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The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia
The fifth book of the Pentateuch, called in Hebrew "Debarim" (Words), from the opening phrase "Eleh ha-debarim."; in Rabbinical Hebrew it is known also as "Mishneh Torah." The English appellation is derived from the name which the book bears in the Septuagint (Δευτερουόμιου) and in the Vulgate (Deuteronomium); and this is based upon the erroneous Septuagint rendering of "mishnch ha-torah ha-zot" (17:18), which grammatically can mean only "a repetition [that is, a copy] of this law," but which is rendered by the Septuagint τὸ Δευτερουόμιου τοῦτο, as though the expression meant "this repetition of the law." While, however, the name is thus a mistranslation, it is not inappropriate; for the book does include, by the side of much new matter, a repetition or reformulation of a large part of the laws found in the non-priestly sections (known as "JE") of Exodus.
The book of Deuteronomy consists in the main of the discourses which Moses is represented as having delivered, immediately before his death (1:3), on the other side of Jordan for the purpose of teaching the Israelites the laws which theywere to obey, and the spirit in which they were to obey them, when they should be settled in the Promised Land. Disregarding introductions and other subsidiary matter, the contents of the book may be summarized as follows:
Ch. 1:6-4:40: Moses' first discourse, consisting (-) of a review of the providential guidance of the Israelites through the wilderness to the border of the Promised Land, and concluding () with an eloquent appeal not to forget the great truths, especially the spirituality of their God, impressed upon them at Horeb.
Ch. -, 28:1-29:1: Moses' second discourse, containing the exposition of the Deuteronomic law, and forming the central and most characteristic portion of the book. It consists of two parts: (1) ch. -, a hortatory introduction, developing the first commandment of the Decalogue, and inculcating the general theocratic principles by which Israel, as a nation, is to be governed; (2) ch. -, the code of special laws, followed (28:1-29:1) by a solenm rehearsal of the blessings and curses attached respectively to the observance and neglect of the Deuteronomic law.
[Ch. consists of instructions (interrupting the discourse of Moses, and narrated in the third person) relative to a ceremony by which the nation, after entering Canaan, is to symbolize its ratification of the preceding code; see Josh. viii, 30-35.]
Ch. 29:2-30:20: Moses' third discourse, emphasizing afresh the fundamental duty of loyalty to Yhwh and the dangers of apostasy.
Ch. -: Moses' last words of encouragement addressed to the people and to Joshua; his song (32:1-43) and blessing (); the account of his death ().
It is characteristic of the discourses of Deuteronomy that the writer's aim is throughout parenetic: both in the two historical retrospects (-, 9:9-10:11), and in passing allusions elsewhere (as 11:2-6; 23:4,5; 24:9), he appeals to history for the sake of the lessons deducible from it; and in his treatment of the laws, he does not merely collect or repeat a series of legal enactments, but he "expounds" them (1:5); that is, he develops them with reference to the moral and religious purposes which they subserve, and to the motives from which the Israelite ought to obey them. It is a further characteristic of the discourses that they are, in both the historical and the legal parts, dependent upon the narrative and laws, respectively, of JE in Exodus and Numbers; entire phrases from the earlier document being frequently embedded in them (compare Deuteronomy 1:33,35,36 with Exodus 13:21, and Numbers 14:23,24 respectively; and Deuteronomy 16:16,19 with Exodus 23:6,8,17).
The Laws in Deuteronomy.
The following is an outline of the laws in Deuteronomy, the asterisk (*) denoting those laws which are peculiar to Deuteronomy, and the dagger († or ‡) those which differ more or less materially in their provisions from those in JE and P respectively. For a more complete synoptical table see Driver's "Introduction to the Literature of the O. T." 7th ed., pp. 73 et seq., or his Commentary on Deuteronomy, pp. et seq.
- Religious Observances:1. Law of single sanctuary, 12:1-28‡ (burnt offerings, sacrifices [e., peace-offerings, tithes, heave-offerings [first-fruits and other offerings from the produce of the soil], vows, free-will offerings, and firstlings, all to be offered at the central sanctuary).2. Laws against the worship of "other gods," 12:29-31, xiii*.3. Sanctity of the laity, 14:1-21 (person not to be disfigured in mourning, 14:1-2; law of clean and unclean animals, 14:3-20; flesh of animals dying a natural death not to be eaten, 14:21).4. Laws tending to ameliorate the condition of the poor, 14:22-15:18 (disposition of the charitable tithe, 14:22-29‡; relief secured to debtors every seventh year, 15:1-11†‡; law of slavery, 15:12-18†‡).5. Offerings and festivals (firstling males to be offered to Yhwh, 15:19-23‡; regulations respecting the observance of the three annual pilgrimages, 16:1-17‡).
- The Office-Bearers of the Theocracy:1. Judges to be appointed in every city, 16:18*; and judgment to be impartial, 16:19,20.[Ch. 16:21-22, asherahs and "pillars" prohibited; 17:1, sacrifices to be without blemish; 17:2-7, an Israelite convicted of idolatry to be stoned to death*.]2. The supreme central tribunal, 17:8-13*.3. The king, 17:14-20 (theocratic conditions which the monarchy is to satisfy*).4. Rights and revenues of the priestly tribe, 18:1-8*.5. The prophet, 18:9-22* (verses 10, 11 against different forms of magic and divination—expansion of Exodus 22:18).
- Criminal Law:1. Manslaughter and murder, 19:1-13 (cities of refuge†).2. Against removal of boundary-stones, 19:14*.3. Law of witness, 19:15-21 (compare 17:6).[Four laws designed to secure self-control and forbearance in the conduct of war, * and 21:10-14*; compare 24:5*.]
- Miscellaneous Laws Relating Chiefly to Civil and Domestic Life: Symbolical rite of expiation for an untraced murder, 21:1-9*; primogeniture, 21:15-17*; treatment of an undutiful son, 21:18-21*; treatment of the body of a malefactor, 21:22-23*; lost cattle or other property to be restored to owner, 22:1-4; sexes not to interchange garments, 22:5*; motherbird not to be taken with nest, xxii 6, 7*; parapets on roofs, 22:8*; prohibition of non-natural mixtures and combinations, 22:9-11; law of fringes, 22:12; slander against a newly married maiden, 22:13-21*; adultery and seduction, 22:22-29; prohibition of marriage with stepmother, 22:30; conditions of admittance into the theocratic community, 23:1-8*; cleanliness in the camp, 23:9-14‡; humanity to escaped slave, 23:15-16*; religious prostitution forbidden, 23:17-18*; usury (interest), 23:19-20; vows, 23:21-23; regard for neighbor's crops, 23:24-25*; divorce, 24:1-4*; pledges, 24:6,10-13; man-stealing, 24:7; leprosy, 24:8-9; wages of hired servant not to be detained, 24:14-15; criminal's family not to be punished with him, 24:16*; justice toward "stranger" (e., resident foreigner), widow, and orphan, 24:17-18; gleanings, 24:19-22; limit to stripes 25:1-3*; ox not to be muzzled while threshing, 25:4*; levirate marriage, 25:5-10*; modesty in women 25:11,12* just weights and measures, 25:13-16; liturgical directions for the offering of first-fruits and of the triennial tithe, 26:1-15*.
The moral and religious duties which form the subject of the imprecations in 27:15-26 should likewise be noted, as also the injunctions occurring in other parts of the book, or introduced more or less incidentally in -xxvi—as 5:6-21 (the Decalogue, repeated, with variations in the subordinate clauses, from Exodus 20:2-17); 6:8 and 11:18 (the law of frontlets); 6:14 and 11:16 (against "other gods"); 12:16,23-25, and 15:23 (blood not to be eaten); 19:21 ("the lex talionis)."
I. If the Deutcronomic laws are compared carefully with the three codes contained in Exodus and Numbers, it will be apparent that they stand in a different relation to each:
(1) The laws in JE—namely, Ex. xx- (repeated partially in Exodus 34:10-26), and the kindred section, Exodus 13:3-16—form the foundation of the Deuteronomic legislation. This is evident partly from the numerous verbal coincidences referred to above—whole clauses, and sometimes even an entire law, being repeated verbatim—and partly from the fact that frequently a law in Deuteronomy consists of an expansion, or application to particular cases, of a principle laid down more briefly in Exodus (compare, for instance, Deuteronomy 13, 17:2-7, withExodus 22:20; Deuteronomy 16:1-17 with Exodus 23:14-17; and Deuteronomy 18:10,11 with Exodus 22:18). The civil and social enactments which are new in Deuteronomy make provision chiefly for cases likely to arise in a more highly organized community than is contemplated in the legislation of Exodus 20-
(2) With the laws contained principally in Leviticus 17- (the law of holiness, known as "H"), there are parallels in Deuteronomy (chiefly moral injunctions); but though in such cases the substance is often similar, the expression is nearly always different (compare, for instance, Deuteronomy 14:1 with Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 16:19,20 with Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 24:19-22 with Leviticus 19:9,10); and it can not be said that the legislation of Deuteronomy is in any sense an expansion or development of that in Leviticus 17- The one exception is the description of clean and unclean animals in 14:4a, 6-19a, which agrees in the main verbally with Leviticus 11:2b-20.
Relation to Other Codes.
(3) With the ceremonial laws contained in the other parts of Leviticus, and in Numbers (P), Deuteronomy is only remotely related: there are no verbal parallels. Some of the institutions and observances codified in P are indeed mentioned, as, for instance burnt and peace-offerings, fire-sacrifices, heave-offerings, the distinction between clean and unclean, a Torah for leprosy (24:8); but they are destitute of the central significance which they hold in the system of P; while many of the fundamental institutions of P—as the distinction between the priests and the common Levites; the Levitical cities and the year of jubilee; the cereal-offering; the guilt and sin-offering; the great Day of Atonement—are not referred to in Deuteronomy at all; and in the laws which do touch common ground, great, and, indeed, in some cases, irreconcilable, discrepancies frequently display themselves. Thus the Deuteronomic legislation may be termed an expansion of the body of laws contained in JE; it is, in several features, parallel to that contained in H; it contains allusions to laws similar to—it can not be said identical with—those codified in some parts of P; while its provisions sometimes differ widely from those found in other parts of P.
Aim and Scope of Deuteronomy.
The Deuteronomic discourses may be said to comprise three elements—a historical, a legislative, and a parenctic. Of these the parenetic element is both the most characteristic and the most important; for it is devoted to the inculcation of certain fundamental religious and moral principles upon which the writer lays great stress. The historical element is subservient to the parenctic, the references to history, as has been already remarked, having nearly always a didactic aim. The legislative element, though obviously, in many of its features, tending directly to secure the national well-being, and possessing consequently an independent value of its own, is by the writer of Deuteronomy viewed primarily as a vehicle for exemplifying the principles which it is the main object of his book to enforce. The author wrote, it is evident, under a keen sense of the perils of idolatry; and to guard Israel against this, by insisting earnestly on the debt of gratitude and obedience which it owes to its sovereign Lord, is the fundamental teaching of his book. Accordingly the truths on which he loves to dwell are the sole godhead of Yhwh, His spirituality (Deuteronomy 4), His choice of Israel, and the love and faithfulness which He has manifested toward it; from which are deduced the great practical duties of loyal and loving devotion to Him, an absolute and uncompromising repudiation of all false gods, a warm and spontaneous obedience to His will, and a large-hearted and generous attitude toward men.
The Love of God.
The central and principal discourse (-, ) opens with the Decalogue; and the first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," may be said to be the text which in the rest of ch. - is eloquently and movingly expanded. Yhwh is, moreover, a spiritual being: hence no sensible representation can be framed of Him. Still less should Israel's devotions be paid to any other material object (4:12,15-19). Yhwh has chosen Israel; and, in fulfilment of the promises given to its forefathers, has wonderfully delivered it from its bondage in Egypt, and assigned it a home in a bounteous and fertile land, to take possession of which it is now on the point of crossing the Jordan (6:10,11; 8:7-10). In return for all these benefits it is the Israelite's duty to fear and to love Yhwh—to fear Him as the great and mighty God, whose judgments strike terror into all beholders (4:32-36, 11:2-7); and to love Him on account of the affection and constancy with which, even as a father, He has ever dealt with Israel. The love of God, an all-absorbing sense of personal devotion to Him, is propounded in Deuteronomy as the primary spring of human duty (6:5); it is the duty which is the direct corollary of the character of God and of Israel's relation to Him; the Israelite is to love Him with undivided affection ("with all thine heart, and with all thy soul," 6:5; 13:3; 30:6; and elsewhere—an expression characteristic of Deuteronomy), renouncing everything that is in any degree inconsistent with loyalty to Him.
This brings with it, on the one hand, an earnest and entire repudiation of all false gods, and of every rite or practise connected with idolatry; and, on the other hand, a cheerful and ready acquiescence in the positive commandments which He has laid down. Of nothing is the Israelite more repeatedly and emphatically warned in Deuteronomy than of the temptations to idolatry, and of the perils of yielding to them. The heathen populations of Canaan are to be exterminated; no intermarriage, or other intercourse with them, is to be permitted; and their places of worship and religious symbols are to be ruthlessly destroyed (7:2-5; 12:2,3). Israel must ever remember that it is "holy" to Yhwh (7:6; 14:2,21; 26:19; 28:9). Canaanitish forms of divination and magic are not to be tolerated; an authorized order of prophets is to supply in Israel, so far as Yhwh permits it, the information and counsel for which other nations resorted to augurs and soothsayers (18:9-19). Local shrines and altars, even though ostensibly dedicated to the worship of the true God, were liable to contamination, on the part of the unspiritual Israelites, by the admixtureof heathen rites; accordingly, the three great annual feasts are to be observed, and all sacrifices and other religious dues are to be rendered, it is repeatedly and strongly insisted, at a single central sanctuary, "the place which Yhwh shall choose . . . to set his name there" (12:5-7,11,14,18,26, and elsewhere). Obedience to these commands, if it come from the heart and be sincere, will bring with it the blessing of Yhwh: disobedience will end in national disaster and exile (6:14-15, 7:12-16, 8:19, and especially ).
Love of Neighbors.
The practical form which devotion to Yhwh is to take is not, however, to be confined to religious duties, strictly so called. It is to embrace also the Israelite's social and domestic life, and it is to determine his attitude toward the moral and civil ordinances prescribed to him. The individual laws contained in ch. - are designed for the moral and social well-being of the nation; and it is the Israelite's duty to obey them accordingly. Love of God involves the love of one's neighbor, and the avoidance of any act which may be detrimental to a neighbors' welfare. The Israelite must comport himself accordingly. Duties involving directly the application of a moral principle are especially insisted on, particularly justice, integrity, equity, philanthropy, and generosity; and the laws embodying such principles are manifestly of paramount importance in the writer's eyes. Judges are to be appointed in every city, who are to administer justice with the strictest impartiality (16:18-20). Fathers are not to be condemned judicially for the crimes of their children; nor children for the crimes of their fathers (16). Just weights and measures are to be used in all commercial transactions (25:13-16); grave moral offenses are punished severely; death is the penalty not only for murder, but also for incorrigible behavior in a son, for unchastity, for adultery, and for man-stealing (21:18-21, 22:20-27, 24:7).
But the author's ruling motive is humanity, whereever considerations of religion or morality do not force him to repress it. Thus philanthropy, promptitude, and liberality are to be shown toward those in difficulty and want—as the indigent in need of a loan (15:7-11); a slave at the time of his manumission (15:13-15); a fugitive (23:15,16); a hired servant (24:14,15); the "stranger [e., resident foreigner], the fatherless, and the widow" (14:29, and frequently elsewhere). Gratitude and a sense of sympathy, evoked by the recollection of Israel's own past, are frequently appealed to as the motives by which the Israelite should in such cases be actuated (10:19, "For ye were strangers in the land of Egypt"; 15:15; 16:12; 24:18,22, "and thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt"). A spirit of forbearance, equity, and regard for the feelings or welfare of others underlies also many of the other regulations of Deuteronomy. Nowhere else in the Old Testament does there breathe such an atmosphere of generous devotion to God and of large-hearted benevolence toward men; nowhere else are duties and motives set forth with deeper feeling or with more moving eloquence; and nowhere else is it shown so fully how high and noble principles may be made to elevate and refine the entire life of the community.
Song and Blessing of Moses.
The Song of Moses, contained in chap. 32:1-34, is a didactic poem, the aim of which (verses 4-6) is to exemplify the rectitude and faithfulness of Yhwh as manifested in His dealings with a corrupt and ungrateful nation. Looking back upon the past, the poet, after the exordium (verses 1-3), describes, first, the providence that had brought Israel safely through the wilderness, and planted it in a land blessed abundantly by the goodness of Yhwh (verses 7-14); secondly, Israel's ingratitude and lapse into idolatry (verses 15-18), which had obliged Yhwh to threaten it with national disaster, and to bring it almost to the verge of ruin (verses 19-30); and thirdly, Yhwh's determination not to allow an unworthy foe to triumph over His people, but by speaking to them through the extremity of their need to bring them to a better mind, and so to make it possible for Himself to interpose and save them (verses 31-43). The thought underlying the poem is thus the rescue of the people, by an act of grace, at the moment when annihilation seems imminent. The author develops this theme with a glow of impassioned earnestness, and also with great literary and artistic skill.
Chap. contains the "Blessing of Moses," consisting of a series of benedictions, or eulogies, pronounced upon the different tribes (Simeon excepted), with an exordium (verses 2-5) and it conclusion (verses 26-29). The method of the author is to signalize some distinctive feature in the character, or occupation, or geographical situation of each tribe, with allusion, by preference, to the theocratic function discharged by it, and at the same time to celebrate the felicity, material and spiritual, of the nation as a whole, secured to it originally by Yhwh's goodness in the wilderness (verses 2-5), and maintained afterward, through the continuance of his protecting care, in Canaan (verses 26-29). In general character it resembles the blessing of Jacob (Genesis 49:1-27); but if the two be compared attentively, there will be seen to be some noticeable points of difference. The most salient features in Deuteronomy 33 are the isolation and depression of Judah (verse 7; contrast the warm eulogy in Genesis 49:8-12), the honor and respect with which Levi is viewed (verses 8-11; contrast the unfavorable terms of Genesis 49:5-7), the strength and splendor of the double tribe of Joseph (verses 13-17; compare Genesis 49:22-26, with which there are some verbal resemblances), and the burst of grateful enthusiasm with which the poet celebrates the fortune of his nation, settled and secure, with the aid of its God, in its promised home. The tone of the blessing is very different from that of the song (): the one reflects national happiness; the other, national disaster. The two, it is evident, must have been composed at times in which the circumstances of the nation were very different.
Age and Authorship of Deuteronomy.
It is the unanimous opinion of modern critics that Deuteronomy is not the work of Moses, but that it was, in its main parts, written in the seventh century B.C., either during the reign of Manasseh, or during that of Josiah (but before his eighteenth year, the Book of the Law found in that year in theTemple [see 2 Kings 22-] clearly containing Deuteronomy, if indeed it included anything more). The reasons for this conclusion, stated here in the briefest outline, are as follows: (1) Even upon the assumption that JE in Exodus and Numbers is Mosaic, the historical discrepancies in Deut. i- and -, and the terms in which incidents belonging to the fortieth year of the Exodus are referred to, preclude the possibility of Deuteronomy being Mosaic likewise; while the use of the expression "beyond Jordan" in 1:1,5; 3:8; 4:41,46,47,49, for eastern Palestine, implies that the author was a resident in western Palestine. (2) The same conclusion follows, a fortiori, for those who allow that JE is a post-Mosaic document, from the fact, noticed above, that JE itself, both in the narrative parts and in the laws, is repeatedly quoted in Deuteronomy. (3) In Deuteronomy it is strictly laid down that sacrifice is to be offered at a single central sanctuary (12:5,11,14, etc.); whereas in Joshua to 1 Kings 6 sacrifices are frequently described as offered in various parts of the land (in accordance with the law of Exodus 20:24), without any indication on the part of either the actor or the narrator that a law such as that of Deuteronomy is being infringed. (4) The other differences between the legislation of Deuteronomy and that of Exodus 21- point with some cogency to the conclusion that the laws of Deuteronomy originated in a later and more highly developed stage of society than the laws of Exodus. (5) The law of the kingdom (17:14-20) is colored by reminiscences of the monarchy of Solomon. (6) The forms of idolatry referred to—especially the worship of the "host of heaven" (4:19, 17:7)—point to a date not earlier than the reign of Ahaz, and more probably to one in the seventh century B. C.
Influence on Subsequent Writers.
(7) The influence of Deuteronomy upon subsequent writers is clear and indisputable. It is remarkable that Amos, Hosea, and the undisputed portions of Isaiah show no certain traces of this influence, while Jeremiah exhibits marks of it on nearly every page. If Deuteronomy had been composed between Isaiah and Jeremiah, these facts would be exactly accounted for. (8) Tile language and style of Deuteronomy—clear and flowing, free from archaisms, but purer than that of Jeremiah—would suit the same period. (9) The prophetic teachings of Deuteronomy—the leading theological ideas and the principles which the author seeks to inculcate—exhibit many points of contact with that of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and especially with the characteristic principles of the compiler of the Book of Kings (who must have lived in the same age).
Upon these grounds (which, when studied in detail, are seen to possess far greater cogency than can be conveyed by a mere summary) it is concluded by modern critics that Deuteronomy is in reality a work of the seventh century B.C. It is not difficult to realize the significance which the book must have had if it were written at this time. It was a great protest against the prevalent tendencies of the age. It laid down the lines of a great religious reform. The century was one in which—as Jeremiah and the Books of Kings sufficiently testify—heathenism was making serious encroachments in Judah. The Book of Deuteronomy was an endeavor by means of a dramatic use of the last words of Moses—based, not improbably, upon an actual tradition of a concluding address delivered by the great leader to his people—to reaffirm the fundamental principles of Israel's religion (namely, loyalty to Yhwh and the repudiation of all false gods) and to recall the people to a holier life and to a purer service of Yhwh. So far as its more distinctively legal parts are concerned, Deuteronomy may be described as the prophetic reformulation and adaptation to new needs of an older legislation (namely, the laws contained in JE). It is essentially the work not of a jurist or statesman, but of a prophet; a system of wise laws (4:6-8), consistently obeyed, is indeed, as explained above, a condition of the welfare of the community; but the points of view from which these laws are presented, the principles which the author evidently has at heart, the oratorical treatment, and the warm parenetic tone, are all characteristic of the prophet, and are all the creation of the prophetic spirit.
Its Composite Character.
[For reasons which can not be here developed, the discourses of Deuteronomy do not appear to be all from the same hand. The kernel of the book consists of ch. - and , and this, no doubt, constituted the book found in the Temple by Hilkiah. It was probably preceded by ch. - (with the exception of a few verses here and there which seem to be of later origin), though most modern critics are of opinion that these chapters were preflxed to it afterward. Some little time after the kernel of Deuteronomy was composed, it appears to have been enlarged by a second Deuteronomic writer (D2), who supplemented the work of his predecessor (D1) by adding ch. , 29:10-29, 30:1-10, and some other short passages in -, together with the song (32:1-43) and the historical notices belonging to it (31:16-22, 32:44). Finally, at it still later date, the whole thus formed was brought formally into relation with the literary framework of the Hexateuch as an entirety by the addition of some brief extracts from P (1:3, 34:1 and 5 [partly], 7-9). At what stage in the history of the text the blessing () was introduced is uncertain. The song was probably written in the age of Jeremiah; the blessing is earlier, being assigned by most critics to the reign of Jeroboam II.]
Style of Deuteronomy.
The style of the Deuteronomic discourses is very marked. Not only do particular words and expressions, embodying often the writer's characteristic thoughts, recur with remarkable frequency, giving a distinctive coloring to every part of his work, but the long and rolling periods in which the author expresses himself—which have the effect of carrying the reader with them and holding him enthralled by their oratorical power—are a new feature in Hebrew literature. The author has a wonderful command of Hebrew style. His practical aims, and the parenctic treatment which as a rule his subject demands, oblige him naturally to expand and reiterate more than is usually the case with Hebrew writers; nevertheless, his discourse, while never (in the bad sense of the term) rhetorical, always maintains its freshness, and is never monotonous or prolix.
The influence of Deuteronomy upon the later literature of the Old Testament is very perceptible. Upon its promulgation it speedily became the book which both gave the religious ideals of the age andmolded the phraseology in which these ideals were expressed. The style of Deuteronomy, when once it had been found, lent itself readily to adoption; and thus a school of writers, imbued with its spirit, quickly arose, who have stamped their mark upon many parts of the Old Testament. As has been just, remarked, even the original Deuteronomy itself seems in places to have received expansion at the hands of a Deuteronomic editor (or editors). In the historical books, especially Joshua, Judges, and Kings, passages—consisting usually of speeches, or additions to speeches, placed in the mouths of prominent historical characters, or of reflections upon the religious aspects of the history—constantly recur, distinguished from the general current of the narrative by their strongly marked Deuteronomic phraseology, and evidently either composed entirely, or expanded from a narrative originally brief, by a distinct writer; namely, the Deuteronomic compiler or editor. Among the Prophets, Jeremiah, especially in his prose passages, shows most conspicuously the influence of Deuteronomy; but it is also perceptible in many later writings, as in parts of Chronicles, and in the prayers in Nehemiah 1, , and Daniel 9
- Of recent commentaries reference may be made to those of Dillmann (1886), Driver (1895; 2d ed., 1896), Steuernagel (1898), and Bertholet (1899); and with reference to sources, the Oxford Hexateuch (1900), 1:70-97,200 et seq., 2:246 et seq., may be mentioned.
II. Scientific criticism denies both the unity and the authenticity of Deuteronomy, and brings forward definite theories regarding its composition, date of writing, and place in the development of law and religion. The critical problems presented by this book are especially difficult, and the way in which they are solved is decisive not only for the criticism of the whole of the Pentateuch, but for the total conception of the religion of the O. T. and its development. The book is divided on the whole as follows: the Deuteronomic law proper, -; the parenctic introduction, -, and peroration, (xxviii)-; and the historical setting; that is, the introduction, -, and the peroration to the whole book, to end.
Analysis of Sources.
Nearly all critics agree that the introduction, -4:40 (43), can not be the work of the author of -, or -, as (1) it contains contradictions to that portion, namely, 2:14 (also 1:35-39) to 5:3 (also 7:19—9:2-23, 11:2), 2:29 to 23:5, and 4:41-43 to 19:2; (2) 4:45-49, the superscription, is incompatible with that in 1:5; (3) the introduction - is different in motive, being historic and not parenctic. This historical introduction was written by a Deuteronomist (D2); that is, an author writing in the style and spirit of Deuteronomy at a time when the Jahvist-Elohist narrative (JE) of the preceding books, Exodus-Numbers, was not yet united with Deuteronomy (Reuss, Hollenberg, Kuenen, Wellhausen, Cornill, Steuernagel, etc.). But as, after the combination of JE with Deuteronomy the narrative portion in the latter was duplicated, the original narrative, which also included 4:41-43 and 9:25-10:11, was, according to Dillmann, changed by the Deuteronomic editor (Rd) into a speech by Moses, excepting the passages 2:10-12,20-23; 3:9,11,14; 4:41-43; 10:6,7, which were not suited for the purpose. Therefore - are by the author of Deuteronomy and 4:1-40 was added by Rd in order to give a parenetic ending to his speech of Moses. Horst also separates - from 4:1-40. Portions from. ch. and also belong to -, in the following sequence: 9:9b, 11, 12-14, 25-29, 15, 16, 21, 18-20; 10:1-5,10,11; then followed 1:6-3:29, 1:6-8 preceding 1:9-18. Ch. 2:10-12,20-23; 3:9,11b, 13b-14; 10:6-9 are marginal notes by a learned reader. Ch. 3:29 is followed by 31:1-8, and ch. constitutes the end. Horst, in other words, constructs from the historical notes in - a chronological account of the events in the wilderness after the Law had been promulgated. Steuernagel, finally, considers all the passages with the address in the singular (1:21,31a; 2:7, etc.) as later interpolations.
All these source-analyses, and the separation of - from the rest of the book, to which only Hoonacker has hitherto objected, are inadmissible, for (1) the supposed contradictions do not exist; (2) 1:5 is no superscription, while 1:1 is an epilogue to Num. (Knobel, Herxheimer, Klostermann); and (3) all the critics have misunderstood the import of the introduction, ch. -, which is not a historical or chronological account, but in its general character and in its details a single and continuous reproof based upon Israel's guilt contrasted with God's manifold mercies, and therefore as clearly of a parenetic nature as are the other parts of the book.
Variations of Analysis.
Ch. -: Wellhausen holds that this passage does not belong to the original Deuteronomy as it is too long for an introduction: "Moses is forever trying to get at his point, but never gets to it." Wellhausen is followed by Valeton, who designates 5:5, 7:17-26, 9:18-20,22,23, 10:1-10a, 18-20, 11:13-21 as interpolations, and by Cornill, who considers only 10:1-9 as such, and designates this parenetic introduction as Dp in contrast to the historical -, Dh.; D'Eichthal, on the other hand, distinguishes three documents: (1) a glorification of God and Israel—5:1-3,29 et seq.; 6:1-25; 7:7-24,1-6,25,26; (2) exhortations to humility—8:1-20; 9:1-8,22-24; (3) a further glorification of Israel—10:21 et seq.; 11:1-28,32. According to Horst, the Law begins in ch. , into which parenetic insertions (7:6b-10, 17-24;; 9:1-9a, 10, 22-24; 10:12-11:12,22-25 [26-32]) have been forced. Steuernagel distinguishes in - two combined introductions to the Law—namely, one with the plural form of address: 5:1-4,20-28; 9:9,11,13-17,21,25-29; 10:1-5,11,16,17; 11:2-5,7,16-17,22-28; and another with the singular form of address: 6:4-5,10-13,15; 7:1-4a, 6, 9, 12b-16a, 17-21, 23-24; 8:2-5,7-14,17-18; 9:1-4a, 5-7a; 10:12,14-15,21 (22?); 11:10-12,14-15. Kuenen, Oettli, König, and Strack ("Einleitung," 4th ed., p. 42) object to the separation of -, which is in fact entirely unnecessary, and makes of - a fragment, this splitting up into fragments resting on no other foundation than the fiction that a briefer original Deuteronomy had been in existence to accommodate an impatient reader limited in time.
Ch. -: Since the assertion of Wellhausen ("Composition des Hexateuchs," p. 194), that themain division of the book has also been worked over, sources, interpolations, etc., have likewise been discovered within this part. In ch. Vater had already assumed two duplicates—verses 5-7 parallel to 11, 12, and 15-19 parallel to 20-28—this opinion being shared by Cornill and in part by Stade ("Gesch. Israels," 1:658). Steinthal even distinguishes seven fragments in this chapter: (1) 1-7; (2) 8-12; (3) 13-16; (4) 17-19; (5) 20, 26-28; (6) 21-25; (7) 29-31 and 13:1. Nearly the same is assumed by Stärk. D'Eichthal divides into two documents: (1) 1-3, 29-31; (2) 4-28. Horst thinks that 4-28 is a combination of four different texts. Steuernagel divides the chapter thus: (1) 1; (2) 2-12, subdivided into (3) 2; (4) 4-7; (5) 8-10; (6) 13-27, subdivided into (7) 15, 16; (8) 22-25; and (9) 28. Underlying all these efforts to split its chapters into fragments and parts of fragments is a misconception of the style of Deuteronomy.
The following, among other criticisms, may be mentioned: Beginning with Wellhausen, almost all critics consider 15:4,5 as a gloss or correction to 15:7,11, because they do not take into account the meaning and connection. The passage 16:21-17:7 is in the wrong place, according to Wellhausen, Cornill, Stärk, and others, while Valeton and Kuenen admit this only of 16:21-17:1. Wellhausen, Stade, Cornill, and others do not include the "king's law," 17:4-20, in Deuteronomy. In ch. verses 3-9 have been objected to by Geiger, Wellhausen, Stade, and Valeton, while Kuenen rejects their criticism. D'Eichthal finds contradictions between 26:3,4 and 26:11; Horst, between 26:1-15 and 14:22-29. The latest critics, Stärk and Steuernagel, have gone furthest in rearranging and cutting up the text. Starting with the twofold mode of address—singular and plural—both assume that two works were combined, each of which again, according to Steuernagel, was based on a number of different sources. These and other critics (1) forget that the categories of the critic are not necessarily those of the author; (2) fail to explain how the present discrepancies were derived from a previous orderly arrangement, for in view of the continual change of address a separation of passages based on it can be effected only by resorting to violence; (3) should first have examined whether the noteworthy changes in the forms of address have no internal warrant. While it is possible that - has been subjected to many revisions, changes, and interpolations, as a legal code naturally would be, nothing to that effect can be proved.
Supposed Sources of -
Ch. xxvii-: Kuenen criticizes as follows: Not attributable to the Deuteronomist are: (1) 1-8, because they include an earlier account—5-7a; and (2) 11-13, because they refer back to 11:29-30, although misunderstanding the passage. Verses 14-26 constitute a later interpolation; hence only 9, 10 remain for D1. This opinion is shared by Ewald, Kleinert, Kayser, Dillmann. According to Wellhausen, does not agree with; - are parallel to , each being a different conclusion to two different editions of the chief part, - corresponding to the two prefaces i- and - Ch. itself lacks unity. Valeton ascribes only 1-6, 15-19 to the author of the hortatory -, considering all else as later expansions. Kleinert considers 28-37 and 49-57 as later interpolations. Dillmann also assumes numerous interpolations by a later editor. In the two following chapters Kleinert considers 29:21-27 and 30:1-10 as interpolations. Kuenen ascribes both chapters to another author.
Ch. xxi-: Not only the critics but also the apologists refuse to consider these closing chapters, wholly or in part, as due to the author of Deuteronomy proper. (1) 31:1-8, parallel to Numbers 27:15-23, is a continuation of 3:28 et seq., by the same author; 31:9-13 forms the close of the law-book, 30:20; (2) 31:14-30 serves as introduction to the song of Moses, belonging with it to the passages incorporated later in Deuteronomy; ch. 32:44-47 is the ending to the song, and to 31:15-29; 48-52 are taken from the Priestly Code (P); (3) is an old document incorporated by the editor; (4) , Moses' death, is combined from different accounts; the following verses are taken from P: 1a and 5 (revised), 7-9 (Dillmann); 1-7a, 8, 9 (Wellhausen); 1a, 8, 9, 1a, 7a, 8, 9 (Kuenen); 1a, 8, 9 (Cornill). To J belong: 1b, 4(Dilimann); lb-7 (Cornill). To JE belong: 10 (Dillmann); 2-7, 10-12 (Wellhausen; revised); 1b-3, 5-7b, 10 (Kuenen). To D belong: 1a β 6 (revised), 11, 12 (Dillmann); and lb β 2-3, an interpolation. According to Wellhausen, 2-7, 10-12, Kuenen 4-6, 7a, 11-12, Cornill 10-12, are editorial interpolations.
Date and Tendency.
Ranke, Hävernick, Hengstenberg, Baumgarten, Fr. W. Schultz, Keil, Kühel, Bissel, and other apologists ascribe the book to Moses. This view is criticized on the following grounds: (1) The account of the discourses of Moses, their writing and transmission (31:9,24-26; 28:58,61; 29:19,20,26; 30:11; 17:18 et seq.), can not be by Moses. (2) Moses can not possibly have written the story of his death, nor compared himself with later prophets (ch. ). (3) A later time is indicated by 2:12 ("as Israel did"), by 3:9-11,14 ("unto this day"; comp. Judges 10:4 and 1:44 with 1:17); and by 19:14 ("of old time"). (4) The writer speaks of the country east of the Jordan as "on this side" (1:1,5; 4:41-49), though referring in the speeches to the western country (3:20,25; 11:30: in 3:8 vice versa): therefore, he is in Palestine. (5) Although Israel is represented as about to enter Canaan, the language necessitates the inference that Israel is already settled in that country, engaged in agricul ture or living in cities, under an organized government. (6) The book assumes a long period of development as regards politics and the state ("king's law": supreme court), religion (allusions to fundamental religious principles and the law of the Prophets; emphasis on the centralization of worship), and worship (position of the priests and Levites; gifts to the sanctuary). (7) The book uses sources that can be proved to be post-Mosaic. The precise dates given, however, vary.
Kleinert is of the opinion that the book was composed about the end of the period of the Judges, perhaps even by Samuel or by a contemporary of Samuel, and certainly in a truly Mosaic spirit. Thelegislation occupies a middle ground in relation to that of the earlier books. As pre-Deuteronomic may be proved: Exodus 20-, 34:11-26, 19:5 et seq., 13:1-13; Leviticus 17:18 et seq.; Numbers 33:50 et seq., 3:12 et seq.; the principal enactments in Leviticus 18-; the content of Exodus 12:1-14,21-23,43-50; Leviticus 13 Post-Deuteronomic: Leviticus 11, 15:16 et seq., 17:15 et seq., 22:17 et seq., , 25:39 et-seq., 27:26-30 et seq.; Numbers 15:37 et seq.; 18:15,21 et seq.; , Moses' blessing, , dates from the early time of the Judges. Ch. 31:14-29, 32:1-43,48-52, must be separated as non-Deuteronomic.
Different Dates Assigned.
The book is assumed to have been composed during the earlier, but post-Solomonic, time of the Kings, by Delitzsch and Oettli; under Hezekiah, by Vaihinger and König; under Manasseh, by Ewald, Riehm, W. R. Smith, Wildeboer, Kautzsch, Kittel, Dernier, Valeton; under Josiah, by De Wette, Bleck, George, Vatke, Graf, Wellhausen, Kuenen, Dillmann, Cornill, Stade, Reuss, and nearly all critics since Graf-Wellhausen. Gesenius and the more recent French critics, as D'Eichthal, Havet, Vernes, Horst, have assumed a date during, or later than, the Exile.
The assumption that the book was composed under Hezekiah, Manasseh, or Josiah is based on the hypothesis that the law-book which was discovered in the Temple by the priest Hilkiah in the eighteenth year of the reign of King Josiah, 621 B.C., as narrated in 2 Kings 22 et seq., was virtually the present Deuteronomy, the only difference of opinion being as to how long it had been composed. Most of the advocates of the Josianic period even say that the book was composed and hidden with the definite intention that it should be brought to light in that way. This hypothesis is difficult to maintain, for a number of improbabilities must be assumed in order to prove that the code found at the time of Josiah was Deuteronomy. All that can be claimed is that the narrator of the story of the finding and of the reforms attendant upon it adopts in part the language of Deut. This view is exposed to the insuperable objection that the religion which brought truth into the world can not have been founded upon a deception. That this fundamental book of religion, containing such a free and pure stream of truth, could be pseudepigraphic, and that the whole nation should have considered as of Mosaic origin and of divine authority, and have adopted at once, without objection or criticism, a book which was a forgery, of the existence of which no one knew anything before that time, and which demanded radical modifications of the religious life, and especially of worship, is inconceivable.
Those critics who recognize these objections, but for critical reasons hesitate to take Moses as the author, assert, therefore, that the book is in its essentials a faithful reproduction of the teaching of Moses, filling in the outlines given by the latter; and that there are no objections to assuming that inspired men, working in the spirit of Moses, and sustaining to him the uninterrupted relation of spiritual succession, should feel justified in rendering his teaching and his law comprehensible for their own time, supplementing and developing them, and that the book thus composed is none the less Mosaic in spirit. Modern criticism holds that the book was prepared for the purpose of realizing the ideals of the Prophets in the national life of Israel. It is the summary of the prophetic deliverances of the eighth and seventh centuries, though not altogether free from impairments of the prophetic ideals. Some critics (Cheyne, "Jeremiah," pp. 65 et seq.) consider it as a product of the priestly-prophetic circles, an assumption that is certainly correct (comp. 17:9 et seq., 24:8).
Sources and Redaction.
Although the place assigned traditionally to Deut. as containing the end of the Mosaic legislation, and as presupposing the existence of Ex.-Num., is disputed by modern criticism, yet all critics agree that it is based on previous sources that have in part been preserved. This applies certainly to J and to E, both in the narrative and the legal portions. J in the narrative: 1:8, comp. Genesis 15:18; 1:45, comp. Numbers 14:16; 3:15 et seq., comp. Numbers 32:29; otherwise the story is recapitulated from E. In the Law the close relation and connection with the Book of the Covenant contained in E (Exodus 20:24-23:19) is most noticeable, Steuernagel being the only one to dispute this, and the so-called DECALOGUE in J (Exodus 34). It is a matter of dispute whether the author of Deuteronomy knew J and E as separate works, or after they had been united into JE and incorporated into the Tetrateuch. The priority of the Decalogue of Exodus 20 or that of Deuteronomy 5 is also a much disputed question. Deuteronomy takes a very independent stand toward its sources, the reproduction being a free modification or enlargement. Wellhausen and Stade have therefore assumed it to be an enlarged edition of the old Book of the Covenant, and Kuenen, followed especially by Cornill, has brought forward the hypothesis that Deut. supplanted the Book of the Covenant.
It is a very important question under discussion, whether the author of Deuteronomy was acquainted with P; whether, therefore, the latter was the earlier book, if not in its present codification, at least in content. P is asserted to be older by Dillmann, Delitzsch, Oettli, and, of course, by the traditionalists. As regards history they quote 4:3 = Numbers 25 (leading astray of the Israelites); 1:37, 3:26, 4:21 (Aaron and Moses forbidden to enter Canaan) = Numbers 20:12,24, 27:14; 1:23 (number of the spies) = Numbers 13:1 et seq.; 10:3 (the Ark of shittim-wood) = Exodus 37:1; 10:22 (the number "70") = Genesis 46:27; 31:2, 34:7 (the age of Moses) = Exodus 7:7. In the Law the many allusions to the law of holiness belonging to P (Leviticus 17-), the assumption of several "torot," and especially Deuteronomy 14 in comparison with Leviticus 11, confirm this view. According to other critics the historical references are derived from notes in JE, no longer extant, and as regards the Law they reverse the relation in every case. P presupposes Deut.; so that, for instance, Leviticus 11 was modeled upon Deuteronomy 14
The redaction of Deut. passed, according to Wellhausen, through three stages: (1) the original Deut.—-; (2) two enlarged editions independentof each other—-, -, , and -, -, -; (3) combination of the two editions and incorporation of the work so formed into the Hexateuchic code. Deuteronomy was in the first place combined only with JE; a later editor combined this work with P after the component parts of the latter had been put together. Dillmann assumes the following three stages of redaction down to Ezra: (1) Pg + E + J; (2) PgEJ + D; (3) PgEJD + Ph (law of holiness). The views in regard to the redaction depend on what is considered as the original Deut. and into what and how many parts it is divided.
According to the Graf-Wellhausen theory of the relation of Deut. to the Prophets, and its priority to P, the book marks a radical change in the Israelitic religion. Through the centralization of worship the popular exercise of religion, closely connected with the daily life, the home, and the house, is uprooted and all the sacred poetry of life destroyed. Worship is separated from life, and the sharp contrast of holy and profane arises between the two. The idea of the Church comes into existence; then a separate profession, that of the clergy, is created; and by transferring the priestly ideal to the whole people the way is prepared for the exclusive and particularistic character of later Judaism. As the prophetic ideas are formulated into concrete laws, religion is externalized and becomes a religion of law, an opus operatum. The people now know exactly what they have to do, for "it is written." Deuteronomy marks the beginning of the canon; religion becomes a book religion, an object of study, a theology. The people know what they may expect if they keep the Law. Religion assumes the nature of a covenant, a contract, and the doctrine of retribution becomes paramount. Further conclusions are then drawn by P as to post-exilic Judaism, Pharisaism, the Talmud, Rabbinism.
This whole conception is based on literary and religio-historical assumptions that are either wrong or doubtful. The doctrines and demands of Deut. have always been fundamental in Israel's religion. The book condemns and abolishes paganism. The alleged legitimacy of the decentralization and popularization of worship is based entirely upon a wrong interpretation of Exodus 20:24. Centralization is the necessary consequence of monotheism and of the actual or ideal unity of the people. Law and prophecy are closely connected from the foundation of Judaism, beginning with Moses. The regulation of life according to divine law, the contrast between holy and profane, the rise of a canon and a theology, are incidental to the development of every religion that has ever controlled and modified the life of a people.
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Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Deuteronomy'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/d/deuteronomy.html. 1901.
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13