Genesis [Easton's Bible Dictionary]
The first book of the Pentateuch (q.v.) is called by the Jews Bereshith, i.e., "in the beginning", because this is the first word of the book. It is generally known among Christians by the name of Genesis, i.e., "creation" or
"generation," being the name given to it in the LXX. as designating its character, because it gives an account of the origin of all things. It contains, according to the usual computation, the history of about two thousand three hundred and sixty-nine years.
Genesis is divided into two principal parts. The first part (1-11) gives a general history of mankind down to the time of the Dispersion. The second part presents the early history of Israel down to the death and burial of Joseph (12-50
There are five principal persons brought in succession under our notice in this book, and around these persons the history of the successive periods is grouped, viz., Adam (1-3), Noah (4-9), Abraham (10-25:18), Isaac (25:19-35:29), and Jacob (36-50).
In this book we have several prophecies concerning Christ (3:15; 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10). The author of this book was Moses. Under divine guidance he may indeed have been led to make use of materials already existing in primeval documents, or even of traditions in a trustworthy form that had come down to his time, purifying them from all that was unworthy; but the hand of Moses is clearly seen throughout in its composition.
Genesis (Smith's Bible Dictionary)
Gen' esis (origin), the first book of the law or Pentateuch, so called from its title in the Septuagint, that is, Creation. Its author was Moses. The date of writing was probably during the forty-years wanderings in the wilderness, B.C. 1491-1451.
The book of Genesis covered 2369 years, from the creation of Adam, A.M 1, to the death of Joseph, A.M. 2369, or B.C. 1635.
Character and purpose.
The book of Genesis (with the first chapters of Exodus) describes the steps which led to the establishment of the theocracy. It is a part of the writer's plan to tell us what the divine preparation of the world was in order to show, first, the significance of the call of Abraham, and next, the true nature of the Jewish theocracy. He begins with the creation of the world, because the God who created the world and the God who revealed himself to the fathers is the same God. The book of Genesis has thus a character at once special and universal.
It is clear that Moses must have derived his knowledge of the events which he records in Genesis either from immediate divine revelation or from oral tradition or written documents. The nature of many of the facts related, and the minuteness of the narration, render it extremely improbable that immediate revelation was the source from whence they were drawn. That his knowledge should have been derived from oral tradition appears morally impossible when we consider the great number of names, ages, dates and minute events which are recorded. The conclusion then, seems fair that he must have obtained his information from written documents coeval, or nearly so, with the events which they recorded, and composed by persons intimately acquainted with the subjects to which they relate. He may have collected these, with additions from authentic tradition or existing monuments under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, into a single book. Certain it is that several of the first chapters of Genesis have the air of being made up of selections from very ancient documents, written by different authors at different periods. The variety which is observable in the names and titles of the Supreme Being is appealed to among the most striking proofs of this fact. This is obvious in the English translation, but still more so in the Hebrew original. In Gen 1 to 2:3, which is really one piece of composition, as the title, v. 4, "These are the generations," shows, the name of the Most High is uniformly Elohim, God. In ch. (Genesis 2:4) to ch. 3, which may be considered the second document, the title is uniformly Yehovah Elohim, Lord God; and in the third, including ch. 4, it is Yehovah, Lord, only; while in ch. 5 it is Elohim, God only, except in v. 29, where a quotation is made, and Yehovah used. It is hardly conceivable that all this should be the result of mere accident. The changes of the name correspond exactly to the changes in the narratives and the titles of the several pieces."
Now, do all these accurate quotations," says Professor Stowe, "impair the credit of the Mosaic books, or increase it? Is Marshall's Life of Washington to be regarded as unworthy of credit because it contains copious extracts from Washington's correspondence and literal quotations from important public documents? Is not its value greatly enhanced by this circumstance? The objection is altogether futile. In the common editions of the Bible the Pentateuch occupies about one hundred and fifty pages, of which perhaps ten may be taken up with quotations. This surely is no very large proportion for an historical work extending through so long a period." -- Bush.
On the supposition that writing was known to Adam, Gen. 1-4, containing the first two of these documents, formed the Bible of Adam's descendants, or the antediluvians. Gen 1 to 11:9, being the sum of these two and the following three, constitutes the Bible of the descendants of Noah. The whole of Genesis may be called the Bible of the posterity of Jacob; and the five Books of the Law were the first Bible of Israel as a nation.
Genesis, 1-2 (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
I. General Data.
- 1. The Name:
The first book of Moses is named by the Jews from the first word, namely, bere'shith, i.e. "in the beginning" (compare the Bresith of Origen]). In the Septuagint it is called Genesis, because it recounts the beginnings of the world and of mankind. This name has passed over into the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) (Liber Genesis). As a matter of fact the name is based only on the beginning of the book.
- 2. Survey of Contents:
The book reports to us the story
- of the creation of the world and of the first human beings (Genesis 1);
- of paradise and the fall (Genesis 2);
- of mankind down to the Deluge (Genesis 4; compare Ge 4, Cain and Abel);
- of the Deluge itself (Genesis 6-9);
- of mankind down to the age of the Patriarchs Genesis 10:1-11:26; compare 11:1, the building of the tower of Babel);
- of Abraham and his house (Genesis 11:27-25:18);
- of Isaac and his house (Genesis 25:19-37:2);
- of Jacob and of Joseph (Genesis 37:2-50:26).
In other words, the Book of Genesis treats of the history of the kingdom of God on earth from the time of the creation of the world down to the beginning of Israel's sojourn in Egypt and to the death of Joseph; and it treats of these subjects in such a way that it narrates in the 1st part (Genesis 1:1-11:26) the history of mankind; and in the 2nd part (Genesis 11:27-50:26) the history of families; and this latter part is at the same time the beginning of the history of the chosen people, which history itself begins with Ex 1. Though the introduction, Genesis 1-11, with its universal
character, includes all mankind in the promise given at the beginning of the history of Abraham (12:1-3), it is from the outset distinctly declared that God, even if He did originally set apart one man and his family (Ge 12-50), and after that a single nation (Exodus 1), nevertheless intends that this particularistic development of the plan of salvation is eventually to include all mankind. The manner in which salvation is developed historically is particularistic, but its purposes are universal.
- 3. Connection with Succeeding Books:
By the statements just made it has already been indicated in what close connection Genesis stands with the subsequent books of the sacred Scriptures. The history of the chosen people, which begins with Exodus 1, at the very outset and with a clear purpose, refers back to the history as found in Genesis (compare Exodus 1:1-6,8 with Genesis 46:27; 50:24; and see EXODUS, I, 3), although hundreds of years had clasped between these events; which years are ignored, because they were in their details of no importance for the religious history of the people of God. But to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 the promise had been given, not only that he was to be the father of a mighty nation that would recognize him as their founder, and the earliest history of which is reported in Exodus and the following books of the Pentateuch, but also that the Holy Land had been promised him. In this respect, the Book of Joshua, which gives the story of the capture of this land, is also a continuation of the historical development begun in Genesis. The blessing of God pronounced over Abraham, however, continued to be efficacious also in the later times among the people who had descended from him. In this way Genesis is an introduction to all of the books of the Old Testament that follow it, which in any way have to do with the fate of this people, and originated in its midst as the result of the special relation between God and this people. But in so far as this blessing of God was to extend to all the nations of the earth (Genesis 12:3), the promises given can be entirely fulfilled only in Christ, and can expand only in the work and success of Christian missions and in the blessings that are found within Christianity. Accordingly, this book treats first of beginnings and origins, in which, as in a kernel, the entire development of the kingdom of God down to its consummation is contained (compare VI below).
II. Composition of Genesis in General.
- 1. Unity of the Biblical Text:
- (1) The Toledhoth.
The fact that Genesis is characterized by a far-reaching and uniform scheme has, at least in outline, been already indicated (see I, 2 and 3). This impression is confirmed when we examine matters a little more closely and study the plan and structure of the book. After the grand introitus, which reports the creation of the world (1:1-2:3) there follows in the form of 10 pericopes the historical unfolding of that which God has created, which pericopes properly in each case bear the name toledhoth, or "generations." For this word never signifies creation or generation as an act, but always the history of what has already been created or begotten, the history of generations; so that for this reason, 2:4a, where mention is made of the toledhoth of heaven and of earth, cannot possibly be a superscription that has found its way here from 1:1. It is here, as it is in all cases, the superscription to what follows, and it admirably leads over from the history of creation of the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1 to the continuation of this subject in the next chapter. The claim of the critics, that the redactor had at this place taken only the superscription from his source P (the priestly narrator, to whom 1-2:3 is ascribed), but that the section of P to which this superscription originally belonged had been suppressed, is all the more monstrous a supposition as 2:4a throughout suits what follows.
Only on the ground of this correct explanation of the term toledhoth can the fact be finally and fully explained,
that the toledhoth of Terah contain also the history of Abraham and of Lot; The ten toledhoth are the following:
the toledhoth of Isaac contain the history of Jacob and Esau;
the toledhoth of Jacob contain the history of Joseph and his brethren.
I, Genesis 2:4-4:26, the toledhoth of the heavens and the earth;
II, 5:1-6:8, the toledhoth of Adam;
III, 6:9-9:29, the toledhoth of Noah;
IV, 10:1-11:9, the toledhoth of the sons of Noah;
V, 11:10-26, the toledhoth of the sons of Shem;
VI, 11:27-25:11, the toledhoth of Terah;
VII, 25:12-18, the toledhoth of Ishmael;
VIII, 25:19-35:29, the toledhoth of Isaac;
IX, 36:1-37:1, the toledhoth of Esau (the fact that (36:9, in addition to the instance in verse 1, contains the word toledhoth a second time, is of no importance whatever for our discussion at this stage, as the entire chapter under any circumstances treats in some way of the history of the generations of Esau; see III, 2:9);
X, 37:2-50:26, the toledhoth of Jacob. In each instance this superscription covers everything that follows down to the next superscription.
The number 10 is here evidently not an accidental matter. In the articles EXODUS, LEVITICUS, DAY OF ATONEMENT, also in EZEKIEL, it has been shown what role the typical numbers 4, 7, 10 and 12 play in the structure of the whole books and of the individual pericopes. (In the New Testament we meet with the same phenomenon, particularly in the Apocalypse of John; but compare also in Matthew's Gospel the 3 X 14 generations in Matthew 1:1, the 7 parables in 13:1, the 7 woes in 23:13.) In the same way the entire Book of Leviticus naturally falls into 10 pericopes (compare LEVITICUS, II, 2, 1), and Leviticus 19 contains 10 groups, each of 4 (possibly also of 5) commandments; compare possibly also 18:6-18; 20:9-18; see LEVITICUS, II, 2, 21, VI. Further, the number 10, with a greater or less degree of certainty, can be regarded as the basis for the construction of the pericopes:
Exodus 1:8-7:7; 7:8-13:16 (10 plagues); 13:17-18:27 (see EXODUS, II, 2:1-3); the Decalogue (20:1); the first Book of the Covenant (21:1-23:13; 23:14-19), and the whole pericope 19:1-24:18a, as also 32:1-35:3 (see EXODUS, II, 2, 4, 6).
And just as in the cases cited, in almost every instance, there is to be found a further division into 5 X 2 or 2 X 5 (compare, e.g. the two tables of the Decalogue); thus, too, in the Book of Genesis in each case, 5 of the 10 pericopes are more closely combined, since I-V (toledhoth of Shem inclusive) stand in a more distant, and VI-X (treating of the toledhoth of Terah, or the history of Abraham) in a closer connection with the kingdom of God; and in so far, too, as the first series of toledhoth bring into the foreground more facts and events, but the second series more individuals and persons. Possibly in this case, we can further unite 2 toledhoth; at any rate I and II (the primitive age), III and IV (Noah and his sons), VII and VIII (Ishmael and Isaac), IX and X (Esau and Jacob) can be thus grouped.
In the Book of Genesis itself compare further the 10 members from Shem to Abraham (11:11-26), as also the pericopes 25:19-35:29; 37:2-50:26 (see III, 2, 8, 10 below), and the 10 nations in Genesis 15:19.
- (2) Further Indication of Unity.
In addition to the systematic scheme so transparent in the entire Biblical text of the Book of Genesis, irrespective of any division into literary sources, it is to be noticed further, that in exactly the same way the history of those generations that were rejected from any connection with the kingdom of God is narrated before the history of those that remained in the kingdom of God and continued its development. Cain's history (4:17) in Jahwist (Jahwist) stands before the history of Seth (4:25 f J; 5:3 P); Japheth's and Ham's genealogy (10:1 P; 10:8 P and J) before that of Shem (10:21 J and P), although Ham was the youngest of the three sons of Noah (9:24); the further history of Lot (19:29 P and J) and of Ishmael's genealogy (25:12 P and J) before that of Isaac (25:19 P and J and E); Esau's descendants (36:1 R and P) before the toledhoth of Jacob (37:2 P and J and E).
In favor of the unity of the Biblical text we can also mention the fact that the Book of Genesis as a whole, irrespective of all sources, and in view of the history that begins with Exodus 1, has a unique character, so that e.g. the intimate communion with God, of the kind which is reported in the beginning of this Book of Genesis (compare, e.g. 3:8; 7:16; 11:5 J; 17:1, 22; 35:9,13 P; 18:1; 32:31 J), afterward ceases; and that in Ex, on the other hand, many more miracles are reported than in the Book of Genesis (see EXODUS, III, 2); that Genesis contains rather the history of mankind and of families, while Exodus contains that of the nation (see I, 2 above); that it is only in Exodus that the law is given, while in the history of the period of the patriarchs we find only promises of the Divine grace; that all the different sources ignore the time that elapses between the close of Genesis and the beginning of Exodus; and further, that nowhere else is found anything like the number of references to the names of persons or things as are contained in Genesis (compare, e.g. 2:23; 3:20; 4:1,25, etc., in J; 17:5,15,17-20, etc., in P; 21:9,17,31, etc., in E; 21:6; 27:36, etc., in J and E; 28:19, etc., in R; 49:8,16,19, etc., in the blessing of Jacob); that the changing of the names of Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah from Genesis 17:5,15 goes on through all the sources, while before this it is not found in any source. Finally, we would draw attention to the psychologically finely drawn portraits of Biblical persons in Genesis. The fact that the personal pronoun hu' and the noun na`ar are used of both masculine and feminine genders is characteristic of Genesis in common with all the books of the Pentateuch, without any difference in this regard being found in the different documents, which fact, as all those cited by us in number 1 above, militates against the division of this book into different sources. Let us now examine more closely the reason assigned for the division into different sources.
- 2. Rejection of the Documentary Theory:
- (1) In General.
- (a) Statement of Theory:
Old Testament scholars of the most divergent tendencies are almost unanimous in dividing the Biblical text of Genesis into the sources the Priestly Code (P), Jahwist and Elohist, namely Priestly Codex, Jahwist, and Elohist.
To P are attributed the following greater and connected parts:
1:1-2:4a; 5; a part of the story of the Deluge in chapters 6-9; 11:10; 17; 23; 25:12; 35:22b; the most of 36.
As examples of the parts assigned to J we mention 2:4b-4:26; the rest of the story of the Deluge in chapters 6-9; 11:1; 12; 16; 18, with the exception of a few verses, which are ascribed to P; chapter 24 and others.
Connected parts belonging to the Elohist (E) are claimed to begin with chapters 20 and 21 (with the exception of a number of verses which are attributed to P or J or R), and it is thought that, beginning with chapter 22, E is frequently found in the history of Jacob and of Joseph (25:19-50:26), in part, however, interwoven with J (details will be found under III, in each case under 2).
This documentary theory has hitherto been antagonized only by a few individuals, such as Klostermann, Lepsius, Eerdmans, Orr, Wiener, and the author of the present article.
- (b) Reasons Assigned for Divisions:
As is well known, theory of separation of certain books of the Old Testament into different sources began originally with the Book of Genesis. The use made of the two names of God, namely Yahweh (Yahweh) and Elohim, caused Astruc to conclude that two principal sources had been used in the composition of the book, although other data were also used in vindication of theory; and since the days of Ilgen the conviction gained ground that there was a second Elohist (now called E), in contradistinction to the first (now called the Priestly Code (P), to whom, e.g., Genesis 1 is ascribed). This second Elohist, it was claimed, also made use of the name Elohim, as did the first, but in other respects he shows greater similarity to the Jahwist. These sources were eventually traced through the entire Pentateuch and into later books, and for this reason are discussed in detail in the article PENTATEUCH. In this article we must confine ourselves to the Book of Genesis, and limit the discussion to some leading points. In addition to the names for God (see under 2), it is claimed that certain contradictions and duplicate accounts of the same matters compel us to accept different sources. Among these duplicates are found, e.g.,
Genesis 1:1-2:4a the Priestly Code (P), and 2:4b J, containing two stories of creation; In addition a peculiar style, as also distinct theological views, is claimed for each of these sources. Thus there found in P a great deal of statistical and systematic material, as in 5:1; 11:10; 25:12; 36:6 (the genealogies of Adam, Shem, Ishmael, Esau); P is said to show a certain preference for fixed schemes and for repetitions in his narratives. He rejects all sacrifices earlier than the Mosaic period, because according to this source the Lord did not reveal himself as Yahweh previous to Exodus 6:1. Again, it is claimed that the Elohist (E) describes God as speaking to men from heaven, or through a dream, and through an angel, while according to J Yahweh is said to have conversed with mankind personally. In regard to the peculiarities of language used by the different sources, it is impossible in this place to enumerate the different expressions, and we must refer for this subject to the different Introductions to the Old Testament, and to the commentaries and other literature. A few examples are to be found under (c) below, in connection with the discussion of the critical hypothesis. Finally, as another reason for the division of Genesis into different sources, it is claimed that the different parts of the sources, when taken together, can be united into a smooth and connected story. The documents, it is said, have in many cases been taken over word for word and have been united and interwoven in an entirely external manner, so that it is still possible to separate them and often to do this even down to parts of a sentence or to the very words.
Genesis 12:9 J; 20:1 E; 26:1 J; with the narrative of how Sarah and Rebekah, the wives of the two patriarchs, were endangered;
chapters 15 J and 17 the Priestly Code (P), with a double account of how God concluded His covenant with Abraham;
21:22 E and 26:12 J, the stories of Abimelech;
chapters 16 J and 21 E, the Hagar episodes;
28:10 J and E and 35:1 E and the Priestly Code (P), the narratives concerning Bethel, and in the history of Joseph the mention made of the Midianites E, and of the Ishmaelites J, who took Joseph to Egypt (37:25; 39:1);
the intervention of Reuben E, or Judah J, for Joseph, etc.
- (c) Examination of the Documentary Theory:
- (i) Style and Peculiarities of Language:
It is self-evident that certain expressions will be repeated in historical, in legal, and in other sections similar in content; but this is not enough to prove that there have been different sources. Whenever J brings genealogies or accounts that are no less systematic than those of P (compare Genesis 4:17; 10:8; 22:20-24); or accounts and repetitions occur in the story of the Deluge (Genesis 7:2,7; 7:4,12,17; 8:6; 7:4; 8:8,10,12), this is not enough to make the division into sources plausible. In reference to the linguistic peculiarities, it must be noted that the data cited to prove this point seldom agree. Thus, e.g. the verb bara', "create," in Genesis 1:1 is used to prove that this was written by the Priestly Code (P), but the word is found also in 6:7 in J. The same is the case with the word rekhush, "possession," which in 12:5; 13:6; 36:7 is regarded as characteristic of the Priestly Code (P), but in 14:11,16,21 is found in an unknown source, and in 15:14 in J. In 12:5; 13:12a; 16:3; 17:8 it is said that 'erets kena`an, "land of Canaan," is a proof that this was written by P; but in chapters 42; 44; 47; 50 we find this expression in Jahwist and Elohist, in Numbers 32:32 in J (R) ; compare also Numbers 33:40 (PR) where Numbers 21:1-3 (JE) is quoted; shiphchah, "maid servant," is claimed as a characteristic word of J in contrast to E (compare 16:1); but in 16:3; 29:24,29 we find this word not only in P but in 20:14; 30:4,7,18; in E Min, "kind," is counted among the marks of P (compare e.g. 1:11), but in Deuteronomy 14:13,14,18 we find it in Deuteronomy; rather remarkably, too, in the latest find on the Deluge made by Hilprecht and by him ascribed to 2100 BC. Compare on this subject my book, Wider den Bann der Quellenscheidung, and Orr, POT, chapter vii, section vi, and chapter x, section i; perhaps, too, the Concordance of Mandelkern under the different words. Even in the cases when the characteristic peculiarities claimed for the sources are correct, if the problem before us consisted only in the discovery of special words and expressions in the different sources, then by an analogous process, we could dissect and sever almost any modern work of literature. Particularly as far as the pieces are concerned, which are assigned to the Priestly Code (P), it must be stated that Genesis 1 and 23 are, as far as style and language are concerned, different throughout. Genesis 1 is entirely unique in the entire Old Testament. Genesis 23 has been copied directly from life, which is pictured with exceptional fidelity, and for this reason cannot be claimed for any special source. The fact that the story of the introduction of circumcision in Genesis 17 in many particulars shows similarities to the terminology of the law is entirely natural:
The same is true when the chronological accounts refer one date to another and when they show a certain typical character, as is, e.g., the case also in the chronological parts of any modern history of Israel. On the other hand, the method of P in its narratives, both in matter and in form, becomes similar to that of Jahwist and Elohist, just as soon as we have to deal with larger sections; compare Genesis 28:1; 35:9; 47:5, and all the more in Exodus and Numbers.
Against the claim that P had an independent existence, we must mention the fact of the unevenness of the narratives, which, by the side of the fuller accounts in Genesis 1; 17 and 23, of the genealogies and the story of the Deluge, would, according to the critics, have reported only a few disrupted notices about the patriarchs; compare for this in the story of Abraham, 11:27,31; 12:4b; 13:6a 11b,12a; 16:1a,3,15; 19:29; 21:1b,2b-5; 25:7-11a; and in its later parts P would become still more incomprehensible on the assumption of the critics (see III below). No author could have written thus; at any rate he would not have been used by anybody, nor would there have been such care evinced in preserving his writings.
- (i) Alleged Connection of Matter:
The claim that the different sources, as they have been separated by critics, constitute a compact and connected whole is absolutely the work of imagination, and is in conflict with the facts in almost every instance. This hypothesis cannot be consistently applied, even in the case of the characteristic examples cited to prove the correctness of the documentary theory, such as the story of the Deluge (see III, 2, in each case under (2)).
- (ii) The Biblico-Theological Data:
The different Biblical and theological data, which are said to be characteristic in proof of the separation into sources, are also misleading. Thus God in J communes with mankind only in the beginning (Genesis 2; 16; 11:5; 18), but not afterward. In the beginning He does this also, according to the Priestly Code (P), whose conception of God, it is generally claimed, was entirely transcendental (compare Genesis 17:1,22; 35:9,13). The mediatorship of the Angel of Yahweh is found not only in E, (Genesis 21:17, 'Elohim), but also in J (Genesis 16:7,9-11). In Genesis 22:11 in E, the angel of Yahweh (not of the 'Elohim) calls from heaven; theophanies in the night or during sleep are found also in J (compare Genesis 15:12; 26:24; 28:13-16; 32:27). In the case of the Priestly Code (P), the cult theory, according to which it is claimed that this source does not mention any sacrifices before Exodus 6:1, is untenable. If it is a fact that theocracy, as it were, really began only in Exodus 6, then it would be impossible that P would contain anything of the cults before Exodus 6; but we have in P the introduction of the circumcision in Genesis 17; of the Sabbath in 2:1; and the prohibition against eating blood in 9:1; and in addition the drink offerings mentioned in 35:14, which verse stands between 35:13 and 15, and, ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), is only in the interests of this theory attributed to the redactor. If then theory here outlined is not tenable as far as P is concerned, it would, on the other hand, be all the more remarkable that in the story of the Deluge the distinction between the clean and the unclean (7:2.8) is found in J, as also the savor of the sacrifice, with the term reach ha-nichoach, which occurs so often in P (compare Genesis 8:21 with Numbers 15:3,7,10,13,24; 18:17); that the sacrifices are mentioned in Genesis 8:20, and the number 7 in connection with the animals and days in 7:4; 8:8,10,12 (compare in the Priestly Code (P), e.g. Leviticus 8:33; 13:5,21,26,31,33,10,54; 14:8,38; 14:7,51; 16:14; Numbers 28:11; 29:8, etc.); further, that the emphasis is laid on the 40 days in Genesis 7:4,12,17; 8:6 (compare in the Priestly Code (P), Exodus 24:1-8; Leviticus 12:2-4; Numbers 13:25; 14:34), all of which are ascribed, not as we should expect, to the Levitical the Priestly Code (P), but to the prophetical J. The document the Priestly Code (P), which, according to a large number of critics, was written during the Exile (see e.g. LEVITICUS, III, 1, or EZEKIEL, sec. II, 2) in a most surprising manner, instead of giving prominence to the person of the high priest, would then have declared that kings were to be the greatest blessings to come to the seed of Abraham (Genesis 17:6,16); and while, on the critical assumption, we should have the right to expect the author to favor particularistic tendencies, he, by bringing in the history of all mankind in Genesis 1-11, and in the extension of circumcision to strangers (17:12,23), would have displayed a phenomenal universality. The strongest counter-argument against all such minor and incorrect data of a Biblical and a theological character will always be found in the uniform religious and ethical spirit and world of thought that pervade all these sources, as also in the unity in the accounts of the different patriarchs, who are pictured in such a masterly, psychological and consistent manner, and who could never be the result of an accidental working together and interweaving of different and independent sources (see III below).
- (iii) Duplicates:
In regard to what is to be thought of the different duplicates and contradictions, see below under III, 2, in each case under (2).
- (iv) Manner in Which the Sources Are Worked Together:
But it is also impossible that these sources could have been worked together in the manner in which the critics claim that this was done. The more arbitrarily and carelessly the redactors are thought to have gone to work in many places in removing contradictions, the more incomprehensible it becomes that they at other places report faithfully such contradictions and permit these to stand side by side, or, rather, have placed them thus. And even if they are thought not to have smoothed over the difficulties anywhere, and out of reverence for their sources, not to have omitted or changed any of these reports, we certainly would have a right to think that even if they would have perchance placed side by side narratives with such enormous contradictions as there are claimed to be, e.g. in the story of the Deluge in P and J, they certainly would not have woven these together. If, notwithstanding, they still did this without harmonizing them, why are we asked to believe that at other places they omitted matters of the greatest importance (see III, 2, 3)? Further, J and E would have worked their materials together so closely at different places that a separation between the two would be an impossibility, something that is acknowledged as a fact by many Old Testament students; yet, notwithstanding, the contradictions, e.g. in the history of Joseph, have been allowed to stand side by side in consecutive verses, or have even intentionally been placed thus (compare, e.g. Genesis 37:25). Then, too, it is in the nature of things unthinkable that three originally independent sources for the history of Israel should have constituted separate currents down to the period after Moses, and that they could yet be dovetailed, often sentence by sentence, in the manner claimed by the critics. In conclusion, the entire hypothesis suffers shipwreck through those passages which combine the peculiarities of the different sources, as e.g. in Genesis 20:18, which on the one hand constitutes the necessary conclusion to the preceding story from E (compare 20:17), and on the other hand contains the name Yahweh; or in 22:14, which contains the real purpose of the story of the sacrificing of Isaac from E, but throughout also shows the characteristic marks of J; or in 39:1, where the so-called private person into whose house Joseph has been brought, according to J, is more exactly described as the chief of the body-guard, as this is done by E, in 40:2,4. And when the critics in this passage appeal to the help of the redactor (editor), this is evidently only an ill-concealed example of a "begging of the question." In chapter 34, and especially in chapter 14, we have a considerable number of larger sections that contain the characteristics of two or even all three sources, and which accordingly furnish ample evidence for protesting against the whole documentary theory.
- (v) Criticism Carried to Extremes:
All the difficulties that have been mentioned grow into enormous proportions when we take into consideration the following facts:
To operate with the three sources J, E and P seems to be rather an easy process; but if we accept the principles that underlie this separation into sources, it is an impossibility to limit ourselves to these three sources, as a goodly number of Old Testament scholars would like to do, as Strack, Kittel, Oettli, Dillmann, Driver. The stories of the danger that attended the wives of the Patriarchs, as these are found in Genesis 12:9 and in 26:1, are ascribed to J, and the story as found in Genesis 20:1 to E. But evidently two sources are not enough in these cases, seeing that similar stories are always regarded as a proof that there have been different authors. Accordingly, we must claim three authors, unless it should turn out that these three stories have an altogether different signification, in which case they report three actual occurrences and may have been reported by one and the same author. The same use is made of the laughter in connection with the name Isaac in Genesis 17:17; 18:12; 21:6, namely, to substantiate the claim for three sources, P and J and E. But since 21:9 E; 26:8 J also contain references to this, and as in 21:6 JE, in addition to the passage cited above, there is also a second reference of this kind, then, in consistency, the critics would be compelled to accept six sources instead of three (Sievers accepts at least 5, Gunkel 4); or all of these references point to one and the same author who took pleasure in repeating such references. As a consequence, in some critical circles scholars have reached the conclusion that there are also such further sources as J1 and Later additions to J, as also E1 and Later additions to E (compare Budde, Baudissin, Cornill, Holzinger, Kautzsch, Kuenen, Sellin). But Sievers has already discovered five subordinate sources of J, six of the Priestly Code (P), and three of E, making a total of fourteen independent sources that he thinks can yet be separated accurately (not taking into consideration some remnants of J, E and P that can no longer be distinguished from others). Gunkel believes that the narratives in Genesis were originally independent and separate stories, which can to a great extent yet be distinguished in their original form. But if J and E and P from this standpoint are no longer authors but are themselves, in fact, reduced to the rank of collectors and editors, then it is absurd to speak any more of distinct linguistic peculiarities, or of certain theological ideas, or of intentional uses made of certain names of God in J and E and the Priestly Code (P), not to say anything of the connection between these sources, except perhaps in rare cases. Here the foundations of the documentary theory have been undermined by the critics themselves, without Sievers or Gunkel or the other less radical scholars intending to do such a thing. The manner in which these sources are said to have been worked together naturally becomes meaningless in view of such hypotheses. The modern methods of dividing between the sources, if consistently applied, will end in splitting the Biblical text into atoms; and this result, toward which the development of Old Testament criticism is inevitably leading, will some day cause a sane reaction; for through these methods scholars have deprived themselves of the possibility of explaining the blessed influence which these Scriptures, so accidentally compiled according to their view, have achieved through thousands of years. The success of the Bible text, regarded merely from a historical point of view, becomes for the critic a riddle that defies all solutions, even if all dogmatical considerations are ignored.
- (2) In View of the Names for God.
- (a) Error of Hypothesis in Principle:
The names of God, Yahweh and Elohim, constituted for Astruc the starting-point for the division of Genesis into different sources (see (1) above). Two chief sources, based on the two names for God, could perhaps as a theory and in themselves be regarded as acceptable. If we add that in Exodus 6:1, in the Priestly Code (P), we are told that God had not revealed Himself before the days of Moses by the name of Yahweh, but only as "God Almighty," it seems to be the correct thing to separate the text, which reports concerning the times before Moses and which in parts contains the name Yahweh, into two sources, one with Yahweh and the other with Elohim. But just as soon as we conclude that the use made of the two names of God proves that there were three and not two sources, as is done from Genesis 20 on, the conclusive ground for the division falls away. The second Elohist (E), whom Ilgen was the first to propose (see (1) above), in principle and a priori discredits the whole hypothesis. This new source from the very outset covers all the passages that cannot be ascribed to the Yahweh or the Elohist portions; whatever portions contain the name Elohim, as P does, and which nevertheless are prophetical in character after the manner of J, and accordingly cannot be made to fit in either the Jahwistic or the Elohistic source, seek a refuge in this third source. Even before we have done as much as look at the text, we can say that according to this method everything can be proved. And when critics go so far as to divide J and E and P into many subparts, it becomes all the more impossible to make the names for God a basis for this division into sources. Consistently we could perhaps in this case separate a Yahweh source, an Elohim source, a ha-'Elohim source, an 'El Shadday source, an 'Adhonay source, a Mal'akh Yahweh source, a Mal'akh 'Elohim source, etc., but unfortunately these characteristics of the sources come into conflict in a thousand cases with the others that are claimed to prove that there are different sources in the Book of Genesis.
- (b) False Basis of Hypothesis:
But the basis of the whole hypothesis itself, namely, Exodus 6:1 P; is falsely regarded as such. If Yahweh had really been unknown before the days of Moses, as Exodus 6:1 P is claimed to prove, how could J then, in so important and decisive a point in the history of the religious development of Israel, have told such an entirely different story? Or if, on the other hand, Yahweh was already known before the time of Moses, as we must conclude according to J, how was it possible for P all at once to invent a new view? This is all the more incredible since it is this author and none other who already makes use of the word Yahweh in the composition of the name of the mother of Moses, namely Jochebed (compare Exodus 6:20 and Numbers 26:59). In addition, we do not find at all in Exodus 6:1 that God had before this revealed Himself as 'Elohim, but as 'El Shadday, so that this would be a reason for claiming not an 'Elohim but an 'El Shadday source for P on the basis of this passage (compare 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; 48:3 P -- 43:14 E; compare also 49:25 in the blessing of Jacob). Finally, it is not at all possible to separate Exodus 6:1 P from that which immediately precedes, which is taken from JE and employs the name Yahweh; for according to the text of P we do not know who Moses and who Aaron really were, and yet these two are in Exodus 6:1 regarded as well-known persons. The new revelation of God in Exodus 6:1 (P) by the side of 3:1 (JE and E) is also entirely defensible and rests on a good foundation; for Moses after the failure of Exodus 5 needed such a renewed encouragement (see EXODUS, sec. II, 2, 1). If this is the case, then the revelation of the name of Yahweh in Exodus 6:1 cannot mean that that name had before this not been known at all, but means that it had only been relatively unknown, i.e. that in the fullest and most perfect sense God became known only as Yahweh, while before this He had revealed His character only from certain sides, but especially as to His Almighty Power.
- (c) Improbability That Distinction of Divine Names Is without Significance:
In view of the importance which among oriental nations is assigned to names, it is absolutely unthinkable that the two names Yahweh and Elohim had originally been used without any reference to their different meanings. The almost total omission of the name Yahweh in later times or the substitution of the name Elohim for it in Psalms 42-83 is doubtless based in part on the reluctance which gradually arose in Israel to use the name at all; but this cannot be shown as probable for older times, in which it is claimed that E was written. In the case of P the rule, according to which the name Elohim is said to have been used for the pre-Mosaic period, and the reason for the omission of Yahweh would have been an entirely different one. Then, too, it would be entirely inexplicable why J should have avoided the use of the name Elohim. The word Elohim is connected with a root that signifies "to fear," and characterizes God from the side of His power, as this is, e.g., seen at once in Ge 1. Yahweh is splendidly interpreted in Exodus 3:14; and the word is connected with the archaic form hawah for hayah, "to be," and the word characterizes God as the being who at all times continues to be the God of the Covenant, and who, according to Genesis 2:4-3:24, can manifestly be none other than the Creator of the universe in Genesis 1:1-2:3, even if from Genesis 12 on He, for the time being, enters into a special relation to Abraham, his family and his people, and by the use of the combined names Yahweh-Elohim is declared to be identical with the God who created the world, as e.g. this is also done in the section Exodus 7:8-13:16, where, in the 10 plagues, Yahweh's omnipotent power is revealed (compare EXODUS, II, 2, 2); and in 9:30 it is charged against-Pharaoh and his courtiers, that they did not yet fear Yahweh-Elohim, i.e. the God of the Covenant, who at the same time is the God of the universe (compare also 1 Kings 18:21,37,39; Jonah 4:6).
- (d) Real Purpose in Use of Names for God:
But now it is further possible to show clearly, in connection with a number of passages, that the different names for God are in Genesis selected with a perfect consciousness of the difference in their meanings, and that accordingly the choice of these names does not justify the division of the book into various sources.
- (i) Decreasing Use of Yahweh:
The fact that the toledhoth of Terah, of Isaac, and of Jacob begin with the name Yahweh but end without this name. In the history of Abraham are to be noted the following passages:
Genesis 12:1,4,7,8,17; 13:4,10,13,14,18; 14:22; 15:1,2,8; 16:2,5-7,9,10,11,13; 17:1; In these passages the beginnings are regularly made with the name Yahweh, although with decreasing frequency before the name Elohim is used, and notwithstanding that in all these sections certain selections from P and E must also be considered in addition to J. Beginning with Genesis 12, in which the story of the selection of Abraham is narrated, we accordingly find emphasized, at the commencement of the history of each patriarch, this fact that it is Yahweh, the God of the Covenant, who is determining these things. Beginning with Genesis 40 and down to about Exodus 2 we find the opposite to be the case, although J is strongly represented in this section, and we no longer find the name Yahweh (except in one passage in the blessing of Jacob, which passage has been taken from another source, and hence is of no value for the distinction of the sources J, E and P; this is the remarkable passage Genesis 49:18). In the same way the story of Abraham (Genesis 25:1-11) closes without mention being made of the name of Yahweh, which name is otherwise found in all of these histories, except in Genesis 23 (see below). The toledhoth of Isaac, too, use the name Yahweh for the last time in 32:10;
and from this passage down to Genesis 37:2 the name is not found. It is accordingly clear that in the history of the patriarchs there is a gradual decrease in the number of times in which the name Yahweh occurs, and in each case the decrease is more marked; and this is most noticeable and clearest in the history of Joseph, manifestly in order to make all the more prominent the fact that the revelation of God, beginning with Exodus 3:1, is that of Yahweh. These facts alone make the division of this text into three sources J, E and P impossible.
in the history of Isaac: 25:21,22,23; 26:2,12,22,24,25,28,29;
and in the toledhoth of Jacob 38:7,10; 39:2,3,1.
- (ii) Reference to Approach of Man to God, and Departure from Him:
The fact, further, that the approach of an individual to God or his departure from God could find its expression in the different uses made of the names of God is seen in the following. In connection with Ishmael and Lot the name Yahweh can be used only so long as these men stood in connection with the kingdom of God through their relation to Abraham (compare Genesis 16:7,9,10,11,13 and 13:10; 19:13,16), but only the name Elohim can be used as soon as they sever this connection (compare Genesis 21:12,17,19,20 and 19:29). On the other hand, ['Elohim] is used in the beginning of the history of the Gentile Abimelech (Genesis 20:3,6,11,13,17; 21:22); while afterward, when he has come into closer relations to the patriarchs, the name Yahweh is substituted (Genesis 26:28,29). A similar progress is found in separate narratives of the patriarchs themselves, since in Genesis 22:1 and chapter 28 the knowledge of Elohim is changed into that of Yahweh (compare 22:1,3,1 with 22:11,14,15,16, and 28:12 with 28:13,16).
- (iii) Other Reasons:
['Elohim] can, further, in many cases be explained on the basis of an implied or expressed contrast, generally over against men (compare Genesis 22:8,12; in the second of these two passages the fear of God is placed in contrast to godlessness); Genesis 30:2; 31:50; 32:2; compare with 32:4 and 8; 32:29; 35:5; or on the basis of an accommodation to the standpoint of the person addressed, as in 3:1-5 (serpent); 20:3,6,11,13,17; 23:6; 39:9 (Gentiles); or on the basis of grammar, as in 23:6; 32:3; 28:17,22; because the composition with the proper name Yahweh could never express the indefinite article (a prince of God, a camp of God, a Bethel or house of prayer); or finally in consequence of the connection with earlier passages (compare 5:1 with chapter 1; 21:2,4; 28:3; 35:9 with chapter 17). A comparison of these passages shows that, of course, different reasons may have induced the author to select the name Elohim, e.g. 23:6; 28:12; 32:12.
(iv) Systematic Use in History of Abraham:
That the names for God are systematically used is finally attested by the fact that in the history of Abraham, after the extensive use of the name Yahweh in its beginning (see above), this name is afterward found combined with a large number of other and different names; so that in each case it is Yahweh of whom all further accounts speak, and yet the name of Yahweh is explained, supplemented and made clear for the consciousness of believers by the new appellations, while the full revelation of His being indeed begins only in Exodus 3 and 6:1, at which place the different rays of His character that appeared in earlier times are combined in one brilliant light. The facts in the case are the following. In the story of Abraham, with which an epoch of fundamental importance in the history of revelation begins, we find Yahweh alone in Genesis 12 f. With the exception of chapter 23, where a characteristic appellation of God is not found, and 25:1-11, where we can claim a decadence in the conception of the Divinity (concerning 23:6; 25:11; see above, the name of Yahweh is retained in all of these stories, as these have been marked out (III, 2, 6); but beginning with chapter 14 they do not at all use any longer only one name for God. We here cite only those passages where, in each ease, for the first time a new name for God is added, namely, 14:18, 'El `Elyon; 14:19, Creator of heaven and of earth; 15:2, 'Adhonay; 16:7, the Angel of Yahweh; 16:13, the God that seeth; 17:1, 'El Shadday; 17:3, 'Elohim; 17:18, ha-'Elohim; chapters 18, special relation to the three men (compare 18:2 and 19:1); 18:25, the Judge of the whole earth; 20:13, 'Elohim constructed as a plural; 21:17, the Angel of God; 24:3, the God of heaven and the God of the earth; 24:12, the God of Abraham.
(e) Scantiness of the Materials for Proof:
If we add, finally, that to prove the hypothesis we are limited to the meager materials found in Genesis 1:1 through Exodus 6:1 if; that in this comparatively small number of chapters Genesis 40 to Exodus 2 cannot be utilized in this discussion (see above under (d); that all those passages, in which J and E are inseparably united must be ignored in this discussion; that all other passages in which J and E are often and rapidly interchanged from the very outset are suspiciously akin to begging the question; that Genesis 20:18, which with its "Yahweh" is ascribed to R, is absolutely needed as the conclusion of the preceding Elohim story; that in 21:33 with its "Yahweh" (Yahweh) in the Jahwist (Jahwist), on the other hand, the opening Elohim story from E, which is necessary for an explanation of the dwelling of Abraham in the south country, precedes; that the angel of Yahweh (22:11) is found in E; that 2:4-3:24 from J has besides Yahweh the name Elohim, and in 3:1b-5 only Elohim (see above); that in 17:1; 21:1 P Yahweh is found; that 5:29, which is ascribed to J, is surrounded by portions of the Priestly Code (P), and contains the name Yahweh, and would be a torso, but in connection with chapter 5 the Priestly Code (P), in reality is in its proper place, as is the intervening remark (5:24 P); that, on the other hand, in 4:25; 6:2,4; 7:9; 9:27; 39:9 Elohim is found -- in view of all these facts it is impossible to see how a greater confusion than this could result from the hypothesis of a division of the sources on the basis of the use made of the names of God. And then, too, it is from the very outset an impossibility, that in the Book of Genesis alone such an arbitrary selection of the names for God should have been made and nowhere else.
(f) Self-Disintegration of the Critical Position:
The modern critics, leaving out of consideration entirely their further dissection of the text, themselves destroy the foundation upon which this hypothesis was originally constructed, when Sievers demands for Genesis 1 (from P) an original Yahweh Elohim in the place of the Elohim now found there; and when others in Genesis 18 f J claim an original Elohim; and when in 17:1-21:1 the name Yahweh is said to have been intentionally selected by P.
(g) Different Uses in the Septuagint:
Naturally it is not possible to discuss all the pertinent passages at this place. Even if, in many cases, it is doubtful what the reasons were for the selection of the names for God, and even if these reasons cannot be determined with our present helps, we must probably, nevertheless, not forget that the Septuagint in its translation of Genesis in 49 passages, according to Eerdman's reckoning, and still more according to Wiener's, departs from the use of the names for God from the Hebrew original. Accordingly, then, a division of Genesis into different sources on the basis of the different names for God cannot be carried out, and the argument from this use, instead of proving the documentary theory, has been utilized against it.
III. The Structure of the Individual Pericopes.
In this division of the article, there is always to be found (under 1) a consideration of the unity of the Biblical text and (under 2) the rejection of the customary division into different sources.
The conviction of the unity of the text of Genesis and of the impossibility of dividing it according to different sources is strongly confirmed and strengthened by the examination of the different pericopes. Here, too, we find the division on the basis of the typical numbers 4,7,10,12. It is true that in certain cases we should be able to divide in a different way; but at times the intention of the author to divide according to these numbers practically compels acceptance on our part, so that it would be almost impossible to ignore this matter without detriment, especially since we were compelled to accept the same fact in connection with the articles EXODUS (II); LEVITICUS (II, 2); DAY OF ATONEMENT (I, 2, 1), and aIso EZEKIEL (I, 2, 2). But more important than these numbers, concerning the importance or unimportance of which there could possibly be some controversy, are the fundamental religious and ethical ideas which run through and control the larger pericopes of the [toledhoth] of Terah, Isaac and Jacob in such a way that it is impossible to regard this as merely the work of a redactor, and we are compelled to consider the book as the product of a single writer.
1. The Structure of the Prooemium (Genesis 1-2:3):
The structure of the proemium (Genesis 1:1-2:3) is generally ascribed to P. Following the introduction (Genesis 1:1,2; creation of chaos), we have the creation of the seven days with the Sabbath as a conclusion. The first and the second three days correspond to each other (1st day, the light; 4th day, the lights; 2nd day, the air and water by the separation of the waters above and the waters below; 5th day, the animals of the air and of the water; 3rd day, the dry land and the vegetation; 6th day, the land animals and man; compare also in this connection that there are two works on each day). We find Exodus also divided according to the number seven (see EXODUS, II, 1; compare also Exodus 24:18 b through 31:18; see EXODUS, II, 2, 5, where we have also the sevenfold reference to the Sabbath idea in Ex, and that, too, repeatedly at the close of different sections, just as we find this here in Genesis); and in Le compare chapters 23; 25; 27; see LEVITICUS, II, 2, 2; the VIII, IX, and appendix; and in Genesis 4:17 J; 5:1-24 P; 6:9-9:29; 36:1-37 I (see under 2, 1,2,3,1).
2. Structure of the Ten Toledhoth:
The ten toledhoth are found in Genesis 2:4-50:26.
1. The Toledhoth of the Heavens and the Earth (Genesis 2:4-4:26):
(1) The Biblical Text.
(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources (Genesis 1:1-2:4a P and 2:4b through 4:26 J).
Ch 2 does not contain a new account of creation with a different order in the works of creation. This section speaks of animals and plants, not for their own sakes, but only on account of their connection with man. The creation of the woman is only a further development of Ge 1. While formerly the critics divided this section into 2:4-4:26 J, they now cut it up into J1 and j2 (see under II, 2, 1 (c) (because, they say, the tree of life is mentioned only in 2:9 and 3:23, while in 2:17 and 3:3 the Divine command is restricted to the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But it is impossible to see why there should be a contradiction here, and just as little can we see why the two trees standing in the midst of the garden should not both have had their significance (compare 2:9; 3:3). It is further asserted that a division of J is demanded by the fact that the one part of J knows of the Fall (6:9), and the other does not know of such a break in the development of mankind (4:17). But the civilization attained by the Cainites could certainly have passed over also to the Sethites (see also 6:2); and through Noah and his sons have been continued after the Deluge. Then, too, the fact that Cain built a city (4:17), and the fact that he became a fugitive and a wanderer (4:12), are not mutually exclusive; just as the beginnings made with agriculture (4:12) are perfectly consistent with the second fact.
2. The Toledhoth of Adam (Genesis 5:1-6:8):
3. The Toledhoth of Noah (Genesis 6:9-9:29):
(1) The Biblical Text.
(a) Genesis 5:1-24, seven generations from Adam to Lamech (see under 1, and Jude 1:14);
(b) Genesis 5:25-32, four generations from the oldest of men, Methuselah, down to the sons of Noah;
(c) 6:1-4, intermingling of the sons of God and the sons of men;
(d) 6:5-8, corruption of all mankind.
Evidently at this place (a) and (b), (c) and (d) correspond with each other.
(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources (Genesis 5 P with the Exception of 5:29 (see II, 2, 2 (e)); 5:29; 6:1-8 J).
Genesis 6:7 J presupposes chapter 1 P; as, on the other hand, the fact that the generations that, according to chapter 5 the Priestly Code (P), had in the meanwhile been born, die, presupposes the advent of sin, concerning which only J had reported in chapter 3. In the case of the Priestly Code (P), however, in 1:31 it is said that everything was very good.
(1) The Biblical Text.
Seven sections (see 1 above) viz:
(a) Genesis 6:9-22, the building of the ark;
(b) 7:1-9, entering the ark;
(c) 7:10-24, the increase of the Flood;
(d) 8:1-14, the decrease of the Flood;
(e) 8:15-19, leaving the ark;
(f) 8:22-9:17, declaration of a covenant relation between God and Noah;
(g) 9:18-29, transfer of the Divine blessing upon Shem.
(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources (Genesis 7:1-5,7-10,12,16b,17,22; 8:2b,3a,6-12,13b,20-22; 9:20-27 J, the Rest from P).
In all the sources are found the ideas that the Deluge was the punishment of God for sin; further, the deliverance of the righteous Noah and his wife and three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives; the deliverance of the different kinds of animals; the announcement of the covenant relations between God and mankind after the Deluge; the designation of the Deluge with the term mabbul and of the ark with tebhah. In the Babylonian account, which without a doubt stands in some connection with the Biblical, are found certain measurements of the ark, which in the Bible are only in the Priestly Code (P), as also the story of the sending out of the birds when the flood was decreasing, and of the sacrifices of those who had been delivered, which in the Bible are said to be found only in J; and these facts are a very powerful argument against the division into sources. Further, the Priestly Code (P), in case the critics were right, would have contained nothing of the thanks of Noah for his deliverance, although he was a pious man; and in the case of J we should not be informed what kind of an ark it was into which Noah was directed to go (Genesis 7:1); nor how he can already in Genesis 8:20 build an altar, as he has not yet gone out of the ark; and, further, how the determination of Yahweh, that He would not again curse the earth but would bless it, can be a comfort to him, since only P has reported concerning the blessing (9:1). Even if the distinction is not always clearly made between clean and unclean animals, and different numbers are found in the case of each (6:19; 7:14-16 the Priestly Code (P), over against 7:2 f in J), yet this is to be regarded merely as a lack of exactness or, perhaps better, rather as a summary method of procedure. The difficulties are not even made any easier through the separation into sources, since in 7:8 f in J both numbers and the distinction between the two kinds of animals are used indiscriminately. Here, too, in J we find the name Elohim used. The next contradiction that is claimed, namely that the Deluge according to J lasted only 61 days, and is arranged in 40 days (7:4,12,17; 8:6) plus 3 X 7 = 21 days (8:8,10,12), while in P it continues for 1 year and 11 days (7:11,24; 8:3-5,14), is really a self-inflicted agony of the critics. The report of the Bible on the subject is perfectly clear. The rain descends for 40 days (7:12 J); but as in addition also the fountains of the deep are broken up (7:11 P), we find in this fact a reason for believing that they increased still more (7:24 P and 7:17 J). The 40 days in 8:6 J cannot at all be identified with those mentioned in 7:17; for if this were the case the raven would have been sent out at a time when the waters had reached their highest stage, and even according to J the Deluge covered the entire world. In general see above, II, 2, 1 (c).
4. The Toledhoth of the Sons of Noah (Genesis 10:1-11:9):
5. The Toledhoth of Shem (Genesis 11:10-26):
(1) The Biblical Text.
(a) Genesis 10:2-5, the Japhethites;
(b) 10:6-20, the Hamites;
(c) 10:21-32, the Shemites;
(d) 11:1-9, the Babylonian confusion of tongues. Evidently (a) to (c) is to be regarded as in contrast to (d) (compare also 11:1,9 J in addition to 10:32 P).
(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources (Genesis 10:1-7,20,22,31 f the Priestly Code (P), the Rest Belonging to J).
The distribution of Genesis 10 between P and J is actually ridiculous, since in this case J does not speak of Japheth at all, and the genealogy of the Hamites would connect directly with the Priestly Code (P), a phenomenon which must have been repeated in 10:24. The Jewish Midrash, in addition, and possibly correctly, counts 70 peoples (compare 46:27; Exodus 1:5; Numbers 11:16,25; Luke 10:1).
10 generations (see under II, 1).
6. The Toledhoth of Terah (Genesis 11:27-25:11):
(1) The Biblical Text.
After the introduction (Genesis 11:27-32), theme of the history of Abraham is given in Genesis 12:1-4 a (12:1, the promise of the holy land; 12:2, promise of many descendants; 12:3, announcement of the double influence of Abraham on the world; 12:4a, the obedience of Abraham's faith in his trust upon the Divine promise). In contrast to the first three thoughts which characterize God's relation to Abraham, the fourth is placed, which emphasizes. Abraham's relation to God (see under (d)). But both thoughts give complete expression to the intimate communion between God and Abraham. On the basis of these representations, which run through the entire story and thus contribute materially to its unification, this section can also be divided, as one of these after the other comes into the foreground. These four parts (12:4b through 14:24; 15:1-18:15; 18:16-21:34; 22:1-25:11) can each be divided again into four subdivisions, a scheme of division that is found also in Exodus 35:4-40:38; Leviticus 11-15; 16 (compare EXODUS, II, 2, 7; LEVITICUS, II, 2, 2, III and IV; DAY OF ATONEMENT, I, 2, 1), and is suggested by Deuteronomy 12-26 (compare also my book, Wider den Bann der Quellenscheidung, the results of the investigation of which work are there reproduced without entering upon the details of the argument).
(a) Genesis 12:4 through 14:24, in which the reference to the promised land is placed in the foreground; see 12:1, and the passages and statements in parentheses in the following:
(i) 12:4b-8, Abraham's journey to Canaan (12:5 the Priestly Code (P), 6,7,8 J);
- (ii) 12:9-13:4, descent to Egypt from Canaan, and return (12:9,10; 13:1-4J); 13:5-18, separation from Lot (13:6 the Priestly Code (P), 7,9 J, 12a the Priestly Code (P), 14,17,18 J); chapter 14, expedition against Chedorlaomer, etc. (Abraham is blessed by the priest-king of the country, and receives as homage from the products of the country bread and wine (14:18 f), while he in return gives tithes (14:20)). The division of this section (12:4b through 14:24) is to be based on the similarity of the closing verses (12:8; 13:4; 13:18).
(b) Genesis 15:1-18:15, unfolding of the promise of descendants for Abraham by this announcement that he is to have a son of his own; compare 12:2 and what is placed in parentheses in the following:
chapter 15, Yahweh's covenant with Abraham (15:2,3 JE, 4 J, 5 E, 13,14,16,18 J). The promise is not fulfilled through Eliezer, but only through an actual son (15:3,1); 16:1-16, Hagar gives birth to Ishmael as the son of Abraham. Hagar's son, too, namely Ishmael, is not the genuine heir, notwithstanding the connection between 16:10 and 12:2 (compare 17:18-20 P); chapter 17 the Priestly Code (P), promise of the birth of Isaac given to Abraham (17:2-17,19,21); 18:1-15, Sarah also hears that Isaac is promised (18:10,12-15).
(c) Genesis 18:16-21:34, the double influence of Abraham on the world; compare 12:3 and what is in parentheses in the following:
18:16-19:38, the pericope dealing with Sodom; (i) 18:16-33, Abraham's petition for the deliverance of Sodom; (ii) 19:1-11, the sin of the Sodomites, while Lot shows some of the characteristics of Abraham; (iii) 19:12-28, story of the destruction, in connection with which Lot receives the benefit of his relation to Abraham (19:16,19,21,22); (iv) Lot ceases to be a part of this history after this destruction; 20:1-18, Abraham with Abimelech (20:6,9 E, 18 R, punishment; 20:7,17, intercession); 21:1-21, Ishmael ceases to be part of this history (21:13,18,20 E); 21:22-34, Abraham's agreement with Abimelech (the latter seeks Abraham's friendship and fears his enmity, 21:27,23 E).
(d) Genesis 22:1-25:11, Abraham's faith at its culminating point; compare 12:4a and what is in parentheses in the following:
(i) 22:1-19, the sacrifice of Isaac (22:2,12 E, 16,18 R);
- (ii) chapter 23, purchase of the place to bury the dead, which act was the result of his faith in the promised land;
- (iii) chapter 24 is introduced by 22:20-24, which has no independent character. With the twelve descendants of Nahor compare the twelve sons of Jacob, the twelve of Ishmael (25:12; 17:20), and on the number 12 see Exodus 24:18-30:10, under EXODUS, II, 2, 5; Leviticus 1-7 under LEVITICUS, II, 2, 2, i, and under EZEKIEL, I, 2, 2. Ch 24 itself contains the story of how a wife was secured for Isaac from among his relatives (the faith in the success of this plan is transmitted from Abraham to his servant);
- (iv) 25:1-11, the sons of the concubine of Abraham (J and R) cease to be a part of this history; transfer of the entire inheritance to the son of promise (Jahwist); burial in the ground bought for this purpose (P) (all of these concluding acts stand in close connection with Abraham's faith). In reference to the force of the names of God in connecting Genesis 11:27-25:11, see above under II, 2, 2 (d).
(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources (Genesis 11:27,31; 12:4b,5; 13:6a,11b,12a; 16:1a,3,15; 17; 19:29; 21:1b,2b-5; 23; 25:7-11a P; 14 from an unknown source; 15:6; 20:1-17; 21:8-32; 22:1-13,19 E; 15:1-3; 21:6 JE; 20:18; 22:14-18; 25:6 R; all else belongs to J).
Through the passages ascribed to P breaks are caused in the text of J in Genesis 11:28; 12:4a (Lot); in chapter 16, where the conclusion is lacking; in 18:1 (the reference of the pronoun); in 24:67 (Sarah's death); in 25:1 (no mention of Abraham's death). On the other hand P presupposes the text of J in 11:31; 12:4b; 16:1b; 19:29. In the case of E we need mention only the abrupt break in 20:1; and, finally, the text of the Priestly Code (P), leaving out of consideration the larger sections (chapters 17 and 23), is entirely too meager to constitute an independent document.
We will here discuss also the so-called duplicates (see under II, 2, 1, a and c). The different stories concerning the danger in which the wives of Abraham and Isaac were involved in Genesis 12:9 J; 20:1 E; 26:1 J directly presuppose each other. Thus, in 20:13, the Elohist (E), Abraham regards it as a fact that such situations are often to be met with, and consequently the possibility of an occurrence of such an event could not have appeared so remarkable to an Oriental as it does to a modern critic; chapter 26:1 suggests the story in 12:9. The words used here also show that the three stories in question did not originate independently of each other (compare 26:7; 20:5; 12:19-26:7; 20:11; 12:12-26:10; 20:9; 12:18-26:3; 20:1; 12:10 (gur); see under II, 2, 1, c). The two Ishmael pericopes (chapters 16 J and P and 21 E) differ from each other throughout, and, accordingly, are surely not duplicates. The two stories of the conclusion of a covenant in chapters 15 J and 17 P are both justified, especially since in 17:7 the author speaks of an "establishment" of the covenant which already existed since chapter 15. Genesis 17 P and 18:1 J are certainly intended to be pendants, so that it is impossible to ascribe them to different authors; compare the analogous beginning of theophanies of Yahweh in 17:1 and 18:1 (even the pronoun referring to Abraham in 18:1 J, unless taken in connection with chapter 17 the Priestly Code (P), is without any context), also the laughing of Abraham and of Sarah (17:17; 18:12; see under II, 2, 1 (c)), the prominence given to their age (17:17; 18:11 f), and the designation of the time in 17:11; 18:10,14.
Nor can we quote in favor of a division into sources the passage Genesis 21:14 f E, on the ground that Ishmael is described here as being so small that he could be laid upon the shoulder of his mother and then be thrown by her under a shrub, while according to the Biblical text he must have been 15 years of age (16:16; 21:5 P). For the original does not say that he was carried on her shoulders; and in Matthew 15:30 it is even said of adults that they were thrown down. On the other hand, also according to E, Ishmael could not have been so small a child, for in Genesis 21:18 b he is led by the hand, and according to 21:9 he already mocks Isaac, evidently because the latter was the heir of the promise.
Sarah's age, too, according to Genesis 20 E, does not speak in favor of a division into sources. That she was still a beautiful woman is not claimed here. Evidently Abimelech was anxious only for a closer connection with the powerful Abraham (compare 21:23,17). Then, too, all the sources ascribe an advanced age to Sarah (compare 21:6 J and E; 18:12 f J; 17:17 P).
7. The Toledhoth of Ishmael (Genesis 25:12-18):
Twelve princes descended from Ishmael (see under 6 (d)).
8. The Toledhoth of Isaac (Genesis 25:19-35:29):
The correct conception of the fundamental thought can be gained at once in the beginning of this section (Genesis 25:22):
Yahweh's oracle to Rebekah, that the older of the twins, with whom she was pregnant, should serve the younger; also in Romans 9:10 with reference to Malachi 1:2; and finally, the constant reference made to Esau in addition to Jacob until the former ceases to be a factor in this history in Genesis 36. Accordingly in the end everything is made dependent on the one hand on Jacob's election, notwithstanding his wrongdoings, on the other hand, on Esau's rejection notwithstanding his being the firstborn, or in other words, upon the perfectly free grace of God; and all the different sources alike share in this fundamental thought. But in dividing between the different parts of this section, we must particularly draw attention to this, that in all of these parts both thoughts in some way or other find their expression.
(1) The Biblical Text.
Containing 10 parts (see under II, 1), namely
(a) Genesis 25:19-26, the birth of Esau and Jacob;
(b) 25:27-34, Esau despises and loses his birthright;
(c) 26:1-35, Isaac receives the blessing of Abraham, which afterward is transmitted to Jacob, while Esau, through his marriage with heathen women, prepares the way for his rejection (26:34 f);
(d) 27:1-40, Jacob steals the blessing of the firstborn;
(e) 27:41-45, Jacob's flight out of fear of Esau's vengeance;
(f) 27:46-28:9, Jacob is sent abroad out of fear of his brother's bad example;
(g) 28:10-32:33, Jacob in a strange land and his fear of Esau, which is overcome in his contest of prayer in Peniel on his return:
28:10-22, the ladder reaching to heaven in Bethel when he went abroad;
29:1-30:43, twenty years with Laban (see 31:38);
31:1-54, Jacob's departure from Mesopotamia;
32:1-33, his return home;
(h) chapter 33, reconciliation with Esau, who returns to Seir (verse 16; compare 32:4), while Jacob becomes the owner of property in the Holy Land (33:19 f);
(i) 34:1-35:22, Jacob remains in this land, notwithstanding the slaughter made by his sons Simeon and Levi (compare 34:30; 35:5); the new appearance of God in Bethel, with a repetition of the story of the changing of Jacob's name, with which the story of Jacob's youth is closed, and which presupposes the episode at Bethel (compare 35:1,6b,9-15 with 28:10), and which is not in contradiction with the first change in the name of Jacob in chapter 32 (compare the twofold naming of Peter in John 1:43 and Matthew 16:18). Esau is yet mentioned in Genesis 35:1,7, where there is a reference made to Jacob's flight before him;
(j) 35:23-29, Jacob's 12 sons as the bearers of the promise; while Esau is mentioned only as participating in Isaac's burial, but inwardly he has no longer any part in the history of the kingdom of God, as is seen from chapter 36, and in 32:4; 33:16 is already hinted at. In this section, too, evidently there are groups, each of two parts belonging together, namely (a) and (b) describing the earliest youth; (c) and (d) in which Isaac plays a prominent part; (e) and (f) both of which do not exclude but supplement each other in assigning the motives for Jacob's flight; (g) and (h) Jacob's flight and reconciliation; (i) and (j) Jacob both according to family and dwelling-place as the recognized heir of the promise.
(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources.
As Genesis 25:29,26b; 26:34; 27:46-28:9; 29:24,29; 31:18; 35:6a,9-12,15; 35:22b-29; 36:6-30,40-43 are ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), it is clear that these are in part such ridiculously small extracts, that we should be justified in attributing them to a sensible author. The whole sojourn in Mesopotamia is ignored in the Priestly Code (P), according to the critics, except the brief notices in 29:24,29; 33:18. Further, the parts of the rest of the text cannot in many cases be dispensed with; as, e.g. we do not know in 25:26b who was born; nor in 26:34 f who Esau was; nor in 27:46 who Jacob was; nor in 29:24 who Laban was; nor in 29:24,29 in what connection and for what purposes Leah and Rachel are mentioned. P makes no mention of any promise given to Isaac, which is, however, presupposed in 35:12 and later in Exodus 2:24. In Genesis 28:1 P is most closely connected with J (compare 12:1-3, the blessing of Abraham, and chapter 24). It is, further, impossible to separate the sources E and J in chapter 28 (ladder reaching to heaven); compare 28:10-12,17,20-22 E; 28:13-16 J; 28:19, and the name of God in 28:21 R, and this proposed division actually becomes absurd in chapters 29 f in the story of the birth of Jacob's children, which are said to be divided between the sources J and E.
9. The Toledhoth of Esau (Genesis 36:1-37:1):
In 7 divisions (see under 1), namely
10. The Toledhoth of Jacob (Genesis 37:2-50:26):
(1) The Biblical Text.
The key to the history of Joseph is found in its conclusion, namely, in Genesis 50:14-21, in the confession of Joseph, in the light of his past, namely, that God has ended all things well; and in 50:22, in his confidence in the fulfillment of the Divine promise in the lives of those God has chosen; compare also Psalms 105:16. According to the two viewpoints in Genesis 50:14-26, and without any reference to the sources, this whole pericope (37:2-50:15) is divided into two halves, each of five subdivisions, or a total of ten (see under II, 1). In the exact demonstration of this, not only the contents themselves, but also regard for the different names for God will often render good service, which names, with good effect, are found at the close and in harmony with the fundamental thought of the entire section, namely,
(a) 37:2-39:6a, Joseph enters Potiphar's house (4 pieces, see under 6, 1, namely 37:2-11, the hatred of the brethren, 37:12-36, selling Joseph, 38:1, the Yahweh-displeasing conduct in the house of Judah, compare 38:7,10, 39:1-6, Yahweh's pleasure in Joseph, in contrast to;
(b) 39:6b-23, Joseph is cast into prison, but Yahweh was with him (39:21,23);
(c) 40:1-41:52, the exaltation of Joseph, which at the end especially is shown by the naming of Ephraim and Manasseh as caused by God, but which for the present passes by the history of his family (4 pieces, namely, 40:1, interpretation of the dreams of the royal officials, 41:1-36, interpretation of the two dreams of Pharaoh, 41:37-46a, the exaltation of Joseph, 41:46b-52, Joseph's activity for the good of the country);
(d) 41:55-46:7, Joseph becomes a blessing to his family; compare the promise of God to Jacob in Beersheba to be with him in Egypt in 46:2 with 45:6-9 (in four pieces, namely, 41:53-57, the general famine, 42:1-38, the first journey of the brothers of Joseph, 43:14-4:34, the second journey (in four subdivisions,
(i) 43:1-14, the departure,
(ii) 43:14-34, the reception by Joseph,
(iii) 44:1-7, final trial of the brethren,
(iv) 44:18-34, the intercession of Judah); 45:1-46:7, Joseph makes himself known and persuades Jacob to come to Egypt);
(e) 46:8-47:26, Joseph continues to be a blessing to his family and to Egypt (in 4 subdivisions, of which the 4th is placed in contrast to the first 3 exactly as this is done in 10:1-11:9 and 11:27-25:11, namely, (46:8-27, list of the descendants of Jacob, 46:28-34, meeting with Joseph, 47:1-12, Jacob in the presence of Pharaoh, 47:13-26, the Egyptians who have sold themselves and their possessions to Pharaoh laud Joseph as the preserver of their lives). From this point on the attention is now drawn to the future:
(f) 47:27-31, Jacob causes Joseph to take an oath that he will have him buried in Canaan (compare 47:30 J with chapter 23 P) ; in (e) and (f) there is also lacking a designation for God;
(g) chapter 48, Jacob adopts and blesses Ephraim and Manasseh (compare also the emphasis placed on the providential guidance of God in 48:8,11,15, especially 48:16 and 20);
(h) 49:1-27, Jacob blesses his 12 sons and prophesies their future fate (here, 49:18, appears the name of Yahweh, which had disappeared since chapter 40; see under II, 2, 2 (d), and other designations for God, 49:24 f);
(i) 49:28-33, Jacob's death after he had again expressed the wish, in the presence of all his sons, that he should be buried in Canaan;
(j) 50:1-13, the body of Jacob is taken to Canaan. In these 10 pericopes again we can easily find groups of two each, namely,
(a) and (b), Joseph's humiliation (sold, prison);
(c) and (d), Joseph becomes a blessing to Egypt and to his family;
(g) and (h), blessing of the, grandchildren and the sons of Jacob;
(i) and (j), Jacob's death and burial;
here too the name of God is lacking as in (e) and (f).
(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources.
Here, too, the separation of P from the rest of the text as a distinct source is untenable, since in the section from Genesis 37:2-46:34, after 37:2, only the following fragments are attributed to this source, namely, 41:46a; 46:6 f (according to some also to 46:27). In the same way P abruptly sets in at 47:5,27b; 49:28b. Further, 48:3 knows nothing of Ephraim or Manasseh, of whom P reports nothing, so that 50:13 f are the only verses that could naturally connect with the preceding statements of P. In 47:5 P reports entirely in the manner of ordinary narratives, and there is no sign of any systematic arrangement. But the separation between J and E cannot be carried out either. In the first place, when these two sources are actually separated by the critics, innumerable omissions in the story arise, which we cannot at this place catalogue.
The contradictions which are claimed to exist here are the products of the critics' imagination. It is claimed that according to J it is Judah who plays a prominent role, while according to E it is Reuben; but in 37:21 Reuben is mentioned by J, and the role played by Judah in chapter 38 J is anything but creditable. Why cannot both of these brethren have played a prominent role, as this was also the case with Simeon (42:24,36; 43:14) and Benjamin (42:13,10,32,36,38; 43:3; 44; 45:14)? Just as little are the Midianites in 37:28,36 E and the Ishmaelites of 37:25,27,28; 39:1 J mutually exclusive or contradictory, since the Midianites in the Gideon story, too, in Judges 7; 8:24 are called Ishmaelites (compare in the German the name Prager for traveling musicians, whether they are from Prague or not). In J it is further claimed that Joseph's master was a private gentleman (Genesis 39:1), while in E he was the captain of the bodyguard (Genesis 40:3). But in this instance the documentary theory can operate only when it calls in the assistance of R in Genesis 39:1. The fact that in chapter 39:1 the name of the nationality is added to that of the office, is explained on the ground of the contrast to the Ishmaelites who sold Joseph.
Finally, it is claimed to have been caused by the combination of the different sources in such a way that Benjamin in 43:8,29; 44:30,31,33 J is described as a boy, but in 46:21, R or the Priestly Code (P), as the father of ten children. But evidently the author of chapter 46 has in view the number 70 (compare verse 27; see Exodus 1:5; Numbers 11:16,25; Luke 10:1; Exodus 15:27; Judges 12:13; and in Genesis 10 above, under 4,2); and for this reason, e.g. in Genesis 46:17, he mentions only one grand-daughter of Jacob; and for this he mentions all of the descendants of Jacob, even those who were born later in Egypt, but who already, as it were, had come to Egypt in the loins of their fathers, according to the view of the author. It certainly would be remarkable if no more grandchildren had been born to Jacob in Egypt, since Numbers 26 does not mention a single son of any of the sons of Jacob later than those reported in Genesis 46. In 46:27 Joseph's sons, too, who were born in Egypt, are included in the list, entirely in harmony with Deuteronomy 10:22. For such an arrangement and adjustment of a genealogy compare the 3 X 14 generations in Mt 1. From this point of view no conclusions, as far as the documentary theory is concerned, can be drawn from the ten sons of Benjamin.
IV. The Historical Character.
V: Origin and Authorship of Genesis.
1. Connection with Mosaic Times:
That the Book of Genesis stands in some kind of literary connection with the succeeding books of the Pentateuch is generally acknowledged. But if this is the case, then the question as to the origin and the time of the composition of this whole body of books can be decided only if we take them all into consideration. In this article we have only to consider those facts which are found in Genesis for the solution of this problem. It is self-evident that the conclusion we have reached with reference to the literary unity of the book is of great importance for this question (see under II and III above). The historical character of the book, as demonstrated under IV above, also speaks emphatically for this claim that the literary composition of the book must have taken place when the memory of these events was still trustworthy, and the impression and experiences were still fresh and had not yet faded. Such individualistic and vivid pictures of historical personages as are reported by Genesis, such a faithful adherence to the accounts of the civilization in the different countries and districts and at different times, such detailed accounts of foreign customs, conditions and historical events, could scarcely. have been possible, if the Mosaic age with its powerful new impressions, the period of the Judges, with its characteristic apostasy, or even the division of Israel into two kingdoms, with its dire effects on the external union of the people, had all passed by before these accounts were actually written down. On the other hand, the highly developed prophetic conception of these events, and the skillful plan of the book demand that the author must have been a religious and ethical personality of the first rank. And as, finally, it is scarcely credible that Moses would have failed to provide for a systematic report of the great past of the people, for which account, before this and as long as only family histories were involved, there was no need felt, and as the subsequent books of the Pentateuch, which are acknowledged in a literary way to be connected with Genesis, in many of their parts expressly declare that Moses was their author (compare EXODUS, IV), the Mosaic authorship of this book is as good as proved. This is not to deny that older sources and documents were used in the composition of the book, such as perhaps the genealogical tables or the events recorded in Genesis 14, possibly, too, some referring to the history of the times before the Deluge and before Abraham. This is probable; but as all the parts of the book have been worked together into a literary unity (see under II and III above), and as such sources are not expressly mentioned, it is a hopeless task to try to describe these different sources in detail or even to separate them as independent documents, after the manner refuted under II and III above, as a theory and in its particulars. And for the age of Genesis, we can refer to the fact that the personal pronoun here is still used for both genders, masculine and feminine, which is true also of the word na`ar ("youth"), a peculiarity which is shared also by the other books of the Pentateuch almost throughout.
2. Examination of Counter-Arguments:
(1) Possibility of Later Additions.
In itself it would be possible that from time to time some explanatory and interpreting additions could have been made to the original text, in case we find indications of a later period in some statements of the book. But that in this case these additions could not have been made by any unauthorized persons, but only officially, should, in the case of a book like Genesis, be regarded as self-evident. But in our times this fact must be emphasized all the more, as in our days the most radical ideas obtain in reference to the way in which sacred books were used in former times. And then it must be said that we cannot prove as an absolute certainty that there is a single passage in Genesis that originated in the post-Mosaic period.
(2) "Prophecy after the Event" Idea.
It is self-evident also that the fulfillment of a prophecy is not an evidence of a "prophecy after the event" (vaticinium post evenrum), altogether independently of the fact that in this case Genesis 12:1-3, which is still in process of fulfillment, could not have been written down even today (compare on this matter, perhaps, Noah's prophecy (9:25); or the prediction of the career of Esau (25:23; 27:40); or of Ishmael (16:10; 21:18); or Jacob's blessing (Genesis 49)). The last-mentioned case cannot in any way be interpreted as the product of a later time; compare the curse of Levi in 49:5-8 as compared with the honor bestowed on this tribe already in the Mosaic period (Exodus 32:26-29; Deuteronomy 33:8-11), and in the time of the Judges (Judges 17:7-13; 1 Samuel 2:27). Zebulun, too, according to Genesis 49:13 is regarded as being settled on the coast, which is not in agreement with historical reality (compare Joshua 19:10-16,27). In the same way the curse on Simeon in Genesis 49:5-7, which declared that his tribe should be distributed among Israel, was not fulfilled in the time when the people entered Canaan (compare Joshua 19:1 and 2 Chronicles 34:6). In Genesis 49:10 "Shiloh" cannot refer to the coming of the tabernacle to Shiloh (compare Joshua 18:1); for Shiloh is, on the other hand, to be interpreted personally and Messianically. As long as Shiloh was of any importance (compare 1 Samuel 1), Judah was not in the possession of the scepter; but when this scepter did come into the control of Judah, Shiloh had long since ceased to be of any significance (compare my book, Die messianische Erwartung der vorexilischen Propheten, 360 f).
(3) Special Passages Alleged to Indicate Later Date (Genesis 12:6; 13:7; 22:2; 36:31; 13:18; 23:2; 14:14).
In Genesis 12:6; 13:7, it is claimed that it is presupposed that at the time of the author there were no longer any Canaanites in the country, so that these verses belong to a much later period than that of Moses. But on this supposition these verses would be altogether superfluous and therefore unintelligible additions. For that in the time of Abraham the Canaanites had not yet been expelled by Israel, was a self-evident matter for every Israelite. As a matter of fact, the statements in both verses can easily be interpreted. Abraham leaves his native country to go into a strange land. When he comes to Canaan, he finds it inhabited by the Canaanites (compare 10:6,15; 9:25). This could have made his faith to fail him. God, accordingly, repeats His promise at this very moment and does so with greater exactness (compare 13:7 with 13:1), and Abraham shows that God can trust his faith (13:7 f). The question whether the Canaanites no longer existed at the time the book was written, has nothing at all to do with the meaning of these verses. The same is true of 13:7, on account of the presence of the Canaanites and of the Perizzites, which latter tribe had probably come in the meanwhile and is not yet mentioned in Genesis 10, but is mentioned in 15:20, and which makes the separation of Abraham and Lot only all the more necessary.
That in Genesis 22:2 the land of Moriah is mentioned is claimed by the critics to be a proof that this passage was written after the times of David and even of Solomon, because according to 2 Chronicles 3:1 the temple stood on Mt. Moriah. But as in this latter passage one particular mountain is called Moriah, but in Abraham's time a whole country was so called, it is scarcely possible that Genesis 22:2 could have been written at so late a period.
Usually, too, the list of 8 Edomite kings, who ruled before there was a king of Israel, according to Genesis 36:31, is cited as a proof that this part was written only after the establishment of the kingdom in Israel, although the time down to the age of Saul would be entirely too long for only eight kings, as already in the Mosaic period there were kings in Edom (Numbers 20:14). Then, too, we find in the days of Solomon a hereditary kingdom in Edom (1 Kings 11:14), while in Genesis 36:31 we have to deal with an elective kingdom. Also it would be impossible to understand why this list of kings is carried down only so far and no farther, namely down to the time when there were kings in Israel. This statement can properly be interpreted only in the light of 17:6,16, where the promise is given to Abraham that kings should be found among his descendants (compare also 17:20 with 25:16); and in the light of chapter 14, where Abraham is explicitly brought into connection with kings in a number of ways (with the four kings of the East, whom he conquers; with the five kings of the Jordan valley, whom he assists; with the King's Vale (14:17), which prepared the way for the Melchizedek episode; and with this Priest-King himself, who blesses him and to whom he gives tithes (14:18); with the king of Sodom, whom he rebukes (14:21)). Accordingly, the statement in 36:31 is not merely a dry historical notice, but is a reference to the blessing of God, which is realized in Israel at a much later time than in the kindred tribe of Esau, and which puts the faith of Israel to a new test. As the death of the last Edomite king is not mentioned (compare 36:39 in contrast to the preceding passage and to (1 Chronicles 1:50 f), but as detailed family data are given, we are doubtless dealing here with living contemporaries of Moses, in whose time already the Edomites possessed a kingdom (Numbers 20:14; Judges 11:17), just as this was the case with Amalek (Numbers 24:7), with Moab (Numbers 21:26; 22:4) and Midian (Numbers 31:8). And why would a later writer have mentioned neither Selah (Petra), so important in later times (compare Isaiah 16:1; Judges 1:36; 2 Kings 14:7), nor Ezion-Geber (1 Kings 9:26; 2 Chronicles 8:17), among the places given in Genesis 36:40? In Moses' time, however, the last-mentioned place was only prairie (Numbers 33:35).
Just as little is it an argument against the Mosaic times that Hebron is mentioned in Genesis 13:18; 23:2, which city, according to Joshua 14:15; 15:13, is called Kiriath-arba, a name which Genesis also is acquainted with (compare 23:2), and which in its signification of "city of Arba" points to an originally proper name. Hebron is the older name, which was resumed at a later period, after it had in the meanwhile been supplanted by the Canaanitic name, just as the name of Salem, which occurs already in the Tell el-Amarna Letters, for a period of time gave way to the name of Jebus, but was afterward resumed. That Hebron was an old city and that it existed at a period earlier than the Arba mentioned in Joshua 14:15; 15:13, and from whom its later name was derived, can be concluded from Numbers 13:22.
Further, the mention of Da [Dan] in 14:14 does not necessarily favor the view that this chapter did not originate until after Joshua 19:47. Judges 18:29, where Leshem or Laish is changed into Da [Dan] (2 Samuel 24:6; compare 24:2 and 24:15), does make the existence of another Da [Dan] probable. Since in Genesis 14:2,3,7,17 so many ancient names are mentioned, and as the author is most fully informed as to the conditions of the political complexion of the old nations of that time (14:5-7), it would be incomprehensible if he should not have made use of the ancient names Laish and Leshem. However, if this Da was really meant, we should at most have to deal with a revision, such as that pointed out above. Some other less important arguments against the origin of Genesis from the Mosaic times we can here ignore. The most important argument for the Mosaic origin of the book, in addition to those mentioned under 1, will now be discussed.
1. Lays Foundation for the Whole of Revelation:
In the history of the creation the most important feature for us is the fact that the world was created out of nothing (compare Genesis 1:1 and the word bara'), which guarantees the absoluteness of God and His perfect control of the entire material world; further, the creation of man, as the crown of all creation, for which all things previously created prepare, and who is to rule over them, but who -- most important of all -- is created after the image of God in Ge (1:26 f), and whose body has been created by the hand of God and his soul breathed into him by God (2:7). On this fact, too, in the end, is founded the possibility of man's redemption even after the Fall (5:1,3; compare Colossians 3:9; Ephesians 4:24), as also the possibility of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, who also is the image of God (Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 4:4).
Then, too, another all-important factor for us is the unity of the human race, for thereby is made possible and can be understood the fact that all men have become subject to sin and all can be the recipients of grace (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22,45).
Also the need of redemption is brought out strongly in the Book of Genesis. Compare in connection with the Fall,
By the side of this,
- the pains that shall attend the birth of a child,
- the cursing of the land,
- death (3:15), which finds its first victim in Abel, and the monotonous and emphatic repetition of the formula, "and he died," in Genesis 5, as characterizing the dismal fate of mankind, and which finds its expression in the rapid decrease of the length of life in the genealogies and in the ages of the patriarchs (5:1; 11:10; 25:7; 35:28; 47:28; 50:26; Psalms 90:10), and in the irresistible and increasing power of death.
- sin at once assumes its most horrible form (Gen 3, doubt, pride, fear, boldness of Eve and Adam), and is propagated and increases;
- compare the murder and the despair of Cain (Genesis 4:1),
- which is still surpassed by the defiant blasphemy of Lamech (4:23 f);
- and in the same way, death, which is coming more and more rapidly (see above), is a proof for this, that sin is being more and more intimately interwoven with the human race.
- Compare further, the corruption of the whole earth, which brings with it as a consequence the judgment of the Deluge (6:5), after the period of grace extending over 120 years had fruitlessly passed by;
- the lack of reverence on the part of Ham (9:22);
- the arrogance in connection with the building of the tower of Babel (11:1);
- the Sodomitic sin in 18:16-19:15;
- the daughters of Lot (19:30).
Still worse is it, that the elect also are not without blame.
- On Abraham, see IV, 1, 2b;
- then concerning Noah (9:21) and Lot's fearful drunkenness (19:32);
- Isaac's and Rebekah's preference for Esau or Jacob (25:28);
- Jacob's deceptions of various kinds, his preference for Joseph (37:3);
- the horrible deeds of Simeon and Levi (34:25; 49:5);
- Reuben's incest (35:22; 49:3 f);
- the cruelty of the brethren of Joseph toward him and his father (chapter 37);
- finally, Joseph's pride and his reporting his brethren (37:2,5).
In short, wherever we look, we see in Genesis already a proof for the truth of Romans 3:23, "All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God."
2. Preparation for Redemption:
By the side of this need of salvation there is to be found also the longing for salvation;
- compare the name of Noah (Genesis 5:29), and the word of blessing from the lips of Jacob (Genesis 49:18);
- and, further, the fact that Abraham reaches out after the promised heir in Genesis 15-18, and his desire for the possession of the land (12-14; 23; 28:20; 33:19 f);
- and especially from 47:27 on.
And in harmony with this need and this longing for redemption we find above all other things the saving and the promising grace of God.
- He does not cause the bodily death to follow immediately upon the Fall in Genesis 3 (although the beginning of the spiritual death sets in at once with the separation from God);
- He provides for mankind by Himself making garments for them out of skins (3:21);
- even the expulsion from Paradise is not merely a punishment; God fears that man might live forever if he should eat from the tree of life (3:22).
- He sets enmity between the human race and the seed of the serpent, so that at least the possibility of a moral contest yet exists;
- He strengthens the good in Cain (4:7);
- He removes the pious Enoch (5:24);
- He saves Noah and his family and makes a covenant with him (8:21);
- He gives His promise to Abraham (12:1-3) and makes a covenant with him (chapters 15; 17);
- He delivers Lot (19:13);
- He is willing even to preserve Sodom at Abraham's prayer, if there are as many as 10 just men in the city (18:32);
- He bestows a blessing on Ishmael also (16:10; 17:20; 21:13), and permits Isaac to bless Esau (27:39);
- but above all He is with Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.
It is indeed true that the thought runs through Genesis that not all men are capable of receiving His grace, and that not all are drawn to the Father.
so that at the close of Genesis we find already the hope of a personal Messiah expressed, in whom also the word (3:15) that was originally spoken to all mankind is to be entirely fulfilled, and in whom also the blessing given to Abraham shall find its significance and realization for the benefit of all mankind (12:3, and see above, 1, 2 and 3).
- Cain's sacrifice is not acceptable before God, as was Abel's;
- the Cainites with their advance in civilization (4:17), to whom Lamech also belonged, are different from Seth (4:26; 5:1), who continues the line of the elect.
- Finally, the godly, too, permit themselves to be deceived (6:1), and Noah stands alone in his piety.
- After that Ham is cursed in his youngest son, Canaan (9:22; compare 10:6); but Shem is blessed to such a degree that his blessing is to extend to Japheth also;
- cf, further, the elimination from sacred history
of Lot (19:29); of Ishmael (25:12), and of Esau (36:1); of Sodom and Gomorrah (chapter 19);
- then the choice of Jacob in preference to Esau (25:19-37:1);
- the preference of Ephraim over Manasseh (48:17);
- the transmission of the Messianic promises to Judah (49:10; compare my book, Messianische Erwartung, 360 f),
But in the history of Abraham this fact also becomes clear, that in the end this was all grace on the part of God, and faith on the part of man; and because both grace and faith are in Genesis placed and emphasized at the very beginning of the history of mankind, and before the giving of the law (Exodus 19); then this grace and faith cannot be abrogated through the latter or made ineffective.
- Not by works but by faith is man saved (compare Galatians 3:2; Romans 4; Hebrews 11:8; James 2:21).
But the guidance of individuals and of His people by God, the ways which He took with His elect, become clear and intelligible ultimately in the history of Joseph; and all and everything must in the end serve the good of those who are His.
Against the separation into documents we mention, of older works:
Havernick, Specielle Einleitung in den Pent; Hengstenberg, Beitrage zur Einleitung, II, III; Keil, Einleitung in das Altes Testament, and his Commentary on Gen; Ewald, Die Komposition der Genesis. Of later works: Orr, Problem of the Old Testament; Eerdmans, Die Komposition der Genesis; Moller, Wider den Bann der Quellenscheidung. Against the evolutionary theory: Orr, Problem of the Old Testament; Wiener, Wiener, Essays in Pentateuchal Criticism and Wiener, Origin of the Pentateuch; Green, Unity of Book of Genesis; Moller, Die Entwicklung der alttestamentlichen Gottesidee in vorexilischer Zeit (here also further lit.). On modern archaeological researches: Orr, Problem of the Old Testament; Jeremias, Das Altes Testament im Lichte des alten Orients; Urquhart, Die neueren Entdeckungen und die Bibel (to be used with caution; the work is reliable in the facts but not careful in its conclusions and in its account of Old Testament criticism). Further, compare the histories of Israel by Kohler, Konig, Kittel, Oettli, Klostermann, Stade, Wellhausen: the Commentaries on Genesis by Keil, Delitzsch, Dillmann, Lange, Strack, Gunkel, Holzinger; the Introductions to the Old Testament by Kuenen, Strack, Baudissin, Konig, Cornill, Driver; the Biblical Theologies by Marti, Smend, Budde, Schulz, Oehler. Finally compare Sievers, Metrische Studien, II: "Die hebraische Genesis."