Page images

of the first importance that the truth of which the origin and authorship and validity of these doctrines should are known, and so determine whether if possible be made a mathematical the conclusions drawn in the former certainty, or, at any rate, that the case were legitimate and valid or foundations upon which they rest not. should be made as broad and as sure The element of the new Biblical critias can be. It must be admitted that cism which may be most conveniently all has not been done in this direction examined and tested in the way prowhich might have been done. Indeed, posed is the analysis of the historical the basis upon which the building books of the Old Testament, of which stands is no broader than the super- the results are remarkably well destructure itself. The present theories fined and have won universal acceptas to the composition and authorship ance; and the portion which lends itof the books of the Bible may have self in an especial degree to the anabeen demonstrated beyond dispute, lytical process is found in the Books but they have been demonstrated out of Samuel. of these very books themselves. Any It is almost a truism of criticism that parallel instances which may have the earlier books of the Old Testabeen brought forward in support of ment have been pieced together from the critical analysis have been drawn ancient narrative, hortatory and legal from the literatures of Greece or Rome documents. Two historical works esor of modern Europe. What one pecially are believed to twine round misses, and what one would very one another from Genesis to Judges, much like to see, is an attempt to ap- or even to the Books of Samuel. As ply those principles of literary criti- each of these covered the same ground, cism, to which the books of the Bible beginning, like most Semitic, eshave been subjected, to some other pecially Arab, histories, at the CreaSemitic book as to the authorship and tion and coming down to the author's composition of which there is no room own day, duplicate accounts are often for two opinions. In the latter case given in these books of one and the we should know definitely whether same event. Thus, if we take the the results of the critical process were Books of Samuel, we find (1) that Eli true or false, and we could infer the is twice warned of the impending ruin correctness or otherwise of the same of his house, first by an unnamed method when applied to books, like “man of God” (ii. 27 ff.), and afterthose of the Bible, as to the origin wards through Samuel (ill. 18). (2) and authorship of which we have Three motives are given for the change no independent and reliable informa in the form of government from a re tion.

public to a monarchy-the misrule of The question is a very large one and Samuel's sons (viii. 5), the Philistine a full discussion of it would run into oppression (ix. 16), and an incursion volumes. Here it is not possible to do of the Ammonites (xii. 12). (3) There more than examine the critical position are two accounts of the election of the from one side only, by selecting a first monarch (in x. 1-16, where he is particular book of the Bible and stat- anointed by Samuel, and in x. 17-27, ing briefly the results which have been where he is chosen by lot) and (4) of arrived at in regard to its composition his deposition (in xill. 7-15, for sacri. and authenticity, and, finally, compar- ficing at Gilgal before the arrival of ing this book with some other Semitic Samuel; in chapter XV., for sparing work exhibiting the same phenomena, the Amalekite king); (5) of David's introduction to Saul (in chapter xvi., as his knavery (2 Sam. iv. 10). The crita minstrel, who becomes Saul's ics, however, maintain that the narraarmor-bearer; in xvii., through his de- tor in that case should have pointed feat of Goliath in single combat, al- that out to the reader. But, if this though too little to bear arms); (6) of is unnecessary for the average Enghis betrotbal to a daughter of Saul lish child, it would have been doubly (in xviii. 17-19, to Merab, as the prom- superfluous for an Oriental reader. ised reward of the death of Goliath; Again, in chapters xxiv. and xxvi. in xviii. 20-23, to Michal); (7) of his there are only six expressions common flight from court (in xix. 18-24, to to both-namely, that Saul went "with Ramah; in xxi. to Abimelech at Nob); the three thousand picked men of Is(8) of the origin of the proverb, "Is rael to look for David,” that he Saul also among the prophets?" (x. stopped "by the way," that David was 11; xix. 24); (9) of David sparing the told that God had given "bis enemy king's life (in xxiv., at En-gedi; in that day into his hand," that his rexxvi., in the waste land of Ziph); (10) ply was “God forbid that I should of his stay with Achish of Gath (xxi. stretch forth my hand against the 11-16, when he feigned madness and Lord's anointed,” that Saul said, “Is did not remain; and again in chapter this thy voice, my son David ?" and xxvii., when he served under Achish that David asked Saul why he “chased and remained a year and four months); one flea.” In all other respects the and, lastly, (11) of the death of Saul two narratives are wide asunder, and (in 1 Sam. xxxi., by his own hand; the one ground for seeking to identify and in 2 Sam. i., by the hand of an them is that in each David spares the Amalekite).

king's life. Even in the apparently This is indeed a formidable list, and, divergent accounts of the institution if cumulative evidence count for any of the monarchy the reconciling point thing, the duplication of narratives in may be the wise diplomacy of Samuel the Books of Samuel may be taken in obtaining the election of the very as proved. If, however, we go through man whom he had himself already the indictment count by count, we may anointed as king. find that it can be considerably re- By way of general observation it is duced. In the first place one of hardly necessary to mention that the the duplicate narratives in items Hebrew language suffers from povfive and six is wanting in the erty of vocabulary, and that it is imGreek text. In the first count (the possible to describe similar events in warning of Eli) the latter of the two it without employing identical expresnarratives explicitly refers back to the sions, and so great is the Hebrew's former (iii. 12). The double account of love of assonance that this is acDavid's simultaneous flight to Ramah counted the reverse of a blemish. and to Nob has only arisen because Moreover, the style of the classical Hethe critics have struck out verse 1 of brew historian has all the simplicity chapter xx., in which we are told that and naïveté of that of the professional he continued his flight from Ramah story-teller in the markets of Cairo to Nob. In the last count of the bill, or Damascus. His every second senthe second narrative of the death of tence begins with "so," and is a repeSaul is, of course, that of the Amale, tition of the last but one. "So the kite, and the whole point of the story Philistines took the ark of God, and lies in the fact that the Amalekite is brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. lying, and reaps the just reward of So the Philistines took the ark of God,

In the Komer again. Prophets

and brought it into the house of townsmen. "They do not say to thee Dagon" (1 Sam. v. 1, 2).

ought else than was said to the aposEnough bas perhaps been said to tles before thee." "If they have made show that the duplication of narratives thee a liar, apostles before thee have in the Books of Samuel is at least, been called liars." "The apostles beto use the Scots term--"not proven," fore thee were laughed to scorn.” The and that, in Sir Roger de Coverley's stories of these apostles and prophets classic phrase, much may still be are told over and over again. Hence said on both sides of the question. we find in the Koran duplicate acYet, after all, it must be confessed counts of Abraham, of Húd the aposthat the "two source theory" appeals tle of the tribe of Ad, and of Jesus, strongly to the logically constituted and the rest. But of all others the and scientifically trained Western prophet whose case Muhammad felt mind by the drastic fashion in wbich most nearly resembled his own was it cuts those knots which the learning Moses—"he who talked familiarly with and ingenuity of generations have been God." The result is that the story of expended in attempting to untie. The Moses is reiterated, with more or less difficulties, inconsistencies and contra- detail, some thirteen times in the dictions in the Old Testament are so Korán. These narratives do not all numerous and so hard to account for cover identical ground, some enlarge on any other hypothesis that this the upon one period of Moses' life, others ory has proved a veritable harbor of upon another. If we combine them refuge to the exegete. It has become so as to form one continuous narrative, the most valuable weapon in bis we obtain in outline the familiar story armory, and the most indispensable of of the Book of Exodus. his tools.

Pharaoh, with his vezír Haman, In order, however, that he may use tyrannizes over the Israelites, killing this Damascus blade with least danger their male children. God befriends to himself, it behooves him to observe the oppressed. Moses is committed to the manner of its operation in other the Nile in an ark of bulrushes and Semitic literatures besides that of the found by the daughter of Pharaoh, Hebrews; and in looking about for who begs for him as he will “cool the illustrations of Biblical phenomena we eyes” of her father and herself. He turn naturally to Arabic, and, first of refuses to suck the breasts of the all, to the Korán.

Egyptian women, and his sister, offerIn the Korán we find all the literary ing to find a Hebrew nurse, brings phenomena which meet us in the old their own mother. One day when and New Testaments. It abounds grown up he finds an Egyptian miswith repetitions and duplicate narra- using an Israelite and kills him. The tives and laws, with anachronisms next day the same Israelite is quarrel. and inconsistencies. As a persecuted ling again. Moses rebukes him and reprophet, Muhammad loved to dwell on ceives the retort, “Wilt thou kill me the ill usage and rejection of earlier as thou tookest a life yesterday?" At apostles by the peoples to whom they the same moment Moses is warned were sent. In their afflictions he saw that the magistrates are about to ara reflection of his own sufferings at rest him, and he flees and takes refuge the hands of his unbelieving fellow- in Midian. There be assists two

women to water their sheep. Their 1 Wellhausen appears to have been tempted

father offers one to Moses as wife in to strike out one of these clauses, " aber das ist die Art hebräischer Erzählung," he adds. return for eight or ten years' service.


At the end of that period Moses de the plagues at all. In Chapter 2 the parts with his wife. He sees the burn- feeding with manna and quails is subing bush in the valley of Towa. There sequent to the worship of the golden he is taught the two signs, and bidden calf; in 20 the reverse is the case. The go to Pharaoh. He replies that he is lifting up of Mount Sinai is mentioned afraid, and that he is not eloquent, but in Chapters 2 and 4. As-Sámiri (the is reminded of his wonderful preserva. Samaritan) appears in Chapter 20 only. tion in infancy, and is given Aaron In some of the narratives Moses as spokesman. He appears before alone is the hero (e.g., 32); in Pharaoh and performs the two signs. others Moses and Aaron together (21). Then follow the plagues, the crossing in one chapter the story of Moses will of the Red Sea and the destruction precede that of Abraham; in another of the Egyptians. In token of the the chronological order will be folratification of the covenant at Sinai lowed. The curious midrash of Moses the mountain is lifted up. During the and Al-Khidr occurs only once, in absence of Moses the people, at the Chapter 18 Chapter 5 merely meninstigation of As-Samiri, and with the tions the refusal of the people to enter connivance of Aaron, worship a calf Canaan, and their suggestion that Moof gold. Moses in his anger breaks the ses should go by himself, with its retablets of laws which he had received, sult. and, seizing Aaron by the beard, up A study, even the most cursory, of braids him fiercely. Next we have the the Korán shows clearly that to the miraculous feeding of the people with Semite there was nothing incongruous manna and quails and water from in repeating the same narrative or disrocks, and the institution of the sacri- course over and over again in the same fice of the red heifer. The people fear volume, any more than in repeating to invade Canaan, and are forbidden the same bars in the same piece of the country for forty years. Moses music. We are apt to forget that we sets out to find a person generally have the musical element to reckon called Al-Khidr, and identified with with both in the Koran and in the Old Elijah.

Testament (Cf. especially Korán 55; we now proceed to disinte- Is. ix, and x.; Ezek. xxxii., etc.). But, grate this compilation and to distribute leaving the poetry out of account, and its elements among the several compo- taking the Korán and the Old Testanents of which it is made up, we find ment as mere prose compositions, we that Haman (along with Karun or can learn a good deal from a compariKorah) appears in two only of the orig- son of the two. inal sources-in Chapters 28 and 40_ In the first place, not only does the the slaughter of the Israelite children author of the Korán repeat himself, in five. The scene of the burning bush but he does so without any glaring inis named the Valley of Towa in two consistency. In all the narratives of (20 and 79). The central event in all Moses the phraseology may vary, but the narratives is the destruction of the the matter or sense, when two or more Egyptians in the Red Sea for rejecting narratives coincide, is the same. The the preaching of Moses; but even this Semite, therefore, is quite as incapable is not always explicitly mentioned. In of logical inconsistency as the European, Chapter 40 a Courtier of Pharaoh takes Neither an author nor an editor would Moses' part. Chapter 7 speaks of six have allowed two inconsistent accounts plagues, Chapter 17 of nine signs, of the same event to be set down side whilst other chapters do not refer to by side. To account for the apparent

[ocr errors]

inconsistencies of the Old Testament, are set down precisely in the order therefore, by a difference of authorship in which they occurred. In these books is no explanation at all, because we the one really inexplicable difficulty, still require to know how these incon- which, like the two divine names in sistencies came to be passed by the edi. the Pentateuch, is the agate knifetor, who combined the divergent ac- edge upon which the whole critical counts. This editor or redactor, more analysis is suspended, is the fact that over, is a personage absolutely un- in 1 Sam. xvi. 14-23, David is Saul's known to Semitic literature. There favorite armor-bearer, whereas in we have authors and books, but the Chapter xvii. he is (it is supposed) too "editing" of an author in the way in young to bear arms, and is quite 'unwhich the Old Testament writers are known to Saul and Abner (xvil. 55said to have been edited is an entirely 58). The Greek text, it is true, omits the modern and European practice. The verses last cited, but still presents the Korán was edited in the califate of (supposed) difficulty as to David's age. Abu Bekr by collecting its verses from If we could believe xvi. 14-23 to be palm-leaves and from shoulder-blades subsequent in time to xvii., we should and from the breasts of men, and set- get rid of both difficulties. ting them down exactly as the prophet In addition to the two narratives of had uttered them. Of one thing we which the Books of Samuel are commay be absolutely certain: If Abu posed it is believed that there can be Bekror Zaid ibu Thábit or Othman detected traces of a third hand-that of had chosen to piece together the many the “Deuteronomic redactor." This duplicate passages in the Korán, as is editor who is imbued with the spirit supposed to have been done with the of Deuteronomy gives an occasional reOld Testament books, there is not a ligious turn to the narrative where that critic in Europe who would have been was lacking in the original. The warnable to disintegrate them again.

ings given to Eli by the man of God The most serious flaw in the equip in Chapter ii., and through Samuel in ment of the Arab as a writer of history Chapter iii., as well as much of Sam--as indeed of European writers, in- uel's farewell address on his demission cluding Chaucer-is his lack of the of office in Chapter xii., are coucher sense of historical perspective. He in the language of the Book of Deuterthrows all his figures upon a screen onomy. It is admitted, however, that and they are all equally distant from the Deuteronomist is far more in him. In the Korán Nimrod is con- evidence in the Book of Judges than temporary with Abraham; Haman (of in Samuel. There he gives bis hand the Book of Esther) is the vezír of the free play and is, in fact, responsible Pharaoh of the Exodus; and Mary, the for the form and setting of the whole mother of Jesus, is the daughter of Im- book. In it each one of the greater ran, and therefore identical with Mir- judges is introduced and dismissed iam the sister of Moses. When a se- with similar phrases and in the same ries of prophets is mentioned the chro- set terms. "The Israelites do evil in nological sequence is not observed, and the sight of Jehovah. He sells them in duplicate versions of the same story into the hand of some tyrant; they the order of events is not always the serve him so many years; then they same. So, too, in the historical books cry to Jehovah; he raises up a delivof the Old Testament there is no rea- erer; the tyrant is subdued; and the son to suppose, for example, that the land has rest so many years." It is events recorded in 2 Sam. ix.-xxiv. agreed that these introductory and

« PreviousContinue »