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When we pass from the dim region of cosmogonic, ethnologic, and aetiologic myth to the dawn of quasi-historical tradition, it is clear that J seeks to tell the story as it was, not indeed purely for its own sake, but often satisfied to let it point its own moral. For him history has a value as such, and we doubtless owe it quite as much to this as to his greater antiquity and superior sources, that as a source for actual history his narrative must be almost the sole dependence of the judicious critic. More and more apparent does this fact become as we advance, till in the story of the rise of the monarchy through the personal exploits of Saul it is clear that we are treading on the firm ground of history; whereas in E the true course of events is obscured, or distorted out of all credibility, in the endeavor to magnify the importance of “the prophet Samuel and to make clear the unpardonable folly and sin of the people in desiring a king, instead of continuing to prosper under a theocracy administered by “prophets and judges.” The contrast is perhaps even more marked in the story of David. J's splendid history of the nation under Saul and David can be judged by the Book of II Samuel, almost entirely his. E contents himself with the story of the pious shepherd-boy and the giant, the romance of David's youth and a brief statement of his mounting the throne and ruling under the “fear of God' and the tutelage of the prophet 'Nathan. The same contrast will appear to every reader even in the Pentateuch, though here there is of course less to choose.
The broad and comprehensive patriotism of J is apparent in his treatment of all the tribes in Genesis, and particularly in Joshua and Judges. “ The house of Joseph " is as dear to him
“ the house of Judah.” It comes most clearly to view in the grand national odes he attaches at salient points of the story, the Blessing of Jacob, Blessing of Balaam, Blessing of Moses and Song of Deborah. For him the ideal of national unity was realized when :
“ Yahweh was king in Jeshurun
But just as the devotion to history as such does not exclude a distinctly religious purpose, apparent in the narrative, so this fidelity to an impartial account of all the institutions of Israel does not exclude a decided tinge of personal predilection for the institutions of the priesthood ; and in the material at command, if not in his personal feeling, there appears an equally decided bent toward Judah. None but a religious historian would have given that faint glimpse toward a victory of humanity over the power of physical and moral evil in the world implied in the protevangelium ; nor would another have viewed in quite the same light the call of Abram, Gen. xii, iff., nor allowed the moral government of Yahweh to shine through so distinctly as in the unsparing record of David's crime and weakness, calamities and repentance. In the sense of being an ultimate outgrowth of the great Yahwistic reformation of Elijah, J's narrative may justly be called “prophetic," and it certainly follows the same motto : Israel the people of Yahweh. Otherwise it would seem anything but a "prophetic " document. Only priestly institutions are traced as far back as the age of Moses, and both Joseph and Moses are allied with great priestly families; the function of interpreting the Mosaic law is given to “Aaron the Levite ” (Ex. iv. 14; cf. Dt. xxxiii. 810) and both the Egyptian and Sinaitic legislation are solely concerned with ritual ordinances. Only Moses, Aaron, and the priests are admitted to the audience of Yahweh on Sinai, and, in striking contrast to E, the fidelity of the Levites in the mutiny is rewarded by a perpetual tribal prerogative of the priesthood. Prophetism does not appear at all among the early institutions of Israel. Samuel is only a local “soothsayer." Joseph and Balaam are “ diviners.” Not until Elijah the Tishbite confronts Ahab in the vineyard of Naboth does prophetism count for anything. On the contrary the profoundest interest is taken in the fate of the ark and its priesthood. The slaughter of Nob, and escape of Abimelech with the ephod marks the transition point between Saul and David as bearer of the national destinies, and one of the most prominent elements of David's reign is always the ark, its abiding place and its guardians. Its solemn transfer to Jerusalem from Baalei-Judah, and the provision made for it by David by purchase of the threshing-floor of Araunah, lead up to the story of the building and dedication of the temple as the great event of Solomon's reign.
In agreement with this is the priestly conception of man's relation to God. Yahweh's anger is appeased by sacrifice (Gen. viii, 21), or by the mediation of the recipients of his personal favor ; and through these Yahweh makes known to the ignobile vulgus the ordinances and ritual by which it pleases him to be served. The sacred pillars’ (maççeboth) so dear to E, however, were either obnoxious to J, or the mention of them has been obliterated by later hands (see, however, II Sam. xx. 8).
We should, in fact, expect nothing else than a priestly interest in a document whose material so clearly points to an origin in the southern kingdom. For with all the catholicity of J's patriotism the stories of Genesis tend to group about Hebron and Beersheba, much as those of E about Shechem and Bethel ; Judah and not Reuben is spokesman for the brethren in the Joseph-legend, and Judah's clans and Judah's birthright are kept in view in chh. xxxviii. and xlix. Later, Jerusalem becomes the real focus of attention. Now it would be scarcely possible, at the time and amid the circumstances from which this document thus seems to spring, that it should present any other view than the above of the relative importance of prophetism and the priesthood. Prophetism had never been the force in Judah which it had been in Ephraim. The far more influential priests of the Jerusalem temple here took the lead in Yahwistic reform. There is entire sympathy with the aims of the prophets, but as yet they count for but little in conservative Judah.
Politically, the contrast is the strongest possible between J and E. J looks upon the monarchy as the very salvation of Israel ; he is a thorough-going aristocrat and high-churchman. E, as we shall see, is intensely devoted to the opposite principles. But we are anticipating our discussion of this second document.
A first comprehensive glance at E's work would suggest as its proper title : The Story of the Prophets. If it pursues the course of the national history from the call of Abraham to the writer's day, it is not from a desire to give the story of divine providence for its own sake, but to vindicate the theory of the theocracy, by exhibiting the character of the leaders divinely raised up. To the careers of these men the history as such is entirely subordinate. In a single word the document E is a HISTORY OF THE THEOCRATIC SUCCESSION.
Doubtless the form assumed by this Ephraimite work was largely affected by the knowledge-perhaps only indirect, for there is no decisive evidence of actual use of J by E-of its great predecessor in Judah. It was inevitable that in the earlier portions it should bear a close resemblance to it. But it is well worthy of note that so far from showing the affinity of Israel with all surrounding peoples by tracing the stock back to “the Man,” E sets out with the call of God to the 'prophet' Abraham to come out from among the idolaters of his fatherland, and upon his obedience gives the promise of the land of the Amorites' when their 'iniquity shall be full. Except as to the proving' of Abraham, which incidentally reveals the boyhood of Isaac, the stories of Genesis do not differ largely from J's. However, E's more spiritual, less anthropomorphic views of God and decidedly more moral views of the patriarchs are brought out incidentally. Thus Isaac's falsehood to Abimelech in E's story becomes a mere double-entendre of Abraham, since Sarah" is indeed his sister.” So instead of Reuben's mandrakes, as the efficient cause of fruitfulness in Rachel and Leah, we have in E prayer to God : and instead of Jacob's shepherd tricks, direct divine intervention in answer to the vow of Bethel. Special interest in Shechem and the northern sanctuaries has always been noted, and in view of this Ephraimite interest the tribe-legend of Joseph in E would naturally be based on sources even superior to J's. But here the method of E is again apparent. Joseph the shepherd-boy endowed with prophetic gifts, rising to the highest sovereignty, devoutly and piously interpreting the divine will, and on his death-bed pointing the future course of the people, is but the prototype of the shepherd-boy Moses, the shepherd-boy David, and, with slight variation, the youthful Joshua and the child Samuel, each rising to an ideal leadership in the theocracy.
With the possible exception of Joshua and David, these leaders of the theocracy are all 'prophets,' and the author gives free expression to his ideal in the story of the 70 elders upon whom Yahweh pours Moses' spirit of prophecy ; Joshua's jealousy, says the noble-minded Moses, is uncalled for: “Would God that all Yahweh's people were prophets, that Yahweh would put his spirit upon them !”
With Samuel, second in greatness as a prophet only to Moses, the monarchical ideal comes into conflict with the theocratic. To fully appreciate the author's political idea this story of the people's foolish demand and Samuel's speech of abdication recapitulating the story of the past, should be read in I Sam. viii. ; X. 17–24 ; xii. ; xv. To E the monarchy is a concession to the weakness of humanity in the political world, just as ritual worship is an accommodation to human frailty in the moral sphere. When the covenant of the pure moral law bringing the people into direct relation with God was broken, the ritual Ten Words and priestly form of worship were instituted as a measure of concession. In like manner, though offended at the people's rejection of himself as their king, God consents to the monarchy and offers even a conditional blessing. Saul's first “proying" results in immediate rejection, but the seal of divine approval had been unmistakably stamped by the event upon the reign of David. David accordingly represents to E this modified ideal of the theocracy. Just enough is related of his career to bring out this ideal of monarchy.
This conception of a theocracy administered by prophets' springs from a mind imbued with religious and political convictions sharply contrasting with J's. E shares with the Ephraimite prophet Hosea a profound distrust both of kings and priests. The apostasy at Horeb was due to the unfaithfulness of Aaron when the people were left in his charge. In like manner the deep depression from which the people were rescued by Samuel was