Notes on the Pentateuch: Num. 9 - 16
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And a fourth source was observed to underlie the book of Deuteronomy. It is written in an entirely different, easily identifiable character and vocabulary. It contains doublets of the first four books as well as contradictions of detail. This source is known as d. In addition, it has recently been recognized that the j source never uses the word God Elohim in narration.
Persons in j use it in speech, but the narrator never once uses the word. This reinforces the evidence concerning the divine name with notable consistency. Specifically: the words El, Elohim, and yhwh occur over 2, times in the Torah, and the number of exceptions where the wrong term occurs in a source is only three.
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The convergence of the two lines of evidence — doublets and the divine name — are reinforced by other terms, phrases, and names that occur only in particular sources but not in others. For example, we can cite the following:. Likewise the name Sheol six times and the term "to suffer" Hebrew ' sb — seven times occur exclusively in j. There are at least 25 of these characteristic terms, occurring over times in the Torah.
This is far too many to be just the result of clever scholars arranging their source identifications so that the right words will always show up in the right verses. Thus the evidence of doublets and different terminology converge towards a common explanation. The source identifications are confirmed by another body of evidence: continuity of texts.
It is possible to divide the sources with all of the doublets separated, with the divine name occurring consistently within the source texts, and with the characteristic terms and phrases likewise falling consistently in their sources — and then one can read the sources as complete, continuous texts, The p text flows as a continuous narrative, regularly picking up where it left off once the interveningj and e material are removed.
The combined text of j and e likewise flows with hardly a gap when intervening material is removed see below. One can read each of these texts as a nearly complete work. For example, when the j and p flood stories are separated, each flows as a continuous story without gaps, repetitions, or contradictions.
Likewise, p's story of Korah's rebellion against Moses flows as a complete story when separated from j's story, also complete, of Dathan's and Abiram's rebellion. Sometimes, p narratives only make sense in light of earlier p stories. For example, the p account of the heresy at Peor Num. Then we find that, five chapters earlier, the previous p story, the death of Aaron, ends with the people weeping for Aaron in its last verse Thus the narrative flow of the p text appears to be consistent and intact.
The j and e sources both contain historical referents that lie in the period during which the country was divided into the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
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The historical referents of j disproportionately relate to Judah, and those of e relate to Israel. Thus they had to have both been written during the divided monarchy, before the destruction of Israel by Assyria: between and b. These distinct historical connections both 1 support the identification of the sources and 2 point to the historical setting in which each was written. Neither source demonstrates awareness of either the fall of Israel or the dispersion of the northern tribes.
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The e text offers no similar clues to narrow its dates of composition further within the period of the divided monarchy. Hebron was the capital of Judah, and the home city of Zadok, the Judean high priest of David and Solomon. Shechem was the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, built by Jeroboam i, the king who had rebelled against Judah.
The j account of Israel's acquisition of Shechem is derogatory, involving the taking of Dinah by Shechem and the massacre of the city by Simeon and Levi Genesis Among these tribes, only Judah existed with a territorial identity in the era of the monarchy. The j text includes the story of Reuben's taking Jacob's concubine, and the story of Simeon's and Levi's massacre of Shechem.
As confirmed in Jacob's deathbed blessing in Genesis 49, a poetic text included in j, these acts result in the preeminence passing to the fourth son: Judah. In the j story of Joseph, Judah is the brother who saves Joseph from the other brothers' plans to kill him Gen. The author of j is the only author to include a lengthy story from the life of Judah Genesis 38 , culminating in the birth of Peres, the eponymous ancestor of the clan from which the Judean royal family was traced.
In the j story of Num.
The favorable spy in this story is Caleb; the Calebite territory was located in Judah and included Hebron. Judah bordered Edom, which Israel did not, and j includes a lengthy account of the birth, youthful relations, and break between Jacob and Esau, the ancestor of the Edomites.
These stories reflect the kinship and historical relations with Edom on several points. The religious iconography in j also corresponds to the situation in Judah.
The ark, located in Judah, figures prominently in j stories but is never mentioned in e. The j Decalogue only prohibits the making of molten gods Ex. In j, cherubs are depicted as guarding the path to the tree of life, consistent with the cherub iconography of Judah. Cherubs are never mentioned in e. The Israelite city of Peni-El was built by Jeroboam i, the founding monarch of the northern Israelite kingdom i Kings The traditional site of Joseph's grave was at the city of Shechem, which was also built by Jeroboam and served at one point as the capital of Israel i Kings In contrast to the J story of Simeon's and Levi's massacre of the inhabitants of Shechem, in e the territory around the city of Shechem is acquired by peaceful purchase Gen.
In e, the birthright goes to Joseph, creating the northern tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Also, Ephraim is favored over Manasseh in e Gen. The term for the additional portion thus awarded to Joseph is the unusual sekem Shechem; , a pun on the name of the Israelite capital city, which was located in the hills of Ephraim.
In the e Joseph story, Reuben rather than Judah is the brother who saves Joseph from the other brothers' plans to kill him Gen. The heroic role of Joshua is developed in e but not in j.
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Joshua is identified as being of northern Israelite origins, of the tribe of Ephraim. Not only does e show definite signs of northern provenance, but there are elements of e that coincide particularly with the interests of the Levites of northern Israel who were of the priestly group from Shiloh. Only e includes the story of the golden calf heresy, led by Aaron. The Shiloh Levites' high priest Abiathar had been expelled from the Jerusalem priestly hierarchy by Solomon, his prerogatives thus passing to an Aaronid high priest Zadok.
According to i Kings, the Shiloh prophet Ahijah had initially supported the kingship of Jeroboam but later rejected it when the new king established golden calves at Bethel and Dan. The e golden calf story thus merges and denigrates the two symbols of the exclusion of the Shiloh Levites, Aaron and the golden calf, while praising the Levites who violently purge the people of the heresy.
Like the golden calf story, the e story of Aaron's and Miriam's criticism of Moses over Moses' Cushite wife Numbers 12 also denigrates Aaron, who is reprimanded directly by God. This story explicitly declares Moses' revelation to be superior to Aaron's, and, like the golden calf story, portrays Aaron addressing Moses submissively as "my lord.
The iconography of e likewise corresponds to the situation in Israel, and especially to the concerns of the Shiloh Levites. For example, the Tabernacle is originally associated with the northern Israelite religious center at Shiloh. As opposed to j's prohibition of making molten gods, which attacks only the northern golden calves, e forbids the making of any "gods of silver and gods of gold" Exod , thus applying to both the Israelite golden calves and the Judean golden cherubs. And in the e story of the golden calf, Moses smashes the tablets of the Decalogue, and there is no e account of a second set of tablets being made.
This casts aspersions on the ark in Judah, which would thus either be empty or contain inauthentic tablets. Both j and e relate a story of the establishment of Bethel Gen. In addition to the interests of the Shiloh Levite priests detailed above, another sign that e derives from priestly origins is the fact that it includes a lengthy law code, the Covenant Code Exodus 21— All other legal texts in the Hebrew Bible are found in priestly sources d, p, and Ezekiel. Thus there is strong cumulative evidence for the origins of e and j in the northern and southern kingdoms, respectively.
The j and e texts were combined in an editorial process that sought to unify the two narrative strands into one flowing narrative, and this combined je text, when separated from p, does form a complete and nearly continuous narrative. The extent to which the Redactor of j and e, known as rje, was successful is measured by the fact that there is still debate over where and how to separate the two texts.
When e and j are separated, neither flows continuously without gaps. This indicates that the Redactor of j and e was willing to cut some material to make the two sets of stories fit together more readily. For example, while the j source begins with the Garden of Eden Genesis 2—3 , the e text has no primeval history at all. The first e narrative is found in Gen.