenth dynasty (1365–1328) the power and prestige of Egypt diminished yet more; and the nations whom Thothmes III had made tributary recognized its supremacy no more. With the Nineteenth dynasty (1328–1202) however,—the seat of which was also at Thebes,—the position of Egypt improved. Seti I (1326–1300), its third ruler, in an expedition of his first year, recovered most of Palestine for Egypt. The Shasu (plundering Bedawi tribes from the desert on the S. of Canaan) were raiding and gaining a foothold in Southern Palestine2[36]; Seti I, starting from the frontier-fortress of Zaru or Selle (see on Exodus 13:20), on the N.E. of the Delta (see the map), marched as far as the town of Pa-Kanana (probably somewhere on the S. frontier of Canaan), routing them in all directions1[37]; he then pushed on northwards, capturing Megiddo, Tyre, and other towns on the way, as far as Tunip, 12 miles N. of Aleppo; after which he returned in triumph to Egypt. Scenes of this campaign are depicted on the north wall of the great hypostyle hall built by him at Karnak2[38]; and a monument of Seti I’s rule over Palestine is still preserved in the pillar, inscribed with his cartouche, discovered by G. A. Smith at Tell esh-Shihâb, 22 miles east of the Sea of Galilee3[39]. His son, Rameses II, followed in his steps; and alike by his conquests and the number and magnificence of his buildings, proved himself, during his 67 years’ reign (b.c. 1300–1234), one of the greatest monarchs who ever ruled over Egypt. Rameses II, in his second, fourth, fifth, and eighth years led a series of expeditions into Syria; in his fifth year he gained the famous victory over the Hittites at Kedesh on the Orontes, which was celebrated by the court-poet Pentaur; in his twenty-first year he concluded a treaty with the Hittites, the earliest treaty at present known to history, and, historically, a most important document. He moreover gained many successes in Libya, Nubia, and elsewhere. Monuments bearing his name have been found from the Nahr el-Kalb, near Beirut, in Syria, and Sheikh Sa‘ad4[40], on the E. of the Sea of Galilee, 11 miles N. of Tell esh-Shihâb, to Napata in Ethiopia (about 18° 30′ N.); his victories are represented, or described, on the walls of the great temples at Luxor, Abu-Simbel, and other places. Rameses II also built or renovated numerous temples—for instance, at Memphis, Abydos, Karnak, Luxor, and Abu-Simbel: he also in particular erected temples and other buildings in the Delta, especially in its eastern part, including the great temple at Tanis (Zoan), which he rebuilt, and decorated with numerous obelisks, &c., and the store-city of Pithom (Exodus 1:11)1[41].

[34] See in Petrie, ii. 211 ff., or Breasted, Hist. of Eg., p. 371 ff., the striking hymn to Aten, celebrating him as the source of life in men and animals, as watering the earth, causing the seasons, &c.

[35] In the other letters the people who play the same part are denoted by an ideogram, which, read phonetically, would be read Sa-Gas. The true pronunciation is uncertain: Winckler thinks that it was Ḥabiri: Knudzton allows this to be possible; but even those who doubt whether the Sa-Gas were called ‘Ḥabiri’ do not deny that they were substantially the same people. There may be some connexion between these Ḥabiri and the Hebrews: they cannot indeed, for chronological and other reasons, be identical with the Hebrews who invaded Canaan under Joshua: but they may, for instance, have been a branch of the same tribal stock (Paton), or have included the ancestors of the later ‘Hebrews’ (Winckler, Spiegelberg, Skinner). See further Winckler, Gesch. Isr. i. (1895), 14–21, KAT.3 (1902), 196–203; Petrie, Syr. and Eg. from the Tell el-Am. letters (1898), 64 f.; Paton, Early Hist. of Syr. and Pal. (1902), 111, 113 f.; Spiegelberg, Der Aufenthalt Israels in Aeg. (1904), 32–34, 50; Knudzton, El-Amarna Tafeln (1907), 46–52; Skinner, Genesis (1910), 218.

[36] Breasted, Anc. Records of Egypt (Chicago, 1906–7), iii. p. 52; cf. Hist. of Eg. 409 f.

[37] Breasted, Anc. Rec. iii. 43–47; Hist. 410.

[38] See the description in Petrie, iii. 11–16.

[39] Quarterly Statement of the Palest. Explor. Fund, 1901, pp. 347–9.

[40] The so-called ‘Job’s Stone,’ found here, bears the official title of Rameses II; see DB. i. 166b.

[41] For fall particulars of Rameses II’s reign, see Petrie, Hist. of Eg.2, iii. 28–103 (his buildings, 72–81); Breasted, Hist. of Eg. (1906), 418–463, or, more briefly, in his smaller History of the Anc. Egyptians (1908), 301–326.

The reign of Rameses II was remarkable also for the influence exerted at the time by Canaan and Syria upon Egypt. Even before this reign slaves from Charu and Canaan are frequently mentioned; and some of these had attained—like Joseph—positions of high honour in Egypt. Under Rameses II the number of such slaves had greatly increased: trade with Asia had also considerably developed, with the result that Asiatic luxuries, manufactures, and works of art were imported in great numbers into Egypt; and the latter even strongly influenced Egyptian art itself at the time. Many Canaanite,—i.e. virtually Hebrew—words also found their way at the same time into Egyptian literature2[42]. The military expeditions into Asia had made the Egyptians acquainted with Canaan and Syria; and the knowledge of Canaan in particular possessed by Egyptians is well illustrated by the Travels of a Mohar, written under Rameses II, in which many places in Canaan are mentioned3[43].

[42] See Erman, pp. 514–518; Breasted, Hist. of Eg. 447–9, Hist. of Anc. Egyptians, 317 f.; Sayce, Patriarchal Palestine, 216, 244–6.

[43] Sayce, HCM. 341 ff., or Patr. Pal. 204 f., 301–326.

With the death of Rameses II, the decline of Egypt began. Merenptah, who succeeded him, was his thirteenth son; he was born probably in the eighth year of his father’s reign, so that at his accession he would be about 58 years of age4[44]. Dated documents from his first to his eighth year are extant: Manetho, as reported by Josephus, and Africanus, assigned him 19–20 years5[45]. Petrie, following Manetho, dates his reign 1234–1214 b.c.; Breasted, not going substantially beyond the documents, 1225–1215 b.c. Even before the close of Rameses’ reign, the Teḥenu (Libyans), and other N. African tribes, had begun to plunder the western parts of the Delta and form settlements in it; in Merenptah’s fifth year, in conjunction with hordes from the Mediterranean coasts,—the ‘peoples of the sea,’ as the Egyptians termed them,—they organised a great invasion of Egypt; and Merenptah’s defeat of these invaders at Pr-yr1[46] (probably in Middle Egypt), with the capture of a large amount of spoil, was his chief military success2[47]. The victory, which delivered Egypt from a pressing danger, was celebrated with great rejoicings; an inscription, grandiloquently describing it, will be referred to immediately. The rest of Merenptah’s reign was uneventful.

[44] Petrie, iii. 107.

[45] Ib. 106.

[46] Anc. Rec. iii. 243, 248, 255.

[47] Petrie, iii. 108–114; Breasted, Hist. of Eg. 466–470; Hist. of Anc. Egyptians, 328–330.

The death of Merenptah was the beginning of a conflict for the throne, which lasted for some years. Seti II was the successor of Merenptah. his reign was short (1214–1209), and marked by no event of importance. A period of anarchy followed, until Setnakht, perhaps a descendant of Rameses II, succeeded in exterminating the pretenders and restoring order (1203–1202 b.c.). His son began the 20th dynasty (1202–1102), consisting entirely of rulers bearing the name of Rameses, Rameses III to XII. Rameses III (1202–1171) was a vigorous and successful ruler: under him Egypt recovered much of its former prosperity. He repulsed successfully another combination of Libyans and the ‘peoples of the sea’—a combination remarkable for including the Purasati, the ‘Philistines’ of Hebrew history, here for the first time mentioned in the Egyptian records, whose original home was Crete (Amos 9:7), but who shortly afterwards founded a permanent settlement in the S.W. corner of Palestine, where they maintained themselves for many centuries. After this, the Egyptian possessions in Phoenicia and Canaan were threatened by an invading horde of peoples from the North: to repel them, Rameses III found it necessary twice to march his forces through Canaan; on each occasion he defeated the invaders somewhere in the territory of Amurri (the Amorites) on the N. of Canaan. Rameses III possessed immense wealth which enabled him to erect many public buildings, including in particular a magnificent temple at Medinet Abu, on the walls of which the record of his achievements was inscribed: he also, as the Papyrus Harris, written during the reign of his successor, informs us, gave offerings of fabulous value to the temples1[48]. The reigns of Rameses IV—XII do not call here for special notice.

[48] Petrie, iii. 142–165; Breasted, Hist. of Eg. 477–501, 505; Hist. of Anc. Egyptians, 333–344, 347.

Some inscriptions belonging to Merenptah’s reign must now be noticed. From the time of the 12th dynasty onwards the N.E. frontier of Egypt, from the N. end of the Gulf of Suez—which was then perhaps at L. Timsâḥ2[49]—to the Mediterranean Sea, was protected by a line of forts, guarded by troops3[50]; and, at least under Merenptah, no one was allowed to pass any of these forts in either direction without giving the officer in command his name, his position, and the object of his journey, and producing the letters he bore. By a happy chance, fragments of the frontier diary kept at this time by Paembesa, a scribe, stationed, it seems, in the fortress Zaru (p. 112), have been preserved4[51]; and here are two of the entries in it:

[49] Below, pp. 126–8; Breasted, Hist. of Eg. 447: cf. the map in Maspero, Dawn of Civilization, p. 75.

[50] Maspero, Dawn of Civil. p. 351 n. 3, 469 n. 1: cf. on Exodus 15:22; and see Shur in DB.

See Erman, Anc. Egypt, p. 538, or Breasted, Anc. Records, iii. 271 f. (with improved readings, followed in the two quoted here).

Third year, 15th of Pachon. There went up the servant of Ba‘al, Roy, son of Zeper, of Gaza, who had with him for Syria two letters, as follows: (for) the captain of infantry, Chay, one letter; (for) the chief of Tyre, Baalat-Remeg, one letter.

Third year, 17th of Pachon. There arrived the captains of the archers of the Well of Merenptah, which is (on) the highland, to report (?) in the castle (khetem) which is in Zaru.

There are also three other similar entries, the whole shewing that ‘in ten days there were eight important people passing the frontier and seven official despatches, implying much intercourse across the long and forbidding desert journey1[52].’

[52] Petrie, iii. 107.

From Merenptah’s eighth year, we have the following report of an Egyptian officer, stating that permission had been given to certain Bedawi tribes to pass the southern frontier-fort, at Thukke, in order to pasture their cattle near Pithom:

Another matter for the satisfaction of my master’s heart. We have allowed the tribes of the Shasu (Bedawin) of Atuma to pass the castle (khetem) of King Merenptah which is in Thukke, to the lakes of Pithom, of King Merenptah in Thukke, in order to find sustenance for themselves and their cattle in the domain of Pharaoh, who is the beneficent sun in every land. In the year 8 …2[53].

[53] Breasted, l.c., p. 273.

This inscription is of extreme interest. Pithom is only a few miles E. of Goshen; and the permission given to these Bedawi tribes to settle about it, for the sake of their flocks and herds, forms a close parallel to the permission given to Jacob and his sons to settle in Goshen for the same purpose3[54].

[54] For a similar instance from the reign of Harmhab (c. 1330 b.c.), see Anc. Rec. iii. 6, 7.

From the reign of Merenptah’s successor, Seti II (1214–1209), we have the report of a scribe, who had been sent out to overtake two fugitive slaves of the Egyptian king:

I started from the court of the palace (at Tanis or Memphis?) on the 9th of Epiphi (July), in the evening, in pursuit of two slaves. Now I arrived at the fortified enclosure of Thukke on the 10th of Epiphi, and was told that they had spoken of the south (i.e. spoken of taking the southern route?), and that they had passed on on the 9th of Epiphi. I went to the castle (khetem),—viz. of Thukke,—and was told, ‘The horseman (or groom), who comes from abroad [says] that they passed the northern wall of the watch-tower (mektol = Heb. migdol) of Seti Merenptah (Seti II).’

This ‘mektol’ may be the ‘Migdol’ of Exodus 14:2 : as there must have been other ‘towers’ to protect the N.E. frontier, more cannot be said; still, as Thukke will have been Succoth (see on Exodus 12:37), the fugitives will have followed approximately the route taken before them by the Israelites.

We come now to the famous stelè, discovered in 1896, in the Theban necropolis at Ḳurnah, in the funeral temple of Merenptah, on which mention is made of ‘Israel.’ The inscription, which is dated on the day of the battle, is a song of triumph, describing, in grandiloquent language, the great defeat of Libyans in the king’s fifth year, mentioned above; and the peace, unruffled by the signs or sound of war, which afterwards prevailed in the land. The writer continues:

No longer is there the lament of sighing man. The villages are again settled. He who has tilled his crop will eat it. Ra has turned himself to Egypt. King Merenptah is born for the purpose of avenging it. Chiefs are prostrate, saying ‘Saläm’ (i.e. supplicating for mercy). Not one among the Nine Bows (the Barbarians) raises his head. Vanquished are the Teḥenu (Libyans); the Khita (Hittites) are pacified. Canaan is seized with every evil; Ashkelon is carried away; Gezer is taken; Yenoam is annihilated; Ysiraal is desolated, its seed (or fruit) is not. Charu (perhaps the Ḥorites, the old population of Edom) has become as widows for Egypt (i.e. is helpless before the attacks of Egypt); all lands together are at peace.

The tenor of the inscription seems to imply that at the beginning of Merenptah’s reign there had been a revolt among the subjects of Egypt in Palestine, and that the Pharaoh had made a successful expedition into Canaan, and reduced them1[55].

[55] Breasted, p. 465 f.

While the other places or peoples mentioned in the inscription have the determinative for ‘country,’ the name ‘Israel’ has the determinative for ‘men’: the reference is consequently to ‘Israel’ as a tribe or people; and from the context in which it is mentioned, among various conquered towns or districts in Palestine, it is plain that it is represented as resident in Canaan itself, though scarcely as occupying the whole of the country, but rather a district of it (by the side of Gezer, Charu, &c.). How is the notice to be accommodated to what we learn from other sources of the history of Israel at the time? As Petrie remarks, the notice is a very surprising one. From the Old Testament we should infer that there were no Israelites in Palestine between the migration into Egypt, and the entry at Jericho under Joshua, whereas here are Israelites mentioned in the midst of various districts and places in Canaan. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that there were Israelites settled in Canaan before the entry into it of the Israelite tribes who came out of Egypt with Moses1[56]. Petrie (p. 114) is of opinion that there were Israelites left behind, or immediately returning, after the famine of Joseph, and that they kept up the family traditions about the sites in Canaan which were known in later times. The Egyptologist, Spiegelberg2[57], supposes that they were descendants of the Ḥabiri, or ‘Hebrews’ (p. xxxiii.), who are mentioned in Abdi-ḥiba’s letters (c. 1400 b.c.) as making incursions into Palestine3[58]. The Biblical accounts of the Exodus are not contemporary: the traditions embodied in them relate solely to the Hebrews who escaped from Egypt. It is possible that these were in reality only a section of the entire nation, and that the representation which we have in Genesis and Exodus of all the house of Jacob migrating into Egypt to join Joseph there, or of all Jacob’s descendants leaving it at the Exodus, may have arisen only afterwards, when the nation had become consolidated, and it was natural to think of their ancestors as having all had a common experience in Egypt.

[56] Cf. Burney, Journal of Theol. Studies, 1908, p. 334.

[57] Der Aufenthalt Israels in Aegypten (1904), p. 40.

[58] The mention in the Travels of a Mohar, written under Rameses II, of a ‘mountain of User’ in the North of Canaan has been supposed to indicate that the tribe of Asher was settled in Canaan before the Exodus (Sayce, Patriarchal Pal., 1895, p. 219; cf. Hogarth’s Auth. and Arch. p. 70). Comp. also the ‘Asaru’ of Seti I (below, p. 416).

Are the ‘Hebrews’ mentioned in the Egyptian inscriptions? The eminent French Egyptologist, M. Chabas, argued forcibly in his Mélanges Égyptologiques1[59] that a foreign people called Âperu or ‘Apriu, mentioned in inscriptions from the reign of Thothmes III (1503–1449 b.c.) to Rameses IV (1171–1165), as doing either forced labour or other service for the Pharaoh, were the Hebrews: his conclusion, though accepted by Ebers, was controverted by Brugsch and other authorities2[60], and has met generally with little favour. Recently, however, it has been revived, and supported by arguments of considerable weight3[61]. The following are the texts in which the Âperu are mentioned:

[59] i. (1862), p. 42 ff., ii. (1864), pp. 108–165.

[60] See particulars in Maspero, ii. 443 n.

See esp. H. J. Heyes, Bibel und Aegypten, i. (1904), p. 146 ff.

1. In a tale (not a contemporary document) respecting the taking of Joppa by Tahutia, a general of Tbothmes III, it is said that, having by a ruse obtained admission into the city, he sent a message to the troops outside by ‘one of the Âperu4[62].’

[62] Petrie, Egypt. Tales, ii. 3; cf. p. 7.

2. In a report addressed to an official of the reign of Rameses II there occur the words: ‘To rejoice the heart of my lord. I have obeyed the message of my lord, in which he said, Give corn to the native soldiers, and also to the Âpuriu, who are bringing up stones for the great tower of Pa-Ramessu.… I have given them their corn every month, according to the instructions of my lord.’

3. In another report of the same age we read: I have hearkened to my lord’s message, ‘Give provisions to the soldiers and to the Âperu, who bring up stones for Râ (the sun-god), viz. for Râ of Rameses Meri Amen in the S. quarter of Memphis’ (i.e. for the temple of Ra which Rameses II had built there).

4. Under Rameses III, the first king of the 20th dynasty (1202–1171 b.c.), there are mentioned, among the people attached to the great temple of Turn at Heliopolis (in the Delta, about 7 miles N.E. of Cairo). ‘Orderlies, children of chiefs, nobles, Âperu, and people of the settlement in this place, 2,0931[63].’

[63] Breasted, Anc. Records, iv. 150 (where, however, the identification with the Hebrews is spoken of as ‘exploded’).

5. In a rock-inscription, in one of the barren valleys of the Hammâmât mountains (a little N. of Thebes), it is stated that Rameses IV sent an expedition to the quarries in these mountains. The number of people that were sent down was 8368: among them were ‘800 Âperu of the bow-troops (barbarian auxiliaries2[64]) of Anu3[65].

[64] See Erman, Anc. Eg., p. 543.

[65] I.e. Aian?, on the E. border of lower Egypt? (Griffith).

There were thus Âperu described as acting under Thothmes III as attendants on the king; and under the other kings mentioned, as settled in colonies in Egypt, and engaged in the work of quarrying or carrying stone for various public buildings. The name is each time followed by the determinative sign indicating a foreign population4[66]. It agrees, according to the laws of Egyptian transcription, with the name עברים (‘Hebrews’); and the occupations of the Âperu were similar to those of the Hebrews. There certainly seems to be a reasonable probability that the two names are identical; and that the Âperu of the Egyptian inscriptions were detachments of the ‘Hebrews’ mentioned in Exodus, employed in various capacities by the Pharaohs. If this conclusion is correct, and the Exodus took place under Merenptah, we must suppose that the Âperu mentioned under Rameses III and IV were bodies, or the descendants of bodies, which were perhaps separated from the Hebrews of Goshen and employed in other parts of Egypt, under Rameses II and Merenptah, and who might thus have been left behind at the time of the Exodus 5[67].

[66] This is not the case with the ‘âperu’ mentioned under Nefer ḥetep of the 13th dynasty: the word in this case denotes the crew of a royal ship (from âper, to equip), not a people at all.

[67] For Manetho’s account of the expulsion of the Hyksos, reported by Josephus (c. Ap. i. 14),—in which, as they are stated to have ‘built a city in what is now called Judaea, and called it Jerusalem,’ there must be some confusion with the Israelites,—see Ewald, Hist. of Isr. i. 387 ff.; Petrie, Hist. of Eg. i. 233–5, ii. 21 f.; Breasted, Hist. of Eg. 216 f. The Hyksos retired in fact to a place generally identified with Sharuḥen in Simeon (Joshua 19:6), where they were besieged by the Egyptians for six years (Petrie, ii. 22; Breasted, p. 218); and this, no doubt, led to their confusion with the Israelites: but the account throws no real light upon the Exodus.

It is remarkable what little impress the residence of the Israelites in Egypt left upon either their language or their institutions. On the former, see LOT. p. 125 f., DB. ii. 775,—adding here, the proper names Moses, Puṭiel and Phineḥas (see on Exodus 2:10, Exodus 6:25); of the latter, the ark may have been suggested by Egyptian analogies (EB. i. 307; cf. below, p. 269),—possibly, also, the high priest’s ephod (DB. i. 725b n., and below, p. 312), and the jewelled front of the pouch of judgement (EHH. 199; cf. Erman, 298); but the two latter, whether of Egyptian origin or not, will have been of later introduction.

§ 5. Historical and Religious Character of Exodus

If the conclusions of criticism are correct, and, to quote the words of such a cautious and circumspect scholar as the late Professor Davidson1[68], ‘we have no literature from the period of the Exodus itself,’ but only ‘the view of this period taken in the 9th and 8th centuries b.c.,’ in what light are we to view the narratives of the Exodus? It is a primary canon of historical criticism that a first-class historical authority must be contemporary (or nearly so) with the events which it purports to relate: if, therefore, the narratives of Exodus were not committed to writing till several centuries after the Exodus took place, what value is to be attached to them? The two earliest narratives are undoubtedly those denoted by J and E: these are based upon the oral traditions current in the 9th or 8th centuries b.c., upon customs and institutions in force at the time, and upon collections of—in all probability—written laws. P dates from a later age, and exhibits the form which historical tradition and ritual institutions had assumed in priestly circles at this later time1[69]. J and E, being earlier than P, though the form in which many of their narratives are cast owes much to the literary power of the narrators, contain far more genuine historical reminiscences than P does. And it will be noticed that these two narratives, while differing more or less in details, are often in substance very similar: the differences are not greater than might easily arise, if the same materials were handed down orally by different channels through several generations, and thrown finally into a literary form by different hands. We cannot press details: but it is hypercritical to doubt that the outline of the narratives which have thus come down to us by two channels, is historical. The narratives of J and E cannot be mere fictions: those wonderful pictures of life, and character, and ever-varying incident, though, as we know them, they may owe something of their charm to their painters’ skill, cannot but embody substantial elements of fact. That the ancestors—or (p. xl) some of the ancestors—of the later Israelites were for long settled in Egypt, and, in the end, subjected there to hard bondage; that Moses was the leader who, after much opposition on the part of the Pharaoh, rescued them from their thraldom at a time when Egypt was paralysed by an unprecedented succession of national calamities, and led them through a part of the Red Sea usually covered with water beyond reach of their recent oppressors; that he brought them afterwards to a mountain where Israel received through him a revelation which was a new departure in the national religion, and became the foundation both of the later religion of Israel, and of Christianity; that he originated, or, more probably, adapted, customs and institutions from which the later civil and religious organization of the nation was developed; and that thus Israel owed to Moses both its national existence and, ultimately, its religious character,—these, and other facts such as these, cannot be called in question by a reasonable criticism1[70]. Moses, in particular, bulks too largely in the Pentateuchal narratives to be anything but a historical person, of whose life and character many trustworthy traditions were preserved.

[68] Theology of the O.T. (1904), p. 16.

[69] Naturally the institutions include many ancient and even archaic elements.

[70] Comp. W. H. Bennett, DB. iii. 444 f.; and G. A. Cooke, The Progress of Revelation (sermons chiefly on the O.T.), 1910, p. 7 f. See also Kittel, The Scientific Study of the O.T. (1910), pp. 164–176; and the forthcoming first volume of his Hist. of the Hebrews (ed. 2).

How long the Israelites had been sojourners in Egypt cannot be determined with certainty. There is nothing in the Book of Genesis to indicate what king, or even what dynasty, was ruling when Jacob and his sons joined Joseph in Egypt2[71]. In the Old Testament 400 (Genesis 15:13 J) or 430 years (Exodus 12:40 P), and also four generations (Genesis 15:16 J; cf. Exodus 2:1 E, Exodus 6:16; Exodus 6:18; Exodus 6:20 P, with the notes on Exodus 2:1 and Exodus 6:27), are assigned as the period of their sojourn there. The two statements may have been harmonized by the supposition that a ‘generation’ at the period in question consisted of 100 years: but naturally it cannot have done so in reality. The length of the Israelites’ sojourn in Egypt must thus be left an open question: if (p. xlii) the Âperu are the Hebrews, there were some Hebrews in the service of Thothmes III, 220 years before the Exodus.

[71] DB. ii. 770b, with note §; cf. the writer’s Genesis, p. 347. Petrie’s argument (Egypt and Isr., 1911, p. 27), based on the purely conjectural explanation of ‘Abrek’ (Genesis 41:43) from the Babylonian, has not the cogency which he appears to attach to it.

Of the condition of the Israelites in Egypt, practically nothing is known, beyond what can be inferred by conjecture from analogy. We must picture them as a body of settlers numbering (Petrie3[72]) some 5–6000 souls, settled in ‘Goshen,’ i.e. (Naville; see on Exodus 8:22) the fertile district at the W. end of Wady Ṭumîlat (see the Map) within ‘the triangle lying between Ṣafṭ, Belbeis, and Tel el-Kebir,’ covering an area of about 70 square miles. These settlers will have had the same simple habits of life, with elementary institutions for the maintenance of justice and order—tribal leaders, Sheikhs acting as judges, councils of elders, simple rules for the punishment of offenders, rudimentary religious observances—which are still in operation among nomad Arab tribes. In all probability they were of little importance in the eyes of the Egyptians. ‘In the eyes of their Egyptian contemporaries,’ writes Prof. Sayce1[73], ‘the Israelites were but one of many Shasu or Bedawin tribes who had settled in the pasture lands of the Eastern Delta. Their numbers were comparatively insignificant, their social standing obscure. They were doubtless as much despised and avoided by the Egyptians of their day as similar Bedawin tribes are by the Egyptians of the present day. They lived apart from the natives of the country, and the occupation they pursued was regarded as fit only for the outcasts of mankind.’ Their growing numbers made them dangerous, because, ‘in case of invasion, they might assist the enemy and expose Egypt to another Asiatic conquest. Hence came the determination to transform them into public serfs, and even to destroy them altogether. The free Bedawin-like settlers in Goshen, who had kept apart from their Egyptian neighbours, and had been unwilling to perform even agricultural work, were made the slaves of the State. They were taken from their herds and sheep, from their independent life on the outskirts of the Delta, and compelled’ to do field-labour, to make bricks, and build for the Pharaoh his store-cities of Pithom and Raamses.

[72] Researches in Sinai (1906), p. 207 f. The present entire population of the Peninsula of Sinai is 5–7000; and the 60–80 square miles of Goshen would support, on an agricultural basis, about 20,000 people, but a much smaller pastoral population, such as the Hebrews were (ibid.). ‘Thus we may put the case in brief by saying that not more than about 5000 people could be taken out of Goshen or into Sinai.’ To the same effect, Egypt and Israel, p. 41 f. The number implied by the statements in the Pentateuch is at least 2,000,000 souls; and a number such as this could have been supported neither in Goshen nor in the barely clad and scantily watered wâdys and plains around Sinai (p. 178). Petrie’s own explanation of the high numbers (ibid. p. 43 ff) is, however, not probable: see below, p. 101.

[73] HCM. p. 248, and EHH. 152 f.

The measures taken subsequently by the Pharaoh to check the still increasing numbers of the Israelites, need not here be recounted in detail. How Moses escaped a watery death in the Nile is told in Exodus 2:1-10 : here it need only be remarked that the common opinion, based on Acts 7:22, that he was instructed in ‘all the wisdom of the Egyptians,’ has no support in the OT. itself, and is simply (see p. 11 f.) an imaginative development, which elsewhere we first find in Philo, of the Biblical statement that he ‘became a son’ to Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses’ abortive attempt to help his brethren resulted in his flight into the land of Midian (Exodus 2:15), where he became son-in-law to the priest of Midian. In the solitudes of ‘Horeb’ Moses had those mysterious communings with God, in which he first felt the inward call to become his people’s deliverer, and, by a series of Divine monitions, overcame, one after another, the difficulties which his diffidence suggested to him—his unfitness either to treat with the Pharaoh, or to become the leader of his people, his uncertainty as to the name of the God who had sent him, his apprehensions that the Israelites would not listen to him or believe in his Divine commission, and his lack of fluency to convince or persuade them (Exodus 3:11 to Exodus 4:17). To meet the special difficulty that he will not be listened to, he is endowed with thaumaturgic powers, and instructed to do signs to satisfy (J) the Israelites (Exodus 4:1-9; Exodus 4:30 b), and (E) the Pharaoh (Exodus 4:17; Exodus 4:21 a, 28), of his Divine commission. That Moses may have felt such difficulties is, psychologically, extremely probable, though the details of the manner in which he experienced and overcame them may be largely due to the narrators.

A difficulty is sometimes felt as to what is meant when God is described as ‘speaking’ to a man. As Delitzsch has remarked (on Genesis 12:1), His voice in such cases ‘is to be thought of, not as something external, but as heard within his inmost soul.’ And so, when a prophet says, ‘And God said,’ ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ &c., what he means is that he is conscious of an impulse or direction, not his own, being given to his thoughts, the result of which, as he describes it, he puts into his own words, and expresses in the style peculiar to himself. And this is why the Divine thought assumes different forms in different writers: it is in each case coloured by the human medium through which it has passed. Thus in the Pentateuch the words said to have been spoken to Moses, or the laws given to him, must not be thought of as if they were spoken or given exactly as they stand: the impulse, or superintending influence, moved the hearts and minds of those concerned—whether Moses, or some later lawgiver, or the narrator, as the case may be—in the required direction: but the words in which the result of this Divine operation is expressed, are supplied by the human individuality of the speaker or writer: hence both here and elsewhere in the OT. the Divine thought and the human expression of it are inseparably combined. Comp. the writer’s sermons on the Voice of God in the OT., and on Inspiration, in his Sermons on the OT. pp. 135 f., 148 ff.

The origin of the name Yahweh is still uncertain. Whether the explanation of it, as meaning He will be, suggested in Exodus 3:14 (see the note), gives its real etymology is doubtful: more probably this verse gives the deeper theological sense in which the name was understood, when the writer (E) lived. E, at least by implication (Exodus 3:13-15), and P expressly (Exodus 6:3), regard it as originating in the Mosaic age; J, on the other hand, represents it as having been in use from the very beginning of the history (Genesis 2:4-5, &c.). There may be elements of truth in each of these representations, though neither may be true entirely. It is not likely that Moses would come to his people in the name of an entirely unknown deity—indeed, in E it is expressly stated that it is the God of their fathers whom he is to introduce to the people (Exodus 3:6): on the other hand, it is not likely that the name was known from the very beginning of history. It is remarkable that, while proper names compounded with Yahweh (Yâhû, Yâh, Yĕhô.) are abundant during the monarchy and later, the only names so compounded occurring in the whole of the Hexateuch are Jochébed (the mother of Moses), and Joshua. In the Book of Judges, the only names so formed (besides Joshua) are Joash, Jotham, Jonathan (Moses’ grandson, Jdg 18:30), and Micaiah (Jdg 17:1; Jdg 17:4 Heb.). Proper names compounded with a Divine name are so very common in Heb., that these facts tend to shew that the name Yahweh was of recent introduction even in the time of the Judges. Yahweh is closely associated with Sinai: Sinai is called a ‘mountain of God’ before Moses visited it (see on Exodus 3:1); thither Moses led his people after the Exodus; there Jehovah manifested Himself in the storm-clouds that gathered, and in the lightnings which played, about its mountain summit1[74]; there He revealed His will to Moses, and gave His covenant to Israel (Exodus 19-24); thence He marched forth, in thunderstorm and cloud2[75], to lead Israel into Canaan (Deuteronomy 33:2)—

[74] Wade, OT. Hist., p. 103.

[75] Notice ‘beamed,’ and ‘shined forth,’ in Deuteronomy 33:2; and the thunderstorms described in the verses immediately following Jdg 5:4 and Habakkuk 3:3, cited in the next note. For the Hebrew idea that Jehovah was actually present in the thunder-cloud, see also Psalm 18:10-13; Psalm 29:3-9, and the note on Exodus 9:23 a.

Jehovah came from Sinai,

And beamed forth from Seir [Edom] unto them;

He shined forth from mount Paran3[76],

[76] Comp. Jdg 5:4, where, though Sinai itself is not mentioned, Jehovah is represented as coming in a storm from ‘Seir’ and ‘Edom’ to discomfit His people’s foes; and Habakkuk 3:3, where, in the description of the theophany, He comes similarly from ‘Teman’ [in Edom] and ‘Paran’; and see p. 190.

And came from holy myriads [read probably, with a very slight change in the Heb., from Meribath-Kadesh];

and thither also Elijah repaired (1 Kings 19:8 ff.), to find Divine encouragement in his despair. Yahweh must thus have been a God who, in some very special sense, had His home on Sinai; and whose worship, in some fuller and more formal sense than had previously been the case, was there accepted by the Israelites. From the connexion of Moses with the Kenite (Jdg 4:11) Jethro (Exodus 2, 18), and the friendliness which subsisted afterwards between Israel and the Kenites (Jdg 1:16; 1 Samuel 15:6), it has been supposed that Yahweh was the God of the Kenites, and that Israel at Sinai adopted His worship from them. But this view would imply that there was no connexion between Yahweh and Israel before Moses became the son-in-law of Jethro, which is not probable: a new and foreign deity would hardly have been so rapidly accepted by the Israelites. We are in the region of conjectures: but there are reasons for believing (pp. xl, 416) that ‘the whole of the tribes of Israel did not undergo serfdom in Egypt, but that part of them led the life of nomads in the neighbourhood of Sinai, and had for long worshipped the god that was established there’ (Kautzsch, DB. v. 627a). Another conjecture (ibid. 627b) is that Yahweh was the God who was recognised by Moses’ own tribe; cf. Exodus 3:6 ‘the God of thy father,’ Exodus 15:2 ‘my father’s God.’ In either of these cases Yahweh would not have been an entirely new and strange God: and Moses’ work would have consisted in proclaiming as the God of the whole body of Israel the God whom part of them already worshipped, and in binding their various branches into a closer unity by the worship of a single deity (cf. McNeile, pp. cxiii, 21).

The name, ‘Yahweh,’ it now seems, was not confined to Israel. It occurs, to all appearance, in Babylonian texts dating long before the age of Moses. Some of the instances that have been adduced are questioned by some Assyriologists1[77]: but, disregarding these, we have2[78], from the Hạmmurabi period, the proper names Ya-u-um-ilu, ‘Ya-u is God’ (= the Heb. ‘Jo’el,’ at least as usually explained), and Ya-ma-e-ra-aḥ, ‘Yama (or Yawa) is the moon3[79],’ and, from c. 15–1400, during the Cassite period, Ya-u-ba-ni (‘Yau is creator’), Ya-u-a [also = ‘Jehu’ on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser], Ya-ai-u, Ya-a-u, and Ya-a-u-tum (with the caritative affix -tum1[80]). We have also, from Taanach, in Canaan itself, c. 1350 b.c., the name Aḥi-yami, i.e., apparently, ‘Yah is a brother (or, my brother),’ corresponding to the Heb. Aḥijah (‘Aḥiyahu’). There is, however, no evidence whatever that ‘Ya-u’ belonged to the Babylonian pantheon; and Assyriologists agree that the Bab. names, in which ‘Ya-u’ appears, are those of West-Semitic, or ‘Amorite,’ settlers. The names are at present [Dec. 1910] isolated; but they seem sufficiently to shew that a West-Semitic deity, Ya-u, was known as early as c. 2100 b.c. Nothing, however, is at present known about the character or attributes associated with Ya-u. But even though we should in the future learn more about Ya-u than we know at present, and even though it should be shewn that the Heb. name ‘Yahweh’ was really derived from Ya-u, the fact, though of high interest historically, would be of no importance theologically. The source from which either this or any other divine name was ultimately derived by the Hebrews, matters little or nothing: the question which is of importance is, What did the name come to mean to them? What, to them, was its theological content? What are the character and attributes of the Being whom it is actually used in the O.T. to denote? The name, it may be,—we cannot at present say more,—came to Israel from the outside. ‘But into that vessel a long line of prophets from Moses onward, poured such a flood of attributes as never a priest in all Western Asia, from Babylonia to the Sea, ever dreamed of in his highest moments of spiritual insight. In this name, and through Israel’s history, God chose to reveal Himself to the world. Therein lies the supreme and lonesome superiority of Israel over Babylonia2[81].’ Whatever the name may have been in its origin, it came to be the name of the One and only God; and hence we can await in perfect calmness whatever the future may have to disclose to us with regard to its ultimate origin, or its pre-Israelitic use.

[77] On Ya-’-ve-ilu and Ya-ve-ilu, see Zimmern, KAT.3 (1903), p. 468 n., and Sayce, Exp. Times, Oct. 1910, p. 41a; and on the lexical tablet often cited as containing the name Ya-u, Langdon, Exp. Times, Dec. 1910, p. 139 f.

[78] See Rogers, The Relig. of Bab. and Ass., esp. in its relations to Israel (1908), pp. 89–95; and esp. Langdon, Expositor, Aug. 1910, p. 137 f.

[79] Johns, Exp. Times, xv. (1903–4), 560b.

[80] Daiches, Z. f. Ass. xxii. (1908), p. 134 (against Sayce’s view that tum is a feminine termination); and Langdon (verbally).

[81] Rogers, op. cit. p. 97.

Moses’ doubts being satisfied, he returns, with Aaron, to Egypt. The people listen to him gladly (Exodus 4:29-31)3[82]: but the negotiations with the Pharaoh, which now follow, are fruitless. The Pharaoh—whatever Merenptah was in actual history—wears in Hebrew tradition the character of a self-willed, obstinate despot, who persistently hardens himself against God, and resists all warnings. The request that the Israelites may go for three days into the wilderness to sacrifice to Jehovah is peremptorily refused by him, and the Israelites’ tasks are increased (ch. 5).

[82] In the parallel, but later, narrative of P the Israelites are too disheartened to pay any attention to Moses (Exodus 6:9).

The account of the plagues follows. There is no occasion to repeat here either the details of the narrative, or particulars respecting the differences of representation in the different narratives: some general remarks on the whole will suffice. As is shewn in detail in the notes, the plagues all stand in close connexion with the natural conditions of Egypt, and, as represented in the narrative, are in fact just miraculously intensified forms of the diseases or other natural occurrences to which the country is still more or less liable. Every June, when the annual inundation begins, the Nile assumes a reddish colour, due to the red marl brought down from the Abyssinian mountains. Frogs, gnats, flies, and locusts are common pests of the country. Destructive murrains or cattle plagues have occurred in Egypt during the last century. Cutaneous eruptions (‘boils’) are common there. Hailstones, accompanied by lightning, though unusual, are not unknown. The darkness was probably the result of the hot wind called the Ḥamsin, which blows at intervals for nearly two months every year, frequently fills the air with thick clouds of dust and sand, and obliges people, while it lasts, to remain indoors. Malignant epidemics, accompanied sometimes by great mortality, are frequently mentioned by historians and travellers. It is highly improbable that the narrative of the plagues rests upon no basis of fact. No doubt, Egypt was visited at the time by an unusual combination of natural calamities, which materially facilitated the Israelite exodus. If, however, it is true that the narratives are all of much later date than the events themselves, it must be left an open question how far their miraculous character can be insisted on. The hand of God, it must be remembered, is as really and as fully present in the ordinary course of nature as in the most amazing miracle; and the ordinary course of nature is in reality infinitely more marvellous and astounding than any miracle can be. It may thus have been, as Dr McNeile says (p. 43 f.), that ‘the divine power of God worked in Egypt by means of a wonderful series of natural phenomena; and the religious instinct of the Hebrew narrators seized upon these as signs of God’s favour to the Israelites and of punishment to their oppressors. This religious conviction led, as time went on, to accretions and amplifications; and the stories, in the course of frequent and triumphant repetitions, acquired more and more of what is popularly called “miracle”1[83].’ The earliest mention of the plagues is in the narrative of J. In such remains of E as have been preserved the wonders are greater than in J,—their arrival being, for instance, brought about by Moses’ rod or hand; and in P they are still greater than in E.

[83] Comp. the quotation from Dillm., below, p. 57 f.

With the tenth Plague, and the Exodus immediately following it, are connected in J and P alike—nothing of E bearing on the same subjects has been preserved—the institution of the Passover (Exodus 12:1-13; Exodus 12:43-50 P; Exodus 12:21-27 J), and of the Feast of Unleavened Cakes (Exodus 12:14-20 P; Exodus 13:3-10 J), and the law dedicating the first-born to Jehovah (Exodus 13:1 - Exodus 13 :2 P; Exodus 13:11-16 J). As in other cases (cf. DB. iii. 70 f.), the earlier forms of the regulations on these subjects are those given by J: P gives them in the form which they had assumed in the later period of the history. The Passover, there are reasons for supposing, was, at least in its primitive form, a pre-Mosaic institution. It was originally, it has thus been supposed, a pre-Mosaic spring-offering of propitiation, and of communion with the Deity, offered annually for the purpose of protecting tents and flocks from pestilence or other misfortune during the coming year, and of renewing by a common sacred meal a sense of communion with the Deity. The Feast of Unleavened Cakes—like those of Weeks and Ingathering—was clearly intended originally to mark a stage in the agricultural operations of the year (see on Exodus 23:14-17): it was a feast of thanksgiving to Jehovah observed at the beginning of barley harvest Why this feast was observed in particular by eating unleavened cakes is uncertain: for conjectures, see p. 242.

Both the primitive ‘Passover,’ and the Feast of Unleavened Cakes, were, however, celebrated in spring; and so, not unnaturally, they were united. The spring was also the time of year at which the Israelites left Egypt: a great plague was in reality the immediate occasion of the Exodus; and thus these two feasts came to be interpreted as memorials of the event (see pp. 407–412). The statement (Exodus 12:39; Exodus cf.34) that the people in their trepidation were able only to take unleavened cakes, appears indeed to shew that already when J wrote the Feast of Unleavened Cakes was associated with the Exodus. The dedication of the firstborn was doubtless an ancient custom, the real origin of which can only be conjectured. It may be that the firstborn were dedicated to Jehovah, as the first gift of God after marriage; but as it certainly was a Canaanite practice (see Micah 6:7), at least upon occasion, to sacrifice the firstborn, the Hebrew custom may have stood in some relation to this: the firstborn of the Hebrews, like those of their neighbours, were still sacred to the national deity; they were, however, not given over to Him as a sacrifice, but redeemed at a money-valuation (Exodus 13:13): the dedication of the firstborn to the Deity was thus rendered morally harmless. The custom was, however, one of which the real origin was unknown, or forgotten: and so a theological explanation was found in the thought that it was because Jehovah had smitten the firstborn of the Egyptians (Exodus 13:15)1[84]. See further p. 409 f.

[84] The Feast of Booths, also, acquired later (Leviticus 23:43 H) a commemorative significance, and, in post-Biblical times, the Feast of Weeks as well: see p. 244.

‘The exact line of march pursued by the people after leaving Goshen cannot now be traced1[85].’ Of the 40 stations mentioned in Numbers 33 (P) as passed by the Israelites between Rameses and the steppes of Moab, the names of most have entirely disappeared; and the only stations of which the sites can be said to be certain are ‘Eẓion-geber, Kadesh, Dibon, and Nebo. Even the site of Sinai is not beyond question (see p. 189 f.); and the other places mentioned can only be located conjecturally. The Israelites started (Exodus 12:37) from Rameses, not improbably (see on Exodus 1:11) er-Reṭâbeh, 10 miles W. of Pithom, passed Succoth (Exodus 12:37), which is almost certainly the Egyptian Thukke,—either the district round Pithom, or a city very near it; and then (Exodus 13:20) encamped at Etham, on the ‘edge of the wilderness.’ The site of Etham is quite uncertain; but it was presumably some place 4–5 miles N. of L. Timsâḥ, on the W. ‘edge’ of the wilderness E. of the isthmus. Instead, however, of going on from Etham, by the direct route to Canaan, through the later ‘land of the Philistines,’ they made a sharp turn back, towards the (Egyptian) wilderness to the (west side of) the ‘Sea of reeds’ (the Red Sea),—i.e. either as far as the west side of the present Gulf of Suez, or if, as is very probable (see p. 126), this gulf, at the time of the Exodus, extended northwards as far as L. Timsâḥ, to some point on the W. of this northern extension, the position of which, as the sites of Pi-haḥiroth, Migdol, and Ba‘al-ẓĕphon (Exodus 14:2) are all entirely unknown (p. 122 f.), cannot be fixed with certainty, but where, no doubt,—as even Naville and Dawson suppose,—the water was shallow. M. Naville thinks that the passage took place between L. Timsâḥ and the Bitter Lakes, a little N. of the ‘Serapeum’ (see the map); Sir J. W. Dawson considers that the best place would have been near the S. end of the great Bitter Lake, between the present railway stations Fâyid and Geneffa (cf. p. 126). Wherever the point which the Israelites reached was, the Egyptian wilderness seemed to have ‘shut them in’ (Exodus 14:3): the sea was in front of them; and to the Egyptians it appeared that they had but to follow them in order to have them in their power. But the waters were shallow: a high wind arose in the night, and, aided perhaps by a low tide, drove the waters aside, leaving a relatively dry passage (Exodus 14:21), by which the Israelites were able to cross. The Egyptians pursued after them: but the storm increased in violence (cf. Psalm 77:17-19); they were terrified (if Exodus 14:24 is rightly interpreted) by the lightnings that burst from a heavy cloud near; the wheels of their chariots became clogged in the wet sand; they saw that further advance was impossible, and beat a speedy retreat. But meanwhile the wind had suddenly veered; and in the early morning the waters returned, sweeping the Egyptians away before they could regain secure ground (Exodus 14:27 b, Exodus 15:10). The Exodus was thus accomplished; and the Israelites were safe on the E. side of the ‘Sea of reeds.’ The deliverance was a great one, and it was fraught with momentous consequences for the future: but either tradition, or poetic imagination, or both, magnified it into one of altogether incredible dimensions: a pathway cut through the sea, with a wall of water standing up on each side (Exodus 14:22; Exodus 14:29 P; cf. Exodus 15:8), and 2,000,000 persons (p. 101), with tents, baggage, and cattle, passing through it in a single night!

[85] Wade, OT. Hist. p. 108.

‘Egypt is the most conservative of countries, and the children of Israel still have their representatives in it. The Bedawin still feed their flocks, and enjoy an independent existence on the outskirts of the cultivated land. Even when they adopt a settled agricultural life, they still claim immunity from the burdens of their fellaḥin neighbours on the ground of their Bedawin descent. They are exempt from the conscription and the corvée, the modern equivalents of the forced brickmaking of the Mosaic age. The attempt to interfere with these privileges has actually led to an exodus in our own time. Yakub Artin Pasha has told me that his father, the famous Hekekyan Bey, always maintained that he had seen with his own eyes the Israelites departing from Egypt. The Wady Ṭumîlat, the Goshen of old days, was colonised with Arabs from the Nejd and Babylonia by Mohammed Ali, who wished to employ them in the culture of the silkworm. Here they lived with their flocks and cattle, protected by the Government, and exempt from taxation, from military service, and the corvée. Mohammed Ali died, however; and an attempt was made to force them into the army, and lay upon them the ordinary burdens of taxation. Thereupon, in a single night, the whole population silently departed with all their possessions, leaving behind them nothing but the hearths of their deserted homes. They made their way back to their kinsfolk eastward of Egypt, and the Wady Ṭumîlat fell into the state of desolation in which it was found by M. Lesseps when he excavated the Freshwater Canal1[86].’

[86] Sayce, EHH. 153; cf. HCM. 249 f.

The passage of the Red Sea was ever afterwards remembered in Israel with feelings of gratitude and triumph, as a signal deliverance, completing the Exodus, and securing the nation’s independence (see the passages cited on p. 131 f.). The couplet Exodus 15:1 b (comp. v. 21) may have been sung on the occasion itself; but the hymn which follows (vv. 2–18), there are reasons for thinking, is the development by a later poet, in fine and striking imagery, of thoughts suggested, partly by v. 1b, partly by the successful advance of Israel afterwards through the territory of hostile nations, till they were planted securely in their home in Canaan (see pp. 129, 130 f.).

The Israelites, after their passage through the sea, ‘went out into the wilderness of Shur’ (Exodus 15:22), i.e. into the desert region on the E. of the present Isthmus of Suez. They journeyed in this wilderness for three days,—i.e. for some forty miles,—but found no water. At last they came to Marah (Exodus 15:23), where the bitter waters were sweetened by Moses. After Marah, the stations mentioned are Elim (Exodus 15:27), the ‘Sea of reeds,’ or the Red Sea (Numbers 33:10), the wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16:1), Dophkah (Numbers 33:12), Alush (ib. v. 13), Rephidim (Exodus 17:1), and the wilderness of Sinai (Exodus 19:1-2).

The great uncertainty attaching to most of these sites has been alluded to already. Upon the old assumption that the Red Sea was crossed near Suez, and that the first halting-place on the other side was ‘Ayûn Mûsâ, 9 miles below Suez (see on Exodus 15:22), and that Jebel Mûsâ is Sinai, Marah is commonly placed at Hawwárah, 47 miles S.E. of ‘Ayûn Mûsâ (see the map), and Elim in Wâdy Gharandel, 7 miles beyond Hawwárah. If, however, as is now generally supposed (p. 126), the passage was made some 25 (Dawson), or 40 (Naville), miles N. of the present Suez, ‘Ayûn Mûsâ would be much too distant to be at least the first stopping-place (pp. 141, 142); and both this and all the subsequent halting-places will have to be readjusted. The Israelites, if they went to J. Mûsâ, may have passed en route some of the places here mentioned: but to affirm definitely that Marah is Hawwárah, and Elim in W. Gharandel, &c., is to go far beyond what the data justify. Upon the same current assumption, however, the following are the further stages in the itinerary. The ‘Red Sea’ station is placed at the mouth of W. Ṭaiyibeh, or on the narrow littoral plain el-Murkheiyeh, just beyond: this point, as there is no passage along the coast beyond W. Gharandel, the Israelites, if Elim was in W. Gharandel, must (see on Exodus 16:1) have made a difficult inland circuit of 21 miles through the hills behind J. Ḥammâm Far‘un. The wilderness of Sin is identified with the broad and long flinty plain el-Markhâ, on the coast, about 10 miles beyond W. Ṭaiyibeh; or, by some,—though less probably, if the ‘Red Sea’ station be at the mouth of W. Ṭaiyibeh,—with the long upland plain, reached by the ascent up W. Ḥamr, Debbet er-Ramleh. Of Dophkah and Alush all that can be said is that, according to the itinerary of P in Numbers 33, they were between the wilderness of Sin and Rephidim. Rephidim is placed in Wâdy Feiran, 3–4 miles below Feiran, the site of the ancient episcopal town of Pharan, near which Rephidim was already located by Eusebius (see on Exodus 17:1 a). Feiran could be reached from el-Markhâ, either from the middle of the plain up Seiḥ Sidreh, or, 7 miles beyond the S. end of the plain, up W. Feiran itself: the distance from the N. end of el-Markhâ would be in the former case about 42 miles, in the latter (which, though longer, is the easier route) 53 miles. At Feiran, Jebel Serbâl, towering up above the mountains in front of it, is visible three miles to the S. (p. 179). The ‘wilderness of Sinai’ (Exodus 19:1),—if Sinai be Jebel Mûsâ,—will be the plain of er-Râḥah, about 1½ mile long, and ½ mile broad, fronting the height of Râs Ṣufṣâfeh on the N.W.: to reach this an ascent of 3000 ft., through mountain defiles, has to be made from Feiran; and the distance, according to the best route up W. Sheikh, and then round by the defile el-Waṭiyeh (see p. 182, and the map), Isaiah 37 miles. The entire distance to J. Mûsâ, by the route described, will be, from ‘Ayûn Mûsâ 175 miles, from Suez 184 miles, from the S. end of the great Bitter Lake (see p. 126) about 205 miles, and from the Serapeum (ibid.) about 220 miles1[87].

[87] Prof. Sayce holds strongly (see p. 189 f.) that the Israelites never watered the ‘Sinaitic’ Peninsula at all, and that ‘Sinai’ was on the E. the Gulf of ‘Aḳaba. Of course, if this view is correct, the identifications mentioned above, one and all, fall through entirely.

We may now return to the narrative following ch. 15. Ch. 16 (E and P) relates the giving of manna and quails; ch. 17 (mainly E) the water given to the people in Horeb (v. 6), and the defeat of the Amalekites, at Rephidim; and ch. 18 (E) the visit of Jethro to Moses, and the appointment of judges, at Jethro’s suggestion, to assist Moses in the administration of justice. For reasons stated in the notes (pp. 157, 162), it is probable that chs. 17, 18 stood originally at a later period of the narrative, and relate incidents which happened shortly before the departure of Israel from Sinai (Numbers 10:11-12 in P; Numbers 10:33 in J)2[88]. The quails (mentioned in ch. 16 only in P) seem introduced here by an afterthought: their proper place appears to be in J’s narrative in Numbers 11. On the manna, see p. 153 f., where it is pointed out (p. 154) that it forms a striking symbolical illustration of the great truth of the ever-sustaining providence by which God supplies the needs of His people. The attack made by the Amalekites—a predatory tribe, who no doubt resented the intrusion of Israel upon ground which they regarded as their own—is such as might be made to-day by the Bedawin of the Peninsula upon a body of strangers attempting to enter it. The principle expressed in Exodus 17:14-16, and afterwards both inculcated afresh (Deuteronomy 25:17-19), and even acted upon (1 Samuel 15:1 f.), viz. that on account of this attack Jehovah would for ever have war with ‘Amalek’—i.e. not with the actual offenders, but with their innocent descendants, even to distant generations—breathes the spirit of the older Dispensation. Ch. 18, describing the visit of Jethro to Moses, is of great historical interest. It gives us a picture of Moses legislating: cases calling for a legal decision arise among the people,—evidently on secular matters; they are brought before Moses: he adjudicates upon them; and his decisions are termed the ‘statutes and directions of God.’ The passage sets before us Hebrew law in its beginnings. The decisions thus given by Moses would naturally form precedents for future use; as new cases arose, the precedents would be augmented by the decisions of later priests or judges; and thus an increasing body of civil and criminal law, based upon a Mosaic nucleus, and perpetuating Mosaic principles, would gradually grow up. Collections of laws, or, as they are called ‘judgements’ (see on Exodus 21:1), arising, we may feel sure, in this way, and including a Mosaic nucleus, but dating, as we have them, from post-Mosaic times, are preserved in Exodus 21:2 to Exodus 22:17, and in the Code embedded in the discourses of Deuteronomy. Of the subordinate judges appointed to assist Moses nothing further is known (for Deuteronomy 1:9-15 is merely a slightly different version of what is stated here); nor is any instance of their action recorded. Their organization seems systematized (vv. 21, 25) to an improbable degree: but the fact that some such officials were appointed, at Jethro’s suggestion, to assist Moses, may be taken as historical.

[88] It will be remembered that before JE was combined with P, these chapters were separated from Numbers 10:33 only by the JE parts of chs. 19–24, and by Exodus 31:18 b–34:28.

Ch. Exodus 19:1-2 brings the Israelites to Sinai; and the rest of the book is occupied with the events stated to have taker place there till—according to the chronology of P—the erectior of the Tabernacle on the first day of the second year of the Exodus. Chs. 19–24,—with the exception of a few verses at the beginning and end, entirely JE,—describe the theophan on Sinai (chap, 19), the promulgation of the Decalogu (ch. 20), the giving by Jehovah to Moses of the collection of laws contained in the ‘Book of the Covenant’ (Exodus 20:22 to Exodus 23:33) and the conclusion of the covenant based on these laws (ch. 24). On the theophany,—represented as taking place upon the top of Sinai, as the dark storm-clouds gathered about it, and lightnings flashed, and thunder pealed, out of their midst,—and on the description of the Decalogue, as proclaimed by God, with a voice of thunder, out of the storm, enough has been said on pp. 176–7. The Decalogue itself is a terse and forcible summary of the fundamental duties of an Israelite towards God and his neighbour. The date is disputed: according to some, it really springs from the age of Moses; according to others it springs from a much later age, and exhibits the quintessence of the religious and moral teaching of the great prophets (see on this question p. 413 ff.).

The ‘Book of the Covenant’ is the oldest code of Hebrew law with which we are acquainted: it is older, it cannot be doubted, at least in its substance,—for in parts a later compiler has pretty clearly introduced parenetic additions,—than the narrative of E, in which it is incorporated. Apart from the hortatory epilogue (Exodus 23:20-33), and the short additions of the compiler, it consists of two parts: (1) the ‘judgements,’ or decisions, i.e. the provisions of civil and criminal law, prescribing what is to be done when particular cases arise (Exodus 21:2 to Exodus 22:17); and (2) the ‘words,’ i.e. the positive injunctions of moral, religious, and ceremonial law, introduced mostly by Thou shalt or Thou shalt not (Exodus 20:23-26, Exodus 22:18 to Exodus 23:19). A detailed analysis of the laws, arranged under these two heads, and an account of the general aim and character of the Code, will be found on pp. 202–205. Here it may suffice to observe that the laws are designed to regulate the life of a community living under simple conditions of society, and chiefly occupied in agriculture: notice, for instance, the prominence in Exodus 21:28 to Exodus 22:13 of the ox, ass, and sheep, and the allusions to fields, vineyards, and pits dug (for the storage of grain) in the open country. Slavery, murder and manslaughter, manstealing, injuries to life or limb, injuries caused by culpable neglect (as by permitting an unruly animal to be at large, or opening a pit negligently), theft, burglary, compensation for damage caused by fire spreading to a neighbour’s field, for neglect in the case of deposits and loans, and for seduction, are, in brief, the subjects treated in the ‘judgements’: in the ‘words,’ the religious and ceremonial injunctions include the prohibition of images and worship of other gods, regulations for the construction of altars, the observance of the three annual Pilgrimages, of the seventh year as a fallow year, and of the seventh day as a day of rest, the sacredness of first-fruits and firstborn males to Jehovah, and laws prohibiting the eating of flesh torn by beasts, and offering a festal sacrifice with leavened bread; and the moral injunctions forbid the oppression of the ‘sojourner,’ or resident foreigner, the widow, and the orphan, and the taking of interest for a loan from the poor, inculcate veracity and impartiality, and the pure administration of justice, and lay it down that, if an enemy’s ox or ass be found straying, or lying down under its burden, it is to be brought back to its owner, or assisted; a sorceress, also, is not to be permitted to live. Some of the penalties strike us as severe; but we must remember the customs of the age in which they were drawn up, and the stage of civilization of the people for whom they were designed. The laws were certainly on the whole calculated to impose restrictions upon abuse of authority, and upon violence, and to promote justice, honesty, and general well-being. Thus definite rights are secured to the slave; and an asylum is provided in the case of accidental homicide. The claims of humanity are also very decidedly recognized: no advantage is to be taken of the poor and helpless; and the object of both the sabbath and the sabbatical year, as here defined, is a philanthropic one. The only punishments prescribed are those sanctioned by the jus talionis, pecuniary compensation, and death: torture, and wanton mutilation, are unknown. It is interesting to compare the Laws of the XII Tables, or the Laws of Solon, which in many respects presuppose a similar condition of society. Some of the regulations of civil and criminal laws have remarkable parallels in the Code of Hạmmurabi (b.c. 2100), and may indeed have been ultimately derived from it: for a comparison of the corresponding laws, and a discussion of the questions which arise out of them, see Appendix III, p. 418 ff. Religious institutions are in a relatively primitive, undeveloped stage: and the laws relating to them contrast strongly with the minutely defined regulations of P. The legislation of the Covenant Code, speaking generally (for every individual law is not so treated), appears in expanded and developed forms in the later legislation of Deuteronomy, and (especially the ceremonial regulations) in that of P1[89].

[89] For a comparison in detail of the laws in Ex. with those of the later codes, see McNeile, pp. xxxix–xlvi, li–lvi; and, on a more elaborate scale, in C. F. Kent, Israel’s Laws and Legal Precedents (in ‘The Student’s Old Testament’), 1907.

The code, as we have it, springs from the early years of the monarchy, and represents the laws which were then in force in Israel. Some of the laws—as those which mention houses, fields belonging to individual owners, agriculture, vineyards, and oliveyards—seem to indicate that the people for whom they are designed were already settled in Canaan; but the nucleus of the Code is no doubt Mosaic2[90].

[90] On the question whether Exodus 21:1 to Exodus 22:17 stood originally where it now is, see on Exodus 24:12; and cf. Chapman, Introd. p. 113 f.

Chs. 25–31 consist of a long section from P, containing minute directions, said to have been given by Jehovah to Moses on Sinai, for the construction of the Tent of Meeting, with its appurtenances, and for the vestments and consecration of a priesthood. The questions arising out of these chapters are considered on p. 426 ff. There are in the Pentateuch two representations of the ‘Tent of Meeting.’ In Exodus 33:7-11 (E) the ‘Tent of Meeting’ is the tent, which Moses ‘used to take and pitch outside the camp’: Moses used to ‘go out’ to it in order that Jehovah might speak with him, and other Israelites did the same when they had occasion to ‘seek’ Him. This tent is evidently far more simple in its structure and appointments than the ‘Tent of Meeting’ of P, described in chs. 25–27: its sole attendant is the Ephraimite Joshua, whereas the ‘Levites,’ numbering, according to Numbers 4:48, 8580, are appointed in P (Numbers 1:49-53; Numbers 1:3-4) to guard and tend it; and it is outside the camp, at some distance from it, not in its centre, as in P (Numbers 2:17). The name in both cases is the same: and it cannot be reasonably doubted that we have here two different representations of one and the same structure. The actual historical ‘Tent of Meeting’ is the tent mentioned in Exodus 33:7-11 and other passages of JE (Numbers 11:16; Numbers 11:24; Numbers 11:26; Numbers 12:4-5; Numbers 12:10, Deuteronomy 31:14-15): the elaborate and ornate ‘Tent of Meeting’ of P is an ideal construction,—an ideal, based indeed upon a historical reality, but far transcending it, and designed as the embodiment of certain spiritual ideas, which, it was considered, could be adequately expressed only in a concrete material form. As seems to follow from a careful comparison of statements made in the Pentateuch with each other and with the history, P’s entire conception of the Israel of the Exodus,—the ‘congregation,’ the symmetrical arrangement of the camp, the order of the tribes on the march, &c.,—is an ideal construction, a picture constructed indeed upon a basis supplied by tradition, but so developed and elaborated as to present in a sensible form certain important religious truths, which it was conceived were visibly expressed in the Mosaic theocracy. The ‘Tent of Meeting,’ and its appointments, in the representation of P, form part of the same ideal conception1[91]. The supreme idea of P is the realization of the great spiritual truth of the presence of God in the midst of His people: other ideas, closely connected with this, are the unity of God, which, as Deuteronomy had taught, required the unity and centralization of His worship, and the holiness of God, which required as its correlative the holiness of His people. The presence of God in the midst of His people is a truth more than once expressed in JE (Numbers 11:20; Numbers 14:14, cf. Exodus 17:7): but in P the truth finds a significant visible expression in the ‘Tent of Meeting’ in the centre of the camp, with all the tribes encamped symmetrically around it. The ‘Tent of Meeting,’ with its ornamented fabric, its sacred vessels, arranged, one in the Holy of holies, others in the Holy Place, and others in the court outside, is a carefully planned and splendid structure, designed to honour worthily the God who is to make it His abode. Expression is given to the majesty and holiness of Jehovah by the significant gradations in the costliness and splendour of the materials used, an object being the costlier and the more beautiful, the nearer it is to the Presence of Jehovah in the Holy of holies. There are also many other spiritual ideas which find expression in the structure and appointments of the ‘Tent of meeting,’ as also in the ceremonial and sacrificial system of which, in the representation of P, it is the centre (see more fully pp. 259–262; and the Appendix, p. 430 ff.). In Exodus 28-9, 39, Leviticus 8 (directions for the vestments and consecration of the priests, and their execution) it is probable that customs and rites, which had been gradually developed, and were actually observed under the later monarchy, or during the early post-exilic period, are ante-dated, and represented as having been already propounded and put in force in the Mosaic age. The ritual of ch. 29 cannot have been really formulated, whether by Moses or by any one else, before the laws of Leviticus were drawn up: for it presupposes ceremonial usages and terms which are first explained in Leviticus 1 ff. A consideration of the origin and character of the Levitical ceremonial system belongs to a commentary on Leviticus rather than to one on Exodus: here it may suffice to observe that it exhibits—so far as the OT. is concerned, and disregarding the Mishnah—the final development and systematization of usages and ideas which in themselves were of great antiquity, and, in their original form, did not differ in principle from those current among Israel’s Semitic neighbours1[92]. As time went on, these common Semitic institutions received naturally, among the Hebrews, many developments and special adaptations. They were also, of course, assimilated to the religion of Israel; and so, the really distinctive character which they exhibited in Israel, consists in the new spirit with which they are infused, and in the higher principles of which they are made the exponent (cf. DB. iii. 71b). The ceremonial institutions of Israel appear in their most primitive, undeveloped form in the legislations of J and E (Exodus 12:21-22; Exodus 13:6-7; Exodus 13:12-13; Exodus 20:23-26; Exodus 22:20; Exodus 22:29-31; Exodus 23:14-19; Exodus 34:17-23; Exodus 34:25-26).

[91] No doubt, in their general plan and disposition, both the Temple, and the Tent of Meeting of P, represented a current type of Semitic temple (cf. p. 259); but it is impossible to agree with Sayce (Exp. Times, XVI. Dec. 1904, p. 139) that Nielsen (Altarab. Mondreligion, 1904, p. 169 ff.) has ‘shewn in detail’ that the ‘pattern’ of Exodus 25:9; Exodus 25:40, &c. was an actual Midianite temple on ‘the mount’ of ‘Sinai.’ And the resemblances of the Tent of Meeting to the Temple of Hat-hor, at Serâbîṭ el-Khâdim (Petrie, Researches in Sinai, p. 72 ff.; Egypt and Isr, p. 47 ff.), are much too general to indicate dependence.

[92] See numerous illustrations from Babylonia in J. Jeremias’ art. Ritual in EB., cf. KAT.3 591–606: for analogies in Phoenicia, Moab, &c., see Auth. and Arch. 76–9, 89–92, 135 ff.; Cooke, North Semitic Inscriptions (1903), passim.

There follow (chs. 32–34) the episode of the Golden Calf, and incidents connected with it. The narrative is a remarkable one: the words put into the mouths of the various speakers are, no doubt, the narrators’ words; but, as in other cases, the whole account must rest upon a genuine historical basis. Israel, during Moses’ absence on the mount, falls into idolatry; Aaron, their weak and pliant ally, is severely rebuked for yielding so readily to the people’s demand; and Jehovah threatens to destroy His stiffnecked nation, and make Moses the inheritor of His promises. A striking description follows not only of Moses’ affection and noble self-devotion for his people, but also of the long intercession by which (cf. Genesis 18) he at last succeeds in winning from Jehovah Israel’s forgiveness, His promise again to be with His people and lead them on to Canaan, and the vision of His moral glory for himself. Interspersed are historical incidents of great interest. The zeal for Jehovah displayed by the tribe, or (cf. on Exodus 4:14) guild, of the ‘Levites’ in setting fealty to Jehovah above ties of blood, and inflicting upon their disloyal brethren summary punishment2[93]—whether for their idolatry, or, as has also been supposed (see p. 354), for some other act of rebellion—leads to their being rewarded with the priesthood. Such at least was the origin which the earliest tradition that we possess, assigned to the privileges enjoyed by the priestly tribe: and there is little doubt that when J was complete, Exodus 32:25-29 was followed by an account of the formal separation of the tribe for sacred functions (comp. esp. Deuteronomy 10:8 ‘At that time [after Moses had come down from the mount the second time, and put the tables of stone in the ark which he had made, v. 5] Jehovah separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark, to stand before Jehovah to minister unto him, and to bless in His name, unto this day’).

[93] The act, in so far as tradition has preserved the facts correctly—the number of the slain (3000) will in any case be exaggerated, if the whole number of Israelites at the time was not more than 5–6000 (p. xlv)—must be judged by the standards of the age, which admitted of hard measures being dealt out to those who were disloyal to the national God (cf. Exodus 22:20). Of course such severity, even on a larger scale, has been far from unknown even in the history of the Christian church; but it is not in accordance with the mind of Christ (Luke 9:54-55). It must, however, be remembered that in the present case we do not know the entire circumstances; and these may have justified such an act for reasons not now apparent.

The primitive ‘Tent of Meeting,’ described in Exodus 33:7-11, has been referred to in a different connexion before (p. lxiii): and what has been there said need not be repeated. Its simplicity is quite in accordance with the simple character of the other religious institutions attested by J and E (Exodus 20:24-26, Exodus 22:29-31 &c.). It is probable that, when E was complete, Exodus 33:7-11 was preceded by some account of its construction; and though it will not have been as ornate as P’s ‘Tent of Meeting,’ yet it may well have been more decorated than an ordinary tent: so it is at least a plausible conjecture that the ornaments taken off by the people (Exodus 33:4-6) were employed in its decoration. That the fact of Moses’ making the ark, and putting into it the two tables of stone, was once mentioned in Exodus 34:1-2; Exodus 34:4 is practically certain from Deuteronomy 10:1-3, which agrees almost verbatim with Exodus 34:1-2; Exodus 34:4, except in not having the three clauses relating to the ark, viz. ‘and make thee an ark of wood,’ … ‘and thou shalt put them in the ark,’ … ‘and I made an ark of acacia wood’ (see on Exodus 34:3): the compiler who united JE with P omitted them in Exodus, as he preferred the more detailed account of P (Exodus 25:10-22). The ark, which in the early historical books is identified in some very real sense with the presence of Jehovah, even if it is not regarded as His actual abode (see p. 278 ff; and Kennedy, DB. i. 150b), must have been a very ancient element in Israel’s religion. The ark of P (Exodus 25:10-22) is evidently something much more ornate than the simple chest of acacia wood made by Moses.

In answer (see p. xxviii) to Moses’ entreaty (Exodus 33:12-13; Exodus 33:17-23) Jehovah grants him a vision,—or, at least (Exodus 33:23), an after-glow,—of His glory (Exodus 34:6-8); and he hears in spirit the wonderful declaration of Jehovah’s moral nature, shewing mercy and justice balancing each other, reminiscences of which were so often on the lips of later writers (see note).

After the theophany—in the existing text, but originally, it is probable, as the sequel to Exodus 34:1 a, Exodus 34:2-5 (pp. xxviii, 367)—Jehovah announces His purpose to establish a covenant with Israel, on the basis of certain laws, which are in reality merely a different recension of the laws on worship and religious observances contained in Exodus 13:12-13 (J), and in the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 23:12; Exodus 23:14-19). In its present connexion, the covenant, with the laws upon which it is based, is represented as a renewal of the covenant of Exodus 24:3-8 (E), which had been broken by the sin of the Golden Calf: but there are strong reasons for thinking (p. 364 f.) that the narrative of Exodus 34:1-5; Exodus 34:10-28, in its original form, contained J’s account of the establishment of the same covenant, the conclusion of which, on the basis of the laws Exodus 20:22 to Exodus 23:33, is described by E in Exodus 24:3-8, and that it formed once the sequel in J to Exodus 19:20-25 (being followed there by Exodus 24:1-2; Exodus 24:9-10). However that may be, the laws on which the covenant is here based are of the same rudimentary character, and indeed substantially the same in fact, as those in Exodus 13:12-13 and Exodus 23:12; Exodus 23:14-15 a, 16, 18–19 (see pp. 370–2).

Chs. 35–40 (P), describing the execution of the instructions given in chs. 25–31 (except those for the consecration of the priests, ch. 29), and the erection of the ‘Tent of Meeting,’ do not call for further notice here.

The character of Moses is sketched, particularly in the earlier narratives of J and E, with peculiar vividness and force. He is represented not only as a man of deeply religious spirit, but also as endowed, in a pre-eminent degree, with singleness of aim, with nobility of mind, with dignity of demeanour, with unwearied and self-sacrificing devotion for the welfare of his people, and with that modesty of both word and demeanour which is observable in all the best characters of Old Testament history, and which was no doubt impressed upon them by the mellowing influences of the religion of Yahweh. Though the Heb. word for ‘prophet’ seems not to have been in use till long afterwards (1 Samuel 9:9), yet Moses is to all intents and purposes a prophet. The prophet is a man who, for clearness of insight, and purity of purpose, and knowledge of God, stands above the mass of his compatriots: and so, if Moses were a prophet, this is what we should expect him to be. And in the representations which we have of him, these are the qualities which we find. The writers to whom we owe his biography pictured him as a prophet, and described him accordingly. He speaks in Jehovah’s name to Pharaoh, he uses the prophetic expressions, Thus saith Jehovah, &c. (see on Exodus 4:22; Exodus 32:27); he leads Israel out of Egypt under a sense of God’s directing hand; he hears inwardly God’s words, and sees on Sinai manifestations of His presence; specifically prophetic teaching is communicated through him, or put into his mouth (Exodus 4:22; Exodus 6:7 (P), Exodus 15:26, Exodus 19:5-6, Exodus 33:19, Exodus 34:6-7 and elsewhere: Dt. passim); Jehovah is even represented as holding converse with him not by a vision or a dream, as with an ordinary prophet, but with some special and distinctive clearness (Numbers 12:6; Numbers 12:8), ‘as a man speaketh unto his friend’ (Exodus 33:11; cf. Deuteronomy 34:10). Hosea, writing c. 740 b.c., expressly styles him a prophet (Exodus 12:13); cf., later, Deuteronomy 18:18; Deuteronomy 34:10. Whether everything that we read happened exactly as it is written, or whether the representation is more or less due to the narrators, the narrative, as a whole, possesses profound religious value, and conveys, directly or indirectly, supremely important teaching. And if Exodus is in parts a parable rather than a history, we must remember that we have no right to limit the power of God, and to say that He cannot teach by parable as well as by history, by ideals as well as by actual facts. The symbolical, and also the ideal, character of some of the Old Testament narratives must not be forgotten1[94]. Whether, in a particular case, a narrative relates actual facts or not, is a question for historical criticism to decide: whatever its decision may be, the religious value of the narrative remains the same. Israel really was God’s people, really did receive the blessings and privileges which, under the older dispensation, this position implied, was really led from Egypt to Canaan by a leader who was taught of God not only how to do all this, but also how to conclude a covenant with them on His behalf, and to give them laws and some knowledge of Himself, and who moreover was the first of a succession of teachers, who, with increasing clearness and power, communicated to His people further Divine truths, and held up before it high ideals of moral and spiritual life: but, if as much as this is granted,—and it lies upon the very surface of the Old Testament,—does it materially signify whether, in the Pentateuch, it is Moses who is speaking or writing, or whether it is some later prophet or priest, who describes the events of the Exodus and of the journey through the wilderness as they were told, some centuries afterwards, by tradition, and who besides this traces the way in which the hand of God was visible in them, brings out the spiritual lessons implicit in them, and puts into Moses’ mouth thoughts, and feelings, and truths, about God and His relation to His people, in more explicit and articulate words than perhaps he himself would have used? There are cases, especially in the earlier books of the OT., in which we cannot get behind the narratives, in which, that is, we cannot say how far the narratives correspond exactly to what was said or done by the actors in them: in these cases, however, the narrative itself is that which has the religious value, and from which spiritual and moral teaching is to be deduced. The narratives are the work of God-inspired men: and in the actions which they describe, and in the thoughts and truths expressed in them, are ‘profitable,’ sometimes by way of warning, more often by way of example and precept, and always according to the stage of spiritual illumination which each narrative represents, ‘for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.’ Naturally, every part of the Book is not equally ‘profitable’ for these purposes; but the narratives, especially those in which Jehovah and Moses are exhibited in converse together, abound in great and noble thoughts, and are rich in spiritual and devotional suggestiveness1[95].

[94] See pp. 58, 113, 176 f., 260 f., 376; 381, 384, 420 ff.

[95] For examples, see McNeile, pp. cxix–cxxv. On the general subject of the Voice of God, as heard in the OT., see also the two sermons by the present writer, referred to above, p. xlviii.

Partly in the preceding pages, partly in the notes on the various passages concerned, attention has generally been called to the moral and spiritual teaching of the book, so far as it falls within the scope of the Commentaries in the present series to draw it out. On the Plagues, for instance, see p. 57 f.; on the manna, p. 154; on the Decalogue, pp. xlvi, 191 ff.; on the Sabbath, p. 198 f.; on the Passover, pp. 93, 103 f., 412; on the religious significance of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, p. 131 f.; on the ‘Book of the Covenant,’ pp. xlviii f., 203–5; on the three annual Feasts, as expressions of thankfulness to Jehovah for the annual gifts of the soil, p. 241; on the Ark, p. 278 ff.; and on the spiritual ideas of which the Tabernacle and its appurtenances are the expression, pp. 259–62, 430 ff. As examples of outstanding texts or passages,—in most cases of high theological significance,—may be cited Exodus 3:14 (explanation of the name ‘Yahweh,’ as understood by the Hebrews: see p. 40 f.); Exodus 4:22 (Israel, Jehovah’s ‘son,’ His ‘firstborn’); Exodus 6:7 (Israel, God’s ‘people’); Exodus 13:21 f. (the pillar of cloud); Exodus 14:13 (‘Stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah’); Exodus 15:1 b, 2; Exodus 15:26 b (‘I am Jehovah, that healeth thee’); Exodus 16:10 (Jehovah’s ‘glory’: see the note); Exodus 19:4-6 b (Israel a ‘special possession,’ a ‘kingdom of priests,’ and a ‘holy nation’: see pp. 169–171); Exodus 23:20 f. (an angel, in whom God’s ‘name’ is, to guide Israel to Canaan); Exodus 24:10 (the vision of the God of Israel); Exodus 25:8 and Exodus 29:45 (God’s ‘dwelling,’ in the Tabernacle, in the midst of His people); Exodus 30:10 (propitiation to be made annually on the altar of incense); Exodus 31:13 (the Sabbath a ‘sign’ between Jehovah and His people); Exodus 32:11-13; cf. Exodus 32:30-34, Exodus 33:12-16, Exodus 34:9 (Moses’ intercession for Israel); Exodus 32:33 (Moses’ offer of his life for his people’s forgiveness); Exodus 33:11 (how Jehovah used to speak with Moses ‘face to face’ in the ‘Tent of Meeting’); Exodus 33:14 (‘My presence shall go (with thee), and I will give thee rest’); Exodus 33:19 (‘I will be gracious to whom I am gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I shew mercy’: see the note); Exodus 34:6-7 (the great declaration of Jehovah’s ethical character); Exodus 34:29-35 (the shining of Moses’ face); Exodus 40:35 f. (Jehovah’s ‘glory,’ cf. on Exodus 16:10, filling the Dwelling).

The principal references, or allusions, to Exodus in the later books of the OT., and in the NT., are cited in the notes: the subject is dealt with more comprehensively, with inclusion of references in the Apocrypha, and a tabulated list of citations or allusions, in McNeile, pp. cxxvi.–cxxxvi.


The Passover

History of the Passover in the OT
. Let us first briefly consider what the laws, arranged in their probable chronological order, say about the Passover.

E contains no certain reference to the Passover. It contains regulations respecting the Feast of Unleavened Cakes, or Maẓẓoth, and the dedication of the first-born (Exodus 23:15, Exodus 22:29); but it mentions neither the Passover nor the Exodus in connexion with either. On Exodus 23:18, see the note ad loc.

In J the Passover is referred to twice. Exodus 12:21-23 contains a command addressed to the Israelites in Egypt, in which they are told to take, according to their families, either a sheep or a goat from the flock, and to ‘kill the passover’: the blood of the victim is to be put into a bason, and applied by a bunch of hyssop to the doorposts and lintel of their houses: none is to go out from the door of his house till the morning: and Jehovah, when He passes through the land to smite the Egyptians, will ‘pass over’ or ‘by’ (pâsaḥ ‘al) the houses marked with the blood. In vv. 25–27 the compiler of JE (probably) adds that the Israelites are to continue to observe the institution after they have entered Canaan, and to explain to their children that it is a memorial of this deliverance of the Israelites, at the time when the Egyptians were smitten. In Exodus 34:25 the Passover—as it is to be observed in the future—is called a ḥag, or pilgrimage; none of the flesh is to be left unconsumed till the morning. Nothing is said about the place at which the Passover is to be kept.

In Dt. (Deuteronomy 16:1-8) the Passover (Deuteronomy 16:1-3 a, Deuteronomy 16:4 b – Deuteronomy 16:7) is treated in close conjunction with Maẓẓoth, and almost regarded as the opening ceremony of the Feast of Maẓẓoth (notice how parts of vv. Exodus 3, 4 a, 8 are transferred verbatim from the directions for Maẓẓoth in Exodus 23:15; Exodus 13:3; Exodus 13:7; Exodus 13:6). It is to be observed in the month of Abib, as a memorial of the deliverance from Egypt by night. The offering is to be ‘of the flock and the herd,’ i.e. either a sheep, goat, or bullock; the flesh is to be boiled (v. 7 RVm.: ‘roast’ is a harmonistic rendering), and eaten with unleavened cakes, which are to be continued for 7 days (v. 3), as a memorial of the mingled hurry and alarm (ḥippâẓôn) with which their forefathers left Egypt. The rites are to be celebrated not in the individual homes, but at the central sanctuary, in the evening, the time of the departure from Egypt (vv. 5–7): in the morning, the worshipper may return to his home. The regulation that none of the flesh is to remain all night until the morning (v. 4b) is repeated from Exodus 34:25 b.

In Ezekiel’s ideal legislation for the restored community (Ezekiel 40-48), the Passover (Ezekiel 45:21-24) seems also, as in Dt., to be closely associated with Maẓẓoth (v. 21, whether read as in EVV., or with a probable correction, ‘ye shall have the feast of the passover; for seven days shall unleavened cakes be eaten’). Nothing however is said about the private, domestic passovers, these being no doubt taken for granted; but on the 14th of the first month the ‘prince’ is to offer for himself and the people a bullock for a sin-offering: special sacrifices are also prescribed for each day of Maẓẓoth.

The minutest directions respecting the Passover are contained in P. In Exodus 12:1-13 the following instructions are given for the Passover to be observed in Egypt: on the 10th day of the first month the head of each family is to select from the flock either a sheep or a goat, a year old, and perfect; if his family is too small to eat the whole of the animal at one meal, he may invite his neighbour to join with him: on the 14th day of the month it is to be killed ‘between the two evenings’; its blood is then to be applied to the two door-posts, and the lintel, of the house; the animal itself is then, not to be eaten raw or boiled, but roasted; it is to be kept entire—head, legs, and inwards; it is to be eaten with unleavened cakes and bitter herbs; none of the flesh is to be left till the morning, and anything that may so remain is to be burnt with fire; those eating it are to have staves in their hands, and to be girded and shod, as if for a journey. The Passover is sharply distinguished from Maẓẓoth, the regulations for which follow in vv. 14–20. In the supplementary law of Exodus 12:43-49 (intended for the future) the unity symbolized by the rite is emphasized in v. 46 (the Passover to be eaten in one house; none of the flesh to be carried out of it; no bone in it to be broken); in the rest of the law, emphasis is laid on the exclusively national character of the institution: no uncircumcised person is to eat of it: a slave, or foreigner settled in Israel, may eat of it only if he has been circumcised, and so incorporated into the religious communion of Israel. In Numbers 9:1-14 it is provided that any person prevented by ceremonial uncleanness or absence on a journey from keeping the Passover at the regular time may observe it on the 14th of the following month. No doubt, in most of these regulations, P, as in the case of other ceremonial observances described by him, throws back into the Mosaic age, and represents as instituted by Moses, the ritual with which the Passover had come to be associated in his own day.

The later Jews distinguished between the ‘Egyptian passover’ and subsequent passovers; and pointed out (Pesâḥim ix. 5) as regulations designed only for the former, and not intended to be repeated, the selection of the Iamb on the 10th day of the month, the sprinkling of the blood with hyssop on the houses, the ‘haste’ with which the meal was to be eaten, and abstention from leaven during one day only.

The following instances of the observance of the Passover are mentioned in the OT. In Joshua 5:10 (P) it is stated briefly that the Israelites kept the Passover, after crossing the Jordan, at Gilgal in the steppes of Jericho. The next Passover mentioned is the one not noticed in 2 Kings, but said in 2 Chronicles 30 (esp. vv. 15–17) to have been kept by Hezekiah: the third is the passover of Josiah, referred to briefly in 2 Kings 23:21-23, and described more fully in the passage inserted between 2 Kings 23:21 a and 2 Kings 23:22 in 2 Chronicles 35:1 b – 2 Chronicles 35:17 (as in other religious ceremonies described in Chr., the details largely, perhaps entirely, reflect the usage of the Chronicler’s own age, c. 300 b.c.); the fourth and last is that of b.c. 516, Ezra 6:19 f. 2 Chronicles 30, 35, Ezra 6:19 f. shew that it was the post-exilic usage for the Levites to kill the passover,—whether for such as were not clean (2 Chronicles 30:17), or for all (2 Chronicles 35:6, Ezra 6:20),—and for the priests to receive the blood from the Levites, and toss it against the altar (2 Chronicles 30:16; 2 Chronicles 35:11)1[225]. The passover of Josiah was observed, in accordance with Deuteronomy 16:2; Deuteronomy 16:6-7, at Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:23); and the same usage prevailed (cf. 2 Chronicles 30, 35, Ezra 6:19 f., and the NT.) till the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in a.d. 70. For the rites with which the blood was presented on the altar, and the paschal lamb was eaten, in NT. times, it must suffice to refer to DB. iii. 690 f.

[225] In later times (Pesâḥim v. 6–8) the custom was for the priests to stand in two rows, extending from the place where the people assembled to slay the lambs to the altar; the blood of each animal was received in a basin, which was passed up one row of priests to be thrown against the altar by the priest standing nearest to it, while the empty basins were passed back down the other row. The fat also was now burnt upon the altar.

The Passover, it is clear, was a sacrifice2[226], but a sacrifice sui generis. In the meal connected with it, it resembles the peace-offering, and in the use made of the blood it has points of contact with the sin-offering: but it does not fall completely under any of the five great types of sacrifice described in Leviticus 1-5. Even when, in consequence of the centralization of worship, the blood, as in the case of other sacrifices, was tossed against the altar by the priests, it still, in virtue of the domestic meal, which formed an essential part of it, retained its exceptional character. The Passover, no doubt, was an archaic institution, which acquired its main features before the Levitical system of sacrifices was developed, and was never assimilated to them.

[226] This has been disputed only by some Protestant theologians, for the purpose of depriving Romanists of an argument that might be used to support the doctrine of the sacrifice of the mass.

Origin and significance of the Passover. Of the origin and significance of the Passover, as set forth in the Pent., there can, of course, be no question. It was instituted on the eve of the Exodus; its main purpose was to distinguish the houses of the Israelites from the houses of the Egyptians so that the former might not be entered by the angel of death; and it was to be observed annually ever afterwards as a memorial of the deliverance from Egypt. ‘But,’ as it is pertinently asked (DB. iii. 688a), ‘do we thus arrive at the real explanation of its origin and primary significance? Our accounts in their present form’ date from a time when the Passover was already an established institution, and they leave many features in it inadequately explained. ‘In view of this fact; in view of the many features which seem to point to something behind the interpretation given of them; in view of what we find in the observances of related peoples, so far as these are known to us; and in view of the development in the case of all the other great feasts, and the historical interpretation which came to be given to them—it is probable that we have here another instance in which Israel’s religion takes up, transforms, and appropriates an existing institution.’

1. From the name pésaḥ we learn, unfortunately, nothing certain. The word denotes both the animal sacrificed (Exodus 13:21 al.), and the festival (Deuteronomy 16:1 al.). Pissçaḥ is the Heb. word for ‘lame,’ and the verb pâsaḥ means to limp, 1 Kings 18:21 (‘How long are ye limping &c.?’), 26 RVm. (of the sacred dance of the priests of Baal about the altar,—so described, either ironically, or because it was actually performed with limping movements): if pésaḥ were connected with this verb, it is thus conceivable that it might (1 a) have denoted originally a special kind of ritual dance, accompanied by the sacrifice of a lamb, and have been transferred afterwards to the sacrifice itself (cf. DB. v. 622a). Or, as pâsaḥ occurs in Exodus 12:13 (see note), Exodus 12:23; Exo 12:27, Isaiah 31:5†, with some such meaning as pass over (Jos. Ant. ii. 14. 6 explains pésaḥ as meaning ὑπερβασία), or spare, it is possible either (1 b) that to limp by or over may in some way have acquired this sense; or (2) that there was another verb pâsaḥ, meaning to pass over: no such verb is indeed known to occur in any other Semitic language, but Thapsacus on the Euphrates has been supposed to have derived its name from it, with the meaning ford. This however is purely conjectural; and Xen. Anab. i. 4. 18 states that before his time there never was a ford at Thapsacus. Or (3) pésaḥ may be connected with the Ass. pasâḥu, to be soothed, which would give it the meaning propitiation-sacrifice. On the etymological meaning of pésaḥ, we can thus not get beyond conjectures.

2. In Exodus 12-13, in both J and P, the Passover, Maẓẓoth, and the dedication of the first-born, stand (virtually) in juxtaposition as they do similarly in Deuteronomy 15:19 to Deuteronomy 16:8 (cf. also Maẓẓoth and the first-born in Exodus 34:18-20 J); and all three observances are represented as having been instituted originally in Egypt. We know how the connexion between them is explained in the book of Exodus.

In J it is argued: Israel is Jehovah’s first-born; because Pharaoh will not let Israel go, Jehovah slays Pharaoh’s first-born (Exodus 4:22 J): the Passover is instituted in order that when Jehovah goes through Egypt to slay the Egyptians, the Israelites may be spared (Exodus 12:23; Exodus 12:27 J: so Exodus 12:13 P); and then (Exodus 13:15 J, or the compiler of JE), because Jehovah slays the Egyptian first-born,—and (though this is not so said) spares the Israelite first-born,—the Israelite dedicates his first-born to Him (cf. Numbers 3:13; Numbers 8:17 P): unleavened cakes, lastly, were eaten originally on account of the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt (Exodus 12:34; Exodus 12:39), and the Feast of Maẓẓoth was observed, ever after wards, in memory of the occasion (Exodus 13:8 J; Deuteronomy 16:3; Exodus 12:14 P). An endeavour must, however, be made to describe how the connexion between the three observances is explained by those who cannot accept the book of Exodus as witnessing to more than the beliefs current about these observances some centuries after the time of the Exodus itself, and who see in the passages quoted, not the actual historical explanation of the facts or observances referred to, but the explanations framed long afterwards by religiously-minded Israelites to account for them.

(a) Maẓẓoth wears every appearance of having been originally an agricultural festival, marking the beginning of barley-harvest (see on Exodus 23:15): as this was also the time of year at which the Exodus took place, it came to be treated as commemorative of it; and the ‘unleavened cakes’ eaten at it were interpreted as commemorating the affliction in Egypt, and the deliverance from it (Deuteronomy 16:3; Exodus 13:8).

(b) The first-born of men and the firstlings of animals were in Israel both sacred to Jehovah. The firstlings of animals, it is natural to suppose, were dedicated to Jehovah as a token of thankfulness to Him for fruitful flocks and herds (so Wellh. Hist. 88; Bä.; al.), perhaps (Di. p. 126) with the collateral idea—such as that implied in the offering of firstfruits—of sanctifying all future births from the same animal, and making it lawful for the owner to enjoy gratefully himself the increase with which Jehovah might thus bless him (cf. Philo, de sacerd. hon. p. 233 Mangey, quoted by Kn., who describes the firstlings offered to Jehovah as ‘thank-offerings for fruitfulness whether already enjoyed or expected’); or (Rel. Sem.2[227] 463–5) on account of a special sanctity regarded as attaching to them. A similar custom existed among the heathen Arabs; the first birth (called fara‘) of a she-camel, goat, or ewe, was sacrificed, frequently while it was so young that ‘the flesh was like glue and stuck to the skin’ (ib. 462; EB. iv. 4185).

[227] W. R. Smith, The Religion of the Semites, ed. 2, 1894.

Why, however, were the first-born of men also regarded as sacred? According to Wellh. (l.c.), Bä., ‘when claim is laid to the human first-born, this is simply a later generalization, which after all resolves itself merely into redemption by an animal, and consequently into an augmentation of the original sacrifice.’ But the idea seems to be more primitive than this explanation would permit: more probably it is founded ultimately upon reasons similar to those for which the firstlings of animals were held sacred: as the first gift of God after marriage, or (Rel. Sem.2[228] 465) because the sacred blood of the kin flows purest and strongest in them (Genesis 49:3, Deuteronomy 21:17). It is a fact, also, whatever the reason may be—Mr Frazer supposes that it is to ensure the health and prosperity of the family—that in different parts of the world, among uncivilized peoples, it is the custom to sacrifice or eat the first-born (Frazer, The Golden Bough,2 ii. 51 f.). That the sacrifice of first-born was no element in the religion of Israel within historical times is indeed certain: no writer asserts this more strongly than Wellh. (l.c. 89: so Bä. 89): ‘not only are there no traces of so enormous a blood-tax, but, on the contrary, many of a great preference for elder sons’; the instances of child-sacrifice which occur are either altogether abnormal (Jephthah’s daughter), or, as in the reigns of Ahaz and Manasseh (2 Kings 16:3; Micah 6:7; Isaiah 57:5; Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 19:5; Jeremiah 32:35; Ezekiel 16:20 f., Ezekiel 23:37), due to the importation of Phoenician customs into Judah (cf. on Exodus 13:12). Still it is difficult to think that the law (Exodus 22:29 b), ‘the first-born of thy sons shalt thou give unto me,’ stands in no relation to this old Semitic practice. The jar-buried infants found recently in Palestine (see the writer’s Schweich Lectures, p. 68 f.) seem to indicate that the ancient Canaanites were in the habit of sacrificing very young children, if not first-born1[229]: and if in pre-historic times, before the Hebrews had definitely separated themselves from their Semitic kinsmen, and acquired a distinctive religion of their own, the custom of sacrificing the first-born had prevailed, or if, even without its having been a Hebrew practice, it had prevailed among their Phoenician and Canaanite neighbours, the Israelite law is naturally explained: the first-born are still sacred to the national Deity; they are not however given over to Him as a sacrifice, but redeemed at a money-valuation (cf. the note on Exodus 13:1-2): the dedication of the first-born to the Deity is thus rendered morally harmless. The actual, historical origin of the dedication of the first-born was, however, forgotten: and so a theological explanation was found in the thought (p. 408) that it was because Jehovah had smitten the first-born of the Egyptians (Exodus 13:15).

[228] W. R. Smith, The Religion of the Semites, ed. 2, 1894.

[229] In the absence of inscriptions, attesting the fact distinctly, the inference is, of course, not certain; cf. Schweich Lect. p. 69 n.; Gray, Expositor, May 1909, p. 435 f.

(c) The Passover, at least in its primitive form, is in all probability a pre-Mosaic institution. It is not, like the feasts of Maẓẓoth, Harvest, and Ingathering, based upon agriculture, but reaches back into the nomadic stage, and is ‘the one festival which the Hebrews may have brought with them from their shepherd-life in the wilderness’ (Wellh. Reste Arab. Heid.2 105). Di. and others have noticed that it is introduced by J in Exodus 12:21 as ‘the Passover,’ as though it were an already existing institution. That it was a night-festival, celebrated at the time of the vernal full moon, may point to its having stood primitively in some relation to the moon2[230]. Its most central and significant features are however the application of the blood to the houses, and the partaking of the flesh at a common domestic meal; and these features seem to suggest that it was originally a sacrifice of propitiation and purification, offered annually in spring by each household for the purpose of renewing by the common meal the sense of communion with the Deity, and of protecting, by the use made of the sacrificial blood, tents—or, later, houses—with the flocks belonging to them, from pestilence or other calamity during the coming year (so Di. on Exodus 12:13, after Ew.: cf. DB. iii. 689a). Spring festivals were celebrated by other Semitic peoples. ‘The first 8 days of the month Rajab, which in the old calendar fell in the spring, was a great sacrificial season among the heathen Arabs. The poets compare the carnage of battle to the multitude of victims lying around the sacred stones. The victim, commonly a sheep, was called ‘atîrah (pl. ‘atâ’ir); its blood was poured on the head of the sacred stone, the flesh consumed in a feast. Such sacrifices might be offered at home; but it was probably more common to take them to some more famous holy place’ (G. F. Moore, in EB. iv. 4186). We have evidence also of other spring sacrifices observed in different parts of Syria (ib.: Rel. Sem.2[231] 406). For the use of sacrificial blood, as a supposed protection against calamity, there are also analogies among other Semitic peoples. To the present day, in Syria and Arabia, such blood is often sprinkled upon a new house to propitiate the jinn, or spirits who are supposed to haunt the locality, and so to ensure the safety of the workmen, or the prosperity of the family who are going to inhabit it cf. Curtiss, Primitive Semitic Religion To-day, 1902, pp. 183–91, 225–7; Goodrich-Freer, In a Syrian Saddle (1905), p. 250; Sayce, EHH. 176 (in Egypt)1[232].

[230] According to Eerdmans (Expositor, Nov. 1909, pp. 449, 457 f.), to protect the house against the supposed evil influences of the vernal full moon.

[231] W. R. Smith, The Religion of the Semites, ed. 2, 1894.

[232] The description given by Nilus, the ascetic of Sinai (p. 186), about 400 a.d., of a tribal sacrifice of the heathen Arabs of his day, reads like a caricature of the Passover ritual; but as it contains some points both of resemblance and of contrast, it may perhaps be briefly noticed here (for the Greek text, see Wellh. Arab. Heid.1 57, 2111 f.; or Migne, Patrol. Graec. lxxix. 613) These Arabs sacrificed a white camel to the morning star: after the chief or priest who presided at the sacrifice had slain the animal, and first tasted the blood, all rushed upon the carcase with knives, hewed it to pieces, and devoured it in wild haste, hide, inwards, bones, and all, that nothing might be left to be seen by the rising sun. Were some of the Paschal regulations directed against such savagery as this? Cf. 1 Samuel 14:42.

It has further been thought by some that in the primitive Passover the animals offered were firstlings (Wellh. Hist. 87 f.; Rel. Sem.2[233] 464 f.). Spring is the time of year at which, in Arabia, cattle yean; in the Pent. itself, laws prescribing the dedication of the firstlings stand in juxtaposition to ordinances relating to the Passover (Exodus 12-13; Deuteronomy 15:19-23; Deuteronomy 16:1-8); and the festival which the Hebrews ask permission to celebrate in the wilderness with their flocks and herds (Exodus 5:3, &c.; Exodus 10:9; Exodus 10:25) was, it is supposed, just this spring-festival of firstlings. Hence also the connexion of the Passover with the last plague has been explained: because the Pharaoh prevents the Israelites from offering their firstlings, Jehovah takes from the Egyptians their first-born (Wellh. p. 88). The grounds for this view seem, however, to be insufficient. No doubt, the festival of Exodus 5:3, &c. might be one at which firstlings were offered, but nothing is said to indicate or suggest this; while, if even the primitive Passover had been essentially a sacrifice of firstlings, it is not apparent why it should have ceased to be this, and why the two should have become so distinct as they clearly are in Heb. law (see also EB. iii. 3593 f.; iv. 4187).

[233] W. R. Smith, The Religion of the Semites, ed. 2, 1894.

Those who follow the preceding considerations regard the Passover accordingly as a transformed spring-sacrifice of propitiation and communion, and suppose it to have reached the form in which the OT. presents it somewhat as follows (cf. Benzinger, EB. iii. 3596 f.). Among the ancient nomad Hebrews it had been the practice on special occasions, for protection against pestilence and the like, to sprinkle the dwellings with the blood of a sheep. The custom afterwards became fixed: every year in spring such a festival came to be offered by each separate family (similarly Moore, ibid. 4188; Kautzsch, DB. v. 622a). A sacred meal was associated with it, symbolizing a renewal of the sense of communion with the Deity. For long after the immigration into Canaan, the Passover over continued to be a family festival: it had nothing of the character of a popular pilgrimage, or ḥag. In Canaan the immigrating Israelites found among the agricultural Canaanites the custom of consecrating to the ba‘al of the district every spring at the beginning of harvest, the firstfruits of the corn, and of celebrating a ḥag in this connexion. This the Hebrews adopted in the form of Maẓẓoth. Both the primitive Passover, and Maẓẓoth, were celebrated in the spring; and so, not unnaturally, they were united. The spring was also the time of year at which the Israelites left Egypt; a great plague was in reality the immediate occasion of the Exodus: and thus Passover and Maẓẓoth came to be regarded as memorials of the event; and the characteristic features of each were interpreted in a commemorative sense, or, it may be, adapted so as to be the more readily so interpreted. In particular, under the influence of the thought that because Israel was Jehovah’s first-born, and Pharaoh would not let him go, therefore Jehovah smote Pharaoh’s first-born, but spared those of Israel, the plague which was actually the immediate occasion of the Exodus, and which may really have been particularly fatal to young children, became one which destroyed the Egyptian first-born only; and so the rite of blood-sprinkling which ‘in primitive days was intended as a precaution against all plagues becomes in the Exodus narratives a precaution against the particular plague directed against the first-born’ (McNeile, p. 67).

The significance of an institution does not depend necessarily upon what it was in its origin; it may depend equally upon what it came to be, and upon the ideas of which, as years went on, it came gradually to be regarded as the expression. The Passover, whatever its origin, came to be a great national institution of the Israelites: it was a solemn annual memorial of a great national deliverance, and of the birth of national independence: the Paschal lamb was a symbol of unity, the unity of the family, of the nation, and of God with His people: while details corresponded to incidents of the Exodus, as told by tradition, the rite, as a whole, reminded men annually of the covenant-relation subsisting between Jehovah and Israel, and kept alive their sense of the continuance of His favour towards them. And so the Paschal lamb becomes a type of Christ, and the Paschal meal of the Christian Eucharist. Christ was the true Paschal Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), who gathered up into Himself, and realized in a higher, more spiritual sense, the associations of redemption and deliverance—no longer, however, from the bondage of Egypt, but from the thraldom of sin—of which the Passover, for so many centuries, had been the expression. And in the Eucharistic feast, not only is the sense of unity between Christians forcibly expressed (1 Corinthians 10:17), but in it the faithful believer partakes of the Body and Blood of the true Paschal Lamb, he enters anew into vital union with God, he appropriates to himself the atoning efficacy of Christ’s blood, shed for him and for all mankind, and he nourishes his spiritual life with Divine grace and strength.


The date of the Decalogue

For those who accept the traditional view of the date and authorship of the Pentateuch, the discussion of this question has no meaning: if Moses wrote the Pentateuch, there can be no question as to either the date of the Decalogue, or the moral and religious teaching of Moses: he was, as Deuteronomy 4. shews, a monotheist, and had a highly spiritual conception of God. But, to those who believe (cf. p. 415 f.) that the Pentateuch, even in J and E, only records what was told by tradition about the Mosaic age in the 9–8 cent. b.c., the question is a real and difficult one, which, if it can be answered definitely at all, can be answered only by taking as a basis the teaching of the earliest written prophecies, and the religious beliefs attested by the earlier historical writings—J, E, Judges and Samuel, when they have been divested of Deuteronomic and other later additions (such as Jdg 2:11 to Jdg 3:6)—for the period at which they were written, and by arguing back from these, and by other indirect methods, to the probable religious beliefs of Moses himself in the 13th cent. b.c.1[234]

[234] See further on the religion of Israel in the Mosaic Age, Wade, OT. Hist. ch. 5. (PP. 134–164).

The Decalogue, as it stands (whether in Exodus 20. or Deuteronomy 5), cannot, on account of the strongly Deuteronomic colouring of parts of it, be earlier than the Deuteronomic age: the question is, What may be the age of it in its original form, when all the Commandments were presumably in the same terse form in which the 1st, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th still are, and when the explanatory clauses attached now to the other five had not yet been added to them?

It may be taken for granted that the religion of Moses was—to speak technically—ethical henotheism; i.e. (1) it implied the exclusive worship of ‘one’ God only, though without affirming that this God was necessarily the only God (monotheism), and (2) the God thus worshipped had a distinctively moral character, and demanded the practice of morality on the part of His worshippers. The recognition of ethical claims is of course constantly met with in heathen religions2[235]; but they rarely, if ever, hold in them the paramount place which they held, as we know from the prophets, in the later religion of Israel, and which, it is scarcely possible to doubt, they held in it from the beginning. The principal reason for this belief is one that has been urged with great force, after Kamphausen, by Mr Montefiore. If the religion of Moses had not differed, in some distinctive feature, from the ordinary religions of antiquity, it is impossible to understand why, when the Israelites entered Canaan, and intermingled, as in many cases they did intermingle, with the native Canaanites, it was not merged and absorbed in their religion. Mr Montefiore writes:—

[235] Comp. especially the ‘negative confession’ in ch. 125 of the Egyptian ‘Book of the Dead,’ in which the soul, before it can enter the judgement-hall of Osiris, has to declare that it has never committed any one of more than forty sins,—several parallel to those forbidden in the 3rd, and 6th to 10th Commandments. See Gressmann, Altorient. Texte (1909), i. 186–9; Budge, The Book of the Dead2 (1909), 1. clxv-viii, 11. 365–371.

‘That successful resistance to Canaanite polytheism, on which we laid so much stress when ascribing the origin of monolatry [the worship of one God] to the Mosaic age, would surely not have been possible unless the Yahweh whom Moses taught differed from the Canaanite deities, not only in his numerical uniqueness, but in his higher and more consistent ethical character. The violent elements1[236] in Yahweh’s character he shared with Molech and Baal, and many another divinity of the neighbouring Semitic tribes; but in no case did this corresponding violence produce a corresponding monolatry. We are therefore entitled to doubt whether the exclusive worship of the national God would ever have been ordained, had there not lain in the original conception of Yahweh the “promise and potency” of the monotheism of Amos and Isaiah. To quote the earlier words of Prof. Kuenen2[237], “The great merit of Moses lies in the fact of his connexion of the religious idea with the moral life.” The exclusive worship of Yahweh on the one hand, God’s moral character and the moral duty of man upon the other hand, must have acted reciprocally in the production of the Mosaic teaching as a whole.… One of the most sober and trustworthy of Old Testament critics, Prof. Kamphausen, maintains the same argument. “I recognize,” he says, “in the fact that the small number of the Israelites was not absorbed by the Canaanites, who were by far their superiors in all matters of external culture, a convincing proof of the ethical power of the Yahwistic religion3[238].” ’

[236] His wrath (even when not provoked by sin), His association with fire, destruction, war, &c.

[237] Religion of Israel (1870), i. 282. Kuenen’s opinion on this point afterwards changed.

[238] Hibbert Lectures for 1892 (on the origin and growth of Israel’s religion), p. 46 f. See also in greater detail the excellent article, with criticisms of other theories, in the Jewish Quart. Rev., Jan. 1891, p. 251 ff. The ethical character of the religion of Yahweh in the time of Moses is also recognized by Kautzsch (DB. v. 632a), Marti, in an art. on ‘Jahwe und seine Auffassung in der âltesten Zeitalter’ in the Stud. u. Krit, 1908, p. 333 (Yahweh was from the beginning a spiritual deity, who made social and ethical demands of His worshippers), and other critics: comp. Bäntsch, p. liii; Burney, Journ. of Theol. Stud. 1908, p. 327 ff.; J. P. Peters, ‘The Religion of Moses,’ in the Journ. of Bibl. Lit. 1901, p. 101 ff.

Naturally, the ethical character of Israel’s religion in Moses’ time would not be as developed and spiritualized as it became afterwards in the hands of the prophets and Psalmists. But, as Mr Montefiore remarks, ‘at the sanctuary of Yahweh, where the God was invisibly present among His people, were the fountain of justice and the judgement-seat1[239].’ Moses was the supreme judge, who gave tôrâh, and administered justice, in Yahweh’s name; and the same duties were carried on by the priests, his successors2[240]. ‘We may thus reasonably infer that Moses taught his contemporaries, not theoretically but practically, as occasion demanded, and as part and parcel of Yahweh’s religion, the fundamental elements of social morality. He taught them that Yahweh, if a stern and often a wrathful Deity, was also a God of justice and purity. Linking the moral life to the religious idea, he may have taught them, too, that murder and theft, adultery and false witness, were abhorred and forbidden by their God3[241].’

[239] Ibid. p. 48 f. See the notes on Exodus 18:15-16; Exodus 22:8.

[240] Cf. above, p. 161 f.

[241] Hibbert Lectures, p. 50.

If these conclusions are sound, there will be no substantial difficulty in referring most of the Commandments to the Mosaic age. But difficulties have been felt with regard to some of them. It is indeed doubtful whether the observances implied in the fourth Commandment, and the use of the term ‘house,’ rather than ‘tent,’ in the tenth, are necessarily incompatible with a nomad life, and imply that the Israelites had entered upon the settled agricultural life of Canaan4[242]: for we do not know how much cessation of work was at this early period prescribed for the sabbath; or whether at this time bayith may not have been a general term meaning ‘abode,’ and have included (as in Arabic) tents as well as houses. A more serious difficulty is presented by the prohibition of images. If these were prohibited by Moses, it is remarkable, it is said, that till the 8th cent. b.c., no reprobation of them is expressed: and that till that date images of Yahweh were used, to all appearance, without offence5[243]. The pesîlîm of Gilgal (Jdg 3:19; cf. RVm.) were probably (Moore) ‘rude stone images.’ Micah makes an image out of silver dedicated to Yahweh by his mother; and the Danites afterwards set it up at Dan, where it was served by a line of priests whose ancestry was traced to Moses (Jdg 18:30). The original narrative is not intended to convey any censure of Micah’s action, but simply to give an account of the origin of the cult of the Yahweh-image at Dan. Whether, as is often thought, the ‘ephod,’ mentioned in Judges, Sam. and Hosea 3:4, was an image, is uncertain (see p. 312 f.); but it reads very much as if an image were meant by it in Jdg 8:27. David was a devoted worshipper of Yahweh; yet he possessed one of the oracular images called ‘teraphim’ (1 Samuel 19:13; 1 Samuel 19:16 : cf. Jdg 17:5; Jdg 18:14; Jdg 18:17-18; Jdg 18:20 : Kautzsch, DB. v. 642b): in Hosea 3:4 ephod and teraphim appear as, at least in popular estimation, essential elements of the cultus. Jeroboam, also, would certainly not have set up the golden bulls, symbolizing Jehovah, at Bethel and Dan, if they had not been in harmony with practices and beliefs very widely accepted among the people. On the whole, it is no doubt true that, especially in the N. kingdom, images of Yahweh were in very common use. Whether, however, they were in universal use, does not seem to be so clear. If this had been the case, would not allusions to them have been more frequent and explicit in the earlier historical books than they are? Would not J and E, for instance, in alluding to rites of worship, have sometimes mentioned them? In fact, however, they never attribute the use of images to the patriarchs1[244]: E mentions the Golden calf (Exodus 32) with evident disapproval; and both J and E contain a prohibition of metal images (Exodus 20:23, Exodus 34:17). No image is ever mentioned in connexion with the Ark. The central sanctuaries possessed no image in the times of Eli, David, and Solomon. The non-observance of a religious law is no proof of its non-existence, unless it is fairly clear that the persons not observing it are likely to have observed it, if they had known of it, which, in the instances here in question, is scarcely the case. David’s ‘teraphim’—probably household-gods—are hardly inconsistent with either his knowledge or his practice of a higher ideal2[245]. Images may have been in use at the local sanctuaries, and among the common people; but if they were not in use at the central sanctuaries, this would seem to shew that, though the popular mind saw nothing in their use inconsistent with its conception of Yahweh, the more spiritually-minded Israelites did not countenance them. And if this be true, the prohibition may have been Mosaic, though it was not acted upon by the bulk of the people. The immediate occasion prompting the prohibition may have been contact with Egyptian idolatry3[246].

[242] Montefiore, op. cit. p. 554, citing Addis, Documents of the Hex. i. 139 f.; cf. Smend, AT. Rel.-gesch, 139 f. (2 160 f.).

[243] Comp. DB. v. 634b, 641–3, McNeile, pp. lix–lxi.

[244] Laban owned teraphim, which were stolen by Rachel (Genesis 31:19; Genesis 31:30 E); but Jacob (Exodus 35:2; Exodus 35:4 E) bids his people put away the ‘foreign gods’ in their midst.

[245] Teraphim are mentioned with disapproval in 1 Samuel 15:23; but the date of the chapter is uncertain.

[246] There are parallels, more or less close, to all the commandments, except the 5th, in Amos and Hosea; but the fact is not of a nature to afford proof that the Decalogue is the source from which the parallels are derived, or the authority by which the language of the prophets was suggested. Comp. (1) Hosea 13:4; (2) Exodus 4:17, Exodus 8:4-6, Exodus 13:2; (3) Exodus 4:2, Exodus 10:4; (4) cf. Exodus 2:11, Amos 8:5 a; (6, 7, 8) Hosea 4:2; (9) cf. Amos 5:12 b; (10) cf. Amos 5:11; Amos 8:5 b, 6, Micah 2:2.

To explain this prevalence of images of Yahweh, especially in the N. kingdom, consistently with the Mosaic origin of the 2nd Commandment, the following theory has been offered by Dr Burney4[247]. It has been increasingly felt by recent scholars5[248], partly on account of the mention by Seti I (b.c. 1326–1300)6[249] of Asaru, i.e. apparently Asher, in the N. of Canaan, and the terms in which Merenptah speaks (p. xl) of Israel as already settled in Canaan, partly on other considerations, that, in spite of the Biblical representation, all the Israelite tribes were not in Egypt at the time of the Exodus, but that some had entered Canaan, and made it their home, considerably earlier. Dr Burney accordingly distinguishes (1) the Northern tribes, which entered Canaan directly from the East, as part of an old Aramaean immigration, and made it their home without a break of any importance; (2) Judah and Simeon, which at the close of their stay at Kadesh, broke off from the other Israelites with whom they had journeyed from Egypt, amalgamated with the Kenites and other North Arabian tribes, and then moved northwards from Kadesh, conquering and settling in the territory known afterwards as ‘Judah’; and (3) Ephraim, half of Manasseh, and Benjamin, which also left Egypt with Moses, but which entered Canaan from the East under Joshua, and settled in the central parts of Palestine. All these tribes alike were worshippers of ‘Yahweh’: but the Northern tribes, not having come under Moses’ influence, would not attribute to Him the same ethical and spiritual character, and would use images—probably, as a rule, images of a young bull (cf. p. 348)—to represent Him. When the other tribes, upon entering Canaan, found their kinsmen there, it would not be more than natural if at least their less spiritual members assimilated their own worship to theirs, and adopted images likewise. Canaanite Yahwism, which did not repudiate images, would thus largely overshadow and supersede the more spiritual Mosaic Yahwism.

[247] Journ. of Theol. Studies, Apr. 1908, pp. 333–340, 345.

[248] Comp. Kittel, Scientific Study of the OT. (1910), p. 167 f.

[249] W. M. Müller, Asien u. Europa nach Altäg. Denkmälern, 236 f.

The Nash Papyrus.—This is a papyrus acquired in Egypt in 1902 by Mr W. L. Nash. It is in four pieces, perfect at the top, but mutilated at the foot and on both edges. It contains 24 lines of Hebrew, written in the square characters, and dating probably from the 2nd cent. a.d. It is thus by far the oldest Heb. MS. at present known. The papyrus begins with the Decalogue; and this is followed by the Shema‘ (Deuteronomy 6:4 f.), preceded by the introductory words expressed in the LXX., but not found in the Mass. text. The Decalogue and the Shema‘ were presumably transcribed together on the papyrus for some special purpose. The text agrees in the main with that of Exodus 20, but it sometimes follows that of Deuteronomy 5. In v. 10 it has ביום for יום (cf. Exodus 16:26 al.), with a few Heb. MSS. and LXX. (Ex. Dt.): it adds ‘in it’ (p. 107), and also (with Dt., and LXX. in Ex.) ‘nor thine ox, nor thine ass,’ and ‘any of’; in v. 11b it has ‘seventh day’ for ‘sabbath day,’ as LXX. (cf. Genesis 2:3); in v. 12 it adds, with Dt., and LXX. (Ex.), ‘that it may go well with thee, and,’ but places the clause, with LXX. (Ex. Dt.), before ‘that thy days may be long’; vv. 13, 14 are transposed (p. 200); in v. 16 it has ‘vain’ for ‘false,’ as Dt.; in v. 17 ‘wife’ precedes ‘house,’ as in Dt., and LXX. in Ex., and ‘his field’ is added after ‘house,’ as in Dt., and LXX. Sam. in Ex. לוא is always written plene; so also are the verbs תעבור and תהמוד. The forms שמ]ה] for שמו in v. 7, and בה for בו in v. 10 (G.-K. § 91a), and ויקדשיו for ויקדשהו (Cook, p. 41), are also noticeable. The text is thus in the main that of Ex. (it has Exodus 20:11, and not Deuteronomy 5:12 b, 14 end, 15), but it agrees with LXX. (Ex.) in v. 13 f., and in including some of the variants of Dt. See fully S. A. Cook, ‘A pre-Massoretic Biblical Papyrus’ in Proc. Soc. Bibl. Arch. 1903, p. 34 ff.


The Code of Hạmmurabi

Hạmmurabi,—probably the Amraphel of Genesis 14:1,—was the sixth king of the first known dynasty of Babylon; and he reigned for 43 years—as nearly as can at present be determined, 2130–2088 b.c. An almost contemporary chronicle, and numerous letters of Hạmmurabi himself, give us abundant particulars of his reign. Hạmmurabi was a great and successful ruler: he freed Babylonia from the dominion of its foes, especially the Elamites; and by organizing and consolidating the administration of his country, he laid the foundation of its future greatness. His Code of Laws was discovered in Dec. 1901 and Jan. 1902 by M. de Morgan at Susa, inscribed on three fragments of a block of black diorite, which when fitted together formed a stelè 7 ft. 4 in. high and from 6 ft. 3 in. to 5 ft. 5 in. round. At the upper end of the front side is a sculptured bas-relief, representing Hạmmurabi standing in front of the seated sun-god Shamash, and receiving his laws from him. The inscription on the rest of the stelè consists of 44 columns of writing, besides five which have been erased. The number of separate laws preserved is 248.

The code is prefaced by a grandiloquent prologue, in which Hạmmurabi first declares how Anu, Bel, and Marduk, the supreme gods of Babylon, had called him ‘to cause justice to prevail in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil, and to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak’; and then, after enumerating a long list of titles describing what he had done for his country, he proceeds to explain how he had given effect to this command—‘I established law and justice in the land, and promoted the welfare of the people.’

In order to enable the reader to understand properly the relation in which the Code stands to Hebrew law, it will be necessary to give an outline of the subjects treated in it1[250].

[250] The most detailed account of the Code in English, including many notices of parallels with the Heb. and other laws, is that of S. A. Cook, The Laws of Moses and the Code of Ḥammurabi (1903). Translations of the entire Code will be found in Johns, The Oldest Code of Laws in the World (1903), or (the transl. revised, esp. in §§ 1–4, and with a full and excellent description of the leading characteristics of the Code, and comparison with Heb. law) in p. 599 ff. of his art. in BD. v. (1904), 584–612, or in Winckler, Die Gesetze Ḥammurabis in Umschrift und Übersetzung (1904), with an appendix containing the ancient Sumerian family-laws. For other bibliographical references, see Johns’ art., and Kent, Israel’s Laws and Legal Precedents, 1907 (vol. III. of the ‘Student’s Old Test.’), p. 280. See also Dr Lock’s paper on ‘Moses and Ḥammurabi’ in The Bible and Christian Life, p. 1 ff. There is also a translation of the Code by Ungnad in Gressmann’s Altorient. Texte (1909), i. 140 ff.

§§ 1–5. Penalties for false accusation, false witness, and wrong judgement.

6–25. Laws relating to property.

6–14. Theft of property.

15–20. Harbouring a fugitive slave.

21–25. Housebreaking, highway robbery, robbery at a fire.

26–41. Duties and privileges of royal servants, governors, and judges.

42–65. Laws relating to the tenure, rent, and cultivation of land. Rights and liabilities of tenants and landlords, in respect of fields (42–52), canals (53–56), trespass by sheep (57–58), orchards (59), and gardens (60–65).

66–99. Erased.

100–126. Laws relating to trade and commerce.

100–107. Relations between a merchant and his agent.

108–111. Wine merchants (price of wine: no disorder to take place in a tavern).

112. Liabilities for loss in the transport of goods.

113–119. Debt and distraint.

120–126. Deposits (things entrusted to the charge of another).

127–193. Family law. Betrothal; price of wife, and marriage-portion. Rights of wife and children, of concubines and their children. Wife not to be seized for husband’s debt, nor husband for wife’s. Divorce. Incest and adultery. Inheritance: rights of sons of both wife and concubines. Cases of marriage between slave and free woman. Rights of votaries to a share in their fathers’ property (178–182). Adoption (185–191); punishment of ungrateful adopted son (192 f.).

194–233. Criminal law. Penalties for different cases of assault (195–214); fees for different operations by a surgeon, or veterinary surgeon, and penalties for unskilful treatment (215–225); penalties for branding a slave without proper authority (226 f.); fee of builder, and penalties for defective work in building (228–233).

234–240. Navigation. Wages to be paid to boatmen; and fines for grounding boat through carelessness.

241–277. Hire and wages. Rate of payment for hire of ox, sheep, harvester, herdsman, and various agricultural instruments; compensation for loss or damage; liabilities of shepherd for sheep under his charge; rate of payment for brickmaker, tailor, mason, carpenter, &c. (274), and for hire of boats (275–277).

278–282. Slavery. Claims and complaints made after purchase.

The code is followed by the words, ‘The judgements of righteousness, which Hạmmurabi, the mighty king, confirmed, and caused the land to take a sure guidance and a gracious rule’; and by an Epilogue, in which Hạmmurabi repeats the intention which he had in framing the code, ‘that the strong should not oppress the weak, and to give justice to the orphan and the widow, for the pronouncing of judgements in the land, and for the righting of wrong.’ And he ends by promising blessings from Shamash on all future kings who maintain his laws, and uttering terrible curses against any who alters or rescinds them.

It will be seen at once that the code contains no ceremonial laws, but is confined entirely to civil and criminal law; and also that it deals with a very much wider range of subjects than the ‘Book of the Covenant.’ Babylonian civilization in Hạmmurabi’s age was already highly developed—much more so than that of Israel when the ‘Book of the Covenant’ was promulgated: there was great commercial activity: property—slaves, lands, houses—was constantly changing hands; cases of marriage, divorce, adoption, and inheritance had to be provided for; the necessity thus arose for regulating all such transactions by law; and the abundant contract-tablets, which we possess, dating even from a period anterior to Hạmmurabi, testify to the scrupulous precision with which such transactions were always carried through1[251]. The code of Hạmmurabi however regulates not only all these things, but also prescribes the fees or wages to be paid for different services rendered. It must not however be supposed that Hạmmurabi originated the entire code himself. Some of the provisions may indeed have been formulated by him for the first time,—in particular, perhaps, those fixing the prices for labour and hire; but as a whole what Hạmmurabi did was to formulate, arrange, and authoritatively sanction laws which had been already fixed by the decisions of judges before him, and were doubtless in many cases already operative in Babylonia. The code in this respect resembles the Indian Laws of Manu2[252], the Greek Gortynian code3[253], and the Roman XII Tables.

[251] See descriptions of Babylonian life and civilization (written before the discovery of Ḥammurabi’s code) in Maspero, Dawn of Civil. pp. 703–784; or Sayce, Babylonians and Assyrians. Life and Customs, 1900.

[252] In the Sacred Books of the East, vol. xxv.

[253] See Gardner and Jevons, Greek Antiquities (1898). pp. 439f., 560–74.

The following are the principal parallels with the Book of the Covenant (the citations are not, as a rule, made verbatim):—

Code of Hạmmurabi.  Exodus.

3, 4. False witness to be punished, in stated cases, by the lex talionis (cf. Deuteronomy 19:19).  Exodus 23:1. Malicious witness prohibited.

8. Any one stealing ox, sheep, ass, pig, or ship from a temple or palace, to pay 30-fold; if he be a poor Man 1:4[254], 10-fold; if he have nothing, to be put to death.

[254] Or a ‘commoner,’ one of the plebs, perhaps of the conquered race, or a manumitted slave. So throughout. See Johns, DB. v. 589a; Winckler, p. 11n.; Cook, pp. 120n., 276f.).  Exodus 22:1; Exodus 22:3 b, 4. For theft of ox, if it be killed or sold, to pay 5-fold, of sheep, 4-fold: if found in thief’s hand, to pay 2-fold; if thief have nothing, he is to be sold.

9–10. If something lost is found in another man’s possession, witnesses to be called on both sides, to declare solemnly ‘before God’ what they know; whichever is proved not to be the owner, to be put to death.  Exodus 22:9. If something lost is found in another man’s possession, the cause of both to come before God, and whichever is condemned, to pay 2-fold to the other.

11. If claimant cannot bring witnesses, seeing he has slandered and stirred up strife, to be put to death.  

14. ‘If a man has stolen the son of a freeman, he shall be put to death.’  Exodus 21:16. Any one stealing a man to be put to death.

21. A housebreaker to be killed (judicially) before the breach, and buried in it1[255].

[255] Cf. Cook, p. 213.  Exodus 22:2-3 a. A housebreaker may be killed in the night with impunity.

57. If a shepherd lets his sheep feed on a field without the owner’s consent, the owner to have the crops, and the shepherd to pay him besides 20 gur of corn per gan of land.  Exodus 22:5. If a man lets his beast feed (but see the note ad loc.) in another man’s field or vineyard, the damage to be made good out of the best of his own.

117. If a man gives his wife, son, or daughter as a slave to work off a debt, they may do this for three years, but shall be free in the fourth.

118 f. An ordinary male or female slave given in the same way may, however, be sold by his or her new owner, unless the female slave has been a concubine who has borne her master children, in which case she must be ransomed by him.  Exodus 21:2. If a man buys a male slave, he is to be free after six years’ service. (A female slave under similar circumstances does not go free in Ex. Exodus 21:7 [where she is represented as bought to be a concubine]; but she does so in Dt. Exodus 15:17.)

125. If a man puts anything on deposit, and it be lost through burglary or pillage, the owner of the house must find the thief, and make the loss good to the owner.  Exodus 22:7 f. If money or property be deposited with a man, and it be stolen: if the thief be found, the owner of the house must pay 2-fold; if he be not found, he must swear before God that he has not appropriated it himself.

126. If a man falsely alleges that he has lost something (deposited with another? or more generally, found in possession of another?), he is to estimate his loss before God, and to pay double what he falsely claims.  Exodus 22:9. If any dispute arises about an ox, ass, &c., or anything alleged to be lost (after having been deposited with another? or found under any circumstances in another’s possession?), the matter is to be brought before God, and the party found guilty is to pay 2-fold.

171. A slave concubine, if her master dies without having formally recognized her children, to have no share in his property, but to receive her freedom with her children.  Exodus 21:11. A slave concubine to become free, if her master do not give her her food, raiment, and conjugal rights.

195. ‘If a man has struck his father, his hands one shall cut off.’  Exodus 21:15. Anyone smiting father or mother to be put to death (in Exodus 21:17 the same penalty for cursing a parent).

196. ‘If a man has caused the loss of a freeman’s eye, his eye one shall cause to be lost.’ Similarly (197, 200) for a limb or tooth. But for the eye or limb of a poor man, the penalty is only a mna of silver (198), and (201) for the tooth of a poor man ⅓ mna (20 shekels).  Exodus 21:23-25. In case of injury, life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, &c., to be exacted.

199. If a man puts out the eye, or shatters the limb, of a freeman’s slave, he is to pay half the price of the slave.  Exodus 21:26 f. If a man knocks out the eye or the tooth of his own slave, he is to give him his freedom.

206. If a man wounds another accidentally in a quarrel, he is to swear to this, and pay the doctor.

207 f. If he causes the other man’s death, he is to pay, if the slain man be a freeman, ½ mna of silver, and if a poor man, ⅓ mna of silver.  Exodus 21:18 f. If a man injures another accidentally in a quarrel with a stone or his fist, and obliges him to take to his bed, he is to pay for the loss of his time, and for his doctor. [If he causes his death, he would presumably enjoy the right of asylum Exodus 21:12-14.]

209–214. If a man strikes a freeman’s daughter (it is implied, intentionally), and causes a miscarriage, he is to pay 10 shekels of silver: (210) if she dies, his own daughter is to be put to death. If the woman is the daughter of a poor man the penalty Isaiah 5 shekels, or, if she dies, ½ mna; if she is a freeman’s slave, 2 shekels, or, if she dies, ⅓ mna.  Exodus 21:22. If when two men are quarrelling one of them (accidentally) strikes a woman, and causes a miscarriage, he is to be fined as the husband may fix. if vv. 23–25 are in place here (see the note), it is implied that if she dies, he is to die also.

241. An ox not to be seized as a pledge, under penalty of ⅓ mna of silver. Cf. Job 24:2.  Exodus 22:26. A garment taken in pledge to be returned before nightfall.

245–6. If a man hires an ox, and by neglect or blows kills or injures it, he must make it good to its owner; (247–8) if, however, he only puts out its eye, or causes some smaller injury, he need pay only ½ or ¼ of its value. (249) If ‘God has struck’ the animal, ‘and it dies’ (i.e. if the injury be accidental), the hirer ‘shall swear before God and be free.’  Exodus 22:14 f. If a man borrows an animal from his neighbour, and it is hurt or die, the owner not being with it, it is to be made good. But if the owner is with it at the time, the borrower is not liable.

250. If a savage bull gores a man, and kills him, no claim can be made.  Exodus 21:28. If an ox gore a man or woman that they die, the ox to be stoned, and its flesh not eaten, but the owner not to be liable.

251. If an ox has pushed a man, and so shewn its vice, and its owner has not blunted its horns or shut it up, then, if it gores a freeman to death, he is to pay ½ mna of silver.  Exodus 21:29-31. If an ox be known to butt, and its owner have not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox to be stoned, and its owner put to death (though a ransom for his life may be accepted).

252. If it kills a freeman’s slave, its owner to pay ⅓ mna of silver (= 20 shekels).  Exodus 21:32. If it gores a male or female slave, the ox to be stoned, and 30 shekels of silver to be paid to their master.

266. If in a sheepfold a stroke of God has taken place, or a lion has killed, the shepherd is to clear himself before God, and the owner must bear the loss.

Cf. 244. If a man hires an ox or an ass, and a lion kills it, the owner to bear the loss.  Exodus 22:10 f. If an ox, ass, or sheep be given to a man (but not specifically a shepherd) to keep (as a deposit), and it die or be hurt or driven away, no one seeing it, the man to swear before God that he is guiltless, and not to be liable for the loss. And (v. 13) if it be killed by a wild beast, he is not liable, if he can produce the torn carcase.

267. But if a sheep has been lost through the shepherd’s carelessness, he must make the loss good.  Exodus 22:12. But if the animal be stolen, it must be made good.

There are also some parallels with the laws in Deuteronomy, and a few with parts of the ‘Law of Holiness’ (Leviticus 17-26); but none with any of the laws of P1[256].

[256] Only § 132 agrees in principle (decision by ordeal), but not in detail, or in the case to which the principle is applied, with Numbers 5:16-28.

In view of Hạmmurabi’s pronounced polytheism, as attested by the Prologue, the frequent mention in the Code of an oath, or solemn declaration, to be made ‘before God’ is noticeable (§§ 9, 23, 106, 107, 120, 126, 240, 249, 266, 281: cf. Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:8; Exodus 22:11); also (§§ 20, 103, 131, 249) to ‘swear by God’; and (249) ‘if God have struck it (an hired ox), and it die,’ and (266) a ‘stroke of God’ (in a sheepfold),—both of which we should call an accident (cf. Exodus 21:13).

In comparing the two Codes, it is difficult, where the cases are not the same, to say always which implies the severer punishment. Hạmmurabi imposes however the severer penalty in §§ 8, 9–10, 21, and Ex. in §§ 125, 195, 206 (slightly), 245 f., 250–252: the penalties are the same in §§ 14, 126, 196, 266f.1[257] Hạmmurabi several times imposes a lower penalty, when the injured person is a ‘poor’ man, and a lower one still when he is a slave: Ex. recognizes a distinction between freeman and slave, but none between a rich and poor freeman. On the whole however Hạmmurabi’s punishments are more severe than those in Ex., or indeed in Heb. law generally (see DB. v. 595 f.). Ethical and religious teaching or motives are absent from Hạmmurabi’s Code. This however must not be regarded as a defect in the Code, or as shewing that Hạmmurabi had no regard for such considerations: the Code is a body of laws intended (like the Laws of England) for actual use in legal matters, and in such a Code ethical or religious exhortations have no place. In the Prologue and Epilogue Hạmmurabi gives sufficient evidence of his religious feeling, and of the desire which he had to enforce justice, and to defend the ‘widow and the orphan,’ and others who were oppressed. And it is evident that the object of the Code throughout is to adjust conflicting interests, to repress crime, and promote well-doing.

[257] See more detailed comparisons in Cook, p. 268 ff. Limits of space forbid more being said here.

Are, now, any of the laws of the Book of the Covenant derived from Hạmmurabi’s Code? In considering this question there are two or three preliminary cautions to be remembered. In the first place all nations, when they arrive at a certain stage of civilization, devise laws to regulate society, and to protect individuals from violence or injury: to do this is an instinct of human nature. And the cases that have to be legislated for are likely to be the same in societies living under similar conditions: the same crimes, murder, assault, theft, false witness, &c., are likely to occur; and similar penalties, death, mutilation, stripes, fines, slavery, and especially the punishment of an injury by a similar one (the lex talionis), are likely to be inflicted. Resemblances have thus been pointed out between the Book of the Covenant, and the laws of Manu, of Solon, and of the Twelve Tables, &c. And when the two nations whose laws are compared are both Semitic, there are likely to be greater resemblances between them than when one is Aryan, for instance.

Nevertheless, even after making allowance for these considerations, the resemblances between the two Codes seem to be too numerous to have arisen quite independently. How then are we to account for them?

We certainly cannot think that direct borrowing is probable: the author of the Hebrew laws certainly never framed them with a copy of Hạmmurabi’s Code before him. The differences between the two Codes are far too great to admit of this supposition. There is a great deal in Hạmmurabi’s Code to which there is no parallel in the Book of the Covenant at all. And where there are parallels, though the cases are often the same, and they are dealt with similarly, there are constantly such differences in details that the one is not likely to have been taken directly from the other. The entire absence from the Hebrew Code of technical Babylonian terminology or distinctively Babylonian expressions is another fact pointing to the same conclusion.

Putting aside, then, the hypothesis of direct borrowing, the resemblances between the two Codes may still be accounted for in more ways than one. One theory is that the parallels and similarities are due to the common old-Semitic foundation upon which the civilization of both Babylonia and Israel was ultimately based: ‘where the same case is treated similarly in the two Codes, the common source is the old customary Semitic law reaching back to long before the time of Hạmmurabi, which, current in both nations, was codified independently in Babylon and Israel.’ There are no sufficient reasons for supposing that Babylonia alone developed Semitic civilization, and that the Arabs, Aramaeans, Phoenicians, Canaanites, and Hebrews all merely borrowed from it: the civilization of all these peoples was developed from a common origin; only that of Babylonia, mainly through the intense commercial activity of the Babylonians, was developed much more highly than that of other Semitic peoples, and was also much in advance of other Semitic peoples in the rate of its development (so Cook, p. 284, Grimme, ibid. p. 287, Kohler and Peiser).

But dependence on Hạmmurabi’s Code, of an indirect kind, is also conceivable. The ancestors of the Israelites, whether they came from Ur (P), or, as the more constant and older tradition (J) told, from Ḥaran, on ‘the other side of the river’ (the Euphrates), will have lived under Hạmmurabi’s Code; and they may have carried some knowledge of its provisions with them when they migrated from Babylonia, which may have been afterwards utilized when the Book of the Covenant was drawn up,—whether by Moses, or at a later time. Or since, as we now know from the Tel el-Amarna correspondence (1400 b.c.), Babylonian influence had been strong in Canaan for long before the Israelite conquest, some of Hạmmurabi’s laws may have been in operation there; and as the Hebrews, after they settled in Canaan, seem certainly to have adopted some of their civilization from the Canaanites, they may have borrowed from them some of the laws of Hạmmurabi. The Book of the Covenant exhibits the customary law of the early monarchy; but this description of it does not settle the date at which its provisions were first laid down in Israel. Some may have been laid down by Moses; others may have been added later. Whoever laid them down, may have adopted some of his provisions directly from the old customary Semitic law, as it was current among the Hebrews at the time; in other cases he may have been guided in framing his provisions by his knowledge of the great system of Babylonian law.

It must be remembered that much in the Book of the Covenant stands in no relation to Hạmmurabi’s Code: this therefore must be of native origin,—unless indeed, as is hardly probable, it is adopted from some other, unknown source. It is quite conceivable that, while the bulk of Israel’s laws was of native growth, a few might be founded upon outside models. Till we have further positive facts to go upon,—the discovery, for instance, in Palestine of a table of Hebrew or Canaanite laws,—we are not in a position to explain more definitely the origin of the resemblances between the two Codes: different possibilities are open, and we can hardly decide between them except by conjecture. Nor is it clear that all are to be explained in the same way.


The Historical character of the Tent of Meeting, as described by P

This, which was formerly taken for granted, has, as a consequence of more exact and comprehensive study, become difficult to maintain. When the condition and numbers of the Israelites immediately after their departure from Egypt, the divergent representations contained in the Pentateuch itself, and the adverse testimony of the subsequent history, are all carefully considered, they are found viz. to form a cumulative argument, pointing with great cogency to the conclusion that the Tabernacle, as described by P, represents, not a historical structure, which once actually existed, but an ideal,—an ideal, based indeed upon a historical reality, but far transcending it, and designed as the embodiment of certain spiritual ideas, which, it was considered, could be adequately expressed only in a concrete material form. The following are the principal grounds upon which this conclusion rests.

1. The descriptions, when examined carefully, are found to be marked by omissions and obscurities, indicating that they are not the work of an eye-witness, or the working directions upon which a fabric, such as is described, could be actually constructed. Thus nothing is said of the shape of the cherubim, the nature and position of the ledge on the bronze altar, the position of the ‘border’ round the Table of Presence-bread, the thickness of the solid gold ‘mercy-seat,’ and, especially, of the thickness of the ‘boards’ or ‘frames,’ or of the manner in which the hollow wooden case, plated with bronze, which formed the altar of burnt-offering, was to be used. It is remarkable also that for the transport of the Tabernacle and the court, consisting of 48 ‘boards’ or ‘frames,’ each 15ft. high, 2¾ ft. broad (their thickness is not stated), with 13 ‘bars’ (ch. Exodus 26:26-28), and 100 bases of solid silver—according to Exodus 38:27 weighing 96 lbs. each, and altogether therefore more than 4 tons,—the 9 pillars of acacia wood, each 15 ft. high, for the veil and screen, the 300 pillars for the court, each 7½ ft. high (their other dimensions are not given), with their 300 bronze bases, and the cords and bronze pegs for keeping both the Tent and court in position (Exodus 38:31), the Merarites have only four wagons assigned to them (Numbers 7:8; cf. Numbers 3:36 f.),—evidently an altogether insufficient number.

2. It is perfectly true that the Egyptians, like the Babylonians, had long before the time of the Exodus acquired high proficiency in many of the useful and fine arts: but it can hardly be supposed that this proficiency was shared by a subject nation such as the Hebrews, who did not live in great cities, who had no palaces or temples to keep up, and no domestic state or luxury to cultivate, but whose principal occupations were the pasturing of cattle, and the forced labour of the corvée. Can it be deemed likely that a people such as this possessed the skill in joinery, weaving, embroidery, the casting and hammering of metals, and the forming them into often difficult and complicated forms, necessary to carry out the specifications contained in Exodus 25-31? Years afterwards, when the Hebrews had been long settled in Palestine, and had no doubt added something to their knowledge of art from contact with the Canaanites, Solomon hired Phoenician workmen to make all the metal furniture and vessels of his temple (1 Kings 7:13 f., 40ff.). ‘Further, it is difficult to suppose that a desert tribe, even after spoiling the Egyptians, possessed the requisite materials. Apart from the precious stones and the fine linen thread, the amount of metals alone, as given in Exodus 38:24-29, works out’ (on the most probable computation of the shekel, at 224 grs.) as follows: gold, 40,940 oz. [= c. 1¼ ton], silver, 140, 828 oz. [= c. 4¼ tons]; bronze, 108,749 oz. av. [= c. 3 tons]. ‘Moreover, it would be very difficult to procure in the desert the olive oil for the lamps, and the dyes—violet and purple from Tyrian shell-fish, and crimson from an insect found on a particular kind of oak tree [see on Exodus 25:4]’ (McNeile, p. 81). It is also (cf. on Exodus 12:37; and see more fully on Numbers 1) quite certain that the numbers of the Israelites at the Exodus could have been in reality nothing even approaching 2,000,000; Petrie, a most circumspect historical critic, who is himself well acquainted with the products and capacities of the Sinaitic Peninsula, places the utmost number that the country could support at 5000: but even though we doubled this figure, it would not be credible that 10,000 nomad serfs could have possessed precious metals in these quantities, or even metals in general and the other materials mentioned, in quantities sufficient to construct the Tabernacle according to the specifications of Exodus 25-31.

3. It seems impossible to escape the conclusion that the Pent. contains (cf. p. 257 f.) two different representations of the ‘Tent of Meeting.’ In Exodus 33:7-11 (E) the ‘Tent of Meeting’ is a simple nomad tent, which Moses ‘used to take and pitch without the camp’; Moses goes out to it to receive revelations from God, and other Israelites also resort to it when they have occasion to ‘seek’ Him (see further the notes on Exodus 33:7-11). This tent, for reasons explained on Exodus 33:7, cannot be either Moses’ tent or a provisional tent: it is the same ‘Tent of Meeting,’ in which God is said by P also to have spoken with Moses: but the representation given of it is in many respects very different. It is evidently far more simple in structure and appointments: it is guarded by a single attendant, the Ephraimite Joshua, instead of by the hosts of Levites appointed in P (Numbers 1:49-53; Numbers 1:3-4) to guard and tend it, to the exclusion of all others (see Numbers 1:51; Numbers 3:10 ‘and the stranger [i.e. the non-Levite] that cometh nigh shall be put to death’); and it is outside the camp, at some distance from it, not in its centre, as in P (Numbers 2:17). That this tent is not a provisional tent appears with particular clearness from the fact that the same representation of the Tent of Meeting, outside the camp,—seemingly also with Joshua as its guardian,—is found in the Pent, even after the erection (Exodus 40) of the splendid tabernacle described by P: see Numbers 11:16; Numbers 11:24-30; Numbers 12:4-5 (note especially ‘Come out’ in v. 4)1[258], and cf. Deuteronomy 31:14 f. It is a parallel difference between the two narratives that, when the Israelites are on the march, in JE (Numbers 10:33) the ark moves on ahead to search out a resting-place for them, whereas in P it is borne by Levites in the midst of the long procession of tribes (Numbers 10:21 [the tenses in vv. 17–27 are all frequentative, describing the practice]; cf. Exodus 2:17, Exodus 4:15). The Tent of Meeting of P is thus the same Tent of Meeting as that of JE; but it is represented as a far more splendid and elaborately appointed structure, and the arrangements for its position &c. are altogether different. The two representations cannot have co-existed historically at the same time; and it cannot be doubted that the simpler representation of J and E is much earlier than the highly elaborate one of P; and has far higher claims to be regarded as historical. Indeed, there are no grounds whatever for calling in question the genuine historical character of the primitive Tent of Meeting of J and E.

[258] In Numbers 14:44 (J), the ark is within the camp,—perhaps (Holz.) on account of the presence of the foe (otherwise Gray, and NcNeile, ad loc.).

It must be obvious also that Exodus 20:24-26 (E) presupposes ideas about altars materially different from those which underlie Exodus 27:1-8, Exodus 28:42 f., and belonging to a much less developed stage of society.

4. Another remarkable fact about the Tabernacle of P is its singular absence from the history upon occasions on which, if it had existed, it must almost inevitably have been mentioned. The Levites in attendance upon it, according to P, were something like 8000 (in Numbers 4:48, 8580): its different parts, and the vessels belonging to it, were expressly assigned for transport to the three Lev. families of Gershonites, Merarites, and Kohathites (Numbers 4); but at the passage of the Jordan, though the ark is a prominent feature, the narrative is silent as to the Tent of Meeting. The last passages in which P mentions it are Joshua 18:1; Joshua 19:51, where it is said to have been set up at Shiloh (20 miles. N. of Jerusalem). In the Book of Judges the ark is mentioned as being at Bethel (Jdg 20:27—probably a gloss); but there is no notice of the Tent of Meeting. In 1 Samuel 1-3 the ark is at Shiloh (1 Samuel 3:3); but the sanctuary at which Eli is here mentioned as being the priest cannot be the Tent of Meeting, whether of JE or of P: it is a ‘house’ (1 Samuel 1:7; 1 Samuel 1:24, 1 Samuel 3:15 : so Jdg 18:31), or hêkâl, ‘temple’ (1 Samuel 1:9, 1 Samuel 3:3), and has, not a mere ‘opening,’ like the Tent of Meeting, or other tent (see on Exodus 26:36, Exodus 33:8), but doors (1sa 1 Samuel 3:15), and door-posts (1 Samuel 1:9); in other respects, Samuel, in the duties discharged by him, reminds us strongly of Joshua in E (Exodus 33:11); the Levites and priests of P are conspicuous by their absence. 1 Samuel 2:22 b implies indeed that the Shiloh sanctuary was the Tent of Meeting of P (cf. Exodus 38:8; ‘door,’ also, is here lit. opening): but this half-verse (from and how) is not in the LXX.; and its contradiction to Exodus 1:9, Exodus 3:3; Exodus 3:15, in describing as a ‘tent’ what these verses describe as a ‘temple’ or ‘house,’ leaves no reasonable doubt that it is a gloss, not yet found in the MSS. used by the LXX. translators. In 1 Samuel 4 the ark, as if nothing were known of the stringent regulations of Numbers 4:5 f., Numbers 4:15; Numbers 4:17-20, is fetched from Shiloh, and taken into battle with the Israelites (cf. Numbers 14:44 in J). After the ark was restored by the Philistines, instead of being taken to what, if it existed, must have been its only proper place, the Tent of Meeting of P, it was brought to the house of Abinadab near Kiriath-jearim (1 Samuel 7:1), who, though to all appearance an ordinary layman, consecrated one of his sons to keep it (where, it may pertinently be asked, were the priests of Aaron’s line, who alone, according to Nu. ll.cc., might touch the ark?). It was now, probably, that the destruction of the sanctuary of Shiloh referred to by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:12; Jeremiah 7:14, Jeremiah 26:6; Jeremiah 26:9; cf. Psalm 78:60), took place. After this disaster the priests of Eli’s line must have migrated to Nob, where they formed a settlement, more than 80 in number, and where there was a sanctuary of some kind, in which the Presence-bread was laid out, and an ‘ephod’ kept (1 Samuel 21:1; 1 Samuel 21:4-6; 1 Samuel 21:9; 1 Samuel 22:18-19); but whether it was a ‘tent,’ and, if so, of what kind, we are not told. The ark, however, seems to have remained with Abinadab till David removed it to the house of Obed-edom, a Philistine of Gath (2 Samuel 6:2-11)1[259]. Three months afterwards David brought it up in triumph to his recently conquered capital, the ‘city of David’ (Zion): but still the elaborate Tabernacle of P does not appear: David himself erects a tent for the ark (2 Samuel 6:17; cf. 1 Kings 1:39; 1 Kings 2:28, where the altar belonging to the tent is mentioned): the priests and Levites, even on this solemn occasion, are, as before, conspicuous by their absence2[260]. All these movements of the ark seem quite incompatible with the existence of the Tabernacle of P, or with the regulations of P respecting it: but they present no serious deviations from the much freer usage with regard to the ark implied by J and E (cf. Numbers 10:33; Numbers 14:44). When however Solomon transferred the ark to his newly-built Temple, the Tent of Meeting and the sacred vessels are said to have been taken into it (1 Kings 8:4 b). It is not stated where they had previously been. The notice, if authentic, cannot refer to P’s Tent of Meeting,—for if this ancient and venerable structure had been in existence, David would hardly have erected a new and special tent himself for the ark (2 Samuel 6:17),—but to the tent pitched by David (so Di.): as however this is not called the Tent of Meeting, and is apparently intended only as a temporary shelter for the ark, it is probable that the reference is intended to be to the Tent of Meeting, but, as the notice in this case, for the reason just stated, can scarcely be correct, that it is the work of a writer who may have preserved a true tradition with regard to the tent erected by David, but have referred it erroneously to the Tent of Meeting of P (cf. the notes of Kittel, Barnes, Skinner on 1 Kings 8:4 b; and Wellh. Hist. 43 f.)1[261].

[259] Obed-edom was evidently one of David’s Philistine dependents: cf. 1 Samuel 27., 2 Samuel 8:18 (his Philistine bodyguard). The Chronicler, in accordance with his view of the older history, includes him among the Levites (1 Chronicles 15:18; 1 Chronicles 15:24, &c.).

[260] The student who will be at the pains of underlining, in his text of 1 Chronicles 15-16, every word not excerpted from 2 Samuel 6:12 b–20a, will have ocular evidence of the manner in which the Chronicler, writing 700 years after the event, supplied the omission. Comp. Chapman, General Introd. to the Pent. (1911), pp. 268–70.

[261] The Chronicler, in additions to his excerpts from Kings (2 Chronicles 1:3-6 a, 1 Chronicles 16:39; 1 Chronicles 21:29), states that the Tent of Meeting was at the high place at Gibeon. But this was clearly not the view of the much earlier writers of Kings (except possibly the writer of 1 Kings 8:4 b); for in 1 Kings 3:2 the people are excused for sacrificing at the high places on the ground that no temple was yet built for Jehovah. But, if the divinely appointed Tent of Meeting was at Gibeon, there would surely have been no need to excuse the people for sacrificing at least at this high place; nor would the reason why Solomon sacrificed there have been stated to be because it was ‘the great high place’ (1 Kings 3:4).

For these reasons—the presumable absence of the skill and means for constructing it, the divergent representations of it found in the Pent. itself, and the impossibility of finding a place for it in the picture of the early religion of Israel given in Judges and Sam.—it does not seem possible to regard the Tent of Meeting, as described by P, as historical.

How then is the ‘Tabernacle’ of P to be understood? As will be shewn in the notes on Numbers (esp. 1–10:28) in this series, P’s whole conception of the Israel of the Exodus—the ‘congregation,’ the system of priests and Levites, the symmetrical arrangement of the camp, the order of the tribes on the march, &c.—is an ideal construction, a picture constructed upon a basis supplied indeed by tradition, but so developed and elaborated as to present in a sensible form certain important religious truths, of which the Mosaic theocracy was conceived to be the visible expression. The Tabernacle and its appointments, in the representation of P, form part of the same ideal conception. The historical Tent of Meeting is that of JE (Exodus 33:7-11, &c.); the Tent of Meeting of P is the tent of JE transfigured in the light of the higher and larger conceptions of the Divine nature, which had been reached in the age in which P wrote. As is expressly stated in Exodus 25:9 (RVm.), 8 (cf. Exodus 29:45), the primary object of the Tabernacle is that it may be a ‘Dwelling,’ in which Jehovah may ‘dwell in the midst of’ His people. Since Solomon had built his magnificent Temple, the idea that Jehovah had an earthly habitation, in which He had ‘set His name’ or ‘made His name to dwell,’ had become familiar to Israel (1 Kings 8:12 f.; and in Deut. writers, ib. Exodus 9:3, Deuteronomy 12:11, &c.). Ezekiel had emphasized the idea further; and developed it moreover, with great detail, in a concrete material form. In his description of the ideal future in ch. 37, the promise had been given (v. 26 f.), ‘And I will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. And my dwelling shall be by them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’ And in his great ideal picture of the restored theocracy, contained in chs. 40–48, the prophet had described a temple, with a highly organized worship and priesthood, standing in the midst of the land, with seven tribes on the N., and five tribes on the S., in the centre of a strip of territory (25,000 × 10,000 cubits) assigned wholly to the priests, with the domain of the Levites (25,000 × 10,000 cubits) immediately on the N., and the city with its land (25,000 × 5000 cubits) on the S. (Ezekiel 45:1-5; Ezekiel 48; see the plan in the Camb. Bible, p. 355), and guarded further against profanation by means of an outer court (500 cubits sq.), with a free space of 50 cubits all round, and an inner court (100 cubits sq.) confined to the priests, ‘to make a separation between that which was holy and that which was common’ (Ezekiel 42:20). The ‘Most holy place’ of Ezekiel’s temple is a cube of 20 cubits (twice the dimensions of that of the Tabernacle, but the same as those of the shrine of Solomon’s Temple); into this, in his vision, the prophet sees the divine glory enter, and hears a voice promise that there henceforth Jehovah will ‘dwell with the children of Israel for ever’ (Ezekiel 43:7; Ezekiel 43:9).

The age was one in which, at least in priestly circles, there was a strong longing for a visible symbol of the objective presence of God among men. Solomon’s Temple had caused the idea to take deep root in the religious consciousness of the nation; and the destruction of Solomon’s Temple produced naturally a deeply-felt void in the minds of devout Israelites. Since the Bab. exile had begun, also, Israel had ‘ceased to be a civil community, and was bound together solely by a unity of religion. Political and national ambitions gave place to religious ideals; and these ideals were shaped by this longing for something concrete, round which Israel, as a body of co-religionists, might rally’ (McNeile, p. lxxxiii). How the longing took concrete shape in Ezekiel’s imagination is shewn in chs. 40–48 of his book. But it might also take shape in a different direction. Partly, perhaps, during the exile, partly after the return, ‘devotional spirits, in contemplation of Israel’s past, delighted to imagine that the concrete visible sign of Yahweh’s presence had been the centre of their worship from the first. If the nation was ideal, their beginnings must have been ideal. And as the picture shaped itself in their imaginations, it was based upon one factor and another in the actual histories which they possessed’ (ibid. p. lxxxiv). A ‘tent’ in which Moses received revelations from Jehovah was an old element in the tradition; not only the ark, but also a lamp, the Presence-bread, and an altar are all attested for the period before Solomon (1 Samuel 3:3; 1 Samuel 21:6, 1 Kings 2:28): more particulars about the pre-Solomonic tent, or tents, and the Temple of Shiloh, may have been preserved than we know of: other details may have been suggested by Solomon’s temple—the length and breadth of P’s Tabernacle were exactly half those of Solomon’s sanctuary—the vision of Ezekiel, and possibly even the temple of Zerubbabel. Although, as has been shewn above, there are great difficulties in accepting all the details as historical, the general plan and outline of P’s Tabernacle may rest upon historical tradition to a greater extent than we are aware. There are abundant indications shewing that the ritual system of P is a development from old, and in some cases, archaic ceremonial usage; and the same, mutatis mutandis, may have been the case with his picture of the Tabernacle.

The supreme idea of P is the realization of the presence of God in the midst of His people (Exodus 25:8; Exodus 29:42), in accordance with the promise of Ezekiel 37:27, cited above. Other ideas, closely associated with this, are the unity of God, which, as Dt. had taught, required the unity and centralization of His worship; and the holiness of God, which required as its correlative the holiness of His people (Exodus 19:6, Deuteronomy 14:2, Leviticus 19:2, and elsewhere). In the Tabernacle of P, and the ceremonial system of which it is the centre, these ideas find a concrete, symbolical expression. The Tabernacle is a carefully planned and splendid structure, designed to honour worthily the God who is to make it His abode. By its position in the very centre of the camp, it is a significant visible symbol of the presence of Jehovah in the midst of His people. Its holiness is at the same time guarded by its being encircled by a cordon formed by the camps of the Levitical families and the priests1[262], the other tribes being encamped outside these, three on each side. By the details of its structure, and by the significant gradations in the costliness and splendour of the materials of which it is made (pp. 260, 264), it at once gives expression to, and guards, the supreme holiness of Jehovah. The imageless inmost shrine is an acknowledgement of His spirituality, as its splendour does homage to His sovereignty; while the limitations on even the high priest’s access to it are an indication of the conditions on which God is accessible to man. The unity of God is marked by the fact that the sanctuary is one, and the worship one. The ceremonial of purification and sacrifice which centres in the Tabernacle is the means by which the ideal relation of holiness and good-will subsisting between Jehovah and His people is maintained. For other ideas of which the Tabernacle may be regarded as the expression, see p. 260 f.; comp. also further, on the whole subject, Kennedy, DB. iv. Exo 666 f., McNeile, p. lxxxiii ff. It may be added that the presence of a large ideal element in P’s description of the Tabernacle (as of the Mosaic age generally) is fully recognized by Dillmann: see Ex. p. 272 (ed. 2, p. 302 f.), NDJ. p. 648 f., and an article by the present writer in the Expos. Times, March, 1906, p. 282 f. Comp. also Ottley, in his Bampton Lectures for 1897 on ‘Aspects of the Old Testament,’ p. 226, where, after speaking of the difficulties attaching to the contrary view, he continues, ‘A Christian apologist can afford to admit that the elaborate description of the tabernacle [in P] is to be regarded as a product of religious idealism, working upon an historical basis, and that the sketch as a whole is largely coloured by reminiscences or traditions of the splendid temple of Solomon.’

[262] How few these were, in the Mosaic age, according to his own representation, the writer does not seem to have realized, after Leviticus 10:2 all that are mentioned being Aaron, Eleazar and Ithamar, and Phinehas. Even allowing for a few unnamed grandsons, the fewness of the priests, as compared with the immense numbers of the people, and the duties which would in consequence fall upon them, is one of the many serious historical difficulties attaching to P’s picture of the Mosaic age.

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