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Westminster Commentaries 

Edited by Walter Lock D.D. 






A. H. M^NEILE, B.D. 







First Published in igo8 


THE primary object of these Commentaries is to be exegetical, 
to interpret the meaning of each book of the Bible in the 
light of modern knowledge to English readers. The Editors 
will not deal, except subordinately, with questions of textual 
criticism or philology ; but taking the English text in the Revised 
Version as their basis, they will aim at combining a hearty 
acceptance of critical principles with loyalty to the Catholic 

The series will be less elementary than the Cambridge Bible 
for Schools, less critical than the International Critical Com- 
mentary, less didactic than the Expositor's Bible ; and it is 
hoped that it may be of use both to theological students and to 
the clergy, as well as to the growing number of educated laymen 
and laywomen who wish to read the Bible intelligently and 

Each commentary will therefore have 

(i) An Introduction stating the bearing of modern 
criticism and research upon the historical character of the 
book, and drawing out the contribution which the book, as a 
whole, makes to the body of religious truth. 

(ii) A careful paraphrase of the text with notes on the 
more difficult passages and, if need be, excursuses on any points 
of special importance either for doctrine, or ecclesiastical 
organization, or spiritual life. 



But the books of the Bible are so varied in character that 
considerable latitude is needed, as to the proportion which the 
various parts should hold to each other. The General Editor 
will therefore only endeavour to secure a general uniformity in 
scope and character : but the exact method adopted in each 
case and the final responsibility for the statements made, will 
rest with the individual contributors. 

By permission of the Delegates of the Oxford University 
Press and of the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press 
the Text used in this Series of Commentaries is the Revised 
Version of the Holy Scriptures. 


TT is some years since an English commentary on the book of 
-*- Exodus was written. During that time there have been 
busy workers in many fields of study, who have contributed 
much that has thrown light upon the book. There seems, 
therefore, to be room for a volume which should make use of 
some of the more important of the results which they have 

There is no book of the Old Testament which cannot claim 
an interest peculiarly its own. But of the book of Exodus it 
may be said that an outstanding feature of it is the extraordinary 
multiplicity of its interest. The student is brought into contact 
with matters of archaeology and folk-lore, the history and 
customs of nations, the geography of countries, the' social 
enactments of Israel at successive stages of their development, 
the ceremonial of worship in difierent ages, and the moral 
standards and religious ideals of the prophets — the highest 
minds in a nation whose genius was religion. Further, the 
critical investigation of the book, as literature, provides complex 
problems. And finally Exodus possesses a deep and abiding 
spiritual value, and it is only by meditating on this that its 
readers can realise the primary object for which it has been 
allowed to come doAvn to us. The following pages, if they 
eifect nothing else, may perhaps succeed in dissipating for some 
the idea, which I have heard seriously expressed, that Exodus is 
* one of the dullest books in the Bible.' 


As much as possible has been thrown into the Introduction, 
in order to avoid over-weighting the Commentary, the first duty 
of which is to explain the text. It was felt to be specially 
necessary to free the notes from the details of critical analysis. 
Exodus more than most of the Old Testament writings demands 
analysis if it is to be intelligible. As regards the separation of 
the prophetic from the priestly strata^ critical students may be 
said to have reached something approaching to unanimity : but 
this is far from being the case with those passages which are 
derived from the composite narrative JE. No doubt some 
portions of this latter material could, without much loss, be 
treated as the work of a single writer. But there is hardly a 
chapter which, if so treated, does not raise serious difficulties ; 
and I have therefore ventured on the analysis of the whole. 
There must for a long time, perhaps always, be differences of 
opinion with respect to some details, but each student who 
makes his own suggestions may help to bring unity of opinion 
a step nearer. 

The time has gone by when an apology would have been 
needed for shewing that the origin of laws, customs and religious 
ceremonies can often be detected in primitive ideas of a remote 
past. The principle recognised by Aristotle holds good that 
the true nature of a thing is that which it will become when it 
is complete. And a heathen or barbarous origin of a custom 
does not invalidate it as a real expression of true religion at a 
later stage in the nation's growth. I have, therefore, not hesi- 
tated to record some of the more probable suggestions which 
have been made by students of archaeology and anthropology. 
Nor does it any longer require boldness to admit the possibility 
that a given narrative or tradition lacks, or contravenes, his- 
torical evidence. Its value, in many cases, lies not in the 
statement of fact but in the picture which it affords of the 
ideas or circumstances of the narrator. The permanent value 


of the book of Exodus as a whole is, of course, to be found in 
the religious beliefs and convictions of the writers. Much more 
might have been done in the commentary by way of suggestion^ 
had not the nature and aims of this series forbidden any purely 
devotional or homiletic treatment. But I have tried to indicate, 
both in the notes and in the last section of the Introduction, 
something of what the book appears to have been intended to 

The same considerations which lengthened the Introduction 
also led me to avoid the multiplication of references in the notes. 
The Bibliography, indeed, might be greatly enlarged ; but it is 
perhaps full enough to be a guide to the more important works 
bearing upon the different aspects of the book. 
* There are personal debts which I would gi'atefully acknow- 
ledge. The Rev. C. H. W. Johns, the Reader in Assyriology in 
this University, allowed me to consult him on points connected 
with the subject on which he is an authority. The Rev. Canon 
Kennett, Regius Professor of Hebrew, very kindly read the book 
in proof, and made several valuable suggestions. And the 
Warden of Keble College, Oxford, the General Editor of the 
series, read both MS and proofs ; his advice and suggestions 
have been of the utmost help throughout. 

Since Exodus follows Genesis, this volume is destined to 
stand next on the shelf to Prof. Driver's work ; so near — and 
yet so far from the strong balance of judgement and wide 
learning which have always been to me both curb and spur. 


Lent 1908. 

a 5 



Addenda XIII 

Principal abbreviations employed XV 

Books useful for study XVII 

Introduction i cxxxvii 

§ 1. The component parts of the Book of Exodus . . . i 

§ 2. Analysis xi 

§ 3. The Laws in Exodus xxxviii 

§ 4. The Priesthood Ixiv 

§ 5. The Tabernacle {with Illustrations) Ixxiii 

§ 6. The Geogi-aphy of Exodus (with Map) .... xcii 

§ 7. The Historical Value of the Book of Exodus . . . cvi 

§ 8. The Religious Value of the Book of Exodus . . . cxix 

List of Scriptural Passages cxxxiv 

Text and Commentary 1—242 

Additional and Longer Notes 

Sketch of contemporary Egyptian history 12 

On the name Yahweh 21 

On Circumcision 29 

On the names Eloah, Elohim, El, Shaddai .... 38 

The Plagues 42 

The Passover 62 

The Song of Praise 88 

The Sabbath 121 

On Altars 125 

The three Annual Festivals 140 

The word 'Covenant' and the Sinai-Horeb covenant . .150 

The composition of the chapters on the Tabernacle and its 

Ministry 155 

The Ark 161 

The Ephod, and the Urim and Tummim 181 

The Tent of Meeting 211 

On the Septuagint recension of chapters xxxv. — xl. . . 223 

Index 243 

Sketch of the Tabernacle between Ixxiv — v 

Map. Country of the Exodus to face xciii 


P. 4, on i. 11. Prof. Flinders Petrie claims to have discovered the site of 
Raamses at Tell er Retabeh 'in the middle of the length of the Wady Tumilat, 
about 20 miles from Ismailiyeh on the East.' 'We found here a temple of 
Ramessu II with sculptures in red granite and limestone ; part of a tomb 
of an official who was over the store-houses of Syrian produce ; and the gi'eat 
works of Ramessu III. All of these discoveries exactly accord with the 
requirements of the city of Raamses, where both the second and third kings 
of that name are stated to have worked, and where a store city was built by 
the Israelites along with that of Pithom, which is only eight miles distant. 
The absence of any other Egyptian site suitable to these conditions, which are 
all fulfilled here, makes it practically certain that this was the city of Raamses 
named in Exodus ' {Hyksos and Israelite cities, Brit. School of Archaeol. in 
Egypt, and Eg. research account, 12th year, 1906). 

If this is correct, Raamses must be placed a little nearer to Pithom than it 
is marked upon the map. 

P. 143, on xxiii. 19 6. Mr J. G. Frazer's contribution to the volume of 
Anthropological Essays presented to Prof Tylor contains a suggestion with 
regard to this obscm-e prohibition. He shews (pp. 154 — 157) that pastoral 
tribes in Africa believe that to boil milk will prevent the cow from which 
it has been drawn from yielding any more, and may even cause its death. 
The special mention of the mother's milk in IsraeUte law ' may have been 
either because as a matter of convenience the mother's milk was more likely 
to be used than any other for that purpose, or because the injury to the 
she-goat in such a case was deemed to be even more certain than in any other. - 
For being linked to the contents of the boiling pot by a double bond of 
sympathy, since the kid, as well as the milk, had come from her bowels, the 
mother goat was twice as likely as any other goat to lose her milk or to be 
killed outright by the heat and ebullition.' And he further suggests that, 
as among the Baganda, unprincipled persons in Israel might surreptitiously 
enjoy the luxury of flesh boiled in milk, regardless of the fact that the boiling 
of milk, like the poisoning of wells, threatened the existence of the whole 
tribe by cutting off its principal source of nourishment. 

P. 152, paragr. 2(c). Dr Westermarck {Anthropol. Essays, p. 373 f.) 
rejects the idea that the blood is shared as a bond of friendly union. He 
explains the covenant sacrifice by reference to the ''dhad (' covenant ') of the 
Moors. The two parties to the covenant transfer, through some material 


medium, conditional curses to one another, and the curse will take effect on 
him who violates the compact. Of these media blood is the most powerful. 
In the Horeb ceremony, according to this explanation, the curse is transferred 
to the deity and the people respectively by the sprinkling of the blood. And 
the same result is reached if the two parties join in a feast. 

The curse, moreover, is not always mutual. Dr Westermarck gives several 
instances of the Moorish practice of imposing a conditional cm-se (l-^dr) upon 
a person or a deity in order to force him to give help or protection. And, 
as before, sacrificial blood is the most powerful conductor of the curse. It is 
not impossible that this primitive idea underlies the Passover sacrifice and 
the ceremony of smearing the door-posts with blood. The blood binds the 
deity to shew favour to the house and persons thus guarded. 

P. 175, on xxvii. 10. their fillets. Understood by some to mean rods 
connecting the pillars and supporting the hangings. But this leaves the 
expression 'filleted with silver' {v. 17) unexplained Moreover no mention 
of such rods is made in the directions for transport (Num. iv.) ; and the 
veil (xxvi. 32) and the entrance screen of the Tent {v. 37) are clearly intended 
to hang by hooks from their pillars and not from rods. Kennedy is probably 
right in adopting the explanation of Dillmann and others, that the word 
signifies ' a band or necking of silver at the base of the capital.' 

P. 182, paragr. (c). A method of divination by means of an image, 
employed by natives of Sierra Leone, is described in Folklore xviii. 425. 
To obtain information from the fetish, the Ya-manna, the official of the 
Yassi society, anoints the figure with fetish medicine, brings it out from 
the Yassi house with certain ceremonial, and holds it out by both hands from 
the waist so that it can swing, the figure being made of light wood. Should 
the answer to the question put be favourable, the figure gradually inclines 
towards the Ya-manna. 


AJSL. American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures (edited 
by R. F. Harper). Cliicago. 

Aq. Aquila's Version. 

BDB. A Hebreio and English Lexicon of the Old Testament based on the 
Lexicon of William Gesenius. By Francis Brown, D.D., with the 
co-operation of S. R. Driver, D.D., and C. A. Briggs, D.D. (Clarendon 
Press, Oxford). 

Bihl. HWB. Handworterhuch des Biblischen AltertumSj edited by 
E. C. A. Riehm. 

BE. Edw. Robinson, Biblical Researches in Bible Lands and the adjacent 

COT. Eb. Schrader, The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O.T. (English 

DB. A Dictionary of the Bible, edited by J. Hastings, D.D. (4 vols. 1898 — 
1902. Extra vol. 1904). 

DCG. A Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, edited by J. Hastings, D.D. 

(2 vols. 1906, 8). 
E. See Index. 

EEFM. Egyptian Exploration Fund Memoirs. 
Enc. B. or EB. Encyclopaedia Biblica, edited by the Rev. T. K. Cheyne, 

D.D., and J. Sutherland Black, LL.D. (4 vols. 1899—1903). 

Exp. T. Expository Times (a monthly periodical edited by J. Hastings, D.D.). 
Ges.-K. or G.-K. Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, as edited and enlarged by 

E. Kautzsch. Translated from the 26th German edition by the Rev. 

G. W. CoUins, M.A., and A. E. Cowley, M.A. (Oxford, 1898). 

J. See Index. 

JBL. Journal oj Biblical Literature. 

JQR. Jewish Quarterly Review (edited by I. Abrahams, M.A., and C. G. 
Montefiore, M.A.). London. 

JThS. Journal of Tlieological Studies (edited by J. F. Bethune-Baker, B.D., 
and F. E. Brightman, M.A.). Oxford. 

KA T^ and KA T^. Eb. Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das Alte Testa- 
ment. 2nd and 3rd edition. 


L. and B. W. M. Thomson, The Land and the Book. 

OTJC^. W. Robertson Smith, The Old Testament in the Jewish Church. 

2nd edition. 
P. See Index. 

PEFM. Palestine Exploration Fund Memoirs. 
Pesh. Peshitta (the Syriac Version of the O.T.). 

PRE'^ and PRE^. Realencydopddie fiir protestantische Theologie und 

Kirche. 2nd ed. by J. J. Herzog and G. L. Plitt, 18 vols. 1877—1888. 

3rd ed. by A. Hauck, 19 vols, at present (1908) published, 1896—1907. 
PSBA or SB A. Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology. 
Rev. Arch. Revue Archeologique (edited by G. Perrot and S. Reinach). Paris. 
RS^ or Rel. Sem.^ W. Robertson Smith, Lectures on the Religion of the 

Semites^ 2nd ed. 
Sam. Samaritan Version of the Pentateuch. 
Sym. Symmachus' Version. 
S. Hex. Syro-Hexaplar Version, i.e. the Syriac Version in the fifth column of 

Origen's Hexapla. 

Theod. Theodotion's Version. 

ZATW. Zeitschrift fiir die alttestam^ntliche Wissenschaft (edited by 
B. Stade). Giessen. 

ZDMG. Zeitschrift der Deutschen morgenldndischen Gesellschaft (edited 
by A. Fischer). Leipzig. 


Commentaries on the Pentateuch. 

Kalisch, M. M. Genesis. 1858. Exodus. 1855. 

Knobel, A. Die Genesis erklart. 2nd ed. 1860. 

Keil, K. F. (In Keil and Delitzsch's BiU. Comm. itber das A.T.) 1861, 2. 

Lange, J. P. Engl. Transl. Edinburgh, 1868. 

Spurrell, G. J. Notes on the Heb. text of the Book of Genesis. 1887. 

2nd ed. Notes on the Book of Genesis, with appendix. 1896. 
The Speakei*'s Commentary : Getiesis^ Bp Harold Browne. Exodus, F. C. Cook 

and S. Clark. Leviticus, S. Clark. Numbers, T. E. Espin and 

J. F. Thrupp. Deuteronomy, T. E. Espin. 
The Expositor's Bible : Genesis, Marcus Dods. Exodus, Dean (now Bishop) 

Chadwick. Leviticus, S. H. Kellogg. 
Kurzgefasster Kommentar z. A. T. : Genesis — Numbers, H. L. Strack. 

Deuteronomy, S. Oettli. 
Kurzgefasstes Exeget. Handbuch z. A.T. A. Dillmann (3rd ed. of Exod., 

Lecit. by Ryssel). 

Engl, transl. of Genesis. Edinburgh, 1897. 
Kurzer Handkommentar z. A.T. : Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, H. Holzinger. 

Leviticus, Deuteronomy, A. Bertolet. 
Handkommentar z. A.T. : Genesis, H. Gunkel. Exodus — Numbers, B. Baentsch. 

Deuteronomy, C. SteuemageL 
Sacred books of the O.T. : Genesis, J. C. Ball. Leviticus, S. R. Driver and 

H. A. AVhite. Numbers, J. A. Paterson. 
Westminster Commentaries : Genesis, S. R. Driver. 
International Critical Commentary: Numbers, G. B. Gray. Deuteronomy, 

S. R. Driver. (Not yet published : Genesis, J. Skinner. Exodus, 

A. R. S. Kennedy. Leviticus, J. F. Stenning.) 

Religion and Theology of IsraM. 

Kuenen, A. The Religion of Israel to the fall of the Jewish state. London, 

Koenig, F. E. Die Hauptprobleme der altisraelitischen Religionsgeschichte. 

Leipzig, 1884. 
Green, W. H. The Hebrew Feasts, in their relation to recent critical 

hj-potheses concerning the Pentateuch. London, 1886. 
Kayser, A. Die Theologie des A.T. Strassburg, 1886. 
Baethgen, F. Beitrage zur semitischen Religionsgeschichte. Berlin, 1888. 
Robertson, J. The early religion of Israel. 2nd ed. Edinburgh, 1892. 


Schultz, H. O.T. Theology (transl. from 4th German ed.). Edinburgh, 1892. 
Smend, R. Lehrbuch der alttestamentHchen Religionsgeschichte. Freiburg 

and Leipzig, 1893. 
Dillmann, A. Handbuch zur alttestamentHchen Theologie (ed. Kittel). 

Leipzig, 1895. 
Kraetzschmar, R. Die Bundesvorstellung im A.T. Marburg, 1896. 
Davidson, A. B. The Theology of the O.T. Edinburgh, 1904. 
Marti, K. Die Religion des A.T. (based on Kayser). Tiibingen, 1906. 
Baentsch, B. Altorientalischer und Israelitischer Monotheismus. Tiibingen, 


O.T. History, &c. 

Josephus. Antiq. ii. ix. — xvi., iii. i. — vii. contra Apionem 1. 14—16, 25 — 34, 

II. 1—3, 16—18 (ed. Niese ; transl. by Whiston). 
Eusebius. Praepar. Evang. ii. 1, vii. 6, 7, viii. 1, 6 — 9, ix. 8, 26 — 29 (ed. and 

transl. by Gifford. Oxford, 1903). 
Stade, B. Geschichte des Volkes Israel. Berlin, 1887. 
Kittel, R. Geschichte der Hebraer. Gotha, 1888. 

(Engl, transl. A History of the Hebrews. London, 1895.) 
Kent, C. F. A History of the Hebrew people. London, 1896, 7. 

The Growth of Israelitish Law (in Historical and Critical Contributions to 

Biblical Science). N. York, 1901. 
Israel's laws and legal precedents. London, 1907. 
Schiirer, E. Geschichte des jlidischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi. 
3rd ed. Leipzig, 1898. 

(Engl, transl. A History of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus 
Christ. Edinburgh, 1885.) 
Wade, G. W, O.T. History. London, 1901. 
Smith, H. P. O.T. History. Edinburgh, 1903. 

Wellhausen, J. Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels. 6tli ed. Berlin, 1905. 
Engl, transl. of 3rd ed. Edinburgh, 1885. 

Literary Criticism. 

Kuenen, A. The Hexateuch, An historico-critical enquiry into the origin and 

composition of Engl, transl. of the 2nd ed. London, 1886. 
Wellhausen, J. Die Composition des Hexateuchs und der historischen Biicher 

des A.T. 2nd ed. Beriin, 1889. 
Addis, W. E. The documents of the Hexateuch. London, 1892. 
Baentsch, B. Das Bundesbuch. Halle a. S., 1892. 
Briggs, C. A. The Higher Criticism of the Hexateuch. N. York, 1893. 

General Introduction to the study of Holy Scripture. Edinburgh, 1899. 
Holzinger, H. Einleitung in den Hexateuch. Freiburg, 1893. 
Bacon, B. W. The Triple Tradition of the Exodus. Hartford, Conn., 1894. 
Driver, S. R. Introduction to the literature of the O.T. Edinburgh, 1891. 

7th ed. 1898. 
Carpenter, J. E. and Battersby, G. H. The Hexateuch. London, 1900. 

2nd ed. of Vol. i. The Composition of the Hexateuch. 1902. 
Kent, C. F. Narratives of the beginnings of Hebrew history. London, 1904. 


Cornill, C. H. Einleitung in die kanoiiischen Biicher des A.T. Tiibingen, 

1891. 5th ed. 1905. 

Engl, transl. London, 1907. 
Klosterniann, A. Der Pentateuch. Leipzig, 1892. 2nd ed. 1907. 

Archaeology^ &c. 

Keil, K. F. Handbuch zur biblischen Archaologie. Frankfurt, 1858. 

Engl, transl. Edinburgh, 1887. 
Bro^^^l, Wm. The Tabernacle, and its priests and services. Edinburgh, 1871. 
Ewald, H. The Antiquities of Israel (transl, Solly). London, 1876. 
Nestle, E. Die israelitischen Eigennamen, nach ihrer religionsgeschichtlichen 

Bedeutung. Haarlem, 1876. 
Trumbull, W. C. The Blood Covenant. London, 1887. 

The Threshold Covenant. Edinburgh, 1896. 
Baudissin, W. W. Die Geschichte des alttestamentlichen Priesterthums. 

Leipzig, 1889. 
Benzinger, I. Hebraische Archaologie. Freiburg, 1894. 

Bilderatlas zur Bibelkunde [a useful collection of photographs and 

sketches illustrating Biblical history and antiquities]. Stuttgart, 

Nowack, W, Hebraische Archaologie. Freiburg, 1894. 
Smith, W. Robertson. Lectures on the Religion of the Semites. 2nd ed, 

London, 1894. 
Kinship and marriage in early Arabia. 2nd ed. (S. A. Cook). 

London, 1903. 
Gray, G. B, Studies in Hebrew proper names. London, 1896. 
Wellhausen, J. Reste Arabischen Heidentums. Berlin, 1897. 
Driver, S. R. Part i. of Hogarth's Authority and Archaeology, sacred and 

profane. London, 1899. 
Meinhold, J. Die Lade Jahves. Tiibingen, 1900. 
Edersheim, A. The Temple, its ministry and services as they were at the 

time of Jesus Christ. London, 1901. 
Schwally, F. Semitische Kriegsaltertiimer. Leipzig, 1901. 
Caldecott, W. Shaw. The Tabernacle; its history and structure. London, 1904. 
The Temple of Solomon ; its history and structure. London, 1907. 


Burckhardt, J. L. Ti*avels in Syria and the Holy Land. London, 1822. 
Travels in Arabia. London, 1829. 

Thomson, W. AL The Land and the Book ; or Biblical illustrations drawn 
from the manners and customs, the scenes and scenery of the 
Holy Land. In 2 vols. N. York, 1859. 3 vols. 1881, 3, 6. 
1 vol. 1898, 1901, &c. 

Robinson, E. Bibhcal Researches in Bible Lands. 3rd ed. London, 1867. 

Palmer, E. H. The Desert of the Exodus. Cambridge, 1871. 

Beke, C. T. Discoveries of Sinai in Arabia, and of Midian. London, 1878. 

Ebers, G. Durch Gosen zum Sinai. 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1881. 


Trumbull, H. Clay. Kadesh Barnea; its importance and probable site. 

London, 1884. 
Naville, E. The store-city of Pithom and the route of the Exodus. London. 
2nd ed. 1885. 
The shrine of Saft el Henneh and the land of Goshen. London, 1887. 
Doughty, C. M. Travels in Arabia Deserta. Cambridge, 1888. 

Abridged edition, arranged with an Introduction by E. Garnett. 
London, 1907. 
Palmer, H. S. Sinai, from the fourth Egyptian dynasty to the present day 

(revised by Sayce). London. 2nd ed. 1892. 3rd ed. 1906. 
Diimichen, J. Zur Geographie des Alton Aegypten. Leipzig, 1894. 
Tristram, H. B. The Natural History of the Bible. 9th ed. London, 1898. 
Brown, R. H. The Land of Goshen and the Exodus. London, 1899. 
Petrie, W. M. Flinders. Researches in Sinai (chapters by C. T. Currelly). 
London, 1906. 

Egypt and Babylon. 
Schrader, Eb. Die Keihnschriften und das A.T. Berlin. 2nd ed. 1882. 

Engl, transl. The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O.T. London, 
1885, 8. 
Zimmern, H. and Winckler, H. Die Keilinschriften und das A.T. 3rd ed. of 
Schrader (enlarged and mostly re-written, but not preserving all 
his material). Berlin, 1903. 
Erman, A. Aegypten und agyptisches Leben im Alterthum. Tiibingen, 

Engl, transl. Life in Ancient Egypt. London, 1894. 
Wiedemann, A. Herodots zweites Buch. Leipzig, 1890. 
Brugsch, H. Die Aegyptologie. Leipzig, 1891. 

Engl, transl. Egypt under the Pharaohs. London, 1891. 
Max Miiller, W. Asien und Europa nach altagyptischen Denkmalern. 

Leipzig, 1893. 
Maspero, G. The Dawn of Civilization. Egypt and Chaldea. London, 1894. 
4th ed. 1901. 
The Struggle of the Nations. London, 1896. 
The Passing of the Empires 850—330 B.C. London, 1900. 
McCurdy, J. F. History, Prophecy and the Monuments. London, 1894, 6, 1901. 
Hommel, F. The ancient Hebrew tradition as illustrated by the monuments. 

London, 1897. 
Zimmern, H. Beitrage zur Kenntnis der Babylonischen Religion. Leipzig, 1901. 
Cook, S. A. The Laws of Moses and the Code of Hammurabi. London, 1903. 
Johns, C. H. W. The oldest code of laws in the world. Edinburgh, 1903. 
Jastrow, M. Die Religion Babyloniens und Assyriens. 2nd ed. Giessen, 1905. 
Engl, transl. of 1st ed. The Religion of Babylon and Assyria. 
Boston, U.S.A., 1898. 
Jeremias, A. Das A.T. im Lichte des Alten Orients. 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1906. 

A large amount of information can also be derived from articles in the 
Encyclopaedia Biblica^ the Jewish Encyclopaedia, Hauck's Realencyclopddie^ 
Smith's Dictionary of the Bible (2 vols, of the 2nd edition), and especially 
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 


§ 1. The component parts of the Book of Exodus. 

The book Exodus appears to have received its name from the lxx 
rendering of xix. 1 ('In the third month of the exodus of the children 
of Israel from the land of Egypt...'). In the Hebrew Bible its title 
consists of the opening words, We'eleh shemoth ('and these are the 
names'), or more shortly Shemoth. It is the second volume of the 
'Hexateuch,' the literary whole comprising the Pentateuch and the' 
book of Joshua, the general object of which ' is to describe in their' 
origin tbe fundamental institutions of the Israelite theocracy (i.e. the 
civil and the ceremonial law), and to trace from the earliest past the i- 
course of events which issued ultimately in the establishment of Israel 
in Canaan ' (Driver). Genesis forms the opening volume of this work ; 
Exodus carries on the narrative from after the death of Joseph to the 
arrival of Israel at the mountain of God, and describes the events 
which occurred there, and the laws delivered to the nation through 

The literary history of the book is similar to that of the other 
books of the Hexateuch. There are the same two prophetical com- 
pilations of earlier traditions, usually known as J and E, because they 
respectively prefer the use of the divine titles Jehovah (Yahweh) and 
Elohim. The former apparently emanated from the Southern, the 
latter from the Northern, kingdom. There is the same expansion, 
mostly of a hortatory or paraenetic t3rpe, characteristic of the Deutero- 
nomic (D) school of thought. And there is the large mass of 
specifically priestly, post-exilic work (P), with its exact chronology y 
and measurements, its genealogies and statistics, its somewhat ^ 
mechanical use of formulas, and its insistence on the minutiae of 
worship and ceremonies by which the ecclesiastical order which 
obtained in the period of the second temple is reflected back into 
the Mosaic age\ 

^ See Ottley, Aspects of the Old Testament, pp. 120 — 5. 

M. a 


The composite origin of the books of the Hexateuch has been so 
abundantly proved by a long succession of students that no apology 
can be needed for accepting it as an established fact. But it cannot 
be insisted upon too often or too strongly that the object of Biblical 
criticism is not to destroy. One branch of the study concerns itself 
with the actual text of the writings, and seeks to determine as nearly 
as possible what were the original words as they went forth from the 
pen of the writer. That this is an important aim no one will deny. 
But, as Arnold says\ 'history contains no mean treasures' — 'the 
treasures indeed are ample ; but we may more reasonably fear whether 
we may have strength and skill to win them.' And it is clear that to 
attempt to win the treasures of history is a higher aim than that of 
determining the exact text of the original documents. In the case of 
the history of an ancient nation, the aim involves the placing of facts 
and institutions, persons and actions, in their true perspective — the 
tracing of moral standards, of social customs and civil laws, of religious 
beliefs and ritual observances, throughout their gradual development. 

And when the biography of a nation is found not to be written in 
one book at one time, but to be a record which grew with the nation's 
growth, and was enshrined in fragments of writing whose dates ranged 
over many centuries, its treasures cannot possibly be won without a 
careful study of the dates of the successive fragments, the characters 
of the writers, the aims and purposes of each. Further, owing to the 
literary methods of ancient times, fragments may have been woven 
together, and must be disentangled — and that not for the purpose of 
shewing that writings formerly thought to be homogeneous are really 
composite, not, that is, for the mere purpose of criticising, but with 
the ultimate object of arriving at historical truth. 

To begin with the latest of the sources, the portions of the 
book of Exodus which are written from a priestly point of view 
can, for the most part, be readily distinguished. They prove, 
on examination, to be the work, not of a single writer, but 
of a 'school' — a succession of men steeped in the atmosphere of 
ceremony and ritual and ecclesiastical organization, who lived between 
the time of the exile and the 2nd century b.c. And when those 
portions whose subject-matter proclaims them as priestly are further 
examined from a linguistic point of view, they are found to contain 
marked characteristics of style and vocabulary which help to corro- 
borate the results of the subjective analysis, and also to distinguish 
other portions in which the post-exilic narrative runs side by side, or 

1 Modern History, pp. 21 f. 


is interwoven, with those of earlier writers. The following is a 
select list of words and expressions occurring in Exodus which are 
characteristic of P. 

The dagger (t), botli here and elsewhere, indicates that all passages of the 
Old Testament, in which the word or phrase quoted occurs, are cited or 
referred to ; and^the asterisk (*) indicates that all passages of the Hexateuch, 
in which the word or phrase quoted occiu*s, are cited or referred to. 

1. Ayioint xxviii. 41, xxix. 2, 7, 36, xxx. 26, 30, xl. 9, 11, 13, 15, and 15 
times in Lev., Num. Once only in E, Gen. xxxi. 13. Anointing (subst. nnK'P) 
xxix. 29, xl. 15, Num. xviii. Sf. 

2. Atonement (D""")^?)) xxix. 36, xxx. 10, 16, Lev. xxiii. 27 f., xxv. 9, Num. 
y. 8, xxix. 11 f. ' 

3. Between the two evenings (so M.T.; see on xii. 6) xii. 6, xvi. 12, xxix. 39, 
41, xxx. 8, Lev. xxiii. 5, Num. ix. 3, 5, 11, xxviii. 4, 8 f. 

4. Burn, cause a sweet savour (sacrificially), xxix. 13, 18, 25, xxx. 7, 8, 20, 
xl. 27, and 37 times in Lev., Num. * 

5. Close by (plpv?) xxv. 27, xxviii. 27, xxxvii. 14, xxxviii. 18 {corresponding 
to), xxxix. 20, Lev. iii. 9 *, 15 times in Ezekiel. 

6. Congregation (^"W). In its technical use to describe the Israel of 
the Exodus it is confined to H and P, and occurs 115 times. Special 
phrases are 

The Congregation of Israel xii. 3, 6, 19, 47, Lev. iv. 13, Num. xvi. 9, 
xxxii. 4, Josh. xxii. 18, 20 f. 

The C. of the sons of Israel xvi. 1, 2, 9, 10, xvii. 1, xxxv. 1, 4, 20, and 
19 times in Lev., Num., Josh, f 

The princes of (or in) the G. xvi. 22, xxxiv. 31, Nmn. iv. 34, xvi. 2, 
xxxi. 13, xxxii. 2, Josh. ix. 15, 18, xxii. 30 1. 

7. To dwell (pK^), used of Yahweh, the cloud, or the glory. The 
Dwelling (V^p^y The words occur passim, in P throughout the Hexateuch, 
with a special connotation. 

8. Ecerlasting ordinance, or an ordinance for ever, xii. 14, 17, 24, xxvii. 21, 
xxviii. 43, xxix. 9, 28, xxx. 21, Lev. 17 times. Num. 8 times * 

9. Families, after your {their) (nins^p with 7) vi. 17, 25, xii. 21, Gen. 
viii. 19, X. 5, 20, 31, Num. i. (13 times), ii. 34, iii. — iv. (15 times), xxvi. (16 times), 
xxxiii, 54, Josh. (28 times). Also 1 Chr. v. 7, vi. 62, 63 (Heb. 47, 48 ; from Josh. 
xxi. 33, 40), Num. xi. 10 (J), 1 S. x. 21 1. 

10. Fillings, a technical term for 'consecration,' xxix. 22, 26, 31, 34, 
Lev. vii. 37, viii. 22, 28, 31, 33. The word also occurs with the meaning 
settings of stones xxv. 7, xxviii. 17, 20, xxxv. 9, 27, xxxix. 13, 1 Chr. xxix. 2 f. 

11. Generations, throughout (^) your {their) xii. 14, 17, 42, x\i. 32, 33, 
xxvii. 21, xxix. 42, xxx. 8, 10, 21, 31, xxxi. 13, 16, xl. 15, Gen. ix. 12, xvii. 
7, 9, 12, Lev. (14 times). Num. (9 times) t- 

12. Glory of Yahweh, in the special sense of His visible presence in the 
midst of His people, xvi. 7, 10, xxiv. 16, 17, xxix. 43, xl. 34, 35, Lev. ix. 6, 23, 
Nmn. xiv. 10, xvi. 19, 42, xx. 6. Also 10 times in Ez., 2 Chr. v. 14 (= 1 K. 
viii. 11), vii. 1, 2, 3. 


iv mTRODUCTION [§ 1 

13. Head^ or 'poll, i.e. a person, xvi. 16, xxxviii. 26, Num. i. 2, 18, 20, 22, 
iii. 47. So in the priestly passages 1 Chr. xxiii. 3, 24. The original meaning 
'skuir is found in Jud. ix. 53, 1 Chr. x. 10 1. 

14. Heave, i.e. lift off and present as a contribution (Dnn), xxix. 27, 
XXXV. 24 ; freq. in Lev. and Num. Elsewhere only in Ez., 2 Chr., Ezr. 

15. Holy. The adjective and the cognate verb are occasionally met with 
in JED, but their occurrence is rare. In H and P they are more fi-equent 
and characteristic than any other class of words. The following are entirely 
confined to priestly writings, in the Hexateuch : 

In a holy place xxix. 31, Lev. vi. 16, 26, vii. 6, x. 13, xvi. 24, xxiv. 9*. 

To minister in the holy place xxviii. 43, xxix. 30, xxxv. 19, xxxix. 1, 41, 
Nimi. iv. 12. Also Ez. xliv. 27 t. 

Holiness (with the article in the sense of the ' sanctuary ' or ' holy things ' 
after a noun), e.g. contribution of xxxvi. 6, Num. xviii. 19"^; shekel of xxx. 
13, 24, xxxviii. 24, 25, 26, Lev. v. 15, xxvii. 3, 25, Num. iii. 47, 50, vii. (14 times), 
xviii. 16*; work o/(the service of) xxxvi. 1, 3, 4, xxxviii. 24, Num. vii. 9*. 

16. Hosts, used of the Israelites as an organized community in the desert, 
vi. 26, vii. 4, xii. 17, 41, 51, Num. i. 3, 52, ii. 3, 9, 16, 18, 24, 32, x. 14, 18, 22, 
25, 28, xxxiii. 1. Contrast Dt. xx. 9 *, where preparations are described for 
wars after the settlement in Canaan. 

17. Hundred, a peculiar use of the construct state me'ath instead of 
the absolute me'dh, vi. 16, 18, 20, xxxviii. 25, 27 ter, Gen. (15 times), Num. ii. 
9, 16, 24, 31, xxxiii. 39. Elsewhere only in late ^vritings. Est. i. 4, Neh. v. 11, 
2 Chr. XXV. 9 {K^ri), Ecc. viii. 12, but only in the first of these is the reading 
without suspicion. P uses me^ah in such cases only in Gen. xvii. 17, 
xxiii. 1. 

18. Incense (a word cognate to no. 4), or incense of spices, xxv. 6, xxx. 1, 
7, 8, 9, 27, 35, 37, xxxi. 8, 11, xxxv. 8, 15, 28, xxxvii. 25, 29, xxxix. 38, 
xl. 5, 27, Lev. iv. 7, x. 1, xvi. 12, 13, Num. iv. 16, vii. (13 times), xvi. 7, 17, 35, 
40, 46, 47 *. In all other passages the word appears to denote the savoury 
smell of sacrificial smoke. 

19. Be little (Hiph. diminish or do little) xii. 4, xvi. 17, 18, xxx. 15, 
Lev. xxv. 16 bis, xxvi. 22, Num. xxvi. 54, xxxiii. 54, xxxv. 8. Once in J, 
Num. xi. 32*. 

20. Offer {bring near, present I'^'lpH). As a technical tenn it occurs nearly 
160 times, chiefly in H, P, and Ez. Of the dedication of Aaron or his sons 
xxviii. 1, xxix. 4, 8, xl. 12, 14 ; of an ofiering xxix. 3, 10. Contrast the non- 
technical use in Dt. i. 17, Josh. vii. 16, 17, 18, viii. 23, and the intransitive use 
('draw near') in J, Gen. xii. 11, Ex. xiv. 10. 

21. Peoples, Father's kin (D''^^). See on xxx. 33. 

{a) that soul (or man) shall be cut off from, its (or his) father's kin 
xxx. 33, 38, xxxi. 14, Gen. xvii. 14, Lev. vii. 20, 21, 25, 27, xvii. 9, xix. S, 
xxiii. 29, Num. ix. 13 f. 

(6) to be gathered to one^s father'' s kin Gen. xxv. 8, 17, xxxv. 29, xiix. 33, 
Num. XX. 24, xxvii. 13, xxxi. 2, Dt. xxxii. 50 bis f. 

(c) Lev. xix. 16, xxi. 1, 4, 14, 15. Perhaps in two early passages Jud. 
V. 14, Hos. X. 14, and in Ez. xviii. 18. 


22. Plague^ striking (P]J..^.) xii. 13, xxx. 12, Num. viii. 19, xvi. 46, 47, 
Josh. xxii. 17. In Is. viii. 14 it means ' stumbling ' f. 

23. Act as a priest (Piel jriD) xxviii. 1, 3, 4, 41, xxix. 1, 44, xxx. 30, 
xxxi. 10, XXXV. 19, xxxix. 41, xl. 13, 15, Lev. vii. 35, xvi. 32, Num. iii. 3, 4. 
Also Dt. X. 6 (perhaps E) *. 

24. Prince (i<T^, R.V. Ruler in Ex. and Lev.) xvi. 22, xxxiv. 31, xxxv. 
27, Gen. x^^i. 20, xxiii. 6, xxv. 16, xxxiv. 2, Lev. iv. 22, Num. (59 times). 
Josh. ix. 15, 18, 21, xiii. 21, xvii. 4, xxii. 14, 30, 32. Also Ex. xxii. 28 (27) 
which may be E, but is probably a late addition ■'^. Outside the Hex. it is 
confined to Ez. and Chr.-Ezr., except 1 K. viii. 1 (lxx om.) and xi. 34. 

25. Remain oter^ or (Hiph.) have over^ as surplus xvi. 18, 23, xxvi. 12 hiSy 
13, Lev. xxv. 27, Num. iii. 46, 48, 49 t. 

26. Sabbatic observance (|iri3^ Shalbdthdn) xvi. 23, xxxi. 15, xxxv. 2, 
Lev. xvi. 31, xxiii. 3, 24, 32, 39 bis, xxv. 4, 5t. 

27. This selfsame day (n:Tn UVr\ DVr) xii. 17, 41, 51, Gen. vii. 13, xvii. 
23, 26, Lev. xxiii. 14, 21, 28, 29, 30, ' Dt. xxxii. 48, Josh. v. 11, x. 27. 
Elsewhere only Ez. ii. 3, xxiv. 2 bis, xl. 1 1. 

28. Soul = person, any person i. 5, xii. 4, 15, 19, xvi. 16, and elsewhere in 
H and P nearly 100 times. It is not found earlier than the later portions 
of D. 

29. Strayige ("IT) either as adj. or subst. ; chiefly of one who belongs to 
another tribe or family than that of the priests xxix. 33, xxx. 33, Lev. xxii. 
10, 12, 13, Num. i. 51, xvi. 40 (xvii. 5), xviii. 4, 7. Also of things that are 
strange to the law — not ritually correct xxx. 9, Lev. x. 1, Num. iii. 4, xxvi. 61. 
The more ordinary meaning 'stranger,' 'foreigner' is frequent outside the 
Hexateuch; but in the Hex. only in Dt. xxv. 5, xxxii. 16 (foreign gods)*. 

30. To swarm {Ylf) viii. 3 (vii. 28) [hence Ps. cv. 30], Gen. i. 20, 21, 
vii. 21, viii. 17, Lev. xi. 29, 41, 42, 43, 46, Ez. xlvii. 9. Figm-atively of men 
i. 7, Gen. ix. 7t. 

31. The Testimony, i.e. the Ten Words, xvi. 34, xxv. 16, 21, 22, xxvi. 33, 
xxvii. 21, xxx. 6 bis, 26, 36, xxxi. 7, 18, xxxii. 15, xxxiv. 29, xxxviii. 21, 
xxxix. 35, xl. 3, 5, 20, 21, Lev. xvi. 13, xxiv. 3, Num. i. 50, 53, iv. 5, vii. 89, 
ix. 15, X. 11, xvii. 4, 7, 10 (19, 22, 25), xviii. 2, Josh. iv. 16 ^ 2 Chr. xxiv. 6. 

32. Tribe, lit. staff (Ht^iD), xxxi. 2, 6, xxxv. 30, 34, xxxviii. 22, 23, and 
150 times in the other books of the Hex. ■^, 1 K. vii. 14, viii. 1 = 2 Chr. v. 2, 
23 times in 1 Chr. Perhaps Mic. vi. 9. P employs the synonym shebhet, 
but JED never have maiteh. 

33. Upward,ov {from) above (p/Vu^D^, xxv. 21, xxvi. 14, xxxvi. 19, xxxix. 
31, xl. 19, 20, Gen. vi. 16, vii. 20, Num.'iv. 6, 25, Josh. iii. 13, 16 *. 

The list might easily be enlarged, but these are among the most distinctive 
expressions ; and they serve to shew how markedly the style and vocabulary 
of P differ from those of the other waitings in the Hexateuch. 

The portions of Exodus which can be pronounced ' Deuteronomic * 
are comparatively few. They belong to a period before, and perhaps 
during, the exile, and emanate from a reforming, prophetical atmo- 
sphere in which history was regarded from a moral and spiritual 

vi mTRODUCTION [§ 1 

point of view ; and in their editing of early documents the writers 
followed the same line of thought, and employed the same kind of 
language, as the writer or writers of the book of Deuteronomy — of 
which it has been said that 'it formulates the law indeed, but by 
dwelling on Jehovah's goodness as the chief motive of obedience 
to the law, it seeks to change the law into a gospeP.' The Deutero- 
nomic redactors (RP) express the anxiety that future generations shall 
be taught of Yahweh's loving care (xii. 26 f., xiii. 8, 14 — 16); they 
insist on the obedient hearkening to His commandments and statutes 
(xii. 25, xiii. 5, xv. 26, xx. 5, 6, xxiii. 13) ; they dwell upon the past 
kindness of Yahweh as shewn in the deliverance from Egypt, and in 
the choice of Israel for His service (xii. 27, xiii. 3, 8, 9, 16, xv. 26, 
xix. Sb — 6, XX. 2, xxiii. 15 b); they inculcate kindness to inferiors 
and to animals (xx. 10 ; cf. Dt. v. 14 £) ; and they frequently refer to 
the land which Yahweh is about to give to Israel, and the nations 
whom He will drive out before them (iii. 8 b, 17 b, xii. 25, xiii. 5, 
XX. 12 b, xxiii. 23, 28, xxxiii. 2, xxxiv. 11). 

Still travelling backwards we reach the composite work produced 
by an editor who blended J and E (usually known as JE), con- 
taining the bulk of the narratives and the early collections of laws. 
In J and E we have to deal with two writings containing approximately 
the same subject-matter, and originating in about the same period. 
But, as in the case of J) and P, these S3anbols must not be understood 
to denote two individuals, but rather two schools of thought ; they 
were in close connexion with the prophetic teaching of the 8 th century. 
The earliest portions of J and E were probably earlier than the written 
prophecies of Hosea and Amos, Isaiah and Micah, but the later portions 
must be regarded as a direct product of the new religious feeling 
created by these prophets. It is less easy to distinguish J from E 
than to distinguish P from either of them. But the analysis (pp. xii. — 
xxxviii.) shews that there is abundant justification for the belief that 
they are distinct. And stylistic peculiarities are not wanting. Of their 
character in general Prof. Driver (Genesis, pp. xiv. f ) says — 'Of all 
the Hebrew historians whose writings have been preserved to us, J is 
the most gifted and the most brilliant. He excels in the power of 
delineating life and character. His touch is singularly light : with a 
few strokes he paints a scene, which impresses itself indelibly upon his 
reader's memory. In ease and grace his narratives are unsurpassed ; 
everything is told with precisely the amount of detail that is required ; 
the narrative never lingers, and the reader's interest is sustained to 

^ Prof. Kennett, Journal of Theol. Studies, Jau. 1905. 


the end. He writes without effort and without conscious art E in 

general character does not differ widely from J. But he does not as a 
writer exhibit the same rare literary power, he does not display the 
same command of language, the same delicacy of touch, the same 
unequalled felicity of representation and expression. His descriptions 
are less poetical ; and his narratives do not generally leave the same 
vivid impression. As compared with P, both J and E exhibit far 
greater freshness and brightness of style ; their diction is more varied ; 
they are not bound to the same stereotyped forms of thought and 
expression ; their narratives are more dramatic, more life-like, more 
instinct with feeling and character.' J and E, in fact, present the 
history in a popular, P in a systematic form. 

The following are some of the words or expressions in Exodus 
which characterise J as distinct from E : 

1. He is consistent in his use of the name Yah web in preference to 

2. Before, not yet (D"5P) ix. 30, x. 7, xii. 34, Gen. ii. 5 his, xix. 4, xxiv. 15, 
45, Num. xi. 33, Josh. ii. 8, ill. 1 *. On the other hand D"J^? is used three 
times each by J and E in the Hex. (i. 19 E). 

3. Both. ..and (D5 ■• D3 ; with negative neither... nor) iv. 10, v. 14, xii. 31, 
32, xxxiv. 3, Gen. (9 times). E xviii. 18, Gen. xxi. 26, Num. xxiii. 25. 
Elsewhere Dt. xxxii. 25, Num. xviii. 3 (P)"^. 

4. They {Jie, I) howed and made obeisance iv. 31, xii. 27, xxxiv. 8, Gen. 
xxiv. 26, 48, xhii. 28 ; of Num. xxii. 31 ^. 

5. Canaanite, the term employed by J for the native inhabitants of 
Palestine (E prefers 'Amorites'), iii. 8«, \1 a, Gen. x. 18, 19, xii. 6, xiii. 7, 
xxiv. 3, 37, xxxiv. 30, 1. 11, Num. xiv. 43, 45. (See note on Ex. iii. 8.) 

6. Come down. J relates that Yahweh came down in person iii. 8, xix. 1 1, 
18, 20, xxxiv. 5, Gen. xi. 5, 7, xviii. 21. In E the representation is always that 
of a descent in the pillar of cloud at the entrance of the Tent xxxiii. 9, Num. 
xi. 17, 25, xii. 5. 

7. Find grace or favour (jn NVD) xxxiii. 12, 13 Us, 16, xxxiv. 9, Num. xi. 
11, 15, Gen. (13 times). Once in D (Dt. xxiv. 1) and in P (Num. xxxii. 5) ^. 

8. Flowing with milk and honey iii. 8, 17, xiii. 5, xxxiii. 3, Nmn. xiii. 27, 
xiv. 8, xvi. 13, 14. Seven times in D. Elsewhere Lev. xx. 24 (H), Jer. xi. 5, 
xxxii. 22, Ez. xx. 6, 15 f. 

9. From the time tliat, since (TNp a curious idiom) iv. 10, v. 23, ix. 24, 
Gen. xxxix. 5. Once in a Deuteronomic passage Josh. xiv. 10 *. Elsewhere 
with this meaning only in Is. xiv. 8, Jer. xliv. 18, Ruth ii. 7. 

10. Harden, lit. 'make heavy' (some form of 122) ; used exclusively by J 
for the hardening of Pharaoh's heart vii. 14, viii. 15, 32, ix. 7, 34, x. 1. E and 
P use 'strong' (pTH). 

11. Hasten, or do quicMy ii. 18, x. 16, xii. 33, xxxiv. 8, Gen. x^^ii. 6 bis, 7, 



xix. 22, xxiv. 18, 20, 46, xxvii. 20, xliii. 30, xliv. 11, [xlv. 9, 13 doubtful,] 
Josh. iv. 10, viii. 14, 19. Once in E, Gen. xli. 32, but perhaps also xlv. 9, 13. 

12. Intreat (iny) viii. 8, 9, 28, 29, 30 [Heb. viii. 4, 5, 24, 25, 26], ix. 28, 
X. 17, Gen. xxv. 21 his*. 

13. / pray thee my Lord Qp^^ ''2 or '•p^i? ^3) iv. 10, 13, Gen. xliii. 20, 

xliv. 18, Num. xii. 11, Josh. vii. 8*. 

14. Maidservant (PiriQ^) xi. 5, Gen. (16 times). E uses the word in 
Gen. XX. 14, xxx. 18, but prefers 'dmdh to shiphhdh. See below. 

15. Mercy and truths or kindly and truly (p'Q^). "^Py) xxxiv. 6, Gen. 
xxiv. 27, 49, xxxii. 10, xlvii. 29, Josh. ii. 14*. 

16. Now^ or this once, this time (Drgn) ix. 27, x. 17, Gen. ii. 23, xviii. 32, 
xxix. 34, 35, xlvi. 30 *. 

17. Thy servant[s\ as a polite periphrasis for the personal pronoun, iv. 
10, V. 15, 16, Gen. (27 times, 14 in eh. xliv.), Num. xi. 11, Josh. ix. 9, x. 6. 
In E it is rare ; Gen. xlii. 10, 11 is perhaps the only instance. 

18. Sinai is the name given to the sacred mountain by J and P ; E and 
D use ' Horeb.' 

19. Spread abroad, or break forth (pQ) i. 12, xix. 22, 24, Gen. xxviii. 14, 
xxx. 30, 43, xxxviii. 29 *. 

20. Three days' journey iii. 18, v. 3, viii. 27, Gen. xxx. 36, Num. x. 33. 
Once in P, Num. xxxiii. 8 t. 

21. Yahweh, God of the Hebrews iii. 18, v. 3, vii. 16, ix. 1, 13, x. 3f. 

E has also a few distinctive expressions : 

1. Prior to the revelation of the divine name in iii. 14, E consistently 
wi'ites Elohim ; but afterwards he uses both Elohim and Yahweh. His use 
of the former, however, in Exodus is not indiscriminate. He preserves the 
three quasi- technical terms 'Angel of Elohim' (xiv. 19), 'staff of Elohim' 
(xvii. 9), 'mountain of Elohim' (iii. 1, iv. 27, xviii. 5, xxiv. 13). Otherwise the 
name is confined to particular narratives ; although himself using the name 
' Yahweh ' after iii. 14, the writer probably derived these narratives from an 
earlier Elohistic source. These are (1) the account of the Exodus xiii. 17— 19 ; 
(2) the story of Jethro's visit and advice xviii. la, 5, 6, 12—27; (3) the 
description of the Theophany, see xix. 3 a, 17, 19, xx. 18—21. And besides 
these passages, ' Elohim ' is used in a later stratum of E in connexion with the 
Decalogue xx. 1, xxxii. 16. 

2. Bondwoman (npx) ii. 5, xx. 10, 17, xxi. 7, 20, 26, 27, 32, xxiii. 12, 
Gen. XX. 17, xxi. 10 bis, 12, 13, xxx. 3, xxxi. 33. Also six times in Dt. and 
thrice in P, Lev. xxv. 6, 44 bis. See no. 14 above. 

3. Horeb iii. 1, xvii. 6, xxxiii. 6. See no. 18 above. 

4. jethro iii. 1, iv,. 18 bis, xviii. 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12 f. The name of Moses' 
father-in-law in J appears to be Hobab. 

5. Master, or owner (^i^? in various idioms, e.g. ' he that hath a cause ' ; 
also with reference to marriage and property) xxi. 3, 22, 28, 29 bis, 34 bis, 36, 
xxii. 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, xxiv. 14, Gen. xx. 3, xxxvii. 19, Num. xxi. 28, xxv. 3, 5, 
Josh. xxiv. 11. Also in an early poem Gen. xlix. 23, a&d in a late passage 


of unknomi origin Gen. xiv. 13, and three times in Dt. But the word is never 
found in J or P (Lev. xxi. 4 is corrupt) *. 

6. Matter, cause, subject of dispute ("i?"^) xviii. 16, 19, 22 bis, 26 bis, 
xxii. 9 bis, xxiii. 7, xxiv. 14. Also in D, Dt. i. 17, xvii. 8 bis, xix. 15, xxii. 26"*^. 

7. Prove, test (HDJ of God testing man) xv. 25, xvi. 4, xx. 20, Gen. xxii. 1, 
Dt. xxxiii. 8. Also in D, Dt. iv. 34, viii. 2, 16, xiii. 3. 

8. Speak icith {pv "ISI.) xix. 9, xx. 19 bis, 22, xxxiii. 9, Gen. xxxi. 24, 29, 
Num. xi. 17, xxii. 19, Josh. xxiv. 27. Once in J, Gen. xxix. 9, and twice 
in Dt— v. 4, ix. 10*. 

9. It has been noticed that E not infrequently employs infinitives of 

peculiar formation : ii. 4 (nrn'?), xviii. 18 (-IH^), Gen. xxxi. 28, 1. 20 (HK^l?), 
xlvi. 3 (nn*)!?), xlviii. 11 (nK1)j Num. xx. 21 (jhi), xxii. 13 (I'^l)^), so 14, 16. 

This is not the place for an exhaustive study of the various 
writings which make up the book of Exodus ; an exhaustive study 
must comprise an examination of the whole of the Hexateuch. And 
the same is true of any attempt to decide upon their exact dates. The 
latter question is touched upon in the analysis (p. xii.) ; but the 
reader is referred to Driver's Introduction to the Literature of the 0. T. 
(now in its seventh edition), or the very full study of the subject in 
the Oxford Hexateuch, vol. i., by J. E. Carpenter (ed. 2, under the 
title The Composition of the Hexateuch, 1902). See also art. Hexateuch 
in DB ii. 

It is not difficult to see the reason for the extraordinary com- 
plexity of the book. Since in all ages of Israelite history every civil 
and religious institution (except the ideal scheme of Ez. xl. — xlviii.) 
was referred to the authority of Moses, every successive age found it 
necessary to manipulate the records. They ascribed the origins of 
their social and ceremonial law to some period in the life of their great 
founder — either on the eve of the Exodus (Ex. xii., xiii.), or during the 
wanderings (Num. xv. and onwards), or when the Israelites were on 
the borders of Canaan (Dt.), or, above all, the days when they were 
encamped at the sacred mountain (Ex. xx. and onwards, Lev., Num. 
i. — X.). The literary problems of Exodus are perhaps more difficult 
than those of any other part of the Hexateuch. But though differences 
of opinion still remain with regard to a large number of details — and, 
with our limited knowledge of ancient times, some must always remain 
— yet in respect of the main outlines there exists a remarkable con- 
sensus of critical opinion. 

Before entering further upon the study of the book, a problem of 
a wholly different kind claims our attention. It was the opinion 
universally held among Jews and Christians in Apostolic times that 
Moses was the author of the Pentateuch. And not only so, but our 


Lord Himself frequently spoke in such a way as to indicate that He 
held the same opinion: see Mat. viii. 4 (=Mk. i. 44, Lk. v. 14), 
xix. 8 (=Mk. X. 3, 5), xxiii. 2, Mk. vii. 10, xii. 26 (-Lk. xx. 37), 
Lk. xvi. 29, 31, Jn. v. 45—47, vii. 19, 22, 23. This fact is thought 
by some to cut away the ground from the critical arguments which go 
to prove that Moses was not the author of the Pentateuch as it stands, 
and, indeed, that the greater part of it — both law and narrative — is in 
its present form considerably later than the age of Moses. But if 
there is overwhelming evidence that the Pentateuch, and the laws 
contained in it, are the result of a long growth, which was not 
completed until a period after the return of the Jews from exile, it is 
impossible for us to shut our eyes to this evidence which God's Holy 
Spirit has recently taught His children to appreciate, because of the 
assumption (for it is only an assumption) that our Lord's use of the 
name of Moses precludes further argument. An explanation some- 
times given is that Jesus must have known the exact truth about the 
authorship of the Pentateuch, but that He accommodated His teaching 
to the capabilities of His hearers ; He made a concession to the 
ignorance of the Jews in His day. But to many theologians this 
solution seems untenable, because it detracts from the complete 
humanity of our Lord. If, as man. He had a full knowledge of the 
results which modern study has reached with regard to the literary 
problems of the Old Testament, He must also, as man, have had a full 
knowledge of all future results, in every branch of human thought, 
which will be reached by the study of generations to come. The exact 
truth about the authorship of the Pentateuch was not a spiritual 
verity, the revealing of which would bear upon the salvation of men's 
souls or upon their moral life and conduct ; it was merely an item of 
literary interest — one of many which have not been investigated till 
modern times. And if, as man, our Lord was acquainted with the 
modern critical theories, we cannot hesitate to conclude that, as man, 
He was omniscient. But this conflicts alike with our conception of 
complete manhood, and with the explicit declaration that He ' advanced 
in wisdom ' (Lk. ii. 52) ; moreover He could manifest surprise 
(Mat. viii. 10, Mk. vi. 6) ; and on one occasion He is reported to 
have spoken of something which ' no one knoweth, nor the angels of 
heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only ' (Mat. xxiv. 36, Mk. xiii. 32). 
He was subject, therefore, to the ordinary limitations of manhood, and 
although the perfection of His manhood gave Him, in a measure 
beyond all other men, a power of communion with the Father and 
insight into the Father's truth and purposes, yet it seems unnecessary 

§2] ANALYSIS xi 

to extend this to mere critical questions which ordinary human 
methods can solve. The problem is part of a larger one, that of 
determining to what extent, or in what sense, His divine powers and 
prerogatives were in abeyance during His earthly life, — how much is 
involved in S. Paul's cavrov eKcVoxrcv (' He emptied Himself Phil. ii. 7). 
Although fully and completely Man, He did not cease to be God, and 
He did not cease to be conscious of His divinity. ' It is this con- 
tinuous self-consciousness of the Son of God that gives the true 
measure of His transcendent humility \' With respect to His know- 
ledge we can venture the statement that though, as God, He never 
ceased to be omniscient, yet He refused to know^ as Man, anything 
which could not be learnt by human means. But when we have said 
that, we have only enunciated and not solved the problem. This is 
not the place to pursue the matter further. But there can be no 
doubt that it is along this line of thought that we must move to justify 
modern criticism in denying to Moses the authorship of the Pentateuch 
which our Lord and His apostles ascribed to him. 

§ 2. Analysis. 

By a study of the linguistic features of the several documents, such 
as are indicated on pp. iii. — ix., and of discrepancies and distinctive 
elements in the narratives, much may be done towards analysing the 
book into its component parts. The nature of the present commentary 
forbids an elaborate justification for each detail in the process. Such 
writers as Driver, Addis, Briggs, Bacon, Carpenter and Battersby, in 
English, and Wellhausen, Kuenen, Budde, Holzinger, Baentsch, in 
German — and many others — have contributed towards the building up 
of the conclusions which are here arrived at. And it would require a 
volume to discuss in full all the minute criteria upon which the con- 
clusions depend. It is impossible to do more than briefly to point out 
the main features of each chapter and section which necessitate the 
assignment of passages to this or that source ; but it is hoped that 
enough will be said to justify the division even of verses and parts of 
verses. The separation of the several pieces of which the books of the 
Hexateuch have been formed, cannot, in some cases, be otherwise than 
tentative. In many passages more than one explanation can be given 
which appear to account for the phenomena. But that should not 
prevent each successive student of the books from making provisional 

1 Gifford, The Incarnation^ p. 90. 


attempts at analysis, which may contribute towards the better under- 
standing of them. 

There are several redactional passages in Exodus — glosses, edi- 
torial formulas and the like — which cannot be assigned to any of the 
three main sources J, E or P, and which appear to belong to many 
different dates. These are here grouped under three symbols : 
(1) R^ denotes those which are distinctively 'priestly' in tone or 
language, or which appear on other grounds to be very late ; (2) BP, 
those which are ' deuteronomic ' in tone or language ; (3) W^j those 
which fall under neither of these heads, and which amplify, or are 
embedded in, J, E or Eg. 

A discussion of the dates of these various sources belongs to 
a critical Introduction to the Hexateuch rather than to a commentary ; 
but it may be of advantage to indicate approximately the chronological 
relations between them : 


850—750 B.C. 

P 500—450 






P3 I 450—300 






Chapters i. — xviii. Events 

in Ei 

gypt. and the joun 

i.— ii. 22. The early life of Moses. 

Ch. i. combines the accounts from J and E of Pharaoh's tyranny. 
6 is J's statement of Joseph's death, which E has related in Gen. 
1. 26. 8 — 12, \^a, 206, 22 describe a state of things in which the 
Israelites were numerous enough to call forth public measures of 
oppression. But in 15 — 20 «, 21 Pharaoh deals secretly, and the 
Israelites are so few in number that their midwives can be mentioned 
by name. The former passages have linguistic marks of J (' mighty ' 
(9, 10), 'it shall come to pass when' (10), 'spread abroad' (12)) ; and 
the latter of E (' Elohim ' (17, 20, 21), ' feared Elohim ' (17)). ii. 1—10 
have characteristics of E (e.g. ^dmdh 'maidservant' for which J uses 
shiphhdh ; and see note on v. 1), and 11 — 22 of J (e.g. ' come so soon ' 
[lit. 'hastened to come'] (18), 'where is he?,' 'why is it?' (20)). 

The remaining verses in the section are the work of P. i. 1 — 5 is 
a genealogical list, dear to the heart of the priestly school, bridging the 
gap between the patriarchal narratives in Genesis and the tribal history 
which begins in Exodus. ' Souls ' = ' persons ' (5) occurs nearly 100 
times in P. 7, 'were fruitful and multiplied,' 'increased' [Heb. 

§ 2] ANALYSIS xiii 

'swarmed'], and 'exceeding' p^P I^^P?] are almost confined to P 
and Ezekiel. 13, 14^, 'rigour' is found elsewhere only in Lev. and 
Ezek., and 13 appears to be a doublet of 14«. 

Analysis of i. — ii. 22. 

20 & 22 ii. 11—22 

15— 20rt 21 ii. 1—10 



P i. 1- 


6 8—12 14rt 

-5 7 13 


ii. 23 vii. 13. 

The call of Moses, 

ii. 23a stands in a curiously isolated position, lxx repeats it 
before iv. 19 ; and there are reasons for believing that iv. 19, 20 « 
and 24 — 26 originally stood here — 1st, Moses has already been told to 
go to Egypt and deliver Israel, and it is strange after that to find the 
command ' Go, return into Egypt,' followed by the simple reason ' for 
all the men are dead which sought thy life ' ; 2nd, it is scarcely con- 
ceivable that the writer could relate that Yahweh ' sought to kill him ' 
after giving him his great commission. 23^ — 25 anticipate iii. 7 (J), 
and must be assigned to P ; ' remembered His covenant ' is charac- 
teristic of P, and the words for ' sighed ' (not earlier than Ezek.), 
'cried,' ' their cry,' 'their groaning,' do not occur in JE. iii. 1. The 
names 'Jethro,' 'Elohim,' ' Horeb,' assign the verse to E. 2 — 4rt. 
The name ' Yahweh ' suddenly takes the place of ' Elohim ' ; the 
verses must be from J. [In 4ta Heb. has 'and Yahweh saw,' and in 
46, 'and Elohim called' ; there is nothing to prevent Ab from being 
the sequel of 1.] 46. 'Elohim' is characteristic of E; and the 
incident is referred to in Dt. xxxiii. 16, which appears to be of 
Ephraimite origin. With the repeated name 'Moses, Moses' cf. 
Gen. xxii. 11, xlvi. 2 (both E). [E has not yet mentioned the 
bush ; but the Heb. idiom allows of the rendering ' out of the midst of 
a bush.'] 5 is uncertain ; but the command ' draw not nigh hither ' 
seems to be connected with 'turned aside to see' (4«); and the 
repetition ' and He said ' [not as R. V. ' moreover '] appears to separate 
5 from 6 ; 5 is therefore assigned to J. 6. 'Elohim' marks it as E. 
7, 8 a contain features of J ('Yahweh,' 'taskmasters,' ' come down ' as 
used of Yahweh), and are duplicated in 9, 10. 86 is probably a Deut. 
expansion ; see note. 9 — 14 are from E ; ' Elohim ' is used five times. 
15. In 13 Moses already knows the message that he must give to the 
people; and the command in 15, with its connecting link 'moreover,' 
looks like the work of a redactor who made use of 16. 16 — 18 J. 


The verses are similar to 7, 8 ; and the expression ' Yahweh the God of 
the Hebrews ' occurs eight times, and ' three days' journey ' six times, 
in J, but never in E. 176 probably contains a Deut. expansion, 
similar to 8. 19, 20 contain marks both of J and E. This fact and 
the very early reference to the long series of plagues make it probable 
that the verses are a later expansion. In vi. 1, on which 19 appears 
to be based, the expression ' now thou shalt see ' implies that Yahweh 
has as yet told Moses nothing about the plagues. 21, 22 are in 
accordance with E's tradition which placed the Israelites among the 
Egyptians and not separate in Goshen. 

iv. 1 — 12. The name Yahweh assigns the vv. to J ; and in 1 
Moses refers to Yahweh's words in iii. 18. 13 — 16 are clearly intended 
to be the sequel of 10 — 12, and cannot be assigned to E. But the 
view is being more and more widely adopted that in the original 
narrative of J, Aaron played no leading part in the deliverance from 
Eg3rpt (see p. 28 and the notes on the present passage). The vv. 
appear to be a later addition, influenced by 27, 28. 

17, 18 E. The stafl", as elsewhere in E, is a divine and wonder- 
working gift which he usually calls 'the staff of Elohim,' as in 20b. 
19, 20 a J. To be placed, together with 24 — 26, after ii. 23 a (see 
above). 21 — 23 R. The vv. are premature even more certainly than 
iii. 19 f Nothing has yet been said of any wonders to be performed 
before Pharaoh. 21 anticipates the whole story of the first nine 
plagues, and 22, 23 the story of the last plague ; and the message 
to be given to Pharaoh (22) is never delivered. 24 — 26 J ; see above. 
27, 28. The prominent position of Aaron in the narrative, and the 
expression 'the mountain of Elohim,' assign the vv. to E. (Notice 
that after the revelation of the divine name in iii. 14 E frequently uses 
the name 'Yahweh' ; but J never employs the title Elohim.) 29 — 31 
J ; the fulfilment of the commands in iii. 16, iv. 2 — 9. The insertion 
of Aaron's name is redactional. 

V. 1, 2 may be assigned to E, since 3, which is certainly from J 
(cf. iii. 18), is a doublet of 1. Similarly 4 is probably from E, because 
it is duplicated in 5 ; and 5 — 23 appear to be all of one piece, with 
linguistic marks of J; notice also that 86 ('sacrifice to our God') 
refers to the demand in 3. 

vi. 1 has no distinctive characteristics of language. But it is 
simplest to take it as Yahweh's answer to Moses' complaint in the 
two preceding vv., and to assign it to J. 

2 — 12 P. The vv. cover the same ground as iii. — vi. 1, and are 
full of priestly phraseology. [The expression ' I am Yahweh ' is very 
frequent in the ' Holiness ' laws, and Driver assigns 6 — 8 to the same 


source. But the words may only be an impressive repetition of the 
revelation in 2 ; the vv. contain no other marks which are clearlj^ 
distinctive of H.] 

13, 28 — 30 appear to be a redactional summing up of the preceding 
narrative of P, — 13 covering the ground of 2 — 6, and 28 — 30 of 
10 — 12. 14 — 27 are inserted very awkwardly by a still later priestly 
hand. vii. 1 — 13 are full of the characteristics of P. In iv. 3 (J) 
the staff became a serpent (ndhdsh), and the sign was for the per- 
suasion of the Israelites ; here it becomes a reptile (tannin), and the 
sign is performed before Pharaoh. 

Analysis of ii. 23— vii. 13. 

J ii. 23a[iv. 19, 20«, 24— 26] 2— 4a 5 7,8a 16—18 iv. 1— 12 

E iii. 1 45 6 9—14 21,22 17,18 

P 235—25 

R Il»8&R''El5R»175R'^^19,20 13—16 

J 19, 20 a 24—26 29—31 3 5— vi. 1 

E 20& 27, 28 V. 1, 2 4 

P 2—12 vii. 1—13 

R RJE 21—23 Rp 13—30 

vii. 14 — xi. The first nine signs. 

The division of the documents in the narratives of the plagues 
depends mainly upon differences in the historical representation. 
These are indicated on pp. 44 — 46, and need not be detailed here. 
P has some distinctive phrases — e.g. 'say unto Aaron,' vii. 9, 19, 
viii. 5, 16; 'land of Egypt,' vii. 19, 21^, viii. 5—7, 16 f., ix. 9 a, xii. 1, 
12, 17, 41, 51; Pharaoh's heart was 'strong,' vii. 13, 22, viii. 19, ix. 12 
[so also in E ix. 35, x. 20, 27] ; ' he hearkened not as Yahweh had 
spoken,' vii. 13, 22, viii. 15, 19, ix. 12. And there are many other 
characteristic words and expressions. Among the distinctive features 
of J are to be noticed : Pharaoh ' refuses to let the people go,' vii, 14, 
viii. 2, ix. 2, x. 4 ; 'Yahweh the God of the Hebrews,' vii. 16, ix. 1, 13, 
X. 3 ; 'let my people go that they may serve me,' vii. 16, viii. 1, 20, 
ix. 1, 13, X. 3; 'thus saith Yahweh... [Behold] I will...,' vii. 17, 
viii. 1 f , 20 f., ix. 13 f , 18, x. 3 f. ; ' intreat Yahweh,' viii. 8, 28, ix. 28, 
X. 17; marks of time — 'to-morrow,' viii. 10, 23, 29, ix. 5, x. 4; 
unheard-of character of the infliction, ix. 18, 24 6, x. 6 6, 14, xi. 6; 
Pharaoh's heart was ' stubborn,' vii. 14, viii. 15, 32, ix. 7, 34 (see 
Oxf. Hex. ii. p. 89). 


First sign. vii. 14 — 25. Moses' use of the staff assigns vii. 15, 
VI h, 20 6 to E (in 17 6 'I will smite' are the words of Moses, for it 
cannot be supposed that the writer represented Yahweh as Himself 
wielding the rod), and 23 is a doublet of 22 6, and may be assigned to 
E because it attaches itself to 20 6 better than to 21 a. In 19, 20 a, 
21 6, 22, the heightening of the miracle and the distinctive expressions 
point to P. In the remaining vv., 14, 16, 17 «, 18, 21 «, 24, 25, there 
is J's conception of the sign, which is different from either of the 

Second sign. viii. 1 — 15. The magicians, the action of Aaron at 
Moses' bidding, and the closing formula, shew that 5 — 7, 15 6 are from 
P. The remainder, 1 — 4, 8 — 15 a, has clear marks of J. 

Third sign. viii. 16 — 19 are complete from the hand of P with the 
same characteristics as in the preceding sign. 

Fourth sig7i. viii. 20 — 32. * Goshen,' Pharaoh's heart ' stubborn,' 
the plague sent by Yahweh without the action of Moses or Aaron, 
point to J. 

Fifth sign. ix. 1 — 7 J. The characteristic features are the same as 
in the preceding sign. 

Sixth sig?i. ix. 8 — 12 P. Similar to the third sign. 

Semnth sign. ix. 13 — 35 are composite. 22, 23 tt, 24 a, 25 a, 35 
belong to E, for Moses stretches out his hand with the staff (22, 23 a) ; 
and the beasts are smitten (25 a), whereas in J ' all the cattle of Egypt 
died ' in a previous plague {v. 6) ; 23 a and 6 are doublets, the former 
mentioning hail and fire, the latter only hail ; 24 a ' hail and fire ' 
continues 23 a, while 24 6 mentions the unheard-of character of the 
plague which is a feature of J ; 34 and 35 are doublets — in the former 
Pharaoh's heart is 'stubborn,' in the latter 'strong.' 19 — 21 are 
probably late ; the mention of cattle shews that they are not from J ; 
and if they are from E, a previous passage introducing the plague in E 
must have been lost ; but in no other case does E relate that Pharaoh 
received warning of the plague. The vv. are from the hand of one who 
took the opportunity to press the moral lesson of obedience to Yahweh. 
The remaining vv.^ 13 — 18, 23 6, 24 6, 25 6 — 34, are from J, with many 
of his characteristics. 

Eighth sign. x. 1 — 20. 16, 2 are in the hortatory style of Dt., 
with its care for the teaching of posterity; and their insertion has 
disturbed the original narrative ; for Yahweh' s message which Moses is 
to give to Pharaoh is lost. Notice also that though Moses and Aaron 
go in (3), only Moses goes out from Pharaoh's presence (6). la, 3 — 11 
are from J (except the mention of Aaron) ; E never relates the 

§ 2] ANALYSIS xvii 

previous warning of Pharaoh. In 12, 13 a Moses' staiF is mentioned, 
14a is based on 12 (R.V. has 'went up,' but the verb is the same as 
in 12, ' came up '), and also 15 6 which is itself a doublet of 15 c ; in 20 
Pharaoh's heart is made 'strong.' These w. therefore contain E's 
account. The remaining w., 136, 146, 15a, 15c — 19, are from J ; 
Yahweh brings the plague by an East wind ; 14 6 is based on 6, and 
15a on 5; 15c is a doublet of 15 6, and has 'herb of the field' (cf. 
Gen. ii. 5, iii. 18, Ex. ix. 25 6) instead of E's 'herb of the land'; 
16 — 19 relate, as usual in J, that the plague was removed at Moses' 

Ninth sign. x. 21 — 27. 21 — 23, 27 are from E, for Moses stretches 
out his hand (sc. with the staff; cf. 12, 13a, ix. 22, 23a); 'one 
another ' (23, lit. ' each man his brother ') is more frequent in E 
than in J; and Yahweh made Pharaoh's heart 'strong' (27). J's 
account of the plague was lost when it was amalgamated with E ; 
but the sequel, in 24 — 26, 28, 29, is his, for he alone gives the 
colloquies between Moses and Pharaoh, and the words rendered 'be 
stayed ' and ' little ones ' are frequent in J but absent from E, and 
' cattle ' ('^^i?P) occurs 33 times in J and once only in E. 

Immediate seqttsl of the ninth sign. xi. 1 — 3, which represent the 
Israelite women as being ' neighbours ' of the Egyptians, are from E. 
They interrupt J's account of Moses' interview with Pharaoh. In 4 — 8 
the opening words, 'And Moses said,' shew that he is still in the 
king's presence, otherwise he breaks his promise of not seeing Pharaoh's 
face again. 'Maidservant,' shiphhdh (5) and 'cry,' ze'dkdh (6), are 
characteristic of J. 9, 10 read like an editorial summary of the 
stories of the plagues. 

Analysis of vii. 14 — xi. 

J vii. 14 16, 17« 18 21« 24,25 viii. 1— 4 8— ir>a 

B 15 176 206 23 

P 19,20a 216,22 5—7 


J 20—32 ix. 1— 7 13—18 236 246 256—34 

E 22, 23a 24 a 25a 35 

P 156—19 8—12 

R RJ« 19—21 

J X. la 3—11 136 146,15a 15c— 19 24—26 28,29 4—8 

B 12, 13a 14a 156 20—23 27 xi. 1—3 


R R^ 16,2 RJE 9, 10 

M. b 

xviii INTRODUCTION [§ 2 

xii. — xiii. 16. Passover. Mazzoth {Unleavened Calces). Dedication 
of firstborn. The departure. 

Each of the four subjects in this section is duplicated. (1) When 
Moses delivers the injunctions for the Passover, in xii. 21 — 27, they 
differ materially from those which are given to him by Yahweh in 
1 — 13. (2) Moses omits, in xiii. 3 — 10, some of the details for the 
Festival of Mazzoth which he is given in xii. 14 — 20. (3) In xiii. 1 
the command is given to sacrifice all the firstborn ; but in xiii. 11 — 16 
Moses makes very important exceptions. (4) In xii. 29 — 34, 37 — 39 
the departure from Egypt is made in such haste that the people have 
no time to leaven their dough. But in 35, 36 (see, however, note 
in loc.) they have such warning of their departure that the women can 
get silver and gold from their neighbours. Moreover 34, 39 clearly 
imply that the people would have leavened their dough if time had 
permitted, while in 14 ff. they had just received special injunctions not 
to do so. 

xii. 1 — 13, 14 — 20. These sections, on Passover and Mazzoth 
respectively, are full of words and expressions characteristic of P, as 
are also 24, 28. The regulations in 21 — 23 are much more primitive 
than those of P ; and (since 21a, 27 6 are similar to iii. 16, iv. 29, 31, 
and the wording of 21b is peculiar to J) these vv. may be considered 
as J's account of the Passover. 25 — 27 a are an exhortation in the 
style of Dt., and are probably a later expansion. 29 — 34, 37 — 39 contain 
linguistic features of J ('cry,' 'flocks and herds,' 'in haste,' 'before 
(pHj^) it was leavened'). 35, 36 E are connected with iii. 21, 22, and 
conflict with the hasty departure described in J's narrative. 40 — 42 
with their exactness of date, and linguistic peculiarities of P, read like 
a late editorial note by a priestly hand ; and 51 is of a similar 
character. 43 — 50 are full of characteristics of P. xiii. 1, 2 contain 
P's regulation relative to the firstborn. Sanctification, i.e. conse- 
cration, is a leading note in P ; and the idiom ' both of man and of 
beasts' (|.--?) is confined to priestly writings. 3 — 10 are largely 
marked by Deuteronomic thought and expression ; notice the perfect 
tenses in 3, *ye came,' 'Yahweh brought you,' which shew that the v. 
is a later addition. It is probable that J originally had ' And Moses 
said unto the people,' followed by 4, 6, 7, 10, containing the bare 
commands for the Festival of Mazzoth. (In 10 Heb. has simply ' and 
thou shalt keep...') Similarly 11 — 13 contain J's ordinances with 
regard to firstlings (which must be studied in connexion with xxxiv. 
18 — 20), and 14 — 16 are a Deuteronomic addition of the same 
character as xii. 25 — 27 a. 

§2] ANALYSIS xix 

Analysis of xii. — xiii. 16. 

J 21—23 276 29—34 37—39 

E 35, 36 

P xii. 1—13 14—20 24 28 43—50 

R R^ 25— 27 a R^ 40—42 51 

J 3a 4 6, 7 10—13 


P xiii. 1, 2 

R Ro 36 5 8, 9 14—16 

xiii. 17 — XV. 21. The journeyings begun. The crossing of the water. 

The narratives of J and P in this section have been preserved 
almost entire. E's story must have been closely parallel to that of J, 
so that little of it that is distinctive has survived. 

xiii. 17 — 19 are from E ; ' Elohim ' occurs four times ; and the 
carrying of Joseph's mummy would be of interest to a writer with 
Ephraimite sympathies. 20 is the first item of the detailed itinerary 
of P (cf. xvii. 1, xix. 2), which is collected in a continuous passage in 
Num. xxxiii. 21, 22. A study of xiv. 19, and of E's representation 
of the pillar of cloud elsewhere, shews that these vv. are from J. 

xiv. 1 — 4 are assigned to P by the phraseology ; * over against ' is 
found in Ezek. only, 'entangled' in Joel and Est. only, and almost 
every clause in 4 is characteristic of P. 5. The expression ' what is 
this we have done ' is never found in P ; * and the people were fled ' is 
in agreement with J's narrative (xii. 39) of the haste with which they 
departed. The composition of 6, 7 is doubtful ; but the two first 
clauses of 7 cannot be from the same hand, for if Pharaoh took all the 
chariots of Egypt, he did not select 600. 6 may perhaps belong to J, 
who has the same verb ' made ready ' (lit. ' bound ') in Gen. xlvi. 29 ; 
and 'his people' sounds like a description of the entire army, with which 
* all the chariots of Eg.' in 76 agrees. In that case 7a, c are from E. 
8, 9 are from P ; Yahweh ' made strong ' the heart of Pharaoh ; ' an 
high hand,' cf Num. xv. 30, xxxiii. 3 (both P). But 96 'all the 
horses... and his army' stands, in the Heb., very awkwardly after 'the 
sea,' without grammatical connexion with the sentence ; it is probably 
a later addition. 10a (to ' sore afraid ') may be either fi-om J or E ; 
not from P who never uses the expression 'lift up the eyes.' In 10 6 



the people cried to Yahweh, but in 11 they murmured against Moses. 
The former may be from E; cf. Jos. xxiv. 7. 11 — 14 may then be 
assigned to J ; ' Yahweh shall fight for you,' cf. 25 ; and the word 
rendered 'hold ye your peace' is found in Gen. xxiv. 21, xxxiv. 5 
(both J). 15 a can only be explained as implied in 10^, and is there- 
fore from E; cf. xvii. 4. I5b, 16b — 18 have marks of P ('And I, 
behold, T; 'make strong the hearts' ; ' shall know that I am Yahweh'). 
16a ('thy staff') is from E. In 19 a the * Angel of Elohim' removed, 
which must be from E. And thus 19 ^ 'the pillar of cloud removed' 
must be assigned to J. (Notice that the conceptions of the pillar 
of cloud in J and E are different ; see note.) 20 is difficult, and 
probably corrupt (see note). 21a (to 'over the sea') is from P, in 
accordance with 16^. 21b (to 'dry land') is shewn to be from J by 
the characteristic mention of the wind sent by Yahweh. 21c — 23 
contain the miraculous account by P. 24 ' the pillar of fire and cloud ' 
connects the v. with 19^ and xiii. 21, 22 ; and the word rendered ' look 
forth ' is not found in E. 26, 27 a are connected with P's account in 
166, 21a, and imply that the waters returned miraculously at once. 
27 b. The waters returned next morning in the ordinary course of 
nature. The fleeing of the Egyptians agrees with 25b, and the 
personal action of Yahweh is characteristic of J throughout the 

story. 28a is a doublet of 21b; and the idiom 'even all (73?) the 
host' is peculiar to P. 28b 'there remained not one' is peculiar to 
J, occurring six times in his writings. 29 is a repetition of 22, in 
a very isolated position ; it must be by a later hand. 30 ' dead upon the 
seashore' agrees with J's narrative, rather than with that of P in 
which the Egyptians were overwhelmed in the midst of the sea. 
31 appears to be redactional ; the use of ' hand ' (R. V. ' work ') is 
found, in the Hex., in Dt. xxxiv. 12 only ; and ' servant ' applied to 
Moses is unexampled in JE, but frequent in the Deuteronomic parts of 

XV. 1 appears to be J's statement of which E's equivalent is given 
in 21. 2 — 18. The remainder of the song is a product of the exile 
(see notes). 19 is by a writer later than the psalm, who explains its 
significance. 20, 21. The mention of Aaron and his sister Miriam 
assigns the w. to E (cf. ii. 4ff., and note on iv. 29). 

§ 2] ANALYSIS xxi 

Analysis of xiii. 17 — xv. 21. 

J 21, 22 5, 6 lb 11— U 

JE 10 a 
E xiii. 17—19 7a, c 106 15a 16a 19a 

P 20 Xiv. 1— 4 8, 9a,c 15 6 16 6—18 

R RP 96 

J 196 216 24, 25 276 286 30 XV. 1 

E 20, 21 

P 21a 21c— 23 26,27 a 28a 

Psalm XV. 2—18 

R RP 29 BP 31 RP 19 

XV. 22— xviii. From the Bed Sea to Sinai. 

XV. 22 — 27. Marah and Elim. 

22 — 25a. The 'three days' is characteristic of J ; also the idiom 
rendered 'therefore the name of it was called.' 27. 'Spring' [lit. 
' eye '] occurs eleven times in J, but never in E ; the v. is J's con- 
tinuation of the narrative of the journey. 256 has no apparent 
connexion with the incident. It is uncertain whether Yahweh or 
Moses is the subject of the verbs ; and it is not stated what the 
statute and ordinance was (lxx has ' statutes and ordinances '), nor 
how the people were proved. But in xvi. 4 Yahweh says that He will 
prove the people by raining bread from heaven. And since E relates 
that God ' proved ' Abraham (Gen. xxii. 1) and Israel (Ex. xx. 20 ; 
of. Dt. xxxiii. 8), it is plausible to assign both 256 and xvi. 4 to E. 
And with them may be coupled xvi. 15, which is earlier than the 
rest of the manna narrative (see below). The suggestion has been 
made that these three passages are fragments of the story by which E 
explained the name Massah. See further on xvii. 1 — 7. 26 supplies 
no explanation of 25 6, nor does it appear to be connected with the 
Marah incident ; it is hortatory and Deuteronomic in tone, and is 
probably a later addition. Bacon conjectures that it is an explanation 
of the name Rephidim {rdphdh = ' heal '). 

xvi. Manna and Quails. The whole chapter, with the exception 
of 4 and 15, shews strong indications of priestly workmanship. In 4 
Heb. has 'And Yahweh said' — not, as R.V., ' Then said the Lord,' 
which appears to connect the v. closely with the preceding. The verb 
' rain ' [Hiphil, i.e. ' cause to rain '] is found 5 times elsewhere in JE, 
but not in P. The words ' that I may prove them ' are probably to 
be connected with ' there He proved them ' in xv. 25 (see above). 


In 15 the statement that the Israelites *knew not what it was' must 
have been earlier than P, for it is reproduced, together with the 
proving of the people, in Dt. viii. 3, 16. 

6, 7. Moses and Aaron assured the people that signs of Yahweh's 
power would be given ' at even ' and * in the morning ' ; but it is not 
tiU 11, 12 that Moses learnt this from Yahweh. 6, 7 must therefore 
follow 11, 12. And 8, which is an echo of 6, 7, is probably the work 
of a redactor, who found 6, 7 thus misplaced, and added an explanation 
of the words *at even' and *in the morning.' But P's narrative 
requires study as a whole. In Num. xi. it is related that after the 
departure from Sinai the people were dissatisfied with the manna. 
The verbs in -y^. 8, 9 of that ch., being in the imperfect tense, describe 
what had been the usual procedure; the manna is mentioned as a 
phenomenon which had been in existence long enough for the people to 
have grown weary of it ; and v. 6 would certainly imply that no flesh 
had previously been given as food. The people having murmured for 
flesh, Yahweh sent a wind which brought quails. This is allowed by 
most critics to be a story from J ; though some see the hand of E 
in w. 7 — 9 and 31 — 35. And it would not be surprising that P 
should also have a parallel narrative of quails at that point. But a 
compiler who had both before him, instead of placing them side by 
side, or omitting one of them, combined P's quail story with his manna 
story before the arrival at Sinai. But further, an examination of P's 
manna story in the present ch. shews that it also belongs to a time 
after the scenes at Sinai. [The pot of manna is laid up 'before 
Yahweh' (33) — 'before the Testimony' (34), i.e. in front of the ark 
containing the tablets of the decalogue ; but neither ark nor decalogue 
was in existence before the arrival at Sinai. Again 'the glory of 
Yahweh' and 'the cloud' (10) do not, in P, appear till the completion 
of the tabernacle^ (xl. 34 f.), except on the top of the mountain 
(xxiv. 15 — 18). And ' come near before Yahweh ' (9) seems to imply 
the existence of a sanctuary.] And it is difiicult to see what could 
have led a compiler to transplant the story, unless a manna story 
from an earlier source already stood at this point before Sinai was 
reached ^ 

22 — 30 are marked by priestly vocabulary, but they^annot be by 
the same hand as the rest of the narrative ; for, 1st, the Sabbath 

1 In V. 10 ' the Dwelling ' must be read for ♦ the wilderness ' : see note. 

2 Gray {Numbers, p. 101) denies the presence in this chapter of other elements 
than P ; but he does not support his contention. 

§ 2] ANALYSIS xxiii 

regulation is known in v. 5, but is here enjoined as a result of the 
miracle in 22 (see note); and, 2nd, in 31a 'the name thereof has 
nothing to refer to ; the v. was the natural continuation of 21, before 
the insertion of 22 — 30. 

xvii. 1 — 7. Meribak, Massah. There is here no trace of P, except 
in 1 a (to ' Rephidim '), which is part of his itinerary (cf. xiii. 20), and 
is entirely composed of his characteristic phraseology. 

It is strange that in 7 Moses gives two names to one spot, in 
reference to one incident. But in Dt. xxxiii. 8 Massah and Meribah 
are clearly distinguished ; in Dt. vi. 16, ix. 22 Massah is mentioned 
alone ; and the double name is nowhere else found. In Num. xx. 
occurs another story in which the name Meribah is connected with the 
obtaining of water from the rock ; and critics are largely agreed in 
thinking that it is a combination of J and P. Thus it is natural 
to assign the Meribah story in the present passage to E, which is 
borne out by * the staff' and ' Horeb ' in 5, 6. But another narrative 
has been combined with this. 3 is a doublet of lb, 2a; and the 
double question asked by Moses (in 2), * Why tempt ye Yahweh ? ', 
' Why strive ye with me ? ' is evidently the result of the juxtaposition 
(in 7) of Massah and Meribah with the corresponding double explana- 
tion 'because of the striving...,' and 'because they tempted.' If, then, 
the words ' [And Moses said unto them] why tempt ye Yahweh ? ' be 
placed after 3, there emerge two stories — Massah from J, and Meribah 
from E, as follows : J, 3, 2&, 7a (to 'Massah'), Ic ('because they 
tempted. ..&c.'). E, 1 ^, 2 a, 4 — 6, 7 h ' and [he called the name of the 
place] Meribah. . .of Israel.' 

xvii. 8 — 16. Amalek. The use of the staff (9), the importance of 
Joshua and of Aaron, together with the absence of any features 
characteristic of P, shew that the vo. are from E. The incident 
belongs to a time immediately preceding the entrance into Canaan 
(see notes). 

xviii. The visit of Jethro. The narrative, in the main, is the 
work of E : several characteristics of his writings appear : ' Elohim,' 
* Jethro,' ' the mount of Elohim ' (5), the words rendered ' for Israel's 
sake' (8), 'the travail which had come upon [lit. found] them' (id.), 
'a matter' [Heb. 'a word'] (16, 19, 22, 26), 'fear God' (21), and the 
peculiar infin. form -I'lbi^, ' to perform it' (18). The only verses which 
call for remark are 1, 2 — 4, 7 — 11. lb. The last clause, with its 
sudden change from Elohim to Yahweh, seems to be redactional. 
2 — 4 also are probably a later addition, by a compiler who found two 
discrepancies between the present narrative of E and previous statements 


of J : 1st, in ii. 22 J records the birth of Gershom only, and in iv. 25 
clearly implies that Moses had no other son ; and, 2nd, in iv. 20 a, 
24 — 26 J relates that Moses took back Zipporah with him to Egypt. 
The compiler smooths away the second difficulty by the words ' after 
her dismissal ' ; and, while basing 3 upon J's words in ii. 22, he retains 
E's tradition of two sons by supplying the name of the second— a name 
which is found nowhere else in the Hexateuch. 7 — 11. In Num. 
xi. 29 — 31 Hobab is at Sinai, and this presupposes a mention of his 
arrival by J. There may be traces of it in these verses ; in 6 Jethro 
is in conversation with Moses, but in 7 Moses has still to go out to 
meet him ; the text in 6, however, is probably to be emended ; see 
note. And 7 — 11 have the name Yahweh, while in the rest of the 
story (exc. 1 b) Elohim is used. It is not possible with certainty to 
separate the two writings in detail ; the compiler has welded them too 
closely together. The narrative, as in the case of the quails, Meribah, 
and Amalek, belongs to a time after, and not before, the arrival at 
Horeb (see notes). 

Analysis of xv. 22— xviii. 

J XV. 22— 25« 27 

B 25& 4 15 

P XVi. 1—3 5 9—12, 6, 7, 13, 14 16—21 31—36 

R R»26 R^8 RP22— 30 

J 3, 2 6 7a,c 

JE 7—11 

E lb, 2 a 4—6 7 &, 8— 16, xviii. 1 a 5,6 12—27 

P xvii. la 

R R-^^lft, 2— 4 RlOb 

Chapters xix. — xL form the second of the two divisions into which 
the book of Exodus falls, and describe the welding of the Israelite 
tribes into a certain degree of unity by the religious bond of a cove- 
nant with their one and only God, Yahweh. But a study of the 
religious institutions, and moral, social and ceremonial laws which 
are collected in these chapters shews that they belong to widely 
different periods of Hebrew history. Moses was venerated as the 
representative of all law, and thus every new development was ascribed 
to him. And so it came to pass that the records of the Sinai scenes, 
in which Moses first received the law, were subjected to the elaborate 
care and ingenuity of a long series of writers, or schools of writers, of 
redactors and compilers. And the result is that these chapters offer 

§ 2] ANALYSIS xxv 

the most complicated of the literary problems in the Old Testament. 
The priestly writers, whose devoted care is centred upon the taber- 
nacle and its ritual (chs. xxv. — xxxi., xxxv. — xL), supply almost 
nothing of the nature of narrative that is parallel to the work of 
J and E. It is not to P that the most serious textual problems 
are due, but to the manifold activities of redactors upon the original 
work of J and E. And these problems arise not only from additions 
and omissions, but also from the most surprising transpositions and 
dislocations. As the tabernacle sections are complete in themselves, 
they may be studied separately. 

Chapters xix. — xxiv., xxxii. — xxxiv. 

The events at Sinai. 

xix., XX. 18 — 21. The Theophany. 

xix. 1, 2a contain the itinerary of P, continued from xvii. 1. It is 
of the same formal character as before ; and the writer's propensity for 
exact dates shews itself. It is probable that 2 a originally stood before 
1, for the journey from Rephidim would naturally be related before the 
arrival at the wilderness. R.V. partly hides the difficulty by rendering 
' and when they were departed from R.' ; but the Heb. has ' and they 
journeyed' as in xvii. 1. 2h being a repetition of 2a cannot be from 
the same source ; it must be coupled with 3a, which is shewn to be 
from E by the name Elohim. 36 — 6. The words of the people in 8 
imply that they have received some commands, but these verses contain 
none. And Yahweh's covenant is mentioned before it has yet been 
made. The verses appear to be a Deuteronomic expansion. ' I bare 
you on eagles' wings' finds a parallel in Dt. xxxii. 11; 'a peculiar 
treasure' occurs only in Dt. vii. 6, xiv. 2, xxvi. 18 ; and 'an holy 
nation ' is unique, but 'an holy people' occurs only in Dt. (five times). 
7, 8 should evidently follow commands given to the people through 
Moses ; and the earliest opportunity for this is after the Decalogue 
(xx. 1 — 17). It will be shewn later that the laws which formed the 
basis of the original divine covenant in E were not the Decalogue, but 
were portions of xx. 23 — xxiii. ; and when the people received the 
covenant laws they answered (xxiv. 3) in language almost identical 
with that in the present passage. It is probable, therefore, that 7, 8 
were attached as a framework to the Decalogue, in imitation of xxiv. 3. 
9 — 11a must be coupled with 14 — 17. They can be assigned to E, 
both because of the name Elohim in 17, and because they give a dif- 
ferent picture of the theophany from that of J in 116 — 13. [96 appears 


to be an accidental doublet of Sb.] lib — 13. Instead of Yahweh 
speaking to Moses in a thick cloud, He will 'come down' upon the 
mountain in the sight of all. A signal is to be given by a ram's horn 
(yobkel, different from the 'trumpet' of 16). These details and the 
name ' Sinai ' mark these verses as belonging to J. They must follow 
24 (see below). 14 — 17 E: the natural continuation of 9 — 11a. 
18 J has the same traits as lib — 13, 'Sinai' and 'Yahweh came 
down' [the verb is the same]. 19, The name 'Elohim' assigns the 
verse to E, and the 'trumpet' (shophdr) of 16 recurs. The next 
passage in E's original narrative is xx. 18 — 21, which forms the 
natural continuation of xix. 19. The words of the people in xx. 19 
shew that God has not yet spoken to them ; and this is explicable 
only if the Decalogue was absent from E's original tradition. 
xix. 20 — 25 J. ' Yahweh came down ' and ' Sinai ' connect 20 with 
lib and 18. E has related that Moses went up to God (3a), and was 
sent down to prepare the people (10, 11a, 14 — 17); and the same 
events are now recorded by J (20 — 22), but with differences in detail : 
in E Moses sanctifies the people (14), but in J the priests sanctify 
themselves ; in E the people are terrified and flee (16 f., xx. 18 — 21), 
but in J, so far from being terrified, they must be prevented by special 
precautions from breaking through to gaze. 23 is one of the most 
noteworthy of the redactional additions to be found in the book. If 
lib — 13 are read in their present position, Yahweh, having summoned 
Moses to the top of the mountain, immediately sends him down again 
— not to take the necessary precautions to prevent the people from 
breaking through, but merely to charge them to observe the pre- 
cautions already taken. It is very probable that 23 (which has the 
appearance of an attempt on Moses' part to put Yahweh right in His 
mistake !) was added by a redactor who felt the difficulty. Both this 
and a further difficulty are obviated if 11^ — 13 are placed after 24; 
for 13 closes with the words 'tke^ {hemmali) shall come up to the 
mount ' ; but ' they ' cannot be the people, who are forbidden to come 
up (12, 21); they must be the 'priests' of 22 (24 appears to forbid 
the priests to come up ; but see note there). 25. Heb. has ' And 
Moses went down unto the people and said unto them.' R.V. 'and 
told them ' conceals the fact that Moses' words are lost ; but they 
would naturally consist in the declaration to the people of the divine 
instructions in 20 — 24, 11^ — 13. [A portion of J's narrative appears 
also to have been lost ; see below on xxiv. 1—11.] 

§ 2] ANALYSIS xxvii 

Analysis of xix., xx. 18—21. 

J 18 20—22 

E 2&, 3a [Ea?, 8] 9a 10, 11a, 14—17 19 

P xix. 2a 1 

R ' W> 36—6 RJEQfe R^^23 

J 24, life— 13, 25 

E XX. 18—21 



XX. [exc. 18 — 21] — xxiii., xxxiv. 10 — 26. The Laws. 

Five groups of laws are to be accounted for : (1) xx. 1 — 17, the 
Decalogue (' Ten Words '). (2) xxi. — xxii. 17, a series of laws which 
in xxi. 1 are named 'Judgements/ cast in a particular form, and distinct 
from anything else in Exodus. (3) xx. 22—26, xxii. 29, 30, xxiii. 
10 — 19, Regulations relating to worship and religious festivals. 
(4) xxxiv. 10 — 26, Regulations on the same subjects, to a large extent 
parallel to the preceding group. (5) xxii. 18 — 28, xxiii. 1 — 9, a few 
laws of a moral and ethical character, mostly negative in form, and 
widely different both from the Judgements and from the Regulations 
on worship. 

(1) The Decalogue will be discussed later (pp. Ivi. — Ixiv.). 

(2) xxi. — xxii. 17. There are indications that the 'Judgements ' 
did not originally occupy their present position. Ch. xviii. has been 
shewn, on various grounds, to belong to the end of the stay at the 
mountain. If that is so, there were no judges yet created who could 
dispense these case-laws. And the nature of the contingencies with 
which they deal makes it impossible to couple them with the laws on 
which the covenant was based ; they are concerned with hypothetical 
cases, and deal with the rights of male and female slaves, injuries 
inflicted by men and by beasts, the loss of animals, injury to field or 
vineyard by fire, trusts, and loans. It is unlikely that decisions on 
these civil cases, which might from time to time occur (and which, to a 
large extent, could not occur until Israel had settled down to agricul- 
tural life in Canaan), could form part of the divine covenant, or that the 
people could say of them ' all the words which Yahweh hath spoken we 
will do ' (xxiv. 3). In the former half of the same verse the ' Words ' 
which they promise to obey are distinguished from the ' Judgements.' 
It is generally agreed that the expression * and the judgements ' is an 
addition made by the redactor who placed the ' Judgements ' in their 
present position. Their original position may be conjectured with 
some probability. In Dt. xii. — xxvi. there is a body of laws, amended 
and expanded in many particulars, but based upon the laws of 

xxviii INTRODUCTION [§ 2 

Ex. xxi. — xxiii. D puts his version of the 'Judgements,' together with 
other laws, into Moses' mouth not at Horeb but on the borders of 
Moab. And since Ex. xxi. f. was, so far as we can tell, his only 
source for the ' Judgements,' Kuenen's suggestion is reasonable that E 
had also placed them at the end of the wanderings ; but that when D 
was combined with JE, the compiler could not place the two versions 
side by side, so he put back the earlier version into conjunction with 
the rest of E's laws at Horeb. That the 'Judgements' are to be 
assigned to E may be inferred from characteristic marks of language : 
'Elohim,' xxi. 6, 13, xxii. 8 (7), 9 (8) [lxx 11 (10)], 28 (27) ; 'amah 
for 'maidservant,' xxi. 7 ; ba'al, xxi. 3, 22, 28 f., 34, 36, xxii. 8 (7), 
11 (10), 14 (13); ddhhdr for 'cause of dispute,' xxii. 9 (8). 

(3), (4). The group xx. 22—26, xxii. 29—31, xxiii. 10—19 is 
embedded in material which is on all hands allowed to be Elohistic ; 
and the group xxxiv. 10 — 26 in material which is no less clearly 
Jehovistic. Other things being equal, few would hesitate to say that 
they are two versions of the same body of laws from E and J respec- 
tively (see note preceding ch. xxxiv.). Each has been enriched with 
some later expansions, which are pointed out in the notes, i.e. xx. 22, 
23, xxii. 31, xxiii. 13, 19a, and xxxiv. 10^ — 16, 24. And it is probable 
that each has in some details been harmonized with the other ; but 
it is not possible to detect the process with certainty ; there was at 
least a substratum of similar laws which made the harmonization 
possible. The following table shews the extent of their similarities 
and differences; J appears to have preserved one rule (xxxiv. 17) 
which E lacked, and E four or five (xx. 24 — 26, xxiii. 10, 11) which 
J lacked ; and there are just those differences of wording and detail 
that would be expected in two accounts of the same tradition. 


Prohibition of molten images xxxiv. 17 

Rules for the construction of altars vacat 

Firstborn sons to be dedicated 20 h 

Firstlings of animals to be dedicated 19, 20 a 

Meat torn by wild beasts not to be eaten vacat 

The seventh," fallow, year to be observed vaca.t 

Three annual festivals to be observed 23 


Festival of Unleavened Cakes 18 

Festival of Harvest = F. of Weeks 22 a 

Festival of Ingathering 22 h 

Sacrifice to be eaten without leaven 25 a 

No fat to be left till morning 25 h 

xxii. 29 a [xxiii. 19 ^ R] Firstfruits to be dedicated 26 a 

xxiii. 19 & A kid not to be boiled in its mother's milk 26 h 



. 23R] 




. 29& 


[31 R] 

iii. 10 



[17 R] 



16 6 

18 « 


§ 2] ANALYSIS xxix 

(5) xxii. 18—28, xxiii. 1—9. It is readily seen that these 
injunctions have no real connexion either with the 'Judgements' or 
with the Regulations on worship and festivals. They are particular 
commands inculcating the moral importance of purity, kindness, justice 
and so forth. [In xxii. 25 f., xxiii. 4 f. hypothetical cases are (like the 
' Judgements ') introduced by the particle kl, ' when ' ; but a glance 
shews them to be of a different nature from the 'Judgements.' They are 
expressed in the 2nd person, and deal with cases which affect a man's 
own conscience, and which lie wholly outside the province of a civil 
judge.] E having preserved the laws in group (3) as the basis of the 
divine covenant, some later writer of his school of thought became 
possessed of a few scattered laws from other sources, which appealed 
to him strongly as a prophet of righteousness and morality, and he 
combined them with the older regulations on worship, to form part of 
the covenant laws of Israel. The combination was effected before the 
time of D, for some of them are included in Dt. xii. — xxvi. ; see Dt. 
xviii. 10 — 14, xxiv. 14, xxiii. 19, xxiv. 12 f., xix. 16 — 21, xxii. 1 — 4. 
A few expressions, however, in Exodus cannot have been prior to D ; 
xxii. 28 6 contains the late word ndsl\ 'prince'; in xxii. 21b, 22 the 
plural pronoun suddenly appears after the singular in 21a; and 
similarly in 24 and xxiii. 9 h ; and each of these passages (except the 
first) is Deuteronomic in tone. 

At the end of the laws, a Deuteronomic writer added a hortatory 
epilogue, xxiii. 20 — 33. 

Analysis of xx. 22 — xxiii. 33, xxxiv. 10 — 26. 

J (except expansions) xxxiv. 10 — 26. 

E (except expansions) xx. 22—26, xxii. 29, 30, xxiii. 10—19, j xxi.— 
xxii. 17, I xxii. 18—28, xxiii. 1—9. 

R RJ£ XX. '12, 23, R ? xxi. 17, K^^ xxii. 21 h, 22, 24, R ? 28 6, 31, R» xxiii. 
9 6, 13, RJE \bh,c, 19 «, R» 20—33, R^ xxxiv. 10 6—16, R'^ 18 6— 20a, 6, 
R» 24. 

(a) xxiv. 1 — 11, xxxiii. 7 — 11, xxxiv. 1 — 5, 27, 28. Narratives 
connected with the covenant laws. 

(b) xix. 7, 8, xxiv. 12 — 18, xxxi. 18, xxxiv. 29 — 35. Narratives 
connected with the Decalogue. 

The results of the analysis of these passages may be summed 
up in anticipation, (a) The extreme complexity of the narratives 
is due to the fact that the early accounts of J and E relating 
to the covenant laws have been combined with — and in some parts 


displaced by — later accounts in Eg and P in which the Decalogue 
of XX. 1 — 17 is the sole basis of the covenant, (b) The chief in- 
stances in which the earlier accounts have^ disappeared to make 
way for the later are (i) E's account of God's delivery of the 
covenant laws to Moses, (ii) the accounts of J and E of the 
making of an ark and of a tent to house it. (c) The surviving 
narratives of J and E with respect to the covenant laws contain three 
important points of similarity : (i) In each Moses commits the laws to 
writing. In J he is commanded by Yahweh to write them upon two 
* tablets of stones ' (xxxiv. 1, 27), and he does so (28) ; in E the 
wi'iting executed by Moses is called a sepher (xxiv. 7), which denotes a 
written document of any kind ; but nothing is said of stone tablets. 
The word, however, does not entirely forbid this, and E may have 
spoken of a stone inscription (perhaps upon the twelve pillars, v. 4), 
which has been taken up in the later narrative of E2. (ii) In each 
the laws are made the basis of a covenant. In J Yahweh declares 
His intention of making a covenant (xxxiv. 10), and after giving the 
laws He says that He has made one ' according to the tenour of these 
words ' (27) ; in E the laws which Moses had written are called 
' the sepher of the covenant,' and he tells the people that the blood 
which he sprinkles is 'the blood of the covenant,' made by Yahweh 
' concerning all these words ' (xxiv. 7, 8). (iii) In each the covenant 
is ratified by a solemn ceremony. In J it is by a vision of Yahweh and 
a sacred feast (xxiv. 1, 2 ; 9 — 11) ; in E by the sprinkling of blood 
(xxiv. 3—8). 

{a) xxxiv. 1 — 5, 27, 28 relate that Yahweh delivered to Moses the 
covenant words. These verses must, for the most part, be assigned 
to J. The name 'Sinai,' 'the top {rosK) of the mountain,' the 
prohibition to let the people or beasts approach, and the expression 
'Yahweh came down,' mark them as homogeneous withxix. 18, 20 — 24, 
11 b — 13. [The apparent connexion between xxxiv. 5 and 6 is due to 
the Engl, version. The last clause of 5 can only mean ' and he (Moses) 
called upon the name of Yahweh.' Neither in 10, nor in the rest of 
the interview does Yahweh give any answer to Moses' passionate 
entreaty in 9 ; but on the other hand it has already been answered in 
xxxiii. 14. It is clear that xxxiv. 6 — 9 belong to Moses' intercession 
in xxxiii. ; the verses may have been attracted into their present 
position by the recurrence of the word ' he called ' in 5 and 6.] Now 
it is strange that though Yahweh commands Moses to write the 
covenant words (xxxiv. 27), and Moses apparently does so (28 6), 
yet Yahweh has previously said, 'I will write upon the tablets' (1^). 

§2] ANALYSIS xxxi 

The incongruity is, if possible, increased if 'he wrote' (28b) means 
' Yahweh wrote.' The only conceivable explanation is that two tradi- 
tions have been combined, in which Yahweh wrote one thing (i.e. the 
Decalogue of xx. 1 — 17) and Moses another (i.e. the code in xxxiv.). 
Not only so, but in 28 b the covenant words are further described as 
* the ten words,' as though they were a well-known decade. But it is 
extremely difficult to arrange the commands in 10 — 26 as a decade. 
Several arrangements have been offered (see reff. in Carpenter and 
Battersby, Hexateuch, ii. 135) ; but when all the possible Deutero- 
nomic expansions are removed, there emerge at least fourteen distinct 
commands. We must conclude either that the expression 'the ten 
words ' stood in J as a correct description of the preceding code, and 
that in spite of it some laws were added by later hands, or (which is 
much more likely) that 'the ten words' is itself a later addition 
referring to the Decalogue of xx. The explanation of the whole 
passage, which has been adopted, since Kuenen, by many critics, 
is that a compiler who had before him the covenant laws both of 
J and E, which were largely parallel, did not discard J's version, but 
placed it after the sin of the people and Moses' intercession, so that it 
had the appearance of being a code of laws given for a renewal of the 
broken covenants But after the Decalogue had become the sole basis 
of the Horeb covenant, a Deuteronomic redactor in Exod. made J's 
laws the renewal — not of E's parallel laws, but — of the Decalogue. 
With this object he made three harmonistic additions : — ' like unto the 

first which thou brakest' (xxxiv. 1) ; 'And he hewed like unto 

the first ' (4) ; ' the ten words ' (28). [In 4 should be noticed the 
unexpected introduction of Moses' name, which would more naturally 
have stood at the beginning of the verse, if the opening words had 
been original.] 

xxiv. 1 — 11. The two narratives of the Covenant Ceremony from 
J and E are here combined. 3 is obviously connected not with 1, 2 
but with xxi. — xxiii. ; and the sequel of the injunctions in 1, 2 is to 
be found in 9 — 11 where they are obeyed. 3 — 8, then, are the con- 
tinuation of xxiii.^, and belong to E. The part played by the people in 
the making of the covenant is in keeping with other parts of E ; it is 
they who were sanctified to meet God (xix. 14), and who take the 
initiative in expressing penitence for sin (xxiii. 6 ; see below) ; the 

^ Not only is there no hint of this in the narrative, but the words ' behold I 
make a covenant ' (10 a) seem clearly to imply that a covenant is being made for 
the first time. Moreover, for the renewal of a broken covenant penitence and 
forgiveness would suffice, without the promulgation of a new code of laws. 

"^ Or rather of E's lost narrative of the delivery of the laws to Moses. 

xxxii INTRODUCTION [| 2 

mention of mazzebhoth (4) is also in favour of E, who relates the 
erection of such pillars by Jacob at Bethel and Galeed (Gen. xxviii. 
18, xxxi. 45 — 54), and by Joshua at Gilgal and Shechem (Josh. iv. 
20, xxiv. 26 6, 27). 1, 2 and 9 — 11 can now be brought together. 
The fact that they relate a solemn ceremony which is coupled with, 
and yet distinct from, E's ceremony in 3 — 8, suggests that they are 
the work (in the main) of J. The people are forbidden to come up, as 
in xix. 21, 24. In 1 R.V. has * And He said unto Moses'; but in 
the Heb. the order is different — ' And unto Moses He said,' which 
implies as plainly as the words do in English that Yahweh had 
previously been saying or doing something else, which is lost. And 
on turning to the last passage in which J's narrative is preserved, we 
find xix. 25 ending with ' and said unto them,' followed by a lacuna. 
The lost words must have contained Moses' repetition to the people of 
the divine instructions in xix. 2 If., 24, 116 — 13, and a statement (in 
accordance with 11, 136) that Yahweh came down on the third day, 
and that the yohhel was sounded. This was followed by the narrative 
and laws in xxxi v. 1 — 28, and then there were some further (lost) words 
of Yahweh to the people or the priests leading to the present passage. 
[Many commentators find later elements in xxiv. 1, 2, 9 — 11. In 1, 2 
Yahweh addresses first Moses (' come thou up '), then the people 
('worship ye'), and then again Moses ('but they shall not &c.'). 
These variations, however, are not unnatural, for, as we have seen, 
the words ' unto Moses He said ' (1) shew that He has been addressing 
other persons than Moses. But in 9 — 11 ' the God of Israel' and the 
idiom ' the very heaven ' are in the style of P ; and the word ' nobles ' 
(lit. ' corners ') occurs only (in its literal sense) in the exilic passage 
Is. xli. 9. The extent to which later hands have touched the verses 
cannot be determined.] 

xxxiii. 7 — 11 E. The ' Tent of Meeting' Immediately after the 
double account of the ceremonial ratification of the covenant, P gives 
seven chapters of regulations for worship, which are concerned with the 
Tabernacle and its ministers. What ground was there for inserting 
these regulations here ? It is natural to suppose that he found some- 
thing analogous in the earlier histories. There is evidence (1) that J 
must have contained an account of the making of an ark to hold the 
tablets of stone on which Moses had written the covenant words, and 
(2) that E must have related the erection of a tent. (1) In Dt. x. 
1 — 5 (see Driver) the writer makes use of Ex. xxxiv. 1 — 4 (J), but 
adds that Yahweh told Moses to make an ark of wood, and to put the 
tablets within it; and that, before ascending the mountain, Moses 
made an ark of acacia wood, and when he came down he placed the 

§ 2] ANALYSIS xxxiii 

tablets within it. This writer probably derived his account of the ark, 
as well as of the tablets, from J. And immediately after the departure 
from Sinai (Num. x. 33 — 36), the existence of an ark is recognised by 
J, who gives the prayers that Moses used to recite at the beginning and 
end of each stage in the journey. (2) In the present passage, xxxiii. 
7 — 11, is related Moses' practice relative to 'the Tent') the article 
implies that such a tent had been mentioned before. The familiar 
converse of Yahweh with Moses recalls xix. 9, 19, Num. xii. 5 — 8 (E) ; 
and no mention of Joshua before the arrival at Canaan is found in J-^ 
(cf. Num. xi. 28, Dt xxxi. 14 f., Ex. xvii. 9, 13 f., all E). The passage 
shews that E once had an account of the making of this tent, or of 
God's command that it should be made. Moreover in xviii., which 
must be placed at the end of the Horeb incidents, Jethro brought 
sacrifices ' for God,' and Aaron and the elders joined him in the feast 
*in the presence of God,' which seems to imply the existence of a 
sanctuary. The reason why the early accounts of the making of the 
ark and the tent have been lost, must be that they did not agree with 
P's ideal descriptions in xxv. — xxvii. ; see note preceding xxxiii. 7. 
[After xxxiii. 7 — 11 the book contains no further material from E. 
But some think that the continuation of E's narrative is to be found in 
Num. xi. 16, 17 a, 24 b — 30. If those verses and Ex. xviii. are placed 
side by side at this point, the three passages are seen to be closely 
connected, dealing with the Tent, Joshua, Moses' young minister, the 
elders, and the help which the latter are to give to Moses. See Gray, 
Numbers, pp. 109— 116.] 

(b) There remain to be noticed those portions of the narrative 
immediately connected with the covenant laws, in which those laws 
consist solely of the Decalogue of xx. 1 — 17, written by God upon the 

xix. 7, 8 have no connexion with the rest of the chapter ; they 
appear to be a statement in Eg with reference to the Decalogue in 
imitation of xxiv. 3. 

xxiv. 12 — 15rt, 186. These verses are based on E's narrative of 
the delivery of the covenant laws to Moses. The ' mount of Elohim/ 
the mention of Joshua and of Aaron and Hur, and the idiom ' whoso- 
ever hath a cause ' (ba'al debhdrlm), point to Elohistic work. Possibly 
a large part of the account is the original work of E, but in its present 
form it belongs to a later stage, Eg. Notice that 15a is a doublet of 

^ Some think that Joshua was a purely Ephraimite hero, and nowhere occurred 
in the Judaean traditions; but this is doubtful. See I>B ii. 786. (The writer of 
this article, Dr G. A. Smith, strangely makes no reference to events in Joshua's 
life before the arrival at the borders of Canaan.) 

M. C 

xxxiv INTRODUCTION [§ 2 

136; and that 'Joshua his minister' (13) anticipates the first intro- 
duction of Joshua in xxxiii. 11, which must have stood in E after the 
directions for the Tent had been given to Moses in the mount. The 
clause in 12, ' and the law and the commandments/ refers to something 
distinct from ' the tables of stone ' ; it appears to be a redactional 
addition, intended to comprise the whole legislation in xx. — xxiii. 
In 15^ — I8(f P adds some characteristic details to the scene — the 
cloud, the glory, the six days and the seventh day; and \%a repeats 
the substance of 136 and \ba. The immediate sequel of P's narrative 
is found in xxxi. 18, after the directions for the Tabernacle. And 
the immediate sequel of that is xxxiv. 29—35, the next passage from P. 

Analysis of xix. 7, 8, xxiv., xxxi. 18, xxxiii. 7—11, xxxiv. 1—5, 


J xxiv. 1, 2 9—11 

B 3—8 xxxiii. 7—11 

E2 xix. 7, 8 12— 15 a 186 

P 156—18, xxxi. 18 a 

R RJE 126 

J xxxiv. la, 2—5 27, 28 



P 29—35 

R R» 1 6, 4 (' like unto the first'), 28 (' the ten words ') 

xxxii. 1 — 29, 35. The sin of the people, xxxii. 30 — 34, xxxiii. 
1 — 6, 12 — 23, xxxiv. 6 — 9. Moses' intercession. 

xxxii. 25 — 29. This passage is distinct from the story of the 
golden bull, for the following reasons : (a) Though it is not clear what 
is implied by ' broken loose ' (25), yet the people were out of hand in 
such a way as to make them a by-word among the surrounding 
nations. This cannot refer to the bull- worship, which the surrounding 
nations would regard as a pious act ; and the feasting and dancing 
were the ordinary accompaniments of a Semitic festival. It is possible 
that the sin was some form of civil rebellion, which Aaron the sheikh 
was powerless to restrain, (h) There is no hint in the narrative of the 
bull-worship that the tribe of Levi had refused to join in the idolatry, 
(c) After the severe punishment inflicted by the Levites a further 
punishment (35) is unexpected, (d) The Levites are exhorted to 
' consecrate themselves ' to Yahweh. This is, of course, distinct from 

5 2] ANALYSIS xxxv 

the priestly view in xxviii., but it is also wholly unconnected with E's 
description of the sacred tent (xxxiii. 11) which is served by the 
Ephraimite Joshua. The verses must be assigned to J ; they appear to 
be part of his account of a sin committed by the people. 

1 — 6. It is probable that E's narrative, in its original form, also 
related a sin committed by the people, perhaps more or less parallel to 
that of J. But in its present form the story has been dominated 
by the thought that the sin was the violation of the Decalogue 
by image- worship. It must be assigned to E2, together with its 
continuation, 15 — 24, 35. [15 6 is a priestly expansion ; the expression 
'tablets of the testimony' is confined to P, and the tautology of the 
last clause is a peculiar feature of his style.] 

7 — 14 contain a few expressions which distinguish J from E ; but 
they cannot be the work of J, for 8 refers to the narrative of the bull- 
worship, and 13 quotes Gen. xxii. 17, which is probably a later passage. 
Moreover, if they are from J the account of Moses' intercession and 
Yahweh's relenting is premature; it is strange to read afterwards of 
the fierce punishment organized by Moses (25 — 29) and of his renewed 
intercession (xxxiii. 12 — 23, xxxiv. 6 — 9). On the other hand it is 
difiicult to assign the verses to the hand that wrote 1 — 6, 15 — 24. 
When Moses first comes within view of the dancing he is apparently 
quite unprepared for the sight ; his sudden anger, while perhaps not 
entirely unintelligible, is still surprising, if he had previously received 
full warning of the people's sin, and had successfully interceded for 
them. And his intercession, though successful in 14, is disregarded in 
35. The passage is closely similar in thought and style to the account 
in Dt. ix. 12 — 14; and must be regarded as a Deuteronomic expansion. 

30 — 34 contain expressions which find parallels in E. But it is 
noticeable that in 34 b the punishment is indefinitely postponed, while 
in 35 it is inflicted immediately. And the verses present such a 
developed consciousness of sin, atonement, and personal responsibility, 
that it is probably right to consider them a later expansion. If so, E's 
account of Moses' intercession has not been preserved. The only 
remaining passage from E is xxxiii. 6, the source of which is indicated 
by the name 'mount Horeb'; the verse relates the active part taken by 
the people In expressing penitence. The preceding verses are complex. 
5 is redactional, combining the wording of 3 with a command intended 
to introduce 6. 4 ^, which anticipates 6, is absent from the Lxx, and 
must have been added late. 2 interrupts the sentence, and the words 
' I will send an angel before thee ' are really incompatible with ' I will 
not go up' in 3 ; it is aDeut. expansion (of. iii. 8, 17, xiii. 5 al.). 


xxxvi INTRODUCTION [§ 2 

xxxiii. 1, 3, 4 a, 12 — 23, xxxiv. 6 — 9 contain J's account of 
Moses' intercession. The following characteristic expressions may be 
noticed : 'flowing with milk and honey' (xxxiii. 3), 'consume' (id.), 'in 
the midst of,' ^"ili^? {id., xxxiv. 9), ' stiffnecked ' {id.), 'find grace' 
(xxxiii. 12, 16 f., xxxiv. 9), 'face of the ground' (xxxiii. 16, R.V. 'earth'), 
'mercy and truth' (xxxiv. 6), 'made haste' (8), 'bowed' {id.), 'the 
Lord' \^Addnai as periphrasis for 2nd person pronoun] (9). The 
narrative, however, is in itself very difficult to follow, owing to the 
transpositions which some of the verses have undergone. In xxxiii. 12 
Moses' first words 'See thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people' have 
an antecedent in 1 ; but his following words ' And thou hast said, I 

know thee in my sight' have none ; and the required words are not 

found till 17. Moreover the words in 17, 'I will do this thing also that 
thou hast spoken ' have nothing in the preceding verses to which they 
can refer. It would seem that 17 must be placed before 12, 13. (In 
that position 17 might be illustrated by Dt. ix. 19 b, x. 10 b, ' Yahweh 
hearkened unto me that time also,^ where the words refer to the 
repeated sins and murmurings of the people.) Now if 17 precedes 12, 
13, J must originally have related that Moses cried to Yahweh that he 
could not take the people to Canaan unless Yahweh gave him some 
help in the difficult task. And this is actually found in Num. xi. 11, 
12, 14, 15 ; those verses have no connexion with the narrative in which 
they are at present embedded; and before the removal of Ex. xxxiv. 
1 — 5, 10 — 28 to the end of the Sinai scenes, and the addition of other 
matter from E and P, they stood in close juxtaposition with the 
present passage. Again, Ex. xxxiii. 14 — 16 relate Yahweh's final condes- 
cension ; He could grant nothing more than that His presence should 
go with His people. But in xxxiv. 9, Moses is still praying for this. 
xxxiii. 14 — 16 should therefore stand after xxxiv. 6 — 9. By this 
means 'make me to know thy ways' (13) and 'shew me thy glory' (18) 
are brought into proximity. 

If, then, the passages are rearranged, and read in the following 
order — xxxiii. 1, 3, 4 a, Num. xi. 11 f., 14 f, Ex. xxxiii. 17, 12, 13, 
18 — 23, xxxiv. 6 — 9, xxxiii. 14 — 16, they give a very beautiful result. 
Moses' prayer rises to a climax (cf Abraham's intercession, Gen. 
xviii. 23 — 32 J) : first he asks for help in leading the people, which is 
granted ; then for a knowledge of him who is to help them, and of 
Yahweh's ways, and a sight of His glory, which is granted in the form 
of a partial revelation ; lastly for Yahweh's abiding presence with His 
people, which is granted ; and Moses concludes with the earnest reply 
in 15 f. 

2] ANALYSIS xxxvii 

Analysis of xxxii., xxxiii. 1 — 6, 12 — 23, xxxiv. 6 — 9. 

J 25—29 xxxiii. 1 3, 4a[Num.xi.llf.,14f.] 

E2 xxxii. 1—6 15a 16—24 35 , 6 

R W 7—14 W 15& RJE 30—34 Ri* 2 R^ 4 6 R^ 5 

J 17, 12, 13, 18—23, xxxiv. 6—9, xxxiii. 14—16 

Chapters xxv. — xxxi., xxxv. — xl. 

The TaberncLcle and its Ministers. 

In these chapters J and E have no part. The hand of priestly- 
writers is evident throughout in style, vocabulary and subject-matter.- 
But they are not the work of a single writer. It was inevitable that 
ordinances of worship should undergo enlargement and expansion in a 
community to whom ritual had become to so great an extent com- 
mensurate with religion. It will be seen that three stages can be 
traced. The main conceptions of the Tabernacle, and of the garments 
and the consecration of its ministers, are assigned to P. Additions to 
these which can be shewn to be of later date are described as P2. 
But there are also expansions which presuppose not only P but P2 ; 
and they may be collected under the symbol P3. It is not impossible 
that there was an earlier nucleus from which P was formed ; but it 
cannot be subjected to literary analysis. See p. 156. 

xxv. — xxix. are, for the most part, the work of P, and practically 
homogeneous. But there are a few later additions : xxv. 6 presupposes 
three sections which, on various grounds, appear to be later than P, 
i.e. oil for the lamp (xxvii. 20 f.), spices for the anointing oil (xxx. 
22 — 33), and for the sweet incense (xxx. 34 — 38). And it was added 
so late (apparently to complete the summary in 3 — 7) that it is absent 
from the lxx. It must be assigned to P3. xxvii. 20, 21 P3. The 
verses imply that the Tent has been already erected, and that Aaron 
and his sons have been consecrated. They appear to be based on 
Lev. xxiv. 1 — 3, with the addition of Aaron's sons, xxviii. 13, 14 P3. 
A passage of a redactional character; 13 repeats the end of 11 
14 anticipates 22, 25 (in the LXX more words are borrowed from 25) 
and it is strange to find the chains mentioned before the ' breastplate. 
26 — 28 P3. They are absent from the lxx, and contain what appears to 
be a second account of the two rings, and their attachment to the 
shoulder straps. 41 P2. The anointing of Aaron's sons is a later 

xxxviii INTRODUCTION [§ 2 

development of the ordinances of P (see note on xxix. 7) ; and the 
verse interrupts the description of the priestly garments, xxix. 21 P,. 
In the Lxx the verse is placed before the last clause of 20 'and 
sprinkle &c.'; this variety of position suggests a late date. ('Sprinkle,' 
n'm is different from ;?i?:>t1 in 20.) 38—41 P2. The verses (together 
with 42) interrupt the connexion between 'the altar' (37) and 'it shall 
be sanctified' (43). 42 Pg. The use of the plural pronouns suggests 
another hand ; see notes. 

XXX. — xxxi. 11 Pg. Each of the six sections (xxx. 1 — 10, 11 — 16, 
17 — 21, 22 — 33, 34 — 38, xxxi. 1 — 11) contains internal evidence of 
belonging to a later stratum than P ; see notes. 

xxxi. 12 — 17 P. There are characteristics of H to be found in 
12 — 14, but it is not possible to determine with certainty how much 
of the section is due to P, and how much to adaptation from an earlier 
source. [On 18 see above (p. xxxiv.), in the narratives connected 
with the Decalogue.] 

XXXV. 1 — 3 Pg. 'These are the words &c.' suggests that the verses 
are part of a longer series of Sabbath regulations. 2 is practically a 
repetition of xxxi. 15, while 3 contains a new injunction which marks 
a very late stage in Sabbath ordinance. After 3 lxx adds ' I am 
Yahweh.' The juxtaposition of the verses with the following sections 
supports the conclusion that, in their present form, they are late ; but 
the writer has either adapted material from, or imitated the language 
of, H. 

XXXV. 4 — xl. Pg. All very late ; see notes. 

Analysis of xxv. — xxxi. 17, xxxv. — xl. 

P xxv. — xxix. (except passages cited below) 

P2 41 38—41 

P3 XXV. 6, xxvii. 20, 21, xxviii. 13, 14, 26—28 xxix. 21 42 

P xxxi. 12—17 

Pg XXX.— xxxi. 11 

Pg xxxv. 1 — 3, 4— xl. 

§ 3. The Laws in Exodus. 

The civil history of a nation is inseparably bound up with, and to 
a large extent conditioned by, its religious development. And of no 
people is this more true than of the Hebrews. They possessed a 
religious unity long before a civil unity was dreamt of; they were 
united in the worship of Yahweh generations before they were welded 
together under a monarchy. And thus it is that not only their 

§3] THE LAWS xxxix 

religious institutions but also their civil and social codes are, through- 
out their whole development, inspired by the certainty that they were 
derived from Yahweh, their God, and had all the force of divine 
commands \ To a nation or an individual that trusts in God, the 
expression * purely secular matters ' is meaningless ; the ' secular ' is 
but a department of the 'religious.' 

The book of Exodus possesses great value from the fact that it 
contains Israelite laws in the earliest stage of their development that 
is kno^vn to us. But the study of them is always beset by the diffi- 
culty of determining how much of them is really ancient, and how 
much is coloured by the prophetical writers who collected and edited 
them. It is shewn in § 7 that little or nothing of primitive 
Mosaic law has come down to us in anything like its original form, 
although Moses must have been the inspirer of an ethical standard, 
and must have given injunctions with regard to the manner in which 
Yahweh must be worshipped, and the sacra — a tent, an ark, &c. — 
which must be employed. And the only important traces of pre- 
Mosaic religion'-^ which had a lasting value, and were, throughout 
Hebrew history, taken up and developed in Yahweh-worship, were 
the observance of the Passover (see pp. 64 f.), and of the Sabbath 
(see pp. 121 — 3). 

The study of the Hebrew legislation in detail would occupy a large 
volume. Here it must suffice to point out those portions of the early 
laws in Exodus which were either repeated or modified in the later 
codes — or rather in the remains of the later codes which have been 
preserved to us. The early laws may, for this purpose, be considered 
in their three groups (see analysis) — A. Religious and ceremonial 
laws. B. Civil and social rulings. C. Moral and ethical injunctions. 
D. And to these must be added a separate notice of the Decalogue. 

A. Meligiotcs and Ceremonial Laws. 

1. Mcmolatry^. The sin of worshipping other gods is forbidden 
in J (xxxiv. 14«). In E (xxii. 20), sacrifice to any god save 

^ In this respect they were not unique. Hammurabi, one of the greatest of 
Babylonian kings (dates are assigned to him ranging from 2342 to 1772 b.c), issued 
a famous code composed almost exclusively of civil and social enactments. And 
at the upper end of the front face of the stele on which it is engraved is a sculp- 
tured bas-relief, representing Hammurabi in the act of receiving his code from 
the seated sun-god Shamash. The relation of this code to the laws of Ex. is dis- 
cussed below. 

2 A useful sketch of certain details in pre-Mosaic religion of which indications 
have survived in the Old Testament is given by E. Kautzsch in his article ' Keligion 
of Israel,' in DB (extra vol.). 

^ No attempt is here made to distinguish between the passages which inculcate 
monolatry and those which rise to the higher principle of true monotheism. 


Yahweh places a man under a ban {her em) of destruction. — Monolatry 
is further enjoined in the Decalogue (Ex. xx. 3, Dt. v. 6), and in the 
Deuteronomic passages : Dt. vi. 14, viii. 19, xi. 16, 28, xxviii. 14, 
xxxi. 18, Ex. xxiii. 13, 24a, 32 f., xxxiv. 15, 16. — In H (Lev. xix. ^a) 
other gods are called 'elllim, a contemptuous expression implying the 
utter worthlessness of any deities other than Yahweh. 

2. Image Worship. In J (Ex. xxxiv. 17) and H (Lev. xix. 4&) 
molten gods are forbidden. — In E (Ex. xx. 23) gods of silver and of 
gold. — In the Decalogue (Ex. xx. 4, Dt. v. 7), 'any graven image.' — 
D (Dt. xxvii. 15) curses the man who makes a graven or a molten 

3. Altars. The command in E (Ex. xx. 24) to sacrifice on an 
altar of earth 'in every place where I shall cause my name to be 
remembered ' is with great earnestness set aside at the opening of the 
Deuteronomic code (Dt. xii.), where the law of the single sanctuary is 
laid down (see esp. vv. 4, 5, 8, 13, 14), and the consequent modifica- 
tions in sacrificial enactments are made. — In H (Lev. xvii.), also at 
the opening of the code, this takes the form of an injunction that 
anyone who sacrifices an animal without bringing it ' to the door of 
the tent of meeting^' to present it 'before the dwelling of Yahweh' 
shall be put to death. The prohibition to use a tool in the erection of 
an altar (Ex. xx. 25) is in the strongest possible contrast with the 
injunctions as to the altar in P (xxvii. 1 — 8). On the contrast 
between Ex. xx. 26 and the later legislation, see note there. 

4. Firstfruits. In J (Ex. xxxiv. 26) and E (xxii. 29 o^) there is a 
simple command that the offering is to be made. The former recurs 
identically in xxiii. 19 a, which most critics regard as redactional. In 
both codes a feast is mentioned in connexion with the offering — the 
' Hag of Weeks ' (xxxiv. 22), ' the Hag of Harvest ' (xxiii. 16)1— In D 
(Dt. xxvi. 1 — 11) the feast connected with the offering is mentioned ; 
Levite and sojourner are to share in the hospitality, and a complete 
ritual with liturgical formulae is laid down. The feast, however, 
probably did not consist in the eating of the firstfruits themselves, 
for in Dt. xviii. 4 the priest is to receive the firstfi-uits of corn, wine 
and oil, and the first of the fleece. This seems more probable than 
that the priest received a portion and the rest was used for the feast 
(Driver, Deut. p. 290). — In H (Lev. xxiii. 10 — 17) a sheaf of the 
firstfruits, accompanied by a burnt- offering and a cereal offering, 
must be waved or swung by the priest before Yahweh, and seven 
weeks later two wave-loaves of fine flour and leaven are to be 

1 The expression appears to be an expansion in the style of P. 

2 In the earliest legislation there is no command for the payment of tithes. See 
Driver, Beut. 166—173. 


ofifered as firstfruits. — Ezekiel (xli v. 30) claims for the priests 'the 
first [of] all the firstfruits of everything,' together with the first of the 
dough. (The expression is based on Ex. xxxiv. 26, where see note.) — 
In P (Num. xviii. 12) the 'first' (reshlth) appears to be the cooked or 
prepared corn, wine and oil which belongs to the priest ; while in v. 13 
the ' firstfruits ' (bikkm'Jm) are probably the first ripe raw fruits. 
Compare Neh. x. 37 (36) with xii. 44. — The later Jewish regulations 
need not be given here. They are contained in Mishna Bikkurim and 
Terumoth, and are summarized in DB ii., art. 'Firstfruits.' 

5. Firstborn. J (Ex. xiii. 11, 12 a, 136, xxxiv. 19 a, 206). In 
both passages the general statement is first made, which includes both 
man and beast ; every firstborn must be made to ' pass over ' unto 
Yahweh — they are His. This is then explained to mean every male 
firstborn. Then follows the additional command that every firstborn 
of man must be redeemed. The method of redemption is not specified, 
nor the purpose for which they are to be given to God. Even if, 
in the most primitive times, every firstborn son was actually killed, 
the necessity of redemption must very early have been felt. It 
has been conjectured that they may have been set apart to assist 
the father of each family in priestly functions \ and that possibly 
the * young men ' of xxiv. 5 were firstborn sons ; but nothing is 
stated on the subject. It is not improbable that J originally had 
an explanation which was afterwards expunged because it conflicted 
with the later priestly arrangements — E (xxii. 29 6) has nothing but 
the simple command ' The firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto 
me.' — It is remarkable that D has no command at all as to the first- 
bora of men.— P {{a) xiii. 1, 2, (b) Num. iii. 11—13, (c) vv. 40—51, 
(d) xviii. 15, 16). (a) is a general command that aU firstborn of men 
and beasts are to be ' sanctified,' i.e. dedicated, to Yahweh. In (6) 
all the firstborn of men are to be redeemed by the dedication of 
the Levites to the service of Yahweh ; and the dedication of the 
firstborn is referred to the time of the exodus. In (c) it is stated that 
the Levites were accepted in lieu of those only who were more than a 
month old at the time ; but as the number of the firstborn exceeded 
that of the Levites by 273, the remainder were to be redeemed by 
5 shekels (nearly 14 shillings) a head, {d) lays do>vn the rule that 
every male firstborn, at a month old, is to be redeemed by 5 shekels. 
Cf. Lev. xxvii. 6. 

1 See, however, Gray, Numbers, p. 26. 

- One point of difference was allowed to stand unharraonized. In J the first- 
born are to be dedicated after the arrival in Canaan ; in P the claim is made in the 


6. Firstlings. J (Ex. xiii. 11, 12 b, 13 a, xxxiv. 19, 20 a). After 
the arrival at Canaan every male firstling shall be Yahweh's. The first- 
ling of an ass must be redeemed with a sheep, or its neck must be 
broken. — E (xxii. 30). Every firstling of ox and sheep must be 
' given ' to Yahweh when it is eight days old. The command in E is 
thus more limited than that in J, since nothing is said of the ass or 
of any other unclean animal. — D (Dt. xv. 19 — 23). As in E the 
commands are concerned only with the common domestic animals 
which could rightly be sacrificed. The firstling males of flock and 
herd are to be ' sanctified ' ; and the animals may not be previously 
used as a source of gain ; the calf must not be worked, nor the lamb 
sheared. The offering on the eighth day became impossible after the 
Deuteronomic principle had been laid down of the centralisation of 
worship at one sanctuary. The animals are now to be taken annually 
to the sanctuary, and eaten there by the owner and his household. 
Any firstling, however, which has a blemish, is unfit for dedication, 
and may be eaten at home like common food, always provided its 
blood is first poured out upon the ground. — The regulations in P are 
very different \ Ex. xiii. 1, 2 contains the general command to 
dedicate firstlings ; and Num. iii. 13 is a reference to it and the 
exodus. In Num. xviii. 15, 17, 18 the firstlings of all clean animals, 
such as can be sacrificed, are to belong to 'Aaron,' i.e. the priests; 
the firstlings of unclean animals must be redeemed. The clean 
animals may on no account be redeemed ; they must be treated like 
an ordinary peace-offering, the blood being sprinkled on the altar and 
the fat burnt. But, unlike the peace-offering, nothing is said of the 
worshipper receiving a share of the flesh ; it is to be given to the 
priests as the special portions of the ordinary peace-offering are given. 
In Num. iii. 41, 45 the law that clean animals may not be redeemed 
appears to be contravened by the arrangement that the cattle of the 
Levites are to be substituted for the firstlings of the cattle of IsraeP. 

7. Torn flesh. A prohibition against eating torn flesh {terephdh) 
is embodied in E (Ex. xxii. 31). — D (Dt. xiv. 21) forbids the eating of 
the flesh of an animal that has died a natural death {nehheldh), and, as 
in Ex., the ' holiness ' of the nation is asserted as the ground of the 
command. — In H (Lev. xvii. 15) the terephdh and the nehheldh are 
combined, and the guilt contracted by the eating of them can be 
purged by washing the clothes and bathing in water. 

1 Driver, Deuteronomy, p. 187, discusses attempts which have been made to 
harmonize the regulations of D and P. 

2 Gray, Numbers, p. 31, suggests an emendation which would lessen the difficulty. 


8. The fallow year. E (Ex. xxiii. 10, 11). — J and D contain no 
such law ; but the latter (Dt. xv. 1 — 3) substitutes for it a 'release' 
{shemittdh) for Hebrew debtors. Cf. xxxi. 10. — H on the other hand 
(Lev. XXV. 1 — 7, 18 — 22) lays down the law as stringently as possible. 
The points of view, however, of E and H are different. In the former 
the law is intended in behalf of the poorer classes, that they, and the 
beasts after them, may benefit. In the latter the chief thought is that 
the land itself may enjoy a Sabbath rest. — Lev. xxv. 11, 12 speaks of 
a fallow year at the time of the Jubile. This is probably a later idea 
than that of H. See Driver and White, Leviticus, pp. 97 — 99. 

9. The weekly Sabbath. In J (Ex. xxxiv. 21) rest is commanded 
on the seventh day, even in the busy times of ploughing and harvest. 
No reason is attached to the command. — In E (xxiii. 12) the reason 
assigned is that beasts may rest and servants be refreshed. — In the 
Dt. version of the decalogue (Dt. v. 12 — 15) a similar reason is 
assigned, and it is added that the Sabbath was commanded to be a 
commemoration of the release from Egypt. — The importance of the 
Sabbath appears in various strata of P. In the decalogue (Ex. xx. \ 1) 
the day was blessed and hallowed as a commemoration of the divine 
rest after the creation, xxxi. 17 also refers to the creation, and speaks 
of the Sabbath as a sign between Yahweh and His people, and a 
perpetual covenant ; everyone that profanes it must be put to death. 
In XXXV. 2 the punishment of death is enjoined for the profanation of 
the day, and an additional prohibition occurs against lighting a fire in 
any house on the Sabbath. (Num. xv. 32 — 36 relates an incident to 
illustrate the stringency of the law ; and in Ex. xvi. 22 — 30 another 
incident emphasizes the importance of the Sabbath rest.) Num. xxviii. 
9f specifies the additional burnt-offering for the Sabbath. And in 
Lev. xxiii. 3 a redactor of the law of H places the Sabbath at the head 
of a list of set feasts. (On the origin of the Sabbath see note after 
xx. 17.) 

10. Festival of Unleavened Cakes (Mazzoth). J (Ex. xxxiv. 18 a) 
has the simple command to observe the festival ; and then fuller 
details are quoted ['as I commanded thee'] from xiii. 4, 6, 7, 10 — 
'seven days,' 'the month Abib,' and the connexion which the festival 
had traditionally acquired with the exodus ; one detail is not quoted, 
viz. the special observance of the seventh day of the festival (xiii. 6). — 
E (xxiii. 15 a), like J, has the simplest command without details. 
[15 b from ' Seven days' is a harmonizing addition from xxxiv. 18 f ; 
see analysis.] — In early days the processions during the week would be 
to the nearest local sanctuary ; but in D (Dt. xvi. 1 — 8) the command 
is carefully laid down, as with each of the three annual festivals, that 


the celebration must be at the central sanctuary. The details are 
repeated — ' the month Abib,' the connexion with the exodus, and the 
special observance of the seventh day. To the latter, however, D alone 
applies the title ^azeretk (' assembly '). D further stands alone among 
the Hexateuchal codes in connecting the F. of Mazzoth closely with the 
Passover, Ezekiel, however (xlv. 21), does the same. — In H (Lev. xxiii. 
10 — 12) a sheaf of the firstfruits is to be waved before Yahweh, and a 
lamb sacrificed as a burnt-offering, ' on the morrow after the Sabbath.' 
This was probably part of the Mazzoth ritual ; and P understood it so ; 
if so, it points to an original connexion between Mazzoth and the 
beginning of harvest. (See Driver- White in loc.) — P (Lev. xxiii. 
6 — 8) prefixes to the commands of H explicit directions. The festival 
immediately follows the Passover on the 15th day of the first month. 
A fire-offering on each of the seven days is enjoined, and 'a holy 
convocation ' is to be held on the fi^rst as well as on the seventh day. 
Similarly Num. xxviii. 17 — 25. In Ex. xii. 15 — 20 the same date is 
specified, and the ' holy convocation ' on the first and the seventh 
day. But it is further declared {v. 17) that the festival is com- 
memorative of the exodus, and {v. 19) the penalty of death is 
pronounced on anyone who eats leaven during the week. 

11. Festival of Weeks. J (Ex. xxxiv. 22) and E (xxiii. 16) both 
have a simple injunction to observe the festival ; it is connected with 
* the firstfruits of wheat harvest ' (J) — ' the firstfruits of thy labours, 
which thou sowest in the field' (E). The latter alone names it 
'^ Festival of Harvest.' — D (Dt. xvi. 9 — 12) explains the name 'F. of 
Weeks ' ; it is to be held seven weeks fi-om the time that the sickle is 
put into the standing corn. ' A tribute of free-will offering ' is 
enjoined, ' according as Yahweh thy God blesseth thee.' The cele- 
bration is to be at the central sanctuary, and the whole household, 
and the dependent and poor, are to share in the joy and the feasting. 
— In H (Lev. xxiii. 15 — 17, 20), as in the case of Mazzoth, the name 
of the festival is not mentioned. It is dated seven weeks from ' the 
morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye bring the sheaf of the 
wave-offering.' This Sabbath was traditionally understood of the first 
day of Mazzoth (Nisan 15th), so that the seven weeks would be 
reckoned from the 16th. But it was probably the ordinary weekly 
Sabbath — either that occurring in the Mazzoth week, or the first 
Sabbath after the beginning of harvest. The latter accords with the 
dating in D. Certain offerings are specified, which have been enlarged 
by a redactor by the addition of vv. 18 f. from Num. xxviii. — P 
(Num. xxviii. 26 — 31) prescribes elaborate offerings. 

12. Festival of Ingathering or Booths. J (Ex. xxxiv. 22 h) has 


the briefest possible command to observe ' the festival of Ingathering 
at the revolution of the year.' — E (xxiii. 16) has a similar brief 
command to observe it *at the exit of the year, when thou gatherest 
in thy labours out of the field.' — In D (Dt. xvi. 13 — 15) it is called 
the 'F. of Booths.' Its length is seven days, and it is held 'after that 
thou hast gathered in from thy threshingfloor and from thy wine- 
press.' The celebration is to be at the central sanctuary, and the 
whole household, and the dependent and poor, are to share in the joy 
and the feasting^— In H (Lev. xxiii. 39—43), as before, the festival is 
not named. It is to last seven days ; on the first the people are to 
take ' the fruit of noble trees, fronds of palm-trees, and boughs of 
thick trees, and poplars of the brook,' and they are to live in booths 
throughout the week. And here only is a reason assigned : 'that 
your descendants may know that I made the Israelites to dwell in 
booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.' (A redactor 
has added, in v. 39, P's date, ' the 15th day of the seventh month,' and 
an eighth day at the end of the festival.) — In P (Lev. xxiii. 34 — 36) 
it is named the 'F. of Booths.' It is held on the 15th day of the 
seventh month, and lasts seven days, to which an eighth day is added. 
Num. xxix. 12—38 agrees with this, and prescribes elaborate offerings 
for every day of the week. 

13. Leaven in sacrifices. J (Ex. xxxiv. 25 a) and E (xxiii. 18 a) 
prohibit universally the use of leaven in sacrifices (cf Am. iv. 5, where 
its use is regarded as a sin, or at least as a new-fangled custom 
contrary to ritual tradition). It is forbidden at the Passover in J 
(Ex. xiii. 3), D (Dt. xvi. 3) and P (Ex. xii. 8) ; and in the case of 
the cereal offering in P (Lev. ii. 11, vi. 17). — Two exceptions are 
found : H (Lev. xxiii. 17), the wave-loaves offered as firstfruits on the 
F. of Weeks ; P (Lev. vii. 13), part of a peace-offering, when that 
takes the form of a 'praise-offering.' 

14. Sacrificial fat not to be left till the morning. The command 
in this form is found only in E (xxiii. 18 ^).— In J (xxxiv. 25) the pro- 
hibition is concerned not only with the fat but with the whole victim, 
and is restricted to the Passover sacrifice. Some, however, would 
omit ' of the Passover ' and read ' my feasts ' for ' my feast.' — D 
(Dt. xvi. 4) forbids the fi^esh of the Passover sacrifice to be left till 
morning. So P(Ex. xii. 10, Num. ix. 12).— H (Lev. xix. 5—8) allows 
a sacrifice of peace-offerings to be eaten on the second day, but it 

^ In Dt. xxxi. 10 f . it is commanded that every seven years, in the year of release, 
the Deuteronomic law is to be read to all Israel assembled at the central sanctuary 
for the festival. 


must not be left till the third. But (xxii. 29, 30) that form of it 
which consists of a 'praise-offering' may not be left till the second 
day. — P (Lev. vii. 15 f.) does not admit the general concession iu the 
c-a^e of peace-offerings \ but does admit it in the case of another 
variety of peace-offerings — i.e. vows or free-will offerings. 

15. • Thou shah not seethe a kid in its mother s milk.' The 
command is identical in J ^Ex. xxxiv. 26 b}, E (xxiii. 19/>), and D 
(Dt. xiv. 21). 

B. Civil and S'.X'ial JRuIings. 

It is noticeable that the civil laws in chs. xxi. — xxii. IT, considered 
as a code, are far from being a complete corpus such as would satisfy 
even the elementary requirements of the Israelites in the wilderness 
and during the days of the judges. For example — the laws of theft, 
of debt, and of injury to property are signally incomplete : in xxi. 
23 — 25 the h.r talionis is brietiy summarized, the details being for the 
most part quite inapplicable to the case supposed in v. 22 ; the method 
of killing an ox is prescribed (xxi. 28 f., 32). but the method of the 
judicial execution of a man is nowhere specified, ^so doubt much of 
this incompleteness is due to the fact that the prophetical compiler has 
preserved only portions of existing codes, and again that some of his 
work has been lost in the course of transmission-. But another cause 
is also assignable. It is to be remembered that the native inhabitants 
of Canaan, among whom the Israelites found themselves, were not 
wild barbarians. They had been in the land for centuries, and were 
dwelling in settled communities. Their ci%'ilisation must, from the 
nature of the case, have been more advanced than that of the invaders, 
who had but recently emerged from a rude nomad life. If the 
Israelites, coming in with their tribal customs, were to coalesce with 
their neighbours, some amalgamation of laws and customs was neces- 
sary. The body oi Canaanite laws with regard to landed property, 
houses, commerce and agriculture, dealing with matters hitherto 
outside their experience, would in most cases be adopted entire. But 
there would be nimierous details of criminal and civil procedure in 
which a compromise would have to be made ; and on these points the 
Israelite elders and priests would be called upon to deliver to their 
people authoritative rulings. In our ignorance of Canaanite laws this 

^ Cf. Ex. xxix, 31 — 34, a special case of peace-oflfering. 
' See note ou xxii. 1 f. 


is of course conjectural ; but it is a conjecture which has a high degree 
of probability. The laws of Exodus will, then, represent to some 
extent the points in which the sterner, more rugged and uncivilised, 
customs of the Israelites were either enforced or modified in the 
presence of the laws of Canaan, while the great mass of the latter are 
taken for granted and therefore receive no notice. And this has 
an important bearing upon a question that has recently been raised, 
as to whether the Israelite laws were in any way dependent upon 
Babylonian influence. Owing to the enthusiastic study of Babylonian 
and Assyrian literature roused by the rich discoveries of recent years, 
the tendency to find Babylonian influence in all parts of the Bible — in 
the New Testament as well as in the Old — has been apt to run to 
extremes, and thus to discredit the instances in which the evidence 
for such influence is strong. It is argued that if in Palestine Israel 
learned and appropriated the ancient Babylonian myths, why should 
they not have learned the Babylonian law as well ? And extravagant 
language has sometimes been used, to describe the debt which Israelite 
law owed to the ancient Code of Hammurabi. It may be well to 
discuss the matter briefly at this point. The best concise account of 
the code, with a translation, is to be found in DB (extra vol. pp. 584 — 
612), in the article 'Code of Hammurabi.' The writer, Mr C. H. W. 
Johns, notes the Biblical parallels which previous writers claim to have 
found, but he also points out that the divergences between the code 
and the Hebrew laws are in some cases scarcely less significant, as 
signs of influence, than the similarities. The more striking of the 
enactments which find parallels in the laws of Exodus are as follows : 

§ 8. * If a man has stolen ox or sheep or ass or pig or ship, whether 
from the temple or the palace, he shall pay thirtyfold. If from a poor 
man, he shall render tenfold. If the thief has not wherewith to pay, 
he shall be put to death.' See Ex. xxii. 1 — 3, 9. 

§ 9. 'If a man who has lost something of his, has seized some- 
thing of his that was lost in the hand of a man, (while) the man in 
whose hand the lost thing has been seized has said, " A giver gave it 
me," or " I bought it before witnesses " ; and further, the owner of the 
thing that was lost has said, " Verily I will bring witnesses that know 
my lost property " ; (if) the buyer has brought the giver who gave it 
him, or the witnesses before whom he bought it, and the owner of the 
lost property has brought the witnesses who know his lost property, 
the judge shall see their depositions, the witnesses before whom the 
purchase was made, and the witnesses knowing the lost property, shall 
say out before God what they know ; and if the giver has acted the 
thief he shall be put to death, the owner of the lost property shall take 

xlviii INTRODUCTION [§ 3 

his lost property, the buyer shall take the money he paid from the 
house of the giver' ['to give' is often = ' to sell']. See xxii. 7 — 9. 

§ 14. ' If a man has stolen the young son of a freeman, he shall 
be put to death.' See xxi. 16. 

§ 57. ' If a shepherd has caused the sheep to feed on the green 
corn, has not come to an agreement with the owner of the field, with- 
out the consent of the owner of the field has made the sheep feed off 
the field, the owner shall reap his fields, the shepherd who without 
consent of the owner of the field has fed off the field with sheep shall 
give over and above twenty GUR of corn per GAN to the owner 
of the field.' See xxii. 5f., and note. 

§ 112. ' If a man stays away on a journey and has given silver, 
gold, precious stones, or portable treasures to a man, has caused him to 
take them for transport, and that man has not given whatever was 
given him for transport, where he has transported it, but has taken it 
for himself, the owner of the transported object shall put that man to 
account concerning whatever he had to transport and gave not, and 
that man shall give to the owner of the transported object fivefold 
whatever was given him.' See xxii. 7 — 9. 

§ 117. 'If a debt has seized a man and he has given his wife, 
his son, or his daughter for the money, or has handed them over to 
work off the debt ; for three years they shall work in the house of their 
buyer or exploiter, in the fourth year he shall set them at liberty.' 
See xxi. 2, 7. 

§ 130. ' If a man has forced the wife of a man who has not known 
the male and is dwelling in the house of her father, and has lain in her 
bosom and one has caught him, that man shall be put to death ; the 
woman herself shall go free.' § 156. ' If a man has betrothed a bride 
to his son and his son has not known her, and he has lain in her 
bosom, he shall pay her half a mina of silver. Further, he shall pay to 
her whatever she brought from her father's house, and she shall marry 
the husband of her choice.' See xxii. 16. 

§ 195. ' If a man has struck his father, one shall cut off his 
hands.' See xxi. 15, 17. 

§ 196. ' If a man has caused the loss of a gentleman's eye, one 
shall cause his eye to be lost.' § 197. ' If he has shattered a gentle- 
man's limb, one shall shatter his limb.' § 200. ' If a man has made 
the tooth of a man that is his equal to fall out, one shall make his 
tooth fall out.' See xxi. 24. 

§ 199. ' If he has caused the loss of the eye of a gentleman's 
servant or has shattered the limb of a gentleman's servant, he shall 
pay half his price.' See xxi. 26 f. 


§ 206. * If a man has struck a man in a quarrel and has caused 
him a wound, that man shall swear " I did not strike him knowingly," 
and shall answer for the doctor.' See xxi. 18 f. 

§ 209. * If a man has struck a gentleman's daughter, and caused 
her to drop what is in her womb, he shall pay ten shekels of silver for 
what was in her womb.' § 210. * If that woman has died, one shall 
put to death his daughter.' §§ 211 — 214 treat of similar injuries to 
the daughter of a poor man and to a maidservant, the punishment 
being according to a graduated scale of fines. See xxi. 20, 22 f 

§§ 245, 6. ' If a man has hired an ox and through neglect or blows 
has caused it to die... [or] has crushed its foot or cut its nape, ox for 
ox to the owner of the ox he shall render.' § 247. '...if he has 
caused it to lose its eye, he shall pay half its price to the owner of the 
ox.' § 248. ' ...if he has broken its horn, cut off its tail, or pierced 
its nostrils, he shall pay a quarter of its price.' § 249. *...if God 
has struck it and it has died, the man who has hired the ox shall 
swear before God and shall go free.' See xxii. 10 — 15. 

§ 250. ' If a savage bull in his charge has gored a man and caused 
him to die, that case has no remedy.' See xxi. 28. 

§ 251. 'If the ox has pushed a man, by pushing has made known 
his vice, and he [the owner] has not blunted his horn, has not shut up 
his ox, and that ox has gored a man of gentle birth and caused him to 
die, he shall pay half a mina of silver.' See xxi. 29. § 252. ' If a 
gentleman's servant, he shall pay one-third of a mina of silver.' See 
xxi. 32. 

§ 266. ' If in a sheepfold a stroke of God has taken place or a lion 
has killed, the shepherd shall purge himself before God, and the 
owner of the fold shall face the accident to the fold.' § 267. ' If a 
shepherd has been careless and in a sheepfold caused a loss to take 
place, the shepherd shall make good the fault of the loss which he has 
caused to be in the fold, and shall pay cows or sheep and shall give to 
their owner.' See xxii. 10 — 12. 

The parallels and the divergences, summarized in Mr Johns' 
articles on pp. 608 — 10, lead inevitably to the conviction which he 
states, that ' there can be no question of actual borrowing, at any rate 
until post-exilic times.' But though the Hebrew legislators did not 
sit down, so to speak, with a copy of Hammurabi's code before them, 
their work does undoubtedly shew traces of Babylonian influence, 
which may be accounted for as follows. Hammurabi was the ruler of 
a united Babylon, but it had been united by conquest. When his 
dynasty (of which he was the sixth king) became established on the 

M. d 


throne, the population of Babylonia was an amalgamation of very- 
different elements. On the one hand there was a people long settled 
in the country, who — though of mixed, and already partly Semitic, 
origin — may be called the native Babylonians. These had attained to 
a considerable degree of culture and civilisation. On the other hand 
were the conquering (and probably Semitic) invaders, aristocratic, and 
conservative of ancient ideas, but rugged and primitive. And Ham- 
murabi's code represents a compromise between the customs of the two 
peoples, in which the virile force of the new-comers left its mark. And 
this state of things probably finds a close analogy in Palestine. The 
rude and forceful new-comers were the Hebrews, while the mixed 
Canaanite population were relatively in the same stage of civilisation 
as the native Babylonians ; and, as suggested above, a compromise 
between the respective bodies of custom and law took place. 

But further — it is probable that the laws of the native Canaanites 
were, with the modifications which would result from different climatic, 
geographical and racial circumstances, in the main closely similar to 
the laws of Babylon. As to the exact extent to which life in Palestine 
had been affected by Babylonian influence before the Israelite occupa- 
tion very divergent views are held. It is certain, however, that (as 
Johns says) before that occupation ' the rulers of the settled districts 
wrote in Babylonian to the kings of Egypt, and, presumably, also to 
the kings of Mitanni, Assyria and Babylon.' Though this does not 
prove that Palestine was at that time under Babylonian rule, it shews 
that the whole of western Asia was so far permeated with Babylonian 
influence that the language was the ordinary literary vehicle of the 
day. In an inscription erected in his honour, Hammurabi is called 
the King of Martu, which probably means 'the west land.' In still 
earlier times Sargon I, king of Agade, is stated to have made an 
expedition against Phoenicia ; and Gudea, the patesi or priestly ruler 
of Sirgulla, boasts of having brought stones and timber from Martu 
and Arabia. The kings of Ur, also, at one time possessed the west 
land. And the title held by several of the ancient kings — ' King of 
the four quarters of the world' — is held to denote that they ruled 
westward as far as the Mediterranean. It is, therefore, in the highest 
degree probable that there had been contact in the past between 
Babylonia and Palestine. And though certain features which the 
early Hebrew laws have in common with Hammurabi's code may have 
been common to all Semites from prehistoric times, or were such as 
human nature in any country might devise, yet some of them may well 
have found their way to Palestine during the times when Babylon 


either traded, or held suzerainty, in the west land. In the later 
Hebrew legislation of D and P, when Babylonian influence had again 
reached Palestine in the times of the New Kingdom, the parallels with 
Babylonian laws become increasingly frequent and close. But how- 
ever large or limited the Babylonian elements in the Hebrew laws may 
be, or may hereafter prove to be, the question of ' inspiration ' is not 
really affected. The history of all the Semitic and other nations 
involved in the problem was controlled by the One God who worketh 
all in all ; it was the leading of His Holy Spirit, working upon a multi- 
tude of minds through long ages, that brought the laws of Exodus into 
a form, which, so far as our present knowledge enables us to discern it, 
was a step in the guidance of the chosen people along the path that 
ultimately led to 'the Perfect Law, the Law of Liberty \' 

The civil and social laws in Exodus must now be compared with 
later laws on the same subjects. 

1. Eriactments with regard to slaves. 

E. Ex. xxi. 2. A Hebrew male slave is to be set free without ransom in 
the seventh year of his slavery. 

3. If unmarried when he became a slave, he goes free by himself ; 

if married, his wife goes with him. 

4. If he receives a vdfe while in slavery, she and her children remain 

the property of the master, and the slave goes free by 
5, 6. He may bind himself for life if he wish. 

7. A concubine slave cannot go free. 

8. If she please not her master, he may allow her to be ransomed, 

but he may not sell her to foreigners. 

9. If she be married to her master's son, she must be treated as a 

10, 11. If the master take another wife, he must give the concubine her 

full dues ; otherwise she may go free without ransom. 
20, 21. A master who strikes his slave with immediate fatal effects must 

be punished. But if death is not immediate, he shall not 

be punished. 
26, 27. If he destroy the eye or tooth of a male or female slave, the slave 

may go free. 
32. If a male or female slave be gored to death by an ox, the owner of 

the ox shall pay 30 shekels to the master of the slave, and 

the ox shall be stoned. 

^ Some useful remarks upon Hammurabi's code in its bearing upon the inspira- 
tion of Scripture are made by Dr Lock, in The Bible and Christian Life, pp. 1 — 19. 
The text of the code in the original cuneitbiTn, with a French translation, will be 
found in Tcxtes Elamitiques-Semitiques, iv. Paris, 1902, and in English in Johns' 
The Oldest Code of Laws in the World, Edinburgh, 1903. 



The later codes do not deal with the subject in such close detail, 
but they are marked by a more humanitarian spirit. 

D. Dt. XV. 12. A Hebrew male or female slave shall go free in the 
seventh year of slavery. 
13 — 15. The master shall present them with liberal gifts. 
16, 17. A male or female slave may be bound for life if they 
xvi. 11, 13. Slaves shall join in the annual festivals. 
xxi. 10 — 14. A captive slave girl may bewail her parents for a month 
before becoming a wife. If she please not her master, 
he must let her go free. He may not sell her, or 
treat her as a slave, if he has made her his wife, 
xxiii. 15. A runaway slave is to be protected from his master. 
H. Lev. xix. 20. Seduction of a betrothed slave girl must be punished, 
but not by death, 
xxii. 11. A bought slave may eat holy food in a priest's family. 
XXV. 39, 40a, 43, 47, 53, 55. A Hebrew may not sell himself into life-long slavery. 

He must be treated, without rigour, as a servant 
hired by the year. Because all Israelites are Yahweh's 
P. Lev. XXV. 406 — 42, 44 — 46, 48 — 52, 54. A Hebrew slave may redeem him- 
self, or be redeemed, at any time, at a price varying 
as the distance from the jubile. At the jubile he 
shall in any case go free with his children. Only 
foreigners may be owned as heritable chattels. 
Ex. xii. 43. A slave when circumcised may eat the Passover. 

2. The law of Asylum. E (Ex. xxi. 13, 14). The appointed 
place, as may be gathered from v. 14, was an altar, which would be 
within easy reach of every town. — In D (Dt. xix. 1 — 10), special 
cities are substituted for the local altars, because the one altar at 
Jerusalem would be practically useless for purposes of asylum. Three 
cities are commanded, and, if Yahweh enlarged the Israelites' borders, 
three more were to be added. (Three have previously been mentioned 
in iv. 41 — 43. But it is unlikely that the writer of ch. xix. under- 
stood nine cities to be intended. See Driver, Deut. p. 233.) — P (Num. 
XXXV. 9 — 15, 22 — 28, 32) describes a more detailed procedure. The 
cities are to be six in number, three on each side of the Jordan ; and 
they now receive the definite title ' cities of refuge ' or (perhaps) 
'reception\' When a manslayer flees to one of these cities, the 
' congregation ' of his own city bring him home, and judge between him 

^ 10?PD '•'TT The word is obscure. 


and the go el or 'avenger of blood,' to discover whether the man- 
slaughter had been deliberate or accidental. If they find the latter, 
they must take the man back to the city of refuge, where he must 
remain until the death of the high priest. If he ventures out of the 
city before that time, the go el may kill him. (See Gray on the 

3. Murder. E (Ex. xxi. 12, 14). No asylum is possible for the 
deliberate murderer. — D (Dt. xix. 11 — 13). The elders of the 
murderer's city shall send to the city whither he has fled for 
asylum, and shall deliver him up to the go' el. — P (Num. xxxv. 
16 — 21, 31). Different methods of committing murder are enu- 
merated, and thereby the congregation of the murderer's city can 
discover whether the act has been deliberate or accidental. If the 
former, the go el shall kill him ; and (v. 31) no ransom is possible. — 
Murder is forbidden in the decalogue (Ex. xx. 13, Dt. v. 17). 

4. The Lex Talionis. E (Ex. xxi. 23—25). V. 23 is connected 
with the case in which men strive together and injure a woman with 
child ; if ' mischief ensue, i.e. the death of the woman, life must be 
given for life. But this is followed by a brief summary of the law of 
retaliation, irrelevant to the case in point. — In D (Dt. xix. 21) a 
similar list, life, eye, tooth, hand, foot, follows a passage relating to 
false witness (15 — 20), a very loose connexion being afforded by the 
words 'Ye shall do to him as he devised to do to his brother.' — 
H (Lev. xxiv. 17 — 22) deals similarly with human life, limb, eye, 
tooth, or any other blemish. An additional detail (v. 18) is that if a 
beast is killed, a beast's life must be forfeited for it\ 

5. Death inflicted by cm animal. E (Ex. xxi. 28). The animal 
must be killed. — So in P (Gen. ix. 5). 

6. Theft. E (Ex. xxii. 1—4). The penalty for cattle-lifting is 
five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. If the animal be 
found alive in the thief s possession, he must pay two animals. The 
killing of a burglar by night is not criminal, but it is by day. — Theft 
is forbidden in the decalogue (Ex. xx. 15, Dt. v. 19). — In H 
(Lev. xix. 11, 13) theft (233) and violent robbery (btj) are mentioned 
as distinct crimes. — In P (Lev. vi. 1 — 7) theft, or any fraudulent 
appropriation of property, must be atoned for by full restitution, plus 
one-fifth, and by a guilt-offering. Num. v. 5 — 8 : if restitution can- 
not be made either to the owner or to his next of kin, it must be made 
to the priest. 

1 The section is placed very strangely by a priestly redactor in the middle of a 
narrative which relates the stoning of a man who blasphemed the divine Name. 


7. Kidnapping, E (Ex. xxi. 16). The penalty is death. — 
Similarly in D (Dt. xxiv. 7), where, however, the command speaks 
only of the stealing of an Israelite. 

C. Moral and Ethical Injunctions. 

Under this head are grouped some remaining laws in xxii. 18 — 28, 
xxiii. 1 — 9. They reflect the religious spirit of the prophets who 
preached in the 8th and 7th centuries. 

1. Sorceress. E (Ex. xxii. 18). A sorceress must be put to death. 
— By the time of D such practices had taken a strong hold upon the 
country, and they are dealt with at greater length. In D (Dt. x^dii. 
10 — 14) eight kinds of magic are enumerated, and denounced as 
'abomination to Yahweh.' — In H, the observance of omens and the 
practice of soothsaying are forbidden (Lev. xix. 26 b) ; the consulting 
of ghosts or familiar spirits is a defilement (v. 31) ; Yahweh will cut 
off anyone who regards them (xx. 6) ; and a man or woman who has 
a ghost or familiar spirit must be stoned {v. 27). 

2. Intercourse with a beast. In E (Ex. xxii. 19), punishable with 
death. — In D (Dt. xxvii. 21) it is cursed.— H (Lev. xviii. 23) 
denounces it as ' unnatural V and a defilement. 

3. Treatment of sojourners (gerlm). In E (Ex. xxii. 21, xxiii. 9) 
the sojourner is not stated to have had any legal rights, but there is 
the injunction not to oppress him. — In the decalogue (Ex. xx. 10, 
Dt. V. 14) he must observe the Sabbath. — In D he must be treated 
with justice (Dt. i. 16, xxiv. 14) and kindness (x. 18, xiv. 29) ; he may 
share in the covenant (xxix. 10 — 12), and may receive instruction 
with Hebrews (xxxi. 12). He is not, however, on complete equality 
with the Israelite, for he may eat the flesh of an animal that has died 
a natural death (xiv. 21 1 Contrast Lev. xvii. 15). — In H the equality 
is complete. Besides receiving justice and kindness (Lev. xix. 33 f., 
xxiii. 22), his religious privileges and obligations are the same as those 
of Israelites (Lev. xvii. 8 — 14, xviii. 26, xx. 2, xxii. 18). — In P the 
complete equality is emphasized (Lev. xvii. 15 f., xxiv. 16, 22); the 
Passover and other sacrificial laws apply to him (Ex. xii. 48 f., Num. ix. 
14, XV. 14 — 16), and the law of asylum (Num. xxxv. 15). 

4. Treatment of ividows and orphans. E (Ex. xxii. 22). A 

^ 7nrij 'confusion,' violation of the divine order. In xx. 12 f the word is applied 
to intercourse with a daughter. 

^ This is the only point of inequality mentioned in D ; but there were probably 


peculiarly Deuteronomic injunction. Cf. Dt. xiv. 29, xvi. 11, 14, 
xxiv. 17, 19, 21, xxvi. 12 f., xxvii. 19. 

5. Usury, forbidden to be exacted from a fellow-Hebrew; E (Ex. 
xxii. 25), — D (Dt. xxiii. 19 f , where, however, it is expressly allowed 
from foreigners), — H (Lev. xxv. 35 — 37). 

6. Pledges. In E (Ex. xxii. 26 f) it is forbidden to take as a 
pledge a man's outer garment, in which he would wrap himself at 
night. — In D (Dt. xxiv. 12 f.) it is forbidden to keep the garment later 
than sunset ; v. 6 forbids the taking of a mill, or the upper stone of 
a mill; v. lib, a widow's raiment; and vv. 10, 11 prohibit the 
entering into a man's house to fetch any article as a pledge ; the 
lender must wait without for the borrower to fetch it. 

7. False witness. Forbidden in E (Ex. xxiii. 1), and in the 
decalogue (Ex. xx. 16, Dt. v. 20).— In D (Dt. xix. 16—20), one who 
is proved to have witnessed falsely shall suffer the same penalty that 
he thought to bring upon the defendant. — P (Lev. v. 1) condemns the 
withholding of witness after adjuration to speak. (One witness in- 
sufficient. Dt. xvii. 6, xix. 15, Num. xxxv. 30 (P).) 

8. Unjust judgement. E (Ex. xxiii. 2, 3\ 6 — 8). — Impartial 
judgement is commanded in D (Dt. xvi. 18 — 20), and H (Lev. xix. 
15, 35). The taking of bribes is cursed in Dt. xxvii. 25. 

9. Assistance to animals. E (Ex. xxiii. 4). A man must restore 
to his enemy a straying ox or ass. — D (Dt. xxii. 1 — 3) has * thy 
brother's ox or his sheep,' and also his ass, garment or any lost thing. 
And if the owner be absent, the lost property must be kept for him till 
he claims it. 

E (Ex. xxiii. 5). A man must help his enemy to raise a fallen 
ox or ass. — Similarly D (Dt. xxii. 4), ' thy brother's ass or his ox.' 

10. Adultery. Forbidden in the decalogue (Ex. xx. 14, Dt. v. 18). 
— D (Dt. xxii. 22 — 24). The crime is punishable by the death of both 
parties, even if the woman be only betrothed ; if, however, she be 
forced, she is of course innocent (25 — 27). — In H (Lev. xviii. 20) the 
crime is condemned as a defilement ; punishable by the death of both 
parties (xx. 10)-. — In P (Num. v. 11 — 31) a woman suspected of guilt 
is subjected to the ordeal of drinking a potion. 

11. Covetousmss. Forbidden in the decalogue (Ex. xx. 17, Dt. v. 
21). See note, pp. 120 f. 

In the above lists no laws are enumerated which do not find a 
starting-point in the non-priestly portions of Exodus. There is a 

^ The passage is corrupt : see note. 

* xviii. 6 — 19, XX. 11 — 21, contain further prohibitions with regard to sexual 


large number of regulations in D and H dealing with civil and moral 
cases, and in H and P dealing with priestly requirements, which find 
no equivalents even of the most primitive kind in JE^ But if the 
Exodus laws represent a compromise gradually brought about between 
Israelite and Canaanite customs, so that a large body of native laws 
and customs, which the Israelites found in Palestine and adopted 
unchanged, never had a place in their early written records, it is not 
impossible that when later generations drew up codes, some of these 
unwritten laws and customs might appear in them — either in the form 
which ancient tradition had preserved, or (as would most frequently be 
the case) with numerous modifications. This is not the place to 
investigate the subject ; but it may be confidently assumed that many 
regulations in the later codes did not originate in or near the times of 
the writers, but — though the earlier codes do not contain them — point 
ultimately to the period when Israel was silently assimilating customs, 
ceremonies and laws, which had existed in Canaan for ages before they 
arrived in the country. See, for instance, the following passages, con- 
taining elements which have every appearance of being ancient : 
Lev. xvi. 8—10, xviii. 6—18, xx. 11—21 ; Num. v. 11—31, vi. 1—21, 
xix., XXX., xxvii. 1 — 11, xxxvi. 1 — 12. 

D. The Decalogue. 

The famous group of laws which stands at the head of the Horeb 
legislation (Ex. xx. 1 — 17, Dt. v. 6 — 21) has afforded a wide field for 
critical study. The group is usually known as the Decalogue, that is 
the ' Ten Words,' a name derived, not from Exodus, but from 
Dt. iv. 13, X. 4. Opinion, however, is not unanimous as to its 
division into ten parts. There are three systems, adopted by 
different religious communities, as follows^ : 

Greek and E.G. and 
Reformed. Lutheran. 


God the Deliverer out of Egj^pt Preface Preface 1st 

Prohibition of polytheism 1st I , j. I 

Prohibition of graven images 2nd j ^ J ^ 

Employing the divine Name wrongly 3rd — 9th 2nd— 8th 3rd — 9th 

...False witness 

Prohibition of covetousness 10th 9th & 10th 10th 

^ They can be seen conveniently tabulated by Carpenter-Battersby, The 
Hexateuch, i. 223 — 254. 

2 See art. ' Decalogue ' in DB i. 581, Nestle, Expos. Times, June 1897, and 
Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers^, pp. 120 — 3. 


The Jewish acceptation of w. 1, 2 as the first 'word' is very- 
unnatural ; and scarcely less so is the union into one ' word ' of the 
prohibitions against the worship of other gods and the making of 
images. The Roman and Lutheran division of the prohibition of 
covetousness into two ' words ' can claim support from the arrange- 
ment of the clauses in Dt. (The Roman Church, indeed, follows the 
order of Dt., placing the coveting of the wife before that of the house, 
&c.) But if the history of the Ten Words is rightly explained below, 
the original form of the 10th precludes the possibility of such a 

The first four ' words ' deal with duties to God ; the remainder with 
duties to fellow-men. But filial duty was so closely alhed to religious, 
that the commands are usually thought of as falling into two pentades 
1st to 5th being precepts ofpietas, 6th to 10th oi prohitas. 

The student is at once struck by the fact that while the 1st, and 
the 6th — 9th 'words' consist, in each case, of a single terse sentence, the 
others are amplified by reasons assigned for keeping the commands, or 
other additional matter. Not only so, but in the Dt. version these 
amplifications do not preserve intact the wording of Exodus. A 
different reason is assigned for the observance of the Sabbath, and 
there are small divergences in the 2nd, 5th, 9th and 10th. And there 
is great probability in the supposition which is now widely adopted 
that some of the commands have received later hortatory expansion, 
and that all were originally cast in the same terse form, which would 
be more suitable for inscriptions on tablets of stone. Thus the 2nd — 
5th and the 10th may have run ' Thou shalt not make to thee a graven 
image,' ' Thou shalt not take up the name of Yahweh for a falsehood,' 
' Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it,' ' Honour thy father and 
mother V 'Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house.' When the 
expansions are carefully studied it is found that they contain literary 
characteristics which recall each of the four elements J, E, D and P. 
The 'jealousy of Yahweh' is spoken of in xxxiv. 14 (J) ; the reason 
attached to the 3rd ' word,' ' Yahweh will not hold guiltless,' recalls 
xxxiv. 7 (J); 'visiting the iniquity... generation,' and 'doing mercy 
for thousands,' find parallels also in xxxiv. 7^. The enumeration of 
the household in the 4th and 10th 'words' maybe compared with 
xxiii. 12 (E). The larger proportion, however, of the hortatory matter 

^ It is further poasible that the 4th and 5th were originally prohibitions, like 
the others. 

2 The expression ^ doing mercy' is peculiar to JE, occurring elsewhere seven 
times in the Hexateuch ; Gen. xix. 19, xx. 13, xxi. 23, xxiv. 12, 14, xl. 14, Josh. 
ii. 12. 



is in the unmistakeable style of D. The addition 'thy God' after 
the name Yahweh in the Preface and in the 2nd — 5th 'words' is 
peculiarly Deuteronomic ; as are also ' the house of slaves ' (v. 2), and 
the additions 'nor any form... nor serve them' (vv. 4f.), 'them that 
hate me,' 'them that love me' (v. 6); the expression 'within thy 
gates,' and the reason attached to the 5th 'word/ are strongly 
characteristic of Deuteronomy. If these additions had been made in 
Exodus before Dt. v. was written, it is difficult to see why the writer of 
the latter should not have quoted them verbatim. They must have 
been added in Exodus by a Deuteronomic redactor. Again — after the 
enlargement of the 4th ' word ' in vv. 9 f., a reason for keeping the 
Sabbath is annexed which differs from that in Dt. v. 15. It is scarcely 
probable that if D had had the present passage before him, he could 
have substituted his historical reference for the high spiritual con- 
ception of a community in Sabbath rest between God and man. The 
clauses in Exodus — 'for in six days...&c.' — appear to be based upon 
Gen. ii. 1 — 3, which forms part of P's account of the Creation ^ It 
appears, then, that the decalogue reached its present form by a gradual 
growth. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 10th ' words ' were expanded by 
material from J and E ; Deuteronomic elements were added to the 
2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th, and the Preface ; and the 4th was further 
expanded by a priestly writer. 

But when the later expansions have been recognised, the question 
remains whether the original brief commands were included from the 
first in the work of E, or whether they were added to the Exodus 
legislation after his time. 

(a) Some have approached the problem from a subjective point of 
view. Do the ' Ten Words,' in their original form, display such an 
advanced ethical standard as to render it impossible to place them at 
the head of the enactments of the Israelite religion, and to assign 
them to Moses ? It is true that we are accustomed to see in them an 

1 Carpenter-Battersby, Hexateuch, ii. 112, point out that some of the verbal 
details are different ; instead of ' the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is 
in them,' Gen. has ' the heavens and the earth and all their host ' ; the verb 
'rested' is shdbhath in Gen. but nfiah in Ex. ; the word ' Sabbath' is not used in 
Gen., nor is the blessing on the day connected with Yahweh's rest by ' therefore' 
{'al ken). But they also observe that 'al ken is employed in connexion with the 
Sabbath in Ex. xvi. 29 (P) ; the verb nuah is found in the parallel passage Dt. v. 14, 
which may have prompted the writer's choice ; and the other differences may be 
explained by the influence of the context : the triple division into sky, earth and 
sea is already recognised in v. 4, and the word ' Sabbath ' was already before the 
writer in vv. 8, 10. But in any case he was under no obligation to quote Gen. ii. 
1 — 3 ; it is the similarity in thought which suggests that the two passages emanate 
from the same circle of ideas. See the priestly passage xxxi. 17, where the addition 
'and was refreshed' is an echo of the Sabbath law in E (xxiii. 12). 


ethical code of profound depth, inculcating, in all fulness, piety 
towards God and right dealings with our fellow-men. The Christian 
Church has, of course, been justified in drawing from them all the 
spiritual teaching that can be drawn. In the modern religious use of 
the 'Ten Commandments' the principle is applied to them which was 
applied by Jesus Christ, that each specific command is to be com- 
plemented by the universal moral and spiritual requirements which 
conscience demands. But this interpretation of the commands 
according to a high ethical standard is apt to conceal the possibility 
that their original standard may have been less lofty. All the 
commands can be explained as teaching, not morals, so much as 
pi'eservation of rights. Kautzsch sums them up as follows : ' Thou 
shalt not do violence to (i) what belongs to God — 1st, His sole right 
to worship ; 2nd, His superiority to any earthly form ; 3rd, His name ; 
4th, His day (as a tjrpe of all His other " holy ordinances ") ; 5th, His 
representatives ; (ii) what belongs to thy neighbour — 6th, his life (as 
his most precious possession) ; 7th, his wife (as next in preciousness) ; 
8th, his goods and chattels ; 9th, his honour. It is only in the last of 
the Commandments that another point of view makes its appearance, 
namely in the prohibition to touch even in thought the property of 
one's neighbour. Thus the climax is reached of the ascending scale 
which presents itself in the arrangement of the Commandments of the 
second table — in the advance from sins of act to sins of word, and 
finally to sins of thought.' But it is not certain that even the 
10th * word ' really rises to a higher ethical standard than the others.' 
Even in Dt., where the two words 'covet' and 'desire' are used, they 
may be, as Prof Driver says, merely a rhetorical variation. But 
certainly in Exodus, where the wife is coupled with slaves, cattle 
and other property, there is no reference to lustful thought. The 
command is aimed against that greedy desire for another's goods which 
so often issued in violent acts — the oppressions and cheating which 
were rife among the wealthier classes, and were denounced by Amos, 
Isaiah and Micah^ As far, then, as the nature of the commauds is 
concerned, there is nothing in them which must necessarily be con- 
sidered impossible in the Mosaic age. 

(6) But a serious difficulty arises in connexion with the 2nd 'word.' 
Although it is true that the conscience of a nation could not have 
been on a level with the conscience of its noblest leader, yet if Moses 
himself prohibited the making of images it is strange that no one before 

1 Cf. Am. iii. 10, v. 11, viii. 4—6 ; Mic. ii. 2, 9, iii. 2, 3, 5 ; Is. i. 23, iii. 14, 15, 
V. 8, 23. 


the 8th century appears to have been acquainted with the fact. It 
was apparently the universal practice to employ images in the worship 
of Yahweh. The peslUm at Gilgal (Jud. iii. 19, R.V. 'quarries') 
were probably sacred stone images used in worship. The Danites 
(Jud. xviii. 30 f.) set up Micah's peseV, or 'graven image/ at Dan, 
and it was served by a line of priests originating with the Levite 
Jonathan, whose ancestry was traced to Moses. It is clear that the 
pesel was an image used both by Micah and the Danites for Yahweh- 
worship (cf. xvii. 13); and in chs. xvii., xviii., there is not the slightest 
blame attached to its use ; in Micah's case the making of an image 
was a religious act on the part of his mother. A pesel was also set up 
in Manasseh's reign (2 K. xxi. 7), when there was a violent reaction 
from the recent prophetical movement towards reform. Another 
sacred object of frequent use in worship was the EpJwd'^. It has been 
noticed as occurring in the list of Micah's properties. Gideon (Jud. viii. 
27) made an ephod of 1700 shekels of gold, and set it up at Ophrah. 
The later religious editor denounces this as idolatry, but Gideon's 
previous zeal in overthrowing the altar of Baal (vi. 25 — 28) shews that 
he intended, by his ephod, to advance the worship of Yahweh. There 
was an ephod (1 S. xxi. 9), apparently a solid figure or image, in the 
sanctuary at Nob. And throughout the days of Samuel and Saul the 
ephod is in evidence as a recognised method of inquiring of the oracle 
(1 S. ii. 28, xiv. 3, 18 (lxx), xxiii. 6, 9, xxx. 7). As late as Hosea the 
use of the ephod remained unobjectionable. In Hos. iii. 4 it is 
mentioned (together with king and priest, sacrifice, mazzebhdh and 
teraphim) as one of the requisites of Israel's normal political and 
religious life of which they will be deprived in exile. Teraphim^ also, 
appear to have been employed by true worshippers of Yahweh ^. They 
are often thought to have been images of ancestors worshipped in each 
household. But the evidence for ancestor-worship in Israel is very 
doubtful. It is unlikely that David (1 S. xix. 13, 16) would have had 
an image for any other purpose than Yahweh -worship^. The word 
'teraphim,' as has been said, is coupled with ephod in the story of 

^ In xvii. 4 f. four different words are employed to describe objects used in 
Yahweh-worship : jyesel ('graven image'), massekah ('molten image'), ephod and 
teraphim. It is probable that the two verses belong to different sources, and it is 
doubtful how many images the words really describe. See Moore, Judges, in loc. 

^ The derivation and exact meaning are doubtful. See note following xxviii. 

2 The word is used of an image of an Aramaean deity in Gen. xxxi. 19, 30, 32, 
34 f. 

* The same passage shews that the plural word ' teraphim ' could denote a 
single figure, and that it might be of the size and form of a man. 



Micah, and in Hos. iii. 4. Among images for Yahweh-worship must 
also be reckoned the golden bulls of Jeroboam I at Bethel and Dan. 
It is quite evident that he intended them to represent Yahweh 
(1 K. xii. 28), as Aaron is related to have done (Ex. xxxii. 4). On 
the other hand the Deuteronomic compiler of the books of Kings 
denounced them repeatedly, and the opposition to them seems to 
reach back as early as Hosea (x. 5, 8) ; * molten images,' also, are 
condemned in J (Ex. xxxiv. 17) and in Hos. xiii. 2. Lastly, besides 
the mention of various images, expressions were used in early times 
which imply that Yahweh was conceived of as visibly and locally 
present in His sanctuary. ' To see the face of Yahweh ' occurs with 
some frequency; but later orthodoxy altered it to the form 'to 
appear the face of Yahweh' (sic), the impossible construction clearly 
pointing to the original form (cf Ex. xxiii. 15, IV, xxxiv. 23 f., Dt. 
xvi. 16, xxxi. 11, Is. i. 12). And the expression 'to stroke, or 
smooth ^ the face of Yahweh (or Elohim),' though it came to be 
used as a mere idiom for ' propitiate,' seems to date from a time when 
it implied the presence of a tangible figure (cf. Ex. xxxii. 11, 1 K. 
xiii. 6, 2 K. xiii. 4, Jer. xxvi. 19). 

The evidence, therefore, suggests that Yahweh was universally 
worshipped in Israel with images till about the time of Jeroboam II, 
when the prophets began to raise their voice against a worship which 
was only external, and did not shew its fruits in righteousness and 
justice. If this is so, it may safely be said that a categorical command 
against the practice could scarcely have been laid down by the founder 
of the nation. Moses may have taught some of the lessons enshrined 
in the decalogue, but it is difficult to believe that he promulgated the 
' Ten Words.' 

(c) It is instructive to notice the relation in which the contents of 
the decalogue stand to the other laws assigned to Moses at Horeb. 
Each of the commands, with the exception of the 7th and 10th, 
finds a point of contact with laws preserved by Elohistic hands in 
chs. XX. — xxiii. 

Ist 'Thou shalt have none other xx. 23a 'Ye shall not make [other 

gods but me.' gods] ^^^th me.' 

2nd ' Thou shalt not make for thy- xx. 23 b ' Gods of silver or gods of 

self any peselJ gold ye shall not make unto you.' 

^ The Samaritan version retains the accusative particle TIN, instead of ^N 
♦ unto.' 

2 The root of the verb, however, in Aram, can denote 'to be sweet.' This 
meaning is not found in Heb., but it is possible that ' to sweeten the face ' may 
have been the early form of the expression. 

Ixii INTRODUCTIOlsr [§ 3 

3rd ' Thou shalt not take up the xxiii. 1 a ' Thou shalt not take up 
name of Yahweh for a false a false report (a report of shdv')' 

purpose {shdv'y 
4th * Remember the Sabbath day to xxiii. 12 ' Six days thou shalt do thy 

sanctify it' work...&c.' 

5th ' Honour thy father and mother.' xxi. 15, 17 'Hethat smiteth — curseth 

— his father or his mother shall 
surely be put to death.' 
6th ' Thou shalt do no murder.' xxi. 12 'He that smiteth a man so 

that he die shall surely be put to 
7th 'Thou shalt not commit adul- vacat -, cf. xxii. 16f. 

8th ' Thou shalt not steal' xxi. 16, xxii. 1—4 Kidnapping, house- 

breaking and cattle-lifting. 
9th 'Thou shalt not bear lying xxiii. \h 'Put not thine hand with 
witness against thy neighbour.' the mcked to be an unrighteous 

10th ' Thou shalt not covet thy vacat. 
neighbour's house.' 

The commands of the decalogue are couched, as a whole, in a 
generalising didactic form, while those in the other column deal more 
in concrete instances. And it is difficult to deny priority to the 

(d) The above arguments consist of deductions from the contents 
of the decalogue. But the subjective considerations are entirely borne 
out when we examine the place which the decalogue holds in the Horeb 
chapters. As it stands it is in the forefront of the legislation ; it 
should be followed by xix. 7, 8, a fragment of narrative connected with 
it. The Deuteronomist, finding it in this position in the source which 
he had before him, went further, and in his own writing placed it in 
isolated grandeur as the sole basis of the Horeb covenant. But in 
Exodus not a word is said to shew that the decalogue was the basis of 
any covenant. The covenant, both in J and E, is expressly based on 
other laws, which were — as stated in both narratives — inscribed by 
Moses himself (J, xxxiv. 27 f, E, xxiv. 4). E's description of the 
theophany, interrupted at xix. 19 by part of J's description, is 
continued in xx. 18 — 21, after which the covenant laws at once begin. 
And J's version of the covenant laws begins at xxxiv. 14 (see v. 10). 
Thus no room can be found for the decalogue in the original narratives 
of J and E, and the conclusion is inevitable that it was a later addition. 
The literary evidence suggests that in its original form, without the 
expansions, it came into being as a distinct code between E and the 


rise of the Deuteronomic school, i.e. roughly speaking, between 750 
and 650 B.C. 

It cannot be determined with certainty whether its composition is 
to be assigned to the Northern or the Southern Kingdom. Kuenen, 
who believes in a ' Judaean recension ' of both J and E, says\ ' If we 
are to regard the writer who summarised Yahw^'s commands in the 
decalogue as an original and creative author, we must place him in the 
8th century ; but if we are to suppose that he merely resumed what 
the prophets of Yahw6 had already uttered, we must make him a 
contemporary of Manasseh. His ethical conception of the service of 
Yahw^ finds its closest analogue in Mic. vi. 1 — vii. 6, which is in all 
probability a product of this latter period.' It is reasonable to suppose 
that the ^ prophets, like Isaiah, drew round them by their magnetic 
influence, a circle of disciples, who would be eager to store up the 
' testimony ' and the 'torah' (cf. Is. viii. 16, 20) which they received 
from them. But if the decalogue was the work of such a disciple, it is 
not necessary to place him as late as Manasseh. The ethical con- 
ception of the service of Yahweh finds at least as close an analogue in 
the teaching of Hosea, as in Mic. vi., vii. No less than six of the 
' Ten Words ' may be compared with the brief surviving records of his 
preaching. The 1st 'Word' is implicitly contained in the pathetic 
story of Gomer (Hos. iii.), who symbolized Israel in her ' whoredom,' 
i.e. her adherence to other gods than Yahweh; and it is found almost 
verbatim, together with the Preface (in a non-Deuteronomic form), in 
xiii. 4 (and cf. xii. 9). Although, as has been said, Hosea speaks 
without disapproval of the ephod and teraphim (iii. 4), yet the 
2nd 'Word' is in keeping with his unsparing denunciation of idols 
of silver and gold and of 'the calf of Samaria' (iv. 17, viii. 4 6—6, 
xiii. 2). The sin forbidden in the 3rd 'Word,' if it be that of 
swearing false oaths, is found in iv. 2, 'swearing and lying,' and 
X. 4, 'swearing falsely' {shdv'). The Sabbath is mentioned in 
ii. 11 as one of the religious festivals of which Israel would be 
deprived in exile. The 6th, 7th and 8th 'Words' find their counter- 
part in iv. 2 ; and it is significant that, apart from the decalogue, the 
word ' adultery,' with either a symbolical or a Hteral meaning, occurs 
in no Old Testament writing earlier than Hosea ; nor does it occur 
again till Jeremiah. The 9th and 10th 'Words' find no exact parallels 
in Hosea ; but, on the other hand, false witness and covetousness are 
denounced by his predecessor Amos, who preached in the north 
(v. 10—12 ; ii. 6, viii. 4—7). 

1 The Hexateuch, Engl. Transl. p. 244. 


The decalogue, therefore, touching at so many points the Eloliistic 
legislation at Horeb and the teaching of Amos and Hosea, appears to 
be a result — and an immediate result — of prophetic teaching in the 
north. But it is probable that its present position in JE, and the 
narrative material attaching to it (see analysis) are due to a subsequent 
Judaean editor. 

This study of the laws in Exodus makes it clear, beyond all doubt, 
that the Pentateuch embraces elements belonging to widely different 
periods ; and it shews that with the advancing life of the people of 
Israel from Mosaic until post-exilic days, the basis of their national 
and religious constitution was successively and frequently modified. 
There is no consideration more fatal than this to a mechanical theory 
of divine inspiration. If the Pentateuch consists in the ipsisslma verba 
of God, treasured up and written, or even verbally taught, by Moses, 
it is, as regards large portions of the law, an unintelligible chaos. 
The critical treatment of it, on the other hand, to which the guidance 
of the Holy Spirit has led students of modern times, is the reverse of 
destructive, in that it gives order and coherence to the records, and 
shews how, by the gradual changes in the national ordinances, God 
fulfilled Himself in many ways. 

§ 4. The Priesthood. 

The following remarks are not a study of the Israelite priesthood, 
which presents many and complicated problems, but a brief sketch of 
its history in so far as it bears upon the book of Exodus. For fuller 
treatment the reader is referred to the article 'Priests and Levites,' 
by W. Baudissin, in DB iv. 

In all parts of the world, tribes that have reached a certain stage 
in the development of religious ideas feel that they require someone to 
mediate between them and the deity whom they worship. That the 
deity may be propitiated, and that he may preserve a kindly and 
protective attitude towards them, certain performances of religion are 
requisite ; and the more elaborate these become, the more necessary is 
it to be provided with someone who possesses the technical knowledge 
required for the purpose. By reason of his technical knowledge, this 
mediator stands in a specially close relation to the deity, and is there- 
fore able not only to propitiate him, but also to declare to the people 
his will in any matter on which they need guidance or correction. 
The Hebrew term kohen, ' priest,' appears to be derived from a root 
signifying * to stand.' He is one who occupies a close relationship to 
God, in that he ' stands ' continually before Him as His servant. This 


early conception perhaps underlies the (probably late) expression 
applied to the priests in xix. 22 : ' who come near unto Yahweh.' 
The functions of the Israelite priests in early times are not easy 
to define with certainty. But something may be gathered from the 
action of Moses. He was the great mediator between Yahweh and 
Israel (xx. 19, 21, cf. Gal. iii. 19); and, apart from his capacity 
as leader in the desert wanderings, his chief duty consisted in 
declaring to them the will of God. He pitched a tent outside the 
camp, where Yahweh ' used to speak to him face to face as a man 
speaketh unto his friend ' ; and everyone who wanted to enquire of 
the divine oracle used to go out to the Tent of Meeting (xxxiii. 
7 — 11). And for generations afterwards this appears to have been 
the main function of a priest — to deliver turuth, statements of the 
divine will, to all who enquired of him (see p. 183). After the 
arrival in Canaan, when a body of laws began to be formed, it was a 
custom, perhaps learnt from the Canaanites, to decide certain social 
difficulties by the test of an ordeal ; and this used to be performed 
'before God' (xxii. 8, 9), i.e. at the nearest local sanctuary, where the 
priest would officially superintend the function, and formally pronounce 
the decision arrived at by means of the ordeal. Another ordeal, which 
though described only in P (Num. v. 11 — 31) was probably a survival 
of very ancient custom, was superintended in all its ritual details by 
the priest. And a formality of a different kind, the boring of a slave's 
ear (Ex. xxi. 6), was also performed at the sanctuary. And these are 
probably only specimens of many. But while priests held an official 
position in early times, it is quite certain that the act of sacrifice was 
not their exclusive prerogative. In all the regulations bearing upon 
worship in chs. xx. — xxiii., xxxiv., priests are not mentioned, the laws 
being addressed to the whole body of Israelites. At the important 
crisis of the inauguration of the covenant, it was not Moses or any 
other priest who ofi'ered sacrifice, but * the young men of the children of 
Israel ' (xxiv. 5). This perhaps reflects a common custom of deputing 
the duty of slaughtering and manipulating the body of the victim to 
the young men of the family, as being the strongest and most active 
membei of it. But for a long time after the age of Moses, sacrifices 
were freely offered by non-priestly persons on all kinds of occasions : 
e.g. Gideon (Jud. vi. 20, 26), Jephthah (xi. 31, 39), Manoah 
(xiii. 19), the Beth-shemites (1 S. vi. 14), Saul (xiv. 34 f.), David's 
family (xx. 6), David (2 S. vi. 13, 18, xxiv. 25), Adonijah (1 K. i. 9), 
Solomon (iii. 4, viii. 63). 

M. e 


The mention of 'the priests' in Ex. xix. 22, 24 is difficult. In 
pre-Mosaic days the religious practices of Israel were in all probability 
similar to those of other nomads ; and the act of sacrificing and the 
general conduct of worship would lie with the father of each family. 
It is quite unlikely that there was a recognised body of official priests 
before the arrival at Sinai. Indeed it is not until xxxii. 25 — 29 that 
the first formation of such a body is recorded (see below). Their 
introduction into the narrative of the theophany appears to be an 

But when the Israelites had been a short time in Canaan a new 
development emerges into sight. The actual beginnings of it are 
obscure, but it gradually came about that certain members of the 
nation, who were skilled in the technical knowledge required for the 
dispensing of the divine oracle, were considered as a special body or 
caste. They did not belong to any one portion or tribe of Israel. 
Some of those who usually performed religious functions for their 
families perhaps confined their attention to them, and became recognised 
experts. Jud. xvii. contains an instructive narrative of an Ephraimite 
named Micah, who had a private shrine with an image (or images), and 
consecrated his son to be its priest. But when 'a young man... of the 
family of Judah who was a Levite ' came by, he persuaded him to be 
his priest for a yearly wage. His son could fulfil the office well 
enough, but it was more satisfactory to have procured the services of 
an expert (^•. 13). A 'Levite,' then, was a term which connoted not 
ancestry but profession ; it was equivalent to ' clergyman ' — according 
to the notions of a clergyman's office which then prevailed. The origin 
and derivation of the word are quite uncertain. The Hebrew form of it 
is Lewi. But not only was the individual official styled a Lewi, but 
also the whole body of them — the clerical caste ; and so we find the 
expression hem Lewi, 'the sons (i.e. members) of the Lewi body.' 
In the book of Exodus the name occurs once with its individual, and 
once with its corporate, signification. In iv. 14 Yahweh speaks to 
Moses of 'Aaron thy brother the Levite.' As pointed out in the 
note on the words, it would be quite superfluous to tell Moses to what 
tribe his own brother belonged; and tlie passage probably belongs 
to a time when the official body of Levites were believed to have 
been genealogically descended from an ancestor Levi. In xxxii. 25 — 29 
(J) there appears to be an attempt on the part of the prophetic 
historian to explain the origin of the Lewi body\ The bene Lewi 

1 Other instances of narratives in J whose object is to account for existing 
customs or institutions may be seen in Gen. xxxii. 32 (the custom of abstaining 


consecrated themselves for divine service by their zeal in punishing 
the Israelites for some sin which the remains of the narrative do not 

The chief problem, however, which calls for explanation, is the 
relation in which the official body stood to the tribe of Levi the son 
of Jacob. The solution which is widely adopted at present is that 
membership in the body came to be explained as a blood-relationship. 
This was rendered easier by the title hem Lewi — the sons of Levi 
were believed to be sons by lineal descent — and also by the fact that 
the priesthood in many of the sanctuaries actually became a here- 
ditary privilege. The line of EU — Eli, Phinehas, Ahitub, Ahimelech, 
Abiathar — is an instance in point. (See Driver on the corrupt text in 
2 S. viii. 17.) In some parts of the country the genealogical descent 
was traced to Moses (cf Jud. xviii. 30), but in the larger number of 
cases to Aaron. And thus Moses and Aaron were the first and greatest 
' sons of Levi,' and therefore they were brothers. The piecing together 
of scanty evidence must necessarily be to a certain extent conjectural ; 
and it would of course be absurd to dogmatize on the matter. But 
this explanation is quite in accordance with what we know of ancient 
habits of thought, and seems to account for the facts more simply than 
any other. Further, if the bene Lewi, as a tribe, never had a real 
existence, it is easier to explain an otherwise extraordinary fact — that 
they alone are recorded to have received no tribal territory in the land 
of Canaan. According to P (Josh, xxi.) the priests and Levites 
received certain towns, scattered throughout the country. But not 
only do the earlier writers say nothing of such an arrangement, but no 
less than six of the towns occur in the short early fragment, Jud. i., 
as places from which the Israelites could not drive out the native 
inhabitants— i.e. Taanach (Jud. i. 27), Gezer {v. 29), NahaloP {v. 30), 
Rehob {y. 31), Beth-shemesh (v. 33), Aijalon {v. 35) ; and two others, 
Hebron^ and Debir, are expressly stated (Josh. xv. 13 — 19 = Jud. i. 
8 — 15, 20) to have been appropriated by Caleb and Othniel the son of 
Kenaz. The individual Levites were for the most part very poor ; 
many of them, like Micah's Levite, wandered about looking for a home 
and occupation. And afterwards, when local sanctuaries, in which 

from eating the hip sinew of animals), Ex. iv. 24—26 (infant circumcision), xii. 21 — 
23, 29 f., xiii. 11—13 (the offering of firstlings, and its connexion with the Passoyer), 
xii. 34, 39, xiii. 3 a, 4, 6f., 10 (the Festival of Unleavened Cakes). And several 
stories account for the sanctity of particular objects or places ; e.g. Gen. xii. 6 f., 
xvi. 13 f., xxi. 33, xxvi. 23—25, xxxi. 46 — 48, xxxii. 30 f., xxxv. 20. 

' In Josh. xxi. 35 it is spelt Nahalal. 

2 Josh. xxi. 12 is an attempt to harmonize the discrepancy. 



some of them had risen to considerable wealth and position, were 
abolished in the Deuteronomic reform, they were reduced to straits ; 
so that they are commended, in Dt., to the charity of the Israelites, 
together with strangers, widows and orphans (see xii. 12, 18 f., 
xiv. 27, 29, xvi. 11, 14, xxvi. 11 ff.). 

Still another problem requires attention. How was it that though 
Moses was the great leader of the nation and the first official at the 
desert sanctuary, Levites in many parts of the country traced their 
descent not to him but to Aaron? In Ex. xviii. 12 Aaron does not 
act as a priest ; he is apparently an elder, or sheikh. And in xxiv. 14 
he and Hur (cf. xvii. 12) are left, in the capacity of sheikhs, to control 
and govern the people. See also v. 9. There is nothing in J or E 
which implies that Aaron was the great priest of the Israelites \ We 
are once again landed in the region of conjecture. It is possible to 
suppose that in course of time Moses — who was never related to have 
offered sacrifice — was considered exclusively as the leader and the 
lawgiver ; and Joshua, who had been his assistant in the sanctuary, 
became the warrior captain who succeeded him in his leadership. So 
that when sacrifice, as well as the dispensing of the oracle, came to be 
included among the exclusive rights of Levites, they traced the rights 
to the next most important personage whose name figured in the 
ancient traditions. 

It is important to notice that before the time of the exile there is 
not a trace of the idea that Levites are inferior to priests ; Levites are 
priests. There was one line of priests, however, to whom a special 
prestige attached. When Solomon built his magnificent royal chapel 
at Jerusalem, he appointed as its chief official Zadok, who had 
previously acted as one of David's priests. In so doing he dis- 
missed David's principal priest Abiathar. The latter, as has been 
said above, was descended from Eli ; and Eli — to judge from the name 
of his son Phinehas — probably traced his descent to Aaron through 
Phinehas and Eleazar^. But no pre-exilic writings contain any statement 
with regard to Zadok' s descent. The priests at Jerusalem were content 
to be known as the ' sons of Zadok.' And the more that the southern 
kingdom prospered, the more important did the royal sanctuary 
and its officials become ; especially must this have been the case after 
the faU of the northern kingdom. But the Levites in the northern 

^ Unless Dt. x. 6 is from E, in which case the passage contains the earliest 
trace of the idea. 

2 Even the Chronicler, who exalts the line of Zadok, admits Eli's Aaronic 
descent, but he relegates it to the inferior line of Ithamar (1 Chr. xxiv. 3). 


kingdom were further distinguished from the Jerusalem priests by the 
fact that the official worship of Yahweh was carried on under the form 
of bull-worship, certainly at Bethel and Dan (1 K. xii. 29), and 
probably also at many other leading sanctuaries. And in many 
places in Judah images of some sort were employed 'from Geba to 
Beersheba' (see 2 K. xxiii. 8). It is easy therefore to understand 
the dislike which the Jerusalem priests would feel towards them, 
and the serious friction that would ensue, when, by the Deutero- 
nomic reform, all the country sanctuaries were suppressed, and it 
was laid down that the Levites who had served in them were to 
receive an equal share in religious rights with the priests at the 
capital (Dt. xviii. 6 — 8). It would appear from the somewhat obscure 
statement of 2 K. xxiii. 9 that the Jerusalem priests contrived to hold 
their own, so that the country priests, although possessed of some 
privileges, did not manage to gain the right of sacrificing. Ezekiel, 
himself a Jerusalem priest, vehemently states his own view of the 
matter (xliv. 10 — 16), — that the country Levites, who had formerly 
officiated in worship at which images were used, ought to be degraded 
to the position of inferior assistants to ' the Levite priests the sons of 
Zadok.' Some writers have conjectured that it was during this eccle- 
siastical contest that the story of Ex. xxxii. 1 — 24 received its present 
shape. The earlier form of it was probably a protest against image- 
worship, introduced in a late stratum of E in connexion with the 
delivery of the Ten Words (xx. 1 — 17). But since the country 
Levites, at some sanctuaries at least, worshipped Yahweh under the 
form of bulls, it is not impossible that a tradition had sprung up among 
them that bull-worship could be traced to their founder — Aaron him- 
self But whether they actually made this claim or not, it is plausible 
to suppose that the narrative received its present sinister form at the 
hands of those who denounced the Aaronite Levites for idolatry by 
condemning their founder for the same sin. 

Thus far only those passages in Exodus which are earlier than P 
have been touched upon. But an extraordinary feature of the later 
history of the priests is that after the return from exile everyone with- 
out exception who claimed to be a priest was obliged to prove his 
descent from Aaron. The term ' sons of Zadok ' disappeared, and 
every priest was now a 'son of Aaron,' Levites being reduced, as 
Ezekiel had wished, to the position of inferior officials. And yet at 
a later time the name Zadok reappears in the title ' Sadducee.' This, 
however, is not the place to deal with the subject, and it is still a 
problem of considerable difficulty. (See an article by Prof Kennett 


in the Journal of Theol. Studies, Jan. 1905 ; and by the present 
writer, Sept. 1905.) 

The final exaltation of the ' sons of Aaron ' to the position of the 
only possible priests at the only possible sanctuary is the point of view 
from which the priestly writers looked back at the events at Sinai. 
They represented the state of things which obtained in their own day 
as having existed by divine ordinance from the first. Aaron their 
reputed founder, and his sons, are personages of extreme sacredness 
and importance. The Levites, their inferiors and assistants, are 
mentioned, in Ex., only in xxxviii. 21, which anticipates the full 
definition of their status and duties in the book of Numbers. 

The following are the injunctions laid down in Exodus with regard 
to the vestments and the consecration of the priests. 

The Vestments. Ch. xxviii. {1) Of Aaron. By far the most impor- 
tant item (which is mentioned first) is that which marked him out as 
the priest par excellence — one whose chief duty it was to declare God's 
will to men, and to represent men before God, — i.e. the Ephod. This 
was to be of the most elaborate workmanship, like the inner veil in the 
Tent : the finest linen woven by a designer with gold, violet, purple and 
scarlet threads. Its shape is not fully described ; but it appears to have 
been merely a broad piece of material which was worn round the chest 
and under the arms. The elaborate accessories, on the other hand, are 
described in more or less full detail — the two shoulder-straps, each 
with a jewel in a gold filigree setting fastened to it, and each jewel 
engraved with the names of six of the tribes of Israel ; and immediately 
below the ephod was worn the artistic girdle. The ephod was doubled 
in front, forming the Hoshen (EW ' breastplate '), a square pouch in 
which were carried the Urim and Tummim ; and the pouch was covered 
with twelve jewels placed in four rows in gold filigree settings. The 
pouch was kept closed at the upper end by gold chains fastened to the 
two upper corners and to the jewels on the shoulder-straps, which thus 
acted as buttons ; and at the lower end there were rings at the two 
corners on the under side of the pouch which exactly coincided with 
two other rings fastened to the ephod ; and the two pairs of rings 
were tied together by violet ribands. On each of the twelve jewels 
was engraved the name of one of the tribes. With the ephod was 
worn a inolet robe, made in one piece like a chasuble, with an opening for 
the head. The opening was strengthened by ' a binding of woven 
work ' to prevent it from being torn. And round the lower rim of the 
robe there ran alternate golden bells and pomegranates. On the head 
was worn a turban {miznepheth), and upon the front of it a golden 


diadem or fillet, tied with a violet thread, and inscribed with the 
words Kodhesh leYahiceh 'Consecrated to Yahweh.' Beneath the 
' robe of the ephod ' was worn a tunic, woven in a check pattern ; its 
shape was probably something like that of a cassock. And it was 
bound to the person by an embroidered sash. 

(2) Of Aaron's ^ sons.' Their vestments were of the simplest 
kind. Tunics, of which the material is not specified ; but they were 
probably intended to be of a check pattern similar to Aaron's. 
Sashes, which were apparently similar to his. Turbans {migbd^oth) ; 
these were different from Aaron's, and the derivation of the word 
suggests that they were wound in such a way as to raise them to a 
height above the head. Listen breeches, worn because in performing 
their duties at the altar the priests stood upon a higli ledge. (Con- 
trast the early regulation in xx. 26.) Shoes are nowhere mentioned, 
and it may be taken for granted that priests always officiated with 
their feet bare. In the case of the priests' benediction this was laid 
down as imperative even after the destruction of the temple. {Rash 
Hashana 316 ; Sota 496.) The post-Biblical passages which treat of 
the priestly vestments are B. Sir. xlv. 6 — 13, 1. 5 ff. ; Philo, Vita 
Mos. iii. 11 — 14 (ed. Mangey ii. 151 — 5); De Monarchia ii. 5, 6 
(ed. Mang. ii. 225—7) ; Joseph. Ant. ni. vii. 4 — 7 ; Bell. Jud. v. 
V. 7 ; Mishn. Yoma vii. 5. ; Jerome, Ep. ad Fabiolam x. — xviii. 
(ed. Vallarsi i. 360—6). 

The Consecration. Ch. xxix. 1 — 37. The ceremony of consecration 
both for Aaron and his sons is, with one exception, the same. It is 
probable that it represents approximately the ritual which obtained at 
the time of the writer ; but whether the whole ceremony continued to 
be performed in the later days of the priesthood is doubtful. See 
Schiirer, The Jewish People in the Time of Christ, Div. ii. Vol. i. 
215 f. 

(l) They bathed in water, to wash away all ceremonial impurity 
attaching to them at the moment. (2) They were clothed in their 
vestments. (3) After the high priest had been vested, he was 
anointed with oil. It is only in a later stratum of P that Aaron's 
sons, the ordinary priests, are also anointed. (See note on v. 7.) 

These acts comprise the preparation of the persons of the priests. 
Now follows that which brings them into relation with God. 

(4) A bullock was brought before the Tent for a Sin-o^ffering — a 
propitiatory gift whereby the persons concerned were separated from 
all that was not holy. Aaron and his sons formally signified that they 
were the persons concerned, by placing their hands upon the head of 


the bullock. When the animal had been killed, its blood was smeared 
upon the horns of the altar, and dashed at its base, to do away with 
the impurity of an altar made with human hands. It was thus con- 
secrated to receive the victim. Then the intestinal fat was burnt, as 
God's share in the offering. And lastly the flesh, skin and dung were 
burnt outside the camp. As the sin-offering was, in this case, in 
behalf of the priests themselves, they did not, as was usually the case, 
receive the flesh for their own use. (5) A ram was next offered as a 
Burnt-offering, — that is to say, not only the fat, but the whole animal 
was burnt, after the laying on of hands, and the dashing of the blood 
at the base of the altar. (6) A second ram was then offered as a 
Peace-offering, the distinguishing feature of which was that the 
ordinary worshipper normally received a share for the purpose of a 
sacrificial meal. (In the present case Moses acted as priest, while 
Aaron and his sons held the position of the ordinary worshipper 
since they were not priests until the ceremony was completed.) Besides 
the usual ritual of the peace-offering, two special ceremonies were 
performed, because the ram was not only a peace-oftering but also 
a 'ram of consecration.' 

{a) Aaron and his sons were consecrated for service in every limb 
of their body. This was symbolized by smearing the blood of the ram 
on their right ear, thumb and great toe ; and the blood was dashed at 
the base of the altar, (h) The fat portions and the right shoulder, 
together with part of a cereal offering, which were to be given to God 
by burning, were first placed in the hands of the ordinands, and offered 
(lit. 'waved' or 'swung,' see n. on v. 27) before God. This was the 
priestly interpretation of the ancient expression ' fill the hand ' — ordain 
for service. Then these portions were burnt in the usual way. The 
burning of the right shoulder was unusual. It is called ' the shoulder 
of the contribution ' (R. V. ' the thigh of the heave-offering ') because it 
was normally taken from the carcase as a contribution to the priest. 
And the priest, in ordinary cases, also appropriated the breast, after 
' waving ' it. In the present case, Moses ' waved ' the breast and took 
it for himself, but the shoulder was given to God. (c) Lastly the rest 
of the carcase was boiled, and Aaron and his sons, in the capacity of 
ordinary worshippers, ate it and the rest of the cereal offering, as a 
sacrificial meal, (c?) This ceremony was to be performed daily for 
seven days. In a later passage (Lev. viii.), where Moses' performance 
of these injunctions is described, three further details are added : 
(i.) Moses anointed not only Aaron but also ' the Tent and all that 
was therein,' ' the altar and all its vessels and the laver with its base ' 


(w. 10 f.) ; (ii.) he also sprinkled Aaron and his sons and their gar- 
ments with a mixture ' of the anointing oil and of the blood which was 
upon the altar' (v. 30) ; (iii.) the repetition of the ceremony for seven 
days is understood to involve that Aaron and his sons shall not depart 
from the door of the Tent during the seven days (vv. 33, 35). 

§ 5. The Tabernacle; its structure, historicity and 
religious significance. 

1. The Structure. The contents of the Tabernacle, its various 
articles of furniture, the veil and screen, and the apparatus for service, 
are dealt with in the notes. But it may be useful to discuss here, in a 
continuous form, the difficulties occasioned by the description of the 
Tent itself. 

Many attempts have been made to elucidate the details specified in 
xxvi., xxvii. 9 — 18, and to produce from them a coherent description ; 
and it would be of little use to enter into a prolonged discussion of 
their various merits. The commentaries of Dillmann, Baentsch and 
Holzinger, the Archaeologies of Keil and Nowack, the dictionary 
articles of Riehm\ Riggenbach^ and Benzinger^ and the monographs 
by Bahr, Popper, Brown and Caldecott, present a bevnldering abun- 
dance of conflicting opinions. The work, however, which appears to 
the present writer to leave the fewest problems unsolved is Kennedy's 
article ' Tabernacle ' in DB iv. He strikes out, on some points, an 
independent and successful line of his own, which he will doubtless 
present more fully in his forthcoming commentary. ^ 

{a) Curtains, xxvi. 1 — 6. It must be remembered throughout 
that the narrator wished to describe a Tent — not a soHd building, 
xxvi. 1 clearly states that the DwelHng is to be made of ten curtains 
each 28 X 4 cubits. They are to be joined (how is not specified) into 
two sets of five. These two sets are again to be joined by 50 gold 
hooks, caught into 50 loops of violet, placed along the edge of each set ; 
' and the Dwelling shall be one.' The Dwelling is therefore one great 
curtain, 28 x 40 cubits. But, as in an ordinary tent, while the covering 
is the first consideration, wooden supports are necessary to hold it up, 
so it is with the Dwelling. This relation of the woodwork to the 
Dwelling is rightly insisted on by Fairbairn^ : * The boards in the 
original description appear only as a sort of accessory, and are not 
referred to till after the two sets of curtains which properly formed the 
tent are described.' 

1 Bihl. HWB. - PREK » Erie. B. ■» Typology of Scripture, 243 footnote. 


(b) Kerdshtm, xxvi. 15 — 30. The invariable opinion hitherto 
has been that the 'boards' specified in xxvi. 15f. are solid beams of 
wood. They are to be 10 cubits in height and 1| cubit in width. 
Their thickness is not mentioned. Twenty * boards ' form each of the 
long sides of the Tent (vv. 18, 20), and six the hinder (western) end 
(v. 22). Tliis would make the wooden walls 30 cubits on each of the 
long sides. The length of the western end will be discussed below. 
Each 'board' (v. 19) is to have two bases ('adkdmm, R.V. 'sockets') 
of silver, i.e. solid blocks of silver into which it is fixed. And each 
* board ' has two yddhoth, each of which has a base corresponding to 
it {v. 17). These yddhoth are understood by Benzinger and others to 
be ' pivots ' (Joseph, o-rpoc^ty-ycs), which are fixed into the bases. It is 
noticeable, however, that (in v. 37) though the five pillars at the 
eastern entrance stand on bases, nothing is said of yddhoth. An 
insuperable difficulty arises here. If these wooden walls are to support 
the curtains, the latter must hang outside them ; but if the walls 
are composed of solid beams touching one another throughout, the 
magnificent curtains worked with cherubim become invisible from 
within ; and when the covering of goats' hair is thrown over them, 
they become invisible from without ! Benzinger suggests (see below) 
that the goats' hair covering was drawn out from the curtains, and 
fixed by ropes and pegs, so that the beautiful curtains would be visible 
to one peering into the narrow open space thus formed. But of this 
the account in Exodus says nothing. By some writers the difficulty is 
felt so acutely that they suggest that the curtains worked with 
cherubim were intended to hang inside the walls as tapestry. But 
there is not a hint in Exodus as to the method by which they are 
to be held up. And against this supposition is the fact that the goats' 
hair covering is said to overlap the curtains by one cubit on each of 
the two long sides, *to cover it' (xxvi. 13). And, further, in the 
secondary portion of the priestly narrative (xl. 19), Moses 'spread' 
the Tent (i.e. the goats' hair) over the Dwelling (i.e. the curtains). 
It is here that Kennedy's ingenious explanations throw the greatest 
light. He argues that the kerdshlm are not ' boards ' but ' frames ' 
of comparatively thin wood ; that the two yddhoth are not * tenons ' 
or ' pivots ' but ' arms ' (as the Hebrew word itself rather implies), 
i.e. long pieces of wood which formed the sides (lxx /xc/o^) of the 
frames; and that the expression 'joined one to another' (xxvi. 17) 
means 'joined by cross-rails' like the rungs of a ladder. (This is 
further explained in the notes.) Now if the kerdshlm are frames, 
composed of side-arms and cross-rungs, it is evident that the curtains, 

10 20 30 40 50 

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Plan of the 
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Two Kerashim 
ffith Bars Rings & Bases 





when thrown over them, are visible from within the Dwelling, and that 
they are divided into a series of panels. (Moreover this was the case 
in Ezekiel's temple (xli. 18 — 20), where a cherub and a palm tree 
appeared in each panel of the wall.) The frames are strengthened by 
five bars running through rings. One unbroken bar ran continuously 
the whole length of a side of the structure, and the other four pre- 
sumably ran above and below it, at the top and the bottom, two 
half-length bars in each case being placed end to end, and reaching 
the whole length. Thus, when inserted in position, there were three 
full-length bars ; and this renders it probable that each frame had 
three cross-rungs, over which the bars ran. Further advantages of 
Kennedy's scheme will be seen later. 

The description of the hinder (western) end of the structure causes ^ 
great difficulties. In xxvi. 22 it is composed of six kerdshm. As 
each is IJ cubit in width, the wall will be 9 cubits in. length. But it 
is allowed on all hands that the Most Holy place, formed by three 
walls and the veil, was a perfect cube of 10 cubits — the side measure 
being half of that in the shrine of Solomon's and Ezekiel's temples. 
There is, therefore, 1 cubit of wall left to be accounted for ; and 
Kennedy very plausibly accounts for it by allowing ^ cubit for the 
thickness of each of the side walls with its bars. But in vv. 23 — 25 
two more kerdsh'im are specified, making a total of eight with their" 
bases. Benzinger despairs of v. 24 as hopelessly corrupt. He places 
the eight ' beams ' in a line, to form the western wall, making a length 
of 12 cubits, and standing outside the ends of the side walls. But 
since the Most Holy place is a cube of 10 cubits (which he takes to be 
the inside measurement), he, with several other writers, concludes that 
the ' beams ' are each 1 cubit in thickness. Apart from the enormous 
difficulties involved in the use of beams 1 x li x 10 cubits, this 
explanation does not account for the specifications in vv. 23, 24,,* 
in which the two kerdsKlm are mentioned separately from the six, 
and intended for a special purpose. Holzinger {Kurz. Hand-Komm. 
p. 128) suggests that the seventh and eighth ' beams ' (v. 25) may be a 
late gloss for the two end beams of the six {v, 22), and the 'sixteen 
bases ' a correction for ' twelve bases,' to agree with it. The hinder wall 
stood between the last kerdsh'tm of the two long sides, and the walls 
were fastened at each corner by a clamp. But he pronounces v. 24 
' unintelligible in details.' Kennedy believes that the two extra 
kerdsKlm are to be used simply to strengthen the corners. The last 
frame at each end of the hinder wall is to be doubled, the second frame 
forming a buttress, sloping upwards and terminating just under the 


topmost bar. This involves the adoption (with many writers) of the 
Samaritan reading ' double ' {toamhn, lit. ' twins ') for the present 
Hebrew reading * entire ' (tammlm). The words may be rendered : 
' and let them be double beneath, and likewise let them be double at 
the top of it [i.e. the Dwelling] towards the one ring,' — implying that 
the same is to be the case towards the ring at the other corner \ 

By those who do not hold the passage to be corrupt, and yet who believe 
that the kerdshivn were thick beams, many fanciful explanations have been 
oflFered. The least impossible is that of Keil, to which Dillmann hesitatingly 
assents, that the ' double ' keresh meant two beams fastened at right angles. 
In this case either reading — ' double ' or ' entire ' — could be explained ; the 
beams are to be considered either double, or fastened into one, from bottom 
to top. But even so, Dillmann is forced to assume that ' beneath ' and ' at the 
top ' imply that a piece in the middle is cut away, to allow for the passage of 
the bar. Nowack follows Biihr in supposing that ' double ' means ' exercising 
a double function,' the corner beam belonging both to the end and the side 
wall, although in the measurements it could only be reckoned to the end wall. 
Riggenbach accepts the strange suggestion of Riehm, that the comer beam 
was ' entire ' at the top, but cut with a re-entering angle at the bottom, giving 
the appearance of a double corner. This would only have weakened the 
corner, with no compensating advantage. 

The passage is certainly obscure, and possibly corrupt. But it is 
extremely improbable that any explanation is right which does not 
preserve intact the statement of v. 22, that the kerdshlm which 
formed the end wall were six in ninmber, and each was IJ cubit 
in width. 

The inside measurements of the Tent, adopted by many writers 
from early times, produce improbable and unsymmetrical results only 
if the kerdshlm are thick beams. In Solomon's temple the measure- 
ments were quite certainly inside, from wall to wall. But in the 
Tabernacle, the walls are represented by curtains, whose thickness may 
be neglected. The Dwelling consists of the curtains, and therefore the 
measurements must be from curtain to curtain. And thus Kennedy's 
supposition that the kerdsJum were frames, which, with their bars, 
were each ^ cubit in thickness, allows an inside measurement of 
10 cubits. And the outside measurement is the same ; so that 
from within or without the whole structure measures, symmetrically, 
30 X 10 X 10 cubits, and the Most Holy place 10x10x10 cubits. 

1 This is preferable to 'towards the first ring,' i.e. the uppermost of the three 
rings fastened to each keresh to hold the bars. 


(c) We can now return to the curtains, and consider the method 
in which they are spread over the frames. 

(1.) xxvi. 1 — 6. The Dwelling is one great curtain, 28 x 40 cubits. 
Now if, according to the calculations of Nowack and Benzinger, the 
end wall measures 12 cubits, and the side walls 31^ cubits each, and 
they are 10 cubits in height, the curtain will hang down 8 cubits at 
the sides and 9 cubits at the end. But if, more probably, the walls 
measure 10 cubits (the end) and 30 cubits (the sides), and their height 
is 10 cubits, the curtain ^vill hang down 9 cubits, i.e. one cubit off the 
ground, at the sides, and 10 cubits, i.e. just touching the ground, at 
the end. In either scheme the separating of the Most Holy from thej |J-^-» 
Holy place is rightly taken account of in the formation of the curtain ;i 
the joining of the two sets of five pieces of tapestry (with llJtU violet 
loops and 50, gold hooks) lies along the line of the veil which divided 
the Dwelling into its two parts. 

(2.) w. 7 — 13. Above the Dwelling was spread the goats' hair 
covering, named, rather confusingly, in v. 7 'the Tent.' This consisted 
of eleven pieces, comprising two sets of six and five respectively, joined 
by ,100 loops (colour not stated) and b^ bronze hooks. The whole was 
one covering, 30 x 44 cubits. With Benzinger's measurements this 
hangs down 9 cubits, i.e. 1 cubit off the ground at the sides. With 
Kennedy's it just reaches the ground. Both are in agreement with 
V. 13, in which the goats' hair is said to overlap the tapestry at the 
sides by 1 cubit. But the measurements along the length of the 
structure are thrown into confusion by t\ 12/ The goats' hair covering 
is 13 cubits (Benzinger), or 14 cubits (ITennedy) longer than the roof 
length. V, 9 says that one piece (i.e. 4 cubits' width) shall be 
'doubled over against the front of the Tent.' This would allow 
9 cubits hanging at the back (Benzinger), or 10 cubits just reaching 
the ground as on the two long sides (Kennedy). But v. 12 says that 
an extra half curtain (i.e. 2 cubits' width) remains, which is to hang at 
the back of the building. In order to allow of this, Benzinger is forced 
to assume that *the sixth curtain,' of v. 9, must mean 'half the sixth 
curtain'; so that 2 cubits are doubled at the front of the building, 
31 cubits cover the roof, leaving 11 cubits hanging at the back. 
The extra cubit at the back he supposes, without any evidence, 
to have been drawn taut and pegged to the ground — as he also 
supposes to have been the case at the sides. But to make ' the 
sixth curtain ' mean ' half the sixth curtain ' is a more violent 
expedient than to regard v. \2 as a gloss (Kennedy, Holzinger (iL). 
Either there were two divergent traditions as to the arrangement of 

Ixxviii INTRODUCTION [§ 5 

the goats' hair,, preserved in v. 9 and v. 12 respectively, or the writer 
of the gloss in v. 12 misunderstood v. 9. 

With regard to the portion doubled in front, the effect would be 
that of 2 cubits hanging over the edge of the roof, and protruding at 
the sides\ Joseph. A7it. iii. vi. 4 describes it as an acVw^a, 'gable,' 
and Traa-rds, 'porch.' This would be useful in excluding all light, 
which might otherwise penetrate along the top of the entrance screen ; 
' and it would also exclude any dripping in of rain-water at the same 
place. But it is not at all improbable that the chief thought in the 
narrator's mind was a wish to present a miniature counterpart to the 
porch in Solomon's and Ezekiel's temples. 

The other coverings of the Dwelling, the dyed rams' skins and the 
dugong skins, are enjoined in xxvi. 14, but their size is not stated ; but 
to be of any use they (or at least the dugong skins) must have 
descended to the ground. 

(d) The pillars of the court. The only further item which calls 
for special consideration here is the difficulty occasioned by the 
narrator's enumeration of the pillars required for the court. On 
the north and south sides the hangings measure 100 cubits, and 
on the western side 50 cubits. On the east there are three hangings ; 
those to the north and south of the entrance measure 15 cubits each, 
while the entrance itself consists of an embroidered portiere or screen 
(mdsdk) of 20 cubits. The periphery of the court is thus 300 cubits. 
The pillars which support the hangings are numbered 20 on each of 
the long sides, and 10 on each of the short sides ; there is therefore a 
pillar for every 5 cubits of hanging. This, though mathematically 
accurate, and satisfying the narrator's instinct for symmetry, is in 
practice exceedingly difficult. For if the corner pillars are reckoned 
twice, as some writers suppose, the distance from one another of the 
pillars on the short sides would be ^/ cubits, i.e. rather more than the 
distance, y^^^ cubits, between the pillars on the long sides ; while if the 
corner pillars are not to be reckoned twice, the longer sides require 
21 pillars each, the western end 11, and the eastern end 5 + 4+4=13. 
To preserve, as far as possible, both S5Tiimetry and mathematics 
Kennedy explains as follows : ' counting 4 for the entrance, and 3 
for the curtain to the left (vv. 16, 14), we proceed round the court, 

1 Kennedy, in his illustration of the structure in DB, disregards, by an over- 
sight, the part which must have protruded at the sides, giving the impression that 
it was tucked in beneath the first piece which covered the side walls. This would 
require a transverse cut in the material at the top of each wall, of which the test 
gives no hint. 


reckoning always from the first corner pillar met with and counting no 
pillar twice.' His diagram (here reproduced by permission of the 
publishers of Hastings' DB) illustrates this\ But though this is 
the only way of giving a meaning to the narrator's words, symmetry 
is, as a matter of fact, completely destroyed, because the entrance 
does not stand in the centre of the eastern end. It is incon- 
ceivable that P intended this. But in planning on paper a purely 
theoretical scheme of numbers — 3, 4, 5 and their multiples — the 
practical difficulties escaped him. The straits to which writers are 
reduced in the attempt to explain the narrator's words can be seen in 
The Tabernacle, Its History and Structure, by W. Shaw Caldecott, 
who not only places the screen with its four pillars at a distance 
eastward of the court, but assumes an hiatus of one pillar on the north 
side, forming a second entrance (pp. 169 — 177). Of this there is not 
the slightest hint in Exodus, although Ezekiel's court had both a 
northern and a southern entrance (ch. xl.). As to Solomon's court 
this is uncertain (see DB iv. 702). 

The following are the principal measurements in a tabular form : 

Ten curtains of the Dwelling, each 

Eleven curtains of goats' hair, each 

Height of the Dwelling 

Width of the Dwelling 

Length of the Most Holy place 

Length of the Holy place 

Width of Kerdshira 

Thickness of Kerashim (with bars) 

Side of the court 

End of the court 

Screen at entrance to the court 

Hangings on each side of screen 

2. Historicity. The book of Exodus affords abundant proof that 
the priestly writers did not make it their aim to present history as it 
was, but to systematize traditions and often to supplement them, 
under the dominance of religious ideas. Nowhere is this more 
strikingly illustrated than in the description of the Tabernacle. The 
ideas with which the writers were inspired are a study totally distinct 
from the question whether those ideas corresponded with actual 

^ The words NOETH and SOUTH have beeu accideutally printed in his diagram 
on the wrong sides of the court. This is corrected in the accompanying figure. 


Feet (approx.) 


























historical data. Most students of the Old Testament to-day can 
start with the presupposition that a series of chapters exhibiting 
countless characteristics of P, and finding no parallels in J, E, or D, 
will probably contain matter which cannot claim to be historical. 
And the presupposition finds ample support when the chapters are 
carefully studied. 

(a) First it is to be noticed that the writers, in drawing up an 
ideal scheme, have allowed inconsistencies and obscurities to creep in, 
which render many important details impracticable. The difficulty of 
arranging the pillars of the court has already been noticed ; others, 
such as the following, may be mentioned. The altar of burnt-offering 
(xxvii. 1 — 8) is a hollow wooden structure plated with bronze, within 
^ which a fire burnt. If this fire was hot enough to consume whole 
animals, it must soon have charred to ashes the wooden structure ! 
The kerdsktm which supported the curtains of the Dwelling (though 
they were not solid beams one cubit in thickness, which would weigh 
nearly a ton each) must have been at least ^ cubit in thickness (see 
above) ; and 48 of these, with their 13 bars, and 100 bases of solid 
silver, the 9 pillars for the veil and the screen, together with the 
300 pillars of the court, their bases of solid bronze, their pegs, 
cords, &c., would be a burden requiring a number of transport 
waggons out of all proportion to the capabilities of a nomad caravan 
in the desert. And the difficulty reaches its climax when it is stated 
in Num. vii. 8^ that the Merarites were assigned four waggons for the 

Again, in spite of the mass of detailed information, the omissions 
are surprising ; for example, nothing is said of the shape of the 
cherubim, the formation of the ' feet ' of the ark and the table, the size 
of the two outer coverings of the Tent, the material of the lamps which 
were placed upon the lampstand, the nature and position of the 'ledge' 
on the bronze altar, the position of the ' rail ' (R. V. ' border ') round 
the table, the position in which the poles were attached to the ark, 
the table and the incense altar, the position of the ornamentations on 
the lampstand, the thickness of the solid gold kapporetk, and of the 
flat top of the table, the thickness of the kerdsktm and the method of 
fixing them into their silver bases, the method (if any) of fixing the 
bases themselves^, the method of coupling the several pieces which 

1 A passage belonging to a later stratum of P than Ex. xxvi. 

" The bases were probably not thought of as sunk in the ground, for precious 
metal must have been intended to be visible. On the other hand, if the s^ence of 
the narrator is to be pressed, and they were not fixed at all, the weight of the four- 
fold covering would force the walls inwards. 


composed the two parts of the curtain and of the goats' hair covering. 
All these, and other details, cannot have been omitted from the text 
accidentally ; and they form remarkable gaps in a series of specifica- 
tions intended to guide Moses and his workmen. They are minutide 
which escaped the narrators. 

(b) In the next place it is natural to ask how it was that these 
untrained nomads, fresh from Egyptian slavery, possessed the utmost 
artistic skill in joinery, weaving, embroidery, the casting and hammering 
of metals, and many other branches of handiwork, and also in the 
manufacture of the highly finished tools which the work required — 
while generations later, as a settled and comparatively civilised 
community, the Hebrews were so ignorant of these arts that Solomon i 
was obliged to hire Phoenician workmen for his temple (1 K. v. 6, j 
vii. 13 f, 40, 45). Further, it is difficult to suppose that a desert^ 
tribe, even after spoiling the Egyptians, possessed the requisite mate- 
rials. Apart from the precious stones and the fine linen thread, the/ 
amount of metals alone, as given in xxxviii. 24 — 29, works out roughly 
(on the lowest computation of the shekel, i.e. 210'48 grs.) as follows^ : 
gold, 40,553 oz., silver, 132,297 oz., bronze, 92,699 oz. Moreover it 
would be very difficult to procure in the desert the olive oil for the 
lamps, and the dyes — violet and purple from Tyrian shell-fish, and 
crimson from an insect found on a particular kind of oak tree. 

(c) An insurmountable difficulty in accepting P's descriptions 
as historical is the fact that some details are directly opposed to 
commands and descriptions in the earlier ^vTitings. The 'Tent of 
Meeting,' in E (xxxiii. 7 — 11), was a simple nomad tent, which 'Moses 
used to take and pitch outside the camp.' No ingenuity can identify 
this with the elaborate structure of P, for the stationing of which 
in the centre of the camp careful injunctions are laid down in 
Num. ii. In the primitive sanctuary, the only attendant was Joshua, 
an Ephraimite ; but in Num. iii. 5 — 10 the tribe of Levi alone are to 
serve the Dwelling, ' and the stranger [i.e. the non-Levite] that cometh 
nigh shall be put to death.' According to the early regulations, the 
only form of altar which it was permissible to erect was one of earth or 
unhewn stone ; the use of any tool polluted it (xx. 24 f ). But if 
the commands in xxvii. 1 — 8 for the construction of the altar were 
really given at Sinai a few weeks later, the object of the earlier 
command cannot be imagined ^. And contrast xx. 26 with xxviii. 42 f. 

^ The present English value of the gold would be about £157,903, and of the 
silver £20,247. 

2 The explanation has been offered that xx. 24 f. refers not to the Tabernacle 
altar, but only to any altars which might from time to time be erected in various 

M. / 


(d) Lastly, throughout the whole pre-exilic history of Israel no 
genuine passage occurs which hints at the existence of P's Tabernacle. 
IThe ark has a history from early times, but in all the vicissitudes 
through which it passed the Tabernacle is not mentioned. At Shiloh 
the ark, guarded by Eli and the Ephraimite Samuel, was placed, not in 
the Tabernacle, but in a solid temple (1 S. i. 9, iii. 3, 15), to which 
Jeremiah (vii. 12) refers — ' where I caused my name to dwell (shdkan) 
at the first.' After the ark was restored by the Philistines, the only 
possible place where it could rightly have been kept would be the place 
whither the Tabernacle (if it existed) had been moved at the destruction 
of Shiloh — if Shiloh was destroyed at that time. But in entire neglect 
of the Tabernacle it was housed first with Abinadab, and then with 
, Obededom. Afterwards David took it to his capital ; but still the 
elaborate Mosaic Tabernacle does not appear ; David himself pitched 
a tent for it. When, however, Solomon removed it to his newly built 
temple (1 K. viii. 4), the 'tent of meeting' is mentioned as being 
taken with it. No explanation is given as to where this tent had 
previously been kept, nor what was now done with it and with all the 
ancient furniture, pillars, hangings, &c. We are forced to conclude 
that the tent which David had pitched was, in this verse, transformed, 
by a late writer, into the * tent of meeting ' ; cf. 2 Chr. v. 5. In 
another passage (1 S. ii. 22), although the ark was in a solid temple at 
Shiloh, reference is made to ' the women that served at the door of the 
tent of meeting.' Considerable doubt is thrown on the words by the 
fact that the latter half of the verse, after ' all Israel,' is omitted in the 
Lxx. They are evidently based upon Ex. xxxviii. 8 (see note), and 
must be considered a late gloss. It is only in the Chronicles that the 
Tabernacle is thought of as in existence before Solomon's temple. 
In 1 Chr. xvi. 39, xxi. 29, 2 Chr. i. 3 the Tabernacle is at the high 
place at Gibeon., But not only does 1 K. iii. 4 make no mention of it 
when Solomon sacrificed at ' the great high place ' at Gibeon, but v. 2 
condones the practice of sacrifice at high places because there was 
no house yet built for Yahweh. But could any such condonation 
have been necessary if Solomon sacrificed in the divinely appointed 
. Tabernacle ? 

places ; and that the prohibition of hewn stones and of tools was made in order to 
prevent such altars from being permanent. But beside reading into the text a great 
deal that is not there, this explanation fails to do away with the difficulty, A tool 
would be a pollution in the one case as much as in the other. And the writers who 
described the Tabernacle and the organized priestly and Levitical system took their 
stand upon the principle laid down in Dt. xii. 13 f. ; only one sanctuary and one 
sacrificial altar was allowable or conceivable. See note on Altars, pp. 125 f. 

§ 5] THE TABERNACLE Ixxxiii 

3. Its place in Israel's religious history. If the Tabernacle of P 
was not erected by Moses in the desert, and did not at any time exist, 
it is important to determine the reasons for its elaborate representation 
in the middle books of the Pentateuch. Its value as an embodiment 
of religious ideas is quite unaffected by the question of its historicity. 
The keynote of the whole is struck in Ex. xxv. 8 : ' Let them make me 
a sanctuary that I may dwell among them ' ; cf. xxix. 45. The supreme 
interest of the study of Israel's religion lies in the fact that the truths 
of God's nature and character were realised slowly and gradually — 
TToXv/xcpois KOL TToAvrpoTTco?. It is coutrary to everything that we know 
of the divine methods of working that the full truth should be revealed 
all at once. Israel was led from monolatry to monotheism ; their 
prophets, by emphasizing the universality of God's rule, and His 
infinity, cast discredit on the use of images and on the Canaanite 
worship at the high places ; and this led to an era of reformation, 
when, for the sake of purity of worship, it was felt that there should 
be one sanctuary only — a spot where the religion and worship of Israel 
wo aid be concentrated. This movement was assisted by the existence 
of the splendid temple which Solomon had long before built in the 
capital as his royal chapel. But underlying this centralization of 
worship, there was a deep innate longing which could find its full 
satisfaction only in the Incarnation — a desire for a concrete objective 
presence of God among men. And the longing began to burn hot, 
when, by the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile in Babylon, Israel 
ceased to be a civil community, and were bound together solely by 
a unity of religion ^ Political and national ambitions gave place to 
religious ideals ; and these ideals were shaped by this longing for 
something concrete, round which Israel, as a body of co-religionists, 
might rally. The first inspired product of the period was the pro- 
gramme sketched by Ezekiel (xl. — xlviii.). His imagination pictured 
a temple of the future, with a highly organized worship and priesthood, 
standing on a sacred site of ideal proportions, carefully guarded from 
defilement ' to make a separation between that which was holy and 
that which was common ' (xlii. 20). The priests who had formerly 
taken part in the worship on the high places must be degraded to the 
position of temple servants (xliv. 6 — 14). The civil governor of the 
future is merely a 'prince,' who, as a devoted layman, is entirely 
subservient to the priestly system (xlvi. 1 — 18, xlviii. 21 f.). And 
the centre and kernel of the system is ' the most holy place,' a perfect 

1 See G. A. Smith, The Book of the Twelve Prophets, ii. 275—279. 



cube of 20 cubits ; this represented the completeness and perfection 
of the divine nature. And within it appears the glory of Yahweh, 
and a voice declares that this is ' the place of my throne, and the place 
of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children 
of Israel for ever ' (xliii. 7). 

But it is easy to see that this idealism might take another form. 
When, after the return to Jerusalem of the most loyal of the exiles, an 
attempt was made to establish a priestly system somewhat on the lines 
of Ezekiel's suggestions, devotional spirits, in contemplation of Israel's 
past, delighted to imagine that the concrete visible sign of Yahweh's 
presence had been the centre of their worship from the first. If the 
nation was ideal, their beginnings must have been ideal. And as the 
picture shaped itself in their meditations, it was based upon one factor 
and another in the actual histories which they possessed. Moses had 
made a ' tent of meeting ' where Yahweh spoke to him face to face, and 
an ark to which Yahweh attached his presence. Solomon had built a 
gorgeous temple, which had come to be the only place where Yahweh 
might be worshipped with sacrifice. And so the splendours of 
Solomon's temple, and of Ezekiel's vision, and probably some of 
the actual arrangements of Zerubbabel's temple, were projected into 
the past. And to this imaginative picture details were added by 
successive priestly thinkers, and the whole has been handed down to 
us as the record of a spiritual longing, pointing towards the time when 
' the Word tabernacled among us, and we beheld his glory.' 

4. Its relation to the temples of Solomon and Ezekiel. The Taber- 
nacle was to partake of the glories of the Temple ; but since the 
Israelites were wandering in the desert, it must be portable. The 
innermost shrine of the temple was a cube of 20 cubits (1 K. vi. 20, 
Ez. xli. 4) ; that of the Tabernacle was 10 cubits. The larger 
portion of the temple, the 'Holy Place,' was a rectangle 40x20 
cubits and 20 cubits in height (1 K. vi. 2, 17, Ez. xli. 2) ; that of tlie 
Tabernacle measured 20 x 10 x 10 cubits. Solomon's cherubim each 
measured 10 cubits between the tips of the outstretched wings 
(1 K. vi. 24) ; those in the Tabernacle were small enough to stand on 
a space Ij x 2j cubits. The side walls of Ezekiel's temple were com- 
posed of cedar panels, carved with cherubim, palm trees and flowers 
(xli. 18 — 20)^ ; those of the Tabernacle consisted of light wooden 

^ 1 K. vi, 18 states that the walls of Solomon's temple were carved with gourd- 
shaped ornaments and flowers. But lxx omits the verse, and it must be 
considered doubtful. It is not impossible, however, that the pre-exilic temple 


frames, with curtains hanging behind them, and shewing as panels 
worked with cherubim. In Ezekiel's temple the partition which 
separated the most holy place, and the eastern wall of the building, 
were of cedar, with carvings (xli. 21, 24 f.) ; in the Tabernacle their 
place is taken by the veil and the screen woven with figures \ And in 
general it may be said that the exact and ideal symmetry of Ezekiel's 
scheme is carefully imitated on a miniature scale in the Tabernacle. 
But another important feature in this imitation is to be noticed. 
Although Yahweh dwelt among His people, and deigned to shew a 
' conversableness with men,' yet reverent care must be taken to 
emphasize the supreme holiness — the unapproachableness — of the 
divine presence. 'The inaccessibility was not absolute, but the 
solitary exception made the sense of inaccessibility more intense 
than if there had been no exception. Had entrance been absolutely 
forbidden, men would have regarded the inner sanctuary as a place 
with which they had no concern, and would have ceased to think of it 
at all. But the admission of their highest representative in holy 
things on one solitary day in the year taught them that the most 
holy place was a place with which they had to do, and at the same 
time showed it to be a place very difficult of access^' This inacces- 
sibility was further marked by making gradations of sanctity in the 
successive parts of the sacred precincts, Ezekiel (xlv. 1 — 4, xlviii. 
8 — 12) places his temple in a square of 500 cubits, which is holy. 
Within this is a specially sacred portion which belongs to the 
priests alone, who thus surround the temple and guard it from all 
danger of pollution. P similarly (Num. ii.) pictures the Tabernacle 
as surrounded by the Israelites, three tribes on each of the four sides. 
And within them a smaller square was formed by the priests and the 
three Levitical families of Gershon, Kohath and Merari. 

This gradation is marked, again, in the Tabernacle in a unique 
manner by the varying values of the materials used. The Kapporeth, 
and its cherubim were of solid gold of a specially refined quality, 
described as 'pure gold.' The ark was sheathed inside and out with 
pure gold. And the same metal was employed for the lampstand, and 

underwent considerable alterations in the course of its history, and that Ezekiel's 
plan, though ideal, was based upon it to a larger extent than we have any means of 
realising. See DB iv. 703 (last paragraph but one). 

^ The supposition (see art. ' Veil' in DB iv.) that Zerubbabel's temple had a veil 
and screen instead of wood cannot be verified, and is improbable. The Tabernacle, 
in order to be portable, must have them, and afterwards Herod's temple conformed 
to it. But the second temple was probably erected before P wrote, and i may be 
assumed that it had wooden partitions. 

■^ Bruce, Expositor^ Dec. 188y. 


for the covering of the table and the incense altar — objects which stood 
in the closest proximity to the 'most holy place.' The pillars for the 
veil stood on bases of silver, which, as the veil must have hung inside 
the pillars, were reckoned as belonging to the ' holy place.' But the 
bases of the pillars at the entrance which supported the screen 
belonged to the court, and were therefore of bronze. Similarly the 
hooks in the curtain which formed the Tent proper were of silver, 
while those in the goats' hair covering were of bronze. And in the 
court itself, furthest removed from the most holy place, bronze was 
employed for the laver, the altar and the bases of the pillars. The 
same principle is seen in the case of the hangings : the veil was 
worked with cherubim in three colours ; the entrance screen, and the 
hanging at the entrance of the court were in three colours, but without 
the cherubim ; while the ordinary hangings of the court were of plain 
white linen. Once more, the principle is observed in the garments of 
the ministers. Aaron, concentrating in his person the sanctity of the 
whole nation, and marked out as ' holy unto Yahweh,' wore ' holy 
garments for glory and for beauty,' described in Ex. xxviii. 1 — 39 ; his 
sons wore coats, sashes, turbans and linen breeches ' for glory and for 
beauty,' but greatly inferior to Aaron's robes {vv. 40 — 43) ; and for 
the Levites no special garments were appointed. 

5. Symbolism. The extraordinary minuteness of the description 
of the Tabernacle, its measurements and specifications, its elaborate 
symmetry, its consistent adherence to the numbers 3, 4 and 5 with 
their halves and multiples, its frequent employment of the ratio 2:1, 
and the wonderful effect which the whole description has of carrying 
the thought incessantly to the most holy place, together with a certain 
oriental glamour which attaches to it all, have exercised a powerful 
fascination on many generations of Jews and Christians. It was 
natural that both in ancient and modern times it should have been a 
mine of symbolical interpretations. But it is very remarkable that the 
Old Testament writers themselves nowhere offer the slightest sugges- 
tion as to the symbolism of any of its parts. It is possible, however, 
that in the late passages, Ex. xxxix. and xl. 19 — 33, the first 
beginnings of Rabbinic speculation are to be detected. Both are 
punctuated by the seven-fold repetition of the words 'as Yahweh 
commanded Moses ' ; and this may have been an attempt to imitate 
the recurring ' and it was so ' — ' and God saw that it was good ' — in 
Gen. i.^ The finished work was inspected and blessed by Moses 

^ See further the prehminary note on chs. xxv. — xxxi. 

§ 5] THE TABERNACLE Ixxxvii 

(xxxix. 43) ; cf. Gen. i. 28, 31, ii. 3. Thus the new ritual order is 
brought into parallelism with the old cosmic order — a line of thought 
afterwards elaborated by Josephus. Typological research offers a 
fruitful field for devotional study ; but its results depend largely on 
individual temperament and presuppositions, and can in no case be 
accepted as final. It is nevertheless difficult to refrain from pointing 
out some of the spiritual analogies which suggest themselves, apart 
from the interpretations found in the New Testament, which are 
collected on pp. cxxviii. — cxxxiii. 

Names. The names by which the building was known suggest 
different aspects under which the divine presence among men must be 
regarded. The fundamental truth that God is present is expressed in 
the Dwelling {inishkdn\ commonly rendered the 'Tabernacle.' It 
contains in germ all the manifold teaching which finds its highest 
expression in the writings of S. John. As the Father ' abides ' in the 
Son, and He in the Father, so the Son ' abides ' in men, and they in 
Him. The Tent (^ohel), on the other hand, is a symbol of tran- 
sitoriness ; it emphasizes to us the fact that the Tabernacle was but 
a type, and 'nigh unto vanishing away' when the true 'abiding' 
began. The names further teach something of the divine character as 
revealed to men. The innermost shrine was the Most Holy place, 
and every portion of the Dwelling and the court, their furniture and 
utensils, was holy. It was a concrete symbol of the truth which had 
been taught by the prophets, that Yahweh was 'the Holy One of 
Israel,' transcendently separated from every shadow of human weak- 
ness and limitation and pollution. But because He was so separate, 
man could not learn of His nature and character without a revelation. 
Even the Tabernacle itself, the symbol, was not of human invention ; 
it was revealed according to the pattern shewn to Moses in the 
mount. And it was named the Tent of Witness (Num. ix. 15, 
xvii. 7, xviii. 2), or the Dwelling of Witness (Ex. xxxviii. 21, 
Num. i. 50, 53, x. 11). ' The " witness " was the revelation which God 
had made of His will expressed in the " Ten Words "...This " witness " 
was the solemn declaration of the claims and nature of God, who took 
up His dwelling in the midst of Israel. The Tent under which He 
dwelt had this enshrined in it to determine its character.' (Westcott, 
Hebrews, p. 235.) Within it rested that which declared the righteous- 
ness, the justice, the moral requirements of God. Hence we meet 
with the expressions ' the ark of witness ' (Ex. xxv. 22, xxvi. 33 f , 
XXX. 6, 26), ' the tablets of witness ' (xxxi. 18, xxxiv. 29), and even 
'the veil of witness ' (Lev. xxiv, 3). It carries us forward again to the 

Ixxxviii INTRODUCTION [§ 5 

teaching of S. John, according to which the Incarnate Christ is the 
witness to men of what the Father is, this being developed into the 
further thought that the Church, having received from the Father His 
witness to the Son, is to be herself also a witness to the world of what 
the Son is. Once more, the spot in which the witness dwelt was also 
named by the title which the narrators understood to mean the Tent 
of Meeting, — the Tent where God was wilHng to meet with His people 
and shew His ' conversableness,' His S5Tnpathy and love, His readiness 
to advise and help, and to enter into intimate communion with men, 
' face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend ' (Ex. xxxiii. 11). 

In considering the various parts and properties of the building, 
it is not possible to determine the extent to which the narrators them- 
selves attached symbolical significance to the several details. But the 
chapters in Exodus which concern them belong to a late, reflective 
stage in Hebrew thought, and it is unreasonable to doubt that, to 
a considerable extent, the writers deliberately aimed at expressing 
spiritual truths. It must be carefully borne in mind that although 
they may unconsciously have provided symbols of great Christian 
truths which were afterwards revealed, yet they must themselves have 
conceived of truths clothed in these symbols, which were far short of 
what we have since been enabled to learn through the revelation in 
Jesus Christ. And a sympathetic study of the Tabernacle must there- 
fore distinguish between what was symbolical to them and what is 
typical to us. 

Numbers. It is easy to be led into extravagance in attempting 
to interpret the significance of numbers ; allegorical arithmetic has 
called forth fantastic absurdities from both Jewish and Christian 
writers. But it is perhaps right to see in the number th^ee a symbol 
of the divine, in four the totality of what is human, and in seven 
(4 + 3) and twelve (4 x 3) the all-embracing unity which combines them 
both\ The number ten, and its multiples, seem to suggest symmetry, 
a large and satisfying completeness which is the expression of per- 
fection. This symmetry reaches its climax in the ' Most Holy ' shrine, 
which is a perfect cube of ten cubits ; as in the case of the ideal 
Jerusalem of the Apocalypse (xxi. 16) 'the length and the breadth and 
the height of it are equal.' In the 'Holy Place' which formed the 

1 I hesitate to say, with Dr Ottley, 'the number twelve, four multiplied by three, 
corresponds to a more intimate relationship between the Creator and the creature 
than is expressed in the number seven.' At any rate it may be doubted whether it 
possessed this fuller force in the minds of the writers of Exodus. Seven is found, 
in the Tabernacle, only in the seven-branched lampstand. 


approach to it there is indeed order and symmetry in the measure- 
ments 20 X 10 X 10 cubits, but it fails to reach complete perfection, ' a 
contrast which suggests the incompleteness of the visible kingdom of 
God as contrasted with the ideal perfection towards which it tends.' 
(Ottley, Aspects of the O.T., p. 264.) On the whole subject, how- 
ever, see art. 'Number' in DB iii. 566. 

Metals. It is possible that a distinct meaning was attached to 
each of the metals employed — gold, silver and bronze ; but more 
probably they implied only gradations of sanctity in the different parts 
of the sacred precincts (see above). 

Colours. There is some evidence that the Hebrews gave signi- 
ficance to colours, but none that is connected with the Tabernacle. 
Of those employed in the Tabernacle white may be the emblem of 
purity, the result of the cleansing away of the stains of sin (cf. Ps. li. 7, 
Is. i. 18). Blue, or rather hyacinth, was perhaps thought of as the 
sapphire hue of the heavens (cf. Ex. xxiv. 10), but this is doubtful. 
Purple has at all times been the sign of royalty (cf. Jud. viii. 26, 
Cant. iii. 10). To scarlet or cinmson, as distinct from purple, it is 
difficult to attach a S3anbolic meaning. It can hardly be considered 
the colour of blood, which is ' red'.' Mr Thatcher (art. ' Colours,' DB 
i. 456) is on the safe side when he says, ' In matters pertaining to 
ritual (esp. in the tabernacle) colours are frequently used, but it has 
not yet been satisfactorily shown that they were used symbolically, 
or that they were other than the most brilliant colours procurable when 
the descriptions were given.' See also Ruskin's words on Hhe sacred 
chord of colour' {Mod. Painters, iv. iii. § 24). 

Furniture. On the other hand the significance of the furniture 
may be explained with greater confidence. 

{a) The Altar of bronze was the embodiment of the whole 
sacrificial system. It was the first thing that met the worshipper when 
he came in by the entrance at the east of the court, and it stood 
between him and any nearer approach to God's presence. The \vTiter 
who described it would eagerly have endorsed the later words, which 
sum up the truth which it symbolized, — * apart from shedding of blood 
there is no remission ' (Heb. ix. 22). 

{b) The Laver probably stood immediately in front of the entrance 
into the Tent. And from this point onwards there was access only for 

^ It ia quite improbable that the red of the dyed rams' skin covering was in any 
way symbolical. Red-dyed leather was used for shoes, saddles and other articles 
from the earliest times. 


the priests ; but they performed their functions as the representatives 
of the people, so that what was true of them was ideally true of the 
whole nation. It is very striking to notice that for the most part the 
* Holy Place ' was thought of as a sublime reproduction of an ordinary 
dwelling-house. Before entering the private apartments of any man, 
at least for a formal visit or for a meal, the hands and feet would 
always be washed. And it was so in the case of Grod's Dwelling. 
Ceremonial purity — the outward expression of heart purity — was 
necessary before the priests could approach the Holy Place or offer 
sacrifice at the altar. What the writer could not know was that his 
description foreshadowed the spiritual 'laver (or washing) of re- 
generation and renewing of the Holy Ghost ' (Tit. iii. 5). 

(c) On entering the Tent, the eye would at once be struck by the 
Lampstand, by which the Holy Place, like an ordinary house, was 
lighted. The symbolic meaning of it may perhaps be gathered from 
Zech. iv. It would appear that Zerubbabel's temple contained a seven- 
branched lampstand \ which formed the basis of (or perhaps was due 
to) Zechariah's vision, and which also suggested the lampstand in the 
description of the Tabernacle. And the prophet's symbolical explana- 
tion of it, which was probably known to the writer of Ex. xxv., is 
that the seven lamps ' are the eyes of Yahweh ; they run to and fro 
through the whole earth I' The light of the lamps represents the 
complete (seven-fold) revelation of God's presence and all-seeing 
providence, illuminating the sanctuary which was the core and heart 
of the nation's life. 

{d) The lampstand stood on the left, or south, side of the Tent. 
On the opposite side stood an article of furniture which every private 
dwelling-house possesses — a Table for food. In primitive days the 
' Presence Bread ' (see on xxv. 30) was placed before the Deity for His 
consumption. But in the time of P such crude notions had been left 
far behind. The priests (representing the people) consumed the 
loaves, with the accompaniment of the burning of frankincense and 
libations of wine, thus transforming the ceremony into a feast of 
thanksgiving — a Eucharist. It is another signal instance of the truth 
of 1 Pet. i. 12, that the Old Testament writers unconsciously pointed 

^ In Solomon's temple light was supplied by ten several lampstands, five on 
each side of the entrance to the shrine (1 K. vii. 49). 

2 V.IO h should be rendered ' these seven are the eyes of Yahweh...&-c. ' : the 
words are the continuation of v. 6 a, ' spake unto me saying,' the intermediate passage 
being an interpolation from an address to Zerubbabel belonging to an earlier date 
in the prophet's life (see G. A. Smith, in loc). 


to something far higher than the meaning which they attached to their 
own words. 

{e) One piece of furniture in the Holy Place yet remains. It is 
of a distinctive character, and would not find any equivalent in an 
ordinary dwelling-house. The golden Altar of Incense stood close to 
the veil, and its true significance was connected not with the Holy 
Place, but with the Most Holy. As in the case of the bread the 
incense had in primitive times a crude anthropomorphic meaning ; the 
smoke of burning sacrifices (see n. on xxx. 34 — 38) rose to the Deity 
and pleased Him by its sweet odour. But in the present case the 
meaning is largely determined by the position which the altar occupied 
in the Tent. ' The Altar of Incense bore the same relation to the 
Holy of Holies as the Altar of Burnt ofi'ering to the Holy Place. It 
furnished in some sense the means of approach to it. Indeed the 
substitution of c^ovo-a for h ■§ (Heb. ix. 2) itself points clearly to 
something different from mere position. Tlie Ark and the Altar of 
Incense typified the two innermost conceptions of the heavenly 
Sanctuary, the Manifestation of God and the spiritual worship of man ' 
(Westcott, Hebrews, p. 247). The smoke of the incense was analogous 
to that of the burnt-offering. The latter expressed the offering of 
self, the former the offering of the heart's adoration and homage — 
both necessary before man can gain, or bear, complete access to the 
Presence of God. 

(/) Finally, the Presence itself is manifested in the Ark ; and the 
Tabhts of the Law within, and the ^Propitiatory^ (see on xxv. 17) 
above, represent the two complementary aspects of the divine character 
which is there revealed — His stern moral requirements and His infinite 
compassion ; there ' mercy and truth are met together, righteousness 
and peace have kissed each other.' The Cherubim above the ark are 
the divine throne. In the far past they were symbols connected with 
a primitive mode of thought. 'The '* cherub" survived as one of the 
traces of a Hebrew mythology, which was retained by the prophets 
because it represented pictorially the attributes of the majesty of the 
God of Israel, and was employed to express more vividly the means by 
which His glory is revealed to man ' (art. * Cherubim,' DB i. 378). 

An interpretation of some of the ruling features of the Tabernacle 
will be found in a suggestive note by Westcott {Hebrews, pp. 235 — 7) ; 
see also Ottley's Bampton Lectures, Aspects of the Old Testament, 
pp. 247 — 264. A fuller treatment of details may be seen in Keil's 
Archaeohgy (Engl, transl.), pp. 125 — 7, and in Fairbairn's Typology, 
pp. 232 — 278. The latter makes some sensible strictures on the 


very minute and fanciful investigation of Bahr, Symholik d. Mosaiscken 
Cultus. Allegorical explanations are plentiful in patristic writings ; 
see Clem. Al. Stromateis v. 6, §§ 32 — 34 ; Theod. Mops, on Heb. ix. 1 ; 
Theodoret, ih. ; Origen, Horn, in Ex. ix. ; Greg. Nyss. De Vita Moysis. 
At an earlier period Josephus and Philo present what were probably 
the current methods of interpretation at the two great centres of 
Jewish thought, Jerusalem and Alexandria. The ideas of the former 
are what may be called naturalistic. 'The several parts [of the 
Tabernacle, its vessels, and the dress of the priest] have been framed 
to imitate and represent the Universe.' His chapter on the subject 
{Ant. III. vii. 7, and cf. B.J. v. v. 4 — 7) is quoted m extenso by 
Westcott (loG. cit.). Philo, with his Alexandrian training, follows 
a similar line of exegesis, but combines it with a philosophical 
element {Vit. Mos. ii. 155 ed. Mangey). Among some modern 
writers there is now a tendency, which runs all too easily to 
extremes, to explain large parts of Israelite traditions as having a 
naturalistic or cosmological origin, being based upon the number and 
movements of the planets, and the like. This may prove a fruitful 
line of study in the future, but at present the theories are, for the 
most part, speculations which, though sometimes ingenious, rest upon 
very scanty evidence. 

§ 6. The Geography of Exodus. 

In spite of the steadily increasing fund of knowledge afforded by 
excavations, not a trace has been found of the presence of the 
Hebrews in Egypt. So that while discoveries have been of great 
interest and value as a means of testing the archaeological and 
geographical accuracy of the Biblical writers, they cannot be used as 
proofs of the truth of the narrative. The earliest Hebrew writer whose 
narrative has come down to us lived some four centuries after the 
Pharaoh in whose reign the exodus probably took place ; so that it 
might be expected that he would sometimes be inaccurate in details 
and guilty of anachronisms ; but, so far as our present knowledge 
enables us to judge, the mistakes are surprisingly few. 

(a) The scene opens in Goshen. This is the vocalisation of the 
word with which we are accustomed, and which is due to the Masoretic 
scribes ; it is probable, however, that Geshem or Gesem is the more 
original form (lxx Peo-c/x). M. Naville, the French explorer, excavat- 
ing in 1885 at a village named Saft el-Henneh, c. 40 miles N.N.E. of 

§ 6] GEOGRAPHY xciii 

Cairo, found a shrine of the 4th cent. B.C., with an inscription which 
shewed that the place where the shrine stood bore the name Kes. In 
the ancient hieroglyphic lists of the ' nomes ' or administrative 
districts of Egj^t, Kesem is mentioned as the 20th nome of Lower 
Egypt, and its capital is named Pa-Sopt. Sopt was the name of the 
god to whom the shrine was dedicated, and is evidently the modern 
Saft ; and Kesem is the older and fuller form of Kes. Kesem (= Gesem 
or Goshen) was, therefore, the ancient name of the district in which 
Saft stands. In Gen. xlv. 10 lxx has Tco-e/x 'Apa/Sia^, which is 
a further indication that Kesem is rightly identified with Goshen, for 
Arabia was the name of a nome in the same direction, whose capital 
was F/iakusa, i.e. Kes Avith the Egyptian article Pa. M. Naville infers 
from the texts of the 19th and 20th dynasties that Kesem 'was not 
an organized province occupied by an agricultural population ; it was 
part of the marsh land called the waters of Ra... It could be given 
by the king to foreigners, without despoiling the native population. It 
must have been something very like the borders of the present 
Sharkiyeh, N. of Fakoos, where the Bedawin have their camps of 
black tents and graze their large flocks of cattle.' If this is so, the 
description of Goshen as 'the best of the land' (Gen. xlvii. 16) 
is somewhat exaggerated. 

(6) When the Israelites were forced into building labour, it is 
related that they built for Pharaoh Pithom and Raamses (Ex. i. 11). 
The former has been clearly identified by M. Naville. Two years 
before his discovery of the shrine of Sopt, he found at Tell-el-Mash- 
kuta inscriptions which shewed that the ancient name of the place 
was Pi-Tum, the 'house of Tum.' Tell-el-Mashkuta, 'the mound 
of the statue,' is so named from a statue, which is there at the 
present time, of Ramses II sitting between the two solar deities 
Ra and Tum. There can be no doubt that Pi-Tum is the Biblical 
Pithom. M. Naville further found that Pi-Tum was a square city, 
about 220 yards in length, enclosed by enormous brick walls, and 
containing store chambers built of brick, and a temple. The store 
chambers were of various sizes, rectangular and very numerous. 
They had no communication with one another, but could be filled with 
corn from the top, and emptied also from above, or through a reserve 
door in the side. They stood on a thick layer of beaten clay, which 
would prevent rats from getting into them. Tell-el-Mashkuta is the 
only place where such granaries have hitherto been excavated. It 
is known, from inscriptions discovered on the spot, that the city was 
founded by Ramses II. It would be used partly as a magazine for 


supplying provisions to Egyptian armies about to cross the desert, and 
partly, perhaps, as a fortress for the protection of the exposed 
eastern frontier. The discovery is important ; for if the statement in 
Ex. i. 11 is accurate — which there is no evidence to lead us to doubt — 
the Pharaoh of the oppression is proved to be Ramses II ; and since 
Ex. ii. 23 implies that the Pharaoh of the Exodus was Ramses' 
successor, the Exodus took place under Merenptah. 

The site of the other store city Raamses has not yet been settled 
with equal certainty. Ramses II was a great builder, and he erected 
many towns and temples in the eastern Delta. Zoan, i.e. Tanis 
(modern San), is often called in the papyri Pa-Ramessu Meriamum 
('The Place of Ramses II'). It was built, indeed, in the 12th 
dynasty ; but Ramses added so much to it that M. Naville calls him 
its ' second founder.' But since its true name Zoan is preserved 
in the O.T. (Ps. Ixxviii. 12, 43, Is. xix. 11, 13, xxx. 4, Ezek. xxx. 14, 
Num. xiii. 22), Maspero^ and others think that the Raamses of Exodus 
is a place built by Ramses which has not at present been identified^. 

(c) The first movement of the Israelites was 'from Raamses 
to Succoth' (xii. 37). Succoth is a Semitic word meaning 'booths^' 
but here it is probably a Semitic adaptation of an Egyptian word 
Thku{t). A papyrus speaks of 'a royal fortress (hetem) of Thku, 
close by the pools of Pithom.' In the inscriptions at Tell-el-Mash- 
kuta the name Thku is of frequent occurrence, in such a way as 
to suggest that Pithom and Thku, if not identical, were so closely 
associated that the names could be used interchangeably. W. Max 
Miiller suggests that they were 'neighbouring places which had 
grown together by expansion so as to form one city.' If, then, 
Succoth was practically identical with Pithom, we may suppose that 
the gangs of Israelite labourers at Raamses moved in a body, and 
joined the labourers at the other great building centre. 

{d) ' And they journeyed from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, 
in the edge of the wilderness' (xiii. 20). The N.E. frontier of Egypt, 
along the line of the present Suez canal, was in ancient times guarded 
by fortresses and a strong wall. It is not certain, though it is probable, 
that the wall ran the whole length of the isthmus. In the period of 
the New Kingdom there were two chief fortresses, commanding the 
two routes from the desert — the northern named the hetem of Zaru, 

1 Bev. Archeol. xxxiv. (1879) 323 f. 

2 See, however, Addenda. 

3 It was the name of a place E. of Jordan, of which an explanation is given in 
Gen. xxxiii. 17. 

§ 6] GEOGRAPHY xcv 

and the southern the hetem of Thku. In the reign of Merenptah the 
Shasu nomads of Atuma (probably Edom) received official permission 
to pass the hetem of Thku towards the lakes of Pithom, in order to 
obtain a living for themselves and their cattle. It is tempting to 
identify this southern hetem with the Biblical Etham. Its exact site 
cannot at present be determined, but it was evidently close to Pithom- 
Succoth. The fact that Ex. xiii. 20, Num. xxxiii. 6 appear to 
represent the distance as a day's march is not a serious difficulty. 
By the time of the priestly writer all exact knowledge of Egyptian 
localities might easily have been lost. And in any case it would be 
natural for the Israelites to move very slowly at the start, in order to 
pick up as many of their kinsmen as possible from the surrounding 
districts. Maspero, however, questions the identification, on the 
ground that a stronger guttural than the Hebrew aleph would have 
been expected as a transcription of the Egyptian guttural h ; but it is 
not impossible that the Hebrew word was originally spelt with a 
stronger guttural, which became softened during the centuries which 
intervened before the time of the priestly writer. The identification 
perhaps finds further support in the fact that the Wilderness of 
Etham (Num. xxxiii. 8) is also called the Wilderness of Shur 
(Ex. XV. 22 ; cf. Gen. xxv. 18). Shur is the Hebrew word for a 
' wall ' ; and the name may have originated in the frontier w^alls 
(Eg. anhii) along the isthmus, which were strengthened at important 
spots by the fortified hetems. 

(e) Increasing difficulties beset the question as to the spot at 
which the Israelites crossed the sea. Ex. xiv. 2 is tantalizingly 
explicit : ' speak unto the children of Israel that they turn back and 
encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal- 
zephon : opposite it shall ye encamp by the sea.' Pi-hahiroth has the 
appearance of an Egyptian w^ord compounded with Pi, ' house ' (as in 
Pithom and Pi-beseth, Ez. xxx. 17). The site is unknown. Prof. 
Petrie {Researches in Sinai, p. 204) finds Pi-hahiroth in Paqaheret, 
the name of a place of which Osiris was god. The only Serapeum or 
shrine of Osiris known in this region is towards the northern end of 
the Bitter Lake. But that appears to be too far north to allow of the 
' turn ' southward. Migdol is Semitic, and connected with the Heb. 
migddl, a ' tower,' of which the Egyptian form maktl occurs frequently 
in the inscriptions. It is known from an inscription of the reign of 
Usertasen I (2758 — 2714 Petrie) that the frontier walls were manned 
with guards, who watched on the top and were changed each day. 
Thus there must have been a series of watchtowers. A Migdol is 


mentioned in the reign of Merenptah's successor, Seti II, as standing 
south of the route guarded by the hetem of Thku. But it is impossible 
to say whether this, rather than any other of the towers, was the 
Migdol near which the Israelites encamped. The site of Baal-zephon 
(clearly a Semitic name) is entirely unknown. W. M. Miiller 
{Enc. B. i. 409) notes that a goddess named Ba'alt(i)-sapuna was 
worshipped at Memphis. If this is so, the corresponding male divinity 
Ba'al-sapuna probably had a town devoted to his cult\ 

Two theories must be mentioned, only to be set aside, (i) Josephus 
{Ant. II. XV. 1) makes the Israelites march through Letopolis-Babylon, 
i.e. round the south side of the hill on which Cairo stands, through the 
Wddy et-Tih^ and then northwards so as to move through the Pass 
el-Muntiila. But this disregards all the Biblical evidence, (ii) Brugsch 
and others advanced the theory that the route was from Zoan-Tanis 
(which they identified with Raamses) to the shore of the Mediterranean, 
along the thin neck of land north of the ancient Sirbonian bog, and 
thence to the Migdol of Jer. xliv. 1, xlvi. 14, Ez. xxix. 10, xxx. 6, 
which was not quite 12 miles south of Pelusium ; so that the water 
which was dried up was the northern end of the Sirbonis. But this 
view has been negatived by the discoveries which have settled the 
position of Goshen. 

These discoveries suggest a route midway between the two. The 
course of the modern Suez canal runs from Port Said to Suez, passing 
successively, on its southward course, through the Balah lake, the 
Timsah ('crocodile') lake, and a large bitter lake known in the 
12th dynasty as the 'Great Black Water.' The latter lies roughly 
N.W. and S.E., and its southern point is rather more than 20 miles 
north of Suez. In the 12th dynasty it appears to have reached far 
enough northwards to be joined with the Timsah lake, but it is not 
known whether that was the case in the 19th dynasty. There is no 
evidence within historical times that it reached southward to the Gulf 
(see Enc. B. art. 'Exodus,' 1439), though geologists are agreed that at 
one time there was a complete channel from the Mediterranean to the 
Gulf. Now if the Israelites moved eastward along the Wddy et- 
TumUdt to the frontier wall, they would reach it at a point close to 

1 Some explain the name as Baal, or Master, of the Northern point of the Bed 
Sea, or of the North wind, to whom sailors would pray for a fair passage down the 
gulf. There was a Phoenician deity Baal-zaphon ('Baal of the North '), mentioned 
several times in Assyrian inscriptions, who was worshipped in the region of Mt 

§ 6] GEOGRAPHY xcvii 

the Timsah lake. M. Naville suggests that the crossing was effected 
at a point between the Timsah and the large bitter lake, assuming 
a shallow connexion between them. But this gives room for hardly 
any southward movement such as is contemplated in the command 
'turn back' (xiv. 2). There are thus two alternatives left to be 
considered. Did they cross the N. point of the Gulf of Suez, where it 
is two-thirds of a mile in width, or the S. point of the large bitter 
lake ? The word ' sea ' does not of itself exclude the possibility of the 
lake, for the small lake on the E. of Galilee is called the Sea of 
Kinndreth (Kinn^roth), and in the N.T. the Sea of Galilee or of 
Tiberias ; and, by an even wider application, the word is used of the 
Nile (Nah. iii. 8, Is. xix. 5) and of the Euphrates (Jer. li. 36). Indeed 
classical Hebrew had no other word to express (like \cfxvrj) a piece of 
water surrounded by land. Again, there are no subjective considera- 
tions which decide the point. Subsequent Biblical writers, it is true, 
convey the impression that they believed the crossing to have been 
made over the open sea ; but all that it was possible for them to do 
was to repeat the 'sea' which they found in the original narrative. 
Setting aside the picture drawn by P of the double wall of water 
(see note on xiv. 22), the miracle, i.e. the wonderful providence of 
God, is not more striking if the wind caused an unusually low tide 
in the Gulf of Suez, than if it caused an unusually wide margin at the 
S. of the bitter lake. The miracle consisted in the strong wind being 
sent in the required direction at the required moment. On the other 
hand there are two indications in favour of the lake. 1. The name 
Yam Supk, ' sea of reeds,' seems to point to a marshy spot covered 
with reeds or flags \ The name would suit any part of the swamps on 
the E. of Goshen. It is true that at a later time the name was applied 
not only to the Gulf of Suez but also to the eastern (Aelanitic) arm of 
the sea (Num. xxi. 4, Dt. ii. 1, 1 K. ix. 26, Jer. xlix. 21), and it is a 
little strange that the name of an inland lake or swamp should have 
been thus extended to the whole sea. But it is probable that the 
northern point of the Gulf was considerably nearer to the lake than it 
is now; and the extension of the name cannot be considered impossible. 
2. There is, however, another fact which has hardly received the 
attention it deserves, i.e. that it was an ' east wind ' which drove the 
water from its usual boundaries (xiv. 21). It is pointed out (Dillmann- 
Ryssel, Comm. in he. p. 165) that if the wind were due east it would 

^ The meaning of sup/i is discussed in the notes on ii. 3, xiii. 18. 

xcviii INTRODUCTION [§ 6 

have driven the waters right against the Israelites. But since the 
Hebrew language has no terms other than North, South, East and 
West to express all the points of the compass, an 'east wind' may- 
come from either N.E. or S.E. ; and if the N. point of the Gulf be the 
point of crossing, we are forced to accept the former. But the wind 
that would really drive the waters of the Gulf southwards would be the 
'^orth- West. Other writers, observing that the song in ch. xv. does 
not mention the direction of the wind, assume that the ' east ' wind in 
ch. xiv. is a mistake. But if the point of crossing was the S. point of 
the lake, a S.E. wind is exactly that which is required to drive the 
water in a north-westerly direction — that is along the direction in 
which the lake lies. Riippell (Nubia 184, cited by Dillmann) says 
that in April and the beginning of May the S.E. wind often blows 
along the Gulf with great force, generally for three days at a time, as a 
reaction from a still stronger N.W. wind, which, however, does not 
last long. Now the 'east' wind is nowhere clearly used in the O.T. 
with the meaning ' north-east,' while it is frequently used to denote the 
violent scorching S.E. wind, the Sirocco ; Gen. xli. 6S 23, 27, Hos. 
xiii. 15, Jer. xviii. 17, Ps. xlviii. 7 (8) &c. (see Driver on Am. iv. 9 in 
Camb. Bible). And, if the words of the song (xv. 7 f ) are to be given 
weight, a hot wind seems to be implied in Yahweh's wrath which 
'consumeth them as stubble,' standing in juxtaposition with 'the 
blast of thy nostrils.' 

Complete certainty with regard to the point of crossing cannot be 
reached until the locality of the places mentioned in xiv. 2 is accurately 
identified — perhaps not even then. But though there are difficulties 
on both sides, the data appear to be more fully satisfied by the 
southern point of the bitter lake than by the northern point of the 
Gulf of Suez. 

(/) When the body of fugitives emerged into the desert of Shur 
or Etham, two routes were open to them — (1) the haj route now followed 
by pilgrims going from Cairo to Mecca, running eastward across the 
peninsula to Elath at the N. point of the Gulf of Akaba ; (2) the route 
to the traditional Sinai, which runs southward, close to the Gulf of 
Suez. The latter is graphically described by Palmer (The Desert of 
the Exodus), and is, by most writers, accepted as the course taken by 
the Israelites. Prof Petrie {Researches in Sinai) still advocates it. 
J relates that the Israelites reached Marah after three days' march 
(xv. 23), and thence they came to an oasis at Elim {v. 27). Neither 

1 See Driver's note. 



of these names has been identified on the southern route. Palmer 
reached a bitter spring Am Hawwarah, three days' march from Suez ; 
and, a little further on, tamarisks and palms and a running stream in 
the Wddy Gharandel^ which is by many identified with Elim. But 
there is no other ground for the identification than the fact that these 
spots lie on the supposed route. On the other hand there is much to 
be said for identifying Elim with the place described by the different 
names Elath, Eloth (Dt. ii. 8, 2 K. xvi. 6) and El-Paran (Gen. xiv. 6^), 
a port on the eastern arm of the Red Sea. The name appears in Greek 
as AtXava ; hence the name Aelanitic Gulf 

Continuing the narrative — JE do not preserve the name of the 
place where the manna was given, while P, who states that it was in 
the 'Wilderness of Sin' (Ex. xvi. 1), clearly places the incident after 
the stay at Sinai (see analysis on vv. 33 f.). Again, the smiting of 
the rock (xvii. 6) is explicitly stated by E to have taken place 'in 
Horeb,' the name Meribah being attached to the spot in consequence 
of the incident ; while J (Num. xx.) places a similar incident (with 
the name Meribah) near Kadesh and Edom {v. 14). It is improbable, 
therefore, that it occurred at the south of the peninsula (see below). 
Once more, E relates (xvii. 8 — 16) that the Amalekites fought with 
Israel in Rephidim. Whether or not this be a confusion with J's 
narrative in Num. xiv. 40 — 45, it is extremely probable that the story 
in Exodus belongs to a period near the end of Moses' life, and must, 
for that reason if for no other, be placed near the borders of Palestine 
(see notes). The direct evidence, therefore, afforded by JE as to the 
route between Suez and Sinai is confined to Marah and Elim. 

When we turn to P the evidence for this portion of the journeys is 
no less ambiguous. The incident of the manna is placed in * the 
Wilderness of Sin which is between Elim and Sinai' (xvi. 1). There 
would appear to be a connexion between the names Sin and Sinai, but 
that reveals nothing as to the locality of either. There is no modern 
evidence for a wilderness of that name in the south of the peninsula. 
In P's itinerary (Num. xxxiii.) an encampment ' by the Yam SUpk' is 
mentioned (v. 10) between Elim and the Wilderness of Sin. This is 
usually supposed to refer to the Gulf of Suez ; but the name can also, 
as we have seen, be employed to describe the Gulf of Akaba. Those 
who maintain the traditional site of Sinai place this encampment 
by the sea at the mouth of the Wady Tayibeh, on the more southern 

^ The passage, however, does not mention the sea, and El-Paran was, perhaps, 
not as far south as Elath. 



of the two possible routes from the Wady Gharandel to the mountain. 
Rendel Harris (art. 'Exodus to Canaan' in DB i.) says, 'The most 
striking identification on this route is the encampment on the sea- 
shore five days after having left it. But it is clear that, striking as 
this is, the same thing is true of the route of the Mecca pilgrims ; so it 
can hardly be called a conclusive identification.' After the Wilderness 
of Sin the itinerary (Num. xxxiii. 13) gives two encampments, Dophkah 
and Alusk. Ebers and Rendel Harris suggest that Dophkah may be 
near the entrance to the Wady Maghareh. The latter writer says, 
* This wady contains the oldest Egyptian mines, and as the blue-stone 
[turquoise, Petrie] which the Egyptians quarried is known by the name 
of Mafkat, and gave its name to the district of Mafkat, it is a tempting 
suggestion to identify Dophkah as an erroneous transcription of 
Mafkah.' But this is purely conjectural (lxx has 'Pac^aKu), and the 
sites of Dophkah and Alush remain entirely unknown. 

Nor are the names on the route after the stay at Sinai more help- 
ful. Num. xxxiii. 16 — 36 contains twenty names between Sinai and 
Ezion-geber. The latter stood at the northern end of the Gulf of Akaba, 
' beside Eloth, on the shore of the Yam Suph, in the land of Edom ' 
(1 K. ix. 26). Of these twenty names not one can be identified with 
any point on a route from the south of the peninsula, though Palmer 
(p. 508, 9) finds some resemblances to modern names in Hazeroth, 
Eissah, Haradah and Tahath. The first of these he identifies with 
'Ain el Hudrah about half-way between Jebel Musa and Ezion-geber. 
But since Hazeroth signifies ' enclosures ' it miglit be applied to many 
places {ED iii. 3316 f ). Trumbull {Kadesh-Barnea, p. 314) rejects it 
' on the ground of its location and approaches ' ; it is not a place where 
pastoral enclosures would be possible. Moreover the name occurs, 
together with other unknown localities, in Dt. i. 1, and 'interpreted 
in their obvious sense the words define... the locality E. of Jordan 
in which the following discourses were delivered ' (Driver in loc). 
In the same passage a Di-zahab is mentioned, which Burckhardt 
{Syria, p. 523) identifies with Mina-ed-Dahab, the third of seven 
boat-harbours between the Has Muhammad and Akaba, nearly due 
east of Jebel Musa. But this not only forces the words in Dt. i. 1 to 
be taken in a very unnatural sense as referring to the previous 
journeyings of the Israelites, but is objected to by Keil on the ground 
that Mina-ed-Dahab is too inaccessible on the side of [the traditional] 
Sinai for the Israelites to have made it one of their halting places. 
Further, if Laban in Dt. i. 1 be the same as Libnah in Num. xxxiii. 20 
(though both are unknown), it is another indication that the route 

§ 6] GEOGRAPHY ci 

between Sinai and Ezion-geber was in the region close to the Negeb, 
Edom and Moab. 

Petrie's arguments in support of Palmer's route are slender. He 
identifies Marah with the Wady Hawwarah, because the latter contains 
a spring, and is two hours' journey before the Wady Gharandel, which 
is three days' journey from Suez. And he adds, ' it seems clear that 
the writer of these itineraries knew the road to the present Sinai well. 
The description exactly fits that road, and it vdW not fit any other.' 
As regards the eastward route to the Gulf of Akaba he merely remarks 
that ' the account of the journey cannot agree with that.' But he does 
not support the statement. There may well have been in the days of 
the Israelites a brackish pool, three days' journey from the frontier on 
the Mecca road, which has since disappeared. Exodus says nothing of 
the distance from Marah to Elim, which may have been considerable, 
and not one of two hours' journey. Petrie also says, ' There is a further 
presumption tliat the writer did not regard Midian as being inacces- 
sible to asses, as Moses returned thence with an ass (Ex. iv. 20). 
This is possible up the Gharandel road, but could scarcely be done on 
the longer waterless route of the Derb el Hagg.' But if the pool, after- 
wards called Marah, lay half-way along the route, it was not waterless. 

For the traditional site of Sinai, therefore, there is no Biblical 
evidence which can be called strong, much less certain. 

The origin of the tradition which x>laced Sinai in the south of the peninsula 
cannot be traced. S. Paul's reference to ' Sinai in Arabia ' (Gal iv. 25) tells 
nothing as to the extent of the district which was called Arabia in his day, or 
the locality of Sinai. The tradition first emerges about the 3rd century A.D., 
when the lauras ^ of monks were found in the mountainous tract oi the present 
Sinai. But even then the traditions differed as to the exact spot. Witnesses 
are cited from Dionysius Alex, (in Eus. lI.E. vi. 41 f., 44) down to Cosmas 
Indicopleustes who visited the country c. 535 A.D., in favour of Mt Serbal, a 
height near the junction of Wady Feiran and Wady es S/ieikh, and close to 
which stood the episcopal town Pheiran (Beke, Sinai and Arabia, 17 — 44). 
On the other hand the Percgrinatto Silviae (probably c. 385 — 388 a.d.) — an 
account by Silvia, a lady of Aquitaine, of a pilgrimage which she made — 
describes ' Syna the holy mountain of God ' in such a way as to identify it 
clearly with Jebel Musa, in front of which lies the large flat plain of er-Rahah, 
where it is supposed that the Israelites encamped. Jebel Musa is about 20 
miles E.S.E. of Mt Serbal. The sanctity of this spot was emphasized by 
Justinian (527 — 565 a.d.), who founded a church there. It has had many 
modem advocates ; but these, again, differ as to whether the tictual Jebel 

^ i.e. buildings in which each monk lived a separate life, secluded in his own 


Musa or the nigged mass Ras-es-Safsaf — a little to the N.W. of it — be the true 
Sinai. See Currelly in Petrie's Researches in Sinai, 250 — 4. Illustrations 
will be found in Benzinger's Bilderatlas. 

On the other hand much of the Biblical evidence appears to 
militate strongly against the traditional site. One point, indeed, 
which is sometimes urged, has been met by Prof. Petrie. The 
Egyptians, as late as the 20th dynasty, worked mines in the south 
of the peninsula, in the Wady Maghareh and in Sarbut el Hadim. 
The labour was performed chiefly by foreign prisoners, guarded, of 
course, by Egyptian soldiers (see Palmer 196 f, 233 f.). And some 
have thought it improbable that the Israelites, who had avoided the 
Philistine road for fear of possible enemies (Ex. xiii. 17), would 
deliberately march through a district containing Egyptian troops ; 
or, if they had done so, that they would have been able to remain 
unmolested at the mountain. This, however, is without force if 
Petrie's statement (p. 206) is correct, that Egyptian expeditions for 
mining purposes were 'at most in alternate years, and in the time 
of Merenptah only once in many years. Hence unless an expedition 
were actually there in that year, no reason existed for avoiding the 
Sinai district.' 

The statement of Dillmann (on Ex. iii. 1) has been generally 
accepted, that 'there is no distinction in the Bible between Sinai 
and Horeb ; they are different names for the same locality, and the 
names interchange only according to the different writers, or, as in 
Sir. xlviii. 7, in the same verse according to the parallelism of its 
members.' But there seems to be evidence in the Bible for two 
different traditions as to the position of Sinai and Horeb respectively. 
The former name is employed (in the Hexateuch) by J and P, and in 
Dt. xxxiii. 2 (see Driver on the date of the chapter), and the latter by 
E (Ex. iii. 1, xvii. 6, xxxiii. 6) and D, and in 1 K. xix. 8 which is 
coloured by Deuteronomic language. 

1. SINAI. J relates that the name Meribah was given (Num. xx. 
7 — 13) to the place where Moses brought water from the rock. In 
Ex. xvii. 6 (E) this took place at 'the rock in Horeb \' But the 
former story is placed by a compiler between two statements of E 
relating to Kadesh (Num. xx. lb, 14). The inference from this — 
that the Meribah incident took place at Kadesh — is accepted by P, 

^ It is pointed out in the note on this verse that the name of the place at which 
the incident occurred has fallen out. It is not impossible that it was purposely 
omitted, because it conflicted with the Sinai tradition of P. 

§ 6] GEOGRAPHY ciii 

who speaks of * the waters of Meribah of Kadesh [Meribath Kadesh] ' 
in Num. xxvii. 14 = Dt. xxxii. 51. It appears, therefore, that the 
mountain which P considered equivalent to Horeh was at^ or near 
Kadesh. P also says, in the same passages, that Meribath Kadesh is 
'in the wilderness of Zin.' Compare Num. xx. 1, where P's statement 
of the arrival at the wilderness of Zin is placed immediately before 
E's statement {v. 2) that the people abode at Kadesh. And in 
Num. xxxiii. 36 P explicitly identifies the wilderness of Zin and 
Kadesh. See also Num. xxxiv. 3, 4, Jos. xv. 1, 3. 

Kadesh, or Kadesh Barnea', was identified in 1842 by Mr Rowland as the 
modern ''Ain Kadis, some 50 miles S. of Beersheba in the desert et-Tih (see 
Trumbull, Kadesh-Bamea). The name signifies 'holy,' and the place was 
probably a sacred one not only to the Israelites but also to the other tribes 
in the neighbourhood. Its sacredness is also shewn by the name 'En-mishpat 
('Well of Judgement ') which is given to it in Gen. xiv. 7. 

Further, P appears to identify Zin and Paran. In Num. xiii. 3 
Moses sent spies from the wilderness of Paran ; but in v. 2\b they 
spied from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, and {v. 2^ a) they returned 
to the wilderness of Paran. And immediately afterwards {v. 266) 
follow the words, probably from E, 'to Kadesh.' 

Once more, Paran is closely associated with Sinai. In Num. x. 12 
(P) it is the first stopping-place after the wilderness of Sinai. In 
Dt. xxxiii. 2 Sinai is mentioned in parallelism with Seir {= Edom) and 
Paran (cf. Hab. iii. 4, where Teman, a part of Edom, is parallel with 
Mt Paran) ; and in Jud. v. 4 f , if the words ' that is Sinai ' are genuine 
(see Moore), Yahweh comes from Seir and the country of Edom, and, 
in order to help His people in Palestine, passes Sinai. If El-Paran 
(Gen. xiv. 6) is the same place as Elath or Eloth, it is another 
indication of the locality of Paran\ And in Num. xx. 16 (E) Kadesh 
is said to be in the uttermost of the border of Edom. 

Thus Sinai is very closely associated with Zin, Kadesh and Paran, 
and all are at the borders of Edom^. 

A similar result is reached in another way. E's story of Meribah 
'at the rock in Horeb' (Ex. xvii. 6f) is introduced by P's state- 
ment that the Israelites pitched in Rephidim. P therefore understood 

1 IK. xi. 18 seems to imply that a place named Paran lay between Midian and 

2 In this connexion should be noted the plausible emendation in Dt. xxxiii. 2, 
instead of t^•'^p n33")P ' from ten thousands of holiness ' to read either 
Kni5 nnip 'to Meribath Kadesh' or "p nn"ir?p 'from Meribath K.' (See 


the sacred mountain to be in close proximity to Rephidim. So also 
Num. xxxiii. 15. And in Ex. xvii. 8 E relates that the Amalekites 
fought with Israel at Rephidim. Palmer conjecturally identifies 
Rephidim with Wddy Feiran, about 30 miles N.W. of the modern 
Sinai. But there is nothing to support the supposition that a body of 
Amalekites had left their country and moved to the S. of the penin- 
sula. In Num. xiv. 40 — 45 (J) they were in their ordinary locality 
when, in conjunction with the ' Canaanites,' they defeated Israel 
(see note on Ex. xvii. 8) ; and in Dt. i. 44 the ' Amorites ' 
(=' Canaanites ' in J) are said to have beaten down Israel 'in Seir.' 
Thus Rephidim, together with Kadesh, Zin, Paran and Sinai, is to be 
placed close to Edom. 

It is true that the itinerary in Num. xxxiii. gives twenty stations 
between the departure from Rephidim and Sinai, and the arrival at 
'the wilderness of Zin which is Kadesh.' But this cannot be taken as 
evidence that Sinai and Kadesh were any great distance apart. The 
itinerary gives forty stages in the whole journey, which were probably 
adjusted artificially to the forty years' wandering. The twenty names 
between Sinai and Zin are, for the most part, unknown. But the 
second of them, Hazeroth, which is also the second station in J 
(Num. xi. 35), is followed immediately by Paran in J (xii. 16), and is 
one of several towns adjoining the 'Arabah (Dt. i. 1). The sixteenth, 
Bene-ya'akan, which appears in Dt. x. 6 as Be'eroth-bene-ya'akan ' the 
wells of the sons of Ya'akan,' may have been the home of the Horite 
tribe Ya'akan mentioned in 1 Chr. i. 42 ('Akan, Gen. xxxvi. 27), in 
which case its locality must have been in, or near, Edom. 

All the lines of evidence, therefore, combine to place Sinai in the 
desert S. of Judah, now known as et-Tik, in close proximity to Kadesh 
and Edom. Trumbull (p. 319) speaks of Kadesh as 'an encircled 
fastness among the mountains.' It is true that none of the neigh- 
bouring mountains are very high, but our impression of the great 
height of Sinai is of course due to the wonders of the theophany 
recorded in Ex. xix. ; there is no statement in the O.T. which makes it 
necessary to think that it was a towering peak\ 

2. HOPvEB. The traditions which give the name Horeb to the 
sacred mountain appear to place it not on the West, but oi? the East 
of the Gulf of Akaba. 

1 The possibility must be left open that, according to Wellhausen's conjecture, 
Kadesh was originally the site of the legislation, and that the names Sinai and 
Horeb were due to later tradition. 


It is to be noticed that while E relates events at Kadesh (Num. xiii. 
265, XX. lb, 14) and at Rephidim (Ex. xvii. 8), he does not connect 
them in any way with Horeb. He connects Horeb with Midian (see 
note on ii. 15). In iii. 1 Moses, when tending the flocks of Jethro the 
priest of Midian, led them for pasturage 'behind,' i.e. West, of the 
wilderness to Horeb. It has often been assumed that Jethro, with a 
detached body of Midianites, had moved, for some unknown reason, to 
the S. of the peninsula ; but the supposition is without evidence, and 
is in itself very improbable. If, however, Jethro was living in Midian, 
where he is found in ii. 15, and if Horeb was the modern Sinai, the 
' wilderness ' must be the desert et-Tih ; and it is quite inconceivable 
that Moses led the sheep to the west of that desert before moving 

Again, in xviii. 5 Jethro visited Moses at the mountain. This, 
according to the traditional view, involved his travelling round the 
northern end of the Gulf of Akaba and then southwards, the whole 
length of the peninsula, with Zipporah and her sons. Moreover his 
visit occurred just as the Israelites were about to leave the mountain 
(see notes) ; but xviii. 27 says that ' he went his way into his own 
land.' This clearly implies that he went by a different route from that 
which the Israelites would take. If, however, his visit was paid in the 
S. of the peninsula, his route homewards would, for a large portion, be 
identical with that of the Israelites ; he could have travelled with 
them as far as the northern point of the Gulf of Akaba. [The same 
difficulty attaches to the traditional site of Sinai in J's narrative. 
Num. X. 29 f.] Horeb must therefore be located at some point west, 
or south-west of Midian, on the east of the Gulf. And it is worthy of 
note that in modern maps a Jebel Harb is situated on the east of the 
Gulf, a little south of lat. 28°. 

Dt. i. 2 says that ' it is eleven days' journey from Horeb by way of 
Mt Seir unto Kadesh-barnea'.' IT Sinai is in the immediate vicinity 
of Kadesh, this statement makes it impossible to identify Horeb with 
it. Robinson travelled in 1838 fi'om Jebel Musa, the traditional 
Sinai, to Akaba, and thence to the neighbourhood of 'Ain Kadis in 
exactly eleven days. But if Horeb be placed on the eastern side of 
the Gulf, and not quite so far south as Jebel Musa, the journey to 
Kadesh would be of the same length ; and the description in Dt., ' by 
way of Mt Seir,' or 'by the Mt Seir road,' would be at least as 
suitable as on the traditional route. 

In Dt. i. 19 Moses says that the route from Horeb to Kadesh was 
through 'a great and terrible wilderness,' 'by way of (or to) the 


mountain of the Amorites.' The expression is of the same form as 
' by way of Mt Seir ' in id. 2. D and E frequently employ the name 
' Amorites ' as a general description of the native inhabitants of 
Canaan on the west of the Jordan, but sometimes also more par- 
ticularly for the peoples ruled by Sihon and 'Og on the east and 
south-east of the 'Arabah (cf. m. 4, 44). And the expression 'by 
way of (or to) the hill country of the Amorites ' would be perfectly 
suitable to a route which passed round the northern end of the Gulf of 
Akaba from its eastern side, and then struck N.W. 

1 K. xix. 3, 8. Elijah went from Beersheba * forty days and forty 
nights unto Horeb the mount of God.' The forty days and nights 
cannot be taken as a literal measure of time, shewing the length of the 
journey ; for Beersheba is only 50 miles N. of Kadesh, and for a strong 
man of the deserts this would hardly add two days' journey to the 
eleven required between Kadesh and Horeb. But the expression implies 
that he went away into wild desert regions, far from the haunts of 
men. And this would be as true of the Arabian desert east of the 
Gulf of Akaba as of the Sinaitic peninsula. 

§ 7. The Historical Value of the Booh of Exodus. 

One of the most profoundly important features in the religious 
thought of modern times is the growing realisation among Biblical 
students that the nature and meaning of ' Inspiration ' can be arrived 
at, not by any preconceived ideas as to what it ought to mean, but by 
a patient investigation of the books themselves. With regard to 
prophecy we read that ' men spake from God, being carried along by 
[an inspiration of] the Holy Spirit ' (2 Pet. i. 21). If this is also true 
in regard to narratives, it is right to ask how, and to what end, were 
the writers ' carried along ' ? And an answer is provided in 2 Tim. iii. 
16 : 'every divinely-inspired writing (Trao-a ypa(f>rj ^eoVj/evo-Tos) is also 
profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for discipline 
which is in righteousness ; that the man of God may be equipped, 
completely equipped for every good work.' In other words Scripture is 
inspired in such a way as to possess a moral, ethical, spiritual value. 
And it makes no claim to inspiration of any other kind ; nor does a 
careful and reverent study of its contents lend any countenance to the 
belief that its purpose, in God's hands, is other than spiritual. The 
moral and religious value of the book of Exodus — which forms the 
subject of the next section — is therefore entirely distinct from the 
accuracy of its details in matters of history, geography or archaeology. 


And if it be found that many details of the narrative are certainly or 
probably unhistorical, the results of the enquiry will have merely a 
secular interest, and will not affect the true character and purpose of 
the writing. Biblical criticism by itself, as has been well said, is like 
the analysis of fresh water : it leaves us thirsty. But that is no reason 
for refusing to analyse. 

The primary canon of sound historical criticism is that only 
narratives contemporary, or nearly so, with the events related, and, 
moreover, consistent with themselves, can claim to be literally exact 
records. Now if it is ever right to speak of the ' assured results ' of 
literary criticism, one of them is that Exodus was not written by 
Moses. He nowhere claims to be the writer, and he is mentioned 
throughout the narratives in the third person. If, as all the evidence 
seems to shew, the earliest written records we possess date from the 
9th or 8th century B.C., though it is probable that they, in turn, are 
based upon some written records behind them, the narratives in their 
present form are some three or four centuries later than the events 
described. And if large portions are to be assigned to post-exilic 
priestly writers, much of the book is at least two centuries later still. 
Again, the most cursory examination of the contents reveals the fact 
that they are often inconsistent, that the different literary strata have 
preserved divergent, and frequently contradictory, traditions. The 
records, then, are not literally exact : and it is the duty of the 
historical student to attempt to trace the underlying basis of fact 
on which the traditions have been built'. 

In the Old Testament there are presented to us the varying 
fortunes of a Semitic people, who found their way into Palestine, 
and were strong enough to settle down in the country in defiance of 
the native population. They partly conquered the natives, and partly 
became united with them. But although the invaders must have been 
greatly in the minority as regards numbers, they were knit together by 
a strong national bond which made them formidable. At first they 
were divided geographically into groups, but they gradually won their 
way to a national and political unity. This national bond which 
animated the Hebrews was the outcome of a firm religious belief which 
was common to all the branches of the tribe — the belief that every 
member of the tribe was under the protection of the same God, 

^ As early as the 9th century a.d. the Jews themselves, under the influence of 
Persian attacks on their faith, were beginning to criticise the chronology and even 
the theology of the O.T. See Gottheil, Some early Jewish Biblical Criticism, JBL 
xxiii. 1—12. 

cviii INTRODUCTION [§ 7 

Yahweh. He, and no other deity, was their God ; and they, and no 
other nation, were His people and His care. This community of belief 
and worship was so deeply rooted that it remained firm through all the 
vicissitudes of their history. It was at times combined with the 
worship of the deities acknowledged by the native population with 
whom they were intermingled ; it was at times threatened with 
destruction by persecution or by the captivity of the greater part of 
the nation. But it triumphantly survived. At a comparatively early 
stage it was evolved, in some minds, into the still higher principle of 
monotheism ; Yahweh was not only the God whom the Hebrews 
worshipped to the exclusion of all others, but He was realised to be 
the one and only Deity who had any existence. ' Yahweh thy God is 
one ' was the sublime truth to which they were led by the inspiration 
of their teachers the prophets. 

Now if it be asked from what source they gained their first united 
belief in one Deity, which separated them from the surrounding 
Semitic tribes, the analogy of other religions suggests the answer that 
it probably resulted from the influence of some strong personality — 
some teacher who was in advance of his time. The book of Exodus is, 
therefore, in accordance with all probability in describing the movement 
as having originated with Moses. The existence and character of the 
Hebrew race require such a person as Moses to account for them. 
But while it may be safely contended that Moses was a real person, 
and that the denial of this is scarcely within the bounds of sober 
criticism, it does not follow that all the details related of him are 
literally true to history. In all times it has been the tendency to add 
to the original portraiture of a great figure. Exactness in the science 
of history is a very modern product. Vague traditions of the founder 
of the national religion were orally handed down, and at every repe- 
tition of them some new feature would be added — some new virtue or 
excellence would be ascribed to him, legendary details would gather 
round his life. Prof. Driver ' says of the patriarchs what is signally 
true of Moses : ' the basis of the narratives in Genesis is in fact popular 
oral tradition ; and that being so, we may expect them to display 
the characteristics which popular oral tradition does in other cases. 
They may well include a substantial historical nucleus ; but details 
may be due to the involuntary action of popular invention or 
imagination, operating daring a long period of time ; characteristic 
anecdotes, reflecting the feelings, and explaining the relations, of a 

1 Art. ' Jacob ' in DB ii. 534. 


later age, may thus have become attached to the patriarchs ; phraseo- 
logy and expression will nearly always be ascribed rightly to the 
narrators who cast these traditions into their present literary shape.' 

A. Moses is portrayed under three chief aspects : (1) the Leader, 
(2) the Promoter of the religion of Yahweh, (3) the Lawgiver and 
moral Teacher or Prophet. 

1. Moses as Leader. The narratives in Genesis are entirely con- 
sistent in regard to the fact of the migration of the family of Jacob 
into Egypt. There is, however, a possibility that those who came to 
Egypt consisted only of part of the Israelite clan. A well-known 
inscription on a stele of Merenptah, found by Prof. Petrie at Thebes in 
1896, describes the peace that ensued upon the king's conquests : 
* The^ villages are again settled. He who prepares his harvest will eat 
it. Ra has turned himself (favourably) to Egypt. He is born for the 
purpose of avenging it, the king Merenptah. Chiefs are prostrate, 
saying " Peace ! " Not one among the nine bows (the barbarians) 
raises his head. Vanquished are tlie Tehennu (Libyans) ; the Kliita 
(Hittites) are pacified ; Pa- Kan 'ana (Canaan) is prisoner in every evil ; 
Ashalni ( Ashkelon) is carried away ; Gezer is taken ; Yenoam is 
annihilated ; Ysiraal is desolated, its seed (or fruit) is not^ ; Charu 
(Palestine) has become as widows for Egypt ; all lands together are 
in peace. Everyone that was a marauder hath been subdued by the 
king Merenptah, who gives life like tlie sun every day.' Ysiraal, 
which has the determinative for ' men,' while all the other names 
have the determinative for ' country,' and therefore refers to Israel not 
as a land but as a tribe or people, is in close proximity to towns or 
districts of Palestine. And Petrie and Maspero conjecture that they 
were descendants of certain Israelites who had been left behind in 
Canaan when the main body went to Egypt, or who had returned 
thither after the famine^ But whether or not some Israelites remained 

1 The translation is that given by Prof. Driver in Hogarth's Authority and 
Archaeolof/y, 62 f. 

2 M. Naville [Recueil de Travaux, xx. 32 — 37) renders it * Israel is come to 
nought : he has no more offspring,' i.e. the Israelites have departed from Egypt, 
and none of them are left behind. M. Naville says, ' In the mouth of the king of 
Egypt or of his official scribes, the dt;parture of the Israelites could prove to be 
nothing but their destruction.' But would the departure of a tribe of nomads into 
the desert necessarily prove their destruction ? Prof. Kennett suggests to me that 
the inscription may record the substance of a despatch from an in Palestine, 
who would presumably write in a Semitic language. If so, the people indicated by 
Ysiraal might be not Israel but the natives of Yizre'e'l (Jezreel), 'u\ which case the 
passage contains a play on the word zcra' (' seed '). It may be noted that ' Israel ' 
resembled ' Jezreel ' in sound closely enough for Hosea (i. 4 f.) to play on the two 

^ See art. 'Asher' in Fmc. Bibl. for some conjectures which have been made with 
regard to the tribe of that name. 


in or near Palestine, there is no sufficient reason for doubting the 
Hebrew tradition of an emigration to Egypt. 

Again, if the Israelites obtained permission— as foreign tribes are 
known to have done^ — to occupy pasture land within the Egyptian 
frontier, there would be nothing surprising if some of them were 
pressed into compulsory building labour ; for it was a common practice 
to employ foreigners and prisoners in this manner. It is no objection 
to this that the Israelites are not mentioned in inscriptions as 
forming part of the corvee; an insignificant tribe might not be dis- 
tinguished by the Egjrptians from other foreigners. But in order to 
rouse them, and knit them together, and persuade them to escape 
from the country, a leader was necessary. If, therefore, it is an 
historical fact that they were in Egypt, and partially enslaved, it is 
more likely than not that the account of their deliverance by Moses 
also has an historical basis. It is clear from inscriptions that 
strenuous efforts were made to prevent slaves and foreigners from 
escaping across the frontier. And the escape of the Israelites was 
perhaps rendered easier by some succession of natural calamities 
arising from an unusual overflow of the Nile. It is suggested on 
pp. 43 — 6 that the plagues, which the Hebrew tradition in the course of 
centuries pictured as ' miraculous ' judgements sent by Yahweh, had in 
each case a natural foundation in fact. If Moses seized the opportunity 
when the country was in distress, and discipline was relaxed, to lead 
out the Israelites, it was the plagues that occasioned the exodus, and 
not the exodus the plagues^. 

In the narrative of the crossing of the sea the writers are in 
complete agreement as to the fact ; but the divergence between the 
accounts of P and JE as to the manner in which it was performed, 
affords a remarkable instance of the tendency of oral tradition to 
attach legendary details to the original occurrence. Nothing of real 
value is gained by insisting that the deliverance at the sea was 
'miraculous' and not 'natural.' If, according to the earlier form of 
the story, God in His over-ruling providence deliberately employed a 
natural phenomenon to facilitate the escape of the Israelites, His 

^ Prof. Driver {Auth. and Arch. 59) cites an inscription of Merenptah's reign in 
which an Egyptian oflScer reports that the Shasu, or nomad bands, of Atuma 
(Edom) had been allowed to pass the castle at Thku(t), ' in order to obtain a 
living for themselves and their cattle in the great estate of Pharaoh.' 

2 The confused Greek and Egyptian traditions respecting Israel in Egypt and 
the Exodus are preserved by the following writers : Hecataeus of Abdera (in Diod. 
Sic. xl. 3), Manetho (in Jos. c. Ap. i. 14, 26 f. ; cf. Eus. Praep. Ev. x. 13), 
Lysimachus of Alexandria (in Jos. c. Ap. i. 32), Chaeremon of Naukratis (in 
Jos. c. Ap. i. 32), Diodorus Siculus, xxxiv. 1, Tacitus, Hist. v. 3 — 5. 


divine power is in no way enhanced by supposing that He contravened 
His normal method of working. It is important to observe that the 
more or less accurate Egyptian colouring given to the narrative by the 
mention of the localities with which the Israelites were connected, 
does not of itself prove that the narratives are historical. But if the 
Israelites were in Goshen, and if they emerged into the desert, it is 
perfectly possible that the account of the crossing of a piece of land 
usually covered by water, in which all the narratives agree, is based 
upon fact. 

The same may be said of the places mentioned in the course of 
their migration. If it is true that they did not take the N.E. route 
through the Philistine country, their natural course would be along 
the eastward highway, towards the northern end of the Gulf of Akaba 
(see § 6). Moreover there is no reason to doubt the tradition, in 
which all the writers concur, that they found their way to a mountain 
which had been sacred long before the time of the Exodus ; and Moses 
only followed a practice which must have been common before his day, 
and has been common among nomad tribes ever since, when he 
induced the Israelites to make a hajy or religious pilgrimage, to a 
well-known sacred spot. 

Between the departure from Egypt and the arrival at the sacred 
mountain, six incidents are related — the sweetening of the waters, the 
gift of manna, the gift of quails, the smiting of the rock, the fight with 
Amalek, and the visit of Jethro. Of these the last four are shewn, by 
internal evidence, to belong to a period after the arrival at the mountain. 
But the historicity of a battle with an Amalekite tribe, and of Jethro's 
visit when he advised Moses to institute a change in the methods of 
organization, need not be questioned, though many of the details in 
the narratives are probably later accretions. With regard to the 
miracles recorded in the other incidents, the remark made above will 
apply. The traditions of miracles may very probably have had a 
basis in 'natural' facts. And in these natural facts the really 
wonderful element would consist in the over-ruling providence of 
God, which, without reversing His ordinary methods of working, 
made natural phenomena to turn to His praise by the opportuneness 
with which they occurred for the help and sustenance of the tribe 
whom He had marked out for conspicuous service to the world. 

It is thus evident that to dogmatize on the extent to which the 
Exodus narratives are historically accurate is in the last degi'ee pre- 
carious. That Moses was not an individual, but stands for a tribe or 
group of tribes, and that the narratives which centre round him as an 


individual are entirely legendary, is to the present writer unthinkable. 
The minuteness of personal detail, the vivid picturesqueness of the 
scenes described, the true touches of character, and the necessity of 
accounting for the emergence of Israel from an elementary nomad 
condition into that of an organized tribal community, are all on the 
side of those who maintain that in its broad outlines the account of 
Moses' leadership is historical. But as regards particular incidents 
and details the decision in each case resolves itself into a balance of 
probabilities. And it appears probable (1) that the ipsissima verba of 
individuals are the work of the narrators, who, in perfect good faith, 
after the manner of Thucydides and many another writer, put into 
their mouths utterances suitable to the occasion, (2) that the narrators 
enriched the narratives from their own imagination, and the narratives 
were also expanded in the course of oral transmission, with many 
details and touches of local colouring, and (3) that the traditions 
acquired a miraculous element in the centuries that intervened between 
the events and the times of the several writers. 

2. Moses as the Promoter of the religion of Yahweh. Throughout 
the Old Testament, with the exception of Ez. xl. — xlviii., the forms and 
ceremonies of Yahweh-worship are represented either as originating 
from the teaching of Moses, or as laid down by him with fresh and 
binding emphasis. And the fact that every stage in the religious 
evolution of Israel is traced to the initiative of one man, is a strong 
argument in favour of the tradition that that man was an historical 
person, and that he laid a religious foundation upon which the super- 
structure could afterwards be built. 

First it is to be noticed thafc J uses the name Yahweh from his very 
first sentence, Gen. ii. 46, and onwards, and assumes that Yahweh was 
known and worshipped by the ancestors of the race. And in Exodus 
the expression ' Yahweh the God of the Hebrews ' is characteristic of 
his writing, iii. 18, v. 3, vii. 16, ix. 1, 13, x. 3. But, in agreement with 
E and P, he ascribes to Moses a new departure in Yahweh-worship 
inaugurated at Sinai. E and P agree in relating that the name 
Yahweh was a new revelation to Moses when he was about to deliver 
Israel, and that he taught it to his countrymen in Egypt. And yet in 
iii. 6 E represents Yahweh as saying to Moses, ' I am the God of thy 
father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob \' 
And in vi. 3 P states explicitly that God appeared unto Abraham, 

^ Possibly, however, the latter clause is a later insertion, as in 15 f., iv. 5. 


Isaac and Jacob, but He was not known to them by the name Yahweh. 
All the sources, therefore, imply that Moses did not teach the Israelites 
a totally new religion ; they had worshipped God from primitive times 
in the primitive manner of Arabian nomads ; but he put before 
them a new aspect of their religion, he gave a fresh impetus to 
it by defining more clearly the relation in which they were to stand to 
God ; He was to be in a peculiar sense their own God. And this new 
relation between the Deity and His worshippers was embodied in tlie 
name Yahweh. Whatever was the exact force which the name had for 
them, there appears to be a firm historical basis underlying the traditions, 
that by this teaching Moses induced the Israelites to feel that they 
were henceforth in all their tribal branches one body, united in the 
common worship of a single Deity. When we go further, and enquire 
whence Moses derived his knowledge of the name Yahweh, we are 
landed in the region of conjectures. Two points, however, are clear : 
firstly that the God of the Israelites had, before Moses' time, been 
conceived of as dwelling on the sacred mountain (see note on iii. 1), 
and secondly that He was worshipped by a branch of the Midianites 
named the Kenites (Jud. i. 16, iv. 11), of whom Jethro was a priest 
(Ex. iii. 1, xviii. 1). On the basis of these facts two conjectures have 
been made. Stade, Budde and others have supposed that Moses 
learnt the name Yahweh from the Midianites when he was living 
among them ; He was, therefore, a foreign God so far as the Israelites 
were concerned ; and that, after they had heard His name for the first 
time from Moses in Egypt, they journeyed to Horeb, and were there 
admitted by Jethro into the Kenite worship by a sacrificial feast at 
which Jethro officiated (xviii. 12). But it is hardly likely that the 
Israelites enslaved in Egypt could have been so rapidly roused and 
convinced by Moses' proclamation of an entirely new and foreign 
Deity. And the action taken by Jethro in organizing the sacrificial 
meal might easily arise from the fact that he was in his own territory, 
and naturally acted as host towards the strangers who visited him. 
The other conjecture, which can claim some plausibility, is that 
Yahweh was the God who was recognised by Moses' own tribe ; of. 
iii. 6 'the God of thy father,' xv. 2 'my father's God.' And Moses* 
work would then consist in proclaiming as the God of the whole body 
of Israel Him whose help a small portion of them had already 
experienced. But the origin of His worship by Moses' tribe and 
the Midianites remains quite unknown. 

When the Israelites had arrived at the abode of Yahweh, it would 
be natural to expect them solemnly to pledge themselves to His 

M. k 



worship. It is probable that the narrative in xxiv. 3 — 8, which relates 
this, is based upon fact. The absence of priests, and the mention of 
* young men ' as the proper persons to slaughter the sacrificial victims 
point to an early date for the passage (see p. Ixv.). The ceremony of 
the sprinkling of blood both upon the altar (which represented the 
presence of the Deity), and upon the worshippers, was probably a 
survival from a far-off time when the god of a tribe was thought to be 
of the same blood with his people, and this bond was periodically 
renewed and strengthened by the material participation in the same 
sacred blood of a victim \ But the Israelites were not a single tribe, 
but a confederation of tribes which also included a ' mixed multitude.' 
If, therefore, this primitive conception were really the germ of the 
Israelite idea of sacrifice (which some writers doubt), it had long passed 
away ; and the ceremony was simply the form in which the tribes 
made their vow to worship Yahweh. And when Jethro the Kenite 
appeared, at the end of the Horeb scenes (see note on xviii. 16), he 
organized a sacrificial feast 'before God,' not in order to introduce the 
Israelites to the Kenite worship, but solemnly to unite them with the 
Kenites by vows of friendship and alliance, to which Yahweh, the 
Deity whom they both worshipped, was witness. 

But if Moses combined all the Israelites in the acknowledgement 
of one God, did he (1) lay down any details of the cult, or (2) appoint 
any sacred objects or paraphernalia of worship? (1) It may be 
regarded as practically certain that Moses would inform the people 
of the mode of worship required from them, much as the foreigners 
in Samaria were taught ' the manner [the customary ritual] of the God 
of the land' (2 K. xvii. 25 — 28). But this mode of worship must 
have been one suited to migrating nomads, and not the more 
developed forms which grew up after the settlement in Canaan. It 
is, however, this more developed stage which appears in the laws on 
worship preserved in JE (E, xx. 23 — 26, xxii. 29 — 31, xxiii. 10 — 19, 
J, xxxiv. 17 — 26). In the first passage the multiplicity of altars seems 
to imply a multiplicity of sanctuaries ; and the prohibition of hewn 
stones and of steps, though very ancient as compared with the 
injunctions for the elaborate priestly alta^r of xxvii. 1 — 8, appears to 
belong to a time when there was some danger of the ancient customs 
being violated, and when some skill in handicraft had been acquired, 
xxii. 29 f. is concerned with the ofi'ering of firstfruits and firstlings. 
The two subjects are closely connected, and probably both belong to 

See Rob. Smith, ES^ 312—320, and Addenda. 


a time when the IsraeKtes had entered upon agricultural pursuits. In 
the deserts they could have no fruits or corn to offer. The sacrifice of 
firstlings for a sacrificial meal seems to have been ancient and pre- 
Mosaic (see p. 66), but not the off"ering of them as a stereotyped 
tribute to God. Similarly the three annual pilgrimages enjoined in 
xxiii. 14 f., 16 f., xxxiv. 18a, 22 f., cannot have been observed before 
the arrival at Canaan. They marked stages in the harvest, and con- 
sisted of processions to the local sanctuaries for feasting and dancing. 
And to the same period belong the law of the fallow year (xxiii. 10 f.), 
and in its present form the law of the Sabbath (12 f., xxxiv. 21). 
There remain only xxii. 31; xxiii. 18 <z = xxxiv. 25 a; xxiii. 18 6; 
and xxiii. 196 = xxxiv. 26 6 (which are in juxtaposition in Dt. xiv. 21). 
The purpose of the first of these is clearly to prevent the eating of 
flesh from which the blood has not been properly drained. The 
principle, though not the present form of the injunction, is probably 
of great antiquity. The avoidance of leaven as a form of corruption 
was probably ancient. And the prohibition of leaving fat until the 
morning seems to belong to the same primitive circle of ideas as the 
prohibition of eating flesh with the blood ; the fat, like the blood, 
contained the life of the animal, and if left till the next day, when the 
first stage of corruption would have begun, it would be regarded as 
dead. The origin of the last prohibition is obscure. If it refers to 
some form of Canaanite magic (see note) it must be post-Mosaic ; but 
it may only be a primitive rule to safeguard against the possibility of 
putrefaction (see art. 'Magic' in Enc. B., and Rob. Smith, RS"^ 221), 
or against the cutting off" of the supply of milk (see Addenda). 

Of the cultus laws, therefore, preserved in the covenant code of 
Israel, those which are demonstrably Mosaic are reduced to a vanishing 
point. XX. 24 f., xxii. 31, and xxiii. 18 6 point ultimately to very ancient 
custom, perhaps also xxiii. 18 a, 19 6, and it is probable that the 
observance of the Sabbath has its roots in a far-off" pre-Israelite age 
(see note on pp. 121 f) ; but more than this cannot be said with 
certainty. And the groundwork of the regulations for the Passover 
(chs. xii., xiii.) seems to have been a primitive ceremony which was 
almost certainly a pre-Mosaic institution. (See pp. 64 ff".) It is 
worthy of note that Jeremiah, the prophet of inward and individual 
religion, explicitly denies (vii. 22) that Yahweh gave the Israelites 
any commands 'concerning burnt-off"erings or sacrifices' in the day 
that He brought them out of the land of Egypt. 

(2) From an historical point of view it is extremely unfortunate 
that the insertion of P's ideal picture of the paraphernalia of worship 



has swept away all descriptions which JE may have had except the 
two fragments Num. x. 33—36 (J) and Ex. xxxiii. 7—11 (E). The 
former assumes the manufacture of a sacred ark (the account of which 
probably underlies Dt. x. 3), and the latter of a sacred tent. The 
former shews that the presence of the ark was in some sense an 
equivalent for the presence of Yahweh (cf Num. xiv. 42 ff.) ; but no 
early statement of its form or purpose has been preserved. The 
latter relates that the tent was one which Moses could himself pitch, 
perhaps, as we may suppose, with Joshua's help ; it must, therefore, 
have been an ordinary Bedawin tent. And in it Moses used to attend, 
to administer the sacred oracle to anyone who came to enquire of it. 

3. Moses as Lawgiver and Teacher. The author of Dt. xxxiv. 10 
expresses the reverent acknowledgement which the nation in his day 
accorded to the moral and spiritual aspects of Moses' work : ' There 
hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom 
Yahweh knew face to face.' Compare xviii. 15 — 18, Acts iii. 22, 
vii. 37. There is abundant justification for the belief that Moses gave 
to Israel injunctions which were not merely ritual. It is arbitrary to 
assume that the prophets of the 8th century and onwards, who 
preached a high ethical morality, preached something entirely new. 
It is true that in their early days, e.g. in the time of the J udges, the 
character of the Hebrews was at a low ebb ; but the prophets always 
held up a lofty ethical ideal as something which the nation had failed 
to reach, and proclaimed that for this failure the sinful people were 
answerable to a holy God who expected better fruit from them 
(cf Hos. iv. — vi.. Am. v., vi., viii.. Is. i., v., xxviii., Mic. ii., iii.). And 
since human nature is alike in all ages, it can be safely assumed that 
long before the prophets there were at least isolated men and women 
more high-souled than the masses around them, who strove to live up 
to the light which they possessed. And as the national history of 
Israel postulates a leader who shaped and unified the heterogeneous 
elements enslaved in Egypt, and as their unanimous adherence to the 
worship of a single Deity postulates a great personality who proclaimed 
to them that worship and drew them as one body into the acceptance 
of it, — so the ethical morality, which appears in the book of Exodus 
quickened and intensified by the prophets, postulates a teacher in 
advance of his time, who instilled into the nucleus of the nation the 
germs of social justice, purity and honour. When Moses was leading 
the tribes in the desert, and during the long stay at Kadesh, he would 
have been below the standard of an ordinary sheikh if he had not given 
decisions on social matters. His position as judge, or arbiter of 


disputes, is supported both by intrinsic probability, and by the nar- 
rative in Ex. xviii. And it was owing to his work of advising and 
teaching in the sacred Tent that the title ' prophet ' attached to him 
in later tradition (Dt. xxxiv. 10, quoted above, should be compared 
with such passages as Ex. xxxiii. 11a, Num. xii. 5 — 8). 

We can thus study the codified laws ascribed to Moses with the 
presupposition that the social life of Israel contained an element of 
social morality, of which the germs were due to Moses. 

But in the life of a nomad tribe the controlling factor is not a 
corpus of specific prescriptions, but the power of custom. An immoral 
act is condemned because ' it is not wont^ so to be done ' (Gen. 
xxxiv. 7, 2 S. xiii. 12). The stereotyping of custom in written codes 
is the product of a comparatively late stage in national life. And all 
the evidence seems to shew that Israel was no exception to the rule. 
It may be confidently asserted that Moses would not commit to writing 
a series of moral precepts ; his work would consist in moulding the 
public opinion of the tribes over whom he was sheikh. His power was 
the power of personal character. And the general result with regard 
to the written moral and social laws in Exodus is the same as that 
reached above with regard to the ritual laws of Yahweh-worship — i.e. 
that while some elements are demonstrably ancient, it is impossible to 
say of any particular detail that it is certainly derived from Moses 
himself If he introduced the whole of Israel to the religion of 
Yahweh, he also planted in them the seeds of a moral goodness 
inspired by the uniqueness of that religion. This is a glory which 
our lack of detailed information cannot take from him-. 

B. Aai'on. By the side of Moses the narratives of the Pentateuch 
place the figure of Aaron. But he stands on a very difi"erent footing. 
The personality of Moses, as we have seen, is required by the existence 
and character of the Hebrew race in Palestine ; but that of Aaron is not 
required at all in the same way. The description of the sanctuary in 
Ex. xxxiii. 7 — 11 makes no mention of him, and leaves no room for 
him as priest. Moses is obviously chief priest through whom the 
people receive divine instruction, and Joshua is his sole assistant. 
The passage is assigned to E, which mentions Aaron indeed, but in 
such a manner as to imply that he and Hur were elders or sheikhs 
rather than priests (see xxiv. 14, xvii. 10 — 12). And in J Aaron 

^ Not as R. V. ' ought not to be done.' 

2 Peters, The Religion of Moses, JBL xx. 101 — 128, presents a useful survey of 
the facts, though his arguments for the Mosaic origin of the Decalogue do not 
seem to the present writer convincing. 

cxviii INTRODUCTION [§ 7 

occurs, in a similar capacity, in conjunction with Nadab and Abihu 
and seventy of the elders of Israel (xxiv. 1, 2). In the narratives of 
the plagues he plays no part in the small fragments preserved from E 
(though his action may possibly be implied in Josh, xxiv, 5), while in 
J he is introduced in a way that suggests that his name is a later 
insertion (see also iv. 29). Thus the basis of fact which underlies the 
Aaronic traditions is probably that he was, like Hur, an important 
civil member of the Israelite body ; in Mic. vi. 4 he is mentioned 
with Moses and Miriam as having taken a leading part in the Exodus. 
But very little of real personal detail has been preserved to us. (See 
pp. Ixiv. — Ixx., on the growth of the priestly traditions.) With the 
final exaltation of Aaron, in post-exilic times, to the supreme position 
of the ancestor of all priests is connected the description of the Taber- 
nacle in chs. XXV. — xxxi., xxxv. — xl., of which the historicity is un- 
hesitatingly denied by all who accept the main principles of historical 
and literary criticism (see pp. Ixxix. — Ixxxii.) 

We have seen then that the accounts of Moses as Leader, as 
Promoter of the religion of Yahweh, and as moral Teacher, may claim 
to rest upon a basis of historical fact, but that in very few details can 
we be confident that we know accurately either his deeds or his words. 
And while Aaron may have been an important sheikh, he was not a priest. 
But though this leaves us with very little certain knowledge of either 
Moses or Aaron, the historical value of the book is in no way ex- 
hausted ; it is only transferred from the time of the events described 
to the times of the writers who described them. There may very 
possibly have been written documents behind J and E, but nothing is 
known of their nature or extent. The gain which is indisputably ours 
is a large knowledge of the days of the prophetical narrators. They 
project into the past, as upon a screen, a luminous picture of their 
own beliefs about God, their conceptions of His character and methods 
of working, their own ethical and social standard, the religious in- 
stitutions and ritual customs which, as the result of a long growth, 
prevailed in their own day. The late priestly portions of Exodus are 
a purely ideal expression of a spiritual longing, though even this 
expression to some extent reveals existing conditions after the exile. 
But the non-priestly portions are, in a very real sense, history ; they 
form a contemporaneous illustrative commentary upon the events 
related in 2 Kings and the utterances of the pre-exilic prophets. 


§ 8. The Religious Value of the Booh of Exodus. 

An attempt has been made in the preceding section to estimate 
the extent to which the book is of value to the historian. The con- 
chisions reached are of necessity somewhat vague. There must be a 
large use of the word ' perhaps ' in dealing with a period so remote, 
and with a book whose structure is so complicated, and which took so 
long to grow. But when we pass from the historicity to estimate the 
religious value of the book, we pass to firm ground ; we pass from 
what is incidental to what is essential. An organism may rise through 
a long and slow process of development, biologists may differ as to its 
earliest or any of its subsequent stages ; but that need not prevent 
them from being in complete agreement as to its functions and 
capacities in its completely developed state. 

The book of Exodus, together with the rest of the Bible, has a 
divine and a human side. Dr Ottley {Aspects of the Old Testame/iit^ 
pp. 19 f.) draws a striking analogy between this two-fold aspect of 
Scripture and the union of the Divine and Human in Christ : ' There 
is then admittedly a human side to Scripture, and the condescension 
which we witness in the Incarnation of the Son of God has left to the 
human instruments of His will more than we had once supposed. He 
has employed different types of mind and character to execute or 
advance His purposes. In the recording of His acts and words He 
has sanctioned the employment of literary methods which in a higher 
stage of culture might be judged inappropriate. He has consecrated 
individual peculiarities or special intellectual endowments to ends of 
His own. The result is that to the critical eye Scripture wears an 
ordinary and occasionally even humble exterior ; it is not free from 
such incidental defects, limitations and errors as are incident to all 
human composition ; but under this lowly form is concealed a special 
divine presence. Here, as in the Incarnation, may be discerned the 
self-unveiling of a divine Spirit, the operation of divine power, the 
appeal of divine love.' The chief ambition, therefore, of the student 
of Exodus must be to trace something of this unveiling of God, His 
power and love, in the human collection of narratives, traditions, laws 
and ritual details before him. And for this purpose, the realisation 
that the book passed through various stages in its literary history is of 
the utmost constructive value. Not only in successive books of the 
Bible but in successive strata of one book, we see a spiritual develop- 
ment corresponding to the literary development. The two earliest 


prophetical writers were allowed to reveal as much of the character of 
God as could be known in their day. The additions made to the book 
by later pre-exilic prophets exhibit a distinct advance in depth and 
insight. The post-exilic priests, while they endorsed all the previous 
revelation, concentrated their thoughts mainly upon a single aspect of 
the Divine Being and His relations with His people. 

1. The teaching of JE consists in the presentation of God's Person 
and attributes by means of a history of His actions. It is a continuous 
illustration of the words ' I will be what I will be.' By His dealings 
with His people, God slowly unfolded the meaning of His Name (see 
note on iii. 14). 

The writers start from the thought that in order to fulfil His 
eternal design, God chose the nation of Israel from all other nations 
to be His people. But He did not suddenly select a nation that was 
exactly like all others, and suddenly make it fit for His purposes. 
He had made long preparation beforehand ; He was known to their 
fathers (ii. 24, iii. 6, 15 f., iv. 5, xv. 2, xviii. 4, xxxii. 13, xxxiii. 1). And 
when the moment drew near at which the nation as a whole was to be 
united in His worship, He provided the special preparation of suffering. 
He allowed Israel to come into Eg)^t, and Jacob to sojourn in the 
land of Ham ; He turned the heart of the Egyptians to hate His 
people, to deal subtilly with His servants, in order that their cry and 
their groaning might ascend to His ears, and that by their sufferings 
they might be bound together with the sympathy of brothers in 
affliction. But the preparation also included the fashioning of an 
instrument for His purposes ; the circumstances of Moses' childhood, 
and his long absence from Egypt, ending with the great revelation at 
Horeb, equipped him for his work. And now all was ready, and Israel 
became God's people, and Yahweh became ' the God of the Hebrews ' 
(iii. 18, V. 3, vii. 16, ix. 1, 13, x. 3), and rescued them with a mighty hand. 
But before Israel could be admitted into full covenant relation with 
their God, they had to be tested (xv. 25, xvi. 4, xx. 20), by dangers 
(xiv.), privations (xv. 22 ff., xvi. 1 ff., xvii. 1 ff.), and war (xvii. 
8 — 16), and taught that when they cried unto Yahweh in their trouble. 
He delivered them out of their distress. Their behaviour under the 
trial was not a good omen for the future, but God's patience and love 
never wearied. When at last He had brought them to His own abode, 
He gave to them a visible sign of His presence and His majesty in 
the Theophany, as He had before given it to Moses ; and He bound 
them to Himself by a solemn covenant. And finally, although they 
sinned against Him and broke the covenant. He again forgave them 


and promised that His presence would go with them ; in spite of 
everything He would still shew Himself to be all that He would be — 
the Guide and Saviour of His people. 

The picture of the Divine character which emerges in this history 
is manifold. Standing at an early stage in the growth of religious 
thought, the early writers, especially J, employed anthropomorphic 
expressions with some frequency, though it is probable that they 
did not always interpret them literally. Yahweh 'comes down' 
(iii. 8, xix. 11, 18, 20, xxxiv. 5), He puts forth His hand (iii. 20, 
XV. 6, 12, 16, cf. xxiv. 11), He 'met' Moses and 'sought to kill 
him' (iv. 24), He 'took off' or 'bound' the chariot wheels of the 
Egyptians (xiv. 25), the elders ' saw the God of Israel ' (xxiv. 9, 
11), He talked with Moses 'face to face' (xxxiii. 9, 11), Moses 
could see the after parts of Him (23), and Yahweh passed by 
before him (xxxiv. 6). These, however, are little more than surface 
indications of more ancient modes of thought. Side by side with 
them are seen deep and spiritual conceptions to which the divine 
Spirit had led the prophets. The earty writers did not dwell upon His 
character and attributes in the abstract, but as they bore upon the 
guidance and discipline of His people. He was the Creator, who from 
of old appointed one man to be dumb, another deaf, and consequently 
it was He who 'appointed a mouth' for Moses (iv. 11). He was 
supreme in His power over nature ; this was shewn for His people's 
sake by a series of wonders — the plagues, the crossing of the sea, the 
sweetening of the water, the manna, and the water from the rock. 
He thereby proved Himself greater than all other gods (xv. 11, 
xviii. 11). And there were some intimations of the mysteriousness 
of His Being. Moses himself could not look upon His full glory 
(xxxiii. 19 — 23), and both to Moses and to the people He could appear 
only in a partial manifestation as the 'Angel' (iii. 2, xiv. 19, xxiii. 
20, 23, xxxii. 34, xxxiii. 2), but the ' Angel ' was to be identified 
with the fulness of His Being which could not be seen (xxiii. 21, 
of. Is. Ixiii. 9, a reference to the Exodus). In His attitude towards 
His people He shewed that perfect combination of justice and mercy 
to which human rulers cannot attain. It is true that 

'Earthly power doth then shew likest God'.s 
When mercy seasons justice,' 

because that is the highest that earthly power can reach ; but the 
'attribute of God Himself is perfect (not seasoned) justice, side by 
side with perfect mercy. He punished His people when they sinned 

cxxii INTRODUCTION [§ 8 

(xxxii. 35, xxxiii. 3), but He was, with all His severity, 'compas- 
sionate and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy and 
truth' (xxxiv. 6 f., cf. xv. 13, xxxiii. 19). He was always ready to 
'meet' His people in closest and most loving intimacy (xxxiii. 7 — 11), 
and to listen to the intercessions of their leader (xxxiii. 12 — 17). He 
guided them with tender care (xiii. 17 f., 21 f.), and fought for them 
against their enemies (xiv. 14, 25, xvii. 8 — 16). And not the least 
conspicuous aspect of His rule over them is seen in the varied laws 
which He laid down for the control of their social and moral 
life. He understood them so well that His laws, as collected in 
the first instance by JE, were not a difficult body of precepts ; they 
were suited to their early state of development ; they were a TraiSaywyos 
to lead them to something higher. 

2. The later additions contribute little to the narrative of JE, but 
they mark an advance in the ideas of God. A striking instance of the 
spiritualising of the conceptions of His nature is seen in xx. 22 6. 
Yahweh does not come down and speak from Sinai, but He speaks 
from Heamn. And He is no longer the greatest of all gods, but 
commands that other gods be not even named — their existence is not 
to be recognised (xxiii. 13). And as being the only true God, He is 
'jealous' of His supreme prerogative (xx. 5, xxxiv. 14). A fresh 
thought in His care for His people is that He heals them of all 
diseases (xv. 26, xxiii. 25 6, cf. Hos. xi. 3). A deeper aspect of His 
dealings with Pharaoh is hinted at in ix. 16, of which S. Paul makes 
use in his argument (Rom. ix. 17) — He allowed Pharaoh to 'stand,' 
i.e. to remain undestroyed, in order to shew him [' in him,' Rom.] His 
power, and to make His Name — His nature — known in all the earth. 

Conversely there is an intensified realisation of the purpose for 
which God chose His people. They are to be ' holy men ' unto Him 
(xxii. 31), i.e. completely separated from everything which will injure 
their state of consecration to His service. And as an outward 
sign and symbol of this ' separateness ' they are to destroy the enemies 
of His religion and their objects of worship (xxiii. 24, 31 h — 33, 
xxxiv. 11 — 16). To fail to do this, or to join in idolatrous worship, 
is sin, for which Yahweh will wipe the sinner out of His 'book' 
(xxxii. 32 f.). But the climax is reached in two passages in which 
the thought of divine love shines more clearly than ever before. In 
iv. 22 Israel is God's son. His firstborn, His nearest and dearest ; it 
is akin to Hos. xi. 1 , 4. And in xix. 3 h — 6 is pictured the strong 
tenderness of an eagle towards its young, carrying it safely to its eyrie, 
as a symbol of the divine Father taking His children out of the reach 


of danger to His own abode (cf. Dt. xxxii. 11, Is. Ixiii. 9 6). Further, 
the universality of His government is taught for the first time in the 
words ' all the earth is Mine ' (5 b). But that very fact gives an 
entirely new and glorious meaning to the choice of Israel. They are 
not only a ' holy,' separated people, and a people that is a possession 
more valuable to God than all other nations, but they are a ' kingdom 
of priests ' — an organized community under the government of a King, 
every member of which has a mediatorial office, to intercede for all 
other men, and to minister to them in things pertaining to God. It is 
the only statement in the book of the true divine mission of Israel. 

3. The priestly writers, in the narrative portions, follow the same 
ground as JE. The revelation of the name Yahweh, the choice of 
Israel as His people, and the oath to their forefathers are all contained 
in vi. 2 — 8. The plagues, and the crossing of the sea declare that 
God punishes His enemies and rescues His people. And generally 
speaking P accepts and endorses the spiritual teaching of the earlier 
writings. But two thoughts rise into such bright prominence as almost 
to throw everything else into the shade — or rather two complementary 
aspects of one thought, i.e. the separateness, the ' holiness ' of His 
people, and as the cause of it the permanent abiding of His holy 
Presence in their midst. On p. Ixxxiv. it is shewn that the Tabernacle 
and its worship were the product of religious contemplation and of 
a longing for the visible presence of God, which pointed to, and was 
only fulfilled in, the Incarnation. But the ideas may here be studied 
more in detail. If Yahweh' s presence was to be imagined in any sense 
as objective, it could not be in human form ; religious conceptions had 
advanced far beyond anthropomorphism. It took the material and yet 
mysterious form of the intense light of fire, which was described by the 
word ' Glory.' Directly the sacred mountain was reached, Yahweh 
revealed Himself; 'the glory of Yahweh abode on Mt Sinai... and the 
appearance of the glory of Yahweh was like devouring fire' (xxiv. 16 f). 
And the account of Moses' converse with Him is an allegory which 
contains the profoundest spiritual teaching. Man's soul, like his 
body, is enormously influenced by its environment. The ' glory ' was 
reflected upon Moses' face, and clung to him (xxxiv. 29 — 35). Moses 
alone stood in a relation to God close and intimate enough for such a 
transfiguration to be possible or bearable ; the people durst not gaze 
even upon the reflexion. But Moses was the representative of his 
nation, and the glory upon his face was a pledge and symbol of the 
abiding of the divine glory upon the whole people. 

But this ' abiding ' must not only be symbolized, it must be realised 

cxxiv INTRODUCTION [§ 8 

objectively ; God must dwell, tabernacle \ in their midst. And con- 
sequently His place of dwelling must be, like David's temple, 
* exceeding magnifical.' As Hooker says, 'Touching God Himself, 
hath He anywhere revealed that it is His delight to dwell beggarly ? 
And that He taketh no pleasure to be worshipped saving only in poor 
cottages ?... Were it not also strange, if God should have made such 
store of glorious creatures on earth, and leave them all to be consumed 
in secular vanity, allowing none but the baser sort to be employed in 
His own service ? To set forth the majesty of kings, His viceregents 
in this world, the most gorgeous and rare treasures which the world 
hath are produced. We think belike that He will accept what the 
meanest of them would disdain.' (See Eccl. Pol. v. xv. 3 — 5.) It 
is not indeed ' as though He needed anything.' The beauty of the 
Tabernacle, and the beauty of worship in all churches in all ages, is 
acceptable to Him, not because it adds anything to Him but to the 
worshipper. It calls forth the spirit of self-sacrifice, the spirit of 
giving rather than receiving, the outward expression of the devotion 
of ' every man whose heart maketh him willing ' (Ex. xxv. 2). 
Therein lay the whole difference between this ideal worship of 
Yahweh and the pagan worship of idols. Ruskin, though he treats 
the erection of the Tabernacle as an historical fact, beautifully 
expresses the underlying thought. He points out that against the 
danger of idolatrous worship 'provision was not made in one way, 
(to man's thoughts the simplest, the most natural, the most effective,) 
by withdrawing from the worship of the Divine Being whatever could 
delight the sense, or shape the imagination, or limit the idea of Deity 
to place. This one way God refused, demanding for Himself such 
honours, and accepting for Himself such local dwelling as had been 
paid and dedicated to idol gods by heathen worshippers. And for 
what reason ? Was the glory of the tabernacle necessary to set 
forth or image His divine glory to the minds of His people ? What ! 
purple or scarlet necessary, to the people who had seen the great 
river of Egypt run scarlet to the sea under His condemnation? 
What ! golden lamp and cherub necessary, for those who had seen 
the fires of heaven falling like a mantle on Mount Sinai, and its 
golden courts opened to receive their mortal lawgiver ? What ! 
silver clasp and fillet necessary, when they had seen the silver 
waves of the Red Sea clasp in their arched hollows the corpses of 

^ It was this that led to the Rabbiuic description of the ' glory ' by the term 
Shekinahy derived from shakan, * to dwell ' or ' tabernacle.' 


the horse and his rider? Nay — not so. There was but one reason, 
and that an eternal one ; that as the covenant that He made with 
men was accompanied with some external sign of its continuance, and 
of His remembrance of it, so the acceptance of that covenant might 
be marked and signified by men, in some external sign of their love 
and obedience, and surrender of themselves and theirs to His will ; 
and that their gratitude to Him and continual remembrance of Him, 
might have at once their expression and their enduring testimony, in 
the presentation to Him, not only of the fruits of the earth and the 
tithe of time, but of all treasures of wisdom and beauty ; of the 
thought that invents, and the hand that labours ; of wealth of wood, 
and weight of stone ; of the strength of iron, and the light of gold.' 
{Seven Lamps, The Lamp of Sacrifice, i. § 6.) 

But at the same time that God must tabernacle in the midst of 
Israel, His 'hoHness,' His ' unapproachableness ' must be safeguarded. 
Mediators were needed, whereby the divine influence might reach the 
people. And so both the building itself, and the people, were arranged 
on the principle of a descending scale of ' holiness.' The ' most holy' 
shrine contained the ' Glory ' ; it was approached by a ' holy ' place, 
and that by an outer court. And the different degrees of sanctity 
were marked by the diff"erent metals and coverings employed (see 
pp. Ixxxv. f.). Again Aaron and Moses, who from different points of 
view represented the nation, could enter into the ' most holy ' ; the 
* holy place ' was frequented by the priests ; and in the outer court the 
Levites officiated. And once more, the arrangement of the camp bore 
out the same idea. The tribes pitched their tents round the Taber- 
nacle, but the Levites and the sons of Aaron formed an inner cordon 
(Num. ii., iii.) 'that there be no wrath upon the congregation of the 
children of Israel' (i. 53). 

All the manifold details in the manufacture of the Tent, and its 
hangings and furniture, the ' holy garments ' of Aaron and his sons, 
and the elaborate ritual enjoined for their consecration, together \vith 
the mass of ceremonies and sacrifices specified in Leviticus and the 
priestly portions of Numbers, were the work of generations, but all 
contributed to the great central thought, the magnificent ideal which 
has yet to be realised in the Christian Church — a perfectly organized 
Body, consecrated to the God whose Glory tabernacles in their midst. 
From the Jewish nation, as such, the Glory is departed, but the hope 
of the Christian Church rests upon the historic fact that the Word 
tabernacled among men, and there were those who saw His Glory 
(Jn. i. 14). 

cxxvi INTRODUCTION [§ 8 

4. Such, in broad outline, is the religious teaching of the book of 
Exodus. Across every page of the record the divine Spirit writes ' I 
will be what I will be.' That is its whole content and inspiration. 
Both before and after the book was revered as canonical scripture, its 
history was revered, and referred to as the standard by which to 
gauge the greatness of God's power, the severity of His justice, and 
the depths of His love. This attitude is seen most strikingly in those 
passages in which the events of the exodus and the wanderings are 
passed under review, either in the form of a joyful thanksgiving, as 
in Pss. cv., cxxxvi., or more often of a sorrowful confession of national 
sins in the past and present, and of a warning from the ancient 
examples of rebellious ingratitude, as in Neh. ix., Pss. Ixxviii., Ixxxi., 
cvi., Ez. XX. The references to the fact of the exodus for the purpose 
of impressing prophetic and spiritual teaching are very numerous — 
Jud. ii. 1, 2, vi. 8—10, x. 11, 1 S. x. 18, 2 S. vii. 6, 23 f. (=1 Ch. xvii. 
5, 21 f), 1 K. viii. 16 (=2 Ch. vi. 5), 51, 53, ix. 9, 2 K. xvii. 7, 35 f., 
xxi. 15, Ps. Ixxx. 8, Is. lii. 4, Jer. ii. 6, vii. 22, 25, xi. 4, 7f., xvi. 14, 
xxiii. 7, Hos. ii. 15, xi. 1, xii. 9, xiii. 4, 5, Am. ii. 10, iii. 1, ix. 7, 
Mic. vii. 15, Hag. ii. 5, Dn. ix. 15'. The divine severity exhibited in 
the plagues is recalled in 1 S. iv. 8, vi. 6, Ps. cxxxv. 8, 9, Jer. xxxii. 
20, 21, Am. iv. 10 (?) ; and the triumph over Yahweh's enemies at the 
Red Sea in Nah. i. 4, Ps. Ixvi. 6, Ixxiv. 13 f , Ixxvii. 15 — 20, Ixxxix. 10, 
cxiv. 3, Is. xi. 15 f., xliii. 16 f, Ii. 9 f., Ixiii. 11 — 13; in each of the 
last four passages, the ancient deliverance is treated as an assurance of 
a deliverance in the future. Moses frequently, and Aaron occasionally, 
is mentioned by name in connexion with the history — 1 S. xii. 6, 8, 
1 K. viii. 9, 1 Ch. xxi. 29, 2 Ch. i. 3, v. 10, Ps. xcix. 6, ciii. 7, 
Jer. XV. 1, Mic. vi. 4 (including Miriam), Mai. iv. 4 ; and see Hos. xii. 13. 
Passing on in the order of the narrative, the pillar of cloud is referred 
to in Ps. xcix. 7, and affords a beautiful prophetic illustration of God's 
protection of Zion in Is. iv. 5. The incidents at Meribah and Massah 
supply the well-known warning against hardness of heart in Ps. xcv. 8 
(see R.V.). The water from the rock is mentioned in Ps. cxiv. 8, and 
the prophet of the Return employs it as a counterpart of the blessings 
which will be vouchsafed to those that *go forth from Babylon,' 
Is. xlviii. 20 f. The wonders of the Theophany lend themselves to 
poetic treatment in Jud. v. 4f, Ps. Ixviii. 7 f . (cf. v, 17), Hab. iii. 

^ To these should perhaps be added Ez. iv. 4 — 6, where the 430 days of the 
prophet's symbolic action furnish a parallel to the 430 years (Ex. xii. 40) of Israel's 
bondage in Egypt. 


3 — 6, in each case as an ideal accompaniment of an approach of 
Yahweh to help and rescue His people. Appeal is made in Ps. 1. 5 
to the covenant sacrifice, which put Israel into a special relation 
with God. The law given at Sinai is referred to in 1 K. viii. 21, 
2 Ch. v. 10 (tablets of stone), Jer. xxxiv. 13 f. (release of slaves), 
Mai. iv. 4, and above all in Jer. xxxi. 32 where the prophet 
draws his epoch-making contrast between the old covenant and a 
new covenant of the heart. The raining down of manna is 
perhaps alluded to in Ps. Ixviii. 9 (see Perowne). To actual words 
of the book of Exodus there are very few references : Is. xii. 2, 
Ps. cxviii. 14 echo the song of Moses at the sea ; in Ps. cxxxv. 4, 
Mal. iii. 1 7 the word ' peculiar treasure ' {segullah) is perhaps derived 
from Ex. xix. 5 ; the wonderful description of divine mercy in 
Ex. xxxiv. 6 has affected several later passages — 2 Ch. xxx. 9, Neh. ix. 
17, 31, Ps. Ixxxvi. 15, ciii. 8, cxi. 4, cxii. 4, cxlv. 8, Joel ii. 13, 
Jon. iv. 2, Nah. i. 3 ; and compare Nah. i. 2 with Ex. xxxiv. 14. The 
specifically priestly portions of Exodus are alluded to in a few late 
writings and editorial additions : the roasting of the Passover with fire 
'according to the ordinance,' 2 Ch. xxxv. 13 (cf. Ex. xii. 8); 'the 
tabernacle of Yahweh which Moses made in the wilderness,' 1 Ch. xxi. 
29 ; ' the tent of meeting of God,' 2 Ch. i. 3 ; on 1 S. ii. 22 see p. 234 ; 
the priesthood of Aaron ' to go up unto mine altar, to burn incense, to 
wear an ephod before me,' 1 S. ii. 28 ; the anointing oil poured upon 
Aaron, Ps. cxxxiii. 2 ; and the inscription ' Holiness to Yahweh ' which 
in Ex. is placed upon the high priest's turban, is in Zech. xiv. 20 so 
universal in the ideal Jerusalem that it is found on the very bells of 
the horses and applicable to every pot in the city. For the passages 
based on the hst of stones in the ' breastplate ' see note on xxviii. 

5. The same phenomena are seen in the Apocryphal books. 
Retrospects of the events in Egypt and the wanderings are found 
in Jdth. V. (the moral of it is given in w. 17 f.), Wisd. x. 15 — 21, xi. 
(Wisdom is regarded as equivalent to the divine providence which 
guarded the Israelites), id. xvii. — xix. (a highly imaginative de- 
scription of the sufferings of the ungodly Egyptians and the triumph 
of the pious people of God). The fact of the exodus is referred to in 
2 Esd. i. 7, ii. 1, xiv. 29, Est. xiii. 16, Bar. i. 19, ii. 11. Moses and 
Aaron are praised among 'famous men' in Sir. xiv. 1 — 5, 6 — 22 (the 
latter passage includes a detailed description of the Aaronic vestments). 
The following references to events and other details in Exodus may be 
noted : the institution of the Passover, 1 Esd. i. 6, 12 ; the plagues. 

cxxviii INTRODUCTION [§ 8 

2 Esd. XV. 11 ; the crossing of the sea, 2 Esd. i. 10, 13, 1 Mac. iv. 9 ; 
Israel named God's 'firstborn,' Sir. xxxvi. 12; *I gave you Moses for 
a leader and Aaron for a priest,' 2 Esd. i. 13 ; pillar of fire, id, v. 14 ; 
Marah, id. v. 22 f. ; the revelation in the bush, the exodus and the 
arrival at Sinai, 2 Esd. xiv. 3 f ; manna and water, 2 Esd. i. 17 — 20 ; 
quails, Wisd. xvi. 2 ; hornets, Wisd. xii. 8 (cf. Ex. xxiii. 28 — 30) ; the 
theophany, 2 Esd. iii. 17 f. ; the covenant and the writing of the law, 
Sir. xvii. 11 — 13, xxiv. 23, Bar. ii. 28 ; Moses' intercession, 2 Esd. vii. 
36 (106) ; the Tabernacle, Wisd. ix. 8 : the glory which descended upon 
it, 2 Mac. ii. 8 ; the altar of burnt offering, 1 Esd. v. 49 ; the fifth 
command in the decalogue, Tob. x. 12; the law of retaliation, 
Sus. V, 62 ; and Ex. xxiii. 22 is quoted in 2 Mac. x. 26. 

6. When Exodus is read in the light of the New Testament its 
spiritual value is multiplied. We find, as S. Augustine says, that 
* Novum Testamentum in Vetere latet, Vetus in Novo patet ' — ' the 
New Testament lies concealed in the Old, the Old stands revealed in 
the New.' The references are of two kinds : those in which, as in the 
case of the Old Testament and Apocryphal references, the writers recall 
the language or^ historical events of Exodus in their plain and literal 
meaning to enforce or illustrate their argument ; and those in which 
they apply to language or events a symbolical or allegorical inter- 
pretation, shewing that Christianity was not something totally new, 
fallen complete from heaven, but a growth from the Old Covenant as a 
plant from a seed. 

(a) Of the former class are the historical retrospects by S. Stephen 
(Acts vii. ; see vv. 17 — 41, 44), and S. Paul (Acts xiii. 17 f ), and the 
enumeration of Old Testament heroes whose actions were the sign of 
their faith (Heb. xi. ; see vv. 23 — 29). Our Lord referred to the words 
of Ex. iii. 6 as supporting the truth of the Resurrection of the dead 
(Mat. xxii. 32 = Mk. xii. 26, Lk. xx. 37), and S. Peter fi:om the same 
passage derives the title 'the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of 
Jacob, the God of our fathers' (Acts iii. 13). In Rom. ix. the 
hardening of Pharaoh's heart plays an important part in S. Paul's 
argument that God has an absolute right to do what He wills with 
creatures of His own handiwork ; in the same connexion (v. 15) he 
quotes Ex. xxxiii. 19. In 1 Cor. x. 7 he refers to the idolatry of the 
golden bull as a warning. And in 2 Cor. viii. 15, in inculcating the 
duty of almsgiving, he quotes Ex. xvi. 18 (regardless of its original 
context) to illustrate the principle of 'equality.' Commands in the 
Decalogue are cited in Mat. v. 21, 27, (?) 33, xv. 4 (=Mk. vii. 10), 
xix. 18 f. (=Mk. X. 19, Lk. xviii. 20), Rom. vii. 7, xiii. 9, Eph. vi. 2£, 

§ 8] EXODUS IN THE N.T. cxxix 

Jas. ii. 11; and words from the expansion of the fourtli command are 
echoed in Acts iv. 24, xiv. 15, Rev. x. 6, xiv. 7. The law of 
retaliation (Ex. xxi. 24) is dealt with in Mat. v. 38. The O.T. 
command did not give rein to the passion of revenge ; it checked it by 
keeping it within fixed limits. But Christ aimed at ([uenching tlie 
least spark of it. The prohibition against cursing parents (Ex. xxi. 17) 
is referred to by our Lord (Mat. xv. 4 = Mk. vii. 10) ; and that against 
cursing a ruler (Kx. xxii. 28) by S. Paul (Acts xxiii. 5). In accordance 
with the law of the firstborn (Ex. xiii. 12) Jesus was presented in 
the Temple (Lk. ii. 23). 

(b) The symbolical and allegorical treatment of the book derives 
much of its force from the ideas which New Testament writers 
entertained with regard to the person and functions of Moses. The 
acceptance by Christ and the apostles of the Mosaic authorship of the 
Pentateuch has already been touched upon (pp. ix. — xi.). Not only, 
however, was Moses considered to be the author of the Pentateuch, but 
he was the Representative of the Old Covenant as Christ is of the New. 
He was ' faithful in all His [God's] house as a servant ' (Heb. iii. 2 — 6), 
i.e. he was entrusted by God with an influence which was to affect and 
penneate not only his own generation but the whole of the Old Dis- 
pensation. And when, after the Transfiguration, Moses and Elijali 
vanished, and 'Jesus alone' remained (Mt. xvii. 8, Mk. ix. 8, Lk. ix. 
36), it helped the watching disciples ' to see that the Old Testament 
being fulfilled in Christ is done away in Christ' (Plummer, DB iii. 
808a). Jesus 'fulfilled' the Law by teaching that it was the spirit 
and not the letter of it which is binding (see especially Mat. v. 
17 — 48, xii. 1 — 8, xv. 1 — 9). S. Paul, chiefly in the epistles to the 
Romans and Galatians, works out the relation of the Law to the 
Gospel as only a Pharisee who had been lifted up to Christianity 
could have done it. And S. Peter in his 1st epistle dwells upon the 
truth that the Israel of old, with all its privileges and responsibilities, 
finds its true development and fulfilment in the Christian Church. 

But because Moses and his Dispensation stood in this relation to 
Christ, the New Testament writers felt that his whole career afltbrded 
parallels to spiritual factors in the New Dispensation. The history of 
the Old Israel repeats itself in that of the New. (To say this is, of 
course, not to affirm that the Old Testament writers had the slightest 
idea that the events which they described were one day to receive a 
spiritual fulfilment. The mind of God alone knew it, when He guided 
the events and inspired the writings.) The series of Mosaic events 
which are cited as affording points of comparison with things spiritual 


form an extremely interesting study, since they cover so many of the 
distinctive features of the New Dispensation, and illustrate in a 
striking manner the essential unity of the ' Divine Library.' 

(a) The Name under which God revealed Himself to Moses 
(Ex. iii. 14) is, through the medium of the LXX o wv, taken up and 
given a fuller content in Rev. i. 4, 8, iv. 8, xi. 17, xvi. 5. See also 
Jn. viii. 24, 28, 58, eyw ct/At. 

{h) The centre and mainspring of Christianity is the Incar- 
nation, the dweUing of God's glory among men in the Person 
of Jesus Christ. In 2 Cor. iii. 7 — 18 S. Paul refers to Ex. xxxiv. 
29 — 35, arguing that the glory upon Moses' face\ which accom- 
panied his reception of the Law, was so gi'eat that the Israelites 
could not bear to gaze upon it, although that Law was merely 
a ministration of death, and of condemnation, and although the 
glory on his face was transitory. Much more will the ministration 
of the spirit, and of righteousness, be of surpassing glory. Again, 
Moses realised that the glory on his face was transitory, and so he 
could not boldly leave his face uncovered, lest the Israelites should 
see the fading of the glory ^. And the veil which he wore still 
lies, spiritually speaking, on the hearts of the Jewish nation, 
which will not be removed till they ' turn to the Lord,' as Moses 
used to remove it when he returned to the divine presence. But we 
Christians can speak boldly, and with unveiled face can reflect the 
glory of the Lord. If we are told that our gospel is obscure and 
hidden by a veil, it is only so in the case of those who are spiritually 
perishing. It is they who have been blinded by the ' god of this age,' 
to prevent the glory of God, which is, in fact, the Incarnate Christ, 
from dawning upon them. And in order to preach this gospel, God 
has 'made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant, not of the 
letter but of the spirit ' {y. 6) ; and those who accept our preaching 
are as an epistle, written ' with the Spirit of the living God, not in 
tables of stone, but in tables that are hearts of flesh' {v. 3). 

(c) The Incarnation had its issue in the Passion ; Christ's death, 
and the shedding of His blood procured atonement. This has its 
counterpart in the Passover (1 Cor. v. 7 f ; cf Col. i. 14, Eph. i. 7 
with Dr Armitage Robinson's note). And S. John (xix. 36) traces a 
fulfilment of a particular detail (Ex. xii. 46) in the fact that no bone of 
our Lord's body was broken. 

1 His use of the narrative is rendered easier by the lxx, which renders ]'^\> 
(' shone ') by SeSolacrrat and dedo^aaixivrj. 

2 This idea is not found in the original narrative ; see note. 

§ 8] EXODUS IN THE N.T. cxxxi 

{d) Christ's sacrifice is no less clearly connected with the cove- 
nant ceremony at Horeb (Ex. xxiv. 4 — 8). Our Lord explicitly refers 
to it in the words of the institution of the Holy Eucharist (Mat. xxvi. 
28 = Mk. xiv. 24, Lk. xxii. 20, 1 Cor. xi. 25 ; see also Heb. ix. 18—20, 
and 1 Pet. i. 2 with Hort's note). In Heb. x. 29 a renegade Christian 
is one who ' hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was 
sanctified, an unholy thing.' 

{e) Though pleading in Heaven, Christ is still present among men. 
He is still Incarnate ; hence the existence of the Church which is His 
Body. In Heb. xii. 18—24 the condition of the Church under the 
New Covenant is contrasted with that of the Israelites at Sinai. The 
characteristics of the two covenants are terror and grace (cf. Keble's 
Christian Year, Whitsunday). 

(/) Sacramental incorporation into Christ's divine life had its 
foreshadowing in the old Jewish Church ; all the Israelites were 
'baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea' (1 Cor. x. 2). 

{g) By the other great Sacrament, the divine life is fed and 
nourished in the members of the Church. Our Lord teaches (Jn. vi. 
30—35, 41 — 58) that it was really God, and not Moses, who gave 
bread from heaven ; and that the manna was but the symbol of the 
real 'bread from heaven.' (It is not here asserted that our Lord's 
discourse had reference exclusively to the Sacrament of the Holy 
Communion, wliicli He was afterwards to institute ; but it must have 
been impossible for the Evangelist — and it is impossible for us — 
having heard the words spoken at the Last Supper, not to see in 
the present passage their fullest and deepest application.) 

And as Christ is the Bread of Life, so He is the Water of Life. 
In the mind of S. Paul tlie Israelites did not drink mere physical 
water but spiritual (1 Cor. x. 3, 4). The Targ. of Onkelos on Num. 
xxi. 17 ff. contains a legend according to which the well, mentioned in 
that passage, followed the Israelites on their journeys over hill and 
dale. S. Paul here refers to the legend, but combines with it an 
allusion to the rock which produced water (Ex. xvii. 6, Num. xx. 11). 
That rock, says S. Paul, is typical of Christ — 'the spiritual Rock 
which followed them.' 

(Ji) While tlie Israelites are the counterpart of the Christian 
Church, their enemies who opposed Moses (cf. 2 Tim. iii. 8) afford 
a parallel to those who obey not the gospel. In Rev. viii. 5, 7, 8, 
Lx. 2—4, xi. 6, XV. 6— 8,xvi. 2—4, 10, 13, 18, 21, the symbolism of 
punishment is clearly based on the plagues of Egypt. And our 
Lord's words about His power to cast out demons by the 'finger of 

cxxxii INTRODUCTION [| 8 

God,' as contrasted with the methods of the Jewish exorcists (Lk. xi. 
19 V), are perhaps an aUusion to Moses and the magicians. 

(i) On the other hand, those who have been redeemed from the 
slavery of sin can, Hke the Israelites rescued from Egypt, 'sing the 
song of Moses the servant of God ' (Rev. xv. 3), and their names will 
not be blotted out of the book of life (iii. 5 ; cf. Ex. xxxii. 32 f. 
and note). 

(j) And when redeemed they can fulfil the high destiny purposed 
for Israel (Ex. xix. 5 f.)— they become 'a royal priesthood, a holy 
nation, a people that is a special possession' (1 Pet. ii. 9 (cf. v. 5), 
Eev. i. 6, V. 10). 

But besides the ideas connected with the life of Moses, there are 
those which centre round the Tabernacle. The significance which the 
symbolism appears to have had for the writers of the book of Exodus 
has already been studied (pp. Ixxxvi. — xci.) ; but in the New Testament 
we are in another world of thought. The ideas are strikingly free from 
the material and intellectual analogies of Josephus and Pliilo and some 
of the patristic writers. The principle of applying spiritual meanings 
to the Tabernacle is acknowledged in Heb. viii, 5 by a reference to 
Ex. XXV. 40. The heavenly pattern implies, for the wiiter of the 
epistle, not merely a vision but a real heavenly counterpart — more 
real indeed and more lasting than the earthly building which is its 
vVo'Sety/xa ('suggestive copy') and <r*cia ('shadow'); cf. Wisd. ix. 8, 
' a copy of the holy Tabernacle which thou preparedst aforehand from 
the beginning.' It is 'the real Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, 
not man ' (Heb. viii. 2) ; ' a greater and more perfect Tabernacle, not 
made with hands' (ix. 11); a Tabernacle in which Christ and not 
Aaron is the High Priest and Minister. The Mosaic Tabernacle was 
a temporary figure (irapa/SoXyj) of no lasting value for atonement 
(ix. 8 — 10). It was thus not merely, as in Josephus and Philo, a 
microcosm — ' an epitome of that which is presented on a larger scale 
in the world of finite beings ' — but an earthly analogy of something 
spiritual, something which was 'not of this creation.' God, in order 
to dwell among His people, dwelt in the Tabernacle. The Word, 
which 'was God,' became Flesh in order to tabernacle among us 
(Jn. i. 14); i.e. the Tabernacle corresponds to Christ's Humanity; 
His body was the true Temple (Jn. ii. 19 — 21); in His Humanity, 
perpetuated in His Body the Church (see below), 'dwelleth all the 
Fulness of the Godhead bodily' (Col. ii. 9, i. 19). 

1 Mt. xii. 28 has « Spirit of God.' 

§ 8] EXODUS IN THE N.T. cxxxiii 

But in the Tabernacle there were two parts, the immediate presence 
of God being shut off by the veil. So (Heb. ix. 24, x. 20) Christ 
passed through His earthly life (symbolized by the Holy Place), and 
still bearing His Humanity entered 'into Heaven itself (the Most 
Holy). This thought is specially connected, in Heb. ix., x., with the 
ritual of the day of Atonement (see art. ' Day of Atonement ' in DOG i.). 
The author of the epistle implies (ix. 2 — 5) that he could speak in 
detail of the meaning of the Tabernacle furniture, but that the dis- 
cussion of them would be disproportionately long. The briefness of 
his passing reference to them would suggest to his readers that the 
S3n[nbolical meanings which he could attach to them were of secondary 
importance compared with his main theme. In Rev. iv. 5 the vision 
of the ' seven lamps burning before the throne ' is based on the lamp- 
stand which stood near the entrance into the Most Holy Place. In 
xi. 19 the 'ark of His covenant,' the symbol of the divine presence, is 
seen in ' the Temple of God that is in heaven.' And in xv. 5 this 
Temple is called ' the Temple of the Tabernacle of the testimony in 

Again, a further deep and mysterious truth is taught in the New 
Testament. The Body of Christ still finds on earth a concrete 
representation in His Church ; the Church is ' the extension and 
perpetuation of the Incarnation in the world' ' (cf Eph. iv, 15 f, v. 23, 
29 f J Col. i. 18, 24, ii. 9, 19). At present the representation is incomplete 
and potential, because though Christ has passed to His glory the 
'revealing of the sons of God' is yet future (Rom. viii. 19). But 
when the Church in union with Him is glorified (1 Jn. iii. 2), and 
the 'spiritual house' is completely built up (1 Pet. ii. 5), then the 
saints 'who tabernacle in heaven' become, in fullest reality, 'His 
Tabernacle ' (Rev. xiii. 6), so that the ideal of Ezekiel and the priestly 
Avriters is consummated (xxi. 3). 

^ Bp Gore, Bampton Lectures on The Incarnation, p. 219. 


The following list comprises the canonical and apocryphal passages (outside 
the Hexateuch) in which reference is made to the contents or the wording of 
the book of Exodus, together with all the New Testament passages cited in 
the Introduction. 



ii. 1 f. 


V. 4 


vi. 8—10 


x. 11 


1 Sam. 

ii. 22 




iv. 8 


vi. 6 


X. 18 


xii. 6, 8 


2 Sam. 

vii. 6 


23 f. 


1 Kings viii. 9 


16, 5If. 




ix. 9 


2 Kings xvii. 7,35f. 


xxi. 15 


1 Chr. 

i. 3 


xvii. 5, 21 f. 


xxi. 29 

cxxvi f. 

2 Chr. 

i. 3 


V. 10 

cxxvi f. 

vi. 5 


XXX. 9 


XXXV. 13 





ix. 17—31 





Ixvi. 6 


Ixviii. 7f., 17 




Ixxiv. 13 f. 





Ixxvii. 15—20 
Ixxx. 8 
Ixxxvi. 15 
Ixxxix. 10 
xcv. 8 
xcix. 6 

ciii. 7 
cxi. 4 
cxii. 4 
cxiv. 3 

cxviii. 14 
cxxxiii. 2 
cxxxv. 4 

cxlv. 8 
iv. 5 
xi. 15f. 
xii. 2 
xliii. 16f. 
xlviii. 20 f. 
Ii. 9f. 
lii. 4 

Ixiii. 11—13 
ii. 6 
vii. 22, 25 
























xi. 4, 7 f. 



xiii. 16 


XV. 1 



ix. 8 


xvi. U 


X. 15—21 


xxiii. 7 




xxxi. 32 


xii. 8 


xxxii. 20 f. 


xvi. 2 


xxxiv. 13 f. 


xvii. — xix. 



iv. 4—6 

cxxvi n. 


xvii. 11—13 




xxiv. 23 



ix. 15 


xxxvi. 12 



ii. 15 


xiv. 1—5 


xi. 1 




xii. 9 



i. 19 




ii. 11 


xiii. 4f. 





ii. 13 



V. 62 



ii. 10 

cxxvi ^ 

1 Mac. 

iv. 9 


iii. 1 


2 Mac. 

ii. 8 


iv. 10 


X. 26 


ix. 7 




iv. 2 
vi. 4 
vii. 15 
i. 2f. 





V. 21, 27, 33 


viii. 4 

xii. 1—8 




iii. 3—6 



ii. 5 
xiv. 20 
iii. 17 
iv. 4 


cxxvi, cxxvii 

XV. 4 

xvii. 8 
xix. 8 

cxxxii n. 
cxxviii, cxxix 



1 Esd. 

v. 49 


18 f. 


vi. 6, 12 


xxii. 32 


2 Esd. 

i. 7 


xxiii. 2 




xxiv. 36 


13, 14 


xxvi. 28 





i. 44 


22 f. 


vi. 6 


ii. 1 


vii. 10 

X, cxxviii f. 

iii. 17f. 


ix. 8 


vii. 36 (106) 


X. 3, 5 


xiv. 3 f. 






xii. 26 

X, cxxviii 

XV. 11 


xiii. 32 



x. 12 


xiv. 24 



V. 17 f. 



ii. 23 






ii. 52 



ii. 9 


V. 14 


9, 19 


ix. 36 


2 Tim. 

iii. 8 


xi. 19 




xvi. 29, 31 



iii. 5 


xviii. 20 



iii. 2—6 


XX. 37 

X, cxxviii 

viii. 2 


xxii. 20 





i. 14 

cxxv, cxxxii 

ix. 2 


ii. 19—21 




V. 45—47 




vi. 30—35 








vii. 19, 22 f. 




viii. 24, 28, 58 


X. 20 


xix. 36 


xi. 23—29 



iii. 13 


xii. 18—24 





ii. 11 


iv. 24 


1 Pet. 

i. 2 


vii. 17—41, 44 






ii. 5 


xiii. 17f. 




xiv. 15 


2 Pet. 

i. 21 


xxiii. 5 


1 Jn. 

iii. 2 



vii. 7 



i. 4,8 


viii. 19 




ix. 15 


iii. 5 




iv. 5 


xiii. 9 





V. 7f. 


V. 10 


X. 2 


viii. 5, 7 f. 




ix. 2—4 




X. 6 


xi. 25^ 


xi. 6 


2 Cor. 

iii. 7—18 




viii. 15 





iv. 25 


xiii. 6 



i. 7 


xiv. 7 


iv. 15f. 


XV. 3 


v. 23 




29 f. 




vi. 2f. 


xvi. 5 



il 7 


2—4, 10 



i. 4 


13, 18, 21 




xxi. 3 








The book of Exodus carries on the narrative of the fortunes of the chosen 
people after the death of Joseph, opening Avith a description of the Israelite 
oppression in Egypt The first half of the book is familiar to all who read the 
Bible. The vivid accounts of the oppression, of Moses' infancy and his flight 
into Midian, his divine call which meant so much to Israel, the plagues, the 
exodus, and the events which are related during the journey to the sacred 
mountain, have been stamped upon the minds of Jews and Christians from 
their childhood. They form a drama of thrilling interest, in which each 
successive ^sTiter who contributed to the composite whole felt deeply his 
responsibility as a religious teacher. Each of them as he >vrote 'set God 
always before him.' So that the result is not a bare chronicle — a skeleton 
made up of the dry bones of historical facts. In the long course of ancient 
oral traditions the bones had come together, and had been covered with the 
flesh and skin of artistic narrative in which orientals excel ; but from the 
moment that these narratives were employed by prophetical wTiters as a 
vehicle of religious truth, the divine Spirit came into them, and they lived 
and still live, as a record of the action of God in moulding a people prepared 
for Himself 

Chapter I. 

Pharaoh's efforts to crush the Israelites. 

The chapter desciibes the condition of the Israelites in Egypt from which 
Moses was soon to rescue them. The reigning Phanxoh took steps to crush 
them, partly by hard building labour, and partly by conmianding the death 
of all their male infants. The narrative lends itself readily to devotional 
treatment. The exodus was to the Hebrews of subsequent ages a t}'pe of 
divine salvation, and to Christians it has always been a type of redemption 
from the slavery of sin. And the command, issued at the time of Moses' biilh, 
to kill the male infants, forms a striking parallel to the similar command of 
Herod at the time when the Saviour whom Moses foreshadowed was born. 

M. 1 

.^.,.. , THE BOOK OF EXODUS [i. 1-7 

I. 1 Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, which P 
came into Egypt ; every man and his household came with Jacob. 
2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah ; 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and 
Benjamin ; 4 Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5 And all the 
souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls : 
and Joseph was in Egypt already. | 6 And Joseph died, and all J 
his brethren, and all that generation. | 7 And the children of P 
Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, 
and waxed exceeding mighty ; and the land was filled with them. 

I. 1 — 7. A brief introduction, summarising previous events 
which led up to the oppression. 

1. sons of Israel. Both 'IsraeP' and 'sons of Israel' are found 
as the name of the tribe and nation as it evolved in history (see v. 7). 
The latter title was explained in the national traditions by tracing the 
descent of the whole people to an ancestor who had received the 
privileged name (Gen. xxxii. 28). 

2 — 4. The sons of each mother are placed together ; Leah : Reuben 
— Zebulun. Rachel : Benjamin. Bilhah : Dan, Naphtali. Zilpah ; 
Gad, Asher. The two concubines follow the two wives. 

5. Seventy was the traditional number; cf Dt. x. 22. The names 
in the list of Gen. xlvi. 8 — 27 make a total of 70 if Dinah be excluded. 
But since Er and Onan died in Canaan {v. 12), and Joseph and his 
sons were already in Egypt, a later priestly writer thought that they 
ought not to be included among those who went to Egjrpt with Jacob ; 
he therefore made their total 66, including Dinah, and then inconsist- 
ently added Jacob himself, Joseph and his sons, to make up the 70. 
In Num. xxvi. there is a list of Jacob's descendants which includes the 
sons and grandsons of Ephraim and Manasseh ; and this led the lxx in 
Gen. xlvi. 27 to include the three grandsons and two great-grandsons 
of Joseph, making the total 75. So the lxx in the present passage ; 
and this is followed in S. Stephen's speech. Acts vii. 14. 

7. ths children of Israel. The Heb. is the same as that of the 
rendering *the sons of Israel' in v. 1. The expression must originally 
have implied a tribal kinship rather than a national or political unity. 
The beginnings of a national unity were due to the work of Moses. 
The question whether all the Israelite clans went to Egypt and took 
part in the exodus is touched upon on p. cix. 

increased abundantly. Lit. 'swarmed'; cf Gen. i. 20, R.V. marg. 

the land. In Gen. xlvii. 1 1 (P) Jacob and his sons settle in ' the 
land of Barneses,' i.e. in the territory in which Ramses II afterwards 
built cities and frequently resided. It is apparently equivalent to 'the 

^ The name Israel is used in Mesha's inscription (the Moabite Stone), lines 5, 7 ; 
and in an inscription of Shalmaneser II it occurs in the form SirHai with reference 
to Ahab {GOT. i. 184, 6). On the stele of Merenptah see p. cix. 

1. 8-ii] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 3 

8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, which knew not J 
Joseph. 9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of 
the children of Israel are ^more and mightier than we : 10 come, 
let us deal wisely with them ; lest they multiply, and it come 
to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they also join them- 
selves unto our enemies, and fight against us, and get them up 
out of the land. 11 Therefore they did set over them task- 

^ Or, too many and too mighty for us 

land of Goshen' in which, according to J, the Israelites lived. 'The 
land ' is thus not the whole of Egyi3t, but the portion assigned to them 
in the eastern part of the Delta. 

8. knew not; had not known. The expression 'a new king' 
instead of 'another king' seems to imply a new dynasty, i.e. the 19th. 
See note following ii. 22. 

9. too many and too mighty for us, as R.V. marg. It is 
probable that 'the children of Israel' represented, in Ramses* mind, 
the whole mass of foreign prisoners and slaves who were transported to 
the Nile valley during the campaigns of his long reign. In xii. 38 
these foreigners are called 'a mixed multitude.' Brugsch (Egi/jyt under 
the Pharaohs, ed. 2, p. 301) says that the prisoners of Ramses' reign 
added to the descendants of the foreigners brought to Egypt after 
former wars 'certainly amounted to a third, and probably still more, 
of all the families of Egypt.' 

10. deal wisely. In Acts vii. 19 S. Stephen adapts the Lxx 
rendering of the word (R.V. 'dealt subtilly'). 

they also join themselves. The Egyptian sovereigns always felt 
that this danger was imminent. Enemies such as the Hittites, the 
Palestinian tribes, the shasu or robber bands of the Arabian peninsula, 
and wild hordes from the coasts of Asia Minor were constantly 
threatening ; and the most strenuous efforts were made by Egyptian 
officials to prevent fugitives from leaving the country. (See Driver in 
Hogarth's Authority and Archaeology^ pp. 57, 60.) 

11. taskmasters ; gang-overseers. The expression occurs here 
only ; but the ' labour-gang ' (^mas) is frequently spoken of Solomon, 
whose reign was affected by Egyptian influence, levied men for building 
labour, 1 K. v. 14 f. (Heb. 28 f). 

Pharaoh. Heb. Par' oh. Hebrew appears to have been the only 
language of ancient times which adopted this Egyptian word. In 
Egypt Pr-Oy ' great house,' was originally used of the royal palace 
or estates. But during the Middle Kingdom (12th to 16th dynasty) 
it stood metaphorically for the king's majesty, 'something in the 
manner of the Sublime Porte' (Driver on Gen. xii. 15) ; and in the 
New Kingdom it became at once personal, and was soon a common 
term for the king. From the 22nd dynasty and onwards it is prefixed 

to the king's name — e.g. ' Pharaoh Neclio.' 


4 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [i. 11-15 

masters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for J 
Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more 
they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they 
spread abroad. And they Svere grieved because of the children 
of Israel. | 13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to P 
serve with rigour : | 14 and they made their lives bitter with hard J 
service, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service in 
the field, | all their service, wherein they made them serve with R^ 

15 And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, E 
of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of 

^ Or, abhorred 

store cities. Such cities are mentioned in Solomon's reign, in 
connexion with labour-gangs (1 K. ix. 19), and in that of Je- 
hoshaphat (2 Ch. xvii. 12). The Heb. word miskenoth is uncertain. 
Brugsch's explanation 'Temple-cities/ connected with an Eg. word 
Meskety ' shrine,' is not generally accepted. The root-meaning appears 
to be *to be useful' (in Is. xxii. 15 Shebna is called 'this servitor' or 
' steward,' soken, R.V. ' treasurer ') ; hence ' cities of useful things — or 
places ' may mean ' cities containing magazines.' Lxx, Tg.'^^''- wrongly 
have ' fortified cities,' though no doubt store cities were fortified. 

Pithom. Eg. Pi-Tiim, ' the House of Tum.' On this and Kaamses 
see Intr. pp. xciii. f , and Addenda, lxx adds * and On which is the 
city of the sun' (i.e. Heliopolis). But the buildings at Heliopolis, 
so far as can be learnt from inscriptions, were the work of Ramses' 
predecessor, Seti I. 

12. they spread abroad. The word implies ' breaking out beyond 
limits and restraints.' It is characteristic of J. 

were grieved \ felt a sickening dread. Used of Moab, Num. xxii. 3 
(R.V. ' were distressed '). 

13. rigour, v. 14. Lev. xxv. 43, 46, 53 (all P), Ez. xxxiv. 4 f. 

14. On the making of bricks see v. 7. 

service in the field. This would include the gathering of straw 
and stubble for brick-making, but probably also various forms of 
agricultural labour. 

all their service &c. These words are in the accusative case ; and 
the clause, which hangs very loosely with the rest of the verse, seems 
to be a later expansion. 

15. Hebrew. The word is sometimes explained as 'one who 
comes from the other side {^ebher) of the Euphrates,' referring to the 
migration of Abraham (cf Jos. xxiv. 2 f ). But it may in fact have 
been first used in Canaan, and may refer to the crossing of the Jordan. 
If so, its use here is an anachronism. The origin of the term is, 
however, quite doubtful. See art. ' Hebrew ' in DB ii. 


the other Puah : 16 and he said, When ye do the office of a J57 
midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the birth- 
stool ; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him ; but if it be a 
daughter, then she shall live. 17 But the midwives feared God, 
and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved 
the men children alive. 18 And the king of Egypt called for 
the midwives, and said unto them. Why have ye done this thing, 
and have saved the men children alive ? 19 And the midwives 
said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the 
Egyptian women ; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the 
midwife come unto them. 20 And God dealt well with the 
midwives : | and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. | J 
21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that JS 
he made them houses. | 22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, J 

The office of midwife would probably be performed in many cases 
by relations or friends ; cf. 1 S. iv. 20. But the fact that there were 
only two whose office was recognised implies that the wTiter ofvv. 15 — 21 
did not think of the Hebrews as very numerous. 

to tJw Hebrew midwives. Josephus {Ant. ii. ix. 2) assumes that 
they were Egyptian women. Perhaps, with the change of a vowel 
point, we should read 'to the midwives of the Hebrew women.' Of 
the names Shiphrah^ and Pu'ah nothing is known. It is possible 
that they are Hebraized forms of Egyptian words, or even Hebrew 
words. Semitic formations in proper names were common during the 
18th— 20th dynasties. 

19. This may record a real fact. The hardiness of a nomad 
race, which afterwards enabled them to overcome the more civilised 
Canaanites, probably rendered them physically superior to the Egyptians. 

21. he made them houses, i.e. granted them many children and 
descendants ; cf 2 S. vii. 11, 1 K. ii. 24; and Gen. xvi. 2, R.V. marg. 
'Them-^' must refer to the midwives, not to the 'people' off. 20. 

22. the river. The Heb. word is used almost exclusively of the 
Nilel It occurs 22 times in Ex. (JE), and the plural is twice used of 
the Nile streams or canals (vii. 19, viii. 5 (1), both P). The earliest 
Eg. name for the Nile was Ha' pi. But the descriptive name 'iotr 
or *iotr'o, * the great river ' (Ptolemy 6 /xe'ya? Trora/Ao?), came into use 
in the period of the Middle Kingdom. This was modified as 'io'r-o, 

^ Lxx ScTT^wpd = Zipporah ; cf. ii. 21. Pu'ah appears as a man's name in 
Jud. X. 1. See art. * Puuh ' in 1)B iv. 

2 The word is masculine ; but that is found not infrequently with feminine 
nouns in the plural. 

* Is. xxxiii. 21 watercourses (li.V. ' streams '), Job xxviii. 10 perh. ' shafts ' of a 
mine (R.V. 'channels'), Dan. xii. y ff. of the Tigris. 

6 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [i. ^2— n. 3 

saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into ^the river, and J 
every daughter ye shall save alive. 

II. 1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took IE 
to wife a daughter of Levi. 2 And the woman conceived, and 
bare a son : and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, 
she hid him three months. 3 And when she could not longer 

1 See Gen. xli. 1. 

and appears in Heb. as 'if' or, Ass. Jaru'u. The Greek name NciXos, 
which is not found in Heb., was perhaps formed from the Heb. nalial^ 
'stream' or 'wady.' For other large rivers, especially the Euphrates, 
Heb. uses ndhdr. Ass. nam. 

Chapter H. 1—22. 

The birth of Moses. His flight to Midian. 

II. 1. the daughter of Levi, i.e. who was of the tribe of Levi. 
The form of the expression, if the text is correct, implies that her name 
had been previously mentioned \ The names of Moses' parents have 
been preserved only in P. In Num. xxvi. 59 we read 'the name of 
Amram's wife was Yochdbed daughter of Levi... and she bare unto 
Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister.' In Ex. vi. 20 
Yoch^bed is Amram's aunt, and their children are Aaron and Moses. 
And Aaron is three years older than Moses (vii. 7). But the wording 
of the present passage {w. 1, 2) clearly implies that Moses was the 
first child born after the marriage ; and yet, in the narrative which 
follows, he has a sister old enough to take care of him. The proba- 
bility suggests itself that she was a child of Amram by a former 
marriage. See also Ex. xv. 20 (E). It is scarcely possible that the 
name Yoch^bed could have fallen out accidentally from the present 
passage. If, in E's tradition, Yochdbed was the mother of Aaron and 
Miriam, and if another name originally stood here as that of Moses' 
mother, it was very likely that a harmonist would strike it out. 

2. that he was goodly, i.e. a fine, healthy child, lxx aVrctos 
(so Heb. xi. 23, Acts vii. 20) is even used of Eglon, Jud. iii. 17. 
Josephus {Ant. ii. ix. 6) declares that Moses was so tall and beautiful 
as an infant, that passers-by left their occupations to stand and gaze 
at him. Heb. xi. 23 follows lxx in assigning the actions in v. 2 b to 
both the parents. 

3. an ark. The word itehhdK) is the same as that used for 

^ It is not impossible that the difficulty should be avoided by reading HJID T\V\'^ 
('one of the daughters of) for m Ht?? ('the daughter of); the former is 
supported by the lxx rdv 'dvyar^piav. 


hide him, she took for him an ark of ^bulrushes, and daubed it E 
with 2 slime and with pitch ; and she put the child therein, and 
laid it in the flags by the river's brink. 4 And his sister stood 
afar off, to know what would be done to him. 5 And the 
daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river ; and her 

1 That is, papyrus. * That is, bitumen. 

Noah's ark (Gen. vi. — ix.)\ and is possibly of Egyptian or Assyrian 
origin. The ark in the tabernacle is 'aron. 

bulrushes. Heb. gome\ a water-plant (perhaps derived from a root 
denoting ' to swallow ' or * imbibe,' but it is possibly an Eg. loan- 
word) ; the Nile rush or papyrus, which was common in Lower Egypt, 
but is not found there at the present day (Tristram, Nat. Hist, of 
tlie Bible, p. 433). It was used for writing material, mats, sails, cloth, 
baskets and light boats or canoes. ' Vessels of gome ' are mentioned 
in Is. xviii. 2 ; and the word occurs as a general term for * sedge ' in 
Is. XXXV. 7, Job viii. 11 f 

slime ; bitumen. Heb. hemdr. Gen. xi. 3, xiv. 10. It was 
the ordinary native word, for which kopher (Ass. kupru) is used in 
Gen. vi. 14. See Driver on the latter passage, and art. * Bitumen ' in 
Em. B. 

flags. Heb. suph^ Lxx eXo?, a wide term which included several 
kinds of fresh- water weeds by the Nile (v. 5, Is. xix. 6) ; it also stands, 
poetically, for sea weeds (Jon. ii. 5 [6]). For the name yam supk, 
'sea of reeds,' of. on xiii. 18. Some explain the word as equivalent 
to Eg. twjiy but it may have been a Semitic word borrowed by the 
Egyptians. An undoubtedly Eg. word for the same species of plant 
is aku, Gen. xli. 2, 18. 

A similar story is told of the infancy of the ancient Assyrian king 
Sargon I : ' My lowly mother conceived me, in secret she gave me 
birth. She placed me in a basket of rushes, with iddl (bitumen or 
naphtha) my door she closed. She gave me to the river which was 
not over me [overwhelmed me not]. The river carried me ; to Akki 
the irrigator it brought me. Akki the irrigator... took me up; Akki 
the irrigator as his own son reared me.' {Ciin. Inscr. of West Asia, 
vol. iii. plate 4, no. 7.) 

4. his sister. See on -y. 1. 
stood ; took her standi 

5. the daughter of Pharaoh. An inscription on the temple at 
Abydos says that Ramses II had 60 sons and 59 daughters. Besides many 
concubines he had four lawful wives, one of whom, Maat-neferu-Ra, a 

^ LXX ^/3ts or Br\^i) here ; but in Gen. vi. — ix. ki^utos, which is also the 
rendering of 'arun. 

2 The anomalous form 3V]Dri1 should be read (with Sam.) Q-V^nril. 



maidens walked along by the river side ; and she saw the ark E 
among the flags, and sent her handmaid to fetch it. 6 And she 
opened it, and saw the child : and, behold, the babe wept. And 
she had compassion on him, and said. This is one of the Hebrews' 
children. 7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I 
go and call thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may 
nurse the child for thee? 8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to 
her. Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. 
9 And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, 
and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the 
woman took the child, and nursed it. 10 And the child grew, 
and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became 

Kheta princess, bore him a daughter Meri. Euseb. {Praep. Ev. ix, 27) 
names the princess of the Biblical story Meppt?. Joseph. {Ant. 11. ix. 5) 
calls her ®ipfjLovOis, which may be another form of the same name. 

walked ; were walking. While the princess bathed, her 
maidens kept walking on the bank, to give warning of any danger 
or interruption. It was not till the princess was in the water that 
the ark, carefully concealed from the bank, would become visible 
to her. 

to fetch it. Heb. 'and she fetched it.' But a slight change of 
vowel points gives the rendering of R.V., which is preferable. 

6. t/w babe wept ; a weeping boy. 

7. that she may suckle tlie child. 

_ 8. the maid ; the damsel ; not the handmaid of v. 5, but 

9. / will give. The pronoun is emphatic ; ' I myself will be 
responsible for your wages.' 

10. he became a son to her. From this grew the Jewish tra- 
dition that 'he was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians,' 
Acts vii. 22. Josephus also says that 'he was educated with great 
care.' Heb. xi. 24 says that Moses 'refused to be called a son of 
a Pharaoh's daughter,' i.e. when he went away to Midian. See 
Westcott, Hebrews^ on the passage. 

Moses. The derivation of the name is still quite uncertain. 
{a) The Heb. form Mdsheh is a participle from a root Mashah 
= 'draw out.' Cf 2 S. xxii. 17 = Ps. xviii. 16 (17). This is the explana- 
tion adopted by the narrator. But an active participle in the masc. 
gender could not possibly give the required meaning. And moreover 
it is highly improbable that an Egyptian princess adopting a child as 
her son, even though a Hebrew, would give him a Hebrew name. 
(6) In Lxx, N.T., Josephus and Philo the normal form is Mwvo-t^s 
(Vulg. Moyses). And many modern writers have referred it to two 
Coptic words, mo 'water' and use 'saved.' An ancient Eg. name, 


her son. And she called his name ^ Moses, and said, Because E 
I 2 drew him out of the water. 

1 1 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown J 
up, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their 
burdens : and he saw an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his 
brethren. 1 2 And he looked this way and that way, and when 
he saw that there was no man, he smote the Egyptian, and hid 
him in the sand. 13 And he went out the second day, and, 
behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together : and he said 
to him that did the wrong. Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow ? 
14 And he said, Wiio made thee a prince and a judge over us ? 
thinkest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian ? And 
Moses feared, and said, Surely the thing is known. 15 Now 
when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But 

^ Heb. Mosheh. ^ Heb. mashah, to draw out. 

however, with this meaning would be formed quite differently, 
uza-n-mou. (c) A more plausible explanation connects it with the 
Eg. mes or mesu^ ' child.' This was frequently combined with names 
of deities, e.g. Thoth-mes, Aa-mes, Ra-messu. And an official of the 
reign of Merenptah is named Mes on a stele at Aswan (Petrie, Hist, 
of Egypt^ iii. 106). ' Moses ' may therefore simply mean ' child,' or 
it may be an abbreviation of a name from which the name of a deity 
has fallen out\ Hebrew prophetic writers might even purposely have 
omitted the name of a heathen deity. The derivation from mesu^ is the 
best yet offered ; but it cannot be considered certain. 

11. 771 those days. This is J's very indefinite opening to his 
account of Moses. The word for 'grown up' is the same as in 
V. 10 ('grew'), but with a somewhat different force. 

14. The Hebrew whom Moses had protected had gratefully spread 
the report of his action among the other Hebrews. Before 'the 
Egyptian ' Lxx has ' yesterday ' ; so Acts vii. 'J8. 

15. this thing, i.e. the death of the Egyptian. Joseph. (Ant. ii. 
X., xi.) records a tradition that Moses led the Egyptian armies against 
the Ethiopians, and won Tharbis, the daughter of the Ethiopian king, 
as his wife. Pharaoh, in jealousy at his success, sought to kill him ; 
and for that reason Moses fled to Midian. 

1 As e.g. Jacob and Joseph are probably abbreviations of Jacob-el and Joseph-el. 
See art, ' Jacob ' in DB. 

2 The objection that the vowel in the Eg. word is short, while that in Mosheh 
is long, and that the Eg. sibilant is different from that in the Heb. word, is not 
of great weight. Such alterations would easily arise in the popular transformation 
of the word into a Heb. form. See Driver's note on * Esau,' Gen. xxv. 25. 

10 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [ii. 15, 16 

Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of J 
Midian : and he sat down by a well. 16 Now the priest of 
Midian had seven daughters : and they came and drew water, 

This tradition probably arose out of Num. xii. 1, to explain his 
marriage with *a Cushite woman/ 

Midian. The form MaSia/x in lxx and Acts vii. 29 (Vulg. Madian) 
is probably more correct. Cf. Mapia/A for Miriam. 

From Gen. xxv. 1 — 6 (J) we learn that the Midianites were distant 
blood relations of the Hebrews (Midian being represented as a son 
of Abraham by a concubine Keturah), and that they dwelt to the E. 
of them. Moreover two of the 'sons of Midian' (i.e. M. tribes) 
— 'Ephah\ 'Epher — were in late times reckoned as genealogically 
connected with Judah (1 Ch. ii. 46 f , iv. 17), which implies that 
they were geographically adjacent to them, and had been, to a 
certain extent, absorbed by them. In Jud. i. 16 the descendants of 
Moses' father-in-law (not 'brother-in-law' KV.) are called Kenites, 
and are closely associated with the tribe of Judah. And in Num. xxii. 
4, xxiv. 20 f., Moab, Amalek and Midian are adjacent. Biblical 
references, therefore, place them on the S.E. of Judah. And this 
is borne out by later statements. Ptolemy (vi. vii. 2) mentions 
MoSiava on the Arabian coast, E. of the Gulf of 'Akaba ; and 
travellers in Arabia speak of Madyan, about 75 miles S. of Elath (see 
Burton, The gold mines of Midian, and The land of Midian revisited). 

The Midianites appear, as is often the case with Bedawin tribes, 
in various capacities ; as merchantmen (Gen. xxxvii. 28 a), as 
shepherds (here, and cf Is. Ix. 6), and as troublesome and warlike 
raiders (Jud. vi., vii.). It may have been the latter account which gave 
rise to the conception of them as Israel's bitterest enemies (Num. xxv. 
6 — 9, xxxi. 1 — 12). The holy war which P relates in Num. xxxi. finds 
later counterparts in Jewish and Christian writers who speak of ' the 
troops of Midian ' as symbolical of the spiritual enemy. 

and he sat down. This is expressed in Heb. by the same word as 
the preceding 'and dwelt I' It suggests that J's narrative is composed 
of more than one previously existing story. 

16. seven daughters. The duty of tending flocks is to-day, among 
the Bedawin of the Sinaitic peninsula, largely performed by young 
unmarried women, even sheikhs' daughters taking part in it. 

the troughs. Gen. xxx. 38, 41 f (R.V. ' gutters '). Receptacles, 
probably of stone, standing near the well. Wells were often covered 
with heavy stone slabs, which needed two or three men to move them ; 
so that flocks were usually watered at fixed times in the day (E. 
Robinson, BR i. 490. Cf Gen. xxxix. 3, 8). 

^ Identified by Fr. Delitzsch with the Hayapa of the cuneiform inscriptions, 
closely connected with Tema (cf. KAT^ 58). 

2 LXX tries to minimise the awkwardness by inserting after Madidfi the words 
i\6wv dk els yrjv Madid/ut. ', and Pesh, similarly. 


and filled the troughs to Avater their father's flock. 17 And the J 
shepherds came and drove them away : but Moses stood up and 
helped them, and watered their flock. 18 And when they came 
to Reuel their father, he said. How is it that ye are come so soon 
to-day ? 19 And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the 
hand of the shepherds, and moreover he drew water for us, and 
watered the flock. 20 And he said unto his daughters. And 
where is he ? why is it that ye have left the man ? call him, that 
he may eat bread. 21 And Moses was content to dwell with the 

17. The shepherds wanted to water their own flocks first. 

18. Beml. The mention of Reuel as the father-in-law of Moses 
(i;. 21) creates difficulties. In E he is uniformly called Jetliro (iii. 1, 
iv. 18 \y.^ Jether], xviii. 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12). But Num. x. 29 (J) 
speaks of * Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite Moses' father-in- 
law,' where it is uncertain whether Moses' father-in-law is Hobab or 
Reuel. The revisers understand it to be Reuel, in agreement with the 
present passage. But this forces them in Jud. i. 16, iv. 11, to render 
the same word {hothen) 'brother-in-law' as applied to Hobab. It is 
true that in Aramaic and Arabic the cognate word can be used loosely 
to describe a wife's male relations ; but there is no evidence that it is 
ever so employed in Hebrew; and it would be strange to find the 
father and the brother of the same man's wife described by the same 
term. Moreover the present passage seems to imply that the priest 
of Midian had no sons. It is probable that the name was originally 
absent from this passage (it is not mentioned in t. 16 S where it might 
have been expected), and that 'Reuel' was a later insertion by one 
who misunderstood Num. x. 29. 

Jethro (E) and Hobab (J) will then be the names of Moses' father- 
in-law, and Reuel is Hobab's fatherl The suggestion that the words 
'Hobab the son of have accidentally fallen out before 'Reuel' is 
extremely improbable. 

19. An Egyptian. His clothes, and perhaps his accent, would be 

he actually drew watei- for us. The Heb. idiom expresses the 
surprise which they had felt at the kindness of his action. Moses 
and Jacob (Gen. xxix. 10) drew water for women, but a slave (Gen. 
xxiv. 19 f.) allowed a woman to draw for him. 

21. was content to dwell, lxx 'dweltl' 

1 LXX inserts 'lodop twice in v. 16, and some mss substitute it for "^ayovrfK in 
this verse, 

2 Mohammedan tradition identifies Sho'aib (probably a corruption of Hobab), 
a prophet sent to the Midianites, with Moses' father-in-law (Lane's Kuran, 
p. 47 n.). 

'^ KaTipKicrdrj. By a misunderstanding of tliis, SjTiim. has uipKLae 8^ MwDcr^*-, * and 
he male Moses swear [to dwell with the man],' which appears in the Vulg. as ' and 
Moses sware (juravit) to dwell with him.' 

12 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [ii. iu aa 

man : and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. 22 And she J 
bare a son, and he called his name Gershom : for he said, I have 
been ^a sojourner in a strange land. 

1 Heb. Ger. 

Zipporah. The name means 'a bird,' probably a little bird, 
a sparrow. It is the fem. of Zippor, the name of Balak's father 
(Num. xxii. 2). It may point to a primitive totemistic beliefs The 
ancient names would remain in families, long after the beliefs had 
died out. It is noticeable that the Midianite chiefs in Jud. vii. 25 
had animal names, Oreb (raven) and Zeeb (wolf). 

22. Gershom. The popular explanation given in the narrative is 
concerned only with the first syllable ger, ' a sojourner.' lxx spells it 
Vrjpa-dfx, as though it were ger sham, ^a sojourner there.' A similar 
name Girshu or Garshu is found in Sinaitic inscriptions. Jud. xviii. 30 
states that a 'son,' or descendant, of Gershom became the first of a 
line of priests at Dan (see Moore, p. 402)1 

The 18th dynasty had been strong and vigorous, a period of miUtary 
activity and development. The introduction of horses and chariots into Egypt 
produced new methods of warfare. The magnificence of the royal power was 
enormously increased by foreign conquests, by the amassing of treasure and 
the increase of slave labour. The country was again, as in the early dynasties, 
filled with ofiicials and favourites of the king, who became a new nobility 
in close alliance with a powerful priesthood. But the strength and security 
of the country contained within it the seeds of decay, and the rulers of the 
19th dynasty proved themselves weak, apathetic and incapable. The name 
of the Pharaoh under whom Joseph rose to power cannot be determined. 
But if Ramses II, as is probable, was the Pharaoh of the oppression, Joseph's 
period of activity may, by a backward reckoning, be placed under one of the 
later Hyksos (Hyk-.shasUy ' prince of the Shasu ' or spoilers, i.e. desert hordes). 
The expression in Ex. i. 8, ' a new king which had not known Joseph,' appears 
to imply the rise of a new dynasty. The first king of the 19th dynasty, 
Ramses I, reigned only two years. His successor Seti I was one of the best 
kings of the dynasty. He pacified Nubia, made an expedition into Syria, 
formed a treaty with the Hittites, and repelled the piratical hordes which 
began to appear from the Mediterranean coast and islands. His reign, 
however, on the whole was peaceful, and was marked by the construction of 

1 That is a belief that an individual, or a tribe, or the males or the females of a 
tribe, are actually descended from some material object, mostly an animal or a 
vegetable, and therefore stand in a peculiar and vital connexion with every animal 
or vegetable of the same class. The totem is the whole class ; and the man who 
belongs to a totem may not destroy or injure a single animal or vegetable in the 
class. A fetich, on the other hand, is a single object, often inanimate. See Frazer, 
Toteminm^. W. Rob. Smith, Rel. Sem.^ 124 ff. 

^ The mention in xviii. 3 of a second son Eliezer has led to the addition 
of a gloss here in lxx : ' and the name of the second he called Eliezer ; for the 
God of my fathers (was) my help, and delivered me from the hand of Pharaoh. ' 


colossal monuments at Kamak and Abydos. His date is doubtful ; Petrie 
conjectures c. 1326 — 1300. He was succeeded by a son Ramses (Ramessu) II, 
who is famous chiefly because his inordinate vanity led him to record his 
own doings so fully. He became king at about the age of 18, and reigned 
76 years (c. 1300 — 1234). After a twenty years' struggle with the Hittites 
(including the gi-eat battle of Kadesh), in which neither side was strong enough 
to gain the mastery, he formed an alliance with them. His foreign rule was 
far from secure, and extended only to the Lebanon. He built a series of forts 
across the desert for the purpose of controlling Phoenicia and Palestine, and 
strengthened several towns in the Delta. The remainder of his reign was 
chiefly devoted to building operations ; he erected many temples, and restored 
many more. In the case of the latter he did not hesitate to erase from the 
inscriptions the names of the original founders, and to replace them by his 
own. It is in this connexion that the value of the statement in Ex. i. 1 1 lies. 
The site of Raamses has not been identified^ ; but since the shortness of the 
reign of Ramses I allowed little time for extensive building, and since the 
attaching of his own name to towns or buildings which he had founded, 
restored or enlarged, is in keeping with the character of Ramses II, and bonie 
out by numerous inscriptions, the probability is great that the Hebrew tradition 
preserved the record of an actual fact. And it is further supported by 
M. Naville's discoveries at Pi-Tum (Pithom), where the name of Ramses 
figures largely (see p. xciii.). The long period of peace had the worst efi'ects 
upon the country. Egypt remained untroubled for a while, living on the 
credit ^of past wars ; but she gradually weakened, while her enemies grew 
stronger. Ramses II had more than 100 children, of whom the 13th or 14th 
son Merenptah succeeded him. The decay of the royal power led, in his 
fifth year, to a serious invasion by the Libyans, allied with hordes from the 
Mediterranean coasts such as had troubled Egypt in the reign of Seti L 
The inscriptions, however, boast of a splendid victory over them. Beyond 
this very little is known about his reign, which lasted some 20 years {c. 1234 — 
1214). There is no evidence of the fact that Merenptah was the Pharaoh of 
the Exodus, except the two passages, Ex. ii. 23, iv. 19, wiiich appear to imply 
that the immediate successor of the Pharaoh of the oppression was on the 
throne when Moses returned to Egypt ; and the expression in the fonner 
passage ' in [the course of] those many days ' seems to preserve a reference to 
the long reign of Ramses II. Petrie calculates the chronology as follows : 
' As the actual records of the book of Judges, when discriminated into regions 
{S.B.A. xviii. 246), give only about 120 years for that period, we reach back 
from Saul, 1053—1040 B.C., 120 years to 1173 for the entry into Palestine; 
this keeps clear of the last campaign of Ramessu III in 1187 B.C., and would 
bring the Exodus to 1213 B.C., which would thus fall at the end of the reign 
of Merenptah.' But the chronology of the book of Judges is still an unsolved 
problem (see Moore, pp. xxxvii.— xliii., and Konig, art. 'Judges' in DB\ and 
cannot be used as a basis for calculations. Two further details in Merenptah's 
reign are worthy of notice. A report of an ofticial on the Syrian frontier in 
the eighth year of the reign states that a tribe of Bedawin from (?) Edom had 

^ See, however, Addenda. 



receiyed permission to pass the fortress of Thku towards the 'pools of 
King Merenptah which are in Thku, that they may obtain food for themselves 
and for their cattle in the field of the Pharaoh, who is the gracious sun in 
every land.' This shews that Semitic tribes were being received into Egypt 
only a few years before the Exodus. Whether the Egyptians were ' welcoming ' 
them, as Petrie puts it {Hist, of Egyp% iii. 115), is perhaps doubtful. The 
desert hordes may have given so much trouble that it was politic to pacify 
them by concessions. And the presence of these Semitic Bedawin infesting 
the frontier may have led to the desire to oppress the Israelites, as represented 
in the Biblical narrative, in order to lessen the danger of a united rebellion. 
To the assignment of the Exodus to this reign, some think there is a fatal 
objection in the words of the Song of Triumph over the Libyans, in which the 
people of Israel are mentioned, in conjunction with districts of Palestine, as 
conquered by Merenptah ; but see p. cix., where the words are quoted. 

Certain scholars have lately hazarded the suggestion that the Israelites as 
a body were never in Egypt, but that Mizraiin (the Hebrew name for Egypt) 
should, throughout the Exodus narratives, be read as Muzr% a district in 
Arabia 1, South of Judah, which is mentioned frequently in Ass. inscriptions. 
But though the theory may very possibly be correct as regards some 
narratives (e.g. Gen. xvi. 1, 3, xxi. 9, 21), as applied to the histories of Joseph 
and Moses it creates more difiiculties than it solves. Amongst others it 
requires us to suppose that all the Egyptian colouring of the narrative, the 
frequent mention of the Pharaoh, and the explicit references to Raamses, 
Succoth, Pithom and other places, are the work of imaginative vsriters who 
wished to render the sojourn in Egypt plausible. The difficulty of the 
supposition is increased when it is remembered that the Egyptian colouring 
is found independently in both the early nan-atives J and E. It involves 
theories as to literary history and methods in Israel which cannot commend 
themselves until they are supported by much stronger evidence than is at 
present adduced for them. It has been plausibly suggested by Mr Johns that 
the use of the name Muzri in the inscriptions is due to the fact that Muzri 
(Egypt) had previously exercised influence, if not suzerainty, over various 
localities in N. Arabia, and that they had since retained the name. 

Chapter IL 23— HI. 

The call of Moses. 

In feeding his father-in-law's sheep by Mt Horeb, Moses was attracted by 
the sight of a bush which appeared to blaze with a fiery light but was not 
consumed. On approaching it he received his call to deliver Israel, and was 
taught to know his God under a new name. He was bidden to teach the 
name to his kinsmen in Egypt, and to demand from Pharaoh their release. 
Few passages in the Old Testament stand on a higher plane of thought than this. 
God's revelation of His own character by means of a name hitherto unknown 

1 The inscriptions contain references to two districts of this name, one in 
N. Arabia and the other in Cappadocia. See KAT^^ Index, s.v. 'Musri'; Enc. B. 
art. ' Mizraim,' * Moses,' §§ 4, 6. 

II. 23— m. i] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 15 

marks an epoch in the history not only of Israel but of mankind. Whatever view 
may be taken of the historical value to be attached to the incident of the 
burning bush, the religious value of the narrative is miimpaired. The divine 
name ' I am that 1 am,' and what it meant for Israel, is discussed in the note 
on V. 14, and on p. 21. The passage also teaches that God hears the cry of 
His people, and Himself takes the initiative in their rescue ; by grace are they 
saved. And when the man chosen as His instrument for their deliverance 
is diflBdent of his powers, he receives the answer which everyone who tries to 
do work for others in God's name may take for himself — ' certainly I will be 
with thee.' 

23 And it came to pass in the course of those many days, J 
that the king of Egypt died : | and the children of Israel sighed P 
by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came 
up unto God by reason of the bondage. 24 And God heard 
their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, 
with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God saw the children of 
Israel, and God took knowledge of them. 

III. 1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father E 
in law, the priest of Midian : and he led the flock to the back of 

II. 23. t/wse many days. Ramses II reigned 67 years. The 
statement in vii. 7 (P) scarcely agrees with this. Moses must have 
been more than 12 or 13 years of age when he slew the Egyptian, fled, 
and married Zipporah. 

It is probable that 23a was originally followed by iv. 19, 20 a, 
24 — 26 ; see analysis, p. xiii. 

24. his covenant. See note at the end of ch. xxiv. 

with Abraham &c. Abraham, Gen. xii. 2 f., xiii. 14 — 17, xv. 4 — 21, 
xvii. 1 — 14, xxii. 16 — 18. Isaac, xvii. 19 f, xxvi. 2 — 5. Jacob, xxyiii. 
13—15, XXXV. 11 f, xlvi. 3f. 

25. and God knew. Cf. iii. 7, Gen. xviii. 21, Jos. xxii. 22, 
Jer. xxix. 23, Hos. v. 3, Nali. i. 7, Ps. i. 6, xxxvii. 18, Ixxiii. 11, 
and especially Ps. cxxxix. 

III. 1. behind the wilderness, i.e. to the West of it ; cf 
Jud. xviii. 12. The East was always 'in front' (Jud. xvi. 3), the 
North on Hhe left' (Ez. xvi. 46), the South on 'the right' (1 S. 
xxiii. 19). The wilderness was the tract of country W. and S.W. of 
Midian, reaching to the Eastern shore of the Gulf of Akaba ; 
see p. cv. 

At the approach of summer the Bedawin move to higher ground, 
where the pastures on the mountain slopes remain green and fresli 
longer (Burckhardt, Syria, p. 789). 

the mountain of God. The expression denotes a mountain which 
was conceived to be God's habitual dwelling place. The 'holy ground' 
(v. 5) ' does not become holy because God has appeared to Moses. On 

16 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [iii. 1-4 

the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God, unto Horeb. | E 
2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of J 
fire out of the midst of a bush : and he looked, and, behold, the 
bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3 And 
Moses said, I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why 
the bush is not burnt. 4 And when the Lord saw that he turned 
aside to see, | God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, E 

the contrary, the theophany takes place there because it is holy 
ground. In xix. 4, when Yahweh at Sinai says that He has brought 
the Israelites unto Himself, the meaning is that He has brought them 
to the Mount of God ; and long after the establishment of the Hebrews 
in Canaan, poets and prophets describe Yahweh, when He comes to 
help His people, as marching from Sinai in thunder-cloud and storm. 
This point of view, which in the Old Testament appears only as an 
occasional survival of primitive thought, corresponds to the ordinary 
ideas of Semitic heathenism' (W. R. Smith, RS] llll). 

Horeb is a name employed by E in xvii. 6, xxxiii. 6, and nine times 
by D. Elsewhere it occurs in 1 K. viii. 9, xix. 8, 2 Ch. v. 10, Ps. cvi. 19, 
Mai. iv. 4 (iii. 22). The word denotes waste desert land, and may 
have been applied to a considerable tract of wild country. ' Sinai,' on 
the other hand, which is used by J and P, appears to be a name 
for quite a different locality. See pp. cii. — cvi. 

2. the angel of Yahweh. This is Yahweh Himself, but in the 
form of a particular manifestation of presence and power. Acts vii. 35. 
Compare xxxii. 34 with xxxiii. 14 ; and see note on xxiii. 20. 

a bush\ A thorn bush, perhaps blackberry. See v. 6. 

the bush was hunimg...was not being consumed. It was a 
frequent conception among the ancients that the divine presence 
shewed itself by an appearance of fire. Cf. Homer, Od. xix. 39 f 

In patristic writers the thought is met with more than once that 
the revelation of God in the bush was a type of His revelation under 
conditions of humanity in the Incarnation (Greg. Nyss. de Vita 
Moysis ; Theodoret, Quaest. in Ex.). Keble, Christian Year^ 5th S. 
in Lent, finds in the burning bush a symbol of the Jewish race, burnt 
by the divine wrath ; yet ' God will not quench nor stay them quite.' 
* A hopeless faith, a homeless race. Yet seeking the most holy place, 
And owning the true bliss.' 

4a. And Yahweh saw... 46. And God called. The two 
halves of the verse are not syntactically connected, as in R.V. The 
variation in the divine title suggests that they are derived from 
different sources. 

^ A very unnecessary suggestion has been made by some writers that in these 
verses and Dt. xxxiii. 16 "'3''D (Sinai) should be read for HJD (bush), v. 46, where 
the word occurs, appears to be the work of E, who never elsewhere uses the name 


and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. | 5 And he E J 
said, Draw not nigh hither : put off thy shoes from off thy feet, 
for the place whereon thou standest is holy gi'ound. | 6 Moreover E 
he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the 
God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face ; 
for he was afraid to look upon God. | 7 And the Lord said, I J 
have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, 
and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters ; for I 
know their sorrows ; 8 and I am come dowii to deliver them out 
of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that 
land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk 
and honey ; unto the place of the Canaanite, | and the Hittite, and R^ 

4 h. the hush. E has not yet mentioned it ; and the Heb. idiom 
allows of the rendering a btish. 

5. put off thy sandals. Cf. Jos. v. 15. The custom of re- 
moving the sandals on approaching a sacred spot probably arose from 
the desire to protect the place from dirt, and so from pollution. It 
has long been a wide-spread practice in the East, both in Semitic 
and other nations (cf. Justin M. Apol. i. 62). Tlie Samaritans do it 
to-day at their sacred spot on Mt Gerizim (Robinson, BR iii. 320), 
and it is compulsory in every Mohammedan mosque. 

6. These words are used by our Lord (Mk. xii. 26 = Lk. xx. 37) 
to prove to the Sadducees, who clung to the letter of the Law, the 
truth of the resurrection of the dead. The words ' I am the God, &c. ' 
are true for all time. They imply a personal relation between God 
and man which carries with it the germ of eternal life. He is the God 
of the living, not of the dead ; therefore Abraham, Isaac and Jacob 
are living. S. Luke (not S. Mark) represents our Lord as making 
Moses the author of the passage ; see pp. ix. — xi. In both gospels the 
words are said to occur cVl tov (jrj^) jiarov, 'in the passage (or 
section) which contains the incident of " the bush." ' 

7. their taskmasters-, their oppressors; v. 6, 10, 13. Not the 
same expression as in i. 11. 

8. / am come dawn. One of the favourite antln-opomorphisms of 
J ; cf xix. 11, 18, 20, Gen. xi. 5, 7. 

hmey. Probably includes not only the honey of bees, but also 
syrups made from various fruits, like the modern dibs (the same word 
as the Heb. dehhash) — chiefly grape juice, a very sweet dark brown 
S)rrup ' used in Palestine by all classes wherever vineyards are found, 
as a condiment to their food' {DB ii. 32^; Enc. B. ii. 2015; 
Thomson, L. and B. i. 279). 

the CaiuMJiite. A general term (in J) for the native inhabitants 
of Canaan, for which E uses 'Amorite.' The remaining names are 
probably a Dt. expansion; cf. v. 17. Lxx in both passages adds a 

M. 2 

18 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [iii. 8-14 

the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the R^ 
Jebusite. | 9 And now, behold, the cry of the children oi E 
Israel is come unto me : moreover I have seen the oppression 
wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now therefore, 
and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth 
my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. 11 And Moses 
said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and 
that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt ? 
12 And he said. Certainly I will be with thee ; and this shall be 
the token unto thee, that I have sent thee : when thou hast 
brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon 
this mountain. 13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I 
come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them. The 
God of your fathers hath sent me unto you ; and they shall say 
to me. What is his name ? what shall I say unto them ? 14 And 
God said unto Moses, ^i am that i am : and he said. Thus shalt 


seventh name ' Girgashites.' Cf. xiii. 5, xxiii. 23, 28, xxxiii. 2, 
xxxiv. 11. See Driver on Dt. vii. 1. 

11. Moses' humble diffidence finds a noble parallel in Jeremiah's 
shrinking from his difficult life-work (i. 6) ; and cf. Jud. vi. 15, 
1 K. iii. 7. In each case God's servant was taught, like S. Paul, 
that the divine strength could be made perfect in weakness. See 
on iv. 13. 

12. / will he with thee. The same encouragement was given to 
Moses' successor (Jos. i. 5). 

the token unto thee. No other sign is given to Moses for his 
encouragement.' His belief in his own divine mission would be 
justified and strengthened by his return, with the Israelites, to 
this very same mountain of God. 

14. Whatever may have been the primitive origin of the name 
Yah well, which was possibly connected with nature- worship, no trace 
appears in the Bible of any conception other than that which is here 
suggested by the philological connexion with the verb ^ehyeh, ' 1 will 
be.' The writer seems to have striven to express the thought that the 
Divine name revealed to Moses was a summing up of the entire Divine 
character and attributes. These could not be fully understood by any 
one generation of Israelites, and so God would continually manifest all 
that He would be to His people. The name contains infinite possi- 
bilities of adaptation. He shewed Himself a deliverer in Eg5rpt, 
a protector in the desert ; all the acts of providential mercy by 
which He made it possible for them to enter Canaan and take firm 
root there, all His guidance of their Dational development, all His 
discipline and punishments, were so many fresh revelations of the 


thou say unto the childi-en of Israel, ^i am hath sent me unto E 
you. I 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou R-^^ 
say unto the children of Israel, ^The Lord, the God of your 
fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of 
Jacob, hath sent me unto you : this is my name for ever, and 
this is my memorial unto aU generations. | 16 Go, and gather J 
the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord, 
the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and 
of Jacob, hath appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited 
you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: 17 and I have 
said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the 
land of the Canaanite, | and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and R^ 
the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, | unto a land J 
flowing with milk and honey. 18 And they shall hearken to 

1 Or, I WILL BE Heb. Ehyeh. - Heb. Jehovah, from the same root as Ehyeh. 

meaning of His name — occasions on which He 'caused His name 
to be remembered ' (xx. 24). And further, the circumstances of their 
national life gradually widened and deepened their religious ideas. 
The ethical teachings of the prophets emphasized His moral purity ; 
their Messianic expectations, the fulfilment of which continually 
receded into the future, became more spiritualised and the functions 
of the Messiah became more complex, until the supreme manifestation 
was vouchsafed in Him in whom dwelt all the Fulness of God, which 
not only surpassed the conceptions of Israel, but even now has to 
be gradually apprehended, as the Divine Man continues His self- 
manifestation through the Holy Spirit in His Body the Church. 
(See Additional Note.) 

15. my memorial, i.e. that by which I am remembered ; nearly 
equivalent to ' My name ' ; cf Hos. xii. 6. The two words occur in 
combination in Is. xxvi. 8, Ps. cxxxv. 13. 

16. The command is fulfilled in iv. 29—31. 

elders, i.e. Sheiklis. When the Israelites reached Palestine, the 
governing body of each township consisted of ' elders ' ; cf Jos. xx. 4, 
Jud. viii. 14, Kuth iv. 2. But in JE they are represented as already 
in existence in Egypt and in the desert (iv. 29, xix. 7, xxiv. 1, 14, 
Num. xi. 16). The wisdom and experience of old age was originally 
that which gave men authority in the tribe. Compare the rcpovres 
of Homer, the TrpcV/Jci? at Sparta, the Patres and Senatus at Rome. 
(See Driver on Dt. xix. 12.) 

paid attention to you and to that which is done to you. 
The Heb. verb denotes a careful and watchful interest, and is 
applicable both to persons and things. Cf 1 Sam. xv. 2. 

17. the Canaanite... ^c. See on v. 8. 


20 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [iii. 18-.2 

thy voice : and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, J 
unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The Lord, 
the God of the Hebrews, hath met with us : and now let us go, 
we pray thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we 
may sacrifice to the Lord our God | 19 And I know that the i?*^^ 
king of Egypt will not give you leave to go, no, not by a mighty 
hand. 20 And I will put forth my hand, and smite Egypt with 
all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof : and after 
that he will let you go. | 21 And I will give this people favour B 
in the sight of the Egyptians : and it shall come to pass, 
that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty : 22 but every 

18. the God of the Hebrews, v. 3, vii. 16, ix. 1, 13, x. 3 
(all J) ; a phrase expressive not of monotheism but of monolatry. 
Yahweh was the God of the Hebrews as distinct from the gods of the 

hath met with us. God had not met with the elders as He had 
with Moses ; but Moses represented the whole people. Cf Heb. iii. 
2 — 5, where he is not only a servant in God's house (i.e. God's people), 
but also represents the house itself 

that we may sacrifice. As their God had met them in some out- 
ward manifestation, they felt bound to shew their recognition of the 
fact by making Him an offering. 

The ' three days' journey ' (a favourite expression in J) to some 
Semitic shrine^ in the desert was evidently only a prelude to farther 
demands. They could not for a moment expect that Pharaoh would 
allow it. Contrast vi. 11 (P), where the demand for the complete 
release is made at once. 

19. no J not by a mighty hand. This appears to mean ' not even 
in consequence of the mighty powers which Yahweh would put forth.' 
But Pharaoh, though he resisted Yahweh for a time, yielded at length 
to the last plague, as indeed is foretold in 20 b. The deliverance from 
Egypt by a 'mighty hand' (cf vi. 1, xiii. 9, xxxii. 11) is a favourite 
theme in Dt. (iii. 24, iv. 34, vi. 21, vii. 8, 19, ix. 26, xi. 2, xxvi. 8, 
xxxiv. 12), and is echoed elsewhere (Ps. cxxxvi. 12, Jer. xxxii. 21, 
Dan. ix. 15); but the expression ^not by a mighty hand' is unique, 
and probably corrupt. Perhaps read except by a mighty hand, 
with Lxx^ 

22. every woman shall ask. See on xii. 36. 

her that sojourneth. According to E, the Israelites lived among 

^ There were probably several such, where wandering tribes would assemble for 
religious observances. Sinai, whether placed in the North or the South of the 
peninsula, would be a journey of much more than three days. 

2 ^(jy ^^ ^ ^ c]N for N*?"!. Sam. vhr^ ' will he not [do it] by a mighty hand ? ' 
is awkward. 


woman shall ask of her neighbour, and of her that sojourn- E 
eth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and 
raiment : and ye shall put them upon your sons, and 
upon your daughters ; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians. 

the Egyptians, not separate in Goshen. The sojourners would be 
either Egyptian friends staying as visitors, or possibly female slaves or 
hired servants. Cf Job xix. 15. 

jewels ; articles : a general term including jewels, vessels and 

iii. 14. On the Name Yahweh. 

I am that I am. This and the marginal renderings are all grammatically 
possible : also ' / am. wont to be that which [or He who] I am wont to be.' 
Whatever the exact rendering should be, the expression is intended by the 
writer to stand for an explanation of the name of Israel's God Yahweh. In 
the parallel passage {\\. 2 f. P) the name is given without explanation. 

{a) It is probable that the name Yahweh was not new to Moses or the 
Israelites. An entirely new name would have meant to them an entirely new 
god. It is extremely unlikely that the name is of Babylonian origin. If the 
supposed traces of it in Babylonian literature are genuine, they only point to 
the introduction of foreign (i.e. Western Semitic) cults. Some maintain that 
the name is found as an element in early N. SjTian proper names, e.g. lau-bi'di 
(also called Ilu-bi'di ; cf the two names Jeho-iakim and El-iakim applied to 
the same person), Azr-iau. See KAT^ 23 ff., KAT^ 465—468. Pinches in 
PSBA XV. 1, pp. 1 — 13. But this only implies that the name became known 
to Semitic tribes other than the Israelites. On the suggestions that Moses 
learnt it from Jethro the Kenite priest, or that it was a name venerated by 
certain Israelite tribes who did not undergo serfdom in Egypt, whether the 
Rachel tribes or Moses' own tribe of Levi, it is not necessary to dwell here ; 
see Intr. § 7. But it is a plausible supposition that Moses bound the various 
Israelite tribes into a closer unity by leading them to accept a deity who hati 
previously been known in the region of Sinai, and perhaps recognised by only 
a small nmnber of tribes or clans. 

(6) The ultimate etymology of the name is quite uncertain. Tlie primary 
meaning of haicah was perhajjs 'to fall' (cf. Job xxxvii. 6 JiHce\ ?'fall thou'), 
which is found also in Arabic. Hence some explain 'Yahweh' as 'He who 
causes rain or lightning to fall ' ; or 'He who causes to fall (overthrows) by 
lightning,' i.e. the Destroyer. In this case Yahweh in primitive Semitic times 
would be somewhat equivalent to the Ass. Adad or Ramman. The same 
mei\niug Is reached with the simple Kal voice of the verb, ' He who falls, 
or crashes down,' or from an Arab. Juiwa^ ' He who blows.' It is quite possible 
that the name Yahweh may in the far past have had a physical meaning, and 
have been a product of nature-worship. 

(c) But, as Prof. Driver {Genesis, p. 409) says, ' In regard to both Yahweh, 
and also 'Elohlm, 'El, it must be remembered that what is of real importance 
is not the ultimate etymology of the words, but what they came actually to 
denote.' But though Hebrew writings tell us much as to the character and 
attributes of the Being whom they are used in the Old Testament to denote, 


yet the exact meaning which the wi'iter of Ex. iii. 14 attached to the name 
Yahweh is far from clear. 

Yahweh may be considered as {a) the Hiphil (causative) imperf., or (5) the 
ordinary Kal imperf. of hawah\ 'to be.' From the primary meaning 'to fall' 
might come that oifall out^ happen, be. 

(a) would express 'He who causes to be' — either the Creator, or the 
Life-giver (Kuenen, Schrader), or ' He who brings to pass ' (cf. 1 K. xiii. 32), 
the Performer of His promises (Ewald, Marti). But an objection to this is 
that the Hiphil of nin is found only in late Syriac. 

(b) A word of the form Yahweh would resemble such names as Isaac 
(Yizhak), Jacob (Ya'^kobh), Jephthah (Yiphtah). The Hebrew imperfect 
denotes either habitual action or future action (Driver, Hebrew Tenses, 
§§ 30 — 36). The name 'He who is' represents to modern thought the 
conception of an absolute existence — the unchangeable, self-consistent, abso- 
lutely existing One. lxx 6 av. Cf. Apoc. i. 4, 8, xi. 17, xvi. 5. Graec. Ven. 
ovTcoT^g. And this has been adopted by many writers both in ancient and 
modern times. 

But the early Hebrew mind was essentially practical, not metaphysical. 
A. B. Davidson (DB ii. 199'^) says that the verb 'does not mean "to be" 
essentially or ontologically, but phenomenally.' He explains it as follows : 
' it seems evident that in the view of the writer 'ehyeh and yahweh are the 
same : that God is 'ehyeh, " I will be," when speaking of Himself, and yahweh, 
" he will be," when spoken of by others. What He will be is left unexpressed — 
He will be with them, helper, strengthener, deliverer ' ; the word is explained 
by the ' I will be with thee ' of v. 12. 

Driver {Stud. BiU. i. 1 ff.) interprets it to mean ' He will approve Himself — 
give evidence of being — assert His being.' So, very similarly, Delitzsch. 

Of these interpretations Davidson's is the most attractive. The passage 
receives a simple and beautiful explanation if the expression ' I will be what 
I mil be ' is taken as an instance of the idem per idem, idiom, which a speaker 
employs when he does not wish to be explicit (cf. Dt. i. 46, xxix. 16, 1 Sam. 
xxiii. 13, 2 Sam. xv. 20, 2 K. viii. 1 cited by Driver on the first passage). Moses 
asked for God's name, i.e. for a description of His nature and character (cf. 
Gen. xxxii. 29, Jud. xiii. 17 f.); and he was taught that it was impossible to learn 
this all at once. God would be what He would from time to time prove 
to be ; each age would discover fresh attributes of His Being^. 

^ Hawah is the normal form in Aramaic and Syriac. But in the Heb. Bible it 
has been preserved only in six passages : Gen. xxvii. 29 (some foreign influence 
seems to have been at work, the word Hljl being followed by the unique form T'llil 

which recurs in v. 37 only), Is. xvi. 4 (it may be a Moabite form), Job xxxvii. 6 
(perhaps due to Arabic influence), Neb. vi. 6, Eccl. ii. 22, xi. 3 (Aramaisms. 
But in the latter passage prob. read 5<in with lxx). It is not impossible, as 
Kennett suggests, that the narrator of the present passage, who belonged to 
N. Israel where Aramaean influence was strong, regarded the word Yahweh as 
Aramaic ; cf. Dt. xxvi. 5, where an ancestor of an Israelite is described as an 

^ Several other interpretations have been offered : ' I am who I am ' — i.e. it 
matters not to you to know (Le Clerc, Lagarde). '[My Name is] I am, because 
I am' (Wellhausen). 'I am who I am' — i.e. he who is unnameable and inex- 
plicable (Dillmann). 


The pronunciation Yahweh, on which these interpretations are based, is 
borne out by the abbreviated form -yCihu^ with which many proper names 
are composed, and the still shorter form Yah (Ex. xv. 2, xvii. 16)^ In 
Samaritan poetry mn^ rhymes with words ending in -eh ; and Theodoret 
{Quaest. in Exod.) states that the Samaritans pronounced it 'la^L Clem. 
Al. {Strom, v. vi. 34) attests the form 'laovai or 'laoue; and the presence 
of the five vowels led to their use in various combinations in Jewish-Egyptian 
magic fonnulae. In Latin mss Jeve occurs, attesting an e in the second syllable. 

The pronunciation Jghovah is an impossible hybrid, fii*st used, so far as is 
known, by Petrus Galatinus in 1518 a.d. The Jews had long treated the Name 
as too sacred to be uttered, in consequence of Ex. xx. 7 ; and to the conso- 
nants JII VH were attached the vowels of 'Adonai (' Lord ') ; or where JHVH 
was immediately followed by 'Adonai, the vowels of 'Eloliim. The former 
occurs 6518 times in the Bible, the latter 305. 

Instead of the Divine Name the word Hashshem ('the Name') was often 
used (cf. Lv. xxiv. 11). 

The following English works contain all that is important to know on the 
subject: Art. 'Names' (Kautzsch) in Enc. B., 'God' (Davidson) in DB^ 
Diiver {Studia Biblica, Oxf. 1885 ; and Genesis., Excursus I), Spun*ell {Notes 
on the Heb. text of Genesis^ Excursus), BDB, s.v. ^1^^ 217 — 219. 

Chapter IV. 

Signs given to Moses hy which to persuade the Israelites; 
Aaron to help him; their return. 

IV. 1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they J 
will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice : for they 
will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee. 2 And 
the Lord said unto him. What is that in thine hand? And 
he said, A rod. 3 And he said, Cast it on the gi'ound. And he 
cast it on the ground, and it became a ^serpent; and Moses fled 
from before it. 4 And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth 

^ Heb. nahash. 

IV. 1. Moses takes up Yah well's words in iii. 18 and ventures 
to contradict them. The fear of men overrides the fear of God. 

2. A rod; a staff. The shepherd's staff or crook which Moses 

3 — 5. Only one sign is to be performed with the staff ; in -y. 17 (E) 
more than one. In vii. 8 — 12 (P) the sign is performed, not before the 
Israelites, but in Pharaoh's court ; and the word rendered ' serpent ' is 

4. The insertion of the parentheses here and in v. 7 is somewhat 
awkward, and may be due to condensation of the original narrative. 

1 In an Aramaic papyrus a pr. name mnn^ (' Yfih my glory') occurs (PSBA 
1903, p. 208). 

24 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [i v. 4-10 

thine hand, and take it by the tail : (and he put forth his hand, J 
and laid hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand:) 5 that they 
may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of 
Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared 
unto thee. 6 And the Lord said furthermore unto him, Put 
now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his 
bosom : and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, 
as white as snow. 7 And he said. Put thine hand into thy bosom 
again. (And he put his hand into his bosom again ; and when 
he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was turned again as his 
othei' flesh.) 8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe 
thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will 
believe the voice of the latter sign. 9 And it shall come to pass, 
if they will not believe even these two signs, neither hearken 
unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, 
and pour it upon the dry land : and the water which thou takest 
out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land. 10 And 
Moses said unto the Lord, Oh Lord, I am not ^eloquent, neither 
heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant : for I 

1 Heb. a man of words. 

6. as snow. Cf. Num. xii. 10, 2 K. v. 27. 

This may have been the origin of the tradition combated by 
Josephus (Ant. in. xi. 4) that Moses was a leper who led out of 
Egypt a large number of those who suffered from the same malady, 
Egyi^tians and Hebrews together (see c. Ap. i. 26, 32, 34, where the 
tradition is cited, in different forms, from Manetho, Chaeremon and 

8. tJw voice. The purport, the lesson conveyed by the sign. 

9. In vii. 14 — 25 (E and P) this sign is not performed before the 
Israelites, but is the first of the plagues. 

10. Oh Lwd ; I pray thee my Lord. The word is ' 'Adonai,' 
not Yah well. The particle of entreaty^, always followed by ' my Lord,' 
is used in addressing both God {v. 13, Jos. vii. 8, Jud. vi. 15, xiii. 8) 
and men (Gen. xliii. 20, Num. xii. 11, 1 K. iii. 17, 26). 

heretofm-e, nor since &c. A free rendering of the Heb. idiom ^. 
In spite of the present passage S. Stephen (Acts vii. 22), Josephus and 

^ Strictly a substantive, ' a petition.' 

^ Lit. ' both yesterday and the third day and from the time of thy speaking.' 
T^{JD usually occurs with a finite verb ; with a substantive, Ps. Ixxvi. 8 (7), Ruth ii. 7 ; 
only here with an infinitive. 


am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11 And the Lord./ 
said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth ? or who maketh a 
man dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind ? is it not I the Lord ? 
12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach 
thee what thou shalt speak. | 13 And he said, Oh Lord, send, I W^ 
pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. 14 And 
the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and he said, 
Is there not Aaron thy brother the Levite ? I know that he can 

Philo represent Moses as eloquent, according to the later Jewish 

11. Who hath appointed a mouth for man P or who 
appointeth ^ a man diunb &c. It is difficult to express the exact 
force of the words. It is not merely that God renders a man dumb &c. 
when He pleases, but that He ' places ' in the world a dumb man or 
deaf &c., according to a divine predetermination. 

Theodoret (Quaest. in Ex.) asks, ' When the God of all things used 
Moses as His minister, why did He form him a man of stammering 
speech and slow of tongue ? ' And his answer is, ' Because this 
displayed all the more His divine power. For just as He chose 
fishermen and tax-gatherers and cobblers to be preachers of truth 
and teachers of piety, so by means of a weak voice and slow tongue 
He put to shame the wise men of Egypt.' See 1 Cor. i. 26 — ii. 5. 

seeing. Lit. 'open-eyed'; xxiii. 8 t. All the four adjectives, or 
verbal nouns, are of the same form, one which is frequently found with 
the connotation of fault or defect (Ges. K. § 84 b, d). But it is 
strange to meet, in this group, with a word denoting a virtue or 
excellence— the only such word formed in this manner from the Piel 
(intensive) voice of the verb. It is therefore probable that npQ 
' open-eyed ' should be read nDD 'lame.' Lame and blind occur closely 
connected in several passages : Lev. xxi. 18, Dt. xv. 21, 2 S. v, 6, 8, 
Jer. xxxi. 8, Mai. i. 8, Job xxix. 15. 

13. Oh Lcyrd. The expression is the same as in v. 10, which 
contains J's account of Moses' diffidence ; iii. 11 is that of E, and now 
in this verse it is again related by a compiler. Having before him the 
two preceding accounts, he represents Yahweh as being angry with 
Moses for his reiterated resistance to encouragement. But this view 
of Moses' action was a mistaken one if the accounts are really parallel 
statements from different sources. 

him whom- thou wilt send ; i.e. anyone but myself 

14. Moses, like Barak (Jud. iv. 9), is deprived of the glory of bemg 
the sole instrument of Israel's deliverance. 

Aaron thy brother. See on ii. 1. 

1 DIK'^ for D*6^'^ is unique in the O.T. 

' For the suppression of the pronoun in rO^T\ 1*2 of. Ps. Ixxxi. 6, cxh. 9. 

26 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [iv. 14-^-0 

speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee : W^ 
and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. 15 And 
thou shalt speak unto him, and put the words in his mouth : and 
I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you 
what ye shall do. 16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the 
people: and it shall come to pass, that he shall be to thee a 
mouth, and thou shalt be to him as God. | 17 And thou shalt E 
take in thine hand this rod, wherewith thou shalt do the signs. 

18 And Moses went and returned to ^Jethro his father 
in law, and said unto him. Let me go, I pray thee, and return 
unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be 
yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. | 19 And the J 
Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt : for all 
the men are dead which sought thy life. 20 And Moses took his 

1 Heb. Jether. 

the Levite. To tell Moses to what tribe his own brother (or half- 
brother) belonged would be quite superfluous. ' Levite ' evidently 
does not mean 'descendant from the tribal ancestor Levi.' The 
whole history of the Levites tends to shew that — whatever its original 
derivation — the term came to be used as an official title for one who 
had received the training of a priest, regardless of the tribe of which 
he was a member by birth. The present passage appears to be a later 
insertion, dating from a time when the ancestry of every member of 
the priestly profession was traced to Levi, but earlier than the time 
when a 'Levite' had become inferior to a 'priest.' See pp. Ixvi. — Ixx. 
and ZATW 1906, 201—230. 

that he can speak well ; that he will certainly speak. He will 
be quite ready to act as spokesman. 

16. as God. A human representative of divine power and 
authority (cf Ps. Ixxxii. 1, 6), or perhaps the human instrument 
inspired by the divine Agent ; cf Aesch. Eum. 15 — 19. 

17. this staff. In v. 20 it is called ' the staff of God,' i.e. appa- 
rently a staff given to Moses by God. This mysterious nature of the 
staff is not recognised by J {v. 2). 

18. Jethro. Heb. Jether, a form of the name not found elsewhere ; 
a similar variety is seen in Geshem and Gashmu (Neh. vi. 1 f., 6). 

whether they he yet alive. This seems to bear out E's representation 
in i. 15 — 20 «, 21 that the Israelites were few in number when Moses 
was in Egypt. 

19. 20. These verses, to the words 'land of Egypt,' should 
probably follow ii. 23 a; see analysis. Matt. ii. 20 affords an interesting 
parallel to v. 19, and is perhaps a conscious reminiscence of it. 

his sons. Mention has hitherto been made of one son only (ii. 22); 
and vv. 24 — 26 certainly seem to imply that Moses was travelling with 


wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to J 
the land of Egypt : | and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. | ^ 
21 And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest back into Ji^^ 
Egypt, see that thou do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I 
have put in thine hand : but I will ^harden his heart, and he will 
not let the people go. 22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, 
Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, my firstborn : 23 and I 
have said unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me ; and 
thou hast refused to let him go : behold, I will slay thy son, thy 
firstborn. | 24 And it came to pass on the way at the lodging J 
place, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him. 25 Then 
Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and 
^cast it at his feet ; and she said, Surely a bridegroom of blood 

1 Heb. make strong. ^ Heb. viade it touch. 

his only son. The plural ' sons ' must be the work of a harmonizer, in 
consequence of the mention of two sons in xviii. 5 f. 

22. my firstborn. One for whom God feels the deep love that a 
father feels for his firstborn. Jer. xxxi. 9 of Ephraim, Ps. Ixxxix. 
26 f. (27 f.) of the Davidic king; see also Hos. xi. 1, Wisd. xviii. 13, 
Col. i. 15, 18, Heb. i. 6. In the days when Yahweh was considered to 
be the God of Israel alone, His firstborn was also His only son. But 
when the principle of true monotheism was learnt, the title was realised 
to mean the firstborn among the nations, all of whom could be per- 
mitted to acknowledge the divine Fatherhood ; so that through Israel 
Yahweh might ' bring many sons unto glory.' 

23. The verse probably belongs to the time immediately preceding 
the last plague (see analysis). 

24 — 26 should probably be placed (together with 19, 20 a) after 
ii. 23 a (see analysis). The incident will then fall soon after Moses 
left Midian. 

The narrative in these three verses appears, from its contents, to 
he one of the oldest portions of the Bible. Its antiquity is shewn by 
the use of the flint knife, and by the part which circumcision plays 
according to the belief of the actors. 

24. sought to kill him. A primitive anthropomorphic way of 
saying that Moses fell dangerously ill. 

25. cast it at his feet ; made it touch ^ his feet. The usual 
periphrasis for the pudenda. 

bridegroom. Heb. hathdn, a marriage relative, a son-in-law, cor- 
responding to the participial form hothen, a father-in-law. Both words 
are derived from a root which in Arab, signifies 'to circumcise' — a 
fact which has a special bearing on the present story. See addit. note. 
Lxx preserves a diff'erent form of the latter part of the verse : 'and 

^ Theod. Symm. Vg. ' she touched.' 

28 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [it. .5-31 

art thou to me. 26 So he let him alone. Then she said, ^KJ 
bridegroom of blood art thou, because of the circumcision. 

27 And the Lord said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to E 
meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mountain of 
God, and kissed him. 28 And Moses told Aaron all the words 
of the Lord wherewith he had sent him, and all the signs 
wherewith he had charged him. | 29 And Moses and Aaron J 
went and gathered together all the elders of the children of 
Israel : 30 and Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had 
spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 
31 And the people believed : and when they heard that the 

^ Or, A bridegroom of blood in regard of the circumcision 

she fell at [his] feet and said, The blood of my child's circumcision is 

26. So lie let him alone. Zipporah's action appeased Yahweh, 
and He allowed Moses to recover. 

Then she said.... The account is so fragmentary that it is difficult 
to see the force of the word ' then.' The sentence seems to contain 
the narrator's explanation of Zipporah's words : She said ' a hathan of 
blood' with reference to the act of circumcision which she had just 

27, 28. The continuation of 17, 18. 

27. tlie mountain of God, i.e. Horeb, where God had previously 
appeared to him (see on iii. 1). 

29 — 31. The fulfilment of the commands in iii. 16, iv. 2 — 9. 

29. And Moses and Aaron went ; And Moses went [and 
Aaron]. There is much evidence to support the view, now held by a 
large consensus of critics, that Aaron did not originally hold in the J 
narrative the leading position which is assigned to him in E, but 
that a harmonizer has, throughout the story of the deliverance, 
introduced Aaron into the narrative of J, making, in some cases, 
but not in all, the small grammatical changes that were necessary. 
Here and in viii. 12 (Heb. 8) *and Aaron' is added after a singular 
verb which originally belonged to Moses alone. This arrangement of 
words is, indeed, not without parallel ; but there are other indications 
pointing the same way. In viii. 25 Pharaoh called for ' Moses and 
Aaron,' but in v. 30 only Moses went out from his presence ; similarly 
in X. 3, 6 and 16, 18. It is to be noticed further that with one exception 
Aaron, in J's narrative, takes absolutely no part either in speaking 
to Pharaoh or in bringing the plagues : his name is inserted as being 
in Moses' company, but he remains a mere name. The one exception 
is the present passage— 'and Aaron spake... and did the signs' {v. 30). 
His introduction into the narrative causes a serious difficulty, for 
Yahweh never commanded him to do the signs ; ' and [he] did the 
signs' clearly refers to Moses. 


Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen J 
their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped. 

31. and when they heard. Lxx exap?; = inotJ'"'"! (' and they rejoiced ') 
for iyDtJ'^1 , wliich was perhaps the original reading. 

Additional Note on Circumcision. 

Tlie rite of circumcision was by no means confined to the Hebrews. Edom, 
Ammon and Moab were all circumcised (Jer. ix. 25). The Egyptians practised 
it at least as early as the period of the Israelite oppression, and indeed in the 
4th dynasty (3998—3721 Petrie). See Ebers, Aeg. und Biich. Noses', i. 283, 
Erman, Life in Ancient Egypt, 32 f., 539 ; cf also Josh. v. 9. The ceremony 
belonged, and still belongs, to widely remote peoples — Arabians and Colchians 
in Asia, Abyssinians and some other tribes in Africa, certain Polynesian tribes, 
and some in New South Wales and in North and South America (Ploss, Das Kind 
in Brauche u. Sitte der Vdlker^^\ i. 342 f ). The Babylonians and Assyrians 
were the principal Semitic peoples who did not practise it ; and profound 
contempt was felt in Palestine for the ' uncircumcised Philistine' (1 Sam. xvii. 
26, 36, 2 Sam. i. 20). This wide diffusion shews that the custom is of extreme 
antiquity. Westermarck {History qf Human Marriage, 201 — 206) maintains 
that its origin was not religious. At any rate it became a religious custom at 
a very early date. In many primitive nations the members of a tribe had 
a special mark, e.g. tattooing, cutting off a finger joint, filing or chiselling out 
of teeth, and other forms of mutilation ; and among these must be reckoned 
circumcision. It either was originally, or came to be, of the nature of a blood- 
offering. Everyone who bore this mark was a worshipper of a common deity ; 
and those who intermarried with the tribe would adopt the same mark 
(cf. Gen. xxxiv.). In most cases the ceremony was performed when a youth 
reached the age of manhood. It brought him into full possession of tribal 
privileges, and in particular it gave him the right to marry. At this point 
the story of Moses becomes clearer. Moses had, apparently, not been cir- 
cumcised previously to his marriage ; and his sudden illness is Jiscril)ed to 
Yahweh's anger at the omission. By circumcising the infant instead of Moses, 
and touching Moses with the blood, Zipporah symbolically brought her husband 
into the state which Yahweh was supposed to require^; he became a 
'bridegroom of blood.' (For a somewhat different view of the passage sec 
H. P. Smith in JBL, vol. xxv. (1906), Pt 1, where he cites parallels for the 
sacredness and special virtue attaching to the blood of circumcision.) 

It is possible that this story (which is of com-se fiir older than Gen. xvii.) 
was considered as relating the origin of infant circumcision. But W. R. Smith 
{Rel. Seni.^ 328) shews that the practice of circumcising infants would, at an 
early stijge, arise naturally. lie states generally, what is true in particular of 
circumcision, that when a rite 'loses its political significance and becomes 

^ It is perhaps fanciful to explain the unique plural TV^'O (v. 26) of this double 
circumcision, actual iu the case of the child and symbolical in the case of Moses. 

30 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [v. 1-3 

purely religious, it is not necessary that it should be deferred to the age of 
full manhood ; indeed the natural tendency of pious parents will be to dedicate 
their child as early as possible to the god who is to be his protector through 
life.' Gen. xvii. 10 — 14, 24 — 27 (P) correctly represents an ancient practice, 
in relating that Abraham sealed a covenant with God by circmncising himself 
and his sons and servants, Ishmael being 13 years old and Isaac eight days. 
And on this was based the later Jewish regulation of circumcision on the 
eighth day. From the religious tribal aspect of the rite, the rule naturally arose 
that no one who was uncircumcised might partake of the Passover (Ex. xii. 44, 
48 P). No mention is made of circumcision in the older Hebrew laws, and 
the prophets before the exile laid no stress on the ceremony as being any part 
of true righteousness. It is mentioned in Dt. x. 16, xxx. 6, Jer. iv. 4, ix. 26 (25) 
only to emphasize the importance of being circumcised in heart. This thought 
seems to have arisen from the idea of ceremonial cleanness which had attached 
itself to the rite. Compare the expressions 'uncircumcised lips' (Ex. vi. 
12, 30), 'hearts' (Lev. xxvi. 41, Ez. xliv. 7), 'ear' (Jer. vi. 10), 'heart and 
ears' (Acts vii, 51). See also Rom. ii. 29, Col. ii. 11. 

The subject may be studied in art. ' Circumcision ' in DB and Enc. Bihl, 
Schechter, Studies in Judaism, p. 343, ZA TW 1886, 135 ff., AJSL 1906, 
249 flF., W. R. Smith, Rel. Sem} 328, Herod, ii. 36, 37, Philo, De Circumc. ii. 210 

In the early years of the Christian Church it became a burning question 
whether Gentile converts should be circumcised, and the question was decided 
in the negative. The passages which deal with the subject are Acts xv. 1 — 29, 
xxi. 21, Rom. ii. 25— iv. 12, 1 Cor. n\\. 19, Gal. v. 2—12, vi. 12—16, Phil iii. 3, 
Col. iii. 11. 

Chapter V. — VI. 1. 

The unsuccessful demand to Pharaoh. 

V. 1 And afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said E 
unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Let 
my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the 
wilderness. 2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I 
should hearken unto his voice to let Israel go ? I know not the 
Lord, and moreover I will not let Israel go. | 3 And they said, J 
The God of the Hebrews hath met with us : let us go, we pray 

V. 1. a feast ; Heb. hag, i.e. a pilgrimage for worship at a 
shrine, where pilgrims took part in processions, dancing and feasting. 
The Arab, haj is still used of the pilgi-image to Mecca : hag is also 
found in Sabaean inscriptions. After the arrival in Palestine such 
pilgrimages were observed at the local sanctuaries three times in the 
year. See xxiii. 14 ff. 

3. ivith the sword, i.e. by sending armies against us. The 
Israelites in Goshen were Hable to attacks from desert tribes. 


thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice unto J 
the Lord our God ; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with 
the sword. | 4 And the king of Egypt said unto them, Where- ^ 
fore do ye, Moses and Aaron, loose the people from their works ? 
get you unto your burdens. | 5 And Pharaoh said. Behold, the J 
people of the land are now many, and ye make them rest from 
their burdens. 6 And the same day Pharaoh commanded the 
taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, 7 Ye shall 
no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore : 

4. get you unto your burdens. Pharaoh knew nothing of Moses 
and Aaron, and thought they had left their labours to present their 
petition. Brugsch {Egypt under the Fharao/is, p. 800) shews that 
Ramses II was fi'equently ^vaylaid by private persons who had grievances. 

5. The taskmasters (or 'oppressors,' vv. 10, 13, iii. 7) were 
Egyptians appointed by Pharaoh ; the * officers ' were Israelites in 
subordinate positions of authority over their fellow-countrymen, and 
appointed {y. 14) by the taskmasters. 

The word 'officers,' shbfrim^ is from a root which, in Ass. Aram. 
Arab. Syr., means primarily 'to set, or arrange, in order,' and hence 
* to write ' ; it is here rendered ' scribes ' in lxx and Pesh. The 
shufr'tm were minor officials whose duties of general superintendence 
probably included that of keeping written accounts of the work done, 
and of marking the daily attendance of the labourers. When used in 
a military connexion they would be ' muster officers ' ; cf the sopher 
of Jud. V. 14. The two words are combined in 2 Clii\ xxvi. 11. 
See a fuller note in Driver, Deut. p. 17. 

6. The process of brick-making is illustrated in Egy[)tian wall- 
pictures, of whicli the most famous is that at Tliebes which represents 
(as the accompanying inscription states) ' captives brought by the 
king for work on the temple of Amon.' 

The black Nile mud was dug up, and carried in baskets to the 
moulding ground ; sometimes sand was mixed with it, and tibu (Heb. 
tebhen), i.e. chopped straw and chaff. The tibu bound the mud closely 
together and prevented it fi-om cracking. This mixture was brought 
to the required consistency by means of water, and poured into a 
wooden mould or framed The frame being then lifted up, an oblong 
heap of mud was left to dry in the sun. The moulding ground would 
be filled with rows of such heaps. Bricks of sun-dried mud were 
used in Babylonia and Egy|)t for every kind of building — even for 
some of the smaller pyi-amids. Burnt bricks were rare, and in Egypt 
are not found till the Roman period. 

It is possible that the sympatliies of the writer made him exag- 
gerate the hardships to which the Hebrews were subjected. The tibu 

^ An illustration of an Egyptian mould of the 18th dynasty is given in art. 
♦Brick' in DB. 

32 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [v. /-h 

let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 And the tale J 
of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon 
them ; ye shall not diminish aught thereof : for they be idle ; 
therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. 
9 Let heavier work be laid upon the men, that they may labour 
therein ; and let them not regard lying words, 10 And the 
taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they 
spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give 
you straw. 1 1 Go yourselves, get you straw where ye can find 
it : for nought of your work shall be diminished. 12 So the 
people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt 
to gather stubble for straw. 13 And the taskmasters were 
urgent, saying. Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when 
there was straw. 14 And the officers of the children of Israel, 

was valuable fodder, and if, in any year, it were rather scarce, it would 
be very expensive to supply it for brick-making. Bricks were often 
made with waste stubble, or with no vegetable binding at all. The 
gathering of stubble would increase the work, but it was at least a 
common occurrence. Apart from the hardships attaching to all slavery. 
Num. xi. 5 shews that the Hebrews were on the whole well treated. 

8. the tale ; an archaism ; the weight or amount, xxx. 37 
(R.V. 'composition'), Ez. xlv. 11, 2 Chr. xxiv. 13. A shorter form 
is used in v. 18. 

9. heavier ; heavy. Pharaoh expresses a general principle, that 
if the Israelites are treated leniently they will grow idle and rebelHous. 

labour therein : lit. * do therein ' — a doubtful expression. For 
IK^'' Lxx Sam. Pesh. read )V^\ which occurs in the following clause. 
Render 'that they may attend to it, and not attend to lying words.' 
Cf Gen. iv. 4, 5, Is. xvii. 7, 8. 

10. went out. It is improbable that the taskmasters, and 
still more the subordinate Israelite officials, went into Pharaoh's 
presence. The command would reach them through the superinten- 
dent of the whole building operations. It is likely, therefore, that 
the LXX is right in reading -l^^*! 'and they were urgent/ the 
verb of which the participle is used in -y. 13. 

11. for nought... In the present position of the sentence the 
word * for ' does not supply a logical sequence. If the clause is not 
due to later expansion, it should perhaps be transposed to follow v. 13. 

13. your daily tasks ; a day's quota each day. v. 19, xvi. 4, 
Lev. xxiii. 37. 

14. your task; your prescribed portion, different from the 
word in v. 13. It is used for a prescribed portion of food in Gen. xlvii. 
22 (J), Prov. xxxi. 15 (R.V. 'task'). 

V. 14-22] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 33 

which Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, J 
^and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task both 
yesterday and to-day, in making brick as heretofore? 15 Then 
the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto 
Pharaoh, saying, Wlierefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? 
16 There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to 
us. Make brick : and, behold, thy servants are beaten ; but the 
fault is in thine own people. 17 But he said. Ye are idle, ye 
are idle : therefore ye say. Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord. 
18 Go therefore now, and work ; for there shall no straw be given 
you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks. 19 And the officers 
of the children of Israel did see that they ^were in evil case, 
when it was said. Ye shall not minish aught from your bricks, 
ycmr daily tasks. 20 And they met Moses and Aaron, who 
stood in the Avay, as they came forth from Pharaoh : 21 and 
they said unto them. The Lord look upon you, and judge ; 
because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes 
of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in 
their hand to slay us. 22 And Moses returned unto the Lord, 

^ Heb. saying. ^ Or, were set on mischief, when they said 

16. the fault is in thine own people. This rendering cannot be 
legitimately drawn from the Hebrew ; nor is it true to fact, for 
Pharaoh was to blame, not his people. The text as it stands 
(^fpv nN^ni) is untranslateable. Read either ^m) nxpn) 'and 
thou shalt sin against thy people' (with lxx Pesh.), or 1^^ nxyjn HDl 
* and what is the sin of thy people ? ' (Dillm.)^ 

19. whe?i it was said, lit. in saying, i.e. in being obliged to 
say. The Israelite officers were compelled to give the stern order 
to their fellow-countrymen, and felt the position acutely. 

20. who stood in the way; stationing themselves to meet 
them. It was the officers who took their stand to waylay Moses 
and Aaron. 

21. made our savour to he ahhx)rred\ the English idiom would 
be 'Ye have brought us into bad odour with.' Gen. xxxiv. 30, 
1 Sam. xiii. 4, xxvii. 12, 2 Sam. x. 6, xvi. 21. 

their hand ; probably read his hand, with lxx Sam. 

22. returned ; the expression is beautiful in its simplicity, 
implying his constant communion with Yahweh. 

1 Symm. read "?|?2r riN^ni. * but the fault is with thee.' This has the advantage 

of altering only the vowel points. But it is unlikely that the enslaved Israelites 
would say such a thing to Pharaoh. 

M. 3 

34 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [v. «-vi. 3 

and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou evil entreated this people ? J 
why is it that thou hast sent me? 23 For since I came to 
Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath evil entreated this 
people ; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all, 
VI. 1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see 
what I will do to Pharaoh : for by a strong hand shall he let 
them go, and by a strong hand shall he drive them out of 
his land. 

2 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am P 
JEHOVAH : 3 and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and 
unto Jacob, as ^God Almighty, but ^by my name jehovah 

1 Heb. El Shaddai. ^ Or, as to 

VI. 1. hy a strong hand, i.e. in consequence of the working 
of a mighty power. See on iii. 19. The confidence that help will 
be given at the darkest hour of need is well expressed in the Jewish 
proverb 'When the tale of bricks is doubled, then comes Moses.' 

Chapter VL 2— VIL 7. 

The call of Moses ; the families of Reuben, Simeon and 
Levi; Aaron to he Moses' helper. 

The narrative travels again over the period covered by ii. 23 — vi. 1. 
The priestly writer, however, makes no mention of Midian, and 
appears to hold that the Divine revelation to Moses was made in 
Egypt. Cf. V. 28. 

VI. 2. / am Yahweh. A formula very frequent in the Holiness 
legislation (Driver, LOT^, p. 49). Here, however, it is not a mere 
formula, but a specific statement, parallel to iii. 14, revealing the 
Name for the first time. 

3. The marginal renderings are all to be preferred. In the last 
clause, however, lxx reads ^^Hin, 'and my name Yahweh I did not 
make known to them ' — which is simpler. 

God Almighty. Heb. ^El Shaddai. See addit. note. 

A signal instance of the gradual way in which God leads his people 
into a fuller understanding of His word is afforded by the fact that it 
is only in the last 150 years that the attention of students has been 
arrested by these verses. How is it that though God here says that 
up to this point His name Yahweh has not been known, yet in the 
book of Genesis the patriarchs appear to know it well and use it freely ? 
The question cannot be answered except by the recognition that 
varying traditions have been incorporated from different sources. 

vi. 3-9] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 35 

I was not ^ known to them. 4 And I have also established my P 
covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the 
land of their sojournings, wherein they sojourned. 5 And more- 
over I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom 
the Egyptians keep in bondage ; and I have remembered my 
covenant. 6 Wlierefore say unto the children of Israel, I am 
Jehovah, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of 
the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and 
I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great 
judgements : 7 and I will take you to me for a people, and 
I will be to you a God : and ye shall know that I am Jehovah 
your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of 
the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you in unto the land, con- 
cerning which I lifted up my hand to give it to Abraham, to 
Isaac, and to Jacob ; and I will give it you for an heritage : 
I am Jehovah. 9 And Moses spake so unto the children of 
Israel : but they hearkened not unto Moses for ^anguish of 
spirit, and for cruel bondage. 

^ Or, made known ^ Or, impatience Heb. shortness of spirit. 

A useful account of the early stages of Old Testament criticism is 
given in The Hexateuck (ed. by Carpenter and Battersby), vol. i. ch. v. 

4. And I also established. This was Yaliweh's second reason 
for appearing to the patriarchs, the first being to reveal Himself as El 
Shaddai. P makes the covenant with Abraham the basis of the whole 
subsequent history. 

The expression 'establish a covenant' is peculiar to P (except 
Ez. xvi. 60, 62) who never uses the ordinary ms ^ cut a covenant.' 
(See note at the end of ch. xxiv.) 

sojournings. They had been living as gerim, new comers with no 
ancestral rights in the land. 

6. / am Yahweh. Repeat to the people the revelation you have 
just received. 

redeem. The word 7J^3 occurs not infrequently with the meaning 
' deliver,' with no thought of a price paid. It is used of the exodus 
in XV. 13, Ps. Ixxiv. 2, Lxxvii. 15 (16), Ixxviii. 35, cvi. 10 ; of the second 
exodus, the return from Babylon, frequently in Is. xli. and onwards ; 
and generally of deliverance from death, oppression, &c. And similarly 
the synonymous niQ 'ransom.' See Westcott, Hebrews, pp. 295 fF., 
on \vrpov and its cognates. 

8. To lift the hand is a gesture accompanying an oath. xvii. 16, 
Gen. xiv. 22, Num. xiv. 30, Dt. xxxii. 40. Cf. Virg. Aen. xii. 196 : 
'tenditque ad sidera dextram.' 

/ am Yahweh. The expression is here a mere formula ; see on v. 2. 


36 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [vi. jo-^o 

10 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 11 Go in, speak P 
unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel 
go out of his land. 12 And Moses spake before the Lord, 
saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto 
me ; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircum- 
cised lips ? | 13 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto R^ 
Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and 
unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out 
of the land of Egypt. 

14 These are the heads of their fathers' houses : the sons of 
Reuben the firstborn of Israel ; Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, 
and Carmi : these are the families of Reuben. 15 And the 
sons of Simeon ; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and 
Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman : these are 
the families of Simeon. 16 And these are the names of the 
sons of Levi according to their generations ; Gershon, and 
Kohath, and Merari : and the years of the life of Levi were an 
hundred thirty and seven years. 17 The sons of Gershon ; Libni 
and Shimei, according to their families. 18 And the sons of 
Kohath ; Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel : and the 
years of the life of Kohath were an hundred thirty and three 
years. 19 And the sons of Merari ; Mahli and Mushi. These 
are the families of the Levites according to their generations. 
20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife ; 
and she bare him Aaron and Moses : and the years of the life 

12. uncircumcised lips. See note after iv. 31. 

14 — 27. The list of names purports to contain the chiefs of 
the families whom Moses brought out of Egypt. The writer follows 
the order of i. 2, Gen. xxxv. 23 as far as Levi, but this tribe usurps all 
his interest, and he proceeds to give a genealogical tree of Moses and 
Aaron, who appear as great-grandsons of Levi through Amram and 
Kohath ; he also gives the names of the rest of the Kohathite clan, 
and of Aaron's sons, and one grandson Phinehas. The selection of 
names is dominated by Moses and the family of Aaron. 

14. fathers' houses ; a technical expression for 'families' or 'clans' ; 
of xii. 3. It occurs 79 times in P and Chr. 

15. The Shaul branch of the Simeonites had an admixture of 
Canaanite blood, as was the case with the family of Judah ; see 
Gen. xxxviii. 2 and Driver's note. 

20. Jochebed. See note on ii. 1. 

vi. .o-vii. i] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 37 

of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years. 21 And R 
the sons of Izhar ; Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri. 22 And 
the sons of Uzziel ; Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Sithri. 23 And 
Aaron took him Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the 
sister of Nahshon, to wife ; and she bare him Nadab and Abihu, 
Eleazar and Ithamar. 24 And the sons of Korah ; Assir, and 
Elkanah, and Abiasaph ; these are the families of the Korahites. 
25 And Eleazar Aaron's son took him one of the daughters of 
Putiel to wife ; and she bare him Phinehas. These are the 
heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites according to their 
families. 26 These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom the 
Lord said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of 
Egypt according to their hosts. 27 These are they which spake 
to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel 
from Egypt : these are that Moses and Aaron. 

28 And it came to pass on the day when the Lord spake 
unto Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 that the Lord spake 
unto Moses, saying, I am the Lord : speak thou unto Pharaoh 
king of Egypt all that I speak unto thee. 30 And Moses said 
before the Lord, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how 
shall Pharaoh hearken unto me ? | VII. 1 And the Lord said P 

23. Nahskon, a descendant in the fifth generation from Judah 
(1 Chr. ii. 10), and a prince of Judah (Num. i. 7, ii. 3 al.), an 
ancestor of David (1 Chr. ii. 11, Ruth iv. 20) and of Jesus (Mt. i. 4, 
Lk. iii. 32). 

Nadab and Abihu. See note on xxiv. 1 (J). The names of Aaron's 
four sons occur in xxviii. 1, Lev. x. 1, 6, Num. iii. 4, xxvi. 60 (all P). 
In the priestly traditions the two former died for offering strange fire, 
and the two latter, Eleazar and Ithamar, became chiefs of Levitical 
families, Eleazar succeeding his father as high priest. 

25. Putiel. Probably formed by adding Bl (God) to an Egyptian 
word. On the analogy of Potipherah (Petepre) it will mean ' He 
whom El hath given.' Cf. Pedubaste (which appears in an inscription 
of Asshur-bani-pal as Putubasti), Petisis, Petosiris. 

Phinehcis. The name is thought to be of Egyptian origin, ' the 
child of dark complexion.' See art. 'Phinehas' §2, in Enc. B. 

26. Aaron precedes Moses, as having been the principal name in 
the foregoing list ; in the following verse the usual order is employed. 

28 — 30. A compiler, after the interposed list of names, resumes 
the narrative by repeating the substance oivv. 2 — 12. 

VII. 1. a god to Pharaoh. In iv. 16 (E) Moses is to be as a 
god to Aaron. 

38 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [vii. r-7 

unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh : and P 
Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. 2 Thou shalt speak 
all that I command thee : and Aaron thy brother shall speak 
unto Pharaoh, that he let the children of Israel go out of his 
land. 3 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my 
signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 But Pharaoh will 
not hearken unto you, and I will lay my hand upon Egypt, and 
bring forth my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of 
the land of Egypt by great judgements. 5 And the Egyptians 
shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth mine hand 
upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among 
them. 6 And Moses and Aaron did so ; as the Lord commanded 
them, so did they. 7 And Moses was fourscore years old, and 
Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto 

2. Thou shalt speah, i.e. to Aaron, lxx adds avrw. 

6. The form of the sentence, especially the addition ' so did they,' 
is peculiarly characteristic of P. 

7. See note on ii. 1. 

Additional Note. 
Eloah, Elohim, El, Shaddai. 

^Eloah occurs 51 times as a name of God. It is an ancient form occurring 
in Dt. xxxii. 15, 17, Ps. xviii. 32 ; and on the basis of these it is used as an 
archaism in later poetry (41 times in Job), once in late prose of an elevated 
character, Neh. ix. 17. It is used of heathen gods six times in late passages ^ 
It is either the original singular from which the far commoner plural 'Eldhim 
was formed, or more probably (Nestle, Baethgen) a singular inferred from 
the plural form. The corresponding forms in Aram. Syr. and Arab, are ^eldh, 
^alahd, and HldW^; and it occurs in Sabaean and other S. Arabian inscriptions 
(D. H. Miiller, Orient. Congress, Leiden, 1883). 

^Elohlm occurs 2570 times, with or without the article ('filoah never has 
the article). The plural seems to be the plural of majesty or dignity (as 

^ 'In Aram., Arab, and Eth. it occurs only in proper names — often in Aram., 
rarely in Arab, and Eth. ; chiefly in the half-Aramaic, half- Arabic, Nabataean 

inscriptions of 1 cent. b.c. — 3 cent. a.d. In the time of Mohammed ^El was an 
unknown word to the Arabs. Comp. the Biblical names from places E. or S.E. of 
Palestine, the Aramaean Kemu'el, Bethu'el (Gen. xxii. 21, 22), Elyada' (1 K. xi. 23), 
and Hazael ; Ishmael and Adbe'el (Gen. xxv. 13) ; the Midianite Elda'ah (xxv. 4) 
and Re'u'el (Ex. ii. 18) ; and the Edomite Eliphaz, Re'u'el, Mehetab'el and Magdi'el 
(Gen. xxxvi. 4, 39, 43).' Driver, Genesis, p. 403, 

^ ^ Allah is 'ilah with the article, a contraction of al-'ildh. 


in 'Adonim 'Lord,' 'Master'), and with very few exceptions it is used with 
a singular verb or adjective. It is, however, frequently a real plural when 
employed to denote heathen deities. Its derivation is quite uncertain. Lane 
{Arab. Lexic. p. 82) suggests that it is derived from an old Bedawin word 
'aliha, 'to go to and fro in fear,' which is followed by the preposition 'to,' 
with the meaning ' to betake oneself to a person for protection.' Cf Hos. iii. 5 
7S -linp-lj R.V. 'and shall come with fear unto.' ^Elohim (^tlloah) might then 
mean One to whom men flee for help or protection. Less probably 'an 
object of fear'; cf. Gen. xxxi. 42, 53 'the Fear^ of Isaac' There is a cognate 
form waliha ' to fear ' ; Kautzsch, however, suggests that both this and ^aliha 
are denominatives from Hlah. Ewald assumes a root n?fc< {'alah\ a by-form 
of n^K, to which he assigns the meaning 'be strong.' But both root and 
meaning are purely conjectural. Dillmann and Nestle hold that ^Eldhlm is a 
form expanded from ^El, on the analogy of ^dmdhoth (from Yimah) ' maidens,' 
and the Syr. shemdhdn 'names.' It is an objection to the theory, how- 
ever, that all these are feminine forms. 

^El occurs as a divine appellative 217 times — sometimes with the article. 
It is also frequent in the composition of proper names — e.g. Israel, Bethel, 
Elijah, Elisha. It is found chiefly in poetry (most frequently in the Psalms, 
Job and Isaiah, but occasionally in other prophets and in poetical passages in 
the historical books), but also, rarely, in prose, and that prose of the more 
elevated type, and mostly with some epithet attached to it, as 'God most 
High' (Gen. xiv. 18, 19, 20, 22), 'God everlasting' (xxi. 33). The forms 'El 
(and 'Elon) in Phoen. and Ilu in Ass. are the ordinary words for 'God' in those 
languages. In S. Arabian dialects it is very common in proper names, but by 
itself is not so common as 'ildh. 

'El occurs in Exodus (excluding proper names) as follows : 

nC' *?« ' God Almighty,' vi. 3. 

h^ 'my God,' xv. 3. (The plural of heathen gods occurs in y. 11.) 

n:P h^ 'a jealous God,' xx. 5, xxxiv. 14 6 (in v.^ "inK '?^< 'another god'). 

\MTV\ Dim "pS ' a merciful and jealous God,' xxxiv. 6. 

Passages from other books are cited by Driver, Genesis, p. 403. 

The derivation of 'El is no less obscure than that of 'Eloah {'Elohtm). 
They are not necessarily from the same root, as the first syllable of the latter 
word might suggest to an English reader. The following are the more note- 
worthy of the derivations which have been proposed : 

(a) It is derived from '?^^?, as 'IV 'witness' from niy, and np 'dead' 
from niD. On the strength of such an expression as n^ ^i<'? t^^ ' it is in the 
vower of my hand' (Gen. xxxi. 29, J)t xxviii. 32 al.), the root is held to signify 
'be strong,' and 'El is 'the strong one.' It is rendered la-xvpos 19 times in 
Lxx, which is the regular rendering in Aq. and is often found in Synnn. Theo(L 
This has for some time been the favourite derivation. The only objection to it 
is that the word sometimes appears with a short e as in such names as 
•qSp^^X 'Elimelech, |3^?^5 'Elhanan. But it is probable that the long vowel in 

^ A different word, Heb. in©. 


^El and similar words is only artificial, and is the result of contraction from a 
form ^awil or ^ayil which contained the consonant 1 or \ 

(p) The same philological difficulty besets the derivation from 7lt{ = ' to be 
in front,' by which ^El is given the meaning either of ' Leader ' (Noldeke) or 
* Protector — Tutelary deity.' The word occurs in the construct state = ' leader ' 
in Ez. xxxi. 11, and xxxii. 21 (but text doubtful) ; but the e is never shortened. 
The more usual form is v''N (Ex. xv. 15, Ez. xvii. 13). 

(c) Dillmann derives it from n?K, for which he assumes the meaning ' be 
strong' (see above). 

{d) Lagarde, deriving it also from n75<, connects it with the preposition 
7X ' to ' — i.e. ' He towards whom one strives ' or ' to whom one attaches oneself 
But ' such an origin of the name would be no doubt conceivable on the basis 
of pure and strict monotheism ; it is, however, inconceivable if ilu, el, originally 
served to denote any god whatever, and even a demon or local divinity' 
(Kautzsch, art. 'Names' in Enc. B.). 

No solution, therefore, is certainly right. 'We must rest content with 
the knowledge that there were two Semitic words, Hldh and il{u\ both of un- 
certain etymology, but both undoubtedly denoting 'God,' and both probably 
existing already side by side before the different Semitic peoples had begun to 
separate from their common home : in after times, some of the Semitic peoples 
preferred one of the two synonyms, while others preferred the other ; in one or 
two cases both remained in use, though they were not in practice used quite 
indiscriminately ' (Driver, p. 404). 

Shaddai. The word occurs in the compound form ^ElShaddai in Ex. vi. 3, 
Gen. xvii. 1, xxviii. 3, xxxv. 11, xliii. 14, xlviii. 3, xlix. 25, Ez. x. 5 ; by itself it 
is found 40 times ^. Probably the only pre-exilic occurrences are in the poetical 
passages Gen. xlix. 25 ^ Num. xxiv. 4, 16. (In Gen. xliii. 14 Shaddai is probably 
a late insertion, lxx has 6 Be 6s fiov.) 

(a) The Rabbinic explanation that Shaddai -=^lf (for n If^) 'He who 
is sufficient,' is quite untenable. It appears in [6] Uauosj Aq. Sym. Theod., and 
LXX Job xxi. 15, xxxi. 2, xl. 2, Ruth i. 20 f , and (cod. A) Ez. i. 24. 

(6) The only Heb. root from which Shaddai could be formed is 11^ 
(shadad) 'destroy,' 'lay waste'; cf Jud. v. 27, Is. xv. 1, xxxiii. 1. R.V. in 
these passages renders respectively 'dead' (mg. 'overpowered'), 'laid waste,' 
and ' spoiled.' And the substantive shodh denotes ' destruction,' ' devastation.' 
Cf Is. li. 19. Shaddai ' destructive '(?) might thus have been, in primitive 
times, a storm-god (see note on Yahweh, p. 21). If, however, this be the true 
derivation, the idea conveyed by it was unknown to the Hebrew writers, for 

1 Num. xxiv. 4, 16, Ps. Ixviii. 14 (Heb. 15), xci. 1, Is. xiii. 6 = Joel i. 15, Ez. i. 24, 
Ruth i. 20, 21, and 31 times in Job {Yahweh only in xii. 9, but text doubtful). The 
writer of Job, laying the scene of his drama in the age of the patriarchs, follows 
the tradition of P, according to which the name Yahweh was unknown before the 
time of Moses. To these occurrences add the pr. names (all in P) Zuri-shaddai, 
' S. is my rock' (Num. i. 6), 'Ammi- shaddai, ' S. is my father's kinsman' {v. 12), 
and Shaddai-'ur, ' S. is a flame,' if Shede'ur in v. 5 should be so vocalised ; 
cf. Gray, Heb. Pr. Names, p. 196 f. (Driver, p. 404, footn. 6.) 

2 Read HS^ ^N1 for "^ HNI. 


ill none of the passages in which the word occurs is the thought of a 
* Destroyer' suitable, except Is. xiii. 6 ( = Joel i. 15), where the writer was 
influenced by the desire to produce an assonance — shodh misfishaddai. It is 
probable that the Masoretic punctuation is due to the foregoing Rabbinic 
explanation, and that the d should not be doubled. 

(c) W. R. Smith suggests a derivation from the root ^5^K^ (shada') 'to 
lK)ur,' which is found in Aram. Slmddal would then be the ' rain-god.' 

(d) Another explanation connects it with Ass. shadii 'mountain.' 
The word occurs in inscriptions of Sargon and Asshur-bani-pal as an 
epithet of the gods Bel and Asshur; and proper names occur such as 
Bel-shadua, Marduk-shadua, ' Bel— Marduk— is my mountain.' If this bo the 
true derivation, the Heb. word may originally have taken one of two forms — 
either Shcidl ' my mountain ' (on the analogy of ^itl^ ' my field '), or Shada 

' a mountain ' (on the analogy of the archaic ^"ib* ' a field,' and perhaps the 

\}v. name Sarai). 

{e) There is the further possibility that the termination ai may mark an 
abbreviation from a longer form of the word. (Such abbreviations are common 
in late Heb., which is coloured by Aramaic influence, but are also found in 
early Canaanitish names preserved in inscriptions ^) If this be the case, the 
original form of Shaddai is entirely lost. 

8 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, P 
9 When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a wonder 
for you : then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and 
cast it down before Pharaoh, that it become a ^serpent. 10 And 
Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so, as the 
Lord had commanded : and Aaron cast down his rod before 
Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. 

^ Heb. tannin, any large reptile ; and so in vv. 10, 12. 

Chapter VIL 8—13. 
Ths sign of Aaroiis rod. 

VII. 9. thy rod. In the narratives of P the rod is, throughout, 
wielded by Aaron at Moses' command ; in those of E by Moses himself. 
This incident has its parallel in that of iv. 2—4, but the differences 
are very noticeable. The only feature which they have in common is 
that a rod became a living creature. 

serpent ; reptile. So in vc. 10, 12. The word is elsewhere 
rendered 'dragon,' lxx ^pa^wr, Dt. xxxii. 33, Ps. xci. 13. Contrast 
V. 15, iv. 3,, the ordinary word for 'serpent.' 

^ M. Lidzbarski, Ephemeris filr Semitische Epigraphik, Band ii. Heft i. 
pp. 13—17. 

42 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [vii. 11-13 

11 Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers: P 
and they also, the ^magicians of Egypt, did in like manner with 
their ^enchantments. 12 For they cast down every man his 
rod, and they became serpents : but Aaron's rod swallowed up 
their rods. 13 And Pharaoh's heart ^was hardened, and he 
hearkened not unto them ; as the Lord had spoken. 

^ See Gen. xli. 8. ^ Qr, secret arts ^ Heb. was strong. 

11. magicians. Gen. xli. 8, 24 (E), Ex. vii. 22, viii. 18 f., ix. 11 
(all P). Used of the magicians of Babylon, Dan. ii. 2. Formed from 
a root meaning ' cut ' or ' engrave V it would denote engravers or 
writers of hierogl)rphics. But in the Bible it always has the derived 
sense of one possessing occult knowledge. Jewish tradition recorded 
the names of two of the magicians — Jannes and Jambres (2 Tim. iii. 8, 
Eus. Praep. Ev. ix. 8). See Thackeray, Relation of St Paul to 
contemporary Jewish thought^ pp. 215 — 222. 

The sign performed with the rod is the converse of a magical trick 
mentioned by Herodotus, Lucan, Pliny and others, which consisted of 
rendering snakes rigid like rods. It was performed by the African 
Psyllae, and has been seen by modern travellers. Dr A. Macalister 
(art. * Plagues of Egypt ' in DB) says that he has ' seen both a snake 
and a crocodile thrown by hypnotism into the condition of rigidity in 
which they could be held up as rods by the tip of the tail.' 

Chapter YII. 14— XL 10. 

The first nine plagues, and the preparation for departure. 

The plagues are different in character from the signs previously recorded. 
The latter had for their object to convince the Israelites and Pharaoh that 
Moses' mission was endued mth divine authority ; but the plagues were of the 
nature of judgements or punishments for Pharaoh's stubborn refusal to allow 
them to depart ; and further they were signal exhibitions of Yahweh's power — 
* that thou mayest know — that the Egyptians may know — that I am Yahweh.' 
The latter aspect of them is dwelt upon in Rom. ix. 14 — 24, to shew, by His 
treatment of Pharaoh, God's absolute right to do what He vAW with the 
creatures of His own handiwork. The fonner is taken as the basis of the 
imagery in the visions of the trumpets and the bowls in the Apoc. : Water 
turaed into blood, viii. 8 f , xvi. 3 f. Frogs, xvi. 13. Boils, xvi. 2. Hail and 
fire, lightnings and thunders, viii. 7, xvi. 17 f. Locusts, ix. 1 — 11. Darkness, 
viii. 12, xvi. 10. The plagues are referred to in Wisd. xvii. — xix., and epi- 
tomized in Ps. Ixxviii. 44—51 (nos. 1, 3, 2, 8, 7, 5, 10) and cv. 28—36 (nos. 9, 1, 
2, 4, 3, 7, 8, 10). In the former Psalm the district which suffered is named 

1 A subst. from the same root is used for a ' graving tool * (xxxii. 4), and a 
'stilus' for scratching on a tablet (Is. viii. 1). 


'the field of Zoan,' i.e. Tanis. But this is not to be taken as an exact state- 
ment of the locality. The name is employed— as being that of one of the 
great cities— in poetical parallelism with ' the land of Egypt.' Cf. Is. xix. 11, 13, 
where the ' princes of Zoan ' are mentioned in parallelism with the ' counsellors 
of Pharaoh,' and with the 'princes of Noph' (Memphis), xxx. 4. 

The stories of the plagues demand study from three points of view: 
1. Their literary history. 2. The relation of the several plagues to natural 
phenomenal 3. Their religious significance. 

1. This has been dealt with in the analysis, pp. xv.— xvii. The facts there 
noted render it probable that the original account of JE contained eight, and 
not ten, plagues. The third and fourth are insect pests, and must probably be 
considered duplicates from P and J respectively ; and the same must be said 
of the fifth and sixth— murrain (J) and boils (P). Additional evidence for 
this is supplied by the consideration of their natural features (see below). Of 
the eight plagues in JE, elements from J are found in all, and from B in the 
first, and in the last four. 

2. Few of the recent forms of development in rehgious thought are more 
significant than that by which an approach has been made towards a truer 
perception of the relation in which 'religion' stands to 'science.' Time was 
when thinkers of the highest intellect and education allocated one portion of 
human thought to ' religion ' as its exclusive domain, and another to ' science.' 
They were as rivals in adjacent kingdoms, neither of which might transgress 
each other's boundaries. And this mutual opposition was helped by the 
tendency to make 'religion ' equivalent at all points to ' faith in the impossible,' 
while ' science ' was ' knowledge of ascertained facts.' On each side were ex- 
ponents who gloried in these respective definitions. The results produced 
upon the study of the Bible were disastrous. The plagues of Egypt, for 
example, were either .miracles, portents, superhuman acts of God which faith 
must accept without reasoning — or they were purely natural phenomena. 
Religious people held the conclusion to which the Egyptian magicians came, 
that they were the working of the ' Finger of God' ; scientific people held that 
such a conclusion was as primitive as the magicians themselves. But this 
hostility is now rapidly passing away, as it is being more clearly recognised 
that religion embraces science as the greater includes the less ; that nothing 
can lie outside the activity of the Infinite God ; and therefore that to point 
out a connexion between some of the miracles of Scripture and natural 
phenomenii, does not eliminate from them the divine element; it rather 
transfigures an unreasoning 'faith in the impossible' into a faith which 
recognises the Finger of God in everj^thing, the providence of God in every 
event of national and individual fife. Thus the fc^llowing study of the plagues 
may claim to be entirely constructive. It seeks to destn)y nothing, but aims 
at shewing that the divine power of God worked in Eg}-pt by means of a 
wonderful series of natural phenomena; and the religious instinct of the 
Hebrew narrators unerringly seized upon these as signs of God's favour to the 
Israelites and of punishment to their oppressors. This religious conviction 
led, as time went on, to accretions and amplifications, and the stories, in the 

1 On this subject reference should be made to art. ' Plagues of Egypt ' in DB, 
by Macalister. 


course of frequent and triumphant repetitions, acquired more and more of 
what is popularly called ' miracle.' The earliest stage at which they emerge 
into writing is in J. In the small remains of E's narrative the wonders have 
increased, while in P they are greatly multiplied. 

1st Plague. If the analysis on p. xvi. is correct, the 1st plague consisted in 
the smiting of the river hi/ Yahweh, and the consequent death of the fish 
(vii. 17 a, 18, 21 a, 24, 25) ; this necessitated the obtaining of water by digging 
in the neighbourhood of the river. It seems probable that in J's narrative 
nothing was said of blood; but that is introduced in the next stage of 
the developing tradition preserved in E (vv. 15, 17 b, 20 b). In this 
narrative the marvel is performed not directly by Yahweh in the ordinary 
course of nature, but through Moses' wonder-working staff, and the river 
is turned to blood. Two suggestions have been made as to the natural 
phenomena which might give rise to the story. When the Nile rises 
in the third week in June, its waters become discoloured from fragments of 
vegetable matter ; it is at first green, and, as the river rises to its height in 
August, gradually changes to a dull ochreous red. This is confirmed by many 
travellers, and some also speak of the offensive exhalations emitted at the later 
stage. Other writers refer to the not uncommon phenomenon of the reddening 
of water by enormous quantities of minute organisms. Whatever may have 
been the exact natural cause or causes, the divine providence arranged that 
the waters should be discoloured and should emit a foetid odour which killed 
the fish — in Hebrew language, Yahweh smote the river ; and the belief grew 
up that the river was turned to blood. The ease with which such a belief 
could arise is illustrated in 2 K. iii. 2SK The final stage in the amplification 
of the story is found in P (vii. 19, 20 to 'commanded,' 21b, 22), in which all 
the waters of Egypt in rivers, streams and pools, in vessels of wood and of 
stone, are turned to blood. 

2nd Plague. From whatever cause the river became foetid and dis- 
coloured, in the mass of organic matter which would be collected animal life 
would also be present in great quantities. And this would be the condition 
eminently suited to the rapid multiplication of frogs. In J, Yahweh foretells 
that He will Himself smite Egypt with frogs ; and He will do so in the 
ordinary course of nature— 'the river shall swarm with frogs.' In P, Aaron 
(as usual) is bidden by Moses to bring the plague by stretching out the staff. 
A further poetical amplification occurs in Ps. lxx>aii. 45, where the frogs are 
said to have 'destroyed' the Egyptians. Plagues of frogs were far from 
unknown in ancient times, and are reported by Pliny, Orosius, Aelian, 
Diodorus and Appian ; the latter describes the pestilential effects of the 
decomposing bodies, which drove the people of Antareia from their homes 
{de rebus Illyricis, 4). Haggard ( Under Crescent and Star., p. 279) tells of a 
plague of frogs in the upper Nile valley in modern times. September is the 
month in which frogs are most plentiful in Egypt. 

Zrd and Uh Plagues. The mass of frogs collected in heaps (viii. 14) would 
inevitably lead to the breeding of innumerable flies and other insects. In 
J {vv. 20 — 32) Yahweh Himself sends swarms of flies i^drobh, a word perhaps 
denoting a mixed multitude of insects). In P {vv. 16 — 19) Aaron, at Moses' 

^ Perhaps, however, the Moabites took the colour of the water to be rather an 
omen of blood. 


bidding, stretched out the staff, and ' all the dust of the earth became kinnlniy 
stinging gnats or mosquitoes. These are specially common in Egypt about 
October. The larvae live in the pools caused by the Nile inundation, and when 
the waters recede and the pools dry up, the insects come to maturity. The 
plague is thus seen to follow the normal course of nature. But there is no 
evidence that the kinnlm, and the mixed mass of insects could, from natural 
causes, appear in succession. P particularises the earlier account. In 
Ps. cv. 31 the ^drubh and the kinnlm are coupled together, the latter being 
pliiced last ; and Ps. Ixxviii. 45 omits the Mnnlrn altogether. 

Mh and 6th Plagues. The pestilential effect of the decomposing bodies 
of the frogs has been already mentioned ; and bacteriological research shews 
that some insects, especially mosquitoes, are a great factor in the spread of 
disease. Thus the cattle-disease (ix. 1 — 7 J) is amply accounted for. In the 
narrative of the preceding plague, J relates that Goshen enjoyed a complete 
immunity from the insects. We may suppose that the direction of the wind, 
or other natural causes, prevented the insects from entering the Israelites' 
territory. But if the insects spread the disease, the statement that the 
murrain did not touch the cattle in Goshen is also explained. P, on the 
other hand, departs from natural causes (ix. 8 — 12). Moses and Aaron 
were bidden to fling into the air handfuls of fine ashes or soot, and it should 
become boils on man and beast. Writers on Egypt speak of cattle plagues 
which last for months, and are very fatal ; such a plague in 1842 a.d. lasted 
nine months, and killed 40,000 oxen. 

7th Plague. Thus far the plagues have followed one another in a natural 
sequence, the series resulting, in all probability, from an unusually large mass 
of decaying vegetable matter suspended in the waters of the Nile during the 
time of its inundation. But at this point a new series begins with a destructive 
thunderstorm, accompanied by hail (ix. 13 — 35). Such storms are rare in 
Egypt, but are not without example. Those which have been reported in 
modem times have occurred about January. Now the plague occurred at 
a point of time which is defined in vv. 31 f. : 'the barley was in the ear, and 
the flax was in bud, but the wheat and the vetch... were not grown up' ; and 
all the available evidence as to the ripening of crops in Egypt tends to shew 
that this state of things would normally occur about the middle of January. 
Thus the cattle plague had lasted about two months and a half (Nor. to the 
middle of Jan.), and the first five plagues (reckoning 3, 4 and 5, 6 as duplicates) 
occupied a period of about five months. 

Sth Plague. The atmospheric conditions which resulted in the storm also 
led to other plagues. A strong East wind arose, and brought a dense mass of 
locusts (x. 3 6—1 1, 13 6, 14 6, 15 a J). In E {vv. 12, 13 a, 14 a) Moses brings the 
plague, as usual, by lifting up the staff. Plagues of locusts are uncommon in 
Egypt, but have frequently been reported in Syria ; and in both ancient and 
modem times the swarms have been observed to come from the East. The 
lightness and fragility of the locusts render them helpless before a wind 
(cf Pa cix. 23). And when the wind shifted to the West, they were 
completely swept away into the Red Sea {cv. 15 c — 19 J). 

9th Plague. Only a fragment of J's narrative has here been preserved 
(x. 24 — 26, 28 f ), which relates the effect of the plague upon Pharaoh. B, as 

46 THE BOOK OF P]XODUS [vii. 14, .5 

before, says that it followed the lifting of the staff by Moses (vv. 21—23, 27). 
But it is not inii>rol)able that it was u further eonsequence of the West wind, 
l)r A. Maealister writes : ' The condition of darkness referred to is strikingly 
like that brought about by the severer form of the electrical wind hamdn. 
This is a S. or S.W. wind that is so named because it is liable to blow during 
the 25 days before and the 25 days alter the vernal equinox (/wimmi=---50). 
It is often not so nnich a storm or violent wind jis an oppressive hot blast 
charged with so much sand and fine dust that the air is darkened, it causes a 
blackness equal to the worst of London fogs, while the air is so hot and full of 
dust that respiration is imi)eded.... Denon says that it sometimes travels as 
a narrow stream, so that one part of the land is light while the rest is <iark 
{Voyage dans VEgypte^ Paris, 1802, p. 280).' And ho adds that three days is 
not an uncommon duration for the harmtiu. 

liHh Plague. Malignant ej)idemics have at all times been the scourge of 
J3iblo lands ; and it is worthy of note that many authorities state that pesti- 
lence is often worst at the time of the hamain wind. Jiut in the Hebrew 
narratives, in which only the firstborn are smitten, all thouglit of a ' natural ' 
occuiTcnce has passed away. The plague was a just retribution for Tharaoh's 
attemi)t to destroy the firstborn of the Israelites (i. 22). 

3. The religious teaching which underlies the stories of the plagues is 
nianifohl. The lifting of Moses' staff to bring the plagues, and his successive 
entreaties for their removal, teach the efficacy of prayer. If S. James (v. IG f ) 
could remind his readers that I^^lijah 'prayed earnestly that it might not rain, 
and it rained not,' and could deduce from this that ' the suj>plication of a 
righteous man availeth much in its working,' we can similarly learn from the 
action of Moses that prayer is not out of i)lace or unavailing in cases where 
nat\iral laws can be co-ordinated and guided by Ood to bring about thewished- 
for result. And from whatever point of view the i)lague8 are regarded, the 
same great facts shine through the narratives : — Yahweh is supreme in [)ower 
over the world which lie made, the truth which led Job to abhor himself and 
repent in dust and ashes ; Me has an absolute right, if Me so wills, to punish 
Pharaoh in order to shew forth in him Mis ])ower ; and Me does so because 
Pharaoh is impenitent, and consequently 'lilted for destruction ' (cf. iloni. ix. 
17 22), for Yahweh is a (jod that hates sin; and if a man hardens his heart, 
the result will be as inevitable as results in the natural world — so inevitable 
that it may truly be said that Yahweh hardens Mis heart (Kx. ix. 12, x. 1, 20, 
27, xi. 10) ; moreover the sin of Pharaoh, and so of any other man, may 
entail sufferings up<ui many innocent human beings and animals ; and, finally, 
'Yahweh is mindful of Mis own,' and delivers them from 'the noisome 
pestilence,' 'the pestilence that walketh in darkness' and 'the destruction 
that wasteth at noonday,' so that ' no i)lague can come nigh their dwelling' 
(Ps. xci.). 

14 And the TjOUD 8ai<l unto Moses, Pharaoirs heart is J 
^stubborn, lie refiiseth to let the [)e()i)le go. | 15 Get thee unto E 

^ Ileb. heavy. 

VII. 14 — 25. The plague of the Nile waters. 


Pharaoh in the morning ; lo, he goeth out unto the water ; and E 
thou Hlialt stand by the river's brink to meet him ; and the 
rod which was turned to a ^serpent shalt thou take in thine 
hand. | IG And thou shalt say unto him, The Lord, the God of J" 
the Hebrews, hath sent me unto thee, saying. Let my people go, 
that they may serve me in the wilderness : and, l)eh()ld, hitherto 
thou hast not hearkened. 17 Thus saith the Loud, In this thou 
shalt know that I am the Lord : | behold, 1 will smite with the E 
rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, 
and they shall be turned to blood. | 18 And the fish that is in J" 
the river shall die, and the river shall stink ; and the Egyptians 
shall loathe to drink water from the river. | 19 And the Lord P 
said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out 
thine hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over 
their -streams, and over their jxiols, and over all their ponds of 
water, that they may become blood ; and there shall be blood 
throughout all the land of Kgypt, both in vessels of wood and 
in vessels of stone. 20 And Moses and Aaron did so, a« the 

^ See ch. iv. 3. '^ Or, canals 

15. Pliaraoh's object in going to the river is not stated. It 
may have been to offer worship to the river-god. See Maspero, 
Ilymne an Nile^. 

17. / will smite &c. These are the words of Moses, in con- 
tinuation of V. 15 (E), the previous half verse being from J. The 
interweaving of the narratives makes it appear as though Yahweh 
spoke of Himself as wielding the staff. 

18. s/i(dl loathe ; s/iall weary themselves, i.e. in their eflbrts 
to get drinkable water, (jf. v. 24. The word occurs in Gen. xix. 11, 
Jer. ix. 5 al. 

19. rivers, the natural arms of the Nile ; streams, the artificial 
canals dug for ])ur})()scs of irrigation ; pools, formed by the inundation 
of the river. Cf viii. 5 [lleb, Ij, Is. xiv. 23, xli. 18. 

all their ponds of water, lit. ' every gathering of their waters ' 
(Gen. i. 10, Lev. xi. 86, Is. xxii. 11) — a general expression for all 
cisterns, reservoirs, &c., in which the Nile water was collected 
throughout the country. 

wood... stone. Earthenware vessels are not mentioned ; and several 
writers note that it is only in earthenware that the discoloured Nile 
waters can bo made and kept clear. But it is improbable that this 

^ Paris, 18(i8. The text and a French translation are given on pp. 18 — 21. 
The liymn praiBos the river as the sustainer of life, and prays that its inundation 
may duly take place. 

48 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [vii. 20-viiL 3 

Lord commanded ; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the P 
waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in 
the sight of his servants ; | and all the waters that were in the E 
river were turned to blood. | 21 And the fish that was in the J 
river died ; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not 
drink water from the river ; | and the blood was throughout all P 
the land of Egypt. 22 And the magicians of Egypt did in like 
manner with their enchantments : and Pharaoh's heart ^was 
hardened, and he hearkened not unto them ; as the Lord had 
spoken. | 23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, E 
neither did he ^lay even this to heart. | 24 And all the Egyptians J 
digged round about the river for water to drink ; for they could 
not drink of the water of the river. 25 And seven days were 
fulfilled, after that the Lord had smitten the river. 

VIII. 1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go in unto [9.^- ^ 

- vii. 2o 

Pharaoh, and say unto him. Thus saith the Lord, Let my people in 
go, that they may serve me. 2 And if thou refuse to let them ^^^'^ 
go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs : 3 and the 

1 Heb. was strong. ^ Heb. set his heart even to this. 

intentional accuracy is to be ascribed to P, who clearly wished to 
relate that every drop of water in Egypt became actual blood, which 
could not be rectified by any process of filtering. 

22. If all the water in Egypt was turned to blood by the action 
of Aaron, what was left for the magicians to do ? The same difficulty 
is felt in viii. 7, 18. The opposition of the magicians appears to be 
repeated mechanically from i?. 11 as a formula. This is a marked 
characteristic of the style of P. It has been suggested that the plague 
lasted only a short time, and that, when it ceased, the magicians 
produced it again. But the wording of the narrative does not suggest 
this ; and it is scarcely conceivable that any Egyptian would prolong 
the discomfort and thirst from which the whole country would be 
suffering. Theodoret (Quaest. in Ex.) is reduced to the explanation 
that they fetched water from the sea, in order to shew that they could 
perform the miracle. 

25. In no other instance is the interval between the plagues 
mentioned ; it is probable that the frogs appeared about a month 
later ; see note above. Perhaps, therefore, some verses have been 
lost which related the removal of the plague at Moses' intercession, 
after it had lasted a week. 

VIII. 1 — 15. The plague of frogs. 

3 (Heb. vii. 28). ovens {tannur) ; a portable earthenware stove, 
consisting of a jar about 3 ft. in height, narrowing towards the top 


river shall swaiin with frogs, which shall go up and come J 
into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy 
bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, 
and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs : 4 and 
the frogs shall come up both upon thee, and upon thy people, 
and upon all thy servants. | 5 And the Lord said unto Moses, P 
Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over [9.^- , 

VIU. 1 

the rivers, over the ^streams, and over the pools, and cause in 
frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt. 6 And Aaron ^^^-^ 
stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt ; and the fi-ogs 
came up, and covered the land of Egypt. 7 And the magicians 
did in like manner with their enchantments, and brought up 
frogs upon the land of Egypt. | 8 Then Pharaoh called for J 
Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the Lord, that he take 
away the frogs from me, and from my people ; and I will let the 
people go, that they may sacrifice unto the Lord. 9 And Moses 
said unto Pharaoh, Have thou this glory over me : against what 
time shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy 
people, that the frogs be destroyed from thee and thy houses, 
and remain in the river only ? 10 And he said. Against to- 
morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy Avord : that thou 

^ Or, canals 

like a trunciited cone. According to the present practice the bread 
is inserted within the stove, the blackened sides of which are previously 
wiped clean. But Eg}T)tian monuments represent cakes as being applied 
to the outside of the stove. See illustrations in Benzinger's Arch. 86 f. 

Jineadingtroughs (mish'ereth) ; a shallow wooden bowl, in which 
flour or barley meal was mixed with water and kneaded into dough. 
See art. ' Bread ' in Efic. B. and DB. 

7 (Heb. 3). It is difficult to attfich a definite meaning to this 
statement. How could it be made clear that the magicians produced 
frogs other than those which swarmed out of the river in consequence 
of Aaron's action? See vii. 22. 

9 (Heb. 5). Have thou this ghry ewer me. This might mean — 
Ask something which you think is too wonderful for me to accomplish, 
i.e. to fix the time at which the frogs are to be removed (Tg-Opk. 
Rashi). But it seems rather to be a polite form of address to the king 
— Do thyself the honour (^c of saying) for what time / shall 
intrtat ^c. Lxx ra^at Trpo? /x€ 'command me' (so Vg. Pesh.) gives 
the general sense. The word, however, usually means *to boast' 
(Jud. vii. 2), and the text is perhaps corrupt. 

M. 4 

50 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [viii. lo-is 

mayest know that there is none like unto the Lord our God. J 
11 And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, 
and from thy servants, and from thy people ; they shall remain 
in the river only. 12 And Moses and Aaron went out from 
Pharaoh : and Moses cried unto the Lord concerning the frogs 
^ which he had brought upon Pharaoh. 13 And the Lord did 
according to the word of Moses ; and the frogs died out of the 
houses, out of the courts, and out of the fields. 14 And they 
gathered them together in heaps : and the land stank. 15 But 
when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he ^hardened his 
heart, | and hearkened not unto them ; as the Lord had spoken. P 

16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch 
out thy rod, and smite the dust of the earth, that it may become 
^lice throughout all the land of Egypt. 17 And they did so ; 
and Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the 
dust of the earth, and there were lice upon man, and upon 
beast ; all the dust of the earth became lice throughout all 
the land of Egypt. 18 And the magicians did so with their 

1 Or, as he had appointed unto Pharaoh ^ Heb. made heavy. 

^ Or, sand fiies Or, fleas 

12 (Heb. 8). And Moses went out, and Aaron. The verb 
heing in the singular, the later addition ' and Aaron * is easily 
recognised. See on iv. 29. 

brought upon Pharaoh ; appointed for PJiaraoh, as a sign or 
punishment. Cf. Gen. iv. 15. R.V. mg, 'as he had appointed' refers 
to Moses as the subject of the verb — 'as he had promised or agreed in 
his words to Pharaoh ' in vv. 10 i} 

14 (Heb. 10). m heaps. Heb. ' heaps, heaps,' expressing either a 
large number, or distribution. Cf. Jud. xv. 16, Gen. xiv. 10, Mk. vi. 40. 

16 — 19. The plague of mosquitoes. 

16 (Heb. 12). lice. Heb. kinmm^. Ps. cv. 31, and probably 
Is. li. 6 f. The word is used in later Heb. for ' maggots ' and 
especially ' lice.' But that the kinnim ' were not lice in the ordinary 
sense of the word is shewn by their attacking beasts as well as men, 
for none of these specimens of human pediculi will live and multiply 
freely on animals ' (Macalister) ; moreover lice are not naturally 
generated in dust. The word probably denotes ' gnats ' or mos- 
quitoes. LXX crKVL<f>€^. 

18 (Heb. 14). See notes on v. 7 (3), vii. 22. 

1 LXX irepl Tov 6pi<riiiov tGjv /Sarpdxw, ws ird^aTo [r^j] ^apaib — 'as Ph. had 
appointed. ' 

2 Erman suggests that it is a Hebraized form of an Egyptian word [ZDMG xlvi. 
p. 116, cf. 1. p. 627). 

viii. 18-24] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 51 

enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not : and there P 
were lice upon man, and upon beast. 19 Then the magicians 
said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God : and Pharaoh's 
heart hvas hardened, and he hearkened not unto them ; as the 
Lord had spoken. 

20 And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the J 
morning, and stand before Pharaoh ; lo, he cometh forth to 
the water ; and say unto him. Thus saith the Lord, Let my 
people go, that they may serve me. 21 Else, if thou wilt not 
let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, 
and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy 
houses : and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms 
of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. 22 And I will 
sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, 
that no swarms of flies shall be there ; to the end thou mayest 
know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. 23 And 
I will 2 put a division between my people and thy people : by 
to-morrow shall this sign be. 24 And the Lord did so ; and 

1 Heb. was strong. - Or, set a sign of deliverance Heb. set redemption. 

19 (Heb. 15). the finger of God. xxxi. 18, Dt. ix. 10, 
Ps. viii. 3 (4), Lk. xi. 19. They recognised superhuman action, but 
they did not acknowledge Yahweh. 

20—32. The plague of files. 

20 (Heb. 16). See note on vii. 15. 

21 (Heb. 17). / will send^ swarms of files, ^drobh, a collective 
singular, from a root which appears to mean 'to mix.' It expresses 
the idea either of incessant involved motion in a dense swarm, or 
more probably of a large number of varieties of insects. Vg. omne 
muscarum genus. Aq. (Ps. Ixxviii. 45) Tra/x/xt/cTo?. 

22 (Heb. 18). sever"", ix. 4, xi. 7. 

23 (Heb. 19). a division. This is the rendering of lxx Stao-roXT/, 
so Pesh. Vg. But the present Heb. text has nip ' a redemption.' It 

should perhaps be read ^175 *a severance' or 'separation,' a subst. 
connected with the verb used in v. 22 (18). 

24 (Heb. 20). and into all the land of Egypt. This should be 
connected with the preceding clauses^. 

^ The Hiphil (causative voice) is used only of God sending famine, trouble &o. 
as a punishment ; Lev. xxvi. 22, 2 K. xv. 37, Am. viii. 11, Ez. xiv. 13 f. . 

"^ Lxx 7rapa5o$ao-w, 'I will make wonderful,' confuses it with another root fc<72, 
with which, however, it is sometimes interchanged. 

' LXX, Pesh., Sam. supply ' and ' at the beginning of the foil, clause. 


52 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [viii. 24-32 

there came grievous swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh, J 
and into his servants' houses : and in all the land of Egypt the 
land was ^corrupted by reason of the swarms of flies. 25 And 
Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice 
to your God in the land. 26 And Moses said, It is not meet so 
to do ; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to 
the Lord our God : lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the 
Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us ? 27 We 
will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to 
the Lord our God, as he shall command us. 28 And Pharaoh 
said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your 
God in the wilderness ; only ye shall not go very far away : 
intreat for me. 29 And Moses said. Behold, I go out from thee, 
and I will intreat the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart 
from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, to- 
morrow : only let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not 
letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord. 30 And Moses 
went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the Lord. 31 And the 
Lord did according to the word of Moses ; and he removed the 
swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his 
people ; there remained not one. 32 And Pharaoh ^hardened 
his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go. 

^ Or, destroyed ^ Heb. made heavy. 

corrupted ; ruined : a vague expression describing the terrible 
nature of the plague. Wisd. xvi. 9 understands it of the death of 
the Egyptians by the bites of the flies. 

26 (Heb. 22). the abomination. The word is frequently employed 
to describe heathen practices which are displeasing to God ; elsewhere 
Gen. xliii. 32, xlvi. 34, in both cases of people or practices displeasing 
to the Egyptians. In a Phoenician inscription ' the abomination of 
Ashtoreth ' occurs with reference to the violation of a tomb ; see 
Driver, Samuel, p. xxvi. The Egyptians religiously abstained from 
sacrificing certain animals which the Israelites sacrificed fi-eely — as the 
cow, which was sacred to Isis, the bull to Apis (unless the priest 
pronounced it 'pure/ i.e. free from sacred marks, and with no black 
hairs), the sheep at Thebes, and goats at Mendes (Herod, ii. 38, 41 f., 
46; see Wiedemann, fferodots zweites Buck, 180 — 183, 187 f.). The 
* abomination ' here refers to the act of sacrificing, though it is used by 
metathesis for the victims. 

27 (Heb. 23). The Israelites were about to become, for the first 
time, united in the worship of the one God Yahweh ; and the correct 
methods of sacrifice to Him had not yet been laid down ; cf. x. 26. 


IX. 1 Then the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, J 
and tell him, Thus saith the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, Let 
my people go, that they may serve me. 2 For if thou refuse to 
let them go, and wilt hold them still, 3 behold, the hand of the 
Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, 
upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the herds, and upon the 
flocks : there shall he a very grievous murrain. 4 And the Lord 
shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt : 
and there shall nothing die of all that belongeth to the children 
of Israel. 5 And the Lord appointed a set time, saying, To- 
morrow the Lord shall do this thing in the land. 6 And the 
Lord did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt 
died : but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. 
7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not so much as one 
of the cattle of the Israelites dead. But the heart of Pharaoh 
was ^stubborn, and he did not let the people go. 

8 And the Lord said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to P 
you handfuls of ^ ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it 
toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. 9 And it shall become 
small dust over all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking 
forth with blains upon man and upon beast, throughout all the 
land of Egypt. 10 And they took ashes of the furnace, and 
stood before Pharaoh ; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven ; 
and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and 
upon beast. 1 1 And the magicians could not stand before Moses 
because of the boils ; for the boils were upon the magicians, and 

1 Heb. heavy. ^ Or, soot 

IX. 1-— 12. The cattle plague and the boils. 

8. ashes. The word, which occurs only in this narrative, seems 
to be derived from a root denoting 'breathe/ 'exhale.' This would 
imply something lighter than ashes, such as soot which could be 
wafted about, or exhaled from a kiln. 

of the furnace ; of a kiln for lime or pottery ; v. 10, xix. 18, 
Gen. xix. 28 t. 

9. a boil. A general term for ulcers and sores — the 'botch of 
Egypt' (Dt. xxviii. 27, 85), the malady of Hezekiah (2 K. xx. 7 
= Is. xxxviii. 21), and of Job (ii. 7). In the present case it developed 
in the form of blisters or pustules, lxx I^kyj ^XuktiScs ava^covo-at 
suggests small-pox. See art. ' Medicine ' in DB iii. 

54 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [ix. ri-17 

upon all the Egyptians. 12 And the Lord ^hardened the heart P 
of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them ; as the Lord had 
spoken unto Moses. 

13 And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the J 
morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus 
saith the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that 
they may serve me. 14 For I will this time send all my plagues 
upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people ; 
that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the 
earth. 15 For now I had put forth my hand, and smitten thee 
and thy people with pestilence, and thou hadst been cut off from 
the earth : 16 but in very deed for this cause have I made thee 
to stand, for to shew thee my power, and that my name may be 
declared throughout all the earth. 17 As yet exaltest thou 

^ Heb. made strong. 

13 — 35. The hail and thunder storm. 

14. upon thine heart. The expression is strange in parallelism 
with ' servants ' and ' people,' and the text may be corrupt. Baentsch 

suggests ^1 ^^^ for ^?? ^^ — 'all these my plagues upon thee^ \ cf x. 1. 

16. made thee to stand, i.e. allowed thee to remain alive ^, 
instead of destroying thee at once by means of the last plague. This 
was for two purposes, ' to make thee see my power,' and that by a 
continued succession of marvels men may ' relate my name [i.e. my 
fame and greatness] in all the earth.' In Rom. ix. 17 S. Paul gives, 
in two respects, a different force to the words : 1st, ' For this very 
purpose I raised thee up^ (e^yet/oa o-c^ instead of lxx SLeTY]pt]Or]<;) 
expresses the thought that God called Pharaoh up as an actor on 
the stage of history (cf lxx Hab. i. 6, Zech. xi. 16, Jer. xxvii. 41) ; 
2nd, ' that I might shew i7i thee my power ' agrees with the lxx in 
Exod. ' S. Paul by slightly changing the language generalizes the 
statement and applies the words to the whole appearance of Pharaoh 
in the field of history. Just as the career of Moses exhibits the 
Divine mercy, so the career of Pharaoh exhibits the Divine severity, 
and in both cases the absolute sovereignty of God is vindicated ' 
(Sanday and Headlam, p. 255 ; see the whole note). 

17. exaltest thou thyself. The verb signifies 'to heap up' a 

1 For this use of the Hiphil of the word cf. 1 K. xv. 4 (E.V. 'establish') 
and for the intransitive (Kal) Ps. cii. 26 (R.V. 'endure'), Is. Ixvi. 22 (R.V. 
* remain '), Jer. xxxii. 14 (R.V. ' continue '). 

2 Perhaps, however, this is only S. Paul's equivalent for the Aram. nD'''*p 
which occurs in the Targum in the present passage ; in which case e^r/yeipa has the 
same force as the Heb. This is suggested to me by Prof. Kennett. 


thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go ? J" 
18 Behold, to-morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very 
grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the day it 
was founded even until now. | 19 Now therefore send, hasten in R"^^ 
thy cattle and all that thou hast in the field ; for every man and 
beast which shall be found in the field, and shaU not be brought 
home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die. 

20 He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of 
Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses : 

21 and he that regarded not the word of the Lord left his 
servants and his cattle in the field. 

22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand E 
toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, 
upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, 
throughout the land of Egypt. 23 And Moses stretched forth 
his rod toward heaven : and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and 
fire ran down unto the earth ; | and the Lord rained hail upon J 
the land of Egypt. | 24 So there was hail, and fire ^mingled with E 
the hail, | very grievous, such as had not been in all the land J 
of Egypt since it became a nation. | 25 And the hail smote E 
throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both 
man and beast ; | and the hail smote every herb of the field, and «/ 
brake every tree of the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, 
where the children of Israel were, was there no hail. 27 And 

^ Or, flashing continually amidst 

highway or mound. It occurs with a moral force in Prov. iv. 8. 
The reflexive form used here is found only in Ecclus. xxxix. 24, xl. 28. 

22. thine hand, sc. with the rod ; see foil, verse. 

24. mingled. Ez. i. 4 t- R.V. marg. expresses substantially the 
force of the word, but its exact meaning is doubtful. It is a reflexive 
(Hithpael) participle from a root signifying 'to take,' 'fetch' or ' carry 
oflV The following explanations have been ofl"ered : (1) 'appearing 
incessantly,' each flash as it were taking hold of the last one (Dillm.) ; 
(2) ' infolding itself (Gesen. and Ez. i. 4 A.V., R.V.), i.e. a conglomerate 
mass of Are ; (3) forked or zigzai,^ lightning (A. B. Davidson). Perhaps 
the nearest equivalent is darting in the midst of the hail — each 
flash ' taking itself off',' vanishing as quickly as it appeared \ 

^ The Greek translators were quite uncertain : lxx (pMyi^ov (so Tg-Onk. Pesh.). 
Aq.\aixpav6iJi.(.vov . Syram. tvu\ouix€vov. 

56 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [ix. 27-33 

Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto J 
them, I have sinned this time : the Lord is righteous, and I and 
my people are wicked. 28 Intreat the Lord ; for there hath been 
enough of these ^mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you 
go, and ye shall stay no longer. 29 And Moses said unto him. 
As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my 
hands unto the Lord ; the thunders shall cease, neither shall 
there be any more hail ; that thou mayest know that the earth is 
the Lord's. 30 But as for thee and thy servants, I know that 
ye will not yet fear the Lord God. 31 And the flax and the 
barley were smitten : for the barley was in the ear, and the flax 
2 was boiled. 32 But the wheat and the spelt were not smitten: 
for they were not grown up. 33 And Moses went out of the city 
from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the Lord : and 
the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon 

^ Heb. voices (or thunderings) of God. ^ Or, was in hloom 

27. Pharaoh is in no sense penitent ; he only feels that he has 
gone one step too far in defying the power of a foreign deity, and 
he must propitiate him by declaring himself and his people beaten. 
Yahweh is the righteous one— i.e. He has vindicated His power, 
and I a7id my people are the wicked ones — i.e. we have been proved 
to be the weakest. 

30. Yahweh God. An uncommon expression ; in the Hexateuch 
it occurs only in Gen. ii. 4 b — iii. 24. Lxx omits Yahweh. 

31, 32. These w. assign the plague to a point of time about the 
middle of January ; see p. 45. 

flax. Only here used of the growing plant. Flax in Egypt flowers 
in February or early in March. 

barley took the place occupied by oats in Europe and America ; 
it was employed to make a coarse bread eaten by the poor ( Jud. vii. 1 3, 
2 K. iv. 42, Jn. vi. 9), and the chopped stalks formed provender for 
beasts (1 K. iv. 28). Barley harvest in Egypt began early in March 
or at the end of February. In Palestine it was later. 

was in the ear. Lit. 'was ear' {ab~ib\ Lev. ii. 14. See on xiii. 4. 

was boiled ; was in bud. Lit. 'was bud' {gibh'dl). See W. R. Smith, 
Journal oj Phil. xii. 299 f. ' The English word boll (originally some- 
thing swollen) is a seed vessel, a pod ; hence ' was boiled ' (= ' was in 
seed') expresses a further stage of growth than the Heb. warrants' 
(Hastings, DB i. 310). 

s^yelt. Is. xxviii. 25, Ez. iv. 9 t. A.V. ' rye ' ; but rye is not sown 
in Bible lands. The kussemeth was a plant somewhat similar to the 
lentil. Jerome mcia, i.e. vetch, which is probably the best rendering. 

were not grown up. Heb. ' were concealed,' i.e. beneath the soil. 

IX. 33-x. 6] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 57 

the earth. 34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the J 
hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and 
^hardened his heart, he and his servants. | 35 And the heart of E 
Pharaoh -was hardened, and he did not let the children of Israel 
go ; as the Lord had spoken by Moses. 

X. 1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh : | J 
for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, R^ 
that I might shew these my signs in the midst of them : 2 and 
that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, 
^what things I have wrought upon Egypt, and my signs which I 
have done among them ; that ye may know that I am the Lord. | 
3 And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and said unto J 
him, Thus saith the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, How long 
wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me ? let my people go, 
that they may serve me. 4 Else, if thou refuse to let my people 
go, behold, to-morrow will I bring locusts into thy border : 
5 and they shall cover the face of the earth, that one shall 
not be able to see the earth : and they shall eat the residue 
of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from 
the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out 
of the field : 6 and thy houses shall be filled, and the houses of 
all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians ; as neither 
thy fathers nor thy fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that 
they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned, and 

^ Heb. made heavy. ^ Heb. was strong. 

"* Or, how I have mocked the Egyptians 

X. 1 — 20. TJie plague of locusts. 

2. that thou mayest tell. The singular refers not to Moses but to 
all Israel, in the style of Deuteronomy, where ' thou ' and ' ye ' are (as 
here) used interchangeably. 

what things I have wrought upon ; how I have made a toy of. 
The word denotes * to occupy or divert oneself by wanton or ruthless 
treatment of another.' It is an anthropomorphism which is not con- 
sonant with the higher Christian conceptions of God. Num. xxii. 29, 
Jud. xix. 25, 1 S. vi. 6, xxxi. 4=1 Clir. x. 4, Jer. xxxviii. 19 f. 

4. locusts. Heb. 'arheh ; the commonest of the nine words 
employed in the O.T. to denote various species of the locust ty\)Q ; 
it is derived from a root signifying ' to multiply.* See Driver, Joel 
and Amos, Excursus on locusts, pp. 82 ff. 

58 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [x. 6-12 

went out fi'om ^Pharaoh. 7 And Pharaoh's servants said unto J 
him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us ? let the men 
go, that they may serve the Lord their God : knowest thou not 
yet that Egypt is destroyed ? 8 And Moses and Aaron were 
brought again unto Pharaoh : and he said unto them. Go, serve 
the Lord your God : but who are they that shall go ? 9 And 
Moses said. We will go with our young and with our old, with 
our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our 
herds will we go ; for we must hold a feast unto the Lord. 
10 And he said unto them. So be the Lord with you, as I will 
let you go, and your little ones : look to it ; for evil is ^before 
you. 11 Not so : go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord ; 
for that is what ye desire. And they were driven out from 
Pharaoh's presence. 

12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand E 
over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up 
upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all 

1 Or, what ye purpose Heb. before your face. 

7. a snare. An instrument of destruction. The Egyptians felt 
themselves as helpless as birds in Moses' hands. 

let the men go. The expression is perhaps contemptuous ; or it is 
merely equivalent to the pronoun * them ' ; it can hardly mean ' men ' 
as distinct from women and children, for a different word {g^hhdrwi) 
is employed for that, m v. 11. 

8. who are they. The Heb. ' who and who ' is expressive, implying 
that he expected an answer naming certain selected individuals. 

10. so be Yahweh...&c. It is a sarcastic exclamation, wishing 
for Yahweh's blessing upon them in proportion to the probability of 
his letting them go. 

and your little ones. Apparently an expression which included the 
wives and other women in their families. Cf Gen. xliii. 8. 

evil is before you, i.e. ye have an evil purpose in view, in making 
this demand. 

11. Pharaoh supposed that for offering a sacrifice, only men could 
be required ; and since that which they desired was to ' serve (perform 
a service to) Yahweh,' they might do so. The retention of their 
wives, children and animals would of course ensure their return to 

12. Jor the locusts. Heb. ^ with the locust ' is difficult. Perhaps 
read ^?")^C ^5 CI, ' and bring the locusf^.' 

1 Lxx Kal ava^r}T(a cLKpis, as though nB")^ ^5""l2^1, which is also possible. 

X. 12-.2] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 59 

that the hail hath left. 13 And Moses stretched forth his rod E 
over the land of Egypt, | and the Lord brought an east wind J 
upon the land all that day, and all the night ; and when it was 
morning, the east wind brought the locusts. | 14 And the locusts E 
went up over all the land of Egypt, | and rested in all the borders J 
of Egypt ; very grievous were they ; before them there were no 
such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. 15 For 
they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was 
darkened ; | and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the E 
fruit of the trees which the hail had left : | and there remained J 
not any green thing, either tree or herb of the field, through all 
the land of Egypt. 16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and 
Aaron in haste ; and he said, I have sinned against the Lord your 
God, and against you. 17 Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, 
my sin only this once, and intreat the Lord your God, that he 
may take away from me this death only. 18 And he went out 
from Pharaoh, and intreated the Lord. 19 And the Lord turned 
an exceeding strong west wind, which took up the locusts, and 
drove them into the Red Sea ; there remained not one locust in 
all the border of Egypt. | 20 But the Lord ^hardened Pharaoh's E 
heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go. 

21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand 
toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of 
Egypt, ^even darkness which may be felt. 22 And Moses 

^ Heb. made strong. ^ Or, so that men shall grope in darkness 

13. A wind is mentioned as Yahweh's instrument in xiv. 21, 
Num. xi. 31 (both J). 

had brought the locusts. When they awoke in the morning, they 
found the land already covered with them. 

19. Swarms of locusts driven into the sea have frequently been 
noticed ; cf. Pliny xi. 35, ' gregatim sublatae vento in maria aut 
stagna decidunt'; and see Joel ii. 20 with Driver's note. 

Bed Sea. See on xiii. 18. 

21 — 29. The darkness. 

21. even darkness which may he felt. Lit. ' so that one may feel 
darkness.' The English word ' feel ' can be applied to any kind of 
sensation, but the Heb. word denotes * to feel with groping hands ' 
(cf Gen. xxvii. 12, xxxi. 34, 37, Dt. xxviii. 29). The text and the 
margin both contain part of tlie idea, which is well expressed by the 
Lxx i}/r]\a4)r]Tov a-K6To^. Cf Milton, Far. Lost, i. 63, * No light, but 
rather darkness visible.' 

60 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [x. .2-xi. i 

stretched forth his hand toward heaven ; and there was a thick E 
darkness in all the land of Egypt three days ; 23 they saw not one 
another, neither rose any from his place for three days : but all 
the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. ! 24 And J 
Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the Lord ; 
only let your flocks and your herds be stayed : let your little ones 
also go with you. 25 And Moses said. Thou must also give 
into our hand sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice 
unto the Lord our God. 26 Our cattle also shall go with us ; 
there shall not an hoof be left behind ; for thereof must we take 
to serve the Lord our God ; and we know not with what we 
must serve the Lord, until we come thither. | 27 But the Lord E 
^hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go, | 
28 And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed J 
to thyself, see my face no more ; for in the day thou seest my 
face thou shalt die. 29 And Moses said. Thou hast spoken 
well ; I will see thy face again no more. 

XI. 1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Yet one plague more E 

1 Heb. made strong. 

On the account of this plague is based the remarkable description 
in Wisd. xvii. 

22. thick darkness. Lxx (TK6ro<i yv6<f>o<s OveWa, which accords 
well with the suggestion that the darkness was due to the hamsin 
wind ; see p. 46. 

25. It is nowhere stated that Pharaoh gave them animals, but 
his words ' bless me also ' (xii. 32) may imply that he did something to 
propitiate Moses' God. 

sacrifices and burnt offerings. See on xx. 24. 

that we may sacrifice. Heb. ' do' or 'make.' The word originally 
denoted 'to prepare' or 'provide' the victim (1 K. xviii. 23, 25 f.), 
and then ' to make ' an offering. It also acquired the meaning ' to 
observe' or 'celebrate' a festival — xxxi. 16 (Sabbath), xxxiv. 22, 
Dt. xvi. 10 (F. of Weeks), 13 (F. of Booths). The Greek equivalent, 
Troietf, appears with the latter meaning in Matt. xxvi. 18. 

29. The scene is continued in xi. 4 — 8, in which Moses gives his 
final warning before leaving Pharaoh's presence for the last time ; 
see p. xvii. 

Chapter XL 

F reparations for departure. The warning of the last plague. 

XI. 1. when he shall let you go &c. The punctuation adopted 
in the margin is preferable \ 

1 The text, however, is doubtful, the adverbial use of the subst. nbs is difficult 

T T 

(occurring only in Gen. xviii. 21, where the text is similarly questionable). Perhaps 


will I bring upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt ; afterwards he will E 
let you go hence : hvhen he shall let you go, he shall surely 
thrust you out hence altogether. 2 Speak now in the ears of 
the people, and let them ask every man of his neighbour, and 
every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of 
gold. 3 And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight 
of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great 
in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, 
and in the sight of the people. 

4 And Moses said. Thus saith the Lord, About midnight J 
will 1 go out into the midst of Egypt : 5 and all the firstborn 
in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh 
that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the 
maidservant that is behind the mill ; and all the firstborn of 
cattle. 6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the 
land of Egypt, such as there hath been none like it, nor shall 
be like it any more. 7 But against any of the children of 
Israel shall not a dog ^move his tongue, against man or beast : 
that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference 
between the Egyptians and Israel. 8 And all these thy servants 
shall come doAvn unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, 
saying. Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee : and 
after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in 
hot anger. 

9 And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh will not hearken W^ 
unto you : that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of 
Egypt. 10 And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before 
Pharaoh : and the Lord ^hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did 
not let the children of Israel go out of his land. 

* Or, wlien he shall let you go altogether, he shall utterly thrust you out hence 
2 Heb. whet. ^ Heb. made strong. 

3. the man Moses. Cf. Num. xii. 3 (E). 

7. move. Heb. 'sharpen,' 'whet' (as marg.). Jos. x. 21. 

read nVs with the same meaning, or DDp3, 'all of you,' as suggested by Pesh. 
(lxx avv TTavTl). 


Chapter XII.^— XIIL 16. 

The Passover; the Festival of Unleavened Cahes ; 
the last plague and the Exodus. 

This section is of importance as illustrating the manner in which not a few 
of the traditions of the Hebrews reached their present form. It is noticeable 
that there is no trace of E's handiwork in the regulations which it contains. 
It can with confidence be assigned — apart from Deuteronomic additions — to 
J and P. E has preserved no record of the Passover. With regard to the 
F. of Unleavened Cakes {Mazzdth\ and the dedication of firstborn and first- 
lings, E has regulations in xxii. 29 f. [xxiii. 18 t\ but gives no hint that either 
observance was connected with the Exodus ; they simply form a part of the 
legislation at Horeb. It is probable that the Passover was a primitive 
celebration, dating from a period earlier than Moses (see below), as did 
also the custom of dedicating firstborn and firstlings; and, on the other 
hand, that the F. of Mazzoth and the dedication of firstfruits belong to 
the time after the Israelites had entered Canaan. If E had been preserved 
alone, there would be nothing to conflict with this view. But the religious 
teachers whose work is represented in J struck out a new line of thought. 
As they meditated on the great story of the Exodus, and recalled each 
detail with pious thankfulness, there seemed to ofi'er themselves certain 
points of comparison between the religious customs of their day and the 
events which formed the wonderful crisis in the history of their nation. 
The primitive ceremony by which their early ancestors used to propitiate 
God was coupled in their minds with the chiefest of all occasions on which 
Yahweh shewed His mercy, in sparing the firstborn of their race when 
He poured His wrath upon the firstborn and firstlings of the Egyptians. 
The custom of dedicating firstborn and firstlings recalled, in a striking manner, 
the same event. (Note that the offering of firstfruits, which in xxii. 29 f., 
xxiii. 18 f. is closely coupled with the offering of firstborn and firstlings, 
offered no parallelism with the Exodus, and does not appear in chs. xii., xiii.) 
And once more: in meditating on the meaning and possible origin of the 
F. of Mazzoth^ they remembered that at the same great historical crisis their 
forefathers were obliged to depart from Egypt in such haste that they could 
not leaven their dough. From these imaginative parallels it was but a step, 
as years went on, to connect the three religious customs explicitly with the 
narrative of the Exodus : and when men's sons asked them from time to time 
What mean ye by this service ? the answers were gradually formed which now 
appear in the chapters before us. 

The Passover. 

The history and meaning of the Passover must be studied under two quite 
distinct aspects — (1) its significance to Israel during the period covered by our 
written records, (2) its probable origin and primitive significance. 

1 In an interesting article in the JQR (vol. v. 420 — 468) Dr Biiehler deals with 
the triennial arrangement of the ancient Jewish lectionary. Ex. xii. was read at 
the beginning of the second year's course. 


1. It is dealt with in the following passages of the O.T. : Ex. xii. 21 — 27 
(J for the most part), xxxiv. 25 (J), Dt. xvi. 1 — 8, Lev. xxiii. 5 (H), Ex. xii. 
1-13, 43-^9, Num. ix. 1—14, xxviii. 16, Jos. v. 10 (all P), Ez. xly. 21—25, 
2 K. xxiii. 21—23, 2 Chr. xxx., xxxv. 1—9, Ezr. vi. 19 f. 

E, as has been said above, has no reference to it ; Ex. xxiii. 18 probably 
refers not to the Passover but to animal sacrifices in general. 

In Ex. xxxiv. 25 the Passover is called a hag^ or pilgrimage — the word 
being otherwise confined with few exceptions^ to the three annual pilgrimages, 
F. of Mazzoth^ F. of Weeks and F. of Ingathering. This has led many 
writers to think that ' the Passover ' is a later insertion, applying specifically 
to the great and unique festival the general injunction of xxiii. 18, and 
dating from a time when the Passover and the F. of Mazzoth had become 
blended into one festival, as is the case in Dt. This supposition is very 
probably correct, although the designation of the Passover as a hag seems 
to date from very primitive days (see below). The passage, as it stands, lays 
down that in the Passover, as in other animal sacrifices, every care must be 
taken to avoid putrefaction, either in the flesh, or (in the form of leaven) in 
the bread which was eaten at the sacrificial meal. 

In xii. 21 f. the victims are animals from the flock (z^on), wliich would » 
include goats as well as sheep ; and nothing is said as to age or sex. The " 
pouring out of the animal's blood is taken for granted. A bunch of hyssop is 
to be dipped in the blood which is in the bason, and smeared on the door- 
posts and lintel, in order that the destroyer may not enter the house, but that 
when Yahweh passes through {^dbhar) to destroy the firstborn of Egypt, He 
may pass by {pdsah ^al) the houses marked with blood. The eating of the 
flesh is taken for granted, the whole emphasis being laid on the blood 
ceremony. The hour of the ceremony is not stated, but 22 h implies that it 
is in the evening. 

In Dt. (xvi. 1 — 8) a great change has come over the festival. It is to be . 
observed in the month Abib as a memorial of the deliverance from Egypt. ' 
It appears to be blended with the F. of Mazzoth^ fonuing a seven days' 
festival. The flesh is to be 'boiled^' (a word which, however, may merely mean 
' cooked ' as opposed to raw ; see Driver), and eaten with unleavened cakes, 
'even the bread of affliction,' as a memorial of the 'trepidation' with which the 
Israelites left Egypt. Above all, the celebration loses its domestic character ; 
nothing is said of the door-post ceremony, and the animals are to be killed 
only at the one central sanctuary, in the evening, the time of the departure 
from Egypt. 

In Ez. xlv. 21 — 25 the Passover is blended, as in Dt., with the F. of Mazzoth., 
forming a seven days' festival. There is no statement as to the kind of animal 
that is to be offered, and no mention of any private celebration. It is part of 
the i)rophet's ideal scheme for the restored nation, a sacrifice offered by ' the 
prince ' for himself and the community. 

In the ' Law of Holiness ' (Lev. xxiii. 5), which has close afiinities with 

1 Ex. xxxii. 5, Jud. xxi. 19 (if this was not the F. of Ingathering), 1 K. xii. 32 f. 
- Boiling appears to have been the usual method of cookiug sacrificial flesh , 
down to the exile (cf. 1 Sam. ii. 13 f., Ez. xlvi. 19 — 24). 


Ezekiel (see LOT^ 147 ff-X the Passover is merely enumerated with the other 
feasts, and is stated to be the opening feast of the year, held in the evening of 
the 14th day of the first month. 

In P (Ex. xii. 1 — 13, 43—49) is reached the final stage in the elaboration of 
the festival, where it again becomes a home celebration. The ordinances of 
J, with the exception of the hyssop and the bason, are incorporated, but with 
numerous additions ; and the whole reads like an attempt to produce an ideal 
scheme, based upon ancient material. The new details are as follows : the 
animal (sheep or goat) is to be a year old, and perfect; it is to be selected on 
the 10th day of the first month and guarded; more than one family may unite 
to make a sufficient number to consume the animal at one meal ; it may not be 
eaten raw or boiled \ but it must be roasted, and kept entire — head, legs and 
inwards; it is to be eaten with bitter herbs (as in Dt.); all remnants must be 
bmTit the same night; the people must eat it with staves in their hands and 
girded and shod as though ready for a journey 2. The command, in 43 — 49, that 
only the circumcised may eat it, emphasizes the idea of a covenant between God 
and His people. In Num. ix. 1 — 14 an additional law is laid down, that those 
who are ceremonially unclean, or who are absent on a jouraey, may eat it one 
month later, i.e. on the 14th day of the second month ; and a threat is added 
(which is absent from Ex. xii.) that anyone who is neither unclean nor on a 
journey, and who fails to observe the festival, ' shall be cut off from his people.' 
(On this expression see Gray, in loc.) 

The passages cited above from Jos., 2 K., 2 Chr., Ezra relate instances of 
the celebration of the Passover. In the prophets, except Ezekiel, there are no 
certain references to the festival ; possible allusions occur in Hos. xii. 9(10), 
Is. XXX. 29, but both are doubtful. 

The later details of the Passover, such as obtained in actual practice in 
N.T. times, varied considerably from those found in the O.T. In one important 
particular they conformed more closely to Dt. than to P, the sacrificial 
character of the rite at the one sanctuary again coming into prominence. 
The chief authorities for this period are Mishna, Pesahim^ Jubilees ch. xlix. 
See Edersheim, The Temple, its Ministry and Services, and articles in DB, 
Enc. Bihl. and Enc. Brit. 

2. The religious historians of the Hebrews connected the Passover with 
the Exodus. But there are indications that its origin lay behind the Exodus 
in a far-off past. And though we here enter upon a region of inference and 
deduction, a truer and larger view will be gained of God's methods in dealing 
with His people when it is seen that the Passover was a primitive institution, 
engrained in the earlier life of Israel, and that their religious genius, by Divine 
inspiration, took it up and transformed it into something greater and 

It is noticeable that in xii. 21 'the Passover' is abruptly introduced as 
something already well known; and that the Israelites had repeatedly asked 

1 See preceding footnote. 

2 This need not imply that they were to eat it standing. There is no command 
to that effect in the O.T., and in our Lord's time those who partook of the feast 
reclined as at an ordinary meal. 


permission from Phamoh to separate themselves three days' journey, for the 
purpose of holding a pilgrimage and of offering sacrifice (iii. 18, v. 1, vii. 16, 
viii. 27, X. 9). It would seem, therefore, that they made an annual festival, 
which had come down to them from their fathers, the reason — or the 
ostensible reason — for leaving Egypt. Moreover Pharaoh does not appear to 
have seen anything sti*ange in the request ; he merely refused to grant it. If, 
then, the Passover was a very early nomad institution, the original meaning of 
it must be sought partly from the ritual details, and partly from the customs 
of Arabian nomads of the present day, who are very tenacious of ancient 
traditions and habits. 

The name is unfortunately of little help. Its Heb. form is pesah. In 
xii. 13, 23, 27 a verb {pdsah) is employed, apparently ^vith the meaning 'to 
pass,' followed by the preposition 'a/, ' over ' or ' by.' This verb is found else- 
where only in Is. xxxi. 5 — ' as flying birds so will Yahweh of Hosts shield 
Jerusalem, shielding and delivering, passing (HiDS) and rescuing.' In these 
passages the rendering 'to spare' would be appropriate. But that that would 
be a secondary, and not the primary, significance is probably shewn by the 
pr. name Tiphsah (1 K. iv. 24 [v. 4]), the Greek Thapsacus, — if the town, which 
stood upon the Euphrates, was so named because it stood by a ford ^ where the 
river could be passed over. 

On the other hand a root formed of the same letters frequently connotes 
'lameness ' or 'limping.' The adjective pisseah (HDS) 'lame' is fairly common, 
and the verb is found three times in the O.T. : 2 S. iv. 4 (R.V. ' became lame'), 
1 K. xviii. 21 ('halt'), and v. 26 ('leaped,' better 'limped' mg.). The latter 
passage describes the limping movement of the priests as they danced round 
the altar. It is possible, but somewhat unlikely, that the meaning ' pass over ' 
was derived through the thought of 'leaping' from that of 'limping.' It is 
safer to treat the two roots as distinct. 

It is, however, far from improbable that the name pesah is a corruption of 
an earlier word from a different root. It might, for instance, have been 
originally connected \vith the Ass. pasdhu, ' to propitiate ' or, perhaps better, 
' to be propitiated ' or ' soothed.' If this Ass. root were preserved in Heb. only 
in the primitive name of the festival, the original meaning might easily be lost, 
and the word become assimilated in sound to the well-known pdsah, ' to limp,' 
which was used for a sacred dance. The substantive having taken the form 
pesah^ the corresponding verb in Ex. xii. could be coined to represent the 
current ideas of the festival, and thence be used in Is. xxxi. 5. But this is of 
course conjectural, and no safe conclusions as to the meaning of pesah can be 
drawn from its derivation. 

In early Semitic religion the thought which dominated all acts of 
worship was the desire to remain on good terms with the tribal deity (see 
W. R. Smith, RS^ 254 — 265); and it may safely be assumed that if the Passover 
was a primitive custom, this must have been its raison d'etre. Again, all the 
evidence tends to shew that it was celebrated in the spring. And this finds 

1 Lagarde, however, doubts this {Bild. d. Norn. 131), and it cannot be regarded 
as certain. 

M. 5 


parallels in many other nations. Wellhausen {Proleg. 94 f.) and W, R. Smith 
{RS'^ 227 f., 465) compare it with the annual Arabian sacrifices Cafdir) in the 
month Rajab. The ''atdir would form a still closer parallel to the Passover if 
it were certain that they were identical with the /«r«' (firstlings), but this is 
doubtful. Moore {E7ic. B. 4186) refers to spring sacrifices among the Syrians 
at Hierapolis and Harran, and to the sacredness of the month Nisan as 
evidenced by Nabataean and Palmyrene inscriptions. Thus the object of the 
rite appears to have been that the worshippers might ensure the friendliness 
and favour of the tribal deity at the important period when nature was 
reviving, animals were being bom, and man looked forward to a fresh year full 
of unknown possibilities of success or misfortune. 

But as to the method by which the rite obtained the favour of the deity, 
and the results which were expected to be gained by it, there is a wide 
divergence of opinion. Each line of treatment starts from some feature in 
the celebration as recorded in the O.T. The following are the principal 
suggestions : 

1. The Passover was the sacrifice of the firstborn. The dedication of 
the firstborn is closely connected with it in Ex. xiii. 11 flF., Dt. xv. 19, xvi. 1 — 8. 
This alone, it is said, explains the last plague ; because Pharaoh prevented the 
Israelites from oflfering their firstlings, Yahweh took from the Egyptians their 
firstborn. And for this explanation, which is adopted by a large number of 
modern writers, there is much to be said. It is true that the offering of 
firstlings was in no sense considered as a compulsory tribute due to Yahweh ; 
among the Arabian nomads no tribute is ever paid by a tribe either to its own 
chief or to its God (see BS^ 458 — 462). The sacrifice of an animal was never 
a mere gift to the deity ; it always carried with it a sacred meal, in which the 
deity partook of certain portions of the animal — the blood and the intestinal 
fat — and the worshippers the remainder. In ancient days animals were never 
slaughtered except for sacrifice, and conversely no animal sacrifice was ofi'ered 
except for the purpose of a meal in which the deity and the worshippers 
shared. When the Hebrews settled down to agricultural life in Canaan, the 
custom arose (perhaps learnt from the Canaanites) of ofifering the firstfruits 
of the crop ; and this offering hardened into a regular impost or tribute which 
was handed over to the deity or his priests, and in which the worshipper had 
no shared The reason for the choice of firstlings, in preference to other 
animals, as the spring offering, is explained by W. R. Smith {BS'^ 463 ff.) to be 
due to the peculiar holiness attaching to the firstborn of men or animals. 
'Neither in the case of children, nor in that of cattle, did the congenital 
holiness of the firstborn originally imply that they must be sacrificed or given 
to the deity on the altar, but only that if sacrifice was to be made they were 
the best and fittest, because the holiest, victims.' 

2. But the slaughter of firstlings at the vernal equinox for a sacred feast 
with the deity does not exhaust the significance of the Passover rite, because 
it takes no account of the unique ceremony of smearing the door-posts and 
lintel mth blood. It has been suggested that this was for the purpose of 

1 The suggestion is quite improbable that the ofifering of firstlings was a later 
extension of the practice of offering firstfruits (Benzinger, Enc. B. 3594). 


bringing the worshippers into such close relations with the deity by a blood 
covenant, that no plague or pestilence might attack their dwellings ; see 
V. 3 &, and Jubil. xlix. 15 : 'and no plague shall come upon them in this year 
to kill and destroy them, if they observe the Passover at its season according 
to its ordinance.' Thus, that which in primitive days was intended as a 
precaution against all plagues becomes in the Exodus narrative (xii. 23 b) a 
precaution against the particular plague directed against the firstborn. This 
is adopted by Kayser-Marti, AT. Theol."^ 37 f., and in E7ic. B. by Benzinger. 
The idea embodied in the door-post ceremony is thus similar to that un- 
derlying the sacrificial feast — the desire to gain the favour of the deity ; but 
the object is more definite — to keep away plague from the houses or tents. 
See also the third note in the Addenda. 

3. Others see a piacular or atoning value in the blood ceremony, involving 
the thought of purification from past ofiences against the deity. Ewald and 
Dillmann point to the fact that hyssop is employed elsewhere in connexion 
with ceremonies of purification (Lev. xiv. 6, 49 fi"., Num. xix. 6; cf. Ps. li. 7 (9)). 
But it is open to question whether this does not imply too advanced a stage of 
rehgious thought to allow of its being regarded as the original idea of the 

It is perhaps impossible to decide which features in the rite were absolutely 
the earliest. The feast in which deity and worshippers partake, and the 
marking of the door-posts or tent-poles with blood as a precaution against 
plague, are both entirely in accord with primitive Semitic custom. All that 
can be said is that by the time the Israelites were in Egypt, the Passover 
ceremonies had come to include both ; and perhaps also they had by that 
time been invested wath a piacular value. 

An ingenious explanation of a difibrent kind is ofi"ered by Trumbull {Tlie 
TJireshold Covenaiit^ 203 flF.). He collects instances which shew that among 
many peoples an animal is sacrificed, and its blood shed upon the threshold 
and smeared upon the door-posts, as a welcome to a specially honoured guest, 
or to a bride and bridegroom in marriage. This he claims to be the only 
explanation which takes account of the word pesah and the verb pdsah. 
He also points out that sapJi can denote not only a bason, but also a threshold 
(cf. 2 K. xii. 9 (10) and freq.), whether as hollowed out by the tread of feet, or 
(as he thinks) purposely, to form a receptacle for bloocL According to this 
view, Yah well did not 'pass over' the houses marked with blood, but as an 
honoured Guest 'crossed over' the threshold. Trumbull presses the idea in 
somewhat fanciful detail, suggesting that Yahweh crossed the threshold as 
the Bridegroom, and was thus married to His people. But if the thought could 
be retained of the Guest entering the house in order to partake of the 
covenant feast, and thereby preventing the entrance of tlio destroyer, it would 
be an illimiinating explanation of the ceremony. This attractive theory, 
however, cannot be regarded as established. Trumbull gives no instances of 
the performance of the threshold ceremony for an invisible^ divine Guest. 
And in any case his view is entirely dependent upon a narrowly defined 
meaning of the doubtful verb pdsah. 

No study of the Passover wouM }>e complete which did not take account 
of S. Paul's words in 1 Cor. v. 7, ' our paschal Victim also hath been slain, even 


68 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xii. 1-4 

Christ' This is not the place to work out the thought in detail. But it is 
one of the fundamental factors in the growth of Christianity out of the 
Hebrew germ that in the highest act of Christian worship all the main features 
in the Passover are taken up and receive their full and eternal significance. 
The Firstborn, the chosen ' Lamb of God,' without blemish, slain once for all, 
is continually offered; the feast is continually spread through which the 
faithful partaker enters anew into vital miion with God ; and the atoning 
virtue of ' the Blood of the Lamb ' is continually effectual for the salvation of 
every heart upon which it is sprinkled. 

XII. 1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the P 
land of Egypt, saying, 2 This month shall be unto you the 
beginning of months : it shall be the first month of the year to 
you. 3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, 
In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every 
man a ^lamb, according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for an 
household : 4 and if the household be too little for a lamb, 

^ Or, kid 
XII. 1—13. The Passover. 

2. This month. The word hodesh denotes primarily the ^new 
moon,' by which the months were reckoned : and in other Semitic 
languages this meaning is retained. It was an innovation of the 
Hebrews to use it as equivalent to yerah, 'month.' 

the beginning of months. The Hebrews had two methods of 
reckoning the year. According to one method the year began in 
the autumn, at the close of the harvest. The harvest festival is 
placed 'at the going out of the year' (xxiii. 16 E), and *at the 
revolution of the year' (xxxiv. 22 J). But the stages in the harvest 
being the dominant interest to an agricultural people, the year was 
felt to enter upon a fresh beginning when the first ripe ears of com 
appeared. And thus the first day of the month of the fresh ears 
('dbtb) was in some sense a New Year's day. That this practice was 
in existence before the exile is implied by the use of the expression 
' the return of the year ' (2 S. xi. 1, 1 K. xx. 22, 26) for the time when 
royal campaigns could be resumed — i.e. the spring. After the exile 
the autumn era, owing to Babylonian influence, was abandoned, and 
the change to the spring era was complete. Thus throughout P, the 
month Abib (March — April) is *the beginning of months.' The 
Babylonian name Nisan was adopted in post-exilic times, as being 
practically equivalent to Abib. Neh. ii. 1, Est. iii. 7. See further 
on xiii. 4. 

3. a lamb. The actual word here used (seh) is the general term 
for a sheep or goat (not ' kid ' mg.), though v. 5 shews that a young 
animal is meant. The distinctive term for ' lamb ' (kebhes) occurs in 
V. 6b (R.V. 'sheep'), xxix. 38 ff. 

4. According to later custom, ten persons was the required 
minimum (Jos. BJ vi. ix. 3). 



then shall he and his neighbour next unto his house take one P 
according to the number of the souls ; according to every 
man's eating ye shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your 
lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year : ye 
shall take it from the sheep, or fi'om the goats : 6 and ye shall 
keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month : and 
the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it 
^at even. 7 And they shall take of the blood, and put it 
on the two side posts and on the lintel, upon the houses 
wherein they shall eat it. 8 And they shall eat the flesh in 

^ Heb. bettoeen the two evenings. 

every man's eating. Women and children, for example, would 
require less than grown men ; cf. xvi. 18. 

5. without blemish ; perfect. See the general sacrificial regula- 
tions in Lev. xxii. 17 — 25. 

a male. As in the case of a burnt-offering, Lev. i. 3, 10. For a 
sin- or thank-offering either sex might be used. 

of the first year ; a year old, i.e. an animal that had been born 
the previous spring. Contrast the regulation for the offering of the 
firstborn (xxii. 30 (29) E) and the late specific regulation for offerings 
by fire (Lev. xxii. 27). 

6. ye shall keej) it up ; it shall be kept (or guarded) by you. 

at even. The Heb. word is dual in form, which gives rise to the 
marg. rendering ; and the writer seems to shew that he so understood 
it by his use of the preposition ' between.' The expression is explained 
by Dillmann and others to mean within the space of time from an 
hour before sunset to an hour after it. But it is probable that the 
form ^arbayim (like 'ifrushdlayim (Jerusalem), zoh^rayim (mid-day), 
and others) is only an extended form of a sing, 'arhdm. In Lev. 

xxiii. 5 LXX has ava fiea-ov tojv ccTTrcptvwv^ but elsewhere 'rrpo<; ecrrripav 

(here, xvi. 12, Num. ix. 3, 11, xxviii. 4, 8), or to SclXlvov (Ex. xxix. 39, 
41). The meaning is, therefore, ' within the period from sunset to 
dark,' as it was understood by the Samaritans, Karaites and Sadducees. 
On the other hand the Pharisees and the Talmudists held it to denote 
from the hour of the sun's decline until its setting (cf Jos BJ. vi. 
ix. 3, Pesah. v. 1, Jubil. xlix.). 

7. The door represented the whole house (cf xxi. 6), as a gate 
represented the whole city (1 K. viii. 37). 

8. unleavened cakes. Heb. mazzoth ; flat circular cakes about 
an inch thick and a span in diameter. Leaven was a symbol of 
corruption (see Mat. xvi. 6, Mk. viii. 15, Lk. xii. 1, 1 Cor. v. 6 ff.). 
This idea is also found in classical writers ; cf the use of fermentum^ 

^ The bald literalness of the rendering suggests that Aquila's rendering has 
found its way into the lxx. In Num. ix. 5, where lxx does not contain the 
expression, this rendering is supplied in one us. See Field, Hexapla. 

70 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xii. 8-1 1 

that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread ; with bitter P 
herbs they shall eat it. 9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all 
with water, but roast with fire ; its head with its legs and 
with the inwards thereof. 10 And ye shall let nothing of it 
remain until the morning ; but that which remaineth of it until 
the morning ye shall burn with fire. 11 And thus shall ye eat 

Persius i. 24. The prohibition of leaven was probably derived from 
very early ritual custom. 

Mazzoth were also required with the ritual of the * peace- offering' 
(Lev. ii. 4f., vii. 12), with the 'peace-offering' of a Nazirite (Num. 
vi. 15, 17, 19), and at the consecration of priests (Ex. xxix. 2, 23, 
Lev. viii. 2, 26). In Lev. ii. 11 it is laid down that no meal-offering 
may be made by burning leaven or honey. 

bitter herbs. Lxx TriKptSes. Pliny (xix. 38) describes the picris as 
a very bitter kind of lettuce ; Vg. lactuca agrestis. Others take it to 
be the wild endive (cichorium). Both plants are indigenous in Egypt 
and Syria, appearing in March — April. Pesahim ii. 6 allows the use 
of five different herbs, of which these are two. 

9. raw. The object of the prohibition was to prevent the eating 
of the blood (Gen. ix. 4, Lev. vii. 26 f., xvii. 11 f.). The blood being 
regarded as the seat of the vital principle or the soul (nephesh), it was 
too sacred and mysterious to be used as human food ; it must be 
offered to God before the flesh could be eaten. In early times when 
all slaughter was for the purpose of sacrifice this dedication of the 
blood was a matter of course ; see 1 S. xiv. 32, 34. But when the Dt. 
legislation confined all worship to the central sanctuary, and slaughter 
was necessarily authorised for domestic purposes, it was still expressly 
enacted that the blood of the animal should be allowed to flow away. 
See Dt. xii. 15 f., and Driver's note ; W. R. Smith, ES'^ 234 f., 
OTJC 249 f. 

sodden, i.e. boiled. The reason for the command to roast, and 
not to boil, has been variously explained, and perhaps more than one 
idea contributed to it : (1) to bring the flesh into contact with a foreign 
substance such as water, might be considered a defilement ; (2) it 
would be difficult to boil a whole lamb in any ordinary utensil, 
without cutting it into parts, or breaking its bones (cf. v. 46) ; 
(3) it was prohibited, in the case of animals offered by fire, to eat 
the intestinal fat (xxix. 13, 22, Lev. iii. 3 — 5, iv. 8 ff., vii. 22 — 25 ; 
see RS^ 379 f.) ; so in the present case the inwards are to be roasted, 
in order that the intestinal fat may drip down and be burnt in the fire. 
The flesh is evidently to be roasted on a spit and not in an oven. 

10. In a hot climate the meat would very quickly become corrupt ; 
cf. Lev. vii. 15 — 17. 

11. There is nothing to shew that the writer intended these 
regulations to apply only to the Egyptian Passover ; and by the 
Samaritans they are to this day observed as binding. But among 


it ; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your P 
staff in your hand : and ye shall eat it in haste : it is the 
Lord's passover. 12 For I will go through the land of Egypt 
in that night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of 
Egypt, both man and beast ; and against all the gods of Egypt 
I will execute judgements : I am the Lord. 13 And the blood 
shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are : 
and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and there 
shall no plague be upon you Ho destroy you, when I smite the 
land of Egypt. 14 And this day shall be unto you for a 
memorial, and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord : throughout 
your generations ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for 
ever. 15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread ; even the 
first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses : for whoso- 
ever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh 
day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16 And in the 
first day there shall be to you an holy convocation, and in the 
seventh day an holy convocation ; no manner of work shall be 
done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only 
may be done of you. 17 And ye shall observe iihQ feast of 

1 Or, for a destroyer 

the Jews 'the Passover of Egypt' or 'the first Passover' was dis- 
tinguished from ' the Passover of [all] generations ' or * the second ' or 
'the little Passover,' and many of the details here laid down were 
omitted, while others were added. 

in haste ; in trepidation. The word denotes hurrying in fear or 
panic. Dt. xvi. 3, Is. lii. 12 t. 

12. in that night ; this night. 

13. / will pass over you. By the coinage of the word Passover in 
the English Bible, the play on the verb pdsah and the subst. pesah 
is reproduced. See introd. note. 

14 — 20. The Festival of Unleavened Cakes (Mazzdth). 

14. this day, i.e. the first of the seven days' festival (see foil, v.), 
as representing the whole week. The festival was quite distinct from 
the Passover, on which mazzuth were eaten, though it immediately 
followed it. This is clearly shewn in Lev. xxiii. 5, 6. 

15. unleavened cakes. Leaven was forbidden in all sacrifices 
(xxiii. 18 E, xxxiv. 25 J, Lev. ii. 11, vi. 17 (10) P) with the exception 
of a peace-oifering (Lev. vii. 13 P) and the wave-loaves at Pentecost 
(Lev. xxiii. 17 H), but in neither of these was it off'ered on the altar. 
Am. iv. 5 shews that leaven was used more widely in the N. kingdom, 
but the prophet appears to disapprove of its use. 

72 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xii. 17 


unleavened bread ; for in this selfsame day have I brought P 
your hosts out of the land of Egypt : therefore shall ye observe 
this day throughout your generations by an ordinance for ever. 
18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at 
even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth 
day of the month at even. 19 Seven days shall there be no 
leaven found in your houses : for whosoever eateth that which 
is leavened, that soul shall be cut off fi^om the congregation of 
Israel, whether he be a sojourner, or one that is born in the 
land. 20 Ye shall eat nothing leavened ; in all your habita- 
tions shall ye eat unleavened bread. 

21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said J 
unto them, ^Draw out, and take you ^ lambs according to your 
families, and kill the passover. 22 And ye shall take a bunch 
of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and 
strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that 
is in the bason ; and none of you shall go out of the door of 

1 Or, Go forth ^ Qr, kids 

19. a sojourner. Heb. ger. ' A man of another tribe or district, 
who, coming to sojourn in a place where he was not strengthened by 
the presence of his own kin, put himself under the protection of a clan 
or of a powerful chief,' (W. R. Smith, BS' 75 ff.) 

<me tliobt is born in tlie land, i.e. a true-blooded Israelite. The word 
'ezrdh, ' a native,' is confined to H and P except in Jos. viii. 33 (D), 
and always in contrast to ger except in Lev. xxiii. 42. 

21—28. The Passover. 

21. Draw out. This probably refers to the usual action of a 
shepherd or shearer, who catches the leg of the sheep with his crook 
and draws it out from the flock. The rendering in the marg. 'go 
forth' (lxx Vg. Targ-Onk.) can be illustrated by Jud. iv. 6, v. 14 
(probably), xx. 37, Job xxi. 33 t, where it denotes 'march forth in 
line,' ' deploy.' But that meaning is scarcely suitable here. 

the passover. The word is introduced abruptly, with the article, 
as an institution already well known (see introd. note). 

22. hyssop. One of the many species of marjoram which grow 
wild ; it is found in clefts of rocks and chinks of walls (1 K. iv. 33), 
and has several straight leafy stalks growing from one head, which 
would form a convenient brush for sprinkling. It was employed in 
the purification of a recovered leper (Lev. xiv. 4, 6, 49, 51 f.), and of 
a man defiled by contact with a dead body (Num. xix. 6, 18). 

the blood that is in the bason. Since the ceremony was already 
well known, these and perhaps other unrecorded details were taken for 


his house until the morning. 23 For the Lord will pass J 
through to smite the Egyptians ; and when he seeth the blood 
upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass 
over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto 
your houses to smite you. | 24 And ye shall observe this thing P 
for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. | 25 And BP 
it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the 
Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall 
keep this service. 26 And it shall come to pass, when your 
children shall say unto you. What mean ye by this service? 
27 that ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover, 
^who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, 
when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. | And J 
the people bowed the head and worshipped. | 28 And the P 
children of Israel went and did so ; as the Lord had com- 
manded Moses and Aaron, so did they. 

29 And it came to pass at midnight, that the Lord smote J 
all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of 
Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive 
that was in the dungeon ; and all the firstborn of cattle. 

30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, 
and all the Egyptians ; and there was a great cry in Egypt ; 
for there was not a house where tliere was not one dead 

31 And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said. Rise 
up, get you forth from among my people, both ye and the 
children of Israel ; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. 

32 Take both your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and 

^ Or, for that lie passed 

granted. Lxx Trapa nijv Ovpav understands saph (bason) in the sense of 
* threshold.' See introd. note. 

23. pass over. See introd. note. 

the destroyer. Cf. 2 S. xxiv. 16. He is a personal manifestation of 
Yahweh's power, but in no sense distinct from Yahweh Himself 
(». 27, xi. 4). 

29—42. The death of the firstbm'n and the departure from Egypt. 

29. the captive. In the Hebrew this is a masculine word which 
is not found elsewhere in the O.T. lxx has the feminine, which would 
form a more complete parallel with xi. 5. 

32. and bless me also. Pharaoh's words seem to shew that he 
expected the Israelites to return after the sacrifice. They are to go 

74 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xii. 32-37 

be gone ; and bless me also. 33 And the Egyptians were J 
urgent upon the people, to send them out of the land in haste ; 
for they said, We be all dead men. 34 And the people took 
their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being 
bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders, j 35 And the B 
children of Israel did according to the word of Moses ; and they 
asked of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and 
raiment : 36 and the Lord gave the people favour in the sight 
of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. 
And they spoiled the Egyptians. 

37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Hameses to J 

and do service to their God in order to gain His favour ; and he hopes 
that they will have no lasting feelings of hostility against him, but 
will obtain favour for him also at the same time. See note on x. 25. 

35, 36. The Israelites acted in obedience to the command in 
iii. 21 f. (E). The verses as rendered in the R.V. imply that they had 
some time in which they could ask for ornaments and clothing from 
their Egyptian neighbours, whereas in m. 33, 34 they were hurried out 
of the country in extreme haste. It is possible to obviate the difficulty 
by rendering * the children of Israel had done according to the word of 
Moses... and Yahweh had given &c. ' ; but this does not remove the 
necessity of assigning 33 f. and 35 £ to different sources. 

A good example of patristic allegorical exegesis is afforded by 
Augustine {de doctr. Christ, ch. xl.), who follows the thought of 
Origen's Ep. to Gregory. The following is an abstract of his remarks : 
The Egyptians had not only idols and heavy burdens, but also silver 
and gold of which they did not make good use. And God commanded 
the Israelites to take their silver and their gold from them in order to 
use it for a good purpose. In the same way, the heathen have not 
only false superstitions and heavy burdens of unnecessary toil, which 
Christians, when^ they go out from fellowship with them under 
Christ's ^ leadership, ought to abhor; but they also have liberal 
instruction and excellent precepts of morality, and even some truths 
with regard to the only God. They did not create these truths, but 
' dug them out of the mines of God's providence which are scattered 
everywhere ' ; and since they are ' prostituting them to the worship 
of devils,' the Christian ought to take them from them. Augustine, 
however, recognises that such allegorizing represents only his private 
opinion, for he adds, ' And this I say without prejudice to any other 
interpretation which may be as good or better.' 

Keble adopts the thought in the Christian Year, 3rd Sunday in 

37. Barneses to Succoth. Both towns have been identified with 
some certainty; see pp. xciii. f, and Addenda. 


Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, J 
beside children. 38 And a mixed multitude went up also with 
them ; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. 39 And 
they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought 
forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened ; because they were 
thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they 
prepared for themselves any victual. | 40 Now the sojourning W 
of the children of Israel, which they sojourned in Egypt, was 
four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the 

about six hundred thousand. Cf. Num. xi. 21. This included all 
the males who could march. The * children,' among whom the women 
seem to be included (cf. x. 10), would ride on beasts. But the number 
is surprisingly large ; and it is a round number, for which the exact 
figures are supplied by P in xxxviii. 26, Num. i. 46, as 603,550, 
exclusive of Levites who are reckoned as 8,580 (Num. iv. 48). At 
the end of the journe3dngs, the numbers, after the plague at Baal- 
Peor, were 601,730, and the Levites 23,000 (Num. xxvi. 51, 62). 
Including women and children the numbers at the Exodus thus 
amount to between one and two millions. Not only is it impos- 
sible to suppose that they could have been so multiplied from 70 
persons in 430 years (or, according to another reckoning, four 
generations), but the territory of Goshen could not have contained 
them. Flinders Petrie {Expositor , Aug. 1905, and more fully in 
Researches in Sinai, pp. 207 — 17) explains the 'thousands' as 
'families' and the 'hundreds' as the actual number of the people. 
He understands a * family ' as the occupants of a tent, including all 
children of any age, ' besides herdsmen and hangers-on of the " mixed 
multitude." ' But, welcome as an explanation of the difficulty would 
be, it is doubtful if Prof. Petrie supplies it. In taking the ' thousands ' 
to stand for occupants of tents, he disregards the fact that both in the 
present passage and in Num. the census was concerned only with the 
fighting men 'from twenty years old and upward' (Num. i. 3, 18). 
And a study of such passages as Jud. vi. 15, 1 S. x. 19, 21, Mic. v. 2, 
seems to shew that 'eleph, * thousand,' when not used as a numeral, 
denoted a larger unit than a single household. It was a clan, or at 
least comprised several branches of kinsmen within a clan. 

38. a great mixed company. Cf Neh. xiii. 3. They must have 
been non-Israelites, and would comprise, 1st, Egyptians, with whom the 
Israelites may to a small extent have intermarried (Lev. xxiv. 10), 
2nd, Semites of various tribes from the desert frontiers, and, 3rd, other 
foreigners who, as prisoners, had been united with the Israelites in 
building labour (see on i. 9). They are mentioned in Num. xi. 4, and 
alluded to in Dt. xxix. 11, Jos. viii. 35. 

40. four hundred and thirty years. This is in substantial agree- 
ment with the 400 of Gen. xv. 13. In Gen. xv. 16 the 400 years is 

7& THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xii. 41, 4^ 

end of four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it R^ 
came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the 
land of Egypt. 42 It is ^ a night to be much observed unto the 
Lord for bringing them out from the land of Egypt : '^this is 
that night of the Lord, to be much observed of all the children 
of Israel throughout their generations. 

^ Or, a night of watching unto the LORD 
^ Or, this same night is a night of watching unto the LORD for all (&c. 

equivalent to four generations, which is also the calculation of Ex. vi. 
14 — 27. According to P the period of the patriarchs' sojourn in 
Canaan amounted to 215 years, giving 645 years from Abraham to the 
Exodus. Driver {Genesis, xxviii. ff.) shews that if Hammurabi is the 
Amraphel of Gen. xiv. 1, and if, further, the role assigned to Abraham 
in that chapter is, at least substantially, historical, Abraham's date is 
fixed at c. 2250 B.C. The Israelites will then, according to P, have 
gone into Egypt c. 2035, and the Exodus occurred c. 1605. But 
according to Ussher's date for Solomon, 1014 — 975 (it ought probably 
to be 40 or 50 years later), the Biblical date for the Exodus, calculated 
fi'om 1 K. vi. 1, is 1491 B.C. It is impossible, therefore, to uphold both 
the Biblical chronology and the identity of Amraphel and Hammurabi. 
Many scholars, however, doubt this identity. But although there are 
no exact data by which to fix the time when Abraham came to Canaan, 
P's chronology is discredited partly by the great length of life which he 
ascribes to the patriarchs, and partly by the fact that his dates appear 
to be arrived at by an artificial system of computation. (This tendency 
is seen also in the later history. See Moore, Judges, xxxvii. — xliii.) 
On the other hand, if Merenptah was the Pharaoh of the Exodus, 
the Biblical date is earlier than that obtained from contemporary 
inscriptions ; and Prof. Sayce places the Exodus in c. 1213 B.C. More- 
over the traditions as to the chronology are rendered still more 
uncertain by the statement in the Lxx in the present passage that 
' the sojourning of the children of Israel which they sojourned in the 
land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan\ was 430 [some MSS 435] 
years ' ; i.e. the period of the sojourning in Egypt is exactly half the 
length assigned to it in the Heb. text. This tradition (which was 
probably an attempt to lessen the difficulty of the ' four generations ') 
is followed in Gal. iii. 17 and Jos. Ant. 11. xv. 2. 

41. the selfsame day. A peculiar idiom; lit. the 'bone,' i.e. the 
substance, of the day — the day itself It is confined to P in the Hex. 
and to Ezek. (ii. 3, xxiv. 2). Cf. 'the heaven itself (Ex. xxiv. 10), 
'his full strength' (Job xxi. 23). 

42. a night to be much observed : so Vg. ' nox observabilis.' But 
the LXX Trpoa-^vXaKYj suggests the better rendering ' a night of vigil,* 
i.e. a night on which men should keep vigil. 

^ Similarly the Sam. ' the sojourning of the children of Israel and their fathers^ 
which they sojourned in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt....' 


43 And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, Tliis is the P 
ordinance of the passover : there shall no alien eat thereof : 
44 but every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou 
hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. 45 A sojourner 
and an hired servant shall not eat thereof. 46 In one house 
shall it be eaten ; thou shalt not carry forth aught of the flesh 
abroad out of the house ; neither shall ye break a bone thereof. 
47 All the congregation of Israel shall ^keep it. 48 And when 
a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover 
to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him 
come near and keep it ; and he shall be as one that is born 

1 Heb. do it. 

43 — 51. The Passover. 

44. bought for money. Gen. xvii. 12 f., 23, 27 t. 

45. sojourtier (toshdbh), only in H and P ; a non-Israelite tem- 
porarily staying in the country and dependent upon his host for 
kindness and protection. He, and the hired servant whose connexion 
with an Israelite would likewise be temporary, were excluded from 
Israelite privileges. But the privileges might, on the other hand, be 
extended to the ger (v. 48 * stranger '), whose residence, if temporary, 
was of longer duration. See on v. 19. 

46. Though the next-door neighbour might share in the lamb, no 
portion of the flesh might be carried out to his house. The thought 
of unity is thus emphasized in the partaking of the undivided lamb 
(cf 1 Cor. X. 17). The neighbour, however, is not (in the P legislation) 
forbidden to return to his house the same night ; contrast v. 22 (J). 

and a bone ye shall not break in it. This is generally regarded 
as the source of the quotation in Jn. xix. 36 : oa-rovv ov (rvvrpt/STJa-eraL 
avTov. But the verb is there passive', which is found also in Ps. xxxiv. 
20 [xxxiii. 21]. S. John's quotation may have been shaped by a reminis- 
cence of both passages, and both have their spiritual application in 
connexion with Christ, who was at once the Paschal Lamb and the 
'righteous man.' 

47. skill keep it ; shall offer it. See next r. 

48. will keep a passover ; or, better, will offer a passover 
[victim]. Cf V. 21, Dt. xvi. 2, 5f See on x. 25. 

let him come near. The priestly writer here betrays himself The 
expression must mean that the worshipper is to come near to the 
Temple at Jerusalem, where the lambs were killed and offered, and 
their blood sprinkled at the base of the altar. The verb is frequently 

1 Lxx* has <TvvTpi\l/€Tai, which might possibly be due to a Christian scribe who 
had S. John's passage in his mind ; but it is simpler to suppose it to be an itacism 
for (TvyTpi\p(T€. 

78 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xii. 48-xiii. 5 

in the land : but no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. P 
49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the 
stranger that sojourneth among you. 50 Thus did all the 
children of Israel ; as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, 
so did they. | 51 And it came to pass the selfsame day, thatiR^ 
the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of 
Egypt by their hosts. 

XIII. 1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Sanctify P 
unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among 
the children of Israel, both of man and of beast : it is mine. 

3 And Moses said unto the people, | Remember this day, in JR^ 
which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of ^bondage ; 
for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this 
place : there shall no leavened bread be eaten. | 4 This day J 
ye go forth in the month Abib. | 5 And it shall be when the R^ 
Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanite, and the 
Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, 
which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing 
with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this 

^ Heb. bondmen 

used in connexion with the altar and the tabernacle ; xl. 32, Lev. ix. 
5, 7, 8, xxi. 17 f., Num. xvi. 40 [xvii. 5]. Cf. Ez. xl. 46, xlv. 4. 

XIII. 1, 2. Dedication of firstborn and firstlings. P treats the 
subject more fully in Num. iii. 11 — 13, 40 — 45, xviii. 15 — 18. See 
pp. xli. f. 

3 — 10. Festival of Mazzoth. See on xxiii. 15 and pp. xliii. f. 

4. ye are going forth. The Exodus is about to take place, 
whereas the tenses in v. 3 represent it as already past. See analysis, 
p. xviii. 

Ahih, the month of the ripening ears (subsequently the 1st month; 
see on xii. 2). Three others of the old Canaanite names of months 
have been preserved : Ziv, the month of flowers, 1 K. vi. 1 (the 2nd 

month); ^Ethdmm, the month of continually flowing streams, 
1 K. viii. 2 (the 7tli month) ; Bui, the meaning of which is unknown, 
1 K. vi. 38 (the 8th month). The two latter are also found in 
Phoenician inscriptions. During the exile the months were distinguished 
merely by numerals, as in parts of Jer. Ez. and Kings, and in Hag. 
Zech. From the time of the exile the new Babylonian names begin to 
find a place in the Jewish calendar: Nisan (March — April), Si van 
(May— June), Elul (Aug.— Sept.), Kislev (Nov.— Dec), Tebeth (Dec- 
Jan.), Shebat (Jan. — Feb.), and Adar (Feb. — March) appear in the Old 
Testament. ' See art. ' Time ' in DB iv. 765. 


month. I 6 Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in R^J 
the seventh day shall be a feast to the Lord. 7 Unleavened 
bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days ; and there 
shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there 
be leaven seen with thee, in all thy borders. | 8 And thou shalt R^ 
tell thy son in that day, saying. It is because of that which the 
Lord did for me when I came forth out of Egypt. 9 And it 
shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a 
memorial between thine eyes, that the law of the Lord may 
be in thy mouth : for with a strong hand hath the Lord 
brought thee out of Egypt. | 10 Thou shalt therefore keep this J 
ordinance in its season fi-om year to year. 

11 And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the 
land of the Canaanite, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, 
and shall give it thee, 12 that thou shalt ^set apart unto the 
Lord all that openeth the womb, and every firstling which thou 
hast that cometh of a beast ; the males shall be the Lord's. 
13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a 
^lamb ; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break 
its neck : and all the firstborn of man among thy sons shalt 
thou redeem. | 14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in R^ 
time to come, saying. What is this ? that thou shalt say unto 
him. By strength of hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, 
from the house of ^bondage : 15 and it came to pass, when 

^ Heb. cause to pass over. ^ Or, kid ' Heb. bondmen, 

8. thou shalt tell. Lxx avayycXcis. Tliere is perhaps a conscious 
analogy of thought in the KarayyeXXcTc of 1 Cor. xi. 26. 

9. See note on v. 16. 
11 — 16. Firstlings. 

13. break its neck, xxxiv. 20, Dt. xxi. 4, 6, Is. Ixvi. 3t. It 
has been suggested that the ass is mentioned only as a typical instance 
of an unclean animal. But there is evidence to shew that among some 
branches of Semites the ass had a peculiar sacredness attaching to it, 
somewhat in the form of a taboo (W. R. Smith, lllS' 463, 468). lxx 
represents a milder regulation ; in the present passage it has Xwrpwori;, 
and in xxxiv. 20 rt/unyv 8aja-ct?\ But in Dt. I.e. it renders vcvpoKOTrctv, 
and in Is. I.e. anoKriwuiv. 

1 Possibly reading "lJn?1in for inp-ii;!. 

80 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xiii. 15-17 

Pharaoh ^ would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew ail the R^ 
firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and 
the firstborn of beast : therefore I sacrifice to the Lord ail that 
openeth the womb, being males ; but all the firstborn of my 
sons I redeem. 16 And it shall be for a sign upon thine hand, 
and for fi-ontiets between thine eyes : for by strength of hand 
the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt. 

17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people E 
go, that God led them not by the way of the land of the 
Philistines, although that was near ; for God said. Lest per- 
adventure the people repent when they see war, and they 

1 Or, hardened himself against letting us go 

15. would hardly let us go. More literally 'made a difficulty 
about letting us go.' The marg. rendering is very improbable. 

16. Jrontlets. Dt. vi. 8, xi. 18 1. The later Jews understood 
the words literally, and wore 'phylacteries' (safety-amulets) or tephilUn 
('prayers') on the forehead and on the arm. These are still worn 
daily at morning prayer, except on Sabbaths and festivals. See art. 
' Phylacteries ' in DB iii. Verse 9 and the present passage are parallel 
injunctions of a Deuteronomic character referring respectively to 
Mazzoth and the dedication of firstlings ; and ' frontlet ' is, therefore, 
evidently intended to be figurative, and equivalent to 'memorial.' 
Compare similar figurative expressions in Prov. i. 9, iii. 3, vi. 21, vii. 3. 
It is doubtful whether the injunctions in Dt. are to be considered 
figurative or not. The parallelism with Ex. strongly favours the view 
that they are. See, however, Driver on Dt. vi. 8. 

Chapter XIIL 17—22. 

The first stage in the journey. 

XIII. 17. the land of the Philistines. This description appears 
to be proleptic, describing the tract afterwards occupied by the Philis- 
tines. The mention of them in Gen. xxi. 32, 34, xxvi. 1, 8, 14 f., 18 is 
almost certainly an anachronism. They are described as immigrants 
from Caphtor (probably Crete), Am. ix. 7, Jer. xlvii. 4. They are 
probably to be identified (M. Miiller, Maspero, Sayce) with the Purasati 
or Pulsata, one of a group of piratical tribes from the coasts of Asia 
Minor or the Aegean islands, who raided Egypt in the time of 
Eamses III, after the Exodus (see Driver in Hogarth's AutJwrity 
and Archaeology^ p. 46). 

because that was near. God led them not by that route, as might 
have been expected because of its nearness. The verse expresses, with 
a grand simpHcity, the writer's behef in the guiding providence of 


return to Egypt : 18 but God led the people about, by the way E 
of the wilderness by the Red Sea : and the children of Israel 
went up armed out of the land of Egypt. 19 And Moses took 
the bones of Joseph with him : for he had straitly sworn the 
children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you ; and ye 
shall carry up my bones away hence with you. | 20 And they P 
took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, 
in the edge of the wilderness. | 21 And the Lord went before J 
them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way ; and 

18. the wilderness^ the uncultivated tract of country on the East 
of Egypt, but West of the Red Sea. 

the Red Sea. Heb. Yam Suph, 'Sea of reeds.' The word Sftpk 
(apart from this geographical name) nowhere denotes 'sea-weed' 
except in the poetical passage, Jon. ii. 5 [6]. See note on ii. 3. And 
the name Yam Suph appears originally to have belonged to the fresh- 
water lake lying immediately to the N. of the sea, and thence was 
extended to the whole of the Red Sea. See p. xcvii. 

The English name is obscure. It goes back, through the Vulg., to 
the Lxx rj ifjvOpa Odkaa-aa. It was known to classical writers, but 
Berosus and Herodotus applied it to the whole Indian Ocean and 
Persian Gulf The name has been explained by the corals within 
its waters, by the colour of the Edomite and Arabian Mountains 
bordering its coasts, or by the glow of the sky reflected in it. But it 
remains as uncertain to us as it was to the Greeks. 

armed ; in army array. Tlie word hamushlm (which is perhaps 
connected with the numeral hdmesh, * five ') appears to describe not the 
bearing of weapons but the order and arrangement of a body of troops 
as though divided into five parts. Num. xxxii. 17 (prob.), Jos. i. 14, 
iv. 12, Jud. vii. lit. 

20. Etham ; perhaps a Hebraized form of the Egyptian ^etem, 
* fortress.' See pp. xciv. f 

21. It is interesting to notice the varying conceptions, in the 
Pentateuch, of the cloud as an indication of the Divine Presence. 

In J, Yahweh led the people continuously by moving in front of 
them in a column of cloud by day and fire by night. This ' departed 
not ' (v. 22), presumably, until Canaan was reached. See xiv. 1 9, 24, 
Num. xiv. i4^ A cloud also accompanied the theophany at Sinai, and 
Yahweh descended in it and talked with Moses, xxxiv. 5. 

In E, the fiery appearance of the cloud is not mentioned, and 
the cloud was not a guide, going in front of the people. It came down 
from time to time, and stood at the door of the ' tent of meeting,' which 
was pitched outside the camp: xxxiii. 7 — 11 (where the tenses are 
frequentative), Num. xi. 25, xii. 5, 10, Dt. xxxi. 15. 

^ The clause ' and thy cloud standetb over them,' and x. 34, appear to be due 
to a redactor. 

82 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xiii. .i-xiv. ^ 

by night in a pillar of jfire, to give them light ; that they might J 
go by day and by night : 22 Hhe pillar of cloud by day, and 
the pillar of fire by night, departed not from before the people. 

XIV. 1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak P 
unto the children of Israel, that they turn back and encamp 
before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal- 

1 Or, he took not away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the d-c. 

A cloud also, as in J, appeared on the mountain, xix. 9, 16. 

Dt. i. 33 refers to the narrative of J ; and iv. 11, v. 22 (19), to the 
cloud on the mountain. 

In P, the conception starts from the appearance of a cloud 
enveloping the glorious Presence of Yahweh on Mt Sinai, Ex. xxiv. 
16 — 18. It did not appear in the camp until the completion of the 
Dwelling, when it covered the building, while the glory of Yahweh 
filled it. At night it had a fiery appearance. Its presence, covering 
the Dwelling, was permanent till the journeys were over (xl. 34 — 38, 
Num. ix. 15 f). It gave the signal for moving the camp by rising 
above the Dwelling (Num. ix. 17 — 23, x. 11 f ). Thus P agrees with E 
in relating its appearance only after the erection of the tent, and with 
J in describing its fiery appearance by night. But in other respects it 
diff"ers from both. See also Ex. xvi. 10 (which belongs to a period after 
the completion of the tent). Num. xvi. 42. 

It is not impossible that the traditions of a guiding cloud may have 
had a natural basis. The custom is frequently noted in early times of 
carrying braziers containing burning wood at the head of an army or 
caravan, and the fire indicated, by night, the line of march. Curtius 
relates it of Alexander's march through Babylonia (v. ii. 7), and of 
the Persians generally (iii. iii. 9)\ In modern times travellers speak 
of it in Arabian caravans, and in Palestine. See Harmer, Obse?'vations, 
ii. 278 ; Frazer, Golden Bough^^\ i. 305. But, as so often, a natural 
custom or phenomenon rises, in the Hebrew tradition, to a beautiful 
and spiritual conception, of which all thought of the origin is lost. 

Later references are found in Ps. Ixxviii. 14, cv. 39, Wisd. x. 17 ; 
and further spiritual application is made of it in Is. iv. 5, 1 Cor. x. 1 f. 
Possibly, also, it suggested our Lord's words in Jn. viii. 12 : 'I am the 
Light of the world ; he \hdXfolloweth me shall not walk in darkness.' 

Chapter XIV. 

The crossing of the water. 

XIV. 2. Although the situation of the spot is described with 
such exactness, the names afford little help towards its identification. 
But the crossing was probably effected not at the northern point of 
the sea but at the southern point of a lake which lay immediately to 
the N. of it. See pp. xcv. f 

1 See, for other references, Dillmann's note on the present passage. 


zephon : over against it shall ye encamp by the sea. 3 And P 
Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled 
in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. 4 And I will 
harden Pharaoh's heart, and he shall follow after them ; and 
I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host ; 
and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord. And they 
did so. I 5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people J 
were fled : and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was 
changed towards the people, and they said. What is this we 
have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us ? 6 And 
he made ready his ^chariot, and took his people with him : | 
7 and he took six hundred chosen chariots, | and all the E J 
chariots of Egypt, | and captains over all of them. | 8 And the E P 

^ Heb. make strong. ^ Or, chariots 

3. They are entangled \ they are perplexed. Joel i. 18 (of cattle), 
Est. iii. 15 (of a city) t. 

4. get me honour upon Pharaoh ; cf v. 17. The expression is not, 
of itself, equivalent to a statement that Pharaoh was drowned. In vv. 
6 — 8 it is said that he followed after the Israelites with his hosts ; but 
neither in this chapter, nor in the song which follows, is his death 
actually spoken of The only definite statement in the O.T. is in a 
very late Psalm (cxxxvi. 15). At the same time it cannot be denied 
that the narrative of Exodus seems to imjily that Pharaoh went into 
the water with his army and perished. This finds no trace of support in 
Egyptian monuments ; and it is difficult to escape from the impression 
that the Heb. narrative was heightened and idealized in the course of 
centuries of oral repetition, representing that a righteous retribution 
fell on the persecuting king. This impression is strengthened, if the 
Pharaoh was Merenptah, by the fact that his mummy was discovered 
by Loret in 1898 in a side-chamber of the tomb of Amenhotep IP. 
Still it is not impossible that his body was afterwards found, and buried 
with funeral honours, and it is more than probable that all reference 
to the catastrophe would be suppressed in the monuments. The 
question must remain doubtful, unless further excavations bring to 
light a definite record as to the place or manner of his death. 

7. captains. Heb. shdrishlm. The word seems to be connected with 
the numeral * three ' ; lxx Tpio-TaTr/?. Among the Assyrians (at least in 
the case of the king and high officials), the Kheta and the Hebrews 

1 It was at first thought to be the body of Khu-en-aten (Araenophis IV). But 
the priests of Amen would be very unhkely to preserve the body of their great 
religious enemy, who had tried to substitute the worship of Aten for that of Amen. 
And when the rough scrawl of a scribe found upon it was better understood, it was 
proved to be the body of Merenptah (W. Groff in Recueil de Travaux Egypt, et 
Assyr. xx. 224, xxii. 136, xxiii. 32 — 38). 


84 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xiv. 8-13 

Lord ^hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he P 
pursued after the children of Israel : for the children of Israel 
went out with an high hand. 9 And the Egyptians pursued 
after them, | all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and R^ 
his horsemen, and his army, | and overtook them encamping P 
by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-zephon. ] 10 And JE 
when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up 
their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them ; 
and they were sore afraid : | and the children of Israel cried M 
out unto the Lord. | 11 And they said unto Moses, Because «/ 
there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away 
to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus 
with us, to bring us forth out of Egypt? 12 Is not this the 
word that we spake unto thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, 
that we may serve the Egyptians ? For it were better for us 
to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilder- 
ness. 13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand 
still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for 

1 Heb. made strong. 

(cf. Benzinger, Arch. 359) it was customary for each chariot to be 
manned by three men ; one held the reins, another a large shield, and 
the third fought. But an Egyptian war-chariot carried only two, the 
fighter wielding his own shield (Erman, Life in Ancient Egypt, 547 f.). 
If, therefore, the word shdllsh is connected with shdlosh ('three'), 
as applied to an Egyptian it is strictly an archaeological error. 
But even among the Hebrews it came to be used loosely for an 
officer in close attendance on a king (2 K. vii. 2, 17, 19, ix. 25, x. 
25, XV. 25). In the royal court during the Ramesside dynasty 
chariot-officers held a very high place, and were for the most part 
men of scholarly education. Various grades are mentioned, ' chief 
charioteers of his Majesty/ ' superintendent of the horses,' and ' chiefs 
of the stables ' (Erman, I.e.). 

8. with an high hand. Num. xv. 30, xxxiii. 3 (both P). 
Contrast 5 a (J). 

9. all the horses... his army. In the Heb. this clause is inserted 
very awkwardly after ' by the sea.' It seems to be a later expansion. 

10. 11. Origen {in Ev. Joan. vi. 44) remarks, in reference to 1 Cor. 
x. If, that the baptism of the Israelites into Moses in the sea had 
' something bitter and salty in it, while they were still afraid of the 
enemy and were crying to the Lord and to Moses.' But baptism into 
Jesus ' in the sweet and drinkable river ' has many properties more 
extraordinary than the other baptism. 


you to-day : ^for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye J 
shall see them again no more for ever. 14 Tlie Lord shall 
fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. 

15 And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou E 
unto me ? | speak unto the children of Israel, that they go P 
forward. | 16 And lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine E 
hand over the sea, and divide it : | and the children of Israel P 
shall go into the midst of the sea on dry gi-ound. 17 And I, 
behold, I will -harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they 
shall go in after them : and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, 
and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 
18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when 
I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and 
upon his horsemen. | 19 And the angel of God, which went E 
before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them ; | 
and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood J 
behind them : | 20 and it came between the camp of Egypt and JE 
the camp of Israel ; and there was the cloud and the darkness, 
yet gave it light by night : and the one came not near the other 

^ Or, for vshereas ye have seen the Egyptians to-day ^ Heb. make strong. 

15. Moses' appeal to Yahweh has perhaps been lost ; but it may 
be implied in 10 6. 

19 b. E does not state that the Angel of God moved in a cloud. 
See on xiii. 21. On the 'Angel' see note on xxiii. 20. 

20. yet gave it light by night ; and it lit up the night. The 
subject of the verb cannot be the cloud of the preceding clause ; the 
intervening words ' and the darkness ' forbid this. The subject must 
be 'the pillar of cloud' in 19 6\ Thus the narrative of J runs, 'and 
the pillar of cloud removed from before them^ and stood behind them^ 
and' lit up the night' The Egyptians would not dare to approach the 
Israelites with such a strange and awful phenomenon barring the way. 

But great difficulty is caused by the intervening clause, ' and there 
was the cloud and the darkness,' which is probably corrupt. An 
explanation which follows the lines of Targ-Onk. and Pesh. has coloured 
the R.V., and is adopted boldly in the A.V., that the pillar of cloud 
was dark on the Egyptian side, but shining on that of the Israelites. 
But such an haggadic explanation is not warranted by the Heb. text, 
and fails to explain the article 'the darkness.' A possible solution is 
suggested by Jos. xxiv. 7 (E). Joshua there says, ' And when they* 

^ Lxx curiously has Kal SirfKOtv tj vv^, which is probably a gloss. 
^ i.e. your fathers ; perh. read ' ye cried.' 

86 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xiv. ^^^24 

all the night. | 21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the JEP 
sea ; | and the Lord caused the sea to go hack by a strong east J 
wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, | and the waters P 
were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the 
midst of the sea upon the dry ground : and the waters were 
a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 23 And 
the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them into the midst 
of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. [ 
24 And it came to pass in the morning watch, that the Lord J 
looked forth upon the host of the Egyptians through the pillar 

cried unto Yahweh, He put thick darkness (''??^^^, yvo<jf>os) between you 
and the Egyptians/ Independently, then, of the present clause, we 
know that E originally recorded a darkness between the two camps. 
And the passage before us may well be the statement to which Joshua 
refers, lxx here runs koX eyevero o-koto^ koX yv6<f>o<5, ' and there was 
darkness and thick darkness,' which was perhaps the original form 

of the sentence^ ; cf X. 22 (E), Kat kykv^ro o-koto? yv6(f)o<;. 

and the one came not near the other. This has generally been 
understood to refer to the two hostile armies. But comparison 
with X. 22 f. suggests that the expression is analogous to ' they saw 
not one another ' in that passage. Thus J relates that the shining 
cloud stood between the camps, while E (who does not speak of a 
cloud) says that the Angel of God caused a darkness so thick that 
one man could not approach another. 

Other proposed emendations are given by Dillmann on the passage ; 
pp. 164 1 

21. east wind. Cf x. 13. By the driving back of the water, a 
broad strip of ground was left bare. The wind was probably from the 
south-east, Heb. having no terms to describe the intermediate points of 
the compass. See p. xcviii. 

22. the waters were a wall. P adopts the haggadic interpretation 
of the incident, involving a portent, or ' miracle ' in the popular accep- 
tation of the term. God is represented as working in a manner 
opposed to the normal course of nature ^ This diverges from the 
earlier account, which records an event more consonant with God's 
usual method of action. 

24. the morning watch. The Hebrews divided the night into 
three watches of four hours each. The morning watch was 2 — 6 a.m. 
Cf. 1 S. xi. 11, Jud. vii. 19, Mat. xiv. 25, Lk. xii. 38. 

Yahweh looked forth. One of the vivid anthropomorphisms which 

^ On the analogy of x. 22 this would represent H^DNI "Jlg^n '•H)!. 
' Lange feels the difficulty so much that he is forced to speak of the double wall 
of water as a symbolic description. 


of fire and of cloud, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians. J 
25 And he Hook off" their chariot wheels, ^that they drave them 
heavily : so that the Egyptians said. Let us flee from the face 
of Israel ; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians. 

26 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand P 
over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the 
Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. 
27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, | and J 
the sea returned to its ^strength when the morning appeared; 
and the Egyptians fled against it ; and the Lord * overthrew 
the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. | 28 And the waters P 
returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, even all 
the host of Pharaoh that went in after them into the sea ; | 
there remained not so much as one of them. | 29 But the JW 
children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the 
sea ; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, 
and on their left. | 30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out J 

1 Some ancient versions read, bound. ^ Or, and made them to drive 

^ Or, wonted flow ^ Heb. shook off. 

abound in J ; Yaliweh is enveloped in the cloud. His looking forth is 
possibly to be explained of fiery flashes proceeding from the cloud. 

discomfited ; threw into confusion, or panic, at the sight of Him. 

25. he took off. But if the wheels were broken off", the Egyptians 
could not drive them at all. Tlie marg. gives the reading of Sam. 
(■)bi^?.l) and lxx {koL avvi^a-iv), he bound, which is preferable. The 
wheels began to stick fast in the loose wet gi-ound. 

that they drave tJiem ; and he made them, to move, the 
object of the verb being the Egyptian army. The same verb is used 
in X. 13 ('brought'), Gen. xxxi. 26 ('carried away'), Dt. iv. 27, 
xxviii. 37 ('lead away'). 

Let us flee &c. Some think (e.g. Wellhausen) that the passage 
implies a battle between the Israelites and the Egyptians. 

27. to its sti'ength ; to its steady flow. The water reached again 
its ordinary level : the expression does not imply a great volume of 

fled aqainst it. The water, having been driven back by a south- 
east wind, returned from the north-west, so that the Egyptians, in 
trying to escape in the direction from which they had come, met at an 
angle the full force of the returning flow. xv. 10 assumes that it was 
a wind which caused the water to return. 

overthrew ; shook off, as in the margin. A vivid touch, which 
is quoted in Ps. cxxxvi. 15. Cf. Neh. v. 13. 

88 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xiy. 30, 31 

of the hand of the Egyptians ; and Israel saw the Egyptians J 
dead upon the sea shore. | 31 And Israel saw the great %ork BP 
which the Lord did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared 
the Lord : and they believed in the Lord, and in his servant 

^ Heb. hand. 

31. and in his servant Moses. They heartily accepted his leader- 
ship from that moment, with all that it might involve for them. Cf. 
the striking expression in 1 Cor. x. 2 : they ' were all baptised into 
Moses in the cloud and in the sea,' — an expression framed on the 
analogy of 'baptised into Christ' (cf Rom. vi. 3). 

Chapter XV. 1—21. 

The Song of Praise. 

In beauty of style, forceful and nervous language, and poetic skill, this 
song is unsurpassed. It stands as one of the finest specimens of Hebrew 
lyric poetry. It is often known as the ' Song of Moses,' but it is clear that it 
was not, as a whole, a work of the Mosaic age, for vv. 13 — 17 picture the 
journey of the Israelites to Canaan, the terror of the surrounding nations, and 
the establishment of the sanctuary at Zion, as past history. These verses, 
therefore, cannot be earlier than Solomon. Some writers (Ewald, Delitzsch, 
Dillmann) find a Mosaic kernel in 1 6—3 : others (Strack, Driver) in 1 &— II, 
18. But with the exception of 1 6, the song conveys the impression of being 
a unity. This, however, is an impression depending upon individual feeling, 
and is too subjective to warrant a decision. The question suggests itself 
whether the song is dependent upon the narrative in ch. xiv. or vice versa ; 
and examination shews that the former is the case. In v. 8 are combined 
both the wind from the narrative of J, and the wall of water from that of P ; 
in ?5. 4 ' his chosen captains ' seems to be a fusion of the two expressions of 
J in xiv. 7, ' chosen chariots ' and ' captains over all of them ' ; and the words 
ascribed to the enemy in v. 9 read like a poetical amplification, rather than 
the original source, of the language of xiv. 3, 4 a. 

Moreover if v. 1 is rightly assigned to J, and 20, 21 to E, it is strange that 
the latter writer should have preserved the opening stanza of the song in 
a form verbally identical with J's version (with the exception of the first word), 
but not a single word of the remainder. 

A further reason for assigning vv. 2—18 to a late date is supplied by the 
style and vocabulary, {a) The style is the reverse of archaic. Not only do 
the lines run with a smooth sweep of sound, but signs are evident of elaborate 
and careful composition. Hebrew poetry, as is well known, is not produced 
by a strict combination of syllables of a given number and length, as in Greek 
and Latin ; it depends on the rise and fall of the voice — on stress and beat. 
In vv. 2 — 5 the lines contain three beats, varied by cadences of two beats : 
but throughout the rest of the poem, a rhythmic system of four beats is 


consistently maintained i. Further, there are several instances of what is 
known as 'synthetic parallelism/ which marks the most elevated style of 
poetry (see Kirkpatrick, Psalms, vol. i. ch. vi.), e.g. 2 5, 4, 6, 11, 13, 16 6; 
and the whole song is composed of carefully balanced clauses. There is none 
of the rugged obscurity which marks early poems, such as those in Gen. xlix,, 
Dt. xxxiii,, Jud. v. {b) The 'vocabulary points to a late date. The song 
contains immerous words and expressions which are found in Jeremiah, 
Bzekiel and some of the later Psalms, but which are almost or entirely absent 
from earlier writings. The following are the more noticeable : v. 2 Yah 
' song ' {zimrdth) ; ' I will exalt him ' {anwehu) ; t?. 5 ' depths ' {ra'-zbloth) 
V. 8 ' floods ' (participle nozHlm) ; ' were condensed ' ; ' the heart of the sea ' 
«?. 9 *I will draw (^dr'ik) my sword'; v. 10 'as lead'; ^.17 'the established 
place' {mdkon^ R.V. 'the place'). 

The exact date of the song cannot, of course, be fixed. Some writers ^ 
place it as late as 450 B.C., and find in it gi-ammatical forms due to Aramaic 
influence ; but the presence of anything distinctively Aramaic is doubtful 
The expression 'Thou shalt bring them in ' (t\ 17), which follows the retrospect 
in 13 — 16, seems to refer to an event still future. The exodus from Egypt 
was felt by the Jews to be an event only paralleled in kind and in importance 
by the return from Babylon. And the contents, style and language of the 
song are best explained by supposing that a ^vriter of the exile draws 
encouragement from the ancient deliverance of his people, and looks forward 
with certainty to seeing the people of Yahweh once again brought in to the 
mountain of His inheritance and to the sanctuary which His hands had 
established. The picture of the march, and of the terror of the surromiding 
nations finds a remarkable parallel in Ps. Ixviii. See also Is. xliii. 16, 17, 
xlviii. 21, li. 9 — 11, lii. 4, 5, Ixiii. 11 — 14, in each of which passages the events 
of the Exodus are made a ground of hope for deliverance from Babylon. 

A fine English rendering of the scene, and partly of the song itself, will be 
fomid in Milman's dramatic poem The Fall of Jerusalem, pp. 62 — 65. 

XV. 1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this J" 
song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, 

I will sing unto the Lord, for he ^hath triumphed gloriously : 
The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 

^ Or, is highly exalted 

XV. 1. he hath highly exalted himself. The verb is rare. 
V. 21, Ez. xlvii. 5 (of rising waters), Job viii. 11 (of growing plants), 
X. 16 (of the proud lifting of a man's head) t. 

the horse and his rider ; the horse and his charioteer '. It is very 

1 Harper {American Joum. of Sem. Lang. xx. loO — 158) notes various suggestions 
which have been made as to the rhythm and the division into .stanzas, and suggests 
a scheme of bis own, accompanied by critical notes. 

2 e.g. Bender, ZATW, 1<J03, pp. 1—48. 

^ Perhaps the pronoun should be omitted (with lxx S-Hex. Hier.), and the 
words should be rendered ' horse and charioteer,' or, with a change of vowel 
points, ' horse and chariot.' 

90 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xv. a-6 

2 ^The Lord is my strength and song, p«alm 
And he is become my salvation : 

This is my God, and I will praise him ; 
My father's God, and I will exalt him. 

3 The Lord is a man of war : 
The Lord is his name. 

4 Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea : 
And his chosen captains are sunk in the Red Sea. 

5 The deeps cover them : 

They went down into the depths like a stone. 

6 Thy right hand, Lord, is glorious in power, 

Thy right hand, Lord, dasheth in pieces the enemy. 

1 Heb. Jah. 

doubtful if the ancient Egyptians rode on horses ; they are uniformly 
depicted as driving in chariots. 

2. The Lord. Yah, a poetical abbreviation of Yahweh (see on 
iii. 14). Besides the citations of this passage in Is. xii. 2, Ps. cxviii. 14, 
the form occurs in xvii. 16, Is. xxvi. 4, xxxviii. 11, Cant. viii. 6 (probably), 
and frequently in late Psalms, especially in the exclamation Hallelu- 

and song. The Heb. zimrdth^ must be rendered 'a song.' But 
probably zimrdtKi, my song, should be read. 

he is become to me a salvation, i.e. a source of safety, or deliverance 
from defeat; hence a source of 'victory.' In the early stages of 
Israelitish thought, the word never rises beyond deliverance from 
temporal defeat or calamity. Later Messianic expectations projected 
the thought of deliverance and victory to a glorious future, but they 
were still of the nature of material blessings. From the time of the 
exile, with the deepened sense of the sinfulness of sin in the individual, 
the conception of salvation gradually became more spiritual. And 
finally in the N.T. it was seen to involve an inward deliverance from 
sin, which, though it will be consummated in the future, can be 
experienced also in the present life. See art. 'Salvation,' DB iv. 

/ will praise him ; lit. I will beautify, or adorn, him. The word 
is unique in Bibl. Heb.^ 

3. Yahweh is a man of war. Cf Ps. xxiv. 8. 

5. covered them. The verb is in the imperfect tense, and graphi- 
cally describes the sinking of one chariot after another, as the water 
gradually overwhelmed them. 

1 Cf. npn3, Ps. xvi. 6, n3tJ', Ps. cxxxii. 4, and other instances given in 
Ges.-K. § 80 "g. 

2 Harper suggests -iniiX (from a root T)J 'to swell'), *I will exalt, or 
magnify, him.' 


7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou overthrowest Psalm 

them that rise up against thee : 
Thou sendest forth thy wrath, it consumeth them as stubble. 

8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were piled up, 
The floods stood upright as an heap ; 

The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea. 

9 The enemy said, 

I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil : 

My lust shall be satisfied upon them ; 

I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. 

10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them : 
They sank as lead in the mighty waters. 

1 1 Who is like unto thee, Lord, among the gods ? 
Who is like thee, glorious in holiness. 

Fearful in praises, doing wonders ? 

12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, 
The earth swallowed them. 

13 Thou in thy mercy hast led the people which thou hast 

redeemed : 
Thou hast guided them in thy strength to thy holy habita- 

14 The peoples have heard, they tremble : 

Pangs have taken hold on the inhabitants of Philistia. 

15 Then were the dukes of Edom amazed ; 

7. excellency, exaltation. From the same root as the rerb 
in V. 1. 

8. congealed, i.e. solidified. The word does not necessarily imply 
freezing ; it denotes the thickening of undisturbed wine (Zeph. i. 12), 
and the curdling of cheese (Job x. 10). 

9. my lust ; my desire. Lit. ' soul.' 

11. ifi praises, i.e. in praiseworthy acts. Cf. Ps. Ixviii. 4, Is. Ix. 6, 
Ixiii. 7. 

12. t/ie earth swallowed them. This has no literary connexion 
with the narrative either of J or P in ch. xiv. ; it is a poetical 
description of an overwhelming destruction. 

14. Philistia {Pelesheth). The name occurs only in late poetry. 
Joel iii. (iv.) 4, Is. xiv. 29, 31, Ps. Ix. 8 (10) = cviii. 9(10), Ixxxiii. 7 (8), 
Ixxxvii. 4 +. 

15. dukes ('allUph) ; chiefs of a family or clan. See Driver on 
Gen. xxivi. 15 (P). 

92 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xv. 15-18 

The ^mighty men of Moab, trembling taketh hold upon Psalm 

them : 
All the inhabitants of Canaan are melted away. 

16 Terror and dread falleth upon them ; 

By the greatness of thine arm they are as still as a stone ; 

Till thy people pass over, Lord, 

Till the people pass over which thou hast ^purchased. 

17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain 

of thine inheritance, 
The place, Lord, which thou hast made for thee to 

dwell in. 
The sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. 

18 The Lord shall reign for ever and ever. 

^ Heb. rams. ^ Heb. gotten. 

the mighty men ; the leaders. Heb. ' rams,' a metaphor for 
strong leaders. Ez. xvii. 13, xxxi. 11, xxxii. 21 [2 K. xxiv. 15 ^m]t. 
Similar metaphors are found in Is. xiv. 9, Zech. x. 3, Ps. Ixviii. 30. 
It is possible that ' ram ' (^ayil) was a recognised title, or name of 
office, in Moab, as 'allupk appears to have been in Edom. 2 K. iii. 4 
perhaps lends colour to this. 

16. pass over ; pass by. A general term covering the movements 
of the Israelites till the end of the wanderings. It cannot refer to 
the crossing of the Red Sea, or (Targ-Onk.) to the crossing of the 

purchased. Acquired as a possession, generally, but not always, 
by purchase. In the application of the term to God's deliverance of 
His people (as in Is. xi. 11, Ps. Ixxiv. 2), all thought of a price paid is 
lost. The word is even used of God creating the world (Gen. xiv. 19, 22) 
and Israel (Dt. xxxii. 6). The same is true of the word 'redeem' 
{d.. vi. 6). See Westcott, Hebrews, pp. 295 ff., and Hort on 1 Pet. 
i. 19. And the converse thought is expressed by the word 'sell'; see 
Dt. xxxii. 30, Jud. ii. 14, 1 Sam. xii. 9, and especially Ps. xliv. 12 (13). 

17. the mountain of thine inheritance, i.e. the hilly country (of 
Palestine) which is thine inheritance. The idea of the land as 
Yahweh's inheritance is specially characteristic of Jeremiah, ii. 7, 
xii. 8, 9, xvi. 18, 1. 11 ; of Ps. Ixxix. 1. 

the place... 8lc. Render, 'the established place for thee to dwell 
in which thou hast made, Yahweh.' In the writer's thoughts the 
whole of Palestine is concentrated in the city of Jerusalem. 'The 
estabhshed place' is virtually, though not strictly, in apposition to 
the foregoing phrase ; it describes something smaller and more defined 
than the whole country. 

the sanctuary... 8ic. Again in virtual apposition to 'the established 
place.' The country and the city are concentrated, and find their 

XV. 19-22] . THE BOOK OF EXODUS 93 

19 For the horses of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and W 
with his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought again 
the waters of the sea upon them ; but the children of Israel 
walked on dry land in the midst of the sea. | 20 And Miriam E 
the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand ; 
and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with 
dances. 21 And Miriam answered them. 

Sing ye to the Lord, for he ^hath triumphed gloriously ; 

The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 

22 And Moses led Israel onward from the Red Sea, and J 
they went out into the wilderness of Shur ; and they went 

^ Or, is highly exalted 

truest meaning in the Temple. The writer thus reaches the spiritual 
conception of Ps. xcii. 13 — of God's people as trees planted in the 
house of Yahweh, and flourishing in the courts of their God. 

19. A redactor explains the significance of the song. His ex- 
pression ' the waters of the sea ' does not occur in the narrative 
of ch. xiv. 

20. the prophetess^ i.e. one endowed with the gift of song, as 
Deborah, Jud. iv. 4. (In later times it denoted one who gave oracular 
answers from God, as Huldah, 2 K. xxii. 14.) The description would 
lose its force if Miriam merely repeated a song composed by Moses. 
It is E's account of the song which J in v. 1 ascribes to Moses. 

the sister of Aaron. See on ii. 1. 

21. answered them ; sang to thein\ while they danced. 

Chapter XV. 22—27. 
Marah and Elim. 

The Israelites appear to have followed the ordinary haj route, 
Eastward across the desert to the Northern point of the Gulf of Akaba. 
See pp. xcviii. f These verses are the only record we possess of their 
route between the crossing of the water and the arrival at the neigh- 
bourhood of Sinai. 

XV. 22. Shur; called Etham in Num. xxxiii. 8 (P). See 
pp. xciv. {. Shur is mentioned in Gen. xvi. 7, xx. 1, xxv. 18 (where 
it is said to be *in front of — i.e. East of — Egypt'; cf. 1 S. xy. 7), 
1 S. xxvii. 8. 

^ The pronoun is masc. as frequently with fem. plurals. Ges.-K. § 135 o. 

94 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xv. 21-21 

three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23 And J 
when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters 
of Marah, for they were bitter : therefore the name of it was 
called ^ Marah. 24 And the people murmured against Moses, 
saying. What shall we drink ? 25 And he cried unto the Lord ; 
and the Lord shewed him a tree, and he cast it into the waters, 
and the waters were made sweet. | There he made for them a E 
statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them ; | 26 and R^ 
he said. If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the 
Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his eyes, and 
wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, 
I will put none of the diseases upon thee, which I have put 
upon the Egyptians : for I am the Lord that healeth thee. 

27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve springs of*/ 
water, and threescore and ten palm trees : and they encamped 
there by the waters. 

1 That is, Bitterness. 

23. Marah. The writer probably thought of the word as the 
fern, of the adjective ' bitter ' ; the subst. (see marg.) occurs only in 
Prov. xiv. 10. 

24. the people murmured. The records of the constant mur- 
murings of the people afford strong evidence for the historic truthfulness 
of the narratives of the wanderings. A purely ideal picture of the 
chosen people would have omitted them. They also serve to display 
the wonderful personality of Moses, who could control, pacify and 
lead such a collection of rude nomad tribes. The murmurings and 
rebelHons are related in Ex. xiv. 11, 12, xv. 24, xvi. 2, 3, xvii. 3, 
xxxii. 1 — 4, 25, Num. xi. 4 — 6, xii. 1, 2, xiv. 2, 3, xvi., xx. 2 — 5, 
xxi. 4, 5. They are referred to in Dt. i. 27, Ps. Ixxviii. 17—20, 40 — 42, 
xcv. 8 — 11, cvi. 25, 1 Cor. x. 10, Heb. iii. 

25. Tliere he made for him, i.e. God made for the people, who 
must have been previously mentioned as a collective unity in some 
words now lost. 

he proved them ; xvi. 4, xx. 20. See analysis, p. xxi. 

26. diseases. A reference to the plagues, xxiii. 25 (R), 
1 K. viii. 37 = 2 Chr. vi. 28 f. 

healeth ; cf. Ps. ciii. 3, cvii. 20. The present verse was used in 
Rabbinic times as a charm for the healing of wounds. 

27. Elim, i.e. 'terebinths'; but the name may imply the presence 

of other prominent and lofty trees. 'Elim and 'Eloth are both plurals 
of 'Eldh, and all the three names were probably employed for the same 
place, at the North of the Gulf of Akaba. See pp. xcix. f. 


Chapter XVI. 

Tlie Manila and the Quails. 

The literary phenomena of the chapter are discussed in the analysis, and 
the conclusion is reached that JB recorded the gift of manna at this point. 
In Num. xi, J relates that the people had by that time grown weary of the 
manna, and murmured for flesh, whereupon quails were sent. P probably had 
there a parallel story of quails ; but a compiler put it back to stand in the 
position which it occupies in the present chapter, combining it with P's story 
of the manna. This chapter was thus made similar to Num. xi., in that each 
contains mention of quails and manna in juxtaposition. 

XVI. 1 And they took their journey from Elim, and all the P 
congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness 
of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day 
of the second month after their departing out of the land of 
Egypt. 2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel 
murmured against Moses and against Aaron in the wilderness : 
3 and the children of Israel said unto them. Would that we 
had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when 
we sat by the flesh pots, when we did eat bread to the full ; 
for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this 
whole assembly with hunger. | 4 Then said the Lord unto E 
Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you ; and the 
people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that 
I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. | 
5 And it shall come to pass on the sixth day, that they shall P 
prepare that which they bring in, and it shall be twice as much 
as they gather daily. 6 And Moses and Aaron said unto all the 

XVI. 1. wilderness of Sin ; see p. xcix. Num. xxxiii. 10 records, 
between Elim and the arrival at Sinai, an encampment ' by yam sUpk/ 
i.e. on the Gulf of Akaba. 

3. The words imply that their condition in Egypt had been 
tolerably comfortable. 

4. And Yahweh said. There is no connexion with the pre- 
ceding verse. 

a day's portion every day. The thought, if not the language, of 
this passage probably underlies the petition in the Lord's Prayer — 
' Give us this day our daily bread.' See Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish 
Fathers, ed. 2, pp. 178 — 186. On the assignment of the verse to E 
see p. xxi. 

prove them ; see xv. 25. 

6. Moses tells the people God's words before he has himself 

96 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xvi. 6-13 

children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the Lord P 
hath brought you out from the land of Egypt : 7 and in the 
morning, then ye shall see the glory of the Lord ; for that he 
heareth your murmurings against the Lord : and what are we, 
that ye murmur against us ? | 8 And Moses said. This shall he, E^ 
when the Lord shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and 
in the morning bread to the full ; for that the Lord heareth 
your murmurings which ye murmur against him : and what are 
we ? your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord.] 
9 And Moses said unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation P 
of the children of Israel, Come near before the Lord : for he 
hath heard your murmurings. 10 And it came to pass, as 
Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of 
Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the 
glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11 And the Lord 
spake unto Moses, saying, 12 I have heard the mummrings of 
the children of Israel : speak unto them, saying, ^At even ye 
shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread ; 
and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God. 13 And it 

^ Heb. Betiveen the two evenings. 

received them from God in v. 12. vv. 9 — 12 must originally have 
preceded vv. 6 — 8. 

7. for that he heareth. The glory of Yahweh would be shewn by 
the fact that He hears and grants their murmuring wish. 

8. This shall he. R.V. supplies these words to produce a complete 
sentence. But the verse, as added by the compiler (see anal. p. xxii.), 
is incomplete ; he resumes the construction of the second clause of the 
preceding verse : ^ And Moses said, For that Yahweh giveth you... 
&c.,' and concludes with what is practically a duplicate of 7 h, c. 

9. Come near before Yahweh, i.e. to the door of the Tent. This 
verse, together with 10, 33 f, shews that the narrative belongs to the 
period after the Tent was erected at Sinai. 

10. toward the wilderness. This is not in accordance with P's 
conception of the cloud, which appeared over the Tent in the midst of 
the camp. Moreover the Israelites were in the wilderness at the time. 
It was probably an intentional correction, either by the compiler, or 
(Dillm.) by the later scribes; the words should be read toward the 
Dwelling {p'^'or\ for nanDn) ; cf Num. xvi. 42 (Heb. xvii. 7). The 
corrector was content to leave untouched the allusions to the existence 
of the Tent, but the actual mention of it could not be admitted before 
its erection at Sinai. The correction was earlier than the Lxx, which 

has rrjv eprjixov. 

12. At even ; see on xii. 6. 

13. It is remarkable that nothing is said of the Israelites using, 

xvi. 13-15] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 97 

came to pass at even, that the quails came up, and covered P 
the camp : and in the morning the dew lay round about the 
camp. 14 And Avhen the dew that lay was gone up, behold, 
upon the face of the wilderness a small ^ round thing, small as 
the hoar frost on the ground. | 15 And when the children oi E 
Israel saw it, they said one to another, -Wliat is it? for they 
wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them. It is the 

1 Or, flake ^ Or, It is manna Heb. Man hu. 

or taking any notice of, the quails. And the article, Uhe quails,' 
shews that in the original form of the story quails had previously been 
mentioned. Only a fragment of the narrative has survived, owing to 
its amalgamation with the manna story (see analysis, p. xxii.). 

Quails are frequently met with in the Sinaitic peninsula. They 
move northwards in spring in immense numbers, flying close to the 
ground. When wearied with flight they drop, and are easily netted. 
They were salted and stored as food by the ancient Egyptians (Herod, ii. 
77). There is no need to suppose that the birds of the narrative were 
cranes (Stanley). 

J's narrative in Num. xi. is much fuller, and describes the scene in 
the camp when the birds were brought by an east wind, and the plague 
which followed. The plague was probably caused by the fact that 
their numbers were so great that they were not properly cured ; the 
bodies would quickly putrefy under a hot sun. See Gray on Num. xi., 
and art. ' Quails ' in F?ic. B. The gift of the quails is mentioned in 
Ps. cv. 40, Wisd. xvi. 2, xix. 12. Cf Ps. Ixxviii. 27. 

14. The manna is pictured as having fallen in the night witli the 
dew, and wlien the dew evaporated, the flakes of manna were left on 
the ground. 

a small round thing ; a fine scale-like thing : lit. ' a fine thing, 
scaled off".' Cognate words in Aram, denote 'potsherd,' 'scurf and 
' scale ' (of fish). The adj. ' fine ' describes something reduced to small 
particles by grinding or pulverisation ; cf xxx. 36, xxxii. 20. 

15. What is it ? Man hu\ LXX -rl ecrn tovto ; This rendering 
has been generally accepted ; but it is strange to find the Israelites 
using the Aramaic form of the pronoun (man), and not the Hebrew 
(md//). It is possible that mem may be a Hebrew corruption of an 
Egyptian word mennu (Ebers, Brugsch), denoting some natural exuda- 
tion from trees. If so, the words will mean ' they said one to anotlier, 
It is man', for they wist not what it was-' ; i.e. they called it by the 
name of a well-known substance, because they did not know its real 
nature — that it was something new and miraculous. The Engl, form 
'manna' in vv. 31, 33, 35 is due to the lxx /xaVm in Num. xi. 

^ In cod. F a corrector has superscribed the words fidv avro (Field, Hex. in loc). 
^ The words ' for they wist not what it was ' may possibly be a gloss by someone 
who sought an etymology for man in the Aramaic pronoun. 

M. 7 

98 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xvi. 15-19 

bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. | 16 This is the E F 
thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather ye of it every 
man according to his eating ; an omer a head, according to 
the number of your persons, shall ye take it, every man for 
them which are in his tent. 17 And the children of Israel 
did so, and gathered some more, some less. 18 And when 
they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had 
nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack ; they 
gathered every man according to his eating. 19 And Moses 

Various suggestions for the identification of the substance will be 
found in art. 'Manna' in DB and £j7ic. B., e.g. an exudation from 
the tamarisk or tdrfd tree ; or from the Camel's Thorn ; a species of 
oak honey ; or an edible lichen of a dry and insipid taste. The latter 
would perhaps correspond best to the description of it. Currelly (in 
Petrie's Researches in Smai, 230 f.) suggests that it was snow. But 
whether the phenomenon had a natural origin or not, the Biblical 
writers treat it as entirely miraculous. It did not appear on the 
Sabbath, but a double quantity fell on Friday. It remained fresh 
if kept through Friday night, but putrefied if kept through any other 
night in the week. Although it could be ground, beaten, boiled or 
baked (Num. xi. 8), yet it volatilised, if left, in the heat of the sun. 
And finally, the daily provision for the Israelites, at an omer per head, 
must have exceeded 300 tons. 

18. And when they did mete it ; and they measured it, i.e. at 
the time that they collected it, taking care not to gather more or less 
than an omer per head. R.V. seems to imply that they measured it 
afterwards, and found that however much or little they had gathered, 
the manna had diminished or increased miraculously to the required 
amount for each. 

he that gathered much ; i.e. he that had a large household, and 
therefore gathered many omers. 

had nothing over.., had no lack; caused no surplus... caused no 
lack [to himself] ; he did not gather more, or less, than he ought. 

according to his eating. With the above explanation, this expres- 
sion is not at variance with the command to gather an omer per head. 
See the use of the same expression in xii. 4. 

In 2 Cor. viii. 15 S. Paul adopts words from this verse in begging 
the Corinthians to be liberal in their almsgiving for the poor Christians 
in Jerusalem. He tells his readers that he has no wish that they 
should have distress in order that others should have relief ; he desires 
an equal balance, that they should, at the present time, supply out of 
their abundance the needs of their poorer brethren ; but that, if 
occasion should arise, the Judaean Christians should contribute to 
the needs of the Corinthians — ' as it is written, " He that gathered 
much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack." ' 


said unto them, Let no man leave of it till the morning. P 
20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses ; but some 
of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and 
stank : and Moses was wroth with them. 21 And they gathered 
it morning by morning, every man according to his eating : and 
when the sun waxed hot, it melted. | 22 And it came to pass, W 
that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two 
omers for each one : and all the rulers of the congregation came 
and told Moses. 23 And he said unto them, This is that which 
the Lord hath spoken, To-morrow is a solemn rest, a holy sab- 
bath unto the Lord : bake that which ye will bake, and seethe 
that which ye will seethe ; and all that remaineth over lay up 
for you to be kept until the morning. 24 And they laid it up 
till the morning, as Moses bade : and it did not stink, neither 
was there any worm therein. 25 And Moses said, Eat that 
to-day ; for to-day is a sabbath unto the Lord : to-day ye shall 
not find it in the field. 26 Six days ye shall gather it ; but on 
the seventh day is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. 
27 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that there went out 
some of the people for to gather, and they found none. 28 And 
the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my 
commandments and my law^s ? 29 See, for that the Lord hath 
given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day 
the bread of two days ; abide ye every man in his place, let no 
man go out of his place on the seventh day. 30 So the people 
rested on the seventh day. | 31 And the house of Israel called P 

22 — 30. The manna is not to be gathered on the Sabbath. 

22. twice as much bread, two omers ; twice the [prescribed] 
omer. This section on the Sabbath seems to be due to a later writer, 
who understood v. 18 as describing a miracle. On Friday a further 
miracle occurred ; each man, after gathering his prescribed amount, 
found that his portion had mysteriously doubled itself. And the 
princes of the congregation naturally went to inform Moses, and to 
seek an explanation of the portent. 

23. a solemn rest ; a complete rest ; skabbdtk'm, a late 
strengthened form of 'sabbath.' xxxi. 15, xxxv. 2, Lev. xvi. 31, 
xxiii. 3, 24, 32, 39, xxv. 4, 5 1. 

26. the sabbath ; a sabbath-rest. See on xx. 10. 
29. every man where he is (cf. x. 23). In the following clause, 
* his place ' is a difterent word. 



the name thereof ^ Manna : and it was like coriander seed, P 
white ; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. 
32 And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord hath 
commanded. Let an omerful of it be kept for your generations ; 
that they may see the bread wherewith I fed you in the wilder- 
ness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt. 33 And 
Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omerful of 
manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for 
your generations. 34 As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron 
laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept. 35 And the 
children of Israel did eat the manna forty years, until they came 
to a land inhabited ; they did eat the manna, until they came 
unto the borders of the land of Canaan. 36 Now an omer is 
the tenth part of an ephah. 

XVII. 1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel 

1 Heb. Man. 

31 — 36. The continuation of the narrative in 13 h — 21. 

31. The description seems to be that of the coriander fruity 
which is about the size of a peppercorn. 

white. In Num. xi. 7 it is said to be of the colour of bdellium, 
i.e. pale yellow. Jos. {Ant. iii. i. 6), though retaining the comparison 
with bdellium, says that the people would have mistaken the manna 
for snow, had not Moses told them it was food — a statement evidently 
based on the 'hoar frost' of v. 14. 

wafe/rs made with honey. Num. xi. 8 'a dainty prepared with oil.' 

34. before the Testimony (or Witness), i.e. in front of the ark 
which held the Testimony. The same abbreviated expression occurs 
in xxvii. 21, xxx. 6, 36, Lev. xvi. 13, xxiv. 3, Num. xvii. 4 (19), 10 (25). 
' The Testimony ' is the solemn divine charge comprised in the Ten 
Words, XXV. 16, 21, xxxi. 18, xxxii. 15, xxxiv. 29, xl. 20. The words 
shew that the narrative belongs to the period after the stay at Sinai. 
See xv. 9, 10. _ 

36. An 'ephah was a dry measure, equivalent to hath a liquid 
measure. (Ezek. xlv. 11, 14.) The hath- ephah measured, in O.T. 
times, 65 imperial pints. But when it became advisable to coordinate 
the Hebrew measurements with the Greek, it was made equivalent to 
the Attic fji€TprjT7J<s (Jn. ii. 6, E.V. 'firkin'), i.e. 71*28 pints. The 
^omer contained a little more than a bushel, and an 'ephdh about 
11 bushels. 

Chapter XVII. 1—7. 


XVII. 1. Rephidim. The locality has not been identified. See 
p. civ. 


journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, by their ^journeys, P 
according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in 
Rephidim : | and there was no water for the people to drink. E 
2 Wherefore the people strove with Moses, and said. Give us 
water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why 
strive ye with me ? | wherefore do ye tempt the Lord ? 3 And J 
the people thirsted there for water ; and the people murmured 
against INIoses, and said. Wherefore hast thou brought us up 
out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with 
thirst ? I 4 And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying. What shall E 
I do unto this people ? they be almost ready to stone me. 5 And 
the Lord said unto Moses, Pass on before the people, and take 
with thee of the elders of Israel ; and thy rod, wherewith thou 
smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. 6 Behold, I will 
stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb ; and thou 
shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that 
the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the 
elders of Israel. | 7 And he called the name of the place -Massah, | J 
and ^Meribah, because of the striving of the children of Israel, | E 

1 Or, stages - That is, Tempting, or. Proving. ^ That is, Chiding, or, Strife. 

2. The double question 'Why strive ye...?' 'Why tempt ye...?' 
is due to the amalgamation of two narratives, and corresponds to the 
double name Meribah-Massah (u 7). See analysis, p. xxiii. The 
striving and tempting are referred to in Ps. xcv. 8, 9, which is quoted 
in Heb. iii. 8, 9. 

4. to stone me. Cf. 1 S. xxx. 6. 

5. and go. The name of the place to which he was to go has 
fallen out (cf. Gen. xxxi. 25 1*), since 'there' in v. 6 has nothing to 
refer to. 

6. In Num. xx. is found another narrative of the striking of the 
rock, placed at Kadesh, near the borders of Canaan ; and the name 
Mer'ibak is explained {v. 13), as here, by the incident. (See pp. cii. f ) 
The Targ. of Onkelos on Num. xxi. 17 ff. contains a legend according 
to which the well, mentioned in that passage, followed the Israelites on 
their journeys. S. Paul (1 Cor. x. 4) refers to the legend, at the same 
time alluding to the rock which produced water, the rock being typical 
of Christ. See Thackeray, The Rel. of St Paul to contemp. Jewish 
thought, pp. 205 — 11. 

7. Meribah. It is unfortunate that the Revisers have admitted 
' chiding ' into the margin. The subst. is formed from the same root 
as the word ' striving ' in the following clause, and the verb ' strove ' 
and 'strive' in v. 2. 

102 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xvii. 7-11 

and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord J 
among us, or not ? 

8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. E 
9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, 
fight with Amalek : to-morrow I will stand on the top of the hill 
with the rod of God in mine hand. 10 So Joshua did as Moses 
had said to him, and fought with Amalek : and Moses, Aaron, 
and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 1 1 And it came to pass, 
when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed : and when he 

vv, 8—16. 
The battle with the Amalehites. 

8. ^Amalek. A predatory tribe, resembling the modern Bedawin. 
The difficulty of supposing them to have appeared as far South as the 
traditional locality of Sinai is discussed on p. civ. From Num. xiii. 29, 
xiv. 25, 43, 45, we learn that they were closely associated with Pales- 
tinian tribes, and lived on the S. and S.W. of Judah near Kadesh, in 
the desert now known as et-Tih. This is supported by 1 S. xv. 6 f., 
XXX. ; and Gen. xiv. 7 expressly locates them at En-mishpat or 
Kadesh, and couples them with the Amorites ; see also Gen. xxxvi. 12 
(with Driver's note). 

9. Joshua. He is mentioned as a well-known person, without 
explanation, and as a full-grown warrior ; whereas in xxiv. 13, 
xxxiii. 11 he is introduced to the reader as a young man, Moses' 
private servant. Moses is too old and feeble to lead the army in 
person. The narrative evidently belongs to a period — not at the 
beginning, but — towards the end of the Israelites' journeyings. 

the hill. One of the heights near Kadesh. Cf. Num. xiv. 40, 44 f. 

10. Hur. He is elsewhere mentioned only in xxiv. 14 (E) ; he 
was apparently a chief, and perhaps a kinsman of Moses. Jos. {Ant. 
in. ii. 4) speaks of him as the husband of Miriam, and identifies him 
with the grandfather of Bezaleel (xxxi. 2, xxxv. 30, 1 Ch. ii. 19 f., 50, 
2 Ch. i. 5). Hur was the name of a Midianite chief (Num. xxxi. 8, 
Jos. xiii. 21 (P)), and of a Jew after the exile (Neh. iii. 9). The name 
mn occurs in Nabataean and Sinai tic inscriptions. Some have con- 
nected it with the name of the Egyptian sun-god Horus ; but there is 
no evidence for this, though some of the Israelite names are probably 
of Egyptian etymology ; e.g. Moses (ii. 10), Putiel and Phinehas (vi. 25). 

11. Moses raised his hand with the divinely given staff (9 6), and 
also stretched out the other hand (12). The scene has often been 
regarded as typical of the power of pra3^er ; cf. Cowper's h3rmn (' What 
various hindrances we meet'), 

'When Moses stood with arms spread wide, 
Success was found on Israel's side : 
But when through weariness they fail'd, 
That moment Amalek prevail'd.' 


let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses' hands were E 
heavy ; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he 
sat thereon ; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one 
oi\ the one side, and the other on the other side ; and his hands 
were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 And Joshua 
^discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the 
sword. 14 And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a 
memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua : 
^that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from 
under heaven. 15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name 

1 Heb. prostrated. ^ Or, for 

13. discomfited; weakened \ Job xiv. 10, Is. xiv. 12 1. The 
subst. 'weakness' occurs iu xxxii. 18, and the adj. in Joel iii. (iv.) 10. 

14. Write this. Moses probably learnt some form of writing 
whea he was brought up in Egypt. Cf. xxiv. 4, xxxiv. 27, Num. xxxiii. 
2, I't. xxxi. 9, 22, 24. The beginnings of Hebrew writing cannot be 
traced. Some think that the Heb. alphabet was derived from the 
ancient Egyptian hieratic script; others assign to it an Assyrian origin ; 
at iny rate it dates from a period long before the Exodus. But the 
eaniest known specimens of Heb. ™ting are inscriptions on two bowls 
of bronze, apparently carried to Cyprus as part of the spoils from a 
temple on Mt Lebanon. The earher of these probably belongs to the 
beginning of the 10th cent. B.C., i.e. a little later than the reign of 
Solomon ; and the later one is nearly contemporaneous with the 
inscription of Mesha on the ' Moabite Stone,' belonging to the middle 
of the 9th cent. The script is also found in the (?) 8th cent, in the 

Siloam inscription.' See art. 'Alphabet,' DB i. 72 f. 

rehearse it. Lit. 'place it.' Joshua must learn the words of the 
record, in order to hand it on to the next generation, when Moses was 

for / will utterly wipe out.... Moses was to record, not the 
words 'I will utterly... &c.,' but the splendid victory vouchsafed by 

15. The erection of the altar is in accordance with the principle 
expressed in xx. 24. Yahweh had ' caused His Name to be remembered ' 
by the victory. Until the Deuteronomic legislation confined all 
sacrifice to the central sanctuary, the erection of altars was a frequent 
act of piety, and is related in the case of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, 
Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon, and others. 

Yahweh-nissi, 'Yahweh is my banner.' The name Yahweh is 
the sacred emblem under which we rally and fight. Hoc Signo 
vincemus. Cf Ps. xx. 5, 7. 

^ In the Kal voice the verb signifies ' to be weak.' Probably the Hiphil K^bqil 
should be read. 

104 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xvii. 15-xviii. 3 

of it ^ Jehovah-nissi : 16 and he said, ^The Lord hath sworn : E 
the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to 

XVIII. 1 Now Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father 
in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel 
his people, | how that the Lord had brought Israel out of Eg^pt. W^ 
2 And Jethro, Moses' father in law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, 
after he had sent her away, 3 and her two sons ; of which the 
name of the one was Gershom ; for he said, I have been ^a 

1 That is, The LORD is my banner. ^ Or, Because there is a hand against the 
throne of the LORD Heb. A hand is lifted up upon the throne of Jah. ^ Heb. 

Ger. See ch. ii. 22. 

16. The Lord hath sworn. A very terse form of oath (introduced 
by k~i, the particle of asseveration), which may have been frequeatly 
employed in ancient days — yddh 'al kes Yah. The alliteration foimed 
by the first and the last word is characteristic of popular sayings and 
proverbs. The four words denote a hand on the throne of Yah. The 
expression ' lift up the hand ' as a form of oath is found in vi 8, 
Gen. xiv. 22, Num. xiv. 30, Ps. cvi. 26 al. The words may therefore 
be rendered, not as in R.V. but, I [or We] lift up a hand to !;he 
throne of Yah. And the oath is one of unceasing hostility to 
Amalek — ' Yahweli [in the person of His people] will have war.,.&c.' 

The terseness of the oath causes an abbreviation of ^5? (kisse), tKe 
usual word for 'throne,' into D? (kesY. This is supported, though 
entirely misread, by the lxx Iv xetpt Kpv(^aia = n^^D? T| 

Chapter XVIII. 
Jethro visits Moses at the mountain, 

XVIII. 1. Jethro. See on ii. 18. 

2. after he had sent her away ; after her dismissal. This can 
only mean ' after Moses had sent her back to Midian when he returned 
to Egypt,' — unless the words refer to some tradition about Zipporah 
which is now lost. Verses 2 — 4 seem to be a later addition, with the 
object of reconciling ii. 22, iv. 20, 25 (J) with E's statement in v. 5. 
See analysis, pp. xxiii. f 

On the names Zipporah and Gershom see ii. 21 f. 

^ The emendation nes ('banner'), adopted by several writers, is unnecessary, 
and gives a poor sense. Moreover if nls had been the original reading, the 
connexion with Yahweh-nissi would have been so obvious, that a scribe would 
have been most unlikely to alter it to the unique kes. On the other hand the 
possibility cannot be denied that the whole phrase is a corruption of quite a 
different sentence, in which nes may originally have stood ; perhaps it was an 
explanation of nissl. 


sojourner in a strange land : 4 and the name of the other was W^ 
^Eliezer ; for he said, The God of my father was my help, and 
delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh : | 5 and Jethro, Moses' E 
father in law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into 
the wilderness where he was encamped, at the mount of God : 
6 and he said unto Moses, I thy father in law Jethro am come unto 
thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her. | 7 And Moses JE 
went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and 
kissed him ; and they asked each other of their welfare ; and 
they came into the tent. 8 And Moses told his father in law 
all that the Lord had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians 
for Israel's sake, all the travail that had come upon them by the 
way, and how the Lord delivered them. 9 And Jethro rejoiced 
for all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, in that he 
had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. 10 And 
Jethro said. Blessed be the Lord, who hath delivered you out 
of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh ; | 
who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the R 
Egyptians. | 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than MJE 

1 Heb. El, God, and ezer, help. 

4. 'Eli'ezer. 'My God is a help\' He is mentioned elsewhere 
only in a chronicler's list of names, where he has an only son Rehabiah 
(1 Chr. xxiii. 15, 17, xxvi. 25). It is noteworthy that the very similar 
names 'El'azar ('God hath helped') and Gershon are given in P 
(vi. 23, IGf.) to Aaron's third son and to Levi's eldest son respectively. 
Priestly descent was traced from Levi, sometimes thi'ough Moses and 
sometimes tlirough Aaron. See Introd. pp. Ixvii. f. 

the sword of Pharaoh. The expression is not found elsewhere. 

LXX €K x^'-P^'i ^• 

5. wh^re he was encamped. The encampment at the mountain 
does not take place till xix. 2 ; the present position of the narrative is, 
therefore, premature. See also v. 16. 

6. I... am come. The true text (with LXX Sam. Pesh.) is probably 
'Behold thy father-in-law is come' (n3n for '^^;) ; and the opening 
'and he said' must be either understood impersonally, ' and it was 
said,' or altered to 'and they said' O!?''^*^-) ; cf. Gen. xlviii. 1. 

10/^. who hath delivered... &Q. A doublet of the preceding half 
verse ; the clause is omitted in lxx. 

1 In the explanation which follows ('was my help') the construction ntyi, 
* in the capacity of my help,' may be compared with ^"1^7X21, vi. 3 (Ges.-K. 
§ 119 i). 

106 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xvm. 11-16 

gods : yea, in the thing wherein they dealt proudly against them. | JE 

12 And Jethro, Moses' father in law, took a burnt offering E 
and sacrifices for God : and Aaron came, and all the elders of 
Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father in law before God. 

13 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge 
the people : and the people stood about Moses from the 
morning unto the evening. 14 And when Moses' father in law 
saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing 
that thou doest to the people ? why sittest thou thyself alone, 
and all the people stand about thee from morning unto even ? 
15 And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people 
come unto me to inquire of God : 16 when they have a matter, 
they come unto me ; and I judge between a man and his neigh- 
bour, and I make them know the statutes of God, and his laws. 

11. yea^ in the thing \ for in the thing.... The end of the 
sentence has been accidentally lost (cf. xix. 25, Gen. iv. 8) ; ' He 
saved them,' or something similar, must be supplied. God made 
use of their very pride and defiance to bring about the salvation 
of Israel; cf Ps. Ixxvi. 10 a. This was signally true at the Eed Sea, 
but also at the Exodus. 

they dealt proudly^. The subject might grammatically be * the 
gods,' whom Jethro would think of as having a real existence, and 
as defying the power of Israel's God ; but the words ' against them,' 
i.e. against the Israelites (' the people,' v. 10), shew that the subject 
must be the Eg)rptians. 

12. Aaron came, and all the elders. Aaron appears to be himself 
an elder, not a priest ; cf xxiv. 14. 

to eat bread. It was a solemn sacrificial meal. ' Bread ' is 
equivalent to a 'meal,' and sacrificial victims would form part of 
the food. 

before God, i.e. at the sanctuary. See v. 16. 

13. The modern Bedawin sheikh combines the offices of leader in 
war, and arbitrator in disputes, and is the general head in all tribal 

Pahner {Desert of the Exodus, i. 87) says that each tribe has three 
sheikhs, an appeal being possible from the chief sheikh to the other 
two. Aaron and Hur may have stood in that relation to Moses. 

16. statutes {hukklm) were definite rules, stereotyped and per- 
manent ; laws {toroth) were ' directions ' or ' pronouncements ' dehvered 
as special circumstances required them (see p. 183). The present 
passage must belong to the period after Moses received the divine 

^ Lit. ' boiled up.' The Kal is found only in Jer. 1. 29 ; the Hiphil in 
Ex. xxi. 14 al. 


17 And Moses' father in law said unto him, The thing that thou E 
doest is not good. 18 Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, 
and this people that is with thee : for the thing is too heavy for 
thee ; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. 19 Hearken 
now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God be with 
thee : be thou for the people to God- ward, and bring thou the 
causes unto God : 20 and thou shalt teach them the statutes 
and the laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must 
walk, and the work that they must do. 21 Moreover thou shalt 
provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of 
truth, hating unjust gain ; and place such over them, to be 
rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and 
rulers of tens : 22 and let them judge the people at all seasons : 
and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto 
thee, but every small matter they shall judge themselves : so 
shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden 
with thee. 23 If thou shalt do this thing, and God com- 
mand thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this 

statutes on the mountain. And this is apparently the position in 
which J placed Hobab's visit (Num. x. 29 — 32). The expression 
'before God' {v. 12) points to the same conclusion. 

19. mid God be with thee. This perhaps means 'provided 
that God sanctions what I advise.' Cf. v. 23. But the words should 
probably be rendered that God may be with thee. 

to God-ivard. Lit. ' in front of God,' representing Him to the 
people, and the people to Him. Cf xxviii. 12, Gal. iii. 19. Social 
injustice was a crying evil in Israel throughout its history ; and the 
high status and responsibilities of a judge, as the divine representative, 
are declared in Ps. ixxxii. 

20. the work ; the action. What they must do in any particular 
case which they brought before him. 

21. able men. Lit. men of might or valour. It generally denotes 
soldiers, but the word is here extended to include mental and moral 
efficiency ; cf Gen. xlvii. 6, 1 K. i. 42, 52 ; and of women Prov. xii. 4, 
xxxi. 10, Ruth iii. 11. 

The elaborate organization suggested by Jethro is an ideal never 
reached in any nation. In Num. xi. 16 f, 24 f Moses chose 70 elders 
to assist him, whereas if Israel numbered 600,000 (see on xii. 37) the 
required number of rulers would be 78,600. 

22. so shall it be easier; and make it lighter. 

23. sh/ill go to their place. They would be able to obtain 
decisions at their own homes. 

108 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xviiL .3-n 

people also shall go to their place in peace. 24 So Moses E 
hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that 
he had said. 25 And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, 
and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, 
rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 26 And 
they judged the people at all seasons : the hard causes they 
brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged 
themselves. 27 And Moses let his father in law depart ; 
and he went his way into his own land. 

24. Origeii {Horn, in Ex.) calls attention to the fact that 
Christians can sometimes learn from the heathen, as Moses learnt 
from a non-Israelite. And similarly Augustine {de doctr. Christ. 
prolog. § 7), who makes the fine remark, 'For Moses knew that a 
wise plan, in whatever mind it might originate, was to be ascribed not 
to the man who devised it, but to Him who is the Truth, the 
unchangeable God.' The wise plan devised by Jethro has never 
become antiquated. The statesman-like principle of decentralization — 
the delegation of responsibility — is as important to-day as in the time 
of Moses. 

27. In Num. x. 29 — 32 after Hobab's refusal to accompany them, 
Moses again pressed him. The narrative is incomplete, Hobab's final 
decision not being related ; but from Jud. i. 16 it may be inferred that 
he consented to go with them. 

PART 11. 



Chapter XIX. 
The arrived at the Sacred Mountain, and the Theophany. 

The arrival at Sinai-Horeb marks the greatest of all turning points in Israel's 
history. We reach what was the kernel and core of the nation's life— the 
covenant by which all the tribes were united in allegiance to one God, and the 
laws — ritual, social and moral — upon which the covenant was based. It was 
a very small nation, a mere collection of nomad clans. And when they 
reached Canaan, they occupied, in their most prosperous days, a territory 
which was never larger than 100 x 150 miles, roughly equivalent in area to 
the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire. But their supreme importance, 
greater than that of the great nations of the earth, lay not in their history, 
or the extent of their territory, but in the fact that they contained a germ out 
of which gi-ew the kingdom of God. And the germ was planted at the 
mountain of God. 

XIX. 1 In the third month after the children of Israel were P 
gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into 
the wilderness of Sinai. 2 And when they were departed from 
Rephidim, and were come to the wilderness of Sinai, they 
pitched in the wilderness ; | and there Israel camped before E 

XIX. 1. In the third month. The date was probably the result 
of the late tradition which connected the F. of Pentecost with the 
giving of the Law. This feast was fifty days after the fifteenth day 
of the first month (Lev. xxiii. 15); thus the arrival at the mountain 
would be on the fifth day of the third month. But the statement of 
the day has fallen out, leaving ' the same day ' in the second clause 

2. and there Israel camped. If this half of the verse is rightly 
assigned to E, his statement of the arrival at Horeb, which might have 

no THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xix. 2-6 

the mount. 3 Aiid Moses went up unto God, | and the Lord -^^ 
called unto him out of the mountain, saying. Thus shalt thou 
say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel ; 4 Ye 
have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you 
on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. 5 Now there- 
fore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, 
then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me ^from among all 
peoples : for all the earth is mine : 6 and ye shall be unto me 

^ Or, above 

been a valuable help towards fixing the locality of the mountain, has 
been displaced by the words from P's itinerary. 

3. unto God. It is interesting to note the attempt of the Lxx to 
lessen the anthropomorphic tendency of the words. They have ' unto 
the mountain of God,' and in the following clause, ' the Lord called 
unto him out of heaven.' 

TTius shalt thou say. The parallelism formed by this and the next 
clause is a sign of poetical art which does not belong to the prose 
narratives of the earlier sources ; and ' Jacob ' as a name for the 
Israelite nation occurs, in the Hex., only in the poetical passages, 
Num. xxiii. 7, 10, 21, 23, xxiv. 5, 17, 19, Dt. xxxiii. 4, 10, 28, in every 
case except one in parallelism with ' Israel.' 

3 b — 6 are a very beautiful expression of God's relations with His 
people, written by a religious thinker of the Deuteronomic school. 
It is, as Dillmaim says, 'the classical passage of the O.T. on the 
nature and aim of the theocratic covenant.' Its religious significance 
is pointed out on pp. cxxii. f 

4. on eagles wings. Of Dt. xxxii. 11. The poetry of the prophets 
contains other striking instances of the bold employment of metaphors 
from animal life in describing the action of God ; see Hos. v. 12, 14, 
xi. 10, xiii. 7f, Am. i. 2, Is. xxxi. 4, 5. 

brought you unto myself. God is represented as having His 
abiding place on the mountain to which He had brought the people ; 
cf iii. 12. 

5. keep my covenant. An ex post facto remark, for the covenant 
has not yet been made or mentioned. 

peculiar treasure (segulldh). The word denotes ' valuable property ' 
in 1 Ch. xxix. 3, Eccl. ii. 8. As a metaphor of Israel's relation to God 
it occurs in Dt. vii. 6, xiv. 2, xxvi. 18, Mai. iii. 17, Ps. cxxxv. 4. 
In Dt. it is in each case ' a people of peculiar treasure,' which should 
probably be read here, with lxx A.ao9 Trcptovono?. The expression is 
quoted in Tit. ii. 14. (1 Pet. ii. 9 has Xaos ct? TrepLTroLrja-cvj and 
Eph. i. 14 Tr€pLTroCr)(TL<s, apparently owing to lxx of Is. xhii. 21.) 

all ths earth is mine. An expression of absolute monotheism 
which cannot be shewn to have been the belief of Israel till it was 
taught by the prophets of the eighth century. During the period 


a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words R^ 
which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. | 7 And E^ 
Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set 
before them all these words which the Lord commanded him. 
8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the 
Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses reported the words 
of the people unto the Lord. | 9 And the Lord said unto Moses, E 
Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear 
when I speak with thee, and may also believe thee for ever. | 
And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord. | R^^ 
10 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and E 
sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their 
garments, 11 and be ready against the third day: | for the*/ 
third day the Lord will come do^vn in the sight of all the 
people upon mount Sinai. 12 And thou shalt set bounds unto 
the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that 

of the judges and the monarchy Yahweh alone was Israel's God, but it 
was generally held that the gods of other nations, Chemosh, Milcom, 
and so on, had a real existence, and authority in their respective lands. 
See Jud. xi. 24, 1 S. xxvi. 19. 

6. a kingdom of priests. A kingdom whose citizens are all priests 
(cf. Is. Ixi. 6) to bring other nations to the worship of God, and to 
teach tliem His will. Lxx /Jao-tAciov Updrevixa apparently renders the 
expression by two substantives, 'a royalty — a priesthood,' i.e. a royal 
body which is at the same time a priestly body. See Hort on 1 Pet. 
ii. 9 ; and cf. Rev. i. 6. 

a7i holy nation. The exact phrase is not found elsewhere. 'An 
holy people' occurs in Dt. vii. 6, xiv. 2, 21, xxvi. 19, xxviii. 9; 
cf. Is. Ixii. 12. 'Holy' does not primarily denote moral excellence, 
but separation, exclusiveness (cf. xxii. 31). The thought of moral 
excellence, however, which ideally attached to a people set apart for 
God, gradually came to the front. See e.g. Num. xv. 40 (P). This 
ethical character of God's people is described in Ps. xv., xxiv. 3 ff. 

This and the preceding expression are both transferred by S. Peter 
to the Christian Church, the true Israel of God. 

7, 8. These verses appear to be connected with the Decalogue, 
and to be in imitation of xxiv. 3. See analysis, p. xxv. 

10. sanctify them. Distinct from the washing of clothes and 
abstinence from sexual intercourse. It would consist at least in 
bathing the body ; see Gen. xxxv. 2, and W. K. Smith, i?/S'' 446 — 54. 

12. set hounds unto the people, i.e. keep the people within bounds. 
But it is an improbable meaning of the verb. Read, with Sam., set 
hounds unto the mountain (cf. v. 23), i.e. by placing stakes or stones 

112 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xix. i.-is 

ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it who- J 
soever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death : 13 no 
hand shall touch %im, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot 
through ; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live : when 
the 2 trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount, j 
14 And Moses went down fi'om the mount unto the people, and ^ 
sanctified the people ; and they washed their garments. 15 And 
he said unto the people. Be ready against the tliird day : come 
not near a woman. 16 And it came to pass on the third day, 
when it was morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, 
and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of a trumpet 
exceeding loud ; and all the people that were in the camp 
trembled. 17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the 
camp to meet God ; and they stood at the nether part of the 
mount. I 18 And mount Sinai was altogether on smoke, because J 

1 Or, it 2 Or, rafi^s horn 

in a line. The mountain thus became ' sanctified,' separated off as a 
sacred enclosure. 

13. no hand shall touch him. Because to do so others also would 
be obliged to transgress the barrier. 

stoned. In Heb. xii. 20 the passage (mentioning only ' a beast ') is 
referred to as shewing the terrible sternness of the old covenant as 
contrasted with the new covenant mediated by Jesus, but at the same 
time to emphasize the solemn truth that the responsibility of those 
under the new covenant is greater. 

the trumpet; the ram's horn {yohhel). In early days the instrument 
would be actually made of horn, but later probably of metal. When 
the fiftieth year was made sacred, it was ushered in by trumpets, and 
was called 'the year of the yohheV (Lev. xxv. 13, xxvii. 17), or more 
shortly 'the yohheV (Lev. xxv. 11, xxvii. 18, Num. xxxvi. 4); hence 
the English form ' Jubile.' See Benzinger, Heb. Arch. 276. 

they shall come up. ' They ' is made emphatic by the use of the 
pronoun. It must refer not to the people who have been forbidden to 
come up, but to the priests («. 22). See analysis, p. xxvi. 

16. a trumpet {shophdr). A mysterious trumpet which formed 
part of the signs of the Theophany : difi"erent from the yobhel of v. 13. 
'The trump that angels quake to hear thrilled from the deep dark 
cloud.' It is foretold that a heavenly trumpet will announce the 
second Advent, Mat. xxiv. 31, 1 Thes. iv. 16, 1 Cor. xv. 52. 

17. they stood ; they took their stand. A different word from 
that in xx. 21. See note there. 

18. For smoke as an accompaniment of a Theophany see Gen. 
XV. 17, Is. vi. 4, Joel ii. 30 [Heb. iii. 3]. 


the Lord descended upon it in fire : and the smoke thereof J 
ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole ^ mount 
quaked greatly. | 19 And when the voice of the trumpet waxed -ET 
louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a 
voice. I 20 And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, to the J 
top of the mount : and the Lord called Moses to the top of the 
mount ; and Moses went up. 21 And the Lord said unto 
Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through 
unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish. 22 And let 
the priests also, which come near to the Lord, sanctify 
themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them. | 23 And W^ 
Moses said unto the Lord, The people cannot come up to 
mount Sinai : for thou didst charge us, saying. Set bounds 
about the mount, and sanctify it. | 24 And the Lord said J 
unto him. Go, get thee down ; and thou shalt come up, thou, 
and Aaron with thee : but let not the priests and the people 
break through to come up unto the Lord, lest he break forth 

^ Some ancient authorities have, people. 

the whole mount quaked. The reading * people,' found in lxx and 
some Heb. mss, is perhaps correct. In that case the statement is J's 
equivalent to that of E in v. 16. The verb is the same. 

19. Moses spake. This and the following verb are, in the Heb., 
frequentative, implying a colloquy between Moses and God, which 
reached the ears of the people only as an inarticulate sound. Cf Jn. 
xii. 28 f. The continuation of E's narrative is to be found in xx. 18 — 21 
(see analysis). 

22. which come near to Yahweh. See p. Lxv. ' Come near ' of 
priestly service is an expression found in P (xxviii. 43, xxx. 20 «/.), 
and elsewhere only in Jer. xxx. 21, Ez. xliv. 13. The words may be a 
late addition. The mention of priests here and in v. 24 appears to be 
an anachronism ; see p. Ixvi. 

23. It is strange that Moses should speak of * Mount Sinai ' while 
he was on the mountain itself. The verse — which seems to convey the 
impression of capriciousness on the part of God, and of reasonable 
arguing on that of Moses — is one of the most remarkable instances 
of redactional work to be met with in the O.T. See analysis, p. xxvi. 

24. but let not the priests... ike. This injunction, as it stands, 
makes the words *they shall come up' in v. 13 quite inexplicable. 
The order of the Heb. words, translated literally, is as follows : 
'...and Aaron with thee; and the priests and the people let them 
not break through.' And according to Kuenen's very probable sug- 
gestion, the semicolon must be moved so as to follow ' the priests.* 

M. 8 

114 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xix. n-xx. i 

upon them. 25 So Moses went down unto the people, and J" 

told them. 

25. and told them ; and said unto them. The Heb. '^^^*\ can 
be rendered in no other way. Moses' words have fallen out, but fchey 
must have consisted in a repetition to the people of the divine 
commands. See analysis on this v. and on xxiv. 1 (pp. xxi., xxxii.). 

Chapter XX. 1—17. 

The Ten Words. 

The critical questions connected with the 'Ten Words' and its history 
and origin are dealt with on pp. Ivi. — ^Ixiv. It is there shewn that various 
lines of argument converge to the conclusion that the Decalogue, as we have 
it, was the result of a long growth, extending into post-exilic times. The 
original form of it, as a distinct code, seems to have been a product of the 
generation which had listened to Hosea and Amos ; and the principal expan- 
sions in it, of the period of reform which is generally known as Deuteronomic. 
The literary phenomena of chs. xix. — xxiv., xxxii. — xxxiv. render it probable 
that the code, together with the portions of narrative which are connected 
with it, must have been inserted in Exodus later than the greater portion of 
the laws. 

It can hardly be necessary to insist that this complicated literary history 
in no way detracts from its value. In every department of life, physical, 
social or literary, a product which has been slowly evolved is not less the work 
of God than one which has appeared complete and ready-made ; and it must 
be judged not by the earliest but by the latest stage in its growth. And the 
value of the Decalogue is not diminished if it received enlargements from 
many hands, and if other, and different, forms of it have been preserved. As 
it stands now in the Hebrew Bible it is a monument of priceless worth, and is 
the basis of all subsequent Christian teaching on our duty towards God and 
our neighbour. 'Whoever ordered his tastes and life in accordance with 
them [the O.T. vn-iters], ordered his tastes and life not in accordance with men 
but in accordance with God who spake through them. If sacrilege was there 
forbidden, it was God that forbade it. If it was said, " Honour thy father and 
mother," it was God that commanded it. If it was said, " Thou shalt not 
commit adultery," " Thou shalt not kill," " Thou shalt not steal," and so forth, it 
was not human lips that uttered these, but divine oracles.' (Aug. De Civ. 
Deij xviii. 41.) 

In the following notes when a command is quoted from Dt. v., the italicised 
words mark the variations from the form in Exodus. 

XX. 1 And God spake aU these words, saying, E2 

XX. 1. all these words. They are not called ' Ten' till Dt. iv. 13, 
X. 4, unless the expression in xxxiv. 28 is a redactional addition 
referring to them. 


2 I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the E2 
land of Egypt, out of the house of ^bondage. 

3 Thou shalt have none other gods ^before me. 

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor the 
likeness of any form that is in heaven above, or that is in the 

I Heb. bondmen. ^ Or, beside me 

2. The verse finds a close parallel in Hos. xiii. 4, Ps. Ixxxi. 10. 
A possible rendering is, ' I, Yahweh, am thy God,' forming a direct 
statement of Israel's henotheism which anticipates v. 3. If, according 
to the Jewish arrangement, vv. I, 2 are reckoned together as the 
first Word, we might render — 'As for Me, Yahweh thy God, which 
brought..., thou shalt have none other gods beside Me.' But there 
is no reason for departing from the usual rendering — ' I am Yahweli 
thy God.' This is not a statement of Israel's henotheism, but a formal 
opening to a document, such as is found, e.g., in Mesha's inscription 
— ' I am Mesha, son of Chemosh-[melek], king of Moab.' 

house of slaves. As in xiii. 3, 14, Jos. xxiv. 17, and frequently 
in Dt. 

3. 1st Word. Heb., literally, 'there shall not be to thee.' This 
need not necessarily be understood to mean, ' There shall not exist in 
thy thoughts any other gods.' It must be left an open question 
whether the prohibition implies that, whatever other nations did, 
Israel must acknowledge and worship only one deity (henotheism 

or monolatry), or that Israel must realise tliat no other deities existed --^ 
(monotheism). If the prohibition had been known for a long time 
before it was written in its codified shape, the former alternative must 
be adopted ; but if it was quite new at the time of the prophets, the 
latter is possible. Perhaps the earlier henotheistic form is preserved 
in xxxiv. 14 (J) — 'thou shalt not worship another god.' The present 
passage is so rendered in the Targums. Origen, Horn, in Exod., draws 
a sharp distinction between ' there shall not be to thee' and ' there are 
not.' But he fancifully explains the ' other gods ' as angels, who are 
called gods ' not by nature but by grace ' because God has apportioned 
to them divine offices. 

before me. Lit. 'over against my face.' This is the meaning of 
the R. V. : not ' in preference to me,' but side by side with me so that 
I can see them. In Dt. v. 7 the form of the 1st Word is identical with 
that in Exodus. 

4—6. Ilnd Word. No visible representation of Yahweh may be 
made. This is one of the surest signs that tlie Decalogue, as we have 
it, was much later than Moses. Images were widely used in Yahweh- 
worship till the time of the prophets. See pp. lix. ff. 

4. tke likeness of any fm-m. The word 'form ' {temmdh) denotes 
' that wherein an object made resembles its model ; in making a pesel 
[graven image], a temandh is at the same time produced. This "form" 


116 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xx. 4, 5 

earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth : 5 thou j&a 
shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them : for 
I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of 
the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the 

is then, by an inexactness of language, identified with the corresponding 
form (" that is in heaven &c.") upon which it was modelled (K.V. eases 
the sentence by inserting "the likeness of")-' Mver, Deut. p. 84, 

in heaven above, i.e. the heavenly bodies (and birds, Dt. iy. 17). 
The worship of the heavenly bodies is not heard of in Israel till the 
reign of Manasseh, whose paganism prompted the Deuteronomic 
reforms. It is the prominent feature in the nature-worship of most 
early races. 

the water under the earth. This expresses the early belief that the 
earth was a flat object, resting upon the surface of subterranean deeps; 
cf. Gen. vii. 11, xlix. 25. Fish were worshipped in many countries, 
Egypt, Syria, Assyria, Philistia, Caria. See Xen. Anah. i. iv. 9, 
Plut. de hid. 18, Lucian, dea Syr. 45 ; also Thomson, Land and 
Book, 547, W. R. Smith, RS^ 173 ff., 292 f 

5. serve them. The Masor. pointing CJi^rPJ seems to mean 'be 
forced to serve them.' But the ordinary active form Ql^yn should 
probably be read. 

/ Yahweh thy God am &c. ' I am Y. thy God ' (lxx) is also 
possible, as in v. 2. 

a jealous God. Hosea was the first to teach that Israel was God's 
Bride. From his time the thought was common. And the divine 
'jealousy' is that which makes Him claim an exclusive right over 
His people. In Ex. xxxiv. 14 the jealousy is connected with the first 
command. See Dt. iv. 24, v. 9, vi. 15, Jos. xxiv. 19, Nah. i. 2, and 
Jas. iv. 5 (R.V. marg.). 

visiting the iniquity &c. The difficulty that this caused in olden 
times is illustrated by the necessity that Origen^ felt of explaining 
'the children' to mean 'the sinful,' and 'the fathers' to mean 'the 
devil ' ; for he is the father of the sinful (Jn. viii. 44), as God is of 
the good (1 Jn. iii. 9) ; and Theodoret dismisses the matter by the 
remark that ' threats with the Lord God are greater than punishments.' 
The study of natural science is daily making it clearer that God works 
by and in natural laws, so that causes produce results. And the 
suffering of children by reason of their fathers' sins is a daily spectacle. 
It must be remembered, however, that to the Hebrew writer the words 
had reference only to the external consequences of sin, and not to any 
feeling of anger on God's part against innocent sufferers. But, in the 
last resort, nothing can lessen the difficulty but a strong belief that 
God has an end in view great enough to make all suffering worth 
while. At the time of the exile Jeremiah (xxxi. 29 f.) and Ezekiel 

1 Migne, Patr. Gr. xii. col. 289 f. 


fourth generation of them that hate me ; 6 and shewing mercy E^ 
unto Hhousands, of them that love me and keep my command- 

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God ^in 
vain ; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his 
name '^in vain. 

1 Or, a thousand generations See Deut. vii. 9. "^ Or, for vanity or falsehood 

(xviii. 2) taught the complementary truth that every man must suffer 
for his own sins. 

The wording of the present passage is largely borrowed from 
xxxiv. 7. 

6. unto thousands, of them &c. This can hardly mean unto a 
thousand generations in direct descent, but unto an indefinitely large 
number of those who, by family or other ties, belong to, are connected 
with (^), them that love me. Dt. vii. 9, referred to in the marg., gives 
a rhetorical amplification of the original words. 

them that love me. As the Bride loves her Husband. The extent 
to which prophetic teaching influenced subsequent thought may be 
realised from the fact that the verb ' love ' to describe man's attitude 
to God is, with one exception \ not found earlier than Deuteronomy. 

Dt. V. 8 — 10 : ' Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, 

\om. 'nor'] any form^ that is in heaven above upon the children, 

both upon the third and &c.' 

7. Ilird Word. More than one interpretation has been offered 
of this command. A literal rendering is ' Thou shalt not take up the 
name of Yahweh thy God for vanity,' or 'for a sinful purpose,' 
i.e. take up upon thy lips — utter; cf xxiii. 1. The ordinary 
rendering ' take in vain ' implies the employment of the sacred name 
lightly or irreverently. But the word shav\ 'vanity,' denotes some- 
thing stronger than that. Some would understand it of using the 
divine name in the swearing of a false oath. But this anticipates the 
IXth Word, in which a 'witness of falsehood' (Dt. v. 17 'a witness of 
vanity') is condemned. It was a common practice, however, in 
ordinary conversation, to support a statement by an oath (e.g. 1 K. xvii. 
12) ; and the present command is perhaps aimed against general 
untruthfulness, while the IXth forbids perjury in a law court. A less 
probable explanation is, ' Thou shalt not take up the name in worship 
emptily,' i.e. with empty hands, the meaning being that of xxiii. 15 — 
' none shall appear before me empty {rekctm)' The sin referred to is 
probably witchcraft, which is strongly denounced in Deuteronomy. It 
must be remembered that a 'name' meant more in early days than 
it does to us. It is 'a something parallel to the man, relatively 

^ Jud. V. 31, where 'them that love Him' seems to mean no more than 'His 
friends,' those that take His side, as opposed to His enemies (see Moore). 

2 • Graven image ' and ' form ' are here in apposition, a construction peculiarly 
frequent in Dt. 

118 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xx. s-io 

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days E^ 
shalt thou labour, and do all thy work : 10 but the seventh 
day is a sabbath unto the Lord thy God : in it thou shalt not 
do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man- 
servant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger 

independent of the bearer, but of great importance to his weal or 
woe, a something which at once describes and influences its bearer.... 
But what is true of a human name is true also, mutatis mutandis, of 
the Divine name. To know it is of vital importance, for this is the 
condition of being able to use it in invocation ; and invocation has, 
according to primitive notions, a real efficacy, giving to the invoking 
party a kind of power over the name invoked, so that he can compel 
its aid ' (Kautzsch, DB, extra vol. 640 h). 

In Dt. V. 1 1 the Ilird Word is identical. 

8—11. IVth Word. 

8. Remember. This does not mean ' remember that the Sabbath 
was instituted at the Creation ' ; nor does it refer to the past at all. 
The most natural meaning is 'take note of — keep in mind' for the 

to keep it holy ; to sanctify it, i.e. to set it apart for God. It 
belongs, as v. 10 says, ' to Yahweh thy God.' Just as firstfruits and 
tithes were offered to God as a recognition that the whole produce 
of the earth really belongs to Him who gave it, so the dedication of 
one day in seven is an expression of the fact that every minute of 
a man's life really belongs to Him who gave him his life. 

10. the seventh day is a sabbath, i.e. is a sabbath-rest, a 'cessation.' 
It is possible also to treat ' the seventh day ' as what may be called an 
accusative of duration of time, like * six days ' in the preceding clause ; 
the rendering would then be ' during six days shalt thou labour..., but 
during the seventh day — a sabbath unto Yahweh thy God — thou shalt 
not do any business.' This avoids the necessity of supplying ' in it,' 
as is done in the R.V. (cf. the construction in xxiii. 10 f.). But a 
reading ' on the seventh day ' is found in a few Heb. Mss, including the 
recently discovered Nash papyrus ^ in lxx of Ex. and Dt., the Vulg. of 
Ex., and the Old Lat. of Dt. ; and it is justified by xvi. 26, xxiii. 12, 
xxxi. 15, XXXV. 2, &c. 

unto Yahweh thy God^ i.e. a sabbath appointed by, and sacred to. 
Him. It has no reference to God's rest after the Creation. Cf. ' the 
release unto Yahweh,' Dt. xv. 2. 

in it thou shalt not do any business. Though * in it ' is not in the 
Mas. text, its insertion is supported by lxx, O.L., Vulg., Sam., and 
the Nash papyrus. 

1 Dt. V. 12 has 'observe.' It has been suggested, however, that the original 
reading in Dt. was 'remember,' and that 'observe' was an alteration eSeeted after 
V. 15 (' and thou shalt remember &c.') was added, in order to avoid tautology. 

2 A complete account of this interesting fragment is given by S. A. Cook in 
PSBA Jan. 1903, with a photograph of a facsimile by Prof. Burkitt. 


that is within thy gates : 1 1 for in six days the Lord made E^ 
heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested 
the seventh day : wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, 
and hallowed it. 

12 Honour thy father and thy mother : that thy days may 
be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 

11. The reason attached to the command is the work of a 
priestly writer in reference to Gen. ii. 1 — 3. But P's story of the 
Creation, with the six days followed by the sacred seventh, is not 
the cause of the Sabbath but the result of the fact that the week 
ending with the Sabbath was an existing institution. P adjusts the 
work of creation to it. 

blessed the sabbath day. Lxx (not Vulg.), Pesh. and the Nash 
papyrus have ' the seventh day ' : and the reading appears in the PBV. 

The Sabbath is more fully discussed in the addit. note after v. 17. 

Dt. V. 12 — 15 : ' Observe the sabbath day to sanctify it, as Yahweh 
thy God commanded thee... i\iO\\. and thy son and thy daughter and 
thy slave and thy maidservant and thine ox and thine ass and all thy 
cattle and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that thy slave and^ thy 
maidservant may rest as well as thou. And thou shalt remember that 
thou wast a slave in the land of Egypt., and Yahweh thy God brought 
thee out thence with a strong hand and with a stretched-out arm. 
Therefore Yahweh thy God commanded thee to keep (lit. 'do' or 
'celebrate') the sabbath day' 

12 — 17. It is interesting to note the varieties of order in which 
the remaining commands are found. 

[Ex. aud Dt. (MT), Ex. (lxx^^^), Dt. (lxx^), Josephus, Didaclie : 
(a) \ 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th. 

[Mat. xix. 18f. = Mk.x. 19f.i: 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th. 

{h) Ex. (lxx^): 5th, 7th, 8th, 6th, 9th, 10th. 

Ex. and Dt. (some Heb. mss), Dt. (lxx®^), Nash pap., Philo : 

5th, 7th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th. 
Rom. xiii. 9: 7th, 6th, 8th, 10th. 

Uas. ii. 11: 7th, 6th. 

{d) Lk. xviii. 20: 7th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 5th. 


12. Vth Word, that thy days may be long. Cf. Dt. vi. 2, xxv. 
15, iv. 26, 40, V. 33 (30), xi. 9, xvii. 20, xxii. 7, xxx. 18, xxxii. 47. 

Dt. V. 16: ' Honour thy father and thy mother as Yahweh thy 
God commanded thee, that thy days may be long, and that it may 
be well with thee, upon the land &c.' See Eph. vi. 2, 3. 

1 1 Tim. i. 9 f. appears to follow the order 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th. 

120 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xx. 13-17 

13 Thou shalt do no murder. Jjg 

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. 

15 Thou shalt not steal. 

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt 
not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his 
maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy 

13. Vlth Word. Augustine (^De Civ. Dei, i. 20) argues that this 
prohibition includes suicide. 

14. Vllth Word. Apart from the Decalogue the sin is mentioned 
first by Hosea (iv. 2, 13, 14, vii. 4), and not again till Jeremiah. 

15. Vlllth Word. Underhand dealing was the besetting sin of 
the Hebrew. It is exemplified in the earliest days in the character of 
the national ancestor Jacob ; it is the constant cry in the social 
teaching of the prophets Amos, Hosea, Isaiah and Micah ; and 
Zechariah's vision (v. 1 — 4) shews that it was, together with false 
swearing, a prevailing sin among the Jews after the exile. 

Dt. V. 17 — 19 : 'Thou shalt do no murder. And thou shalt not 
commit adultery. And thou shalt not steal.' 

16. IXth Word. Thou shalt not testify (lit. 'answer') against 
thy neighbour as a false witness (lit. 'a witness of falsehood'). 
Dt. and Nash pap. have 'witness of vanity' (shdv\ cf v. 7). Addis 
thinks that this, being the more difficult reading, is the older, and that 
'falsehood' was 'substituted in Ex. xx. 16 to remove all doubt about 
the sense.' Against this, however, lxx has i}/ev8r] both in Ex. and Dt., 
while in the Ilird Word it has i-rrl /xaraiw in both. 

Dt. V. 20 : ^ And thou shalt not testify against thy neighbour as a 
witness of vanity.' 

17. Xth Word. It is not improbable that this command originally 
ended at 'house,' all the remainder being an enlargement detailing 
the contents of the house. Dt., in a more humane spirit, places the 
wife first, separated from the slaves and cattle, and governed by a 
different verb. 

Dt. V. 21 : 'And thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, and 
thou shalt not desire thy neighbour's house, his field and his slave and 
his maidservant, \pm. 'and ^'] his ox and his ass and anything that is 
thy neighbour's.' 

The Xth Word is referred to in Rom. vii. 7, where S. Paul says 
that he would not be in a position to know sin as sin if it were not 
for the law which said ovk i-n-LOvfji-tja-wi. He here asserts the true 
inwardness of the command as it affects thought. But it is quite open 
to question whether our understanding of the command in the O.T. is 

^ But LXX, Pesh. and several Heb. mss retain it. 


not coloured by S. Paul's deeper Christian ethics. Even in Dt., where 
the two different verbs are used, they may be, as Prof. Driver says, 
merely a rhetorical variation. But certainly in Ex. where the wife is 
coupled with slaves, cattle and other property, there is no reference to 
lustful thought. The prohibition is aimed against that greedy desire 
for another's goods which led to the oppressions and cheating which 
were so rife among the wealthier classes, and which are denounced 
by the prophets of the 8th century. See also Mk. x. 19, where 
ft^ (iTroa-TepTJarjs represents the Xth Word. 

The Sabbath. The Sabbath law, as it appears in the O.T., has been dealt 
with on p. xliii. But some further remarks may be made here. The Biblical 
meaning of the word shabbdth connects it with the verb shdbhath, ' to desist, 
cease' (see Is. xiv. 4, xxiv. 8). It was a day when work was intermitted 
(Am. viii. 5). But it was not a mere holiday ; being sacred to Yahweh it was 
a day of religious observance (Is. i. 13) ; and both aspects of it are clearly 
defined in Jer. xvii. 19 — 27, Is. Iviii. 13. In P a further application of the 
root-meaning is given to the word by connecting it with the divine ' desisting ' 
or ' ceasing ' from the work of creation. But it has recently been suggested 
that the primitive meaning was different, and that the connexion of shabbdth 
with shdbhath is only apparent, and was adopted by the Hebrews when the 
knowledge of the true derivation was lost. In a Babylonian lexicographical 
tablet (II. Rawlinson 32, 1. 16) the word sabattum is equated with Hm nHh 
libbi — ' day of rest of the heart,' i.e. (as it is now generally understood) a day 
when the gods rested from anger, a day for the pacification of the deity. A 
record (IV. RawL 32, 33 ; V. Rawl. 48, 49 ; translated in Jastrow, Religion of 
Bab. and Assyr. p. 367) is preserved of two of the months, the second (or 
intercalary) Elul, and Marcheswan, which shews that, in these months at least, 
the Babylonians marked certain days as those which might be either ' favour- 
able days ' or ' evil days ' according as the rightful precautions and observances 
were practised or not, while all the others were ' favourable days.' These 
si)ecial days were the 7th, 14th, 2 1st and 28th, and also the 19th. The first 
four were reckoned from the appearance of the new moon, while the latter 
seems to be the 7x7 = 49th day from the new moon of the preceding month 
— the lunar month being roughly reckoned as containing 30 days. On these 
five days certain actions are superstitiously forbidden as displeasing to the 
deity. The ' shepherd ' of the people, i.e. the king, may not eat food prepared 
by fire, wear royal clothing, offer sacrifice, ride in his chariot, hold ccmrt, 
enquire of an oracle ; the physician may not be brought to his sick room ; nor 
may he invoke curses on his enemies. It is only at the close of the day that 
he may bring his gift and offer sacrifices. The word htbatiurn has at present 
been found (in the genitive sabattim) in two (perhaps three) other passages. 
In one the reading is doubtful ; in another it is equivalent to the ideogram 
UD = ' day,' ' sun,' ' light ' ; but in the third it is equated with the ideogram 
TIL, which perhaps means ' to pacify.' Again, the verb sabdtu is equated 
with gamdru, which usually denotes ' to complete,' but in two syllabaries it 
has been thought to mean ' to pacify ' ; this however is doubtful. Two further 
pieces of evidence are available. It has been ascertained by the examination 


of the dates of deeds and documents that the 7th, 14th, 19th, 21st and 2Sth 
days were undoubtedly marked by abstention from secular business, especially 
in the Hammurabi period. Some Assyriologists have recently stated that this 
was only true of the 19th day ; but this is due to a failure to notice that the 
business transacted on the other four days was for the most part not secular 
but connected with temple matters. Secondly, in a tablet belonging to the 
library of Asshur-bani-pal, or in a duplicate of it (see Pinches, PSBA xxvi. 
pp. 51 — 6), the term sapattu is applied to the 15th day of the month, that is 
presumably the day of the full moon, the division of the lunar month ; this 
would be equivalent, at least from time to time, to the 14th day in the 
Rawlinson tablet. 

With this scanty evidence it is unsafe to come to a decisive conclusion. 
More than one connecting link is absent, which must be supplied by future 
discoveries before we can pronounce that the Babylonian sabattum. is certainly 
the origin of the Hebrew Sabbath. Firstly, it must be shewn that all the five 
sacred days were called sabattum. It is quite possible that they were, but at 
present there is no evidence of it. And secondly, it must be made clear how 
the Hebrew custom of reckoning fixed periods of seven days throughout the 
year, irrespective of the moon, was connected with the Babylonian custom 
which prevailed in the time of Hammurabi of reckoning the sacred days from 
the appearance of the new moon. 

It is well known, however, that the Hebrew month began with the new 
moon ; and it is exceedingly probable that in early days the only Hebrew 
reckoning was lunar, that the full moon was a Sabbath, and that the sub- 
divisions of the half month were marked by sacred ' half-moon ' days, which 
were perhaps also Sabbaths. It is noteworthy that ' new moon ' and ' sabbath ' 
are mentioned in juxtaposition in four early passages. Am. viii. 5, Hos. ii. 11, 
Is. i. 13, 2 K. iv. 23, while the weekly sabbath is enjoined in the laws of J 
and E. If it may be conjectured from this that the change from the lunar 
reckoning to the periodic week was gradually taking place in Israel in the 9th 
and 8th centuries, it is further possible that it was due to eastern influence. 
After the dynasty of ^ammurabi |there was a disturbed period of about 300 
years of (?) Semitic rule in Babylonia of which little is known ; and this was 
followed by some 600 years of Kassite supremacy. This long period of foreign 
rule naturally caused many changes of thought and custom, and among them 
were alterations in the calendar. (Records of the Kassite rule consist of dated 
documents published by Peiser and by Clay in Urkunden aus der Zeit der 
dritten babylonischen Dynastie^ 1905, and in vols. xiv. xv. of Cuneiform Texts 
of the Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania^ 1906.) And 
there is evidence which may be taken to shew that towards the end of this 
period the regular succession of seven-day weeks came to be observed in 
Babylonia. When the Assyrians afterwards rose to power and suppressed the 
Kassites, they opened the way once more for Babylonian influence to reach 
Palestine and the West through the high roads of Mesopotamia. And it is 
not unreasonable to suppose, though there is no direct evidence of the fact, 
that this influence may have acted upon the Hebrew calendar. 

If then, the Babylonians applied the term sabattum to the four sacred 
days which marked the division of the lunar month, and if the seven-day 

XX. 18-22] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 123 

week was introduced into Babylonia during the Kassite supremacy, and was 
also adopted by the Hebrews when the influence of Babylonia touched 
Palestine early in the period of the kings, it is plausible to look to Babylon 
for the origin both of the Hebrew Sabbath and of the Hebrew division of 
time int© weeks. And if it should prove true that the Sabbath was derived, 
in the far past, from a Babylonian observance, or that the Hebrew 
and the Babylonian institution, in a still remoter past, had a common 
origin, it will only be another of the many instances in which a primi- 
tive, non-Hebrew, custom assumed, under God's inspiration, a new 
character, being purified from superstition, and made more fit for a moral 
and religious purpose — so fitted that it could become the direct antecedent 
of the Christian Sunday. 

18 And all the people saw the thunderiiigs, and the E 
lightnings, and the voice of the trumpet, and the mountain 
smoking : and when the people saw it, they Hrembled, and 
stood afar off. 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with 
us, and we will hear : but let not God speak with us, lest we 
die. 20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not : for God 
is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before you, that 
ye sin not. 21 And the people stood afar oft', and Moses drew 
near unto the thick darkness where God was. 

22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say W^ 

1 Or, loere moved 

XX. 18—21. 
The Theophany, 

These verses form the continuation of E's narrative, interrupted at 
xix. 19. 

18. saw the thunderings, i.e. 'perceived' them. Cf. v. 22, Jer. 
xxxiii. 24. 

and when the people saw it. Perhaps read (mth a change of vowel 
points) 'and the people feared,' as in lxx, Vulg. 

trembled. Heb. 'reeled,' 'swayed.' They fled in panic as though 
drunk or stupefied with horror ; cf. Am. iv. 8, Gen. iv. 12, 14. 

and stood. They stopped after fleeing a certain distance. Contrast 
xLx. 17 (J). 

20. to prove you. xv. 25 h, xvi. 4, Gen. xxii. 1 (all E). 

XX. 22—26. 

Laws on ivorship. 

In these verses and the three following chapters three groups of 
laws are combined ; they are discussed in the analysis (pp. xxvii. flf.). 

124 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xx. ..-h 

unto the children of Israel, Ye yourselves have seen that I have R^^ 
talked with you from heaven. 23 Ye shall not make otiier gods 
with me ; gods of silver, or gods of gold, ye shall not make 
unto you. | 24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and E 
shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offer- 
ings, thy sheep, and thine oxen : in every place where I ^record 

^ Or, cause my name to he remembered 

The laws on worship here and in xxii. 29 f., xxiii. 10 — 19, are in all 
probability fragmentary remains of a very early collection. 

22. The verse is a redactional setting to the commands, as the 
use of the name Yahweh and of the plural pronouns suggests ; and 
it appears in different forms — lxx : ' And Yahweh said unto Moses, 
These things shalt thou say unto the house of Jacob and declare unto 
the children of Israel ' (cf xix. 3). Sam. : ' And Yahweh spake unto 
Moses saying, Speak unto the children of Israel.' 

23. Ye shall not make [other gods] with me. If this clause is a 
separate command, some words, such as * other gods,' must have fallen 
out of the text. If not, the punctuation must be altered as in the 
LXX : ' Ye shall not make with me gods of silver ; and gods of gold ye 
shall not make unto you.' The use of the plural pronoun suggests 
that this command is not from the same source as the following. Cf 
xxii. 21. 

24. An altar of earth. Cf 2 K. v. 17. See note on altars, below. 
hurnt-offerings. The Heb. term ^oldh signifies 'that which goes 

up ' j the victim goes up in the flame and smoke of the altar to God, 
expressing the ascent of the soul of the offerer in self-dedication and 
worship. It is sometimes called ^oldh kdUl, 'whole burnt-offering,' 
emphasizing the fact of the entire consumption of the victim. (Nowack, 
Archaeol. ii. 215, understands it merely of the portions of a victim 
which 'go up,' i.e. are lifted up, upon the altar.) It was not connected 
with any particular form of transgression ; in early days it was offered 
on special occasions, but afterwards became a regular part of the 
organized worship of the community, whereby the whole people 
expressed their reverent awe of God's majesty, and entreated His 

peace-offerings (sheldmim). The exact meaning is still uncertain. 
Some, connecting it with shdlom^ ' peace,' explain it as ' the sacrifice 
offered when friendly relations existed towards God, as distinguished 
from piacular offerings which presupposed estrangement.' So LXX 
Ova-La dpr)vLKT]. Others derive it from the verb shillem, 'to make 
whole,' 'make restitution,' and so 'to pay what is due'; hence a 
thank- or votive-offering. In either case the word denotes a particular 
aspect of the more general term zebhah^^ ' sacrifice,' ' slaughter.' It is 

^ In xviii. 12 zebhah is used ; and in xxiv. 5 the full title is formed by the 
apposition of the two words, ' slaughter-offerings, peace-offerings.' 

XX. .4-^6] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 125 

my name I will come unto thee and I will bless thee. 25 And E 
if thou make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of 
hewn stones : for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast 
polluted it. 26 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine 
altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon. 

sharply distinguished from 'oldh^ as being the offering of which the 
worshipper (and at a later time the priest also) had a share, which he 
ate at a sacred meal, while the remainder was given to the deity by 
being burnt. This kind of sacrifice was, in early days, generally offered 
on joyful occasions. 

/ record my name. Lit. * cause my name to be remembered,' by 
some visitation or token ; cf 2 S. xviii. 18, Ps. xlv. 17. 

25. thy tool. Cf Dt. xxvii. 5, Jos. viii. 31. 

26. Contrast the later legislation in xxviii. 42 with the same 
motive. P's altar, three cubits (4 J ft.) in height, had a ledge which 
was apparently intended to be used as a step (xxvii. 1, 5 ; cf Lev. 
ix. 22, 'came down'); and in the case of Ezekiel's altar (xliii. 17), 
steps are expressly mentioned. The prohibition of" steps belongs to 
a time when any Israelite might sacrifice, and he would do so in his 
ordinary dress. The later Jews adhered to the letter of the command, 
and Herod's altar was approached by an incline. See W. K. Smith, 
OTJC 358. 

Altars. The alternatives — earth and stones — allowed in vv. 24 f shew that 
a plurality of altars is contemplated (see footnote 2, p. Ixxxi.); and that the 
erection of altars was a common practice before Deut, is clear from the" 
numerous instances recorded, in which men built or used them not only on 
occasion of a Theophany or in obedience to an express command (as Jos. 
Tiii. 30 f , Jud. vi. 26, xiii. 16, 19, 2 S. xxiv. 18, 25), but also indeijendently, 
1 S. vii. 9 f, 17, ix. 12 flf., x. 8, xi. 15, xiii. 9 f, xiv. 35 (the first of 
the altars which Saul built), xx. 6, 2 S. xv. 7 f , 12, 32 (' where men used to 
worship God'), 1 K. iii. 4 ('the great high place' where Solomon *■ ^ised to 
offer ^ 1000 burnt oflerings on the altar). In Deut. the binding principle is 
for the first time formulated that Yahweh was to be publicly worshipped at 
one place only ' which Yahweh thy God will choose.' The locus classicus is 
Dt xii. 1 — 28 (see Driver). The priestly writers after the exile in their 
description of the Tabernacle and its worship take this principle for granted 
as having existed since the sojourn at Sinai. 

The conception of an ' altar ' seems to have been the result of a gradual 
growth from primitive ideas, in which three stages may be traced. 

I. In the earliest days the ancient Semites, in common with other nations, 
regarded every striking natural feature, rock, tree, stream or well, lus the home 
of a presiding numen or deity. And when the worshipper brought his 
offering, all that he could do in order to place it in immediate contact with 
the deity would be to lay it on the rock (cf. Jud. vi. 20), or hang it on the tree, 
or throw it into the stream or well. 


2. A step in advance was taken when it was conceived that the deity 
would vouchsafe to come, and take up his abode in an object, such as a stone 
set up by man, which thus became a ' house of God,' a heth-^El^ (Gen. xxviii. 18). 
Of such a character was the mazzehhdh (Arab. nush\ which was afterwards 
employed as an adjunct to an altar. An animal having been slaughtered, its 
blood was poured out at the foot of the stone, or some of it was smeared upon 
the stone, and was thus oflfered as the food of the deity. Other kinds of 
oflferings would consist in oil or wine. Examples of such sacred stones are 
probably to be seen in the megaliths or dolmens of Moab (see PEF Quart 
Statement, 1882, 75 ff. ; Conder, Heth and Moab, chs. vii., viii.). A survival 
of the primitive practice is found not only in the story of Jacob, but even in 
the life of Saul (1 S. xiv. 33 f.). 

3. But as time went on, the portion of the victim given to the deity com- 
prised more than the blood — ' the fat that covereth the inwards, the caul that 
is upon the liver, the two kidneys and the fat that is upon them ' (Ex. xxix. 13). 
The blood had been, and was still, allowed to soak into the ground ; but the 
more solid parts must be consumed by fire. (In extraordinary cases the fire 
was supplied by Yahweh Himself, Jud. vi. 21, 1 K. xviii. 38.) Hence the simple 
stone was evolved into an altar. Its primitive origin is still seen in the 
directions in Ex. xx. 24 ; and as late as Elijah and Elisha unhewn stones 
(1 K. xviii. 32) and earth (2 K. v. 17) were employed. It was probably in 
consequence of foreign influence that Solomon introduced the innovation of 
a hronze altar (mentioned in 1 K. viii. 64, 2 K. xvi. 10—15, though no 
account of its erection has survived). 

Ezekiel's idea of an altar reached an advanced stage of elaboration, con- 
sisting of a basement, and three blocks of stones rising in tiers, each being 
2 cubits smaller in length and breadth than the one below it (xliii. 13—17). 
The Tabernacle altar, finally, combines features found in both the two latter. 
As in the case of Solomon's, bronze was used in its manufacture, and like 
Ezekiel's it rose in tiers; but that it might be hght and portable it was 
pictured as hollow, made of wood overlaid with bronze ; and there were two 
tiers instead of four (see xxvii. 4—8). It is evident that the earUer prohibition 
of the use of a tool (xx. 25) is here disregarded. 

Chapter XXL— XXII. 17. 


This section contains Mishpdtlm, decisions or rulings for the use of 
judges ; they deal with hypothetical cases in the social life of the nation. 
They fall into pentades, or groups of five, an arrangement which is inter- 
rupted only in xxi. 17, xxii. 5, 6 and 23. The contents of the code, and its 
relation to the Babylonian laws of Hammurabi, are dealt with on pp. xlvi. — liv. 

1 Through Phoenician influences this passed to the Greeks as ^aiTuXiou, and to 
the Bomans as baetulus. 


XXI. 1 Now these are the judgements which thou shalt E 
set before them. 

2 If thou buy an Hebrew ^servant, six years he shall serve : 
and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. 3 If he 
come in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he be 
married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 If his master 
give him a wife, and she bear him sons or daughters ; the wife 
and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by 
himself. 5 But if the servant shall plainly say, I love my 
master, my wife, and my children ; I will not go out free : 
6 then his master shall bring him unto ^God, and shall bring 
him to the door, or unto the door post ; and his master shall 
bore his ear through with an awl ; and he shall serve him 
for ever. 

1 Or, tondman ^ Or, the judges 

XXI. 2 — 6. Pentade on male slams, vv. 2 : 3 a: 3 6: 4 : 5, 6. 

2. in the seventh, i.e. of his servitude. Dt. xv. 12, Jer. xxxiv. 14. 
There is no evidence that slaves were freed in the Sabbatical year. 

3. if he he married, previously to becoming a slave. 

6. unto God. The ceremony is public and official ; the slave is 
taken to the local sanctuary, probably to take an oath that he wishes 
to remain a slave. This would safeguard him from any attempt on 
his master's part to keep him in slavery against his will. The words 
placed in his mouth in v. 5 read like a formal utterance which may 
well have been part of the oath. Some explain ' God ' {hd- Eldh'im) as 
the religious officials, as the representatives of God upon earth (marg. 
and A. V. ' the judges '). But nothing is said as to their part in the 
ceremony ; and the term is a vague one, which it is better to under- 
stand as including the sanctuary and all connected with it; cf xxii. 8, 9. 
(The corresponding expression is found frequently in the code of 
Hammurabi ; see, e.g., ^^ 9, quoted on p. xlvii.) In Dt. xv. 16 f there 
is no mention of hd- Eldh'im, because a journey to the only sanctuary 
at Jerusalem was impossible. Others suggest that since the door or 
threshold of a house was, according to primitive ideas, pecuHarly 
sacred, to bring the slave 'unto God' meant to bring him to the 
threshold. Or again, it is supposed that reference is made to the 
terdphlm or household gods, kept and worshipped at the door. But 
the above explanation is simpler ^ 

1 Some have seen an allusion to this ceremony iu Ps. xl. 6 (7), 'ears didst thou 
dig [or pierce) for me,' as though the speaker said that God had made him His 
obedient slave. But, if the text is right, it is more probable that the reference is 
*to the creative power of God, who dug out the ears and made them organs of 
hearing, iu order that His people might hear and obey Him' (Briggs). 

128 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxl 7-17 

7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a ^maidservant, she E 
shall not go out as the menservants do. 8 If she please not 
her master, -who hath espoused her to himself, then shall he 
let her be redeemed : to sell her unto a strange people he shall 
have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her. 
9 And if he espouse her unto his son, he shall deal with her 
after the manner of daughters. 10 If he take him another 
wife ; her ^food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall 
he not diminish. 11 And if he do not these three unto her, 
then shall she go out for nothing, without money. 

12 He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall surely be 
put to death. 13 And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver 
hmi into his hand ; then I will appoint thee a place whither he 
shall flee. 14 And if a man come presumptuously upon his 
neighbour, to slay him with guile ; thou shalt take him from 
mine altar, that he may die. 

15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be 
surely put to death. 

16 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be 
found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death. 

17 And he that ^curseth his father, or his mother, shall R^- 
surely be put to death. 

^ Or, bondwoman ' Another reading is, so that he hath not espoused her. 

3 B-eh. flesh. * Or, revileth 

7 — 11. Fej2tade on female slaves, m. 7 : 8: 9: 10: 11. 

8. who hath espoused her to himself. The Revisers have adopted 
the reading (i'p) of the Keri and Targ., that of the consonantal text 
{^) being given in the margin \ The latter, however, is impossible, 
because the master has, as a mcitter of fact, bought the slave girl to be 
his wife. Perhaps read 'who hath known her' (i^H- "'^"^l), i.e. if 
he have consummated his union with her. 

10. The subject of the verb is still the master who bought her, 
not the son. 

12 — 16. Pentade on acts of violence, w. 12: 13: 14: 15: 16. 

12. A general statement which is particularised in w. 13, 14 as 
(1) unintentional, (2) deliberate, manslaughter. 

13. a place. F. 14 shews that this means the altar at the nearest 
sanctuary, which was the earliest form of asylum. See p. lii. 

17. In the lxx this v. follows v. 15, wliich was probably the 
position in which it first stood. But it disturbs the pentadic 

^ The latter is the reading of Aq. Sym. Theod. and Syr. The mss of the lxx are 
divided and confused. 


18 And if men contend, and one smiteth the other with E 
a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keep his bed : 19 if 
he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that 
smote him be quit : only he shall pay for Hhe loss of his time, 
and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed. 

20 And if a man smite '^his servant, or his maid, with a rod, 
and he die under his hand ; he shall surely be punished. 
21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not 
be punished : for he is his money. 

22 And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, 
so that her fi'uit depart, and yet no mischief follow : he shall be 
surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon 
him ; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 28 But if any 

1 Heb. his sitting or ceasing. ^ Or, his bondman, or his bondivoniaii 

arrangement, and seems to have been a later addition to v. 15, 
perhaps to be traced to Lev. xx. 9. 

18 — 27. Pentade on injuries inflicted by men. w. \^ L: 20 f. : 
22: 23: 26 f. 

18. his fist. So Lxx, Vulg. ; cf. Is. Iviii. 4. But the root denotes 
' to sweep, or scoop away' (Jud. v. 21), so that the word may mean his 
spade. A labourer in a field might maliciously injure another with a 
spade or shovel ; but it is less likely that the law would deal with 
an injury inflicted in a mutual fight with fists. The Targ. renders 
it 'club.' The doubtful word from the same root in Jo. i. 17 probably 
means ' shovels ' (R.V. ' clods '). 

20. he shall surely he avenged, i.e. the slave. The killing of a 
slave was not a capital off'ence. The code is based upon the principle 
of just re(j[uital ; and the death of a free man would be a dispropor- 
tionate requital for that of a slave, who was only a piece of property. 

21. he shall not be avenged. If the slave survived a day or two, 
it was clear that the master only intended to punish him, and liis 
death was an unfortunate accident : and since he was to his master 
an equivalent for money, the master had already punished himself 
sulliciently by losing him. 

22. Dillm. would transpose vv. 22 — 25 to follow v. 19. This 
would have the advantage of bringing together the cases (1) in 
which men strive together, (2) in which a man injures his slave. 

hurt a woman. When she intervenes and tries to stop the quarrel. 
mischief. The woman's death, as v. 23 shews. Gen. xlii. 4, 38, 
xliv. 29 t. 



130 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxi, 23-30 

mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, 24 eye for eye, E 
tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burning for 
burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. 

26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of 
his maid, and destroy it ; he shall let him go free for his eye's 
sake. 27 And if he smite out his manservant's tooth, or his 
maidservant's tooth ; he shall let him go free for his tooth's 

28 And if an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die, the 
ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten ; 
but the owner of the ox shall be quit. 29 But if the ox were 
wont to gore in time past, and it hath been testified to his 
owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed 
a man or a woman ; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also 
shall be put to death. 30 If there be laid on him a ransom, then 
he shall give for the redemption of his life whatsoever is laid 

husband has already fixed the amount of the fine, there is no room for 
any decision by the judges. With the change of one consonant read 

' for the miscarriage ' (^ v???). 

24, 25. An abridged summary of the laws of retaliation, which 
has been added here though it is not relevant to the case in point — the 
death of the woman. See p. liii. 

Augustine {De Civ. Dei, xxi. 11) uses this law of retaliation as an 
argument in favour of eternal punishment. An offence which takes a 
very short time to commit may be punished by the perpetual loss of an 
eye or tooth or of life itself. Punishment is not proportioned to the 
time occupied in the perpetration of a crime, but to its heinousness. 

28 — 32. Pentode on injuries inflicted by beasts, vv. 28 : 29 : 30 : 
31 : 32. 

28. Such a law emphasizes the sanctity of the life of a free 
Israelite (contrast v. 32). The principle appears also in P (Gen. ix. 5), 
and in Plato {de leg. ix. 873). In Draco's laws even an inanimate 
object that causes death must be removed (Dem. adv. Aristocr. 645). 

29. shall be put to death. There appears to be a distinction in the 
code between this expression with a single verb and the formal death 
sentence in vv. 12, 15 — 17, xxii. 19 (18). The present case admits of 
an alternative in the payment of a fine. 

30. a ransom. Heb. kopher. A money payment which cancels 
the death penalty. The original meaning of the root is doubtful ; it 
was either 'to cover' or 'to wipe away.' See on xxv. 17. 

the redemption of his life. Practically equivalent to hoplier, but 
involving a diff'erent metaphor. Ps. xlix. 8 (9) t. 


upon him. 31 Whether he have gored a son, or have gored E 
a daughter, according to this judgement shall it be done unto 
him. 32 If the ox gore a manservant or a maidservant ; he 
shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox 
shall be stoned. 

33 And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig 
a pit and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein, 34 the 
owner of the pit shall make it good ; he shall give money unto 
the owner of them, and the dead beast shall be his. 

35 And if one man's ox hurt another's, that he die ; then 
they shall sell the live ox, and divide the price of it ; and the 
dead also they shall divide. 36 Or if it be known that the ox 
was wont to gore in time past, and his owner hath not kept 
him in ; he shall surely pay ox for ox, and the dead beast shall 
be his own. 

XXII. 1 If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, [Ch.xxi.37 
or sell it ; he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for ^° ^ 
a sheep. 2 If the thief be found breaking in, and be smitten E^^^^^f ^ 
that he die, there shall be no ^bloodguiltiness for him. 3 If the 
sun be risen upon him, there shall be bloodguiltiness for him : 

1 Heb. blood. 

32. thirty shekels. Siuce the slave is mere property, this is not a 
' redemption money ' for the life of the guilty party ; it is the fixed 
value of the chattel. Cf. Zech. xi. 13, Mt. xxvi. 15, xxvii. 9f. 

33 — XXII. 4. Pentode on loss of animals by neglect or theft, w. 
33 f : 35 : 36 : xxii. 1 : 3 Z>, 4. 

34. he shall give money. Presumably the price which the animal 
would have fetched when alive. 

XXII. 1. four sheep fm- a sheep. Cf. 2 S. xii. 6\ 

2, Z a. The sequel of the law in v. 1 is found in v. 3 6, 'if he have 
nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.' The intervening clauses 
comprise two laws from an independent group. Not only do they 
interrupt the pentadic arrangement, and separate the closely related 
commands in vv. 1,36, but their presence at this point causes an 
absurdity. In 3 6 the thief is to be sold for his theft, while in Tyv. 2, 3 a 
he is dead ! Moreover the whole context is concerned with simple 
compensation for damages or offences, while these clauses introduce a 
contingency of an entirely different kind. 

3. If the sun be risen upon him. In the darkness of the night the 
householder must simply act in self-defence ; but in daylight he can 
identify the burglar and give information before the judges. 

1 Lxx kirra.Tr\a<jiov(j. is probably due to Prov. vi. 31. 


132 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxii. 3-7 

he should make restitution ; if he have nothing, then he shall E 
be sold for his theft. 4 If the theft be found in his hand alive, 
whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep ; he shall pay double. 

5 If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, 
and shall let his beast loose, and it feed in another man's field ; 
of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, 
shall he make restitution. 

6 If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the shocks 
of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed ; he 
that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution. 

7 If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stufi* 

he should make restitution ; he shall surely pay. The subject of 
the verb cannot be the dead thief, nor can the expression (which is the 
same as in xxi. 36) mean that the man who killed him (who has not 
been mentioned) is to be punished \ Either, then, the clause is a 
fragment of a lost law, or a gloss to soften the difficulty of the dead 
thief being sold for his theft. 

5, 6. Two regulations on loss hy fire (perhaps fragments of an 
original pentade). According to the R-. V. v. 5 deals with a beast put to 
graze in a field or vineyard, which the owner does not keep in check from 
wandering away and grazing in another man's field ^. But this is beset 
with difficulties. (1) The words beast ^ eat Siud feed in «. 5, and kindle 
Sbiidfire in the latter clause oi v. 6, are all derived from the same root 
"lyn ; it is unlikely that, in the sober prose of a collection of laws, the 
word should be used in two different senses in successive verses. (2) A 
vineyard is an unnatural place into which to turn cattle to graze. 
(3) Why should the form of neglect described in v. 5 be punished by 
the payment of the best of his field or vineyard, while that in -y. 6, 
which would do much more damage, is less heavily punished? It is 
probable that both vv. refer to burning. Render v. 5 : When a man 
causes a field or vineyard to be burnt and allows his btirning to spread, 
so that it burn in another mans field, of the best, &c.' In this case a 
man lights a bonfire, or burns dry grass or brushwood, and (maliciously) 
allows the flame to spread to the adjoining field. In v. 6, on the other 
hand, flame or sparks burst forth from the bonfire (e.g. in a high wind) 
and catch the thorny undergrowth on the adjoining property. The first 
is intentional, the second accidental. 

7—13. Pentade on trusts, vv. 7 : 8f. : 10 f. : 12 : 13. 

7. stuff. Articles of value; iii. 22 (K.V. 'jewels'). 

^ Lxx attempts to give it this meaning by a paraphrase, hox^^ ian, avratroda- 

^ After • another man's field ' Sam. lxx read ' he shall surely pay according to 
its produce, but if it graze upon the whole field, the best &c.' This is an attempt 
to explain the severer penalty by assuming that the beast has, by grazing, ruined 
the whole of the neighbouring property ! 


to keep, and it be stolen out of the man's house ; if the thief E 
be found, he shall pay double. 8 If the thief be not found, 
then the master of the house shall come near unto ^God, to see 
whether he have not put his hand unto his neighbour's goods. 
9 For every matter of trespass, Avhether it be for ox, for ass, 
for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, whereof 
one saith, This is it, the cause of both parties shall come before 
^God ; he whom ^God shall condemn shall pay double unto his ' 

10 If a man deliver unto his neighbour an ass, or an ox, 
or a sheep, or any beast, to keep ; and it die, or be hurt, or 
driven away, no man seeing it : 11 the oath of the Lord shall be 
between them both, whether he hath not put his hand unto his 
neighbour's goods ; and the owner thereof shall accept it, and 

1 Or, the judges 

8. unto God. To the local sanctuary, as in xxi. 6. 

to see whether &c. This was not by enquiring of an oracle but (as 
V. 11 suggests) by means of an oath. This was a principle that was 
deeply rooted in primitive life ; it is frequently mentioned in the code 
of Hammurabi. By taking an oath a suspected person involved curses 
on himself if his w^ords were not true, and the oath was thus of the 
nature of an ordeal. 

9. This is it. This is the thing with regard to which a breach of 
trust has been committed. 

he whom God shall condemn. Whenever a case of the kind occurs, 
if the man who has to undergo the ordeal of the oath is convicted by it, 
he shall pay double. It does not, of course, mean whichever of the 
two— plaintiff or defendant — is proved guilty. The verb 'condemn' is 
in the plural, but * Elohim ' does not on that account mean human 
judges ; the ordeal itself was the only judge. The construction is_ not 
infrequent in E, and seems to be a survival of a more primitive 
polytheistic mode of expression. 

11. the oath of Yahweh. The oath sworn by the name, and in 
the presence, of Yahweh. But the introduction of the name is 
surprising, and * Elohim ' should probably be read, with Lxx. 

shall accept it. As the text stands this must mean ' shall accept 
the oath.' But such a statement would be superfluous ; the fact that 
custom required the ordeal by oath would cause it to be accepted as a 
matter of course. It probably means * shall accept the dead or injured 
animal' He could not, however, accept it if it was 'driven away' ; 
but tliat word (nishbdh), which is rare and late with this meaning 
(1 Ch. V. 21, 2 Ch. xiv. 15 (14) t), is probably an accidental doubhng 
of the preceding word nishbdr 'hurt' or 'broken.' The case of the 
animal carried off is dealt with in the following verse. 

134 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxii. n-i? 

he shall not make restitution. 12 But if it be stolen from him, E 
he shall make restitution unto the owner thereof. 13 If it be 
torn in pieces, let him bring it for witness ; he shall not make 
good that which was torn. 

14 And if a man ^borrow aught of his neighbour, and it 
be hurt, or die, the owner thereof not being with it, he shall 
surely make restitution. 15 If the owner thereof be with it, 
he shall not make it good : if it be an hired thing, ^it came for 
its hire. 

16 And if a man entice a virgin that is not betrothed, and 
lie with her, he shall surely pay a dowry for her to be his wife. 
17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall 
pay money according to the dowry of virgins. 

1 Heb. ask. ^ Or, it is reckoned iyi (Heb. cometh into) its hire 

13. bring it for witness. The whole carcase, or any portion that 
he could. Cf. Gen. xxxi. 39, Am. iii. 12. The latter passage shews 
that this law was a formulation of already existing custom, as was 
probably the greater part of the code of 'Judgements ' (see pp. xivi. f.). 

14 — 17. Pentade on loans. vv.l4t: lb a: 15b: 16: 17. 

15. it has come into its hire. ' It ' is the injured animal, 
regarded as an equivalent for money. It has, under the circumstances, 
become necessary for the owner to reckon the injury or loss into the 
price which he charges for the hire of the animal. 

16, 17. A startling instance of the contrast between primitive and 
Christian thought. An injured daughter comes under the category of 
an injured loan, because she is her father's property till her marriage, 
when she becomes of monetary value to him. In the old-world 
marriage arrangements the girl had no choice in the matter. The 
man espoused ('eresk) her by paying a purchase-money (mohdr) to her 
father. He might then take her to his house and arrange for the 
wedding ceremony when he chose. The ' dowry,' in the modern sense, 
which the bride brought to her husband, seems to have arisen later from 
the custom of the father giving to the daughter the mohdr that he lias 
received. Cf Gen. xxxi. 14 — 16. 

In the present case a man has had intercourse with a virgin without 
a legal espousal by the payment of a mohdr. The rule in such a case 
is that he must put matters right with the girl's father by paying the 
mohdr. But (v. 17) if the father refuse to give him the girl in marriage, 
the mohdr must still be paid as compensation for injury of property. 
From the fact that the value of the mohdr is not mentioned, it is again 
evident (see v. 13) that these rules are the expression of aheady 
established custom. In Dt. xxii. 29 the amount of the mohdr is put at 
50 silver shekels, nearly £7. But the price was not always paid in 
money. Sometimes it was in kind, or the daughter was given in return 


18 Thou shalt not suffer a sorceress to live. E 

19 Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to 

20 He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord 
only, shall be Hitterly destroyed. 21 And a stranger shalt thou 

1 Heb. devoted. See Lev. xxvii. 29. 

for deeds of valour (Jos. xv. 16, Jud. i. 12, 1 S. xviii. 25), or for a term 
of personal service, as in the case of Jacob. (On early Semitic 
marriage customs see S. A. Cook, The Laws of Moses and the Code 
of Hammurabi^ ch. iv., and W. R. Smith, Kinship and Marriage in 
early Arabia.) 

XXIL 18—28. 

Miscellaneous moral injunctions. 

The style and contents of this section are markedly different from those of 
the ' Judgements.' We are here met not with hypothetical cases to be dealt 
with by judges, and in which the penalties were fixed by custom, but with 
direct warnings against various kinds of social and moral evils. They are not, 
like the ' Judgements,' cast into a uniform shape, nor do they fall into gi-oups. 
They are fragments culled from a variety of som-ces, and reflecting the 
religious spirit of the prophets of the eighth and seventh centuries who 
proclaimed to their countiymen the fundamental principles of pm-ity, truth 
and kindness. 

18. The practice of sorcery was denounced by the prophets from " 
Isaiah downwards ; it had long been secretly carried on in Israel, 
though never actually united with the worship of Yahweh. It revived 
again in the reign of Manasseh and took a strong hold upon the 
country. See p. liv. 

19. Lev. xviii. 24 implies that this sin was practised among the- 
native Canaanites. 

20. utterly destroyed ; ti^nnedi. A city or nation that was hostile 
to Yahweh was ' devoted,' given over to Him as a form of offering, i.e. it 
was destroyed so that it belonged completely to Him, and man kept no 
share for himself either of the captives or the spoil. An individual 
might similarly be placed under the ban, as in the case of Achan 
(Jos. vi., vii.). The idea of the ban {herem) is an ancient one, and is 
found in non-Hebrew Semitic inscriptions. 

21—27. Laws for the protection of the poor and helpless against 
oppression and injustice. With them should be coupled xxiii. 6 — 9. 
niey accurately reflect the spirit of the prophets. The care of widows, 
orphans and sojourners is taught with great earnestness in Deut. 
(xiv. 29, xvi. 11, 14, xxiv. 17, 19, 21, xxvi. 12 f., xxvii. 19); and see 
Am. iv. 1, V. 11 f, viii. 4—6, Is. i. 17, 23, iii. 16f, Mic. ii. If., iii. 
1—3, Acts vi. 1 ff., Jas. i. 27. 

21. a stranger. See on xii. 19, and p. liv. 

136 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxii. 21-26 

not wrong, neither shalt thou oppress him : [ for ye were ER^ 
strangers in the land of Egypt. 22 Ye shall not afflict any 
widow, or fatherless child. | 23 If thou afflict them in any wise, E 
and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry ; | 24 and R^ 
my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword ; 
and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. 

25 If thou lend money to any of my people with chee that E 
is poor, thou shalt not be to him as a creditor ; neither shall ye 
lay upon him usury. 26 If thou at all take thy neighbour's 

fm' ye were strangers. A reminder characteristic of Deut. ; see v. 15, 
X. 19, xxiv. 18, 22. The alternation of singular and plural pronouns is 
noticeable— 'thou' {v. 21a), 'ye' {v. 21b, 22), 'thou' (v. 23), 'you,' 
'your' (v. 24). Vv. 21b, 22, 24 appear to be a later expansion; see 
next note. 

23. If thou afflict him. . .a7id he cry., .hear his cry. The singular 
pronoun refers to the 'stranger ' in v. 21a, and has no connexion with 
the intervening words. 

25 — 27. Laws for creditors. Prof Driver is led, by the 
hypothetical form in which these laws are cast, to include them 
(together with xxiii. 4, 5) among the 'Judgements.' But they are 
not, like the Judgements, a formulation of custom, or as we should 
now call it ' common law ' ; they are rather appeals to the moral 
conscience of the community. 

25. to any of my people with thee that is poor. The Heb., which 
runs 'to my people the poor man with thee,' appears to be corrupts 

as a creditor. The following clause (with the plural pronoun ' ye ') 
appears to be a later insertion to explain that 'creditor' means one who 
lends upon usury. There is nothing to warrant the view that the 
passage only condemns excessive usury ; the prohibition is expressed in 
the most general terms. It is assumed, both here and in Dt. xxiii. 19 f, 
Lev. XXV. 35 — 37, that the borrower is a poor Hebrew. Loans for 
commercial purposes, by which the borrower enlarges his capital in 
order to extend his business, are a more modern development. In such 
cases it is right that the borrower should pay something for the 
advantage afforded him. But in early days a loan was of the nature 
of a charity for the relief of immediate necessity, and to exact usury 
would be to make gain out of another's need. See Driver, Deut. on 
xxiii. 20 f and p. 178. And on the Hebrew ideas attached to the word 
' poor ' see his article ' Poor ' in DB iv. 

26. Of Dt. xxiv. 12 f Amos (ii. 8) complains of the practice 
which is here forbidden. 

1 Lxx ' to the poor brother with thee,' perh. represents rT'O^nTIi^ for 
"n&5 '•©l^TlX. The word Ti'^'CV 'associate,' 'relation' occurs in Lev. vi. 2 [v. 21] 
and freq., but elsewhere only Zech. xiii. 7. 

xxii.*6-3i] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 137 

garment to pledge, thou shalt restore it unto him by that the E 
sun goeth down : 27 for that is his only covering, it is his 
garment for his skin : wherein shall he sleep ? and it shall come 
to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear ; for I am 

28 Thou shalt not revile ^God, | nor curse a ruler of thy ig? 
people. I 29 Tliou shalt not delay to offer of ^the abundance E 
of thy fruits, and of thy liquors. The firstborn of thy sons shalt 
thou give unto me. 30 Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, 
and with thy sheep : seven days it shall be with its dam ; on 
the eighth day thou shalt give it me. | 31 And ye shall be holy R^ 

1 Or, the judges ^ Heb. thy fulness and thy tear. 

28. The command is unconnected with the laws which precede 
and follow it, and it bears marks of being a late addition. It is found 
in Lev. xxiv. 15; and 'profaning the name of God' is forbidden in 
Lev. xviii. 21, xix. 12, xxii. 32, but no such command is to be met 
with in any of the other codes. 

a ruler ; a prince (jidsV). xvi. 22, xxxiv. 31, xxxv. 27. The 
word is found only in Ez. P and Chr. 

XXIL 29, 30. 

Laws on Worship. 

This is a fragment which must be connected with xx. 24 — 26 and 
xxiii. 10—19. 

29. delay to offer &c. The Heb. is very terse — 'thou shalt not 
delay thy fulness and thy juice'.' The following mention of ' the first- 
born of thy sons ' makes it probable that this unique expression refers 
to the offering of firstfruits ; and the lxx by a paraphrase shews that 
it was so understood — aTTapya<i aAwvos Kttt Xy]vov (' firstfruits of threshing- 
floor and vat'): so Pesh. Targ'^®''. In xxiii. 19 the command is 
repeated by a redactor, in a form which is due to harmonization 
with xxxiv. 26. If the present passage is rightly referred to first- 
fruits, it is a general command covering all cereals and all liquids, 
while xxiii. 16 enjoins the annual festivals at which cereals and fruits 
shall be respectively offered. 

29 b, 30. The firstborn of men and animals are to be offered to 
God. See pp. xli. f. 

31. The plural pronoun (* ye ') makes it probable that this is 
a later addition. It is similar to Dt. xiv. 21, but the injunction in 
the last clause is not found elsewhere. 

^ y©!? ('juice') and nUD"! (' tear ') are from the same root, * to flow ' or ' trickle.' 

138 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxii. 31-xxm. 4 

men unto me : therefore ye shall not eat any flesh that is torn i?- 
of beasts in the field ; ye shall cast it to the dogs. 

XXIII. 1 Thou shalt not take up a false report : put not E 
thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. 
2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil ; neither shalt 
thou ^ speak in a cause to turn aside after a multitude to wrest 
judgement : 3 neither shalt thou favour a poor man in his cause. 

4 If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, 

^ Or, bear witness 

flesh that is torn}. The reason for the prohibition was that the 
body of an animal which had not met its death at the hand of 
man would not have been carefully drained of its blood. 

XXIII. 1—9. 
Miscellaneous moral injunctions. 

XXIII. 1. take up, i.e. upon thy lips ; of xx. 7, Ps. xvi. 4, 1. 16. 
to he an injurious witness. A witness whose deposition is made 
for the purpose of promoting violence or ruthless injury. 

2. The text is corrupt. As they stand, the clauses run 'Thou 
shalt not be after many for evil ; | and thou shalt not answer 
against a cause | to incline after many | to wrest.' Several emenda- 
tions have been proposed ; see Dillm.-Ryssel's comm., Budde, ZATW 
xi. 113. The least drastic produces the followiug — 'Thou shalt not 
turn after many for evil. And thou shalt not afflict him that hath a 
suit, by wresting judgement^.' Read thus, the verse is directed not 
to the witnesses but to the judge. 

3. a poor man. A great man is probably the true reading. The 
word dal, here used for ' poor,' is found with this meaning in the Hex. 
only in P — Ex. xxx. 15, Lev. xiv. 21, xix. 15, the last of which 
passages is an amplification of the present command^. 

4. 5. Assistance to animals. On the hypothetical form see 
xxii. 25 — 27. The two commands are expanded in Dt. xxii. 1 — 4. 

4. thine enemy's ox. The command is, as Prof Driver says, 'an 
old-world anticipation of the spirit of Matt. v. 44.' Dt. has 'thy 

1 R.V. conceals the difficulty of the Heb,, which runs ' flesh, in the field, a torn 
animal.' The true reading is probably 'the flesh of a torn animal,' om. 'in the 
field,' i.e. HDltSn "1^2, the letters 'Wl being an accidental duplication of yVI. 

2 Dstj'p rhrh nn *?!;? nsrn ^\ nrn"? D"*?"] nn.N* [or n^n] n^an \h. This 

involves the omission of the third clause as a doublet, the addition (with lxx) of 
' judgement ' at the end, and slight alterations in the consonants of the first two 
clauses. . 

,2 The Heb. sentence begins with tV\, which would easily arise as a corruption 

of 7n:. 


thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. 5 If thou see the E 
ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, ^and wouldest 
forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him. 

6 Thou shalt not wrest the judgement of thy poor in his 
cause. 7 Keep thee far from a false matter ; and the innocent 
and righteous slay thou not : for I will not justify the wicked. 
8 And thou shalt take no gift : for a gift blindeth them that 
have sight, and perverteth the ^ words of the righteous. 9 And 
a stranger shalt thou not oppress : | for ye know the heart of R^ 
a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. 

10 And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather E 

1 Or, and wouldest forbear to release it for him, thou shalt surely release it 
with him ^ Or, ca2ise 

brother's ass'; but 'brother' is intended to include the whole Israelite 
community, friends or otherwise. 

5. and ivouldest fm^hear &c. This assumes another reading (iry 
for nty) in both clauses; but 'help with him' is an awkward expression. 
The marg. rendering is to be preferred; it is in agreement with the 
simpler form of the command in Dt. xxii. 4 — ' thou shalt surely lift it 
up with him.' Possibly, however, ' help ' should be read in the first 

6 — 9. The verses appear to be a later addition ; v. 6 repeats the 
thought of V. 2, and v. 1 a oi v. 1 ; -v. 8 is practically identical with 
Dt. xvi. 19, and v. 9 a is an abbreviation of xxii. 21a and is followed 
by a similar Deuteronomic explanation. 

8. tJwm that have sight; the open-eyed. A unique word^ Dt. 
xvi. 19 has ' the eyes of the wise,' 

XXIII. 10—19. 
Laws on Worship. 

There is no connexion of subject-matter between this section and the 
preceding. The opening 'And' points to some previous hiws rehitiiig to 
religion. The verses are to be connected with xx, 24 — 26, xxii. 29, 30. 

10, 11. The fallow year. Some think that this command is to be 
compared with the law of the slave in xxi, 2, and that it does not imply 
that the seventh year was to be observed simultaneously by everyone. 
But the contrast ' Six years, when thou sowcst thy land, thou shalt 
gather... but the seventh year thou shalt release it' is obviously 
parallel to that in v. 12 — 'Six days shalt thou do thy works, but 
on the seventh day thou shalt keep Sabbath.' It is natural to 

^ See on iv. 11. 

140 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxiii. 10-14 

in the increase thereof: 11 but the seventh year thou shalt JS' 
^let it rest and lie fallow ; that the poor of thy people may eat : 
and what they leave the beast of the field shall eat. In like 
manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy olive- 
yard. 12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh 
day thou shalt ^rest : that thine ox and thine ass may have 
rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be 
refreshed. | 13 And in all things that I have said unto you take R^ 
ye heed : and make no mention of the name of other gods, 
neither let it be heard out of thy mouth. 

14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. E 

1 Or, release it and let it lie fallow See Deut. xv. 2. ^ Or, keep sabbath 

suppose that the seventh year, like the seventh day, is intended to 
he observed simultaneously. But it is, of course, probable that in 
the earlier days, in which the custom prevailed of which this law 
is an application, the fallow year was not simultaneous. Indeed it is 
not easy to see how the law of a simultaneous year could be practicably 
observed; in its present form it is an ideal injunction. The earlier 
custom probably was not that the land should be left uncultivated, but 
only that its produce was at stated intervals to be used by the 
community at large instead of by the individual owner. (See works 
cited by Driver, Deut. p. 177 and Levit. p. 98.) 

11. let it rest and lie fallow. Lit. ' let it drop and leave it.' The 
technical term 'let it drop' (R.V. mg. 'release') is applied nowhere else 
to land. In Dt. xv. 2, 9, xxxi. 10 it is used of remitting exactions\ 

12. The weekly Sabbath. See p. xliii. and note on pp. 121 ff. 
may be refreshed. In xxxi. 17 both this word (elsewhere only 

2 S. xvi. 14) and 'rest' or 'desist' are applied to God in reference to 
the Creation, the wording being probably based on the present passage. 

13. This is strangely out of place in the midst of laws relating to 
sacred seasons; and the alternation of the pronouns ('ye '...'they') 
suggests that it is a later addition. 

make no mention. Call not upon them by name in worship. At a 
later time this prohibition led to the practice of altering proper names 
compounded with Baal, e.g. A7-yada for Baal-yada^, Ish-bosheth, Mephi- 
bosheth, Jemh-besheth for Ish-baal, Meri-baal, Jeruh-baal. 

14 — 17. The three Annual Festivals. In the note preceding 
ch. xii. it is pointed out that the connexion of certain religious in- 
stitutions (the Festival of Unleavened Cakes, and the offering of first- 
born and firstlings) with the events of the Exodus is probably due to 
later religious reflexion. The off'ering of firstborn and firstlings must 

1 It occurs with its literal meaning in 2 S. vi. 6 = 1 Ch. xiii. 9, 2 K. ix. 33, Ps. 
cxli. 6, Jer. xvii. 4t. 


have been an established custom in the earliest days, when the ancestors 
of the Israelites were nomads, wandering about with their flocks, long 
before the migration to Egypt. But such roving Bedawin are strangers 
to agriculture. The cultivation of fields and vineyards is obviously 
possible only to a settled population possessed of land. The Israelites, 
so far as we can judge, could know nothing of the care of crops until 
they learnt it from the Canaanites. This consideration leads us to 
conclude that the offering of the firstborn of men and animals had, so 
far as Israel was concerned, quite a different origin from that of the 
offering of corn, \vine and oil, and was derived from a remoter past. 
A nation with territorial rights thought of their god as the Baal, i.e. 
'Lord ' or * Owner,' of tlie land, and expressed a recognition of the fact 
by paying him an annual tribute of the produce of the soil. And hence 
arose the periodical offering of firstfruits^ The occasions on which 
these offerings were due were fixed by the natural conditions of the 
soil, i.e. (1) at the beginning of the harvest when the sickle was first 
put into the barley (which was the earliest of the crops, ripening in 
April or the beginning of May) ; (2) at the conclusion of wheat 
harvest, which normally took place some seven weeks later ; (3) at 
the final harvest of the fruits — mainly grapes and olives. These three 
occasions on which firstfruits were offered became festivals of joyous 
religious import. The names which describe the second and third of 
them reveal their origin clearly enough — the ' Festival of Harvest ' and 
the 'Festival of Ingathering' (Ex. xxiii. 16). But the origin of the 
first — the ' Festival of Unleavened Cakes (Mazzotk) ' is not so clear. 
That this festival was, as a fact, connected with the beginning of 
harvest is indicated by its position in the series of three (Ex. xxiii. 1 5, 
xxxiv. 18), and by the injunction in Lev. xxiii. 10 f that 'a sheaf of the 
firstfruits of your harvest' is to be swung before Yahweh. But the 
actual origin of the custom of eating unleavened cakes on that day is 
unknown. It was probably a custom which the Israelites found among 
the natives of Canaan, and adopted from them. Perhaps it arose from 
the fact that the field labourers were so busy when the harvest began 
that they took with them to their work only the simplest and most 
quickly prepared food. 

With regard to the dates of the three festivals it must be remembered 
that the three stages in the harvest could not fall simultaneously in all 
parts of the country. In Palestine, by reason of its physical features, 
were to be found widely diff"erent climates and temperatures (see Kent, 
A History of the Hebrew People^ i. 24) ; and crops and fruits would 
ripen correspondingly at very different times. Each district would thus 
observe its three festivals independently. Before the exile, the only 
steps taken towards fixed dates are to be found in the commands (1) to 
observe the F. of Unleavened Cakes ' in the month Abib,' and (2) to 
observe the F. of Harvest fifty days after the beginning of the 

^ Frazer, Golden Bourjh, ii. 68 f., 373 f., concludes that the offering of firstfruits 
is a development of a far more primitive circle of ideas, in which by eating the new 
com the eater partakes sacramen tally in the corn spirit. 

142 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxiil 15, 16 

15 The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep : j seven days ^j^ 
thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, at the 
time appointed in the month Abib (for in it thou earnest out 
from Egypt) ; and none shall appear before me empty : j 16 and E 
the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou 
sowest in the field : and the feast of ingathering, at the end of 
the year, when thou gatherest in thy labours out of the field. 

reaping. The former date (Ex. xiii. 4, xxxiv. 18 J) was probably 
due to the connexion which the festival had acquired with the 
events of the Exodus. The latter is not found till Dt. (xvi. 9), 
but it is based on the name * F. of Weeks ' in J (Ex. xxxiv. 22). 
The stereotyping of the dates would be a natural result of the 
Deuteronomic law of the central sanctuary, which put a stop to all 
local celebrations. The final stage is seen in H and P, where the dates 
of the three festivals are given as (1) the 15th day of the 1st month 
(Lev. xxiii. 6 P) or ' the morrow after the Sabbath ' (v. 11 H) ; 
(2) seven weeks 'from the morrow after the Sabbath' (v. 15 H; 
see p. xHv.) ; (3) the 15th day of the 7th month (vv. 34, 39 P). 

15. E here gives only the bare command, because the custom of 
holding the festival was already well established. 

seven days &c. This part of the verse seems to have been added by 
a harmonizer from xxxiv. 18 b, 20 b (see note there on vv. 10 — 28) ; it 
breaks the grammatical connexion between the verb ' thou shalt keep ' 
and the accusatives governed by it in v. 16, 'the F. of Harvest' and 
' the F. of Ingathering ' ; and there is nothing in E to which ' as I 
commanded thee' can refer\ 

appear before me. Heb. ' none shall appear my face ' (sic). The 
original reading was probably ' none shall see my face ' ; but the 
Masoretes shrank from the implied anthropomorphism, and pointed 
the verb regardless of grammar. The same has been done in v. 17, 
xxxiv. 20, 23, 24, Dt. xvi. 16, xxxi. 11, 1 S. i. 22, Ps. xlii. 2 [3], 
Is. i. 12. 

16. at the exit of the year, xxxiv. 22 ' at the revolution of the 
year.' For the two methods of reckoning the New Year see on xii. 2. 

In Lev. xxiii. 43 the name ' Feast of Booths ' is explained by 
reference to the dwelling in booths after the departure from Egypt. 
Its actual origin can only be conjectured ; but it may have arisen 
from the fact that all who were engaged in gathering the fruits would 
sleep in booths or huts in the vineyards (cf Is. i. 8). Its observance 
was probably learnt from the Canaanites ; compare Jud. ix. 27 with 
xxi. 19, 21. The booths, made of branches, dry grass &c., were of 
course quite different from tents. 

1 Schaefer, Das Passah-Mazzoth-Fest, 41 — 6, in attempting to preserve the words 
here as original, is driven to explain them of oral Mosaic teaching. 


17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the E 
Lord God. 

18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with 
leavened bread ; neither shall the fat of my feast remain all 
night until the morning. | 19 The first of the firstfruits of thy hJe 
ground thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God. | 
Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk. E 

20 Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee by the R^ 
way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. 

18. the blood of my sacrifice. The prohibition does not refer to 
the Passover, which E never mentions ; it is general, and applies to all 
sacrifices ^ 

19 a. See on xxxiv. 26. The law of firstfruits has already been 
given in xxii. 29 ; the present passage is due to harmonization with 
ch. xxxiv. 26. 

19^. The prohibition is found in xxxiv. 26 6, Dt. xiv. 216. Its 
origin is unknown. 'In his mother's milk' cannot be a note of time, 
making the expression mean ' a sucking kid ' ; not only would there 
be no point in the special word ' boil ' (which may perhaps be used 
more generally to denote ' to cook '), but sucking lambs (or kids) were 
commanded to be offered (xxii. 30, Lev. xxii. 27 ; cf 1 S. vii. 9). 
W. R. Smith {RS', p. 221) suggests that 'a sacrificial gift sodden in 
sour milk would evidently be of the nature of fermented food,' which, 
like leaven, implies putrefaction. But in this case the mention both 
of the kid and its mother becomes superfluous ; it would be wrong to 
treat any flesh in the same way. The same writer, however, inclines 
to the explanation that ' since many primitive peoples regard milk as a 
kind of equivalent for blood, to eat a kid in his mother's milk might 
be taken as equivalent to eating with the blood ' ; and thus it would 
be forbidden to the Hebrews along with the heathen sacraments of 
blood. This heathen practice may have been specially connected with 
the harvest festival. Driver (on Dt. xiv. 21) says, 'the prohibition 
may have been aimed against the practice of using milk thus prepared 
as a charm for rendering fields and orchards more productive.' All 
that can be considered probable is that the command is directed 
against some heathen practice which is at present obscure. See also 
note in the Addenda. 

20 — 23. Epilogue. The preceding laws are to be observed 
as Israel's part in the covenant. But a prophetic waiter of the 
Deuteronomic school felt that God's part should also be stated. 

1 Perhaps the writer intended ^niT (' my sacrifice ') to be pointed as plural, but 
the Masoretes made it singular because they thought it referred to the Passover. 
The same remark applies to the following words ' the fat of vuj feast.'' On xxxiv. 
25 (' the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover ') see p. 63. 

144 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxiii. .1-.5 

21 Take ye heed of him, and hearken unto his voice ; ^provoke R^ 
him not : for he will not pardon your transgression ; for my 
name is in him. 22 But if thou shait indeed hearken unto 
his voice, and do all that I speak ; then I will be an enemy 
unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. 
23 For mine angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in 
unto the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the 
Canaanite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite : and I will cut them 
oif. 24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, 
nor do after their works : but thou shalt utterly overthrow 
them, and break in pieces their ^pillars. 25 And ye shall serve 

^ Or, he not rebellious against him ^ Or, obelisks See Lev. xxvi. 1, 

2 Kings iii. 2. 

The Epilogue consists of divine promises, which are conditional 
(v. 22 a) upon Israel's observance of the laws (see note at the end 
of ch. xxiv.). In Dt. xxviii. and Lev. xxvi. the collections of laws are 
similarly followed by a hortatory discourse, describing the divine 
blessing which will be gained by faithfulness to His commands ; and 
to both of these are added curses for disobedience, which are absent 
from Exodus. The prophets were not mere antiquarians ; the ancient 
laws and customs were still, for them, the basis of true religion, and 
true religion was the one and only condition of divine blessing. 

20. an angel. The conceptions of God in the primitive ages of 
Israelite life were, as in all nations, crude and anthropomorphic. But 
by the time of the writers J and E, a change had begun. This is 
represented by the word 'Angel.' The 'Angel' is Yahweh Himself 
in a temporary descent to visibility for a special purpose. See 
G. A. Smith, Book of the Twelve Prophets^ ii. 310 — 19. The principal 
references for the 'Angel' are Gen. xxi. 17, xxxi. 11, xlviii. 16, 
Ex. xiv. 19, xxxii. 34, Num. xx. 16, xxii. 22—27, 31 f, 34 f (E), 
Gen. xvi. 7, 9ff., xxii. 11, 15, xxiv. 7, 40, Ex. iii. 2, xxxiii. 2 (J), 
Jud. ii. 1, 4, V. 23, vi. 11 f, 20 ff., xiii. 3, 6, 9, 13, 15—18, 20 f, 
Hos. xii. 4 (5), Is. Ixiii. 9 (a reference to the present passage and xxxiii. 
2), Zech. i. 9 &c., iii. 3, Mai. iii. 1. 

21. my name is in him, i.e. the fulness of my Being. It was ' in 
him,' but was not completely revealed to men until they learnt 'the 
name that is above every name' (Col. i. 19, Phil. ii. 9). 

23. the Amorite &c. For similar lists from a Deuteronomic 
hand see v. 28, iii. 8, 17, xiii. 5, xxxiii. 2, xxxiv. 11. 

24. The command to destroy the objects of Canaanitish worship 
is a marked characteristic of the Deuteronomic school. 

their pillars {mazzehhoth). These were sacred blocks of stone set 
up in connexion with altars. They appear to have been a relic of the 
primitive belief that the world was inhabited by many numina, divine 


the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water ; R^ 
and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. 26 There 
shall none cast her young, nor be barren, in thy land : the 
number of thy days I will fulfil. 27 I will send my terror 
before thee, and will discomfit all the people to whom thou 
shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs 
unto thee. 28 And I will send the hornet before thee, which 
shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from 
before thee. 29 I will not drive them out from before thee 
in one year ; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of 
the field multiply against thee. 30 By little and little I will 

beings whose presence was attached to stones and other natural objects. 
Beside the mazzebhdh, which was often chiselled and engraved, there 
usually stood a wooden stump, called an asherdh (see xxxiv. 13). In 
the early days of Israel's occupation of Canaan, their worship was 
largely influenced by Canaanite customs, and mazzehhoth were freely 
used. Moses himself set up twelve of them (xxiv. 4) ; Hosea included 
them among the religious privileges of which Israel would be deprived 
in exile as a punishment for her sins (iii. 4, x. If); and Isaiah 
speaks of a mazzehhdh as a symbol of Egypt's conversion to Yahweh 
(xix. 19). Sacred stones were set up at Bethel (Gen. xxviii. 18 ff.), 
Gilgal (.Jos. iv. 5 ; cf Jud. iii. 19, 26 B.V. marg.), Shechem (Jos. 
xxiv. 26), Mizpah (1 S. vii. 12), Gibeon (2 S. xx. 8), En-rogel 
(1 K. i. 9). It was not till the Deuteronomic reform that the practice 
was condemned. 

25. and he shall bless. Bead, with Lxx, Vulg. and I will bless. 
A similar alternation of the words of the writer with those of Yahweh 
is seen in xv. 26. 

thi/ bread, and thy water. A general expression for food. 
take sickness away. xv. 26, Dt. xxviii. 59 — 61. 

26. the number of thy days. As individuals God's faithful people 
would reach a ripe old age (cf Is. Ixv. 20) ; as a nation they would 
long possess their land. The same wideness of meaning attaches to 
XX. 12. 

27. my terror. A divinely sent panic, greater than ordinary 
causes would produce ; cf Gen. xxxv. 5 (R.V. marg.). 

28. the hornet. Dt. vii. 20, Jos. xxiv. 12 f ; cf Wisd. xii. 8—10. 
There is no reason to suppose that the writer employed the word 
metaj)horically. It is an ideal description of a terrible plague which 
would assist in the complete destruction of the natives. Plagues of 
hornets are not unknown; see art. 'Hornet' in DB ii. 

the Hivite &c. See v. 23. lxx inserts ' the Amorite ' before ' the 

30. By little and little. Dt. vii. 22. Tliis forms a remarkable 

M. 10 

146 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxiil 30-xxiv. . 

drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and R^ 
inherit the land. 31 And I will set thy border from the Red 
Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilder- 
ness unto ^the River : for I will deliver the inhabitants of the 
land into your hand ; and thou shalt drive them out before 
thee. 32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with 
their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make 
thee sin against me : for if thou serve their gods, it will surely 
be a snare unto thee. 

XXIV. 1 And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the J 
Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the 
elders of Israel ; and worship ye afar off : 2 and Moses alone 

1 That is, the Euphrates. 

contrast to the idealized picture of rapid conquests which is drawn in 
the greater part of Joshua ; it is in accord with the earlier portions of 
that book and with Jud. i. 19, 21, 27—35. 

31. The boundaries mark the ideal extent of Israel's territory. 
Cf. Gen. XV. 18, Dt. xi. 24, where Lebanon is named as the northern 
border. The reign of Solomon was the only period in which even an 
appreciable approach was made to this expansion. The Hebrews 
never owned a single spot on the Mediterranean coast until Joppa 
was captured, first by Jonathan Maccabaeus in 148 B.C. (1 Mac. x. 76), 
and again by his brother Simon in 142 B.c. {id. xii. 33 f ; cf. xiv. 5). 

Chapter XXIV. 1—11. 

The ratification of the Covenant. 

XXIV. 1. And unto Moses he said. The emphasis laid on 
' Moses ' probably implies that Yahweh had previously been speaking 
to someone else ; but the passage has been mutilated, xix. 25, 
the last preceding passage from J, is also mutilated. See analysis, 
p. xxxii. 

Nadah, and Ahihu. In xxviii. 1 (P) they are Aaron's eldest sons, 
who, with the younger sons Eleazar and Ithamar, were admitted to the 
priestly office; and in Lev. x. 1 — 10 (P) they offered 'strange fire' 
and were destroyed. Here, however, they and Aaron are associated 
with the elders ; priests are represented as already existing in the 
community (xix. 22 f. ; and see v. 5 below). 

2. The narrative of J is continued in v. 9. 


shall come near unto the Lord ; but they shall not come near ; J 
neither shall the people go up with him. | 3 And Moses came E 
and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the 
judgements : and all the people answered with one voice, and 
said. All the words which the Lord hath spoken will we do. 

4 And Moses wrote all the Avords of the Lord, and rose up 
early in the morning, and builded an altar under the mount, 
and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 

5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which 
offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen 
unto the Lord. 6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put 
it in basons ; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 
7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the 
audience of the people : and they said, All that the Lord hath 
spoken will we do, and be obedient. 8 And Moses took the 
blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said. Behold the 

4. pillars (mazzehhoth). See xxiii. 24. Lxx, Sam. shrink from 
the word because these objects were condemned in the later legislation ; 
they read ' stones.' 

5. the young men. They were recognised as the proper persons 
to fulfil sacrificial functions. See p. Ixv. 

burnt-offerings... peace-offerings. See on xx. 24. 

7. the book of the covenant. From this expression is derived the 
title frequently applied to the whole collection of laws in xx. 23 
— xxiii. 33. But the original covenant laws were probably the laws 
on worship (xx. 22 — 26, xxii. 29, 30, xxiii. 10 — 19) which correspond 
to J's group in xxxiv. 14 — 26. See analysis, pp. xxvii. — xxx. 

and be obedient. This, in connexion with the sprinkling of blood, 
is perhaps referred to in 1 Pet. i. 2 — ' unto obedience and sprinkling of 
the blood of Jesus Christ' ; see Hort's note\ 

8. the blood of the covenant'^. The blood which seals and ratifies 
the covenant. The incident is referred to in Heb. ix. 20, to shew that 
where a covenant is made there must of necessity be blood, which 
symbolizes both ratification and cleansing. The great advance towards 
the higher conception of a ' new covenant ' was made by Jeremiah 
(xxxi. 31 — 34). And our Lord taught that He was the mediator of 
tlie new covenant by adapting tlie expression in Exod. — ' this is my 
" blood of the covenant'" (Mat. xxvi. 28 = Mk. xiv. 24 ; cf. Lk. xxii. 20, 
1 Cor. xi. 25). 

1 And see Lightfoot on Col. ii. 14 (p. 185'). 
^ See additional note below. 


148 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxiv. s-n 

blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you E 
1 concerning all these words. ] 9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, J 
N'adab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel : 10 and 
they saw the God of Israel ; and there was under his feet as it 
were ^a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the very 
heaven for clearness. 11 And upon the nobles of the children 
of Israel he laid not his hand : and they beheld God, and did 
eat and drink. 

1 Or, upon all these conditions ^ Or, work of bright sapphire 

concerning all these words. Lit. 'upon [the basis of] all these 
words.' The marg. expresses the meaning. _ 

10. they saw the God of Israel^. It is not difficult to picture 
the scene which could give rise to the narrator's anthropomorphic 
description. They saw a manifestation of His presence (as every 
man whose spiritual eyes are open may see to-day) in the dazzling 
light of the sun. The sapphire pavement beneath His feet was the 
blue sky ; and its ' clearness ' arose from the complete absence of 
haze or cloud, so that they seemed to look through it into heaven 

a paved work Lit. ' a brick- or tile-work.' The rendering in the 
marg. is less probable. It was universally supposed in early days that 
the sky was a solid canopy. See Driver on Gen. i. 6. 

the very heaven. The substance (lit. ' the bone ') of the sky = the 
sky itself The idiom is frequent in P in the expression ' the selfsame 
day.' And see Job xxi. 23 (' in his very completeness ' ; R.V. ' in his 
fuU strength '). 

11. nobles {'aziUm). Lit. 'corners,' 'corner-men,' and so the 
'supports' of a community. This figurative meaning is not found 
elsewhere. Pinnoth is similarly used in Jud. xx. 2, 1 S. xiv. 38. 

he laid not his hand. He did not destroy them or do them 
any injury, though they had ventured to come into His immediate 

and they beheld God. The verb (nm) is a synonym, almost entirely 
confined to poetry, of ' they saw ' (nxi) in v. 10. The clause has the 
appearance of being an editorial addition. 

and did eat and drink. Not necessarily on the top of the moun- 
tain. The sacrificial meal would more naturally be celebrated after 
their descent. 

1 The Lxx translators shrank from the expression, and wrote ' they saw the place 
where the God of Israel stood.' A similar motive caused the paraphrase in v. 11 — 
' and of the elect of Israel not one uttered a sound {bieipdivqaev) ; and they were seen 
in the place of God.' 


12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the E^ 
mount, and be there : and I will give thee the tables of stone, | ^^ 
and the law and the commandment, | which I have ^vritten, that j^ 
thou may est teach them. 13 And Moses rose up, and Joshua 
his minister : and Moses went up into the mount of God. 

14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we 
come again unto you : and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with 
you : whosoever hath a cause, let him come near unto them. 

15 And Moses went up into the mount, | and the cloud covered P 
the mount. 16 And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount 

XXIV. 12—18. 

Moses ascended the mountain to receive the tablets of stone. 
The manifestation of Yahweh's glory. 

12. The latter half of the verse appears to have been expanded by 
the addition of the clause 'and the law and the commandment.' It 
cannot refer to the Ten Words on the tablets of stone which are 
mentioned separately \ See analysis, p. xxxiv. 

16. the glm^y of Yahweh. The visible manifestation of His 
presence, which subsequently filled the Dwelling (xl. 34 f). The 
worship which the Hebrew nation paid to One God led the religious 
minds among them to revel in the thought of His infinite majesty, in 
the weighty abundance of His powers and perfections. The word 
'glory' Ci^?, derived from n^D, 'to be heavy') expressed this with 
a wide variety in the conceptions formed by different minds. It 
expressed the wonders of His power in nature (Ps. xix. 1 (2), xxix. 3, cviii. 
5 (6), cxiii. 4, Is. vi. 3), the splendour of His Kingdom (Ps. xxiv. 7 — 10, 
cxlv. 5, 12, Is. xi. 10), the marvels of His actions among His people 
(Num. xiv. 21 f , Is. Ixvi. 18 f, Hab. ii. 14), and in general His mighty 
protecting presence (Ps. Ixxxv. 9 (10), Is. xl. 5, Iviii. 8, Ix. If , Ez. xliii. 2). 
All this volume of truth was summed up, in the inspired imagination 
of the priestly writers, in a visible concrete conception of an intensely- 
shining light. In an earlier description of a theophany (Ex. xxxiii. 
18, 22 J) the word 'glory' is used, but the content of it is vague and 
mysterious. But the present passage describes it explicitly as having 
the appearance of a devouring fire (cf Zech. ii. 5). It was a feeling 
after the truth that the plenitude of the Divine majesty is to men's 
souls all that light is to their bodies, that ' God is Light, and in Him 
is no darkness at all' 

1 Lxx, Sam. attempt to obviate this by omitting • and ' before ' the law ' ; but in 
any case the Ten Words would hardly be described by the double expression ' the 
law and the commandment.' 

150 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxiv. 16-18 

Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days : and the seventli day P 
he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And 
the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like devouring 
fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of 
Israel. 18 And Moses entered into the midst of the cloud, and 
went up into the mount : and Moses was in the mount forty 
days and forty nights. 

abode. The first occurrence of the word shdkan, which is peculiarly 
characteristic of P. See p. iii. 

18. The * forty days and forty nights ' in xxxiv. 28 are not a 
second period of that length ; that passage in J's narrative corresponds 
to P's statement here. P must have found it in E, since it was known 
to the writer of Dt. ix. 9, and the latter writer having both the 
J and E accounts before him speaks of two periods of forty days 
(ix. 18, X. 10). 

The Covenant. The word 'covenant' played a great part in the social 
and spiritual life of Israel ; and the covenant at the sacred mountain was a 
subject of outstanding importance in their religious traditions. It may be 
useful, therefore, to discuss the term. A right understanding of it is difficult 
to reach owing to the lack of an English word which adequately represents the 
original herlth. The root bar ah (m3) from which the word would naturally 
be derived does not otherwise occur in Hebrew ^ The connexion with the 
Arabic hard ' to cut ' has now been largely abandoned, and the word is usually 
referred to the Assyrian hirtu and biritu 'a fetter^.' If this be the true 
derivation, the nearest English equivalent to berith is an ' obligation ' — some- 
thing binding. But an obligation may be imposed either upon another or 
upon oneself And these two ideas give rise to the various meanings of the 

1. An obligation laid upon another, (a) A berith could denote a com- 
mand or undertaking or constitution imposed unconditionally by one in 
authority ; e.g. by David at Hebron in assuming the kingship over the tribes 
(2 S. V. 3) ; by Josiah in making the people promise to obey the commands of 
Yahweh ' with the whole heart and the whole soul' (2 K. xxiii. 3 — not as R.V.); 
by Zedekiah in making the people promise to release their Hebrew slaves 
(Jer. xxxiv. 8 — 10) ; by Antiochus (Dan. ix. 27, ' and he shall impose heavy 
obligations,' lit. make strong a berith — not as RV.); by Job who laid an 
obligation upon his own eyes (Job xxxi. 1). In such cases it is assumed 
without question that the obligation will be accepted and fulfilled ; it is a 

1 In 1 S. xvii. 8 113 is probably an error for IIPI^ ' choose ye ' ; see Driver 
in loc. The root ni2 ' to eat ' is quite distinct, 

2 The corresponding verb baru, with the meaning 'to bind,' has not yet been 
found; there is, however, baril 'to enclose' which is somewhat cognate in meaning. 
Zimmern and Winckler suggest bani 'to see,' whence bdrH ' an augur,' one who 
inspects omens. The subst. might thus mean ' an oracle.' But this is a less 
likely explanation. 


mutual transaction only in the secondary sense that every command is mutual. 
(A further extension, which does not appear in the O.T., but which, in the 
Greek form diaOrjKj] passed into N.T. thought, was that by which the word 
denoted a disposition made by a father before his death, and which was 
binding upon his sons or other persons concerned. It might consist in an 
apportionment of blessings or curses (as e.g. in the ' Testaments of the Twelve 
Patriarchs'), or in a disposition of property, i.e. a 'testament' or Svill'). — 
(b) A victor in battle or a superior in rank could impose obligations as con- 
ditions of his help and favour ; e.g. in the case of Joshua and the Gibeonites 
(Jos. ix. 6 &c.), Nahash and the Jabeshites (1 S. xi. 1 f ), David and Abner 
(2 S. iii. 12 f, R.V. 'league'), Ahab and the conquered Benhadad (1 K. xx. 34), 
Nebuchadrezzar and the conquered Jerusalem (Ez. xvii. 13 — 18). In such 
cases the mutual element appears more clearly. 

2. An obligation laid upon oneself, (a) Unconditionally. The corre- 
spondence \nth the former meaning of berith here fails us. It nowhere denotes 
a self-imposed obligation without some condition exacted from another party. 
In other words it is never used for a simple human promise. (6) That which 
is an imperative condition when laid down by a superior becomes a strictly 
mutual agreement when undertaken between equals. A binds himself to a 
certain course of action on condition that B binds himself to another (or the 
same) course of action. This, in secular matters, is the commonest meaning 
of berith^ to which the English rendering ' covenant ' most nearly corresponds. 
It might be formed between individuals — e.g. Abraham with Mamre, Eshcol 
and Aner (Gen. xiv. 13, R.V. ' confederate,' lit. masters of the berith — or as we 
might say ' parties to the agreement ') ; Abimelech with Isaac (Gen. xxvi. 28 flf. 
— each sware not to injure the other) ; Laban with Jacob (Gen. xxxi. 44 ff. — 
each sware not to pass beyond the boundary, Gilead, to the other's hurt) ; 
Jonathan and David (1 S. xviii. 3, xx. 8 — a mutual promise of friendship) ; 
they also made another agreement (xxiii. 17 f). Or it might be an alliance 
between nations. Such alhances between Israel and the Canaanites are 
frequently condemned (cf. Ex. xxiii. 32, xxxiv. 12, 15, Dt. vii. 2, Jud. ii. 2) ; 
other instances are 1 K. v. 12 [Heb. 26], xv. 19, Hos. xii. 1 [Heb. 2], Am. i. 9. 
A metaphorical use of the word is that of a compact vnW\ the powers of the 
nether world (Is. xxviii. 15, 18), and of Job's compact with the stones of the 
field (Job V. 23). 

Wlien the word is examined as describing the relations between God and 
man the same ideas can be traced. 

1. God as the Superior Being imposes obligations, (a) They may be 
unconditional, in which case they are simply categorical commands which 
may not be altered or evaded. The word berith is used, e.g., for the ordinance 
of the Sabbath (Ex. xxxi. 16 ; cf. Is. Ivi. 4, 6), of the offering of salt with the 
meal-offering (Lev. ii. 13), of the 'shewbread' (Lev. xxiv. 8). In earlier 
literature it is used of Yahweh's command^ not to take of the ' devoted thing' 
at Jericho (Jos. vii. 11), nor to serve other gods (xxiii. 16); cf. Jud. ii. 20, 

1 In the five references which follow, berith is used in conjunction with the verb 
mV ' to command.' 


1 K. xi. 11, Ps. cxi. 9. And in Dt. xxxiii. 9 the parallelism with 'word,' 'judge- 
ments ' and ' law ' suggests that ' thy lerlth ' means ' thy command.' (6) They 
may be conditional ; the performance of the obligation is the condition of 
receiving God's help and favour. This is one aspect of the Sinai-Horeb 
covenant ; see below. 

2. {a) God lays obligations upon Himself^ i.e. He makes unconditional 
promises. Five such promises are related, all except the last being confined 
to late Avi'itings: to Noah, that a flood should not again overwhelm the 
earth, the rainbow being a sign to remind God of His heritk (Gen. ix. 9 — 17 P, 
Is. liv. 9 f ; and perhaps Jer. xxxiii. 20, 25, which seems to include Gen. viii. 
22 in the promise) ; to David, that his posterity should possess the throne for 
ever, and should stand in the position of God's son (Ps. Ixxxix. 3, 28, 34, 39, 
Jer. xxxiii. 21) ; to Led, an everlasting priesthood, a covenant of peace 
(Jer. xxxiii. 21, Mai. ii. 4, 5, 8) ; to Phinehas, the same promise (Nmu. xxv. 
12 f. P) ; and the most important of all, to Ahram. It is described by J 
(Gen. XV. ; see v. 18), and by P (x\ii. 1 — 7). In the latter it is extended 
to Isaac {vv. 19, 21), and, ^vithout the word herith, to Jacob (xxxv. 11 f.). 
The promises thus made to the three patriarchs are described by the 
term herith in Ex. ii. 24, Lev. xxvi. 42, 2 K. xiii. 23, Ps. cv. 8 f. = 1 Ch. xvi. 
15 f. See also Ex. vi. 5, Lev. xxvi. 45, Neh. ix. S, Ps. cvi. 45, Ez. xvi. 60. 
Circumcision was enjoined upon Abram as 'a sign of a herith^ (Gen. xviL 
11), i.e., as in the case of the rainbow, to remind God of His promises, 
and also to be a distinctive privilege of His people. (On the other hand, in 
vv. 9f., 13 f. it is 'my herith,^ i.e. the unalterable command of God; see 1 {a) 

(b) Man lays obligations upon himself, i.e. he makes a vow with a view 
to obtaining the divine favour. Josiah ' made a herith before Yahweh, to walk 
after Yahweh and to keep His commandments ' (2 K. xxiii. 3), and the people 
also 'stood to' the same herith. Hezekiah (2 Ch. xxix. 10). Ezra and the 
people (Ez. x. 3). Nehemiah and the people (Neh. ix. 38, x. 1 [Heb. x. 1, 2] ). 

(c) God and man undertake self-imposed obligations, i.e. they enter 
into a mutual compact. This idea is fomid in the narrative of the Sinai- 
Horeb covenant. In entering upon the united worship of Yahweh, the 
Israelites formed a compact with Him by sharing \\ith Him the life-blood of 
a sacrificial victim. This was symbolized by the sprinkling of the blood on the 
altar and on the people (Ex. xxiv. 6, 8 E)^ The sacrificial feast spoken of in 
V. \\ (J), though a herith is not there mentioned, was for the same purpose ; 
Yahweh was supposed to join in the feast and thus to cement the friendship. 

There is no doubt that this last conception is the most primitive of all 
those which are connected with a divine herith. It involves an anthropo- 
morphic idea of God such as must have belonged to a very early stage in 
Israelite thought (see W. R. Smith, RS-, Lect. ix.). It may be taken for 
granted that if any part of the Sinai-Horeb narrative is historical it is this. 
But the narratives go further. They represent this blood-ceremony and feast 
as not merely a sacrament of communion but a ratification of a ' covenant ' in 
the sense of obligations imposed by God, and accepted by the people, as 

^ A different explanation has recently been suggested. See Addenda. 


conditions of His help and favour. The obligations imposed are laws which 
Moses inscribed in the ' book of the covenant ' (Ex. xxiv. 7). What these laws 
were has been discussed in the analysis. As they stand they include all the 
laws in xx. 23 — xxiii. 19 (cf Jer. xxxiv. 13 f ), to which, in order to emphasize 
the covenant idea, a later writer added xxiii. 20 — 33, describing the blessings 
which would accrue in case of obedience, or in other words the obligations 
which God undertook as His side of the covenant. But the earliest form of 
them was probably injunctions relating to worship, some of which have come 
down to us embedded in xx. 23 — xxiii. 19 (E) and in xxxiv. 10 — 26 (J). At a 
later period than E the obligations consisted of the Decalogue of xx. 1 — 17 
and Dt. v. 6 — 21, which was written by God on stone tablets, the latter being 
placed in the ark, which thus became known as ' the ark of the covenant ' 
(Nmn. x. 33, xiv. 44, Dt. x. 8, xxxi. 9, 25 f, Jos. iii. 3, 6, 8, iv. 7, 9, 18, vi. 6, 8, 
viii. 33, &c.)^ Some modern writers think that the whole idea of a covenant 
at Sinai-Horeb is a reading back into the history of prophetic ideas of God 
which belong, at the earliest, to the age of Elijah and Elisha. They think 
that ' the relation of Yahweh to Israel must originally have been similar to 
that of the gods of the heathen to their particular peoples ; the relation 
existed, but it was never formed ; it was natural, and not the result of a 
conscious act or a historical transaction' (see art. 'Covenant,' DB i. 511 f.). 
But this loses sight of the fact that the conditions of Israel under Moses were 
not the same as those of other nations. It is true that, like other nations, they 
thought of their God as being attached to a particular district, and as exclu- 
sively their own deity. But, so far as we know, not one of the surrounding 
nations was drawTi together by the influence of one man to miite deliberately in 
the worship of the same deity. 'A nation like Israel is not a natural unity 
like a clan, and Jehovah as the national God was, from the time of Moses 
downward, no mere natural clan god, but the god of a confederation, so that 
here [Ps. L 5] the idea of a covenant religion is entirely justified. The woi-ship 
of Jehovah throughout all the tribes of Israel and Judah is probably older 
than the genealogical system that derives all Hebrews from one natural parent ' 
(W. R. Smith, RS'^ 319 footn.). If Moses brought about the confederation, it 
was natural (as has been said on p. cxiv.) that he should teach them at the 
outset the manner in which their deity must be woi-shipped. And Moses' 
teaching was for them divine teaching : when he laid obligations upon them it 
was Yahweh who laid them, and the natural place at which to do it was the 
mountain on which they believed Yahweh to dwell. It is probable that very 
little (perhaps none) of Moses' actual teaching has survived ; it may have 
included some elements of ethical morality ; later ^vriters enlarged upon it, 
and enriched it by the religious ideas which they had reached in their day. 
But if Moses gave any injunctions at all as to the worship of Yahweh, it is un- 
reasonable to deny that these could constitute a divine herlth laid ui^n Israel. 
One further consideration remains. The Heb. expression for ' to mak^ a 
covenant ' is usually n"lDi lit. ' to cut.' The exact origin of this usage of the 

^ P, who nowhere speaks of the transaction at Sinai as a berith, uses the term 
' ark of the testimony.' He thought of Yahweh as too supreme and transcendent 
to enter into a mutual compact with man. 


verb is lost ; but there are indications which suggest the way in which it might 
arise. In Gen. xv. 9 f., 17 and Jer. xxxiv. 18 f. a ceremony is recorded by 
which a promise or oath was made doubly sure. The person or persons — in 
the one case God, and in the other the people of Jerusalem — who made the 
promise, passed between the divided carcases of animals. This would 
seem to have been equivalent to a solemn curse : If I fail in my promise, 
may I be slaughtered as I have slaughtered this animaP. The expression 
'God do so to me [or thee] and more also' (1, 2 Sam., 1, 2 Kings, Ruth) 
is perhaps connected with the same idea. And the action of the 
Ephraimite Levite (Jud. xix. 29) and of Saul (1 S. xi. 7) may be varieties of 
the ceremony. If such proceedings were common in the early nomadic life 
of Israel, the verb 'to cut' might easily become a stereotyped term for 'to 
make ' a promise, and could thus be used in conjunction with the word herlth 
drawn from quite a different source. The latter word may not have been 
incorporated into the language of the Israelites until their arrival at Canaan, 
although some of the ideas expressed by it had long been familiar. An 
analogous combination of words may be seen in opKia reiiveiv, and foedus 
icere or ferire. 

To sum up. The probable facts with regard to the Sinai covenant may be stated 
thus : Certain tribes had been drawn into a confederacy, and as a body were 
introduced by Moses to the worship of one God, Yahweh. Moses declared to 
them the way in which He must be worshipped, delivering commands which 
they accepted as divinely imposed obligations and expressed their intention of 
obeying. In order to cement the unity of their confederated body with each 
other and with Yahweh, and to seal their vow of obedience, they feasted 
together (and according to their ideas Yahweh joined in the feast), partaking 
of the blood (in the form of sprinkling) and of the flesh of sacrificial victims. 
It is possible that Moses included in his commands some elements of ethical 
morality. But whatever his commands were, they were successively expanded 
as the ethical character and the omnipotence and uniqueness of God were 
more fully recognised ; until Jeremiah could deliver his teaching on the ' New 
Covenant' (xxxi. 31 — 34), by which he paved the way for Christianity. 

1 A somewhat similar Assyrian parallel is given in KAT^, p. 597 : Assur-nirari, 
king of Assyria, received the submission of Mati'-ilu prince of Arpad (b.c. 754). In 
the ceremony which sealed the compact, the head of a ram was cut off, and in the 
formula of the oath it is stated that the slain ram and its separate limbs represent 
the separate limbs of him who should break the compact : ' This head is 
not the head of the ram ; it is the head of Mati'-ilu, the head of his sons, 
of his great men, of the people of his land. If Mati'-ilu breaks this oath, as the 
head of this ram is cut off... so will the head of Mati'-ilu be cut off.' With this may 
be compared the old Roman formula when a treaty was made with a foreign state : 
'The Roman people shall not be the first to violate those binding conditions 
(legibus) : if in their capacity as a state with malicious guile they violate them, do 
thou in that day, Juppiter, so smite {ferito) the Roman people as I shall smite 
this pig here to-day, and so much the more do thou smite them in proportion as 
thou art mighty and powerful ' (Livy i. 24). A ceremony exactly similar in form 
to the dividing of the animals, but with a different meaning, is recorded in Livy xl. 
6. The ceremonial purification of the Macedonian army was performed by dividing 
the body of a dog, and placing the two parts on either side of the road ; ' between 
this divided victim the armed forces are led.' 


Chapters XXV.— XXXL 

The Tabernacle and its Ministry. 

These chapters, together with xxxv. — xl., contain priestly work throughout. 
Their introduction into Exodus has, in all probability, ousted a considerable 
quantity of earlier material from JE dealing with the sacred Tent (see 
xxxiii. 7), the Ark and other matters connected with worship. From an 
archaeological point of view this loss is very gi*eat. But that is not the point 
of view from which the Old Testament is mainly to be regarded. The spiritual 
gain which has resulted from the work of the priestly writers outweighs the 
archaeological loss. 

A general discussion of the Priesthood and the Tabernacle -vvill be found in 
the Introd. §§ 4, 5. It is there shewii that, ds an historical event, it is 
impossible to believe that an elaborate building such as is described in 
Exodus was erected at Sinai, or that Aaron and his sons occupied the supreme 
sacerdotal position ascribed to them. The chapters are a gradual growth, the 
work of a succession of writers after the exile (see pp. xxxvii. f ), whose aim 
was to depict a religious ideal. In their day the principles of ecclesiasticism 
were being developed, and supplied the body or framework in which the ideal 
could express itself. But they also felt that that which was an ideal for their 
own time must have been an ideal for Israel ever since they were united in 
the religion of Yahweh. In this they were not mistaken ; but they were mis- 
taken in thinking that it must always have expressed itself in the same way. 
The ideal underlying these chapters is that God, in all His awful and mi- 
approachable holiness, is realised as dwelling in the midst of His people. And 
in order to express this, the writers can-ied back into the twelfth century the 
ecclesiastical atmosphere of the fifth or fourth. Thus the historical intei-est of 
the chapters is to be found in the insight which they aflFord into the religious 
temper of the priestly period ; but their deep and abiding value lies in their 
insistence on spiritual truths. 

It is interesting, further, to notice the possibility that their literary form 
is largely shaped under the influence of a rehgious idea. The erection of the 
Tabernacle was a work which seemed to bear an analogy to the divine work of 
creation. As the Creator made the earth for man to dwell in, so men make 
a dwelhng for the Creator. Some writers have seen in xxxix. 32 an echo of 
Gen. ii. 1, and in v. 43 of Gen. i. 31 «, and i. 28 «, ii. 3 a. And some, again, 
have pointed out that as the work of creation occupied seven days, and the 
building of Solomon's temple seven years (1 K. vi. 38), so the preparation and 
erection of the Tabernacle, which was a miniature temple, occupied seven 
months, i.e. the last seven months of the first year since the exodus, which 
remained after Moses' second sojourn in the mountain (see xix. 1, xxiv. 18, 
xxxiv. 28, xL 1). This perhaps reads into the text more than the ^vriters 
really intended. But it is noticeable that the nairative in xxxix. 1—31 
proceeds in seven paragraphs, punctuated by the fornmla ' as Yahweh com- 
manded Moses' (ZJP. 1, 5, 7, 21, 26, 29, 31) ; and similarly in xl. 17—32 (op. 19, 
21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 32), and Lev. viii., ix. (viii. 9, 13, 17, 21, 29, ix. 10, 21). And 
it is possible to suppose, in these recurring fonnulas, a dehberate corre- 


spondence with the seven stages in the narrative of the creation. Not only so, 
but in accordance with this seven-fold statement of obedience to the divine 
commands we find a similar division of the whole series of commands. Each 
division begins with the formula 'And Yahweh spake unto Moses saving.' 
The 1st (xxv. 1 — XXX. 10) comprises all the necessaries for divine serrice — the 
sacred furniture and the Tent to house it, the altar of burnt-offering and the 
court to enclose it, the ministers and their robes and consecration ; the 2nd 
(xxx. 11 — 16) the monetary contributions for service; the 3rd {vo. 17 — 21) 
the daily purification needful for service ; the 4th {vv. 22 — 38) the ingredients 
for producing a sweet odour, both for initial consecration and for constant 
offering; the 5th (xxxi. 1 — 11) the inspiration of the workmen; the 6th 
{vv. 12 — 17) the cosmic reality upon which the whole arrangement is modelled ; 
and the 7th (xl. 1 — 15) the erection and working out of the whole. It is not 
impossible that all this shews deliberate arrangement, on the part of an 
editor, of the whole of the priestly material. But it is also possible that even 
in the earliest document which he employed (chs. xxv, — xxviii.), he found the 
same principle already in force. The earliest priestly work (excluding the 
smnmary in xxv. 1—9, and ch. xxix. which does not deal with the materials 
for worship) divides itself into the following sections : the ark (xxv. 10—22), 
the table {vv. 23 — 30), the lampstand (vv. 31 — 40), the coverings of the tent 
(xxvi. 1 — 14), the wooden framework, with the veil and door-screen {w. 
15 — 37), the altar (xxvii. 1 — 8), the court {vv. 9 — 19), the ephod and hoshen 
(xxviii. 1 — 25, 29 f), and the robes {vv. 31 — 40, 42 f). Some of these sections 
are divided into seven parts by the recurrence of the word n*^yi ' and thou 
shalt make.' The division is quite clear in the second section ; in the fourth it 
can be restored by reading rT'K^J?! at the beginning of xxvi. 1 instead of the 
present text nc^yn ; and in the sixth, by adopting the lxx addition ' and thou 
shalt make a moulding for the altar' after xxviL 2. And Klostermann's 
suggestion {Der Pentateuch (1907), pp. 100 f) is not improbable that the same 
heptadic arrangement was originally to be found throughout all the sections. 
But though chs. xxv. — xxix. contain the earliest priestly work on the 
Tabernacle that has reached us in a connected form, there may have been 
behind it a simpler nucleus from which it grew. If there was such a nucleus 
it would be likely to contain ideas which were not altogether the product of 
post-exilic imagination, but which were in some primary and fundamental 
manner linked with the early ages of the past. There is reason to believe that 
in the Mosaic age there actually existed an ark and a tent, and that altars 
were erected for burnt-offerings ; and that in still more ancient days bread 
and wine were offered as the food of the gods, and sacred trees were wor- 
shipped. (The two latter are represented in these chapters by the Table and 
the Lampstand.) And thus the nucleus might consist of the Ark, Table, 
Lampstand, Tent and Altar. Now on examining the sections dealing with 
these we find that the first three are concluded in xxv. 40 by a reference to 
the model shewn to Moses in the mount ; and that a similar reference occurs 
after each of the other two (xxvi. 30, xxvii. 8), and nowhere else except in the 
summary in xxv. 9. It is therefore a plausible conjecture that upon these five 
relics of antiquity the priestly meditations were at first fixed, as upon a 
heavenly vision accorded to Moses. 


XXV. 1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak P 
unto the children of Israel, that they take for me an ^offering: 
of every man whose heart maketh him willing ye shall take my 
^offering. 3 And this is the ^offering which ye shall take of 
them ; gold, and silver, and brass ; 4 and blue, and purple, and 
scarlet, and 'fine linen, and goats* hair ; 5 and rams' skins dyed 
red, and ^sealskins, and acacia wood ; | 6 oil for the light, spices Pg 

1 Or, heave offering ^ Or, cotton 3 Qr, porpoise-skins 

Chapter XXV. 1—9. 

Summary of Materials for the Tabernacle. 

XXV. 2. an offering. Lit. something lifted off, or separated. 
See on xxix. 27. The willingness of the offerers (cf xxxv. 21, 29, 
xxxvi. 3) is emphasized also in the case of the first temple (1 Ch. xxix. 
5 f , 9, 14, 17) and of the second (Ezr. i. 4, 6, ii. 68, iii. 5, vii. 15 f, 
viii. 28). 

3. hrdss ; bronze. An alloy of copper and (probably) tin. 
Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, was rare. 

4. blue, and purple, and scarlet. The only colours prescribed, 
except the red of the rams' skins. Blue appears to have been a violet 
or hyacinth purple (lxx vaKivOo^) ; purple was of a reddish hue ; 
scarlet probably a deep crimson. The two former were obtained from 
a Tyrian shell-fish, and the latter from an insect found attached to 
a species of oak. There is no scriptural evidence that the colours 
were intended to bear a symbolical meaning (see p. Ixxxix.). Josephus 
{Ant. ni. vii. 7) explains the three colours by reference to the 
elements ; blue signifies the sky, purple the sea because the dye is 
derived from the blood of a marine shell-fish, scarlet indicates fire, 
while the plain linen was proper to signify the earth because the flax 
grows out of the earth. Similarly Philo, de Vita Mos. iii. 6. 

fine linen. Heb. shesk, probably an Egyptian word. It could be 
applied either to woven stuffs or to the thread of which they were 
composed, while the synonym bddh is used only of the finished 
material ; see xxxix. 28. R. V. marg. gives ' cotton ' here, and ' silk ' 
in xxviii. 39 ; but neither is probable. ' Fine twined hnen ' (xxvi. I 
and elsewhere) denotes a superior stuff, spun from finer flax. 

5. dyed red. Perhaps tanned skins are meant, such as are used 
in Syria to-day for shoes and saddles. 

sealskins. The meaning of tehdshlm is uncertain. There is no 
authority for A.V. 'badger skins.' An Arabic word tuhas signifies 
' dolphin ' ; and the Heb. word may have been used generally for the 
porpoise, seal, dugong and other similar marine animals. The skin 
would be waterproof, and suitable for the outer covering. 

6. The verse is a late addition ; see analysis, p. xxxvii. 

158 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxv. 6-9 

for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense; | 7 "onjxPsI 
stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breast- 
plate. 8 And let them make me a sanctuary ; that I may dwell 
among them. 9 According to all that I shew thee, the pattern 
of the ^tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furniture thereof, 
even so shall ye make it. 

1 Or, beryl ^ Heb. dwelling. 

7. onyx stones. Heb. 'stones of the shoham.^ It is curious that 
no other stones are here named ; and similarly in the summaries in 
XXXV. 9, 27, 1 Ch. xxix. 2. The identification is uncertain. It was 
a stone of great value (Job xxviii. 16), and adapted for engraving 
(Ex. xxviii. 9, 12). The lxx renderings are many and various. If 
shoham is equivalent to the Ass. stone sdmtu (which appears to 
denote 'dark'), a dark sea-green beryl would not be unsuitable. 

On the Ephod and Breastplate see xxviii. 6 — 30. 

8. The verse expresses the fundamental thought underlying the 
whole conception of the Tabernacle ; see p. Ixxxiii. 

9. the pattern. The word denotes not a ground plan or picture, 
but a solid structure — a heavenly model of the completely erected 

the tabernacle. It will be convenient here to collect the various 
expressions employed to designate the sacred tent. (1) 'Sanctuary,' 
mikddsh ; «. 8 and frequently. In the Law of Holiness (Lev. xvii. ff.) 
it is used almost exclusively. (2) ' Dwelling/ mishkdn. K.V. always 
' Tabernacle ' ; v. 9 and about 100 times in the Hexateuch. But the 
use of it varies : here, and frequently, it denotes the whole fabric ; 
but in xxvi. 1, 6 f. and elsewhere it is applied to the tapestry curtains 
which formed the Dwelling in the strict sense. Hence could arise 
such an expression as ' the Dwelling of the Tent of Meeting ' (xxxix. 32, 
xl. 2 &c.). (3) ' Dwelling of Testimony,' mishkan ^eduth (xxxviii. 21, 
Nu. i. 50 &c.), and 'Tent of Testimony,' ^ohel 'eduth (Nu. ix. 15, &c.), 
as containing the Tablets of the Testimony. (4) ' Tent,' ^ohel (xxvi. 
9, 11 &c. ; 19 times in P). Cf. ' the Tent of Yahweh ' (1 K. ii. 28 if.) ; 
'the House of the Tent' (1 Ch. ix. 23). (5) In earlier times the 
common designation was 'Tent of Meeting,' ^ohel mo^ed (see on 
xxxiii. 7), which is employed also in certain parts of the priestly 
sections (not in xxv. — xxvii. 19 ; see Carpenter- Battersby, Hexateuch^ 
ii. 120). On the religious significance of the names see pp. Ixxxvii. f. 

XXV. 10—22. 
Directions for making the A rk. 

At the head of all the sacred furniture, and before any description of the 
Tent, is placed that which was the centre and kernel of the whole system — 
that for which the Dwelling was to be erected. The ark w^as the object to 
which Yahweh allowed His people to feel that His presence was attached, as 
He dwelt in their midst. See addit. note below. 


10 And they shall make an ark of acacia wood : two cubits P 
and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half 
the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. 
1 1 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without 
shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a ^ crown of gold 
round about. 12 And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for 
it, and put them in the four feet thereof ; and two rings shall 
be on the one ^side of it, and two rings on the other ^side 
of it. 13 And thou shalt make staves of acacia wood, and 
overlay them with gold. 14 And thou shalt put the staves into 
the rings on the sides of the ark, to bear the ark withal. 
15 The staves shall be in the rings of the ark : they shall not 
be taken from it. 16 And thou shalt put into the ark the 
testimony which I shall give thee. 17 And thou shalt make 
a ^mercy-seat of pure gold : two cubits and a half shall he the 

1 Or, rim Or, moulding 2 ggb. rib. ^ Or, covering 

XXV. 10. The dimensions of the ark were roughly 3f x 2^ x 2 J 

11. a crown. Probably a moulding, as in marg. 'Crown' is 
due to the Vulg. coi'ona : but lxx Kv/xarta o-TpeTrra implies a waved 
or ogee moulding, or perhaps a cable moulding ' worked in relief in the 
form of ropes' (pseud. Arist. Ep. ad Philocr. in Swete's Intr. to O.T. 
in Greek, p. 530). Perhaps the moulding was thought of as projecting 
far enough above the level of the lid to keep the ' mercy-seat ' steady 
when carried on the march. 

12. the four feet thereof Perhaps read 'corners' O'C^i^^? or vni3S 
for vniDl^S). If the poles ran through rings at the leet 'a state of 
dangerously unstable equilibrium would result.' In v. 26 the ordinary 
word for foot {regel) is used. 

14. staves; poles. The structure has been calculated to weigh 
about 6 cwt., and would require something stronger than staves for 
its transport. The position of the poles is not stated ; but 1 K. viii. 8 
seems to imply that in Solomon's temple they were long enough to 
reach close to the folding doors which separated the shrine from 
the rest of the building — and they were therefore placed on the short 
and not the long sides of the ark. This, indeed, was imperative, if 
the ark on the march was not to move sideways. 

15. In Nu. iv. 6 a contrary 'tradition is recorded. The poles were 
put in by Aaron and his sons whenever the march was about to begin. 

17. a mercy-seat. A solid slab of gold which lay upon the ark, 
and supported the cherubim ; its surface measurements were the 
same as those of the ark, but its thickness is not specified. The Heb. 
term kapporeth appears to mean ' a place, or instrument, of propitia- 



length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. P 
18 And thou shalt make two cherubim of gold ; of ^beaten 
work shalt thou make them, at the two ends of the mercy-seat. 

1 Or, turned 

tion ' ; and many writers now adopt the rendering a propitiatory. 
Lxx IXaarTTfjpLov, Vulg. propitiatorium. ' Mercy-seat ' was due to 
Tindale, and based on Luther's Gnadenstuhl. 

The root 153 has been generally understood as denoting ' to cover.' Some 
indeed accept this meaning hterally, and explain kappbreth as a covering 
placed over the lid of the ark. This is perhaps implied in the rendering of 
the LXX (which is found only in the present passage) — iKairrripiov^ fniBe/jLa, 
' a propitiatory covering.' But it is more probable that the verb with which 
kapporeth is connected has a metaphorical force. If it means ' to cover ' sins, 
so that God no longer looks at or punishes them, then kapporeth means the 
place or instrument for the covering and atoning of sins. But it is not 
improbable that a similar meaning is to be reached by another derivation. 
' To cover' is an Arabic meaning of the root ; but the meaning ' to wipe off' is 
found in Aramaic and Assyrian (W. R. Smith, OTJC^ 381 ; Haupt, JBL xix. 
(1900) 61, 80). The verb kuppuru (piel) is a technical priestly word, found in 
Babylonian ritual texts, for wiping away sin (Zimmern, Beitr. z. Kenntnis 
Bah. Religion J 92). On the Heb. verb kipper see further in n. on xxxii. 30. 

The golden kapporeth was to the Jew the most sacred spot on 
earth ; Yahweh appeared there, attended by adoring cherubim ; and 
there the high priest on the Day of Atonement presented the blood by 
which the sins of the nation were 'covered up' or 'wiped away.' 
An infinitely higher thought was yet to be reached — that of a Pro- 
pitiatory Person (see Sanday and Headlam on Rom. iii. 25), who 
presented, and still presents, His own life-blood in the presence of God 
(Heb. ix. 7, 12, 24 &c.). 

18. cherubim. Their meaning and origin are discussed in the 
addit. note below. As early as Josephus all knowledge of their 
appearance had been lost {Ant. vni. viii. 3). From a comparison of 
Ez. X. 14 with i. 10 it may be inferred that, in the prophet's visions, 
they had the face of an ox. But this, like the number of their wings, 
may have varied in different representations : there are four wings 
in Ez. X. 21, six in Is. vi. 2 (if, as is probable, the vision of the 
seraphim was a result of the prophet's meditation in the temple), and 
two in 1 K. vi. 24. * Cherubim of glory overshadowing the Pro- 
pitiatory ' are referred to in Heb. ix. 3. The derivation of the word 
keruhh is quite uncertain. Some have connected it with ypv\l/ *■ griffin ' ; 
but this is very improbable. The suggestion that the Assyrian winged 
bull §edu was also called kiruhu has not been verified. Other Ass. 

^ iXacT'/jpiov is here an adjective. Cf. ita use in Ez. xliii. 14, 17, 20, 'a pro- 
pitiatory [thing]' for the 'ledge' (K.V. 'settle'). See Deissmann, Bible Studies^ 


19 And make one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at P 
the other end : ^of one piece with the mercy-seat shall ye make 
the cherubim on the two ends thereof. 20 And the cherubim 
shall spread out their wings on high, covering the mercy-seat 
with their wings, with their faces one to another ; toward 
the mercy-seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21 And 
thou shalt put the mercy-seat above upon the ark ; and in the 
ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. 22 And 
there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from 
above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim which 
are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will 
give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel. 

1 Heb. out of the mercy-seat. 

words may be noted : kardhu ' bless,' ' be gracious to ' ; karuhu 
'great,' 'mighty.' Philo {Vit. Mos. ed. Mangey ii. 150) strangely 
says that it denotes cTrtyvwo-ts Ka\ eTna-njixrj TToAAr/, and he is followed 
by Clem. Al. (Strom, v. 240), Jerome {Comm. in Is. iii. 6), Augustine 
{Enarr. in Ps. Ixxix. 2 [Eng. Ixxx. 1]) and Didymus Alex. {Ea'pos. in 
Fs. Ixxix.). 

of beaten work. Of similar workmanship was the lampstand (vr. 31, 
36) and the two silver clarions (Nu. x. 2). 

20. The figures faced each other, but their heads were bent in 
an adoring attitude. Some have seen an allusion to this in 1 Pet. 
i. 12 ; and the connexion of thought is in any case deeply suggestive. 

22. / will meet. The Heb. denotes a mutual arrangement — ' I will 
keep tryst with thee.' The expression is founded on the early name 
' Tent of Meeting ' (see on xxxiii. 7). Moses is here represented as 
penetrating into the Most Holy place to commune ^vith God 
(cf Nu. vii. 89). And in xxxiv. 34 he does so frequently. He is 
thus placed in a position far superior to that of Aaron, who could 
enter only on one day in the year, with elaborate precautions, for 
purposes of atonement (Lev. xvi. 2 — 15). On the other hand in a 
redactional passage, xxix. 42 f , Aaron's unique privilege is safe- 
guarded ; Moses and the people meet with Yalnveh at the door of 
the Tent. 

The Arh: The ark was one of the earliest relics of Israelite religion. Its 
ancient name was ' the ark of Elohim ' (frequent in 1 Sam.) or ' of Yahweh ' 
(frequent in Josh.) ; and at a later time these were expanded in various ways. 
In 1) is found the name 'the ark of the covenant,' wliich also became 
expanded; and in V 'the ark of the testimony.' The two latter names 
express the tradition that it contained the stone tablets of the decalogue. 

M. 11 


It cannot be stated with certainty in what relation Yahweh was conceived 
to stand to the ark. The evidence, however, seems to shew that it was not 
merely a symbol, but that His presence was objectively attached to it : where 
the ark moved, Yahweh moved ; cf. Num. x. 35 f., 1 S. iv. 3, 7, vi. 20. 

The loss of the early narratives of its manufacture makes it impossible to 
determine any details with regard to its size or appearance. Dt. x. 3 (pro- 
bably based on JE) speaks of it simply as ' an ark — or box — of acacia wood.' 
Had cherubim formed part of it, it is scarcely probable that the writer would 
have omitted all mention of them^. And when it was placed in the temple 
'under the wings of the cherubim' (1 K. viii. 6), it is difficult to think that 
small cherubim attached to it stood beneath the larger ones. In 1 S. iv. 4, 
2 S. vi. 2 occurs, in connexion with the ark, the expression ' Yahweh of hosts 
that sitteth [upon] the cherubim.' But in each case the words are those of 
the narrator, if they are not a later insertion, and they do not therefore prove 
that the ark had cherubim in the days of Samuel and David. They suggest 
rather that the phrase had become a conventionalised religious expression in 
the days of the prophetic writer. See also 2 K. xix. 15 = Is. xxxvii. 16, 
Ps. Ixxx. 1 (2), xcix. 1, passages in which the ark is not mentioned. The cherubim 
were thought of as 'not only attendants of Yahweh, but the bearers and 
upholders of His throne. The thunderclouds are the dark wings of these 
ministers of God.' Thus the symbol employed to describe Yahweh's exaltation 
in nature was borrowed from the outstretched wings of the cherubim in 
Solomon's temple. From the countries surrounding Palestine — Syria, Assyria, 
Egypt — many figures of winged creatures, such as griffins, bulls &c., have 
come down to us. They were apparently attempts to express strength com- 
bined with swiftness, and were employed to represent demon spirits as 
personifications of the elemental forces of nature. These traces of a popular 
mythology would be learnt by the Israelites after their arrival in Canaan. 

It is difficult to decide what objects, if any, the ark originally contained. 
The remains of JE and the books of Samuel are silent on this point ; but 
Dt. X. 5 states that within the ark were placed the two tablets of stone 
containing the decalogue ; and P (Ex. xxv. 16) repeats the tradition. In late 
Jewish times the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that blossomed, which in 
Ex. xvi. 33 and Num. xvii. 10 were laid up respectively 'before Yahweh' 
and ' before the testimony,' were held to have been placed in the ark. This 
departure from the O.T. tradition is followed in Heb. ix. 4. The earliest 
evidence, as has been said, seems to shew that Yahweh's presence was con- 
ceived of as objectively attached to the ark. And some think that if this is 
so, it is improbable that it originally contained the tablets. ' Tablets of the 
law do not imply the presence of the Lawgiver' (Benzinger, Heb. Arch. 369). 
But it is difficult to imagine that the most sacred object in Israelite worship 
would have been a box unless it had been intended to carry something. 
Hence several modem wi'iters have supposed that the statement of Dt. x. 5 
was based upon the fact that the ark did contain stones, or a stone, which dated 
from a very primitive age when Yahweh was worshipped under the form of 

1 The same is true of the solid gold kapporeth, and of the gold plates overlaid 
upon the ark. 

THE ARK 163 

a stone image. It was thus similar in nature and purpose to the heathen 
coffers of Egyptians, Etruscans, Greeks and other nations, which contained 
images of gods and were carried about in processions. This relic of paganism 
was transformed in reverent Hebrew thought, by the time of the Deuteronomie 
writer, into 'a perfect written embodiment of the fundamental demands of 
Israel's righteous God.' 

To render this theory possible it would be necessary to shew that the ark 
was sacred in pre-Mosaic times, and was brought through Moses' influence 
into connexion with the worship of Yahweh. Stade indeed conjectures that it 
contained a stone fetish, perhaps meteoric, which was reverenced by the 
Joseph tribes (or, as some prefer, the Rachel tribes). But of all this there is 
no evidence at all. Kennett suggests that it contained the bronze serpent 
which was long worshipped at Jerusalem. Another theory is advanced 
by Meinhold {Die Lade Jahces) on the basis of W. Reichel's tjher 
vorhellenische Gotterkulte. He notes the numerous passages in which 
Yahweh's connexion with the ark is very close indeed, but he also points 
out that in others a clear distinction is dra\Mi between the ark and 
Yahweh Himself. And he maintains that the ark was a throne, upon 
which Yahweh sat invisible. He originally sat enthroned on the sacred 
mountain, and when He accompanied His people He needed another 
throne of stone to be an equivalent for the mountain. He cites Jer. iii. 
16f. in support of this idea: 'In those days, saith Yahweh, they shall no 
more say. The ark of the covenant of Yahweh... At that time they shall 
call Jerusalem the throne of Yahweh.' The sacred object was thus a solid 
block which was described by the word ^aroii^ 'ark,' because of its shape. 
Budde {Exp. Times., June 1898, pp. 396 ff.) objects to this that a sohd throne 
could never have been called an ' ark,' seeing that the common word kisse\ 
' throne,' was available. And he also doubts whether the idea of a king upon 
his throne could have originated in Israel while they were still in a nomadic 
state ; it could arise only in a period when they were governed by kings ^. The 
problem is still a matter of discussion, and want of evidence forbids any 
decisive conclusion. 

The history of the ark from the capture of Jericho till the days of Samuel 
is uncertain. For a time it would probably be kept within the principal 
encampment at Gilgal, and may have been carried out to accompany important 
expeditions (as represented in the late passage, Jos, viii. 30 — 35). Jud. ii. 1 
seems to imply that it was moved to Bethel ^ (see Moore in loc, and cf. the 
P insertion in xx. 27 f.). It was natural that the principal tribe, Ephraim, 
of which Joshua was a member, should retain possession of it. But this is not 
the same as saying that it was the palladium of the house of Joseph only. 
In the days of Samuel's childhood it was fomid at Shiloh in a temple 
(1 S. iii. 3). Being taken into battle, in order that Yahweh of Hosts might 

^ This latter argument is not very strong. Meinhold's theory would be the best 
yet offered if the word 'ardn, as used for a solid throne, eoald be satisfactorily 

- Meinhold, however, thinks that the ' angel ' is to be expressly distinguished 
from Yahweh's personal presence upon the ark. 


164 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxv. n 

be present to fight for them, it was captured by the Philistines {id. iv., v.), 
who brought it back to Beth-shemesh {id. vi.). Thence it was taken to 
Kirjath-jearim, where it remained for several years {id. vii. 1, 2). It was not 
taken back to Shiloh, perhaps because the town had been captured by 
the Philistines \ David at last arranged for its transportation to his 
new capital, but was deterred by the death of Uzzah (2 S. vi. 1 — 9). It was 
placed for three months in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite {id. vi. 10 f.), 
after which it was carried to Jerusalem {id. vi. 12—19), and placed in a tent 
which David had pitched for it. It was still taken out on important ex- 
peditions, e.g. against the Ammonites {id. xi. 11), though David refused to 
allow it to accompany him in his flight from Absalom (2 S. xv. 24—29), not 
wishing to employ Yahweh's help in a civil war against his own son. Finally 
Solomon removed it from the tent in which David had housed it, and placed 
it in the shrine of his new temple (1 K. viii. 1 — 6). How long it remained 
there is not known. It has been suggested that it was captured by Shishak 
king of Egypt when he invaded Jerusalem in Rehoboam's reign (1 K. xiv. 26). 
But apart from the probability that he would not take the trouble to carry off 
a mere wooden chest, but only objects of monetary value, it is clearly implied 
in Dt. X. 5 that the ark was in existence at the time of the writer. It is 
just possible that it was removed by Manasseh to make room for idolatrous 
objects of worship, and that it was restored by Josiah (2 Ch. xxxv. 3). And 
Jer. iii. 16 perhaps implies that it still existed in Josiah's reign "^. The silence 
of the pre-exilic histories as to the ark during the period of the divided 
kingdom must have been due to the advancing realisation of the nature of 
God as taught by the prophets ; the nation gradually learnt that ' heaven was 
His throne and the earth His footstool,' that 'heaven and the heaven of 
heavens cannot contain Him,' much less a wooden coffer. The relic would be 
preserved but not used. And in the Chaldaean catastrophe it must have been 
destroyed in the burning of the temple and city (2 K. xxv. 9). There was no 
ark in the second temple nor in that of Herod. 

It is remarkable that in the earlier writings not a word is found which 
implies that the ark was in any way connected with sacrifice. It was not an 
idol, nor was it identified with Yahweh closely enough for sacrifice to be 
offered to it ; and it was not an altar (see Ex. xx. 24 f.). It remained the 
sacred and mysterious medium by which the guiding and protecting presence 
of Yahweh abode among His people. The only direct reference to the ark in 
the Psalms is in cxxxii. 8 (inserted in 2 Ch. vi. 41) ; but Ps. Ixxviii. 61 refers 
to the Philistine victory of 1 S. iv. In the N.T. it is mentioned only in 
Heb. ix. 4, Rev. xi. 19. 

23 And thou shalt make a table of acacia wood : two cubits p 
shall he the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and 

XXV. 23—30. The Table. The description passes from the 
furniture of the ' Most Holy ' shrine to that of the ' Holy ' place — 

1 The date of the destruction of Shiloh is unknown. Some think that Jeremiah 
(vii. 12, 14, xxvi. 6, 9) refers to a recent event. 

2 2 Mac. ii. 4 f , relates a legend that Jeremiah hid the tabernacle, the ark, and 
the altar of incense, in a rock in ' the mountain where Moses went up and beheld 
the heritage of God.' 


a cubit and a half the height thereof. 24 And thou shalt P 
overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a ^cro\\Ti of gold 
round about. 25 And thou shalt make unto it a border of an 
handbreadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown 
to the border thereof round about. 26 And thou shalt make 
for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners 
that are on the four feet thereof 27 Close by the border shall 
the rings be, for places for the staves to bear the table. 28 And 
thou shalt make the staves of acacia wood, and overlay them 
with gold, that the table may be borne with them. 29 And 
thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and the spoons thereof, and 
the flagons thereof, and the bowls thereof, to pour out withal : 
of pure gold shalt thou make them. 30 And thou shalt set 
upon the table ^shewbread before me alway. 

1 See ver. 11. 2 Qr, Presence-bread 

the Table and the Lampstand. The Altar of Incense does not belong 
to the earliest stratum of P ; see xxx. 1 — 10. 

23. The Table was of the same length and height as the ark, but 
half a cubit less in width. 

24. pure gold. Hence called ' the pure table ' in Lev. xxiv. 6. 

25. a border ; a rail. This connected the four legs, as is still 
visible in the representation of the table of Herod's temple on the 
Arch of Titus (see Benzinger's Bilderatlas, p. 113). It was a hand- 
breadth in depth, not in thickness. Josephus {Ant. in. vi. 6) states 
that the legs were square at the top near the table, but that they 
ended in complete feet ' resembling those which the Dorians put to 
their bedsteads.' The rail, like the flat top, was ornamented with a 
moulding (see v. 11). 

29. dishes. Large salvers for carrying the loaves to and from the 
table ; perhaps also they lay on the table, holding the loaves. 

sjmons ; cups, lxx has ra? Ovia-Ka^ (' incense cups '), which occurs 
in connexion with the table in 1 Mac. i. 2*2 (R. V. ' censers '). The 
cups contained the frankincense which was placed upon the loaves and 
burnt (Lev. xxiv. 7). 

to pour out ivithal ; with which libation is made. A drink- 
oftering of wine evidently formed part of the ritual, but notliing more 
is said of it in the O.T. For the absurd Kabbinic explanations of 
these vessels, and for the ritual of the table in the temple services, 
see Edersheim, The Temple, 1 54 fl'. *• 

30. shewbread ; Presence-bread, as in marg. (The rendering 
of the text is found as early as Tindale's N.T., in Heb. ix. 2, apparently 
formed on the analogy of Luther's Schaubrof.) The name denotes 
'bread placed in the presence of Yahweh'; see 1 S. xxi. 6 (7), which 
speaks of the loaves * which had been removed from the presence of 



31 And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold : of P 
^beaten work shall the candlestick be made, even its ^base, and 

^ Or, turned ^ Heb. thigh. 

Yahweh ' ; and in the present passage ' before my presence continually ' 
agrees with this. The narrative of David and Ahimelech shews that 
the rite of the Presence- bread was a survival from early times ; it 
probably went back ultimately to an age when food was actually 
offered to a god, and the worshippers imagined that he partook of it^ 
(see W. R. Smith, BS^, 228 — 30). Even Jeremiah's contemporaries 
kneaded cakes for the queen of heaven (Jer. vii. 18), and a little later 
Jews spread a table to Fortune (Is. Ixv. 11). The practice was 
frequent among the Babylonians and Assyrians ^ and may have been 
an instance of the influence which Babylon exercised in the west^ both 
in early and late times. And the rite is also illustrated by the 
lectisternia, which the Romans borrowed from the Greeks (Liv. v. 
xiii. 6 and freq. ; and referred to by Augustine, de Civ. Dei, iii. xvii. 2). 
While, however, the rite originally betrayed a crude materialistic con- 
ception of the Deity, in later times a higher spiritual idea attached to 
it. In the age of the Mishna all the loaves were eaten by the priests, 
one half by the outgoing and one half by the incoming division 
{Sukka V. 7 f.), which shews that none of them were burnt, i.e. con- 
sumed by Yahweh. And the burning of frankincense and the libation 
of wine transformed the ceremony into a thank-offering, in acknowledge- 
ment of the fact that all man's daily bread was a divine gift. 

Beside the 'Presence-bread' (D^^|) Qp^)^ three other terms are 
employed in the O.T. In 1 S. xxi. 4 (5), 6 (7) it is spoken of as 'holy 
bread'; and in Num. iv. 7 (P) as 'continual bread.' And the 
arrangement in Lev. xxiv. 6 by which the loaves were placed in two 
piles (R.V. marg.) gave rise to the name 'pile bread' (npir^n Dn?.^^ 
1 Ch. ix. 32, xxiii. 29, Neh. x. 33 ; so in Mt. xii. 4, Mk. ii. 26,'Lk. vi.4 
apTos T-iJ? TTpo^eorecos), or with the words transposed ' piling of bread ' 
(Dn^^n^ni???, 2 Ch. xiii. 11, 2 Mac. x. 3 ; so in Heb. ix. 2 ->] 7rpo(9£o-ts 
T(3i/ apTo)v), or ' pile ' alone (2 Ch. ii. 4). 

31—40. The Lampstand. The form of the lampstand is familiar 
from its representation on the Arch of Titus. Six branches bent 
outwards and upwards from a central stem ; it thus had ' the likeness 
of a trident ' (Jos. B. J. vii. v. 5). The motif of its ornamentation 
was taken from the almond tree, and its shape was perhaps intended 
as a conventional representation of a tree. The question therefore 
suggests itself whether it was not a late relic of the old-world 

1 Cf. the expression 'bread of his [their, thy, your] God,' which is characteristic 
of Lev. xxi., xxii. 

2 They placed the bread in the form of 12, or sometimes 36, loaves, which were 
I sweet,' i.e. unleavened. See Zimmern, Beitr. z. Kenntnis d. Bab. Rel. 94 f. An 
illustration of an Assyrian table is given in Benzinger's ArcMol. 387. 

3 The verb can be used to denote setting out or arranging a table for a meal ; 
hence the N.T. irpdOeacs. 


its shaft ; its cups, its knops, and its flowers, shall be ^of one P 
piece with it : 32 and there shall be six branches going out of 
the sides thereof ; three branches of the candlestick out of the 
one side thereof, and three branches of the candlestick out of 
the other side thereof: 33 three cups made like almond- 
blossoms in one branch, a knop and a flower ; and three cups 
made like almond-blossoms in the other branch, a knop and a 
flower : so for the six branches going out of the candlestick : 
34 and in the candlestick four cups made like almond-blossoms, 
the knops thereof, and the flowers thereof: 35 and a knop 
under two branches ^of one piece with it, and a knop under 
two branches ^of one piece with it, and a knop under two 
branches ^of one piece with it, for the six branches going out 
of the candlestick. 36 Their knops and their branches shall be 
^of one piece with it : the whole of it one ^beaten work of pure 

1 Heb. out of the same. ^ Or, turned 

reverence for sacred trees. (A similar survival is perhaps to be seen 
(1 K. vii. 41 f.) in the two bronze pillars which stood before the porch 
of the temple ; see W. R. Smith, RS", 487 f.) But the religious 
conceptions actually attached to it must have been very different, as 
may be seen from Zech. iv. 1 — 6«, 10^ — 14 (see p. xc). 

31. of pure gold. Hence it is called 'the pure lampstand,' 
xxxi. 8, xxxix. 37 (see v. 24). its base was that portion of the stem 
which was below the lowest pair of branches, called ' tlie lampstand ' 
in V. 34 ; its shaft (A.V. wrongly ' branch ') was the upper continuation 
of this. 

its knops, and its flowers. F. 33 shews that these words are in 
apposition to * its cups ' ; each cup consisted of a cali/x and petals of an 
almond blossom \ The word hiop, a variant of knob, denotes a 
spherical object (lxx a<f>aLpo)Typ, Vulg. sphaerula). The Heb. word 
kaphtor is used in Am. ix. 1, Zeph. ii. 14 to describe the spherical 
capitals or chapiters of the pillars in the temple at Bethel and at 

34, 35, The arrangement of these ornamentations on the central 
stem (R.V. ' the candlestick ') is not indicated ; but Prof. Kennedy 
{DB iv. 663 f.) is probably right in supposing that tliere were two 
cups in the base and two in the shaft (the upper one forming with 
its petals a tray, as in the six branches), and one knop without petals 
at each of the points where the three branches joined the central stem. 

^ In the Mishna the word perah ('flower') ia employed to denote the tray of a 

168 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxv. 36-xxvi. i 

gold. 37 And thou shalt make the lamps thereof, seven : and P 
they shall ^ light the lamps thereof, to give light over against it. 
38 And the tongs thereof, and the snuflfdishes thereof, shall be 
of pure gold. 39 Of a talent of pure gold shall it be made, 
with all these vessels. 40 And see that thou make them after 
their pattern, which hath been shewed thee in the mount. 

XXVI. 1 Moreover thou shalt make the^^ tabernacle with 

1 Or, set up 2 gee Q\y^ x^v. 9. 

37. tJisy shall light. This rendering, though possible, is less 
likely than that of the margin. The priests would reach up and place 
the lamps on the top of the seven branches. 

to give light. As there was no other means of lighting the tent, it 
would seem to be necessary that the lamps, when once lit, should burn 
continually. In Jos. c. Ap. i. 22 the light is dvaTroa-^eo-Tov, and in 
Diod. xxxiv. 1 it is dOdvaTov...Kal Katofxevov aStaXetTrrws. In the Talmud 
( Yo7na 39 ^) a premonition of the fall of Jerusalem is said to have 
been given by the sudden extinguishing of the light in the temple ; 
and 4 (2) Esd. x. 22 the writer laments that 'the light of our candelabrum 
has been extinguished.' This is in accordance with the wide-spread 
ancient practice, common also in modern times, of burning a perpetual 
light in shrines. And even in private houses a lamp was often kept 
burning night and day. On the other hand Ex. xxvii. 21, xxx. 8, 
Lev. xxiv. 3, Nu. viii. 2 f , 2 Ch. xiii. 11, and Philo, state or imply that 
the light was lit every evening \ This uncertainty seems to have led 
to a compromise ; one lamp (Mishna Tamid iii. 9, vi. 1) or three 
(Jos. Ant. in, viii. 3) burnt by day, while all the seven were lighted 
at night. 

39. a talent = '^000 shekels (xxxviii. 25 f). There were three 
systems of weights in vogue in Palestine, the Babylonian, the Syrian 
or ' Hittite,' and the Phoenician. It is probable that the ' shekel of 
the sanctuary,' or sacred shekel, employed throughout by P is the 
Phoenician. It consisted of 20 gerahs or obols (xxx. 13), i.e. 224'6 grs. 

40. See preliminary note above. 

Chapter XXVI. 1—14. 
Tlie Divelliiig and tJie Coverings. 

XXVI. 1. the tabernacle ; the dwelling. In xxv. 9, xl. 18 and 
freq., 'the dwelling' denotes the whole structure; but here and in 
several passages it denotes the tapestry hangings which formed the 

^ It is clear from 1 S. iii. 3 that in early days it did not burn continually. The 
passage may mean either that the lamp had been burning during the day, and in 
the late evening had not yet gone out, or that it had been lit in the evening to burn 
through the night and was still ahght in the early morning. 


ten curtains ; of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and P 
scarlet, with cherubim the work of the cunning workman shalt 
thou make them. 2 The length of each curtain shall be eight 
and twenty cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits : 
all the curtains shall have one measure. 3 Five curtains shall 
be coupled together one to another ; and the other five curtains 
shall be coupled one to another. 4 And thou shalt make loops 
of blue upon the edge of the one curtain ^from the selvedge in 
the coupling ; and likewise shalt thou make in the edge of the 
curtain that is outmost in the second ^coupling. 5 Fifty loops 
shalt thou make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shalt thou 
make in the edge of the curtain that is in the second "coupling ; 
the loops shall be opposite one to another. 6 And thou shalt 
make fifty clasps of gold, and couple the curtains one to another 
with the clasps : and the tabernacle shall be one. 7 And thou 
shalt make curtains of goats' hair for a tent over the taber- 
nacle : eleven curtains shalt thou make them. 8 The length of 
each curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of each 
curtain four cubits : the eleven curtains shall have one measure. 
9 And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six 
curtains by themselves, and shalt double over the sixth curtain 

^ Or, that is outmost in the first set ^ Or, set 

'dwelling ' in the strict sense ; see v. 6 f., xxxv. 11, xxxix. 32, xl. 2, 19, 
34 f., Nu. iii. 25, 1 Ch. vi. 32. 

with ten curtains. The Heb. has no preposition ; * ten curtains ' is 
in apposition to ' the dwelling,' shewing that the latter consisted in the 

the work of the designer. Heb. the 'thinker' or 'contriver' 
(xxxvi. 8) ; used also in connexion with the veil (xxvi. 31), the ephod 
(xxviii. G) and the 'breastplate' {id. 15). His work was more elaborate 
and skilful than that of the ' variegator ' ; see v. 36. It is probable 
that he worked the pattern with a needle upon the woven stuff's. 

4. from the selvedge. The marg. reading is probably the 
true one. 

the coupling. The single piece formed by joining the five pieces 

7. a tent over the dwelling. See v. 1. Goats' hair was the 
material of an ordinary Bedawin tent. 

9. thou sh((lt double. Omit 'over.' Two cubits (3 ft.) of 
doubled curtain hung over the edge and protruded at the sides ; 
see pp. Ixxvii. f 

170 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxvi. 9-17 

in the forefront of the tent. 10 And thou shalt make fifty P 
loops on the edge of the one curtain that is outmost in the 
^coupling, and fifty loops upon the edge of the curtain which 
is outmost in the second ^coupling. 11 And thou shalt make 
fifty clasps of brass, and put the clasps into the loops, and 
couple the tent together, that it may be one. 12 And the over- 
hanging part that remaineth of the curtains of the tent, the 
half curtain that remaineth, shall hang over the back of the 
tabernacle. 13 And the cubit on the one side, and the cubit 
on the other side, of that which remaineth in the length of 
the curtains of the tent, shall hang over the sides of the taber- 
nacle on this side and on that side, to cover it. 14 And thou 
shalt make a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and 
a covering of ^sealskins above. 

15 And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle of 
acacia wood, standing up. 16 Ten cubits shall be the length 
of a board, and a cubit and a half the breadth of each board. 
17 Two tenons shall there be in each board, ^joined one to 

' Or, first set 2 Qj»^ g^j 3 Qr, porpoise-skins ^ Or, morticed 

12. It is impossible to reconcile this with v. 9. See p. Ixxvii. 

14. The size of the two coverings is not specified, but to be of 
use they must both, or at least the dugong skin, have reached to the 

XXVI. 15—30. 

The solid framework. 

15. tJie hoards ; the frames. Light and comparatively thin, 
consisting of two long sides or arms, connected at the top, middle 
and bottom by cross rungs. The Heb. term kerdsJum occurs in 
Ez. xxvii. 6, where it might mean either panels or planks, but not 
large solid beams. 

17. two arras to a frame. A continuation of v. 15, after the 
parenthetical v. 16. The 'arms' (Heb. yddhoth) are the parallel 
uprights of which each frame was composed. The word is used of 
the 'arms' of Solomon's throne (2 Ch. ix. 18), and of the supports 
under the body or framework of Solomon's laver, and under the stand 
of the bason at the top of the framework (1 K. vii. 32 f.^). 

^ According to Stade's reconstruction, ZATW\m%, 129 ff., 1901, 145 ff. In the 
present passage lxx lias dio dyKojvia-Koc, but it helps to explain this by d/ii<porepa ra 
fi^pT] in vv. 19, 21, 25. 


another : thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the taber- P 
nacle. 18 And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle, 
twenty boards for the south side southward, 19 And thou 
shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards ; 
two sockets under one board for its two tenons, and two sockets 
under another board for its two tenons : 20 and for the second 
side of the tabernacle, on the north side, twenty boards : 21 and 
their forty sockets of silver ; two sockets under one board, and 
two sockets under another board. 22 And for the hinder 
part of the tabernacle westward thou shalt make six boards. 
23 And two boards shalt thou make for the corners of the 
tabernacle in the hinder part. 24 And they shall be double 
beneath, and in like manner they shall be entire unto the top 
thereof unto ^one ring : thus shall it be for them both ; they 
shall be for the two corners. 25 And there shall be eight 
boards, and their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets ; two sockets 
under one board, and two sockets under another board. 26 And 

^ Or, the first 

joined; joined by cross rungs (Heb. meshulldhhoth). A.V. 'set 
in order,' and xxxvi. 22 'equally distant' (!). In 1 K. vii. 28 f. 
shelahhlm is used for the cross rails (R.V. ' ledges ') joining the 
uprights of the frame of the laver ; and in later Heb. shel'tbhah, 
shelabb'im denote the rungs of a ladder. If, on the other hand, the 
yddhoth were ' tenons ' (or, as we might say, ' feet '), whereby the 
' beams ' were fixed into the bases, it is difficult to see in what sense 
they could be said to be joined to each other. 

The importance of this explanation of the framework is shewn 
on pp. Ixxiv. ff". 

18. towards the Negeb, soutkivai'ds. The Negeb is a geo- 
graphical term denoting the tract of country lying to the south of 
Judah (Gen. xii. 9, Nu. xiii. 17, 22 and freq.). The expression must 
be from the pen of one writing in Palestine, and not in the Arabian 
desert. Cf v. 22. 

19. sockets ; bases. Apparently solid blocks of silver resting on 
the earth, for the precious metal would not be concealed in the ground. 

22. westward. Lit. 'towards the sea,' i.e. the Mediterranean; 
cf. V. 18. 

24. lliis obscure verse is discussed on pp. Ixxv. f ; the?/ shall he 
entire should rather be they shall be double, or ' twin ' (reading D'Pt^^ 
as at the beginning of the verse, for D^P^). 

unto the one ring. This imph'es that a similar buttress is to be 
made reaching to the ring at the other corner, presumably the ring at 
the top of the frame. 

172 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxvi. .6 31 

thou shalt make bars of acacia wood ; five for the boards of the P 
one side of the tabernacle, 27 and five bars for the boards of the 
other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the 
side of the tabernacle, for the hinder part westward, 28 And 
the middle bar in the midst of the boards shall pass through 
from end to end. 29 And thou shalt overlay the boards with 
gold, and make their rings of gold for places for the bars : and 
thou shalt overlay the bars with gold. 30 And thou shalt rear 
up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which hath 
been shewed thee in the mount. 

31 And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and 

28. in the midst of the frames, i.e. half-way up, not as some 
have suggested, running through holes pierced in the beams (!). 

29. It is probable that this verse is a later addition, and that 
in the original description there was no gold upon the framework. 

For (1) the injunction occurs after the other instructions for the fi'ames 
have been completed; contrast the ark (xxv. 11, 13), the table (xxv. 24, 28). 
(2) In xxxvi. 34(xxxviii. 18) lxx has a divergent tradition — 'he overlaid the 
pillars [i.e. kerdshirri] with silver^' and two verses later ' silver hooks ' (not in 
Heb.) are spoken of. (3) The account of the tabernacle is based upon the 
temple ; but the passages which speak of the overlaying of the walls of the 
shrine (1 K. vi. 20), the walls of the rest of the temple {v. 21 f.), the floor 
{v. 30), the cherubim {v. 28) and the leaves of the door {vv. 32, 35) are also late 

30. according to the method thereof, i.e. the method by which 
it was always to be reared in the future, lxx Kara to dho^ *■ according 
to the appearance ' perhaps represents the true reading. 

XXVI. 31—37. 
The Veil; the position \of the furniture; the Screen.^ 

31. a veil. Heb. pdrdhheth, 'that which shuts off\' In 
Solomon's and Ezekiel's temples the shrine was shut off by a thick 
wooden partition ; but in a portable sanctuary a veil was substituted. 
See pp. Ixxxiv. f. The spiritual significance of the veil, as an impedi- 
ment to the approach to God which is done away in Christ, is drawn 
out in Heb. ix. 3, 8, x. 19—22. Cf. Mk. xv. 38 = Mat. xxvii. 51, 
Lk. xxiii. 451 

with cherubim. Their appearance and position are not described. 
But from a comparison with 1 K. vi. 29 — 35 and Ez. xli. 18 — 20, 25, 

1 Cf. the Ass. parakku, Syr. p'rakkd, a ' shrine ' or ' apartment.' 
- It is open to question, however, whether it was the inner veil that was rent, 
or the outer screen. 

xxvi.3i-xxvii.2] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 173 

scarlet, and fine twined linen : with cherubim the work of the P 
cunning workman shall it be made : 32 and thou shalt hang it 
upon four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, their hooks shall 
he of gold, upon four sockets of silver. 33 And thou shalt hang 
up the veil under the clasps, and shalt bring in thither within 
the veil the ark of the testimony : and the veil shall divide 
unto you between the holy place and the most holy. 34 And 
thou shalt put the mercy-seat upon the ark of the testimony in 
the most holy place. 35 And thou shalt set the table without 
the veil, and the candlestick over against the table on the side 
of the tabernacle toward the south : and thou shalt put the 
table on the north side. 36 And thou shalt make a screen for 
the door of the Tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine 
twined linen, the work of the embroiderer. 37 And thou shalt 
make for the screen five pillars of acacia, and overlay them 
with gold ; their hooks shall be of gold : and thou shalt cast 
five sockets of brass for them. 

XXVII. 1 And thou shalt make the altar of acacia wood, 
five cubits long, and five cubits broad ; the altar shall be four- 
square : and the height thereof shall be three cubits. 2 And thou 

it may be supposed that one cherub appeared in each * panel ' of the 

34. The placing of the kapporeth has already been enjoined in 
XXV. 21. A transposition of two consonants gives pdrdkhetk, which is 
preferable, and is supported by the lxx. 

36. The screen, being further from the shrine than the veil, is of 
less elaborate workmanship, and has no cherubim upon it. 

the embroiderer ; the variegator. His work was inferior to that 
of the 'designer' (y. 1) and probably consisted not of embroidery with 
a needle, but of weaving with coloured threads to produce a variegated 

XXVII. 1—19. 

The Court and its furniture. 

As in the case of the Dwelling, the furniture is mentioned first, as 
being of chief importance ; the Tent and the Court were made only to 
house the sacred objects. 

XXVII. 1—8. The Altar. See note at the end of ch. xx. 

1. the altar. The narrator thought of no second altar ; see 
on XXX. 1. 

fou/rsquare. An archaism dating from a time when * square ' 
denoted 'equal-sided,' and it was necessary to express the number 

174 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxvii. ^-1 

shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof : the P 
horns thereof shall be of one piece with it : and thou shalt 
overlay it with brass. 3 And thou shalt make its pots to take 
away its ashes, and its shovels, and its basons, and Its flesh- 
hooks, and its firepans : all the vessels thereof thou shalt make 
of brass. 4 And thou shalt make for it a gi-ating of network 
of brass ; and upon the net shalt thou make four })rasen rings 
in the four ^corners thereof. 5 And thou shalt put it under 
the ledge round the altar beneath, that the net may reach 
halfway up the altar. 6 And thou shalt make staves for the 
altar, staves of acacia wood, and overlay them with brass. 
7 And the staves thereof shall be put into the rings, and the 
staves shall be upon the two ^ sides of the altar, in bearing it. 

1 Heb. ends. ^ Heb. ribs. 

of sides. In 1 K. vi. 31 A.V. marg. has 'five-square/' fi'om the 
Geneva Bible. 

2. the horns. Projections at the four corners, probably of a 
conventional shape, a few inches in height ; cf. Jos. B. J. v. v. 6, 
ywvtat KeparoctSet?. They are called ' horns ' in Ez. xliii, 15, 20, but 
simply 'corners' in xli. 22. They are found on Assyrian altars 
(Perrot and Chipiez, Hist, of Art m Chaldea and Assyria, \, 255 f.). 
Their origin and purpose are uncertain. Many modern writers suppose 
them to be traceable to bull-worship. Others think that they may be 
due to the custom of hanging upon the altar the skin and head of the 
sacrificial victim. Kennedy {DB iv. 658) holds that ' their ultimate 
raison d'etre is probably to be sought in the same primitive circle of 
thought as ascribed a special sanctity to the four corners of a robe.' It 
is probable that the use of horns arose from an ancient superstition, 
but it cannot, at present, be traced with certainty. It is clear from 
XX. 25 that the Israelites at one time did not use them. But when 
once adopted they became the most sacred part of the altar. They 
served as an asylum (1 K. i. 50 f., ii. 28) in comparatively early days ; 
and they are mentioned in Am. iii. 14, Jer. xvii. 1. In the Priestly 
legislation they are smeared with sacrificial blood, in the consecration 
of the priests (Ex. xxix. 12, Lev. viii. 15, ix. 9), in the sin-ofl^ring 
(Lev. iv. 18, 25, 30, 34) and on the Day of Atonement (Lev. xvi. 

4. a grating. Lit. ' twisted work.' It probably supported the 
ledge (see next verse), and at the same time allowed the blood to 
be dashed against the base of the altar. 

5. the ledge (karkobh). xxxviii. 4 f. Lit. ' that which encloses ' ; 
A.V. ' compass.' Its purpose must have been to enable the priest to 
officiate at the altar, which would otherwise be too high for him. 
Cf. Lev. ix. 22, Aaron 'came down' from the altar. See note on 
XX. 26. 

xxvii. 8-18] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 175 

8 Hollow with planks shalt thou make it : as it hath been P 
shewed thee in the mount, so shall they make it. 

9 And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle : for the 
south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of 
fine twined linen an hundred cubits long for one side : 10 and 
the pillars thereof shall be twenty, and their sockets twenty, 
of brass ; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall he of 
silver. 1 1 And likewise for the north side in length there shall 
be hangings an hundred cubits long, and the pillars thereof 
twenty, and their sockets twenty, of brass ; the hooks of the 
pillars and their fillets of silver. 12 And for the breadth of 
the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits : 
their pillars ten, and their sockets ten. 13 And the breadth 
of the court on the east side eastward shall be fifty cubits. 
14 The hangings for the one side 0/ the gate shall be fifteen 
cubits : their pillars three, and their sockets three. 15 And 
for the other side shall be hangings of fifteen cubits : their 
pillars three, and their sockets three. 16 And for the gate of 
the court shall be a screen of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, 
and scarlet, and fine twined linen, the work of the embroiderer : 
their pillars four, and their sockets four. 1/ All the pillars of 
the court round about shall be filleted with silver ; their hooks 
of silver, and their sockets of brass. 18 The length of the court 
shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, 

8. Hollow with planks. Wishing to picture a portable altar the 
narrator disregarded its practical inutility. A hot fire burning within 
it would soon have destroyed it. To escape this difficulty, and to 
produce accordance with the ancient regulation in xx. 24, some 
suppose that it was 'filled with earth or stones, so that it was the 
latter materials that, properly speaking, constituted the altar.' But 
for this there is not the slightest justification in the text. 

9—19. T/ie Court. In the temples of Ezekiel (xl. 17, 19), and 
Zerubbabel (1 Mac. iv. 38, 48 ; cf. Jos. A?it. xiv. xvi. 2), the court 
was divided into two parts, the inner one being reserved for the priests. 
There is no evidence, on the other hand, that Solomon's temple had 
more than one court. And in this respect the tabernacle is made to 
resemble it. The tabernacle court was of the third grade of sanctity, 
but it was still holy (xxviii. 43, Lev. x. 17 f.) because every Israelite 
was a member of a ' holy nation,' and enjoyed the right of bringing his 
offering to the altar and killing his victim before the Tent of Meeting 
(Lev. i. — iv.). On the pillars of the court see pp. Ixxviii. f. 

10. their fillets, ^qq Addenda. 

176 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxvii. i8-xxviii. i 

and the height five cubits, of fine twined linen, and their sockets P 
of brass. 19 All the instruments of the tabernacle in all the 
service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the 
court, shall be of brass. 

20 And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they P 
bring unto thee pure olive oil beaten for the light, Ho cause a 
lamp to burn continually. 21 In the ^tent of meeting, without 
the veil which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall 
order it from evening to morning before the Lord : it shall be 
a ^statute for ever throughout their generations *on the behalf 
of the children of Israel. 

XXVIII. 1 And bring thou near unto thee Aaron thy P 

1 Or. to set up a lamp continually ^ See ch. xxv. 22, xxix. 42, sxx. 36. 

3 Or, due * Or, from 

19. all the pegs thereof. These were not mentioned in xxvi. 7 — 14, 
and it is uncertain how they were intended to be used. Mention is 
made of cords as well as pegs in the later passages, xxxv. 18, xxxix. 40, 
Num. iii. 26, 37, iv. 26, 32, but in every case they seem to be 
connected with the court and not with the Dwelling. According to 
the most probable measurements (see p. Ixxvii.) the goats' hair covering 
just reached the ground, and probably both it and the two outer 
coverings were thought of as fastened to the IcerdsMm by the pegs. 

20, 21. The Oil for the Light. Repeated almost verbatim in 
Lev. xxiv. 2f. 

20. beaten. The oil was produced (according to Mishna, Menahoth 
viii. 4f.) by gently pounding the olives in a mortar. They were 
afterwards subjected to two other processes (described in EB iii. 3467), 
but it was from the first that oil of the finest quality was obtained. 
Perhaps this is referred to in so early a passage as Am. vi. 6 : ' the 
first yield of oils' (R.V. 'the chief ointments'). 

continually, i.e. 'regularly,' as an unfailing daily duty. The 
following verse shews that this is the meaning ; see on xxv. 37. 

21. Aaron and his sons &c. This implies that they have already 
been consecrated, and that the dwelling has been erected. In 2 Chr. 
xiii. 11 the sons of Aaron are responsible for the lamp, but Aaron 
alone in Ex. xxx. 8, Lev. xxiv. 3, Num. viii. 2f 

on the behalf of i.e. 'to be observed on the part of; an elliptical 
expression. See Driver on Dt. xviii. 3. 

Chapter XXVIIL 

The Priestly Vestments. 

XXVIII. 1. After dealing with the Dwelling and aU its 
accessories, the narrator turns to the personnel of the ecclesiastical 


brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of P 
Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even 
Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons. 
2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, 
for glory and for beauty. 3 And thou shalt speak unto all that 
are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, 
that they make Aaron's garments to sanctify him, that he may 
minister unto me in the priest's office. 4 And these are the 
gannents which they shall make ; a breastplate, and an ephod, 
and a robe, and a coat of chequer work, a ^ mitre, and a girdle : 
and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and 
his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. 
5 And they shall take ^the gold, and the blue, and the purple, 
and the scarlet, and the fine linen. 

6 And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and 
purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen, the work of the cunning 
workman. 7 It shall have two shoulderpieces joined to the 
two ends thereof; that it may be joined together. 8 And 

1 Or, turban ^ See ch. xxv. 3. 

organization, Aaron and his four sons. Nadab and Abihu are named 
with Aaron in xxiv. 1, apparently as elders. Eleazar is mentioned 
only twice in the earlier writings, Dt. x. 6, Jos. xxiv. 33, the former 
being probably the first indication in the Hexateuch that Aaron was 
considered to be the founder of an hereditary priesthood (see p. Ixviii.). 
Ithamar is not found earlier than P. 

3. It is a true conception of great importance that the action of 
the divine Spirit is not confined to the bestowal of 'spiritual gifts,' 
but that successful skill in handiwork and in every duty of daily life is 
due to Him. 'There are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit.' 
Cf xxxi. 3, XXXV. 31. 

to sanctify him. On the O.T. idea of 'holiness' see xxix. 37. 

6—12. The Ephod. 

6. the ephod. It had been a well-known object in the early days 
of Israel. See note below. 

7. The words should run 'It shall have two shoulder-straps 
joined to it; at its two ends shall it be joined.' By this 
alteration of inni to "i3n% as suggested by lxx and Sam., a consistent 
description can be arrived at. The garment appears to have consisted 
of a piece of fabric long enough to meet when placed round the chest 
under the arms. It was not joined by means of the shoulder-straps, 
but sewn together down the front (xxxix. 4), and would be put on 
over the head after the manner of a chasuble. How far down the body 

M. 12 

178 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxviii. 8-15 

the cunningly woven band, which is upon it, to gird it on withal, P 
shall be like the work thereof and of the same piece ; of gold, 
of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. 9 And 
thou shalt take two ^onyx stones, and grave on them the names 
of the children of Israel : 10 six of their names on the one 
stone, and the names of the six that remain on the other stone, 
according to their birth. 11 With the work of an engraver in 
stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the 
two stones, according to the names of the children of Israel : 
thou shalt make them to be inclosed in ouches of gold. 12 And 
thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulderpieces of the 
ephod, to be stones of memorial for the children of Israel : and 
Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two 
shoulders for a memorial. 

13 And thou shalt make ouches of gold : 14 and two chains P^ 
of pure gold ; like cords shalt thou make them, of wreathen 
work : and thou shalt put the wreathen chains on the ouches. | 
15 And thou shalt make a breastplate of judgement, the work P 

1 Or, heryl 

it reached is not stated. The shoulder-straps bore two jewels at their 
upper end and two rings at their lower end, the purpose of which is 
stated in the course of the chapter. 

8. A7id its artistic encasing-band which is upon it. Lit. 
^ ephod-band.' R.V. paraphrases a very terse expression which 
supports the derivation of the word ' ephod ' which is adopted in 
the note below. 

11. in filigree settings^ of gold. Their shape may have been 
that of bosses or rosettes ; Lxx has do-n-tSto-Kat in v. 13. Cf. 1 Mac. 
iv. 57. 

12. stones of memorial. To remind Yahweh of His people. 
For the same purpose were the stones of the 'breastplate' (v. 29), 
the atonement money (xxx. 16), the blowing of trumpets (Num. x. 10), 
the spoils of war (Num. xxxi. 54), and, in particular, a portion of the 
meal-offering, known by the technical name 'azkdrdh, 'memorial- 
offering,' Lev. ii. 2, 9, 16, v. 12, vi. 15, xxiy. 7, Nuin. v. 26. The 
' meal-offering of memorial ' (Num. v. 15, 18) is to remind Yahweh to 
punish. Cf. Acts x. 4. 

13—29. "lliQ Hoshen. 

15. a breastplate. The word hoshen (occurring in P only) has 

1 ' Ouch,' like 'apron,' 'adder' and other words, has lost an initial n. Chaucer, 
House of Fame, has ' They were set as thick as nouchis Fyne ' (cited in DB ill. 
636). The Heb. word is derived from a root denoting ' to twist ' or ' wreathe.' 


of the cunning workman ; like the work of the ephod thou shalt P 
make it ; of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine 
twined linen, shalt thou make it. 16 Foursquare it shall be 
and double ; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span the 
breadth thereof 17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, 
four rows of stones : a row of ^ sardius, topaz, and ^carbuncle 
shall be the first row ; 18 and the second row an ^emerald, a 

1 Or, ruby ^ Or, emerald * Or, carbuncle 

nothing in it to suggest either 'breast' or 'plate.' The derivation 
is uncertain. Some connect it with a word denoting the 'fold' or 
' bosom ' of a garment, in which something is carried. This would 
express, what was certainly the case, that the hoshen was a pouch or 
bag (see next verse). Others, with greater probability, explain it as 
meaning 'something beautiful,' from a root which is found in Arabic. 
It would thus be a non-descriptive term applied to it as the most 
beautiful article in the high priest's dress, or the most beautiful part of 
the ephod. 

of judgement. See w. 29 f. So called because within it were 
placed the ' Urim and Tumm'im by which the priest obtained oracular 
answers from God on points brought to him for decision, lxx \6yiov 
r(iiv KpL(T€oiv ('oracle of judgements'). 

16. The piece of stuff was half a cubit in width, and one cubit in 
length, so that when doubled it formed a square pouch, half a cubit 
(9 inches) each way. 

17 — 20. It is impossible to identify the stones with any certainty, 
either in the Hebrew or the Greek ; in some cases the English names, 
though derived from the Greek, denote different stones. They are 
discussed in E?ic. B. 4799—4812 and DB iv. 619—21. More in- 
teresting than their identification is the fact that two other similar 
lists occur in the Bible, both of which appear to shew a connexion with 
the list in Exodus. (1) In Ez. xxviii. 13 the prophet says to the king 
of Tyre, 'every precious stone was thy covering,' and a later hand has 
added nine out of the twelve stones in Exodus ; the three that are 
omitted are the 7th, 8th and 9th, i.e. the third row in the hoshen, and 
the order of the others is somewhat different. A plausible explanation 
is suggested in Enc. B., that these differences were due to a desire to 
produce a greater variety of colours, i.e. to prevent two red stones, two 
pale ones &c. from standing side by side. In the lxx, on the other 
hand, the two lists are identical, with twelve stones \ (2) In Rev. 

1 In Ezekiel after the sixth stone lacnri-s it adds apyvpiov koL xpvtJ'^oc (' silver and 
gold'). The former is a corrupt douljlet of the following Xi-yvpLov, and the latter — 
which appears also in the M.T. inn — is apparently a gloss on Xiyvpiov, perhaps 
describing its golden colour. The later name of XiyvpLov appears, indeed, to have 
been xpi'<^<^'''pacroj. 


180 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxvitl 18-.7 

sapphire, and a ^diamond ; 19 and the third row a ^jacinth, an P 
agate, and an amethyst ; 20 and the fourth row a ^ beryl, and 
an *onyx, and a jasper : they shall be inclosed in gold in their 
settings. 21 And the stones shall be according to the names of 
the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names ; like 
the engravings of a signet, every one according to his name, 
they shall be for the twelve tribes. 22 And thou shalt make 
upon the breastplate chains like cords, of wreathen work of 
pure gold. 23 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two 
rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the 
breastplate. 24 And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains 
of gold on the two rings at the ends of the breastplate. 25 And 
the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt put 
on the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the 
ephod, in the forepart thereof | 26 And thou shalt make two Pz 
rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the 
breastplate, upon the edge thereof, which is toward the side 
of the ephod inward. 27 And thou shalt make two rings of 

1 Or, sardonyx ^ Or, amber ^ Or, chalcedony ^ Or, beryl 

xxi. 19f. the foundations of the wall of the heavenly city are twelve 
stones ; the names are based upon the Lxx of the Exodus list, eight 
being identical. The 1st row corresponds to the 2nd in the hoshen, 
and the 2nd row to the 1st in the hoshen, but both in the inverse 
order ; the 3rd row corresponds to the 4th in the hoshen, and the 4th 
to the 3rd in the hoshen, both in the direct order. This order is due 
to the fact that the seer starting at the S.E. corner of the city 
describes the E. and N. sides, and then starting again at the same 
point describes the S. and W. sides. The thought intended' by the 
writer of the Apocalypse in enumerating the stones is partly that 
'of connecting the New Jerusalem with the symbols of the Twelve 
Tribes,' but partly also of symbolizing the beauties of the pure and 
holy spirituality of the saints. See Clem. Al. Paed. ii. 12, § 119, 
quoted by Prof. Swete on Rev. xxi. 20. The whole note should be 
read ; it ends with the beautiful remark ' The 7roA.r7rotKtA.05 o-o^ta S^ov 
(Eph. iii. 10) reflects itself in the Saints, but not wholly in any one 
Saint. The High Priest alone wears all the colours on His breast ; of 

the rest it is said StatpeVcts ;(apio-/xaT(oi/ €to-(.i/...8taipea-cts StaKovKov... 
Staipeo-cis ivepyrjixaroyv. 

26 — 28 appear to give a second account of the two rings and their 
fastening to the shoulder-straps. The vv. are omitted in the lxx. 

26. toward the side of the ephod inwards. On the inside fold of 
the pouch, the side which touches the ephod. 

27, 28. If the emendation adopted in v. 7 be coi-rect, it is 


gold, and shalt put them on the two shoulderpieces of thePs 
ephod underneath, in the forepart thereof, close by the coupling 
thereof, above the cunningly woven band of the ephod. 28 And 
they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the 
rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be upon the 
cunningly woven band of the ephod, and that the breastplate 
be not loosed from the ephod. | 29 And Aaron shall bear the P 
names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgement 
upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a 
memorial before the Lord continually. 30 And thou shalt put 
in the breastplate of judgement ^the Urim and the Thummim ; 
and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before 
the Lord : and Aaron shall bear the judgement of the children 
of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually. 

1 That is, the Lights and the Perfections. 

uncertain where the shoulder-straps were fastened to the ephod ; 
but it was probably immediately behind the two lower corners of the 
hoshen, so that the rings on the ephod and on the hoshen coincided, 
and only needed to be tied together by the blue thread. The thread 
was thus out of sight, which exj^Iains why such a common material 
was used, as compared with the gold chains which fastened the upper 
end to the onyx jewels. The hoshen was by these means firmly secured, 
with its lower edge resting upon, i.e. immediately above, the artistic 

29, 30. These verses describe a two-sided function of the priest- 
hood which dated from primitive times and was of the utmost 
importance, but was at a later time somewhat thrown into the shade 
by the growing prominence of the sacrificial functions. Aaron is to 
represent man to God — to keep men before God's ' memory.' And by 
means of the ' Urtm and Tummlm he is to represent God to man — to 
keep men acquainted with God's will ; see Num. xxvii. 21. In Christ, 
the ' High Priest of the good things to come,' the two-fold representa- 
tion became a concrete fact. Further, Aaron, as man's representative, 
wore the symbols * on his heart ' ; in which we may see a token of 
a ready will to obey. And so with the Son of Man ; ' when He cometh 
into the world He saith, Lo I am come to do Thy will, God.' 

30. the 'Urim and the Thummim (better Tummim). Whatever 
may be the derivation of the two words, it is extremely probable that 
they were employed to describe two objects (probably stones), which 
were cast as lots for the purpose of obtaining a divine decision. See 
addit. note below. 

The Ephod ; and the Urim and Tummim. The derivation of the word 
' ephod is doubtful. Lagarde counects it with a root waphad, which appears 


in Arabic as wafada 'to come as an envoy' to a ruler or chief; and he 
explains the ephod as the garment of approach to God. This is ingenious 
but not convincing. Others point to the Syr. pedta which denotes a long 
robe. The various usages of the word suggest that its root-meaning is ' to 
enclose ' or ' encase.' 

{a) Apart from the Aaronic robe, there is no clear evidence that an 
ephod was a garment. In one passage at least it was composed of metal. 
Gideon made a golden ephod, weighing 700 shekels, which he set up in his 
town, and ' all Israel went a whoring after it ' (Jud. viii. 26 f.) ; it seems to have 
been a large golden figure of the well-known object. Ahimelech's words to 
David that Goliath's sword was 'wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod' 
(1 S. XXL 1) perhaps imply that the ephod was a solid object. Is. xxx. 22 
speaks of ' the aphudddh of thy molten images of gold,' where the parallelism 
of the preceding clause has suggested to some writers that the term denotes 
the metal casing which surrounded the wooden core of an image ; but this 
is quite uncertain, as is also the supposition that idols were at one time clothed 
in an ephod, and that this became later a casing of metal. 

{h) The ephod was sometimes made of linen. Samuel ministered before 
Yahweh 'girded with a linen ephod' (1 S. ii. 18), and similarly David, when he 
danced before Yahweh (2 S. vi. 14). But the word 'girded' (niin) can be used 
in the case of a sword or other weapon (e.g. Jud. iii. 16, 1 S. xxv. 13), and need 
not necessarily imply that the ephod was a garment. David's nakedness, as 
he danced in a state of rehgious frenzy, excited Michal's contempt, but there 
is nothing to shew that the nakedness consisted in his being clothed only with 
an ephod. 

(c) Besides these passages there are some which shew that the ephod 
was a sacred object, but do not decide its form or material. It was a 
prerogative of priests in early days to ' carry the ephod ' ; see 1 S. xiv. 3 (and 
18 Lxx ; cf. R.V. marg.), xxii. 18. The verb ^^^ in these passages does not 
mean ' to wear.' Ahimelech fled to David from Nob ' with an ephod in his 
hand^ (1 S. xxiii. 6); and in v. 9 David said, 'Bring hither the ephod.' 
Further, it is sometimes found in close conjunction with terdphim^ which were 
images and were employed in divination ^ (Ez. xxi. 21 (26), Zech. x. 2). Micah's 
sacred objects included an ephod and teraphim (Jud. xvii. 4 f, xviii. 17). It 
is not, however, clear from these passages that the ephod was an image. 

The evidence is not enough to enable us to form a decision ; but if the root- 
meaning of the word denoted 'to encase' or 'enclose,' the ephod may well 
have been merely a receptacle — made either of metal or linen — which enclosed 
the saci-ed lots employed for obtaining oracular answers from God (see below). 
(See Driver, art 'Ephod' in DB i. ; Moore, in Enc. B. 1306 — 9, and on Jud. 
xvii. 5 ; Foote, JBL xxi. (1902) ; Sellin, OrientaL Studien ii. 699—717.) 

For obtaining an oracle the ^Urlm (Dn.lN) and the Tummlm, (C^SJ^) 
were employed- [a) The passages in which they are mentioned are as 
follows : Dt. xxxiii. 8 ('thy T. and thy Z7.'), 1 S. xiv. 41 f. (lxx 'give t7:...give 
7!'), xxviii. 6 (the Urim alone). In post-exilic wi-itings : Ex. xxviii. 30, Lev. 
viii. 8 ('the V. and the T.\ Num. xxvii. 21 (the Urim alone), Ezr. ii. 63 

^ See Addenda. 


= Neh. vii. 65 ('a priest for U. and for T.'). It is possible that Ps. xliii. 3 
(' thy Hght and tliy truth ') refers to them. Some would even read ' thy U. 
and thy T.' In the Apocrj-pha : 1 Es. v. 40 ('wearing the U. and the 71'), 
Sir. xxxiii. [lxX SA XXXvi.] 3 {eparrjfjLa 8i]Xa>v\ xlv. 10 (lxx drjXois dXTjOeias, 

Heb. 'ephod and girdle'). 

(b) The derivation of the two words is a matter of conjecture. The 
Masoretic interpreters considered 'Urlm, as a plural word connected with 
"liN ('or) ' light,' and Tummim as the plural of Dh {torn) ' perfection,' ' com- 
pleteness,' 'innocence,' and they probably thought of them as intensive 
plurals, not, as R. V. marg., ' Lights ' and ' Perfections.' But these meanings 
are quite unsuitable in most of the passages where the words occur. The 
ancient translators afford no help, lxx has variously : for ' Urim, d^Xaxris 
'manifestation,' S^Xot [sc. \idoi] 'clear,' 'transparent' [sc. stones], (^con'^co 'to 
give light ' (Ezr.-Neh.) ; Aq. Sym. Theod. (fxoTio-noi, didaxn : for Tu7nmim, 
LXX aXrjdcia^ 6(tigtt]s, re'Xfia ('perfect things'); Aq. Sym. Theod. rfX«ior7;rey. 

O.L. and Jer. similarly vary; for 'Urim, doctrina, demonstratio, ostensio, 
doctus : for Tummim, Veritas, perfectio, sanctitas, perfectus, eruditus. 

Various derivations have been suggested, of which two are worthy of 
notice. Moore {Enc. B. 5237) derives Tum,m,lm, from the root DOn * be 
without fault ' ; and ' its opposite might well be a derivative of "IIS " curse," 
the one signifying that a proposed action was satisfactory to Grod, the other 
that it provoked his Avrath.' In this case the words should probably be 
pronounced 'orzm and tdmlm. Muss-Amolt {AJSL, July 1900, p. 218) con- 
nects ' Urim, with an Ass. verb a!aru [piel u^uru] ' to send forth ' (an edict), 
from which are formed urtu and tertu ' a [divine] decision ' ; and Tumm^im, 
with an Ass. verb twmu [piel tumm,u\ from which is foi-med tam,Uu 'an 
oracle.' The two words would thus be practically synonymous in meaning. 

[c) Dt. xxxiii. 8 (which probably belongs to a date somewhere between 
Jeroboam I and II) makes it clear that the possession and use of these sacred 
objects was the prerogative of the priest. It is also noteworthy that the 
subst. tordh 'direction,' 'instruction,' 'law,' is derived from a root (HI"') which 
denotes both ' to teach ' and ' to cast.' And many writers maintain with much 
probability that the latter is the original significance (see JBL xxv. 1 — 16). A 
priest, when asked for a divine tordh, would learn it by casting lots. 1 S. xxviii. 
6 mentions three ways in which a message from God might normally be received, 
'by dreams, by Urim, by prophets.' After the time of David the importance of 
prophets as the declarers of the divine will became paramount ; Israel attained 
to more spiritual conceptions of God's nature and relation to the world, and 
the use of the sacred lots appears to have ceased. But the narratives of Saul 
and David are the principal sources of information with regard to them. It is 
imfortunate that the locus classicus, 1 S. xiv. 41 f., is mutilated in the Hebrew. 
In the Lucianic recension of the lxx the passage runs: 'And Saul said, Lord, 
the God of Israel, why hast thou not answered thy servant this day ? If the 
iniquity be in mc or in Jonathan my son, give hrjkovs ['clear stones' 
= ' Urim] ; and if thou sayest thus, The iniquity is in the people, give oa-ioTr^Ta 
[= Tummim, M.T. D^pn T\-1T^, R.V. 'shew the right,' A.V. 'Give a perfect 
lot']. And the lot fell upon Saul and Jonathan, and the people escaped.' 
Jerome apparently knew the full text, which he renders ' if in me or in 


Jonathan my son is this iniquity, give ostensionein ; or if this iniquity is in 
my people give sanctitatem^ (see Driver in loc). Here we learn '(1) that the 
Urim and Thummim were the recognised medium for discovering tlie guilt or 
innocence of suspected parties, a species of divine ordeal ; (2) that as the lots 
were only two in number, only one question could be put at a time, and that in 
a way admitting only of two alternative answers ; (3) that where these 
answers, from the nature of the case, could not be given by a mere " yes " 
or " no," it was necessary to agree beforehand on the way in which the issuing 
lot was to be interpreted.' (Kennedy.) 

Fm'ther it is to be noted that while the sacred lots were employed to 
obtain an answer, the ephod also was employed for the same purpose on three 
occasions. Ahijah the priest — who came to Saul's camp ' carrying the ephod ' 
(1 S. xiv. 3), and who advised him to enquire of God {v. 36) — was bidden by 
the king to 'bring near the ephod' {v. 18, following Lxx, as in R.V,. marg.); 
but as he was about to manipulate it, Saul said, ' Withdraw thy hand ' (v. 19). 
Thus the ephod, which required some manual action, and the sacred lots, 
were used for the same purpose by the same king and priest in the same 
campaign ; and it may safely be concluded that they were closely connected. 
Similarly in 1 S. xxiii. 6, 9 flF., xxx. 7 ff. David said to the priest, ' bring near the 
ephod,' and then enquired of God by submitting direct questions requiring the 
answer Yes or No. After the exile the ' Urim and Tummim, were thought of 
as old-world mysteries ; it was known that they had been a means of enquiring 
the divine will, but their nature and method of use were evidently little under- 
stood (Ezr. ii. 63 = Neh. vii. 65). But the priestly traditions also preserved 
the memory of the fact that the ' Urim and Tumtnim were closely connected 
with the ephod. What the connexion was they probably knew as little as we 
do ; but they interpreted it to mean that they were attached to the ephod, 
and hence came the description of the hoshen in which they were placed i. 

At a later time ideas were influenced by P's description of the hoshen. 
The LXX translators in 1 S. xiv. 41 appear to have identified the ^Urim and 
TummiTn with the jewels, rendering bos hrjkovs 'give clear [stones]^.' And 
Josephus {Ant. in. viii. 9) says that God gave premonitions of victory in battle 
by the miraculous shining of the stones ; and adds that the jewels had ceased 
to shine two hundred years before he wrote. The Rabbis improved on this, 
by saying that answers to enquiries were spelt out by the shining of particular 
letters in the engraved names of the tribes. 

What the ''Urim and Tumnnim, actually were can only be conjectured. 
But since they were employed for casting lots it is natural to suppose that 
they were stones (not dice), perhaps distinguished from each other by their 
colour or markings. And this might conceivably have given rise to the jewels 
on the priestly hoshen. That stones were commonly used as lots is clear from 
the Heb. gordl 'lot,' the root of which appears in Arabic words denoting 
' stone,' ' stony ' and the like ; cf Grk. ^rj(f)os, and Ass. pdru. 

^ It is just possible that the placing of the U. and T. on the breast of the High 
Priest is an idea derived from Babylonian mythology (Muss-Arnolt, op. cit.), but 
certainly not their original meaning and use. 

'^ This may also be implied in the reading of lxx and Sam. in Ex. xxviii, 30, 
Lev. viii. 8, ' thou shalt place upon the hoshen of judgement the U. and the T.' 

xxviii. 31-35] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 185 

31 And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue. P 

32 And 4t shall have a hole for the head in the midst thereof: 
it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of 
it, as it were the hole of a coat of mail, that it be not rent. 

33 And upon the skirts of it thou shalt make pomegranates of 
blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the skirts 
thereof ; and bells of gold between them round about : 34 a 
golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pome- 
granate, upon the skirts of the robe round about. 35 And it 
shall be upon Aaron to minister : and the sound thereof shall 
be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, 
and when he cometh out, that he die not. 

1 Or, there shall be a hole in the top of it 

XXVIII. 31—35. 
The Violet Robe. 

31. the robe of the ephod, i.e. always worn with the ephod. 

all of violet. In Asia Minor and ancient Rome, and in the 
Christian Church, purple, the sign of royalty, has always been also 
the sign of ecclesiastical dignity. 

a coat of mail, xxxix. 23 t ; cf. ktvoOwpr}^, ' linen cuirass,' //. ii. 
529, 830. 

33. pomegranates. This fruit, frequently represented in Egyptian 
and Assyrian sculpture, was a symbol -svidely connected with religious 
worship. It may have been a survival of nature-worship derived in 
early days from the Phoenicians. There were pomegranates on the 
capitals of the two bronze pillars of Solomon's temple (1 K. vii. 20, 42, 
2 K. XXV. 17) ; see note on xxv. 31 fF. 

bdls. Their number is not stated ; the Rabbinic writers made 
them 72, and Clem. Al. 365. Various suggestions have been made as 
to their meaning and purpose. In Sir. xlv. 9 they are ' to make his 
sound to be heard in the shrine for a memorial for the children of 
his people,' i.e. they were to call God's attention to Aaron as the 
representative of his people, as in the case of the tribal names on the 
jewels {vv. 12, 29). Others have thought that they were to let the 
people know when Aaron arrived in the Holy Place, that they might 
join in worship. But they could not have been large enough for the 
sound to carry so far. It is not impossible that they were a survival, 
Hke the gargoyles in our churches, of the primitive practice of the 
employment of charms to frighten away demons and evil spirits. 
Petrie {DB i. 158, 269) suggests that they, with the pomegranates, 
were merely a developed form of the lotus and bud ornament which 
was common in Egy[jtian art. 

186 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxviii. 36-39 

36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave P 
upon it, like the engravings of a signet, holy to the lord. 

37 And thou shalt put it on a lace of blue, and it shall be 
upon the ^litre ; upon the forefront of the ^ mitre it shall be. 

38 And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, and Aaron shall bear 
the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall 
hallow in all their holy gifts ; and it shall be always upon his 
forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord, 39 And 

1 Or, twhan 

The Gold Diadem. 

36. plate. Probably 'shining thing,' i.e. a diadem (cf. xxix. 6, 
xxxix. 30, Lev. viii. 9). The corresponding verb is applied to a crown 
in Ps. cxxxii. 18 (R.V. 'flourish'). Like the violet robe it gave to 
the high priest a regal dignity. It reveals the beginnings of the 
tendency to exalt the high priest to a civil supremacy which reached 
its height in the Hasmonean period. See 1 Mac. x. 20. 

Holy to Yahweh. Cf. Zech. xiv. 20. Neither 'holy' or 'holiness' 
(A.V.) exactly expresses the original, which denotes something concrete 
— 'A sacred object belonging to Yahweh.' It sums up the position 
which Israel, in the person of their representative, occupied in relation 
to God. Had the Hasmonean high priests acted up to the spirit of 
the words, they would not have deteriorated, as they did, into grasping, 
worldly rulers. For us, it sums up the ideal character of the Christian 
Church, in union with our great High Priest. The motto upon the 
Divine seal in 2 Tim. ii. 19 expresses the same truth. 

37. the mitre ; the turban. The word is used of the head-dress 
of the civil prince (Ez. xxi. 26 [Heb. 31]) ; and, in a different form, for 
that of the high priest (Zech. iii. 5), a royal turban (Is. Ixii. 3), and 
those of women (Is. iii. 23). See on v. 40. 

38. hear the iniquity of the holy things. Since Aaron is marked 
out, by the golden diadem, as the ' holy one to Yahweh,' summing up 
all the holy things in his own person, he is also ideally responsible for 
guarding all the holy things from profanation ; and therefore upon him 
must come the guilt, and the punishment for the guilt, if any of them 
are profaned. Cf. Num. xviii. 1. It is a splendid foreshadowing of 
Him who 'bore our sins.' The expression 'bear the iniquity' is also 
used frequently in P of bearing the consequences of one's own guilt, 
V. 43, Lev. V. 1, 17, vii. 18, Num. v. 31 &c. ; cf. Ez. xiv. 10, xliv. 
10, 12. 

that they may be accepted. Not the gifts, but the children of 

XXVIII. 39-xxix. I ] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 187 

thou shalt weave the coat m chequer work of ^fine linen, and P 
thou shalt make a ^mitre of ^fine linen, and thou shalt make 
a girdle, the work of the embroiderer. 40 And for Aaron's 
sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them 
girdles, and headtires shalt thou make for them, for glory and 
for beauty. | 41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy P^ 
brother, and upon his sons with him ; and shalt anoint them, 
and ^consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister 
unto me in the priest's office. | 42 And thou shalt make them P 
linen breeches to cover the flesh of their nakedness ; fi*om the 
loins even unto the thighs they shall reach : 43 and they shall 
be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they go in unto the 
tent of meeting, or when they come near unto the altar to 
minister in the holy place ; that they bear not iniquity, and 
die : it shall be a statute for ever unto him and unto his seed 
after him. 

XXIX. 1 And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto 
them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest's office : 

1 Or, silk ^ Or, turban ' Heb. Jill their hand. 

The rest of Aaron's robes, and those of his sons. 

39. the coat ; the tunic. The ordinary private outer garment of 
the oriental, somewhat like a cassock or dressing-gown in shape. 

a girdle ; a sash. It was passed several times round the breast, 
the end hanging down to the feet (Jos. Ant. in. vii. 2). 

40. headtires. xxix. 9, xxxix. 28, Lev. viii. 13 t. Distinct from 
the turban of the high priest. The root signifies 'to swell up,' or 
' project,' and is seen in tlie word gibk'dh, * a hill ' ; hence some think 
that the priestly turban was conical, being worked up to an elevated 

41. The verse is probably a later addition ; see on xxix. 7. 
consecrate them. Lit. ' fill their hand ' ; see on xxxii. 29. 

i Chapter XXIX. 

77ie Cwiseeration of Aaron aiul his sons. 
The daily Biirrit-offering. 

The ceremony of consecration consists of (1) washing, (2) clothing, (3) anoint- 
ing of Aaron, (4) a sin-offering of a bullock, (5) a bumt-offering of a ram, (6) the 
oflferiug of a 'ram of installation,' followed by the ' wave-oflfering ' and the 

188 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxix. 1-9 

take one young bullock and two rams without blemish, 2 and P 
unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened mingled with oil, and 
wafers unleavened anointed with oil : of fine wheaten flour shalt 
thou make them. 3 And thou shalt put them into one basket, 
and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two 
rams. 4 And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the 
door of the tent of meeting, and shalt wash them with water. 
5 And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the 
coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breast- 
plate, and gird him with the cunningly woven band of the 
ephod : 6 and thou shalt set the ^ mitre upon his head, and put 
the holy crown upon the ^ mitre. 7 Then shalt thou take the 
anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him. 

8 And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them. 

9 And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, 
and bind headtires on them : and they shall have the priest- 
hood by a perpetual statute : and thou shalt consecrate Aaron 

1 Or, turban 

'contribution.' And this ceremony is to be repeated for seven days. The 
chapter should be studied in connexion with Lev. viii., in which Moses is 
related to have fulfilled the commands in detail. The ceremony for Levites 
was diflFerent; see Num. viii. 5 — 12. 

XXIX. 4. A comparison with xxx. 19—21 shews that the 
washing at the initial consecration extended to the whole person. 
Afterwards the priests needed only to wash their hands and feet 
when they approached the sanctuary. There is a spiritual counter- 
part to this in the Christian life, Jn. xiii. 10. And see Heb. x. 22 
with Westcott's note. 

7. In Ps. cxxxiii. 2 the oil poured upon Aaron is employed as 
a simile for the joy of brethren dwelling together : all the members 
participate in the same blessing. See Perowne's note. 

and anoint him. There appears to have been a later development 
in the practice of anointing. In the earlier usage (here, v. 29, 
Lev. viii. 12) the high priest alone is anointed, and his successors 
after him (cf. Lev. xvi. 32, xxi. 10) ; hence the expression ' the 
anointed priest' (Lev. iv. 3, 5, vi. 22). On the other hand the 
anomting of Aaron's sons (i.e. the ordinary priests) is enjoined or 
presupposed in several passages, which must therefore belong to 
secondary strata of P (enjoined in Ex. xxviii. 41, xxx. 30, xl. 15, 
presupposed in Lev. vii. 36, x. 7, Num. iii. 3). 

9. consecrate. Lit. 'fill the hand of.' See note on xxxii. 29. 


and his sons. 10 And thou shalt bring the bullock before the P 
tent of meeting : and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands 
upon the head of the bullock. 11 And thou shalt kill the 
bullock before the Lord, at the door of the tent of meeting. 
12 And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it 
upon the horns of the altar with thy finger ; and thou shalt 
pour out all the blood at the base of the altar. 13 And thou 
shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul 
upon the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon 
them, and burn them upon the altar. 14 But the flesh of the 
bullock, and its skin, and its dung, shalt thou burn with fire 
without the camp : it is a ^sin offering. 15 Thou shalt also 

1 Heb. sin. 

10. lay their hands. This formed part of the ritual in all kinds 
of animal sacrifice. It was a formal declaration on the part of the 
offerer that he was the person concerned in the sacrifice. 

12. the horns. See on xxvii. 2. 

all the Mood. See on xii. 9. The pouring at the base of the altar 
is explained in Lev. viii. 15 ; it was to consecrate the altar and 'make 
atonement for it,' i.e. to fi:ee it from uncleanness and make it a fitting 
place to receive the ofi"erings ; see v. 36. 

13. A more precise description of the fat pieces is given in 
Lev. iii. 3f, 14 f., iv. 8f., vii. 3f. See Driver- White, Lemticus, 
p. 65 ; Moore, Oriental. Studien, ii. 761 — 9. 

14. The flesh of the sin-offering could only be given to the priests 
when the sacrifice did not concern themselves ; cf. Lev. v. 13, vi. 26. 

a sin-offering. Before the exile this form of ofi'ering is mentioned 
only in 2 K. xii. 16 (17), where it is a fine levied by the priests at the 
sanctuary. While the nation were undergoing the discipline of exile 
they began to realise more fully the sinfulness of sin, according as they 
gained a truer conception of God's ' holiness.' The sin-offering may 
be regarded as a propitiatory gift, the efficacy of which consisted in 
separating the person or thing concerned in the offering from all that 
was not 'holy.' Thus a prominent aspect of it is its use at the 
consecration of places (Ez. xliii. 18 — 27, xlv. 18 — 20, Ex. xxix. 36, 
Lev. viii. 14 f.), and of persons — priests (here, Lev. iv. 3, viii. 2, 14, 
ix. 2, 7, 8, 10) and Levites (Num. viii. 8, 12). But its use was also 
extended to the atoning of inadvertent transgressions (Lev. iv. 2, 13, 
22, 27, Num. xv. 24, 27), minor offences (Lev. v. 1—9, 11— 13^, and 
ceremonial uncleanness (Lev. xii. 6, 8, xiv. 19, xv. 15, Num. vi. 11, 14). 
For capitid offences no sacrifice could be provided. 

1 A poor man's offering might consist of two birds, or even of flour. 

190 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxix. 15---2 

take the one ram ; and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands P 
upon the head of the ram. 16 A\\& thou shalt slay the ram, 
and thou shalt take its blood, and sprinkle it round about upon 
the altar. 17 And thou shalt cut the ram into its pieces, and 
wash its inwards, and its legs, and put them ^with its pieces, 
and %ith its head. 18 And thou shalt burn the whole ram 
upon the altar : it is a burnt offering unto the Lord : it is a 
sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord. 19 And 
thou shalt take the other ram ; and Aaron and his sons shall 
lay their hands upon the head of the ram. 20 Then shalt thou 
kill the ram, and take of its blood, and put it upon the tip of 
the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his 
sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the 
great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the 
altar round about. | 21 And thou shalt take of the blood that is P^ 
upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon 
Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the 
garments of his sons with him : and he shall be hallowed, and 
his garments, and his sons, and his sons' garments with him. | 
22 Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat, and the fat tail, and P 
the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul of the liver, and 

^ Or, upon 

15 — 18. In contradistinction to the bullock of the sin-offering, 
the ram was offered entire. The burnt-offering, unlike the sin-offering, 
was a relic of antiquity ; see on xx. 24. 

18. a sweet savour ; a soothing odour. The expression had its 
origin in far-off days when the deity was supposed to be soothed or 
placated by the actual smell of the sacrificial smoke. In Gen. viii. 21 
(J), the only Biblical occurrence of the words earlier than Ezekiel, 
there is a trace of the primitive conception ; see Driver, Genesis, 
p. 105. 

20. ' The priest must have consecrated ears to listen at all times 
to God's holy voice, consecrated hands continually to do holy works, 
and consecrated feet always to walk in holy ways' (Dillmann). The 
three members of the body are symbolical of the whole. The ritual is 
an elaborated development of the ceremony described in xxiv. 6, 8. 
It is performed also, both with blood and oil, in the case of the 
recovered leper (Lev. xiv. 14, 17). 

21. The sprinkling with blood and oil is not equivalent to the 
anointing of Aaron's sons ; cf the case of the leper just cited. The 
verse seems to be a late addition (see analysis). 

xxjx. 22-27] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 191 

the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and the right P 
Hhigh ; for it is a ram of consecration : 23 and one loaf of 
bread, and one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer, out of the 
basket of unleavened bread that is before the Lord : 24 and 
thou shalt put the whole upon the hands of Aaron, and upon 
the hands of his sons ; and shalt wave them for a wave offering 
before the Lord. 25 And thou shalt take them from their 
hands, and burn them on the altar upon the burnt offering, for 
a sweet savour before the Lord : it is an offering made by fire 
unto the Lord. 26 And thou shalt take the breast of Aaron's 
ram of consecration, and wave it for a wave offering before the 
Lord : and it shall be thy portion. 27 And thou shalt sanctify 
the breast of the wave offering, and the ^ thigh of the heave 

^ Or, shoulder 

22. it is a ram o/" installation. Lit. ' of fillings ' ; vv. 26, 31, 34, 
Lev. vii. 37, viii. 22, 28, 31, 33 t. The expression is connected with 
'fill the hand' (v. 9). 

22 — 28. The ram of installation was a ' peace-offering ' (v 28), 
of which the distribution of the material was as follows : the fat 
portions, here combined with a part of the cereal offering (y. 23 a), 
were given to Yahweh by being burnt (v. 25) ; the breast and the 
right shoulder went to the priest^ (v. 27, Lev. vii. 34, x. 12 — 15) ; 
and the remainder went to the worshipper. The participation by the 
worshipper was an integi'al part of the ceremony, and was derived from 
the very ancient custom of the sacrificial meal in which the deity and 
the worshipper both partook. Moses, and not Aaron, here receives the 
breast, because Aaron and his sous were not yet priests until the 
ceremony was complete ; Moses himself acts as priest, and Aaron and 
his sons are in the position of the ordinary worshipper, and eat the 
remainder of the flesh (y. 32), together with the remainder of the cereal 
offering. On the other hand, Moses does not receive the shoulder ; 
that was to be a priestly due in future, but until the priests were 
consecrated, it was given to God together with the fat portions (v. 22) ; 
see Lev. vii. 31 f 

24. The verse shews the meaning which the priestly writer 
attached to the expression 'fill the hand.' 

wave them &c. The strict force of the term is here lost, and 
it denotes simply ' offer them as an offering.' See foil. note. 

27. the breast of the wave-offering. The portions of the peace- 
offering which fell to the priest were not appropriated by him till a 
peculiar ritual had been performed. The breast was waved, or swung, 

1 In earlier times (Dt. xviii. 3) the priest's due consisted of the shoulder, the two 
cheeks and the maw. 

192 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxix. 27-33 

oiFering, which is waved, and which is heaved up, of the rara of P 
consecration, even of that which is for Aaron, and of that which 
is for his sons : 28 and it shall be for Aaron and bis sons as 
a due for ever from the children of Israel : for it is an heave 
offering : and it shall be an heave oifering ft-om the children of 
Israel of the sacrifices of their peace offerings, even their heave 
offering unto the Lord. 29 And the holy garments of Aaron 
shall be for his sons after him, to be anointed in them, and to 
be consecrated in them. 30 Seven days shall the son that is 
priest in his stead put them on, when he cometh into the tent 
of meeting to minister in the holy place. 31 And thou shalt 
take the ram of consecration, and seethe its flesh in a holy 
place. 32 And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the 
ram, and the bread that is in the basket, at the door of the tent 
of meeting. 33 And they shall eat those things wherewith 
atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them : but 

i.e. moved towards the altar and back, as a symbol that the priest first 
gave it to God, and that God then gave it back to him for his own use. 
It is a striking outward act, expressive of the truth that not only those 
things which we hand over for the service of God belong to Him, but 
also that that which we keep for ourselves — our property, our time, our 
very food — must be first dedicated to Him in order that our use of it 
may please Him. The term ' wave-offering' is applied (Num. viii. 11, 
13, 15, 21) to the dedication of the Levites, whom God gave back for 
service to the priests. In some passages {v. 24, xxxv. 22, Lev. viii. 27, 
xiv. 12, 24) the term is employed more loosely for an offering which is 
not given back for the priest's use. 

the shoulder of the contribution, i.e. the shoulder which is 
contributed to the priest. The ordinary rendering implies that it 
was consecrated by a rite of elevation. But the word, which is 
derived from a root signifying ' to lift up, or off,' denotes that which 
is lifted off from a larger mass, and separated for sacred purposes. 
Lxx in the Pent, has a<^atp€/xa. It is used of gifts taken from the 
produce of the earth (Dt. xii. 6, 11, Ez. xx. 40, Mai. iii. 8, 
Num. XV. 19 — 21 (P)), money, spoils &c., offered for sacred purposes 
(xxv. 2, xxxv. 5, Num. xxxi. 29, 41 (P), Ez. xlv. 13, 16), and even 
of land reserved for the priests and Levites (Ez. xlv. 1, 6 &c.). As 
applied to animal sacrifices, the term is employed only of the shoulder 
of the peace-offering. See Driver on Dt. xii. 6, and his article ' Offer,' 

29, 30. These vv. are concerned with the consecration of Aaron's 
successors, and should probably follow v. 35. They interrupt the 
ritual of the ram of installation, which is continued in vv. 31 — 34. 


a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy. 34 And P 
if aught of the flesh of the consecration, or of the bread, remain 
unto the morning, then thou shalt burn the remainder with 
fire : it shall not be eaten, because it is holy. 35 And thus 
shalt thou do unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to all that 
I have commanded thee : seven days shalt thou consecrate 
them. 36 And every day shalt thou offer the bullock of sin 
offering for atonement : and thou shalt ^cleanse the altar, when 
thou makest atonement for it ; and thou shalt anoint it, to 
sanctify it. 37 Seven days thou shalt make atonement for the 
altar, and sanctify it : and the altar shall be most holy ; ^what- 
soever toucheth the altar shall be holy. 

38 Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar ; P^ 

^ Or, purge the altar, by thy making atonement ^ Or, whosoever 

33. a stranger. In H and P this means one who was not a 
member of the priestly or Levitical families ; cf. xxx. 33. 

34. the flesh of in^iBXl^^^on. See u 22. 

36. cleanse the altar \ make a sin-offering upon the altar. 
Each of the seven days the ritual of v. 12 is to be repeated. The 
altar had been made by human hands, and needed the ceremonial 
guilt attaching to it to be taken away, before it could be sanctified by 

37. shall he holy. Cf xxx. 29. In the priestly conception of 
holiness there is a survival from ancient Semitic heathenism ; it is 
* a quality transmissible by contact, and constituting, in certain cases, 
a danger to be scrupulously avoided' (Ez. xliv. 19, xlvi. 20, Lev. vi. 27; 
cf Hag. ii. 12 f, Is. Ixv. 5). The custom of refraining from the use of, 
or contact with, certain objects from fear of supernatural penalties, 
commonly known as tahoo, was spiritualised in O.T. religion to the 
extent of distinguishing between 'things whose use is prohibited 
because they are appropriated to Yahwen, and things that may not 
be touched because they are hateful to Him. The latter belong to 
the category of the "unclean," while the term "holy" is, as a rule, 
reserved for the former'; cf Lev. x. 10, Ez. xliv. 23. (See Gray, 
Numbers, 209 ff., and article 'Holiness' in DB ii.) 

The daily Burnt-offering. 

These verses (inten-upting the connexion between oc. 37 and 43) are part 
of a systematic table of the amounts of the public offerings required on 
periodical occasions. Such a table is found in Num. xxviii. — xxx. ; and the 
use there of the singular ' thou ' shews that these injunctions are similarly 
addressed to the priests in general, not to Moses. A later ^mter (in c. 42) 
reverts to the plural ' your,' ' you,' and employs the singular ' thee ' in reference 
to Moses. 

M. 13 

194 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxix. 38-46 

two lambs of the first year day by day continually. 39 The P^ 
one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning ; and the other lamb 
thou shalt offer ^at even : 40 and with the one lamb a tenth 
part of an ephali of fine flour mingled with the fourth part of 
an hin of beaten oil ; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for 
a drink offering. 41 And the other lamb thou shalt offer ^at 
even, and shalt do thereto according to the meal offering of the 
morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, fior a sweet 
savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord. | 42 It shall be P^ 
a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the 
door of the tent of meeting before the Lord : where I will meet 
with you, to speak there unto thee. | 43 And there I will meet P 
with the children of Israel ; and the Tent shall be sanctified by 
my glory. 44 And I will sanctify the tent of meeting, and the 
altar : Aaron also and his sons will I sanctify, to minister to 
me in the priest's office. 45 And I will dwell among the 
children of Israel, and will be their God. 46 And they shall 
know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth 

^ Heb. between the two evenings. 

38. two lambs. Before the exile there was a burnt-offering {'oldh) 
in the morning and a minkdh, or cereal (R. V. ' meal ') offering, in the 
evening^ (2 K. xvi. 15 ; cf. 1 K. xviii. 29, 36). Ezekiel requires one 'olak 
and one minhdh, but both in the morning (xlvi. 13 — 15). Neh. x. 33 
speaks of the continual minhdk and 'olah, but it is not clear whether 
one or two of each is intended. The present law, however, and 
Num. xxviii. 3 — 8, first speak clearly of an 'oldh both in^ the 
morning and the evening, and make the minhdh a subordinate 

39. at even. See on xii. 6. 

40. The amounts of flour, oil and wine are in accordance with 
the fixed scale of cereal offerings to accompany different animals in all 
sacrifices given in Num. xv. 2 — 16. An earlier scale in Ez. xlvi. 5 — 7, 
11 — 14 applies only to public offerings. 

42. to speak there unto thee. See on xxv. 22. 

43, 44 are the natural continuation of v. 37. The altar is 
Yahweh's 'place of tryst' with His people. 

and it shall he sanctified. The subject of the verb is 'the altar' in 
V. 37. Vulg. 'sanctificabitur altare.' 

45, 46. A solemn ending to the whole body of directions in 
xxv. — xxix., in a style formed after that of the Law of Holiness. 

1 ' The time of the minhdh ' continued till a late date as a term for 'the evening': 
cf. Ezr. ix, 4f., Dan, ix. 21. And in the Mishna 'morning prayer' is set over 
against ' minhdh [i.e. evening] prayer.' 

XXIX. 46-xxx. 6] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 195 

out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them : I am P 
the Lord their God. 

XXX. 1 And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense Pa 
upon : of acacia wood shalt thou make it. 2 A cubit shall be 
the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof ; foursquare 
shall it be : and two cubits shall be the height thereof : the 
horns thereof shall be of one piece with it. 3 And thou shalt 
overlay it with pure gold, the Hop thereof, and the ^ sides 
thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt 
make unto it a ^ crown of gold round about. 4 And two golden 
rings shalt thou make for it under the crown thereof, upon the 
two ribs thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make them ; 
and they shall be for places for staves to bear it withal. 5 And 
thou shalt make the staves of acacia wood, and overlay them 
with gold. 6 And thou shalt put it before the veil that is by 

^ Heb. roof. 2 Heb. walls. ^ Or, rim Or, moulding 

Chapter XXX. 

Tlie Incense Altar, The Poll-tax. The Laver. 
The Anointhig Oil, Tlie Incense, 

XXX. 1 — 10. The Incense Altar. After the impressive close to 
the description of the tabernacle &c. in xxix. 45 f., further commands 
for the making of furniture are unexpected \ There are indications 
that the tabernacle, as pictured in the earhest stratum of P, did not 
contain the incense altar. K 10 refers to the Day of Atonement, but 
in the directions in Lev. xvi. the incense altar is not mentioned. 
In Lev. X. and Num. xvi. incense is offered, not on an altar, but on 
censers or pans. The expression ' the altar ' in xxvii. 1 implies that no 
second altar was contemplated. And in the recapitulation in ch. xxxvii. 
the incense altar is absent in the lxx. Moreover neither Solomon's 
temple (1 K. vi.) nor the ideal temple of Ezekiel (ch. xli.) contained 
any altar but that for burnt-offerings. The present passage describes 
the incense altar as it probably was when the second temple was 
sacked by Antiochus IV. See 1 Mac. i. 21, where it is described as 
* the golden altar'; cf. Kx. xxxix. 38, xl. 26, 2 Ch. iv. 19. On the use 
of incense see vv. 34 — 38 (below). 

J^i 3 — 5. Like the ark and the table it has a moulding, rings and 
bars ; like the altar of burnt-offering it has horns of one piece with it. 

6. before the veil. In the Holy Place, with the veil, which cut off 

1 The Sam. consequently transposes vv. 1 — 10 to follow xxvi, 35. 


196 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxx. 6-.2 

the ark of the testimony, before the mercy-seat that is over the Pt 
testimony, where I will meet with thee. 7 And Aaron shall 
burn thereon incense of sweet spices : every morning, when he 
dresseth the lamps, he shall burn it. 8 And when Aaron 
^lighteth the lamps ^at even, he shall burn it, a perpetual 
incense before the Lord throughout your generations. 9 Ye 
shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt offering, nor 
meal offering ; and ye shall pour no drink offering thereon. 
10 And Aaron shall make atonement ^upon the horns of it 
once in the year : with the blood of the sin offering of atone- 
ment once in the year shall he make atonement ^for it through- 
out your generations : it is most holy unto the Lord. 

11 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 12 When thou 
takest the sum of the children of Israel, according to those that 

^ Or, setteth up Heb. causeth to ascend. ^ Heb. between the two evenings. 
3 Or, for ^ Or, upon 

the innermost shrine, hanging behind it. This, the clear meaning of 
the words, seems to be at variance with the following clause. 

before the propitiatory. This appears to imply that the altar was 
within the veil, in front of the ark ; but it may be an explanation 
of the preceding clause, defining the position of the altar more exactly 
— in front of the veil, in such a position that it was in front of (in a 
line with) the propitiatory \ The ambiguity may have been the cause 
of the late addition in 1 K. vi. 22, which speaks of 'the altar that 
belonged to the shrine.' And this is reproduced in Heb. ix. 4 — 'the 
[part of the] tabernacle which is called Holy of Holies, having a 
golden incense-altar ' ; see Westcott ad loc. 

8. lighteth the lamps at even. See on xxv. 37. 

9. strange incense. Not made according to the sacred prescrip- 
tion. The prescription is supplied in v. 34. 

11 — 16. The Poll-tax. It is not clear that the writer here intends 
the half shekel to be an annual due ; it is based upon the census in 
Num. i., which, again, is not represented as undertaken annually. 
Nevertheless upon the present passage was based the annual temple 
tax of half a shekel {c. Is. 4j(i.), which was paid by our Lord and 
S. Peter (Mat. xvii. 24 — 27), and was enforced, until the destruction of 
Jerusalem, from all Jews whether in Palestine or of the Dispersion. 
In 2 Ch. xxiv. 6 (cf v. 9) it is referred to as 'the tax of Moses the 
servant of Yahweh.' But it was apparently not in force as early as 
Nehemiah. In Neh. x. 32 [Heb. 33] the Jews determined to pay 
one third of a shekel. This must have been the official Perso- 

^ The absence of the clause from the lxx and Sam. suggests that it was a later 


are numbered of them, then shall they give every man a ransom P2 
for his soul unto the Lord, when thou uumberest them ; that 
there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. 
13 This they shall give, every one that passeth over unto them 
that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanc- 
tuary : (the shekel is twenty gerahs :) half a shekel for an 
oftering to the Lord. 14 Every one that passeth over unto 
them that are numbered, from twenty years old and upward, 
shall give the offering of the Lord. 15 The rich shall not give 
more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, 
when they give the offering of the Lord, to make atonement 
for your souls. 16 And thou shalt take the atonement money 
fi'om the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service 
of the tent of meeting ; that it may be a memorial for the 

Babylonian shekel, for the sacred Hebrew shekel (see on xxv. 39) 
was never divided otherwise than into halves and quarters. The 
one-third of the official shekel was equivalent to c. S0., so that the 
exacting demands of the later priesthood raised the tax to nearly double 
its original amount. The present passage is later than P, which was 
accepted by the community under Nehemiah. And, since it assumes 
that the tabernacle is already completed, it should stand after the 
census in Num. i. See on xxxviii. 21 — 31. 

12. a 7'ansom. Heb. kopher ; see xxi. 30. The root is the same 
as that of 'atonement' in vv. 15 f. The fact of numbering the people 
made them all sacred to Yahweh, and they must therefore be redeemed, 
or more strictly the ' holiness ' which they have acquired must be 
removed as though it were a sort of pollution ; see xxix. 37. It is 
this primitive conception of 'holiness' which perhaps underlies the 
narrative in 2 S. xxiv., to which the present passage, 'that there be 
no plague among them,' seems to refer \ 

13. passeth over. Each man as he is counted is pictured as 
crossing over to join those already counted ; cf. Lev. xxvii. 32, 
Jer. xxxiii. 13, and perhaps 2 S. ii. 15. 

the shekel of the sanctuary ; the sacred shekel. V. 24, xxxviii. 
24—26, Lev. v. 15, xxvii. 3, 25, Num. iii. 47, 50, vii. 13—86 
(14 times), xviii. 16 (all P). 

15. The value of every human life in the sight of God is the 
same ; it is unaffected by worldly wealth or poverty. 

16. for the service. This appears to mean for the continual up- 
keep of the services during all future years. See note above. It is an 
ideal which the Christian Church at present is far from reaching, that 

^ The superstitious avoidance of numbering persons or cattle from fear of 
plague is illustrated by Frazer iu Anthropol. Essays, p. 17-1. 

198 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxx. 16-22 

children of Israel before the Lord, to make atonement for your P^ 

17 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 18 Thou shalt 
also make a laver of brass, and the base thereof of brass, to 
wash withal : and thou shalt put it between the tent of meeting 
and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. 19 And Aaron 
and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat : 

20 when they go into the tent of meeting, they shall wash with 
water, that they die not ; or when they come near to the altar 
to minister, to burn an offering made by fire unto the Lord : 

21 so they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die 
not : and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and 
to his seed throughout their generations. 

22 Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Take 

every adult member of the Church should contribute with regularity to 
the expenses of worship. 

17 — 21. The Laver. This, like the incense-altar, is not mentioned 
in the original writing of P, otherwise the directions for its manu- 
facture would naturally have been given in eh. xxvii., together with 
the altar of burnt-offering, the other article of furniture in the court. 
The laver is not mentioned in the arrangements for the march in 
Num. iv. 

It is doubtful if it was suggested by the laver in Solomon's temple. 
In the latter there were ten basons raised on high stands and furnished 
with wheels^ (1 K. vii. 27 — 39, 43\ and a 'molten sea' supported on 
twelve figures of oxen (23 — 26, 44) ; but these were raised much too 
high (the bases alone stood five cubits in height) to be employed for 
washing, which is apparently the only use for which the laver in the 
tabernacle was designed. The present passage, however, is so frag- 
mentary (see below) that nothing can be said with certainty. 

18. Thou shalt also make ; and thou shalt make. The passage 
appears to be only a fragment ; and this explains the complete lack 
of detailed directions as to the size and design of the laver, such as are 
given for all the other articles of furniture. 

19. See note on xxix. 4. 

22—33. The holy Oil. The section is later than P, for v. 28 
assumes the existence of the incense-altar and the laver, and v. 30 
commands the anointing of Aaron's sons (see on xxix. 7). 

1 Neither wheels nor molten sea appear in Ezekiel's and Zeriibbabel's temples. 
But it is suggested in art. 'Laver' {DB iii. 64) that Ezekiel's vision of living 
creatures and wheels associated with them (Ez. i. 16 — 21) may have had some con- 
nexion with the ten lavers ; and that the latter symbolically represented roiling 
Btorm-clouds, and the molten sea represented the abyss. 


thou also unto thee the chief spices, of flowing myrrh five Pa 
hundred shelels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two 
hundred and fifty, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty, 
24 and of ^cassia five hundred, after the shekel of the sanctuary, 
and of olive oil an hin : 25 and thou shalt make it an holy 
anointing oil, a perfume compounded after the art of the per- 
fumer : it shall be an holy anointing oil. 26 And thou shalt 
anoint therewith the tent of meeting, and the ark of the 
testimony, 27 and the table and all the vessels thereof, and the 
candlestick and the vessels thereof, and the altar of incense, 
28 and the altar of burnt ofifering with all the vessels thereof, 
and the laver and the base thereof. 29 And thou shalt sanctify 
them, that they may be most holy : ^ whatsoever toucheth them 
shall be holy. 30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, 
and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the 
priest's office. 31 And thou shalt speak unto the children of 
Israel, saying. This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me 
throughout your generations. 32 Upon the flesh of man shall 
it not be poured, neither shall ye make any like it, according 
to the composition thereof : it is holy, and it shall be holy unto 
you. 33 Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever 
putteth any of it upon a stranger, he shall be cut ofl" from his 

34 And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet 

^ Or, costus 2 Or, whosoever 

23, 24. The sweetness and costliness of the oil afford a beautiful 
simile in Ps. cxxxiii. 2 ; see note on xxix. 7. 

29, 30. In the N.T. the oil is not a simile, but a symbol. The 
anointing of the priesthood and the sanctuary finds its counterpart in 
the anointing of our High Priest who is par excellence 6 X/oio-to?, and 
of His Church (2 Cor. i. 21, 1 Jn. ii. 20, 27). 

shall be holy. See on xxix. 37. 

33. from his people ; from his father's kin. See Driver on 
Gen. xvii. 14. 

34 — 38. The Incense. This section, like the rest of the chapter, 
is probably later than P ; v. 36 connects it with the incense-altar 
{v. 6, q.v.). 

It is uncertain at what period the ceremonial use of incense was 
introduced into Palestine. The root kdtar signifies ' to exhale a 
sweet odour.' In Arab, this is applied to the odour of roasted meat 
(Driver on Am. iv. 5) ; and the word was employed in Heb. of the 

200 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxx. 34-36 

spices, ^stacte, and onycha, and galbanum ; sweet spices with P^ 
pure frankincense : of each shall there be a like weight ; 35 and 
thou shalt make of it incense, a perfume after the art of the 
perfumer, ^seasoned with salt, pure arid holy : 36 and thou 
shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testi- 
mony in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with thee : it 

^ Or, opobalsamum ^ Or, tempered together 

sweet smoke which rose from sacrifices (cf. Kvia-r], 77. i. 317). But at 
a later time it gained the specific meaning 'incense.' The use of 
fragrant odours produced by burning barks and gums is ancient and 
wide-spread. It is found in early times in Egypt and Babylon. In 
Greece it was a refinement of later luxury. Orientals are fond of 
perfumes (Ps. xlv. 8 (9), Prov. vii. 17, Cant. iii. 6), and therefore offer 
them to honoured guests (cf Mat. ii. 11); and being pleasing to men 
it was natural that perfumes should be offered to gods. That this 
thought was present in Hebrew worship is shewn by the expression 
'a soothing odour' applied to sacrificial smoke (see xxix. 18)\ And 
when foreign commerce introduced rare and costly ingredients which 
produced sweet scents, these were added to the odours of animal 
sacrifice. It is not improbable that incense was introduced into 
Palestine in the reign of Manasseh, who imitated foreign cults. The 
earlier prophets who condemn ritual without holiness of heart make 
no mention of it (see e.g. Am. iv. 4f, v. 21 ff"., Mic. vi. 6 £), nor is 
it referred to in the older historical books or laws. The references 
in Dt. xxxiii. 10, Is. i. 13 are doubtfuP ; many writers maintain 
that these passages speak only of sacrificial smoke. The earliest 
certain instance is in Jer. vi. 20, where frankincense and sweet calamus 
are spoken of as rare foreign products which are not pleasing to 
Yahweh, When, however, the use of incense was established in 
priestly worship, it could become a spiritual symbol of prayer 
(Ps. cxli. 2), a thought which finds beautiful expression in Rev. v. 8, 
viii. 3, 4. 

35. seasoned with salt. The original significance of salt in con- 
nexion with sacrifices is expressed in Lev. ii. 13. Sacrifice, in one of 
its aspects, provided a meal for the deity ; and that which was a 
necessary accompaniment of a human meal must not be omitted. Salt 
is therefore a symbol of a covenant relation with God ; cf Num. 
xviii. 19, 2 Ch. xiii. 5. 'In the case of every disciple of Christ the 
salt of the covenant is a Divine Fire which purifies, preserves and 
consummates sacrifice — the alternative to the Fire which consumes' 
(Swete on Mk. ix. 49 ; see the whole note). 

36. before the testimony. Similar expressions are used of the 
incense-altar in v. 6, xl. 5, 26 f A small quantity of the whole store 

1 Tob. vi. 7, viii. 2 f. perhaps reflect a primitive belief in the magical virtue of 
fumigation for driving away demons. 

2 1 S. ii. 28 is certainly late. 

XXX. 36-xxxi. 6] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 201 

shall be unto you most holy. 37 And the incense which thou Pa 
shalt make, according to the composition thereof ye shall not 
make for yourselves : it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord. 
38 AVliosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, he 
shall be cut off from his people. 

XXXI. 1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 See, 
I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, 
of the tribe of Judah : 3 and I have filled him with the spirit of 
God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and 
in all manner of workmanship, 4 to devise cunning works, to 
work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 5 and in cutting of 
stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all manner 
of workmanship. 6 And I, behold, I have appointed with him 
Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan ; and in the 

of incense spices is to be pulverised and kept ready upon the altar for 
daily use. 

37. the composition. See on v. 8. 

Chapter XXXL 

Bezalel mid Oholiab. The Sabbath, 

XXXI. 1 — 11. The summary is later than P, since it includes 
the inceuse-altar, the laver, the anointing oil and the incense. 

2. Bezal'el. xxxv. 30, xxxvi. 1, xxxvii. 1, xxxviii. 22. His 
genealogy is traced in 1 Ch. ii. 18 — 20, 50, where the tradition is 
recorded that he was of the clan of the Calebites (cf. Jud. i. 11 — 15, 
20), who became absorbed, and in late days were identified, with 
Judah. The name appears to signify ' In the shadow (i.e. the pro- 
tection) of EL' Names thus compounded with a preposition are 
rare, and, among the Hebrews, confined to a late date ; cf. La'el (Num. 
iii. 24), Lerau'el (Prov. xxxi. 1), Besodhyah (Neh. iii. 6). See Gray, 
Heb. Proper Names, 206 ff". An Assyrian name Ina-sllU-BeV is cited 
in Gesen. Lex. 12, SlU-Ishtar in Hommel, Ancient Heb. Trad. 302, 
and Sil-Bfil was a king of Gaza in the time of Sennacherib (COT Jos. 
xi. 22). 

3. See note on xxviii. 3. 

6. 'Oholiab. xxxv. 34, xxxvi. 1 f., xxxviii. 23. The name, which 
signifies ' Father's tent,' is foreign ; cf. Oliolah (Ez. xxiii. 4f., 36, 44), 
OhoHbah (Ez. xxiii. 4, 11, 22, 36, 44), OhoHbamah (Gen. xxxvi. 2, 5, 

1 An abbreviation of Ina-nlli-Bel-aluk ' In the protection of B61 I walk ' ; and 
Sil-Bel is an abbreviation of Tah-xilli-Beli * Good is the protection of Bel.' 

202 THE BOOK OF EXODUS {xxxi. 6-15 

hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they P^ 
may make all that I have commanded thee : 7 the tent of 
meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that 
is thereupon, and all the furniture of the Tent ; 8 and the table 
and its vessels, and the pure candlestick with all its vessels, 
and the altar of incense ; 9 and the altar of burnt offering with 
all its vessels, and the laver and its base ; 10 and the -finely 
wrought garments, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, 
and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office ; 
11 and the anointing oil, and the incense of sweet spices for the 
holy place : according to all that I have commanded thee shall 
they do. 

12 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 13 Speak thou P 
also unto the children of Israel, saying. Verily ye shall keep my 
sabbaths : for it is a sign between me and you throughout your 
generations ; that ye may know that I am the Lord which 
sanctify you. 14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore ; for it 
is holy unto you : every one that profaneth it shall surely be 
put to death : for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul 
shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work 
be done ; but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, 

^ Some ancient versions render, garments of service. 

14, 18, 25, 41). Similar Phoenician and Sabaean names have been 
found. See Gray, op. cit. 246. Oholiab was of the tribe of Dan. 
His conjunction with a Calebite perhaps reveals the existence of a very 
obscure circle of traditions in which the Danites were at one time in 
contact with Judah and the Calebites and other clans in the S. of 

10. finely wrought garments. Lit. 'garments of sewing'; a 
doubtful expression. The marg. rendering is that of LXX, Pesh. 
Targ., perhaps reading n")^*? for nn^^n. 

12 — 17. The Sabbath. These verses may in some sense be 
regarded as the locus classicus on Sabbath observance in the O.T. 
The references collected on p. xliii. shew that the command in E 
(xxiii. 12) is humanitarian; in D (Dt. v. 12 — 15) it is humanitarian 
and commemorative of the exodus ; in H (Lev. xxiii. 2 f.) it merely 
forms part of a calendar of religious observances ; and in scattered 
fragments of P it is enjoined mainly from the point of view of ritual 
and of penalties for its non-observance. But the present passage is on 
a higher plane than any of them. Like the fourth ' Word ' it com- 
memorates God's rest from creation, and emphasizes the humanitarian 


holy to the Lord : whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath P 
day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Wherefore the children 
of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath through- 
out their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign 
between me and the children of Israel for ever : for in six days 
the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he 
rested, and was refreshed. 

18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of 
communing with him upon mount Sinai, the two tables of the 
testimony, | tables of stone, written with the finger of God. E^ 

principle ; as in H it lays stress on the sacredness of the day, and as 
in Num. xv. 35 f. it sternly threatens death for infringement of the 
command. But beyond all this it supplies a deep spiritual raison 
d'etre (an echo of Ez. xx. 12, 20). The separation of one day in seven 
is a symbol of the separation of the entire people ; it is a sign and a 
covenant between them and Yahweh who sanctifies them. And the 
same principle holds good whether the consecrated day be the seventh 
or the first day of the week. 

It seems probable that vv. 12 — 14« (to 'holy unto you ') have been 
taken up by the priestly writer from an earlier law, and emphasized by 
him with the addition of vv. 146 — 17. In vv. 12 — 14a there are affinities 
with H ; ' keep my Sabbaths ' (Lev. xix. 3, 30, xxvi. 2) ; ' I am Yahweh 
which sanctify you' (Lev. xx. 8, xxi. 8, 15, 23, xxii. 9, 16, 32); 
' profane,' which is used of the Sabbath only here in the Hexat., is 
frequent in H in other applications. 

18. The transition to the narratives in xxxii. — xxxiv. The con- 
tinuation of the narrative in Eo (xxiv. 12 — 15a) must have contained 
a statement to the effect that Moses received the tablets ' written with 
the finger of God ' ; but this is taken up by P. 

Chapter XXXII. 

The golden bidl The zeal of the Levites and their 
consecration. Moses' intercession. 

The religious value of this chapter is great and obvious. It pictures 
grievous sin against God, committed by those wlio had just received from Him 
marvellous lovingkindness. When ' they exchanged their glory for the like- 
ness of an ox that eateth grass, they forgat God their Saviour, who had done 
great things in Eg}T)t' (Ps. cvi. 20 f). And all men must take it as a warning 
(as S. Paul did in 1 Cor. x. 7) that those who have been redeemed from slavery 
to sin may fall deeply if they fail to keep in memory God's love and holiness. 
Aaron, agaiu, is tj-pical of the weak man who cannot stand up for the right 
from fear of popular opinion, and who will offer the feeblest excuses for his 

204 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxxii. 1-3 

wrongdoing ; and if he is a leader of men, the results will be terrible. And 
Moses presents to us the two complementary aspects of a true priestly spirit — 
a white-hot righteous indignation against sin, and a tender self-abnegating 
Intercession for sinners; 'a man beloved of God and men' (Ecclus. xlv. 1). 

From an historical point of view the nairative raises considerable diffi- 
culties. It is certain that images were widely used in the worship of Yahweh 
at least till the eighth century (see p. Ix.), which renders it improbable that 
the second of the Ten Words was delivered by Moses, or that the erection of 
an image would be condemned in his day, as is here related. Moreover the 
words uttered by Aaron in v. 4 are practically identical with those uttered by 
Jeroboam I in 1 K. xii. 28. In the latter passage the plural ' thy gods which 
brought thee ' refers to the two bulls, but in Exodus there is only one image. 
It is far from improbable that Jeroboam was believed to have been the first 
to employ images of bulls in Yahweh-worship, and that his words were 
ascribed to Aaron when there was a desire — on the part either of those priests 
who traced their ancestry to him or of their opponents in Jerusalem — to claim 
Aaron as the founder of image- worship (see further on pp. Ixviii. f.). By that 
time the second of the Ten Words had become part of Israelite religious law, 
and Aaron's sin was therefore a violation of that law. 

It is uncertain whence the Israelites derived their bull-worsliip. It is 
improbable that they imitated the worship of Apis in Egypt ; the animal 
itself was not sacred to them as it was to the Egyptians; and until they 
arrived in Canaan it is doubtful if they possessed cattle (the need for manna 
and quails implies a lack of flocks and herds ; see Gray on Num. xi. 4). It is 
easier to suppose that the practice was leanit from the Canaanites. The 
Phoenicians worshipped Astarte under the form of a cow, and Baal under 
that of a bull, as symbols of strength. Bulls figured in the laver in Solomon's 
temple, in which Phoenician workmen were employed ; and it is possible that 
the ' horns of the altar ' were a relic of the ancient worship of bulls (see on 
xxvii. 2). 

XXXII. 1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed Ei 
to come down from the mount, the people gathered themselves 
together unto Aaron, and said unto him. Up, make us ^gods, 
which shall go before us ; for as for this Moses, the man that 
brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is 
become of him. 2 And Aaron said unto them. Break off the 
golden rings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, 
and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 3 And all 
the people brake off the golden rings which were in their ears, 

1 Or, a god 

XXXII. 1—24. The golden hull. 

XXXII. 1. gods. The narrator uses the plural under the in- 
fluence of Aaron's words in v. 4 (see note). 


and brought them unto Aaron. 4 And he received it at their E^ 
hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it a 
molten calf: and they said, ^These be thy gods, Israel, which 
brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 5 And when Aaron 
saw this, he built an altar before it ; and Aaron made proclama- 
tion, and said, To-morrow shall be a feast to the Lord. 6 And 
they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offbrings, 
and brought peace offerings ; and the people sat down to eat 
and to drink, and rose up to play. 

7 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go, get thee down ; for R^ 
thy people, which thou broughtest up out of the land of Egypt, 
have corrupted themselves : 8 they have turned aside quickly 
out of the way which I commanded them : they have made 

^ Or, This is thy god 

4. graving tool. The word is used of a pointed stilus in 
Is. viii. 1 1. It is probable that the image was thought of as made of 
wood, overlaid with gold ; for v. 20 seems to imply that the wood was 
burnt and the metal crushed. Cf. Dt. vii. 25, Is. xxx. 22, xl. 19. 

a molten bull. The word 'egel (fem. ^egldh) is not confined to 
animals as young as a calf ; it is used of an animal three years old 
(Gen. XV. 9), it gives milk (Is. vii. 21), ploughs (Jud. xiv. 18), 
is broken in for the plough (Jer. xxxi. 18), treads the corn 
(Hos. x. 11, Jer. 1. 11). It is not a calf, but a young animal just 
arrived at maturity. In Ps. cvi. 20 Aaron's image is called shor, 
' an ox.' It is quite improbable that the word was employed here and 
in 1 K. xii. as a term expressing contempt, or that it implies the 
diminutive size of the image (Bacon al.). 

These be thy gods. The marg. rendering treats the word ^elohim 
as a plural of dignity, as it is whenever it is applied to the one God. 
But the plural verb * brought,' and more certainly still the plural 
pronoun * these,' forbid this explanation. See the preliminary note 

5. And when Aaron saw \this\ The word this is absent from 
the Hebrew, and what Aaron saw is not explained. There is some 
confusion in the text, perhaps due to later manipulation of tlie 

a feast to Yahweh. This clearly shews that the worship of the 
image was not thought of as an act of heathen idolatry ; the buU was 
a symbol of Yahweh. 

7 — 14. Yahweh tells Moses of the action of the people, and 
declares His intention of consuming them all, but repents at Moses' 
intercession. The passage is closely similar in thought and style to 
Dt. ix. 12 — 14, and appears to be a Deuteronomic expansion (see 
analysis, p. xxxv.). 

206 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxxil 8-r8 

them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed R^ 
unto it, and said. These be thy gods, Israel, which brought 
thee up out of the land of Egypt. 9 And the Lord said unto 
Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked 
people : 10 now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax 
hot against them, and that I may consume them : and I will 
make of thee a gi'eat nation. 11 And Moses besought the 
Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wi-ath wax hot 
against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the 
land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 
12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, saying, For evil did 
he bring them forth, to slay them in the mountains, and to 
consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy 
fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13 Re- 
member Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou 
swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply 
your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have 
spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it 
for ever. 14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he said 
he would do unto his people. 

15 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, I with , 
the two tables of the testimony in his hand ; tables that were 
written on both their sides ; on the one side and on the other 
were they written. | 16 And the tables were the work of God, E^ 
and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables. 
17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they 
shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the 
camp. 18 And he said. It is not the voice of them that shout 
for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being 

12. For evil ; with evil (i.e. at grievous cost) did he bring them 
forth, slaying them... and consuming them &c. The Egyptians 
would not suppose that the God of the Israelites had brought them 
forth with the intention to do them evil ; they would charge Him with 
failure to protect His people and to keep their worship and obedience. 

13. Abraham, Gen. xv. 5, 18. Isaac, xxvi. 3 f. Jacob, xxxv. 12. 
15 — 24. Moses anger and Aaron s excuse. 

18. Render : ' It is not the sound of the cry of might, and it is 
not the sound of the cry of defeat ; [it is] the sound of singing [that] 
I hear.' The Heb. is terse, and makes use of poetical words. The 

xxxii. 18-.5] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 207 

overcome : but the noise of them that sing do I hear. 19 And E. 
it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that 
he saw the calf and the dancing : and Moses' anger waxed hot, 
and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath 
the mount. 20 And he took the calf which they had made, and 
burnt it with fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon 
the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. 21 And 
Moses said unto Aaron, ^Vhat did this people unto thee, that 
thou hast brought a great sin upon them ? 22 And Aaron said. 
Let not the anger of my lord wax hot : thou knowest the 
people, that they are set on evil. 23 For they said unto me. 
Make us gods, which shall go before us : for as for this Moses, 
the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know 
not what is become of him. 24 And I said unto them. Whoso- 
ever hath any gold, let them break it off ; so they gave it me : 
and I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf | 25 And J 

word for 'singing' is the intensive' (piel) voice of the verb 'cry.' 
In R.V. ' noise ' and ' voice,' ' shout ' and ' cry ' are respectively 
renderings of the same Heb. words. 

20. The wooden core of the image was apparently burnt, and the 
metal covering ground to powder ; see v. 4. 

24. No part of the narrative casts more scornful discredit upon 
Aaron than this ' truly Oriental apology ' which the writer ascribes to 
him. See the fine sermon by Phillips Brooks, The Fire and the Calf 
(Sermons preached in English Churches, pp. 43 — 64). 

25 — 29. The zeal of the sons of Levi, and their consecration. 

This passage, when carefully examined, appears to have no con- 
nexion with the preceding narrative. The sin of the people is 
different, and the punishment is different. It is a narrative from J 
which fulfils a double purpose. It describes a sin on the part of the 
people, for which Moses' intercession is related in parts of the two 
following chapters ; and at the same time it seems to be an attempt to 
explain the existence of the Levites as a recognised body, consecrated 
for divine service. 

25. the people were let loose ; allowed to get out of hand. Prov. 
xxix. l.S, 2 Ch. xxviii. 19. The nature of the sin is obscure ; it may 
have been, as Bacon suggests, of the form of a rebellion against 
authority (cf. Num. xiv. 4), or of internal discord and fighting among 
themselves. The latter is the more suitable in view of the following 

a derision. Lit. ' a whispering,' as in marg. This shews that the 
passage cannot refer to the bull-worship ; the erection of an image 
would be, to the surrounding tribes, a normal and pious action. 

208 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxxii. .5-29 

when Moses saw that the people were broken loose ; for Aaron J 
had let them loose for a Merision among their enemies : 26 then 
Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Whoso is on the 
Lord's side, let Mm come unto me. And all the sons of Levi 
gathered themselves together unto him. 27 And he said unto 
them, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Put ye every man 
his sword upon his thigh, and go to and fro from gate to gate 
throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every 
man his companion, and every man his neighbour. 28 And the 
sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses : and there fell 
of the people that day about three thousand men. 29 And 
Moses said, ^Consecrate yourselves to-day to the Lord, ^yea, 
every man * against his son, and * against his brother ; that he 

^ Heb. whispering. ^ Heb. Fill your hand. 

3 Or, for every man bath been against his son and against his brother * Or, upon 

26. Whoso is for Yahweh, to me ! This rousing summons can- 
not refer to the bull- worship. Not only is there no evidence that the 
Levites had abstained from it, but the bull itself was made for the 
worship of Yahweh, so that even if the best of the people had felt it to 
be an unworthy form of worship every worshipper could have responded 
to Moses' call. 

29. Consecrate yourselves. Lit. 'fill your hand,' as in marg. 
The expression occurs in Jud. xvii. 5, 12, 1 K. xiii. 33, Ez. xliii. 26, 
and ten times in P. In Assyr. it meant simply ' give,' ' appoint,' 
'enfeoff,' and it is uncertain whether it originally meant more than 
this in Hebrew. In the O.T., however, it is employed only in con- 
nexion with consecration to priesthood, except in Ez. I.e. WeUhausen 
suggested that it referred to the payment of earnest-money. But it is 
more probable that it denoted the placing on the hands of the ordinand 
some sacred object, as a sign that he was now authorised to perform 
sacerdotal functions. When sacrifice became the special function of 
the priest, it was perhaps a portion of the sacrificial flesh, as a sign 
that he was henceforth entitled to offer it on the altar or to take it as 
his perquisite. In Ez. xliii. 26 the original force of the expression is 
quite lost, and it is applied to the consecration of the altar. But 
Ex. xxix. 24 shews the meaning which the priestly writer attached to 
the words. The ceremony finds a counterpart to this day in the 
Christian Church, when a bishop places a Bible in the hands of a 
newly ordained priest, with the words ' Take thou authority to preach 
the Word of God &c ' 

yea, every man &c. The clause is obscure. It may be rendered 
as in the margin, or, treating it as a parenthesis by the narrator, 
' because every man was against his son &c.' But it is more probable 
that the words mean 'yea, every man v^ith his son &c.,' i.e. they are to 

xxxii. 29-33] THE BOOK OF EXODUS 209 

may bestow upon you a blessing this day. | 30 And it came to ^^^ 
pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have 
sinned a great sin : and now I will go up unto the Lord ; per- 
ad venture I shall make atonement for your sin. 31 And Moses 
returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned 
a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. 32 Yet now, if 
thou wilt forgive their sin — ; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, 
out of thy book which thou hast written. 33 And the Lord 
said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will 

fill their hand with son and brother whom they have slaughtered, as 
with a sacrificial ofFering. This seems to be suggested in lxx and 
Pesh., which omit * yea ' (^?). 

30 — 34. Moses' intercession. This seems to be a redactor's 
account both of the intercession and of the . promise gained from 
Yahweh that He would go witli His people. As it stands it antici- 
pates J's account which is given in parts of the two following chapters. 

30. make atonement. The meaning of the root isd is discussed 
in the note on xxv. 17. The earliest usage of the verb kipper was 'to 
conciHate,' 'appease' a person ; cf Gen. xxxii. 20 (21). In the present 
passage and 2 S. xxi. 3 it is used absolutely, so that it cannot be 
determined whether God or the sin was the object in the writer's 
mind. But in later writings the word is never used of appeasing 
God ; its object is always the sin or the sinner, expressed or 
impHed, the subject being either the priest (Lev. xvi. 6, 11, 17, 24, 
Ez. xliii. 20, 26, xlv. 20 al) or the offering (Ex. xxix. 33, xxx. 15 f, 
Lev. i. 4, xvii. 11 al). Also in priestly and other writings, but not 
earher than Deuteronomy, the subject is God, w^ho pardons the sinner 
(Dt. xxi. 8«, xxxii. 43, Ez. xvi. 63, 2 Ch. xxx. 19) or the sin (Jer. 
xviii. 23, Ps. Ixv. 3 (4), Ixxviii. 38, Ixxix. 9, Dan. ix. 24). 

32. if thou wilt forgive their sin — ; scil. ' forgive ' (which is added 
in Lxx„ Sam. Targ-Jer.). Cf Gen. xxx. 27 (R.V. adds 'tarry'), 
xxxviii. 17 *if thou wilt (R.V. wilt thou) give me a pledge — ,' 
Lk. xiii. 9 (R.V. adds 'well'). 

thy book. It is sometimes thought that Moses here rose to a great 
spiritual height of self-renunciation, in asking God to erase his name 
from His book rather than leave His people unforgiven ; his words are 
understood in a sense analogous to Rom. ix. 3. But the higlier ideas 
of the N.T. must not be read into the Old. If God \n\\ not grant 
his request, Moses despairingly asks that he may die; cf Num. xi. 15. 
In the O.T. God punishes the wicked with death, while the righteous 
are allowed to remain among the * register of the living ' ; cf Ps. 
Ixix. 28, Is. iv. 3, Mai. iii. 16, Dan. xii. 1. The latter passage, with 
its apocalyptic reference to a resurrection to unending life or unending 
shame, is a connecting link between the ideas of the 0. and N.T. In 
the N.T. the 'book' is the register of tliose who have attained to 

M. 14 

210 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxxn. 33-35 

I blot out of my book. 34 Aiid now go, lead the people unto R^^ 
the place of which I have spoken unto thee : behold, mine 
angel shall go before thee : nevertheless in the day when I visit, 
I will visit their sin upon them. | 35 And the Lord smote the E2 
people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made, 

spiritual life, both before and after the death of the body ; cf. Lk. x. 
20, Phil. iv. 3, Heb. xii. 23, Rev. iii. 5, xiii. 8, xvii. 8^ xx. 12, 15, 
xxi. 27. (See Swete on Rev. iii. 5.) 

34. mine angel, i.e. Yahweh Himself See note on xxiii. 20. 

in the day when I visit. The words are the more ominous from 
their intentional ambiguity. It is impossible to determine to what 
event they refer. Vv. 30 — 34 are themselves of uncertain date. If 
they are rightly assigned (anal. p. xxxv.) to a redactor later than JE, 
the present passage may be an ecc post facto reference to the fall of the 
northern kingdom under Hoshea (b.c, 722), or, indeed, to the fall of the 
southern kingdom under Jehoiachin (597) or to its final collapse under 
Zedekiah (587). 

35. The verse appears to be the conclusion of the narrative in 
vv. 15 — 24. The strange expression 'because they made the calf, 
which Aaron made' indicates that it is composite. 

Chapter XXXIII. 

Yahweh' s refusal to go with His people. The ' Tent of 
Meeting,' Moses' intercession. 

This and the following chapter have undergone transpositions and inter- 
polations which render them more complicated than perhaps any other 
portion of the O.T. of equal length. But the rearrangement suggested in the 
analysis yields an intelligible, and very beautiful, result. The more that 
Moses obtains from God, the more, like Abraham (Gen. xviii. 22—33), he is 
emboldened to ask; but, unhke Abraham, he does not cease till he has so 
wrestled and prevailed as to obtain the highest possible blessing which God 
could bestow. The passages being read in the following order, xxxiii. 1, 3, 
Num. xi. llf., 14f., Ex. xxxiii. 17, 12f., 18—23, xxxiv. 6—9, xxxiii. 14—16, 
Moses, having been told that Yahweh will not go with His people, asks for 
help in leading them to Canaan, which is granted ; then for a knowledge of 
him who is to help them, and of Yahweh's ways, and a sight of His glory, 
which is granted in the fonn of a partial revelation ; lastly for Yahweh's 
abiding presence with His people, which is granted. As a matter of fact when 
Yahweh made His first reply (xxxiii. 17) He implicitly gave Moses all that he 
wanted, but with fine artistic power the narrator represents Moses a^ not 
understanding that Yahweh meant that He would go with them Himself. The 
climax is reached when Moses, having experienced the marvellous glories of 
His presence, gains the explicit assurance ' My presenco shall go ' (xxxiii. 14). 


XXXIII. 1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Depart, go J 
up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out 
of the land of Egypt, unto the land of which I sware unto 
Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will 
I give it : I 2 and I will send an angel before thee ; and I will BP 
drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the 
Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite : | 3 unto a land flowing J 
with milk and honey : for I will not go up in the midst of thee ; 
for thou art a stifiiiecked people : lest I consume thee in the 
way. 4 And when the people heard these evil tidings, they 
mourned : | and no man did put on him his ornaments. | 5 And „? 
the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye 
are a stiftiiecked people : if I go up into the midst of thee 
for one moment, I shall consume thee : therefore now put off 
thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto 
thee. I 6 And the children of Israel stripped themselves of JS'a 
their ornaments from mount Horeb onward. 

XXXIII. 2. Since the 'angel' is Yahweh Himself^ (see on 
xxiii. 20), this verse, which is a Deuteronomic addition, anticipates (like 
xxxii. 34) the whole course of Moses' successful intercession. With- 
out this explanation we should be confronted by two serious difficulties 
— (1) how Moses could say what he does in v. 12, if Yahweh had just 
told him whom He would send with him, (2) in what sense Yahweh's 
angel could be said to lead the people to Canaan when Yahweh 
Himself did not go. 

3. / will not go up. He would stay at Sinai where He had His 

5. This redactional verse had, apparently, not reached a fixed form 
by the time of the lxx, which runs : ' And the Lord said unto the 
children of Israel, Ye are a stiff-necked people ; see that I bring not 
upon you another plague^ and destroy you ; now therefore take off 
your beautiful garments and your adornment, and I will shew thee 
what 1 will do to thee.' 

7 — 11. The Tent of Meeting, 

This is a valuable fragment of the work of E, derived from very early 
ti^aditions. It is so short, and lies embedded in a context whose subject- 
matter is so different, that to many even earnest readers of the Bible it is 

^ This is clearly shewn by the next words * and I will drive out &c.' Pesh. and 
some LXX mss read ' and lie will drive out ' — a correction due to the difficulty of 
reconciling it with the foil, verse. 

» Apparently reading nf?rK "IHS yji for nSl^N nn^ Vq. 


212 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxxni. 7 

practically unknown. It is read in the evening lesson for Feb. 22, and vv. 
9 — 11 occur, with a beautiful significance, in the morning lesson for the Feast 
of S. John the Evangelist. Its real meaning is obscured in the A.V., partly by 
the use of the word 'tabernacle' (see on ??. 7) and partly by its rendering of 
the verbs as perfects instead of imperfects. R. V. in v. 7 ' Moses used to take ' 
is accurate, and all the following verbs must be understood similarly as having 
a frequentative force. The verses describe Moses' usual practice with regard 
to a certain tent, which possessed a sacredness attaching to no other Israelite 
tent, because in it Moses performed the priestly office of obtaining answers 
from God for any inquirer. The verbs imply, as clearly as anything can, that 
this tent was in use throughout the whole of the wanderings. Wiienever an 
encampment was formed, Moses placed the tent ' outside the camp, far from 
the camp,' just as the local sanctuaries, after the settlement in Canaan, stood 
outside each town and important village. It is impossible to reconcile the 
account of this tent with that of the great priestly taberna.cie described in 
XXV. — xxxi., XXXV. — xl.. Num. i. — iv. Three points of contrast are to be 
noticed : (1) E : it is a tent which Moses could carry (perhaps with Joshua's 
help), and pitch at some distance from the camp. P : a tent c. 45 x 15 x 15 
feet, surrounded by pillars and hangings which formed a court c. 150x75 feet, 
and which, together with its articles of sacred furniture, required several 
wagons for its transport and a large body of Levites (Num. iv.). (2) E : a 
tent which stood outside the camp. P : a tent of which the entire signi- 
ficance was bound up with the fact that it stood in the centre of the camp 
(Num. i. 50— ii. 34). This is perhaps based upon earlier tradition ; see 
Num. xiv. 44 (J). (3) E : a tent whose sole minister, apart from Moses, was 
a young man of the tribe of Ephraim. P : a tent whose ministers were all of 
the tribe of Levi, and which no member of another tribe could enter on pain 
of death (Num. iii. 5 — 10). Some have tried to harmonize the two by sup- 
posing that the small tent was a temporary expedient, in use only until the 
larger tent was erected ^ But this disregards not only the frequentative force 
of the verbs in the present passage, but also the fact that the small tent 
appears in use after the erection of the large tent has been related (Num. 
xi. 16, 24 6—26, 30, xii. 4 f. ; cf Dt. xxxi. 14 f ). It would appear, however, that 
the editor who allowed E's fragment to stand, in face of the priestly Taber- 
nacle chapters, must himself have adopted some such explanation for the 
harmonizing of the two accounts. 

7 Now Moses used to take the tent and to pitch it without E 
the camp, afar off from the camp ; and he called it, The tent 

7. the tent. The use of the definite article shews that the 
passage is fragmentary. The tent is already known, and E must 
have contained some account of its manufacture. The considerations 

1 The supposition that it was Moses' own private tent is found in the lxx 
(Xa/Stbj/ Mwuo-Tjs rriv aKrjvrjv avrov) and Pesh. Eashi also speaks of it as ' Moses' 
tent,' and he is followed by many commentators. But this, though not in itself 
improbable, seems to be negatived by v. 11, which says that Moses used to return 
to the camp, leaving Joshua alone in the tent. 


of meeting. And it came to pass, that every one which sought E 
the Lord went out unto the tent of meeting, which was without 
the camp. 8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto 
the Tent, that all the people rose up, and stood, every man 
at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into 
the Tent. 9 And it came to pass, when Moses entered into the 
Tent, the pillar of cloud descended, and stood at the door of 
the Tent : and tlie Lord spake with Moses. 10 And all the 
people saw the pillar of cloud stand at the door of the Tent : 
and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man at his 
tent door. 11 And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, 
as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into 

noticed above forbid the possibility that ^the tent' refers to the 
priestly tabernacle, which, indeed, is not erected till ch. xl. 

The tent of meeting. Heb. 'ohel mo'ed. A. V. ' the Tabernacle of 
the congregation' is misleading^; the contents of the whole section 
shew that the tent was not for congregational gatherings of the people. 
In xxix. 42 a priestly writer shews the meaning which he attached to 
the name — ' where I will meet with you to speak there unto thee.' The 
root of the word mo^ed signifies * to appoint ' or ' fix ' a time or place, 
so that the name was understood to mean 'the tent where Yahweh 
will meet his people by appointment ' — the ' tent of tryst ' (W. K 
Smith, OTJC" 246) ; and since He meets them to speak with them 
and declare His will, it becomes an Offenbarungszelt (Ewald), a ' tent 
of revelation ' (Driver on Dt. xxxi. 14 f., the only passage in Dt. in 
which the tent is mentioned). It is probable, however, that in the 
much earlier days of which E here preserves a record, a more primitive 
meaning attached to the name. The Heb. word mSed denotes a ' fixed 
time,' a 'sacred season.' One of the functions of Babylonian priests 
was to determine the right or auspicious time for an undertaking, which 
was described by the word dddnu, from the same root as mo'ed. And 
Zimmern {Beitr. z. Kenntnis d. hab. Religion^ p. 88, n. 2) suggests 
that the Hebrew expression may originally have denoted 'the tent 
where the proper time for an undertaking was determined,' i.e. the 
* oracle- tent.' Either derivation expresses the thought that the tent 
was a place where men could learn the divine will. 

9. and He spake ivith Moses. The pillar of cloud being a mani- 
festation of the divine presence, it was unnecessary to express the 
subject of the verb. On the pillar of cloud see xiii. 21. 

11. Joshua is here introduced to the reader as though his name 
had not been previously mentioned ; see note on xvii. 9. 

^ It treats ll^iD as synonymous with the cognate iTiy. 

214 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxxiii. 11-16 

the camp : but his minister Joshua, the son of Nun, a young E 
man, departed not out of the Tent. 

12 And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou say est unto me, J 
Bring up this people : and thou hast not let me know ^whom 
thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by 
name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. 13 Now 
therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew 
me now thy ways, that I may know thee, to the end that I may 
find grace in thy sight : and consider that this nation is thy 
people. 14 And he said. My presence shall go with thee, and 
I will give thee rest. 15 And he said unto him, If thy presence 
go not with me, carry us not up hence. 16 For wherein now 
shall it be known that I have found grace in thy sight, I and 
thy people? is it not in that thou goest with us, so that we 
be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are 
upon the face of the earth ? 

^ Or, him whom 

Nun. The word means *a fish.' It is perhaps a relic of early 
totemism, and is probably not a personal name, but the name of a 
clan ; ' son of Nun ' will then denote a member of the clan. See Gray, 
Hehr. Proper Names, 96, 102. 

12 — 16. Moses' intercession. See the note at the beginning of 
the chapter. 

12. thou hast said &c. These words of Yahweh are found in 
V. n. * A great king knows not all those who are attached to him ; 
he ^ with whom this is the case has the preference in being more 
intimately known to his master ' (Knobel). This thought appears in 
the Lxx otSa crc trapa Travra? (and in V. 17). Yahweh 'knew' him as 
His agent for a particular purpose. See Sanday and Headlam on 
Rom. viii. 29. 

13. Moses' prayer rises in boldness and importunity. He has 
apparently asked Yahweh to forgive His people ; he now asks Him to 
reveal His way. His method of working ; he longs for an insight into 
His Being and Character (cf Ps. xviii. 30 (31), Job xxi. 31). In v. 18 
he asks for more ; ' shew me thy glory' — the full sight of thy majesty 
and perfection. This was impossible under the Old Dispensation 
(v. 20), but an accomplished fact under the New (Jn. i. 14). 

14. My presence shall go [om. 'with thee']. Lit. 'My Face.' 
This is not a manifestation of His presence, but the very Person 

Himself; lxx auro? TrpoTropevao/xai (tol. (Cf. Is. Ixiii. 9.) It is 

the complete and final response, exhibiting full forgiveness and 


17 And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also J 
that thou hast spoken : for thou hast found grace in my sight, 
and I know thee by name. 18 And he said, Shew me, I pray 
thee, thy glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness 
pass before thee, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before 
thee ; and I wiU be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and 
will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 20 And he said. 
Thou canst not see my face : for man shall not see me and live. 
21 And the Lord said. Behold, there is a place by me, and thou 
shalt stand upon the rock : 22 and it shall come to pass, while 
my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, 
and will cover thee Avith my hand until I have passed by : 23 and 
I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back : but 
my face shall not be seen. 

17. this thing also. See analysis, p. xxxvi. 

19. mi/ goodness. Rather my goodliness, my beauty. It is to 
be a spectacle of outward beauty as a visible sign of His moral 
perfection. A similar vision was vouchsafed before the people had 
sinned (xxiv. 10), and its repetition is a sign of forgiveness. 

the name of YaJiweh. The full description of the character 
implied in the name ; see on iii. 14. Under the present circumstances 
the aspect of the name which was of importance to Moses is revealed 
in the following words, and in xxxiv. 6 f ; Yahweh is one who can 
of His own sovereign will be gracious and merciful even to those who 
have sinned against Him. See S. Paul's use of the passage in 
Rom. ix. 15. 

22. a cleft oj the rock. The allegorical explanation of the cleft 
rock, familiar to Englishmen from Toplady's hymn ' Rock of ages,' is 
frequent in patristic writings, occurring as early as Irenaeus (iv. xx. 9) 
— ' in altitudine petrae, hoc est in eo qui est secundum hominem ejus 
adventu.' And the thought is finely expressed by Canon Mason (on 
Greg. Naz. Theol. Orat. ii. 3) : ' The Incarnation gives an assured 
point from which we may observe and study God without being over- 
whelmed by the greatness of the revelation. The glories of the Divine 
Nature are tempered for us, as it were, by the Human Life which 
encompasses us as we look out from it to the Divine. By the Incar- 
nation our field of contemplation is at once restricted and made 

23. my hack. Lit. ' my hinder parts.' It is impossible to express 
in English the force of the word without unduly suggesting an 
anthropumorpliic conception. The vision of Yahweh's glory — His 
full Personality — was impossible for Moses ; but he might catch 
a glimpse of the 'afterglow' — a partial suggestion of what the 

216 THE BOOK OF EXODUS [xxxiv. i 

XXXIV. 1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee J 
two tables of stone | like unto the first : and I will write upon BP 
the tables the words that were on the first tables, which thou 

whole radiance must be. Greg. Naz. explains it as 'all the indi- 
cations of Himself which He has left behind Him.' See Wisd. xiii. 
1—9, Rom. i. 20. 

Chapter XXXIV. 

The tablets of stone. The Theophany and Closes' intercession. 
The covenant laws. The shining on Noses' face. 

XXXIV. 1—5, 10—28. The sin of the people has been for- 
given, and Yahweh has promised that His presence shall go with 
them. More than this Israel could not need. We do not expect to 
find after this a fresh body of laws given to Moses (yv. 11 — 26) ; and 
it is still more extraordinary that these laws should be made the basis 
of a covenant {vv. 10, 27). A covenant having been formed, and 
based upon laws which are given earlier in the book, and then having 
been broken by sin, all that can conceivably be required is repentance 
and forgiveness. The original covenant laws must unalterably hold 
good. If then vv. 1, 4a, 286 are to be natural and intelligible, and 
the chapter relates, not the laying down of fresh laws as the renewal 
of the covenant but, merely the re- writing of the original laws upon 
fresh tablets, the laws in vv. 11 — 26 should be an exact repetition of 
the Decalogue (xx. 1 — 17). On the other hand, if the original cove- 
nant laws were not those of the Decalogue but were certain commands 
relating to worship, partly preserved and embedded in xx. 23 — xxiii. 19, 
and largely parallel to those in xxxiv. 11 — 26, then they were not 'the 
words which were on the first tablets ' which Moses broke. The 
solution which appears best to account for the difficulties is that 
the laws on worship embedded in xx. 23 — xxiii. 19 are E's recension, 
and those in xxxiv. are J's recension, of the original covenant laws, 
the latter placed in their present position by the compiler of JE (so 
that they have the appearance of being a renewal of the broken 
covenant) ; and that a subsequent redactor, for whom the Decalogue 
(xx. 1 — 17) had become the sole basis of the covenant, added two 
harmonistic glosses in the present chapter, in vv. 1 and 4, and perhaps 
also the expression ' the ten words ' in v. 28. The whole question is 
more fully discussed in the analysis, pp. xxviii. — xxxi. If this is the 
true solution; J brings to a close his narrative of the Sinai covenant 
with the impressive scene related in ch. xxxiii., and ends on a high 
spiritual note. 

1. like unto the first .. .which thou brakest. These words, and ' like 
unto the first ' (v. 4) are the two Deuteronomic glosses spoken of in the 
above note. 

/ will write. Contrast -y. 27 ' Write thou these words.' 


brakes t. | 2 And be ready by the morning, and come up in the R^J 
morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me on 
the top of the mount. 3 And no man shall come up with thee, 
neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount ; neither 
let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount. 4 And he 
hewed two tables of stone | like unto the first ; | and Moses R^J 
rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, 
as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two 
tables of stone. 5 And the Lord descended in the cloud, ^and 
stood with him there, and proclaimed ^the name of the Lord. 
6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed. The 
Lord, the Lord, a God full of compassion and gracious, slow to 
anger, and plenteous in mercy and truth ; 7 ^keeping mercy for 
thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin : and 
that will by no means clear the guilty ; visiting the iniquity of 
the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, 
upon the third and upon the fourth generation. 8 And Moses 
made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and wor- 
shipped. 9 And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, 

^ Or, and he stood with him there, and called upon (&c. 
^ Or,. Jehovah by name •* See eh. xx. 5, 6. 

5. and proclaimed the name of the Lord ; and he [Moses] 
called with the name of Yahweh. The rendering of the R.V. (and 
A.V.) was due to the following verse. But m). 6 — 9 are quite uncon- 
nected with the present passage ; their insertion at this point was 
probably due to the recurrence of ^l"^*! ' and he called.' 

The expression ' called with the name ' means employed the name 
in invocation; R.V. elsewhere 'call on, or upon.' Cf. Gen. iv. 26, 
xii. 8, xiii. 4, xxi. 33, xxvi. 25 (all J), 2 K. v. 11, Jer. x. 25 ; see also 
1 K. xviii. 24 ff. 

6 — 9. Part of the narrative in the preceding chapter ; the verses 
should probably stand before xxxiii. 14 — 16. See the note at the 
beginning of that chapter. 

This description of the divine character, with its correlation of 
mercy and justice, is unsurpassed in literature. It finds echoes in 
several later passages — 2 Ch. xxx. 9, Neh. ix. 17, 31, Ps. Ixxxvi. 15, 
ciii. 8, cxi. 4, cxii. 4, cxlv. 8, Joel ii. 13, Jon. iv. 2, Nah. i. 3 ; it is 
explicitly quoted in Num. xiv. 1