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2 Kings xxii. 8-20, xxiii. 1-25

"And the works of Josias were upright before his Lord with a heart full of godliness."—1 Esdras i. 23.

"From Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem."—Isa. ii. 3.

It is from the Prophets—Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Ezekiel—that we catch almost our sole glimpses of the vast world-movements of the nations which must have loomed large on the minds of the King of Judah and of all earnest politicians in that day. As they did not directly affect the destiny of Judah till the end of the reign, they do not interest the historian of the Kings or the later Chronicler. The things which rendered the reign memorable in their eyes were chiefly two—the finding of "the Book of the Law" in the House of the Lord, and the consequent religious reformation.

It is with the first of these two events that we must deal in the present chapter.

Josiah began to reign as a child of eight, and it may be that the emphatic and honourable mention of his mother—Jedidah ("Beloved"), daughter of Adaiah of Boscath—may be due to the fact that he owed to her training that early proclivity to faithfulness which earns for him the unique testimony, that he not only "walked386 in the way of David his father," but that "he turned not aside to the right hand or to the left."

At first, of course, as a mere child, he could take no very active steps. The Chronicler says that at sixteen he began to show his devotion, and at twenty set himself the task of purging Judah and Jerusalem from the taint of idols. Things were in a bad condition, as we see from the bitter complaints and denunciations of Zephaniah and Jeremiah. Idolatry of the worst description was still openly tolerated. But Josiah was supported by a band of able and faithful advisers. Shaphan, grandfather of the unhappy Gedaliah—afterwards the Chaldæan viceroy over conquered Judah—was scribe; Hilkiah, the son of Shallum and the ancestor of Ezra, was the high priest.691691   2 Kings xxiii. 4. We have here the first mention of "the second priest" (if, with Grätz, we read Cohen mishneh, as in 2 Kings xxv. 18; Jer. lii. 24). In later days he was called "the Sagan." At this time he probably acted as "Captain of the Temple" (Grätz, ii. 319). By them the king was assisted, fist in the obliteration of the prevalent emblems of idolatry, and then in the purification of the Temple. Two centuries and a half had elapsed since it had been last repaired by Joash, and it must have needed serious restoration during long years of neglect in the reigns of Ahaz, of Manasseh, and of Amon. Subscriptions were collected from the people by "the keepers of the door," and were freely entrusted to the workmen and their overseers, who employed them faithfully in the objects for which they were designed.692692   Comp. 2 Kings xii. 15, where we find the same remark.

The repairs led to an event of momentous influence on all future time. During the cleansing of the Temple Hilkiah came to Shaphan, and said, "I have found the Book of the Law in the House of the Lord." Perhaps387 the copy of the book had been placed by some priest's hand beside the Ark, and had been discovered during the removal of the rubbish which neglect had there accumulated. Shaphan read the book; and when next he had to see the king to tell him about the progress of the repairs, he said to him, "Hilkiah the priest hath handed me a book." Josiah bade him read some of it aloud. It is evident that he read the curses contained in Deut. xxviii. They horrified the pious monarch; for all that they contained, and the laws to which they were appended, were wholly new to him. He might well be amazed that a code so solemn, and purporting to have emanated from Moses, should, in spite of maledictions so fearful, have become an absolute dead letter. In deep alarm he sent the priest, the scribe Shaphan, with his son Ahikam, and Abdon, the son of Micaiah, and Asahiah, a court official, to inquire of Jehovah, whose great anger could not but be kindled against king and people by the obliteration and nullity of His law. They consulted Huldah, the only prophetess mentioned in the Old Testament, except Miriam and Deborah.693693   Exod. xv. 20; Judg. iv. 4; Isa. viii. 3. "The prophetess" seems to mean "prophet's wife." Noadiah was a false prophetess. She was the wife of Shallum and keeper of the priests' robes,694694   Exod. xxviii. 2, etc. and she lived in the suburbs of the city.695695   2 Kings xxii. 14. Heb., mishneh, lit. "second"; A.V., "the college"; R.V., "the second quarter." Perhaps it means "the lower city" (Neh. xi. 9; Zeph. i. 10). It puzzled the LXX.: ἐν τῇ μασενᾷ. Vulg., in secunda. Jerome says, "Haud dubium quin urbis partem significet quæ interiori muro vallabatur." Comp. Zeph. i. 10, "an howling from the second" (i.e., quarter of the city); Neh. xi. 9, where, for "second over the city" (A. and R.V.), read "over the second part of the city." Her answer was an uncompromising menace. All the curses which the king had388 heard against the place and people should be pitilessly fulfilled,—only, as the king had showed a tender heart, and had humbled himself before Jehovah, he should go to his own grave in peace.696696   Another reading is "in Jerusalem," which gets over an historic difficulty.

Thereupon the king summoned to the Temple a great assembly of priests, prophets, and all the people, and, standing by the pillar (or "on the platform")697697   Comp. 2 Kings xi. 14; LXX., ἐπὶ τοῦ στύλου; Heb., al-ha-ammud; Vulg., super gradum. in the entrance of the inner court, read "all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the House of the Lord" in their ears, and joined with them in "the covenant" to obey the hitherto unknown or totally forgotten laws which were inculcated in the newly discovered volume.

Immediate action followed. The priests were ordered to bring out of the Temple all the vessels made for Baal, for the Asherah, and for the host of heaven; they were burnt outside Jerusalem in the Valley of Kedron, and their ashes taken to Bethel.698698   2 Kings xxiii. 4; for "in the fields of Kedron" one version has ἐν τῷ ἐμπυρισμῷ τοῦ χειμάῤῥου, "in the burning-place of the wady,"—perhaps reading bemisrephoth for bishedamoth, and alluding to lime-kilns in the wady. It is surprising that they should carry the ashes "to Bethel." Thenius suggests the reading בֵּית־אַל, "place of execution" (lit., "house of nothingness"). The chemarim of the high places were suppressed, as well as all other idolatrous priests who burnt incense to the signs of the Zodiac, the Hyades, and the heavenly bodies.699699   Hos. x. 5; Zeph. i. 4 (the only other places where the word occurs). The delevit of the Vulgate (2 Kings xxiii. 5) only means that he put them down, and the κατέκαυσε of the LXX. should be κατέπαυσε. The Asherah itself was taken out of the389 Temple, and it is truly amazing that we should find it there so late in Josiah's reign. He burnt it in the Kedron, stamped it to powder, and scattered the powder "on the graves of the common people." The Chronicler says "on the graves of them that had sacrificed" to the idols700700   Comp. Jer. ii. 23, where the LXX. has ἐν τῷ πολυανδρίῳ. In 2 Chron. xxxiv. 4, perhaps the true reading is, not Benî-ha-'âm, but Benî-hinnom—which would mean that he scattered the dust in the gehenna of Jerusalem. Comp. 1 Kings xv. 13.;—but this is an inexplicable statement, since it is (as Professor Lumby says) very improbable that idolaters had a separate burial-place. It is equally shocking, and to us incomprehensible, to read that the houses of the degraded Qedeshim still stood, not "by the Temple" (A.V.), but "in the Temple,"701701   For these Galli, see Seneca, De Vit. Beat., 27; Pliny, H. N., xi. 49. and that in these houses, or chambers, the women still "wove embroideries702702   Heb., bathîm, lit. "tents" or "houses"; Vulg., quasi domunculas. for the Asherah." What was Hilkiah doing? If the priests of the high places were so guilty from Geba to Beersheba, did no responsibility attach to the high priest and other priests of the Temple who permitted the existence of these enormities, not only in the bamoth at the city gates,703703   In 2 Kings xxiii. 8, Geiger would read "the high places of the satyrs" (שׂצירים). but in the very courts of the mountain of the Lord's House? If the priests of the immemorial shrines were degraded from their prerogatives, and were not allowed to come up to the altar of Jehovah in Jerusalem, by what law of justice were they to be regarded as so immeasurably inferior to the highest members of their own order, who, for years together, had permitted the worship of a wooden phallic emblem, and the existence of the worst heathen abominations within the very Temple390 of the Lord? Every honest reader must admit that there are inexplicable difficulties and uncertainties in these ancient histories, and that our knowledge of the exact circumstances—especially in all that regards the priests and Levites, who, in the Chronicles, are their own ecclesiastical historians—must remain extremely imperfect.

And what can be meant by the clause that the degraded priests of the old high places, though they were not allowed to serve at the great altar, yet "did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren"? Unleavened bread was only eaten at the Passover; and when there was a Passover, was eaten by all alike. Perhaps the reading for "unleavened bread" should be (priestly) "portions"—a reading found by Geiger in an old manuscript.

Continuing his work, Josiah defiled Tophet;704704   Usually derived (as by Selden and Milton) from toph, "drum," but perhaps from tuph (to spit in sign of abhorrence). took away the horses given by the kings of Judah to the sun, which were stabled beside the chamber of the eunuch Nathan-Melech in the precincts;705705   Parvar—perhaps "open portico." Renan connects the word with the Greek περίβολος. On horses dedicated to the sun, see Xen. Cyrop., viii. 3, 5, 12; Anab., iv. 5. and burnt the sun-chariots in the fire. He removed the altars to the stars on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz,706706   See Zeph. i. 5; Jer. xix. 13, xxxii. 29. and ground them to powder. He also destroyed those of his grandfather Manasseh in the two Temple courts—which we supposed to have been removed by Manasseh in his repentance—and threw the dust into the Kedron. He defiled the idolatrous shrines reared by Solomon to the deities of Sidon, Ammon, and Moloch, broke the pillars, cut down the Asherim, and filled their places391 with dead men's bones.707707   2 Kings xxiii. 13: "The Mount of Corruption"; Vulg., Mons offensionis; LXX., τοῦ ὄρους τοῦ Μοσθάθ. Some conjecture that Maschith may be a derisive change for some word which meant "anointing" (from being the Oil Mountain, Har ham-mischchah). Travelling northwards, he burnt, destroyed, and stamped to powder the altars and the Asherim at Bethel, and burnt upon the altars the remains found in the sepulchres,708708   In burning the bones of the dead, he violated all Jewish feeling. Amos (ii. 1) had severely rebuked this form of revenge and insult even in the case of the heathen King of Moab. Bones defiled the touch (Num. xix. 16; Herod., iv. 73). Josiah's question at Bethel was, "What pillar is that?" (tsiyun). LXX., σκόπελον. Comp. Gen. xxxv. 20. only leaving undisturbed the remains of the old prophet from Judah, and of the prophet of Samaria.709709   1 Kings xiii. 29-31. He then destroyed the other Samaritan shrines, exercising an undisputed authority over the Northern Kingdom. The mixed inhabitants did not interfere with his proceedings; and in the declining fortunes of Nineveh, the Assyrian viceroy—if there was one—did not dispute his authority. Lastly, in accordance with the fierce injunction of Deut. xvii. 2-5, "he slew all the priests of the high places" on their own altars, burnt men's bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.

It is very difficult, with the milder notions which we have learnt from the spirit of the Gospel, to look with approval on the recrudescence of the Elijah-spirit displayed by the last proceeding. But many centuries were to elapse, even under the Gospel Dispensation, before men learnt the sacred principle of the early Christians that "violence is hateful to God." Josiah must be judged by a more lenient judgment, and he was obeying a mandate found in the new Book of the Law. But the question arises whether the fierce392 commands of Deuteronomy were ever intended to be taken au pied de la lettre. May not Deut. xiii. 6-18 have been intended to express in a concrete but ideal form the spirit of execration to be entertained towards idolatry? Perhaps in thinking so we are only guilty of an anachronism, and are applying to the seventh century before Christ the feelings of the nineteenth century after Christ.

After this Josiah ordered the people to keep a Deuteronomic Passover, such as we are told—and as all the circumstances prove—had not been kept from the days of the Judges. The Chronicler revels in the details of this Passover, and tells us that Josiah gave the people thirty thousand lambs and kids, and three thousand bullocks; and his priests gave two thousand six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen; and the chief of the Levites gave the Levites five thousand small cattle, and five hundred oxen. He goes on to describe the slaying, sprinkling of blood, flaying, roasting, boiling in pots, pans, and caldrons, and attention paid to the burnt-offerings and the fat;710710   2 Chron. xxxv. 1-19. but neither the historians nor the chroniclers, either here or anywhere else, say one word about the Day of Atonement, or seem aware of its existence. It belongs to the Post-Exilic Priestly Code, and is not alluded to in the Book of Deuteronomy.

Continuing his task, he put away them that had familiar spirits (oboth), and the wizards, and the teraphim, with a zeal shown by no king before or after him; but Jehovah "turned not from the fierceness of His anger, because of all the provocations which Manasseh had provoked Him withal." Evil, alas! is more diffusive, and in some senses more permanent, than good, because of the perverted bias of human nature. Judah and393 Jerusalem had been radically corrupted by the apostate son of Hezekiah, and it may be that the sudden and high-handed reformation enforced by his grandson depended too exclusively on the external impulse given to it by the king to produce deep effects in the hearts of the people. Certain it is that even Jeremiah—though he was closely connected with the finders of the book, had perhaps been present when the solemn league and covenant was taken in the Temple, and lived through the reformation in which he probably took a considerable part—was profoundly dissatisfied with the results. It is sad and singular that such should have been the case; for in the first flush of the new enthusiasm he had written, "Cursed be the man that heareth not the words of this covenant, which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, saying, 'Obey My voice.'"711711   Jer. xi. 3, 4. Since, in this part of my subject, I make frequent reference to the prophecies of Jeremiah which are indispensable to the right understanding of the history, I may here say that modern critics (Cheyne and others) arrange them as follows:—
    In the reign of Josiah, Jer. ii. 1-iii. 5, iii. 6-vi. 30, vii. 1-ix. 25, xi. 1-17.

    In the reign of Jehoiakim, xxvi. 2-6, xlvi. 2-12, xxv., xxxv., and possibly xvi. 1, xviii. 19-27, xiv., xv., xviii., xi. 18-xii. 17.

    In the reign of Jehoiachin, x. 17-23, xiii.

    In the reign of Zedekiah, xxii.-xxiv., xxvii.-xxix. 1-11 (?), lii.

    In the Exile, xxxix.-xliv.
Nay, it has been inferred that he was even an itinerant preacher of the newly found law; for he writes: "And the Lord said unto me, 'Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them.'"712712   See Cheyne, Jeremiah, p. 56, id. 6.

The style of Deuteronomy, as is well known, shows remarkable affinities with the style of Jeremiah. Yet it is clear that after the death of Josiah the prophet394 became utterly disillusioned with the outcome of the whole movement. It proved itself to be at once evanescent and unreal. The people would not give up their beloved local shrines.713713   Canon Cheyne shows that even Mohammed could not persuade the Qurashites wholly to give up their black stone at the Kaaba, and their dolmens and sacred trees (id. 103). He left the auçab, or sacrificial stones (matstseboth), though he warns his followers against them (Quran, v. 92). The law, as Habakkuk says (i. 4), became torpid; judgment went not forth to victory; the wicked compassed about the righteous, and judgment was perverted. It was easy to obey the external regulations of Deuteronomy; it was far more difficult to be true to its noble moral precepts. The reformation of Josiah, so violent and radical, proved to be only skin-deep; and Jeremiah, with bitter disappointment, found it to be so. External decency might be improved, but rites and forms are nothing to Him who searcheth the heart.714714   Jer. xvii. 9-11. There was, in fact, an inherent danger in the place assumed by the newly discovered book. "Since it was regarded as a State authority, there early arose a kind of book-science, with its pedantic pride and erroneous learned endeavours to interpret and apply the Scriptures. At the same time there arose also a new kind of hypocrisy and idolatry of the letter, through the new protection which the State gave to the religion of the book acknowledged by the law. Thus scholastic wisdom came into conflict with genuine prophecy."715715   Ewald, The Prophets, iii. 63, 64.

How entirely the improvement of outward worship failed to improve men's hearts the prophet testifies.716716   Jer. xvii. 1-4. "The sin of Judah," he says, "is written with a pen of395 iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the tablets of their hearts, and upon the horns of their altars, and their Asherim by the green trees717717   The Qurashites and other heathen Arabs accounted holy a large green tree, and every year had a sacrifice in its honour. "On the way to Hunain we called to God's Messenger (Mohammed) that he should appoint for us such trees. But he was terrified, and said, 'Lord God, Lord God! Ye speak even as the Israelites ... ye are still in ignorance,—thus are heathen enslaved'" (Vakïdi, Book of the Campaigns of God's Messenger, quoted by Cheyne, Jeremiah, p. 103, from Wellhausen). upon the high hills. O My mountain in the field, I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in Mine eyes, which shall burn for ever." While Josiah lived this apostasy was secret; but as soon as he died the people "turned again to folly,"718718   Psalm lxxxv. 8. and committed all the old idolatries except the worship of Moloch. There arose a danger lest even the moderate ritualism of Deuteronomy should be perverted and exaggerated into mere formality. In the energy of his indignation against this abuse, Jeremiah has to uplift his voice against any trust even in the most decided injunctions of this newly discovered law. He was "a second Amos upon a higher platform." The Deuteronomic Law did not as yet exhibit the concentrated sacerdotalism and ritualism which mark the Priestly Code, to which it is far superior in every way. It is still prophetic in its tone. It places social interests above rubrics of worship. It expresses the fundamental religious thought "that Jehovah is in no sense inaccessible; that He can be approached immediately by all, and without sacerdotal intervention; that He asks nothing for Himself, but asks it as a religious duty that man should render396 unto man what is right; that His Will lies not in any known height, but in the moral sphere which is known and understood by all."719719   Deut. xxx. 11-14. See Wellhausen, p. 165. The book ordained certain sacrifices; yet Jeremiah says with startling emphasis, "To what purpose cometh there to Me frankincense from Sheba, and the sweet calamus from a far country? Your burnt-offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices pleasant unto Me."720720   Jer. vi. 20. The passages of Jeremiah which seem of a different spirit may have been added by later hands—e.g., xxxiii. 18, which is not in the LXX. Therefore He bids them, "Put your burnt-offerings to your sacrifices, and eat them as flesh"—i.e., "Throw all your offerings into a mass, and eat them at your pleasure (regardless of sacerdotal rules): they have neither any inherent sanctity nor any secondary importance from the characters of the offerers."721721   Jer. vii. 21; Ewald; and Cheyne, l.c. 120. So the Jews seem to have understood it, for they appoint this passage to be read on the Haphtara after the Parashah about sacrifices from Leviticus. And in a still more remarkable passage, "For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings and sacrifices: but this thing I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice.'"722722   Jer, vii. 22, 23. This alone would show that Jeremiah did not (as earlier critics thought) write "Deuteronomy," in spite of the numerous close resemblances in phraseology. Thus, Jeremiah often denounces the priests (i. 18, ii. 8-26, iv. 9, v. 31, viii. 1, xiii. 13, xxxii. 32). Cheyne, p. 82.

Nay, in the most emphatic ordinances of Deuteronomy he found that the people had created a new peril. They were putting a particularistic trust in Jehovah, as though He were a respecter of persons, and they His favourites. They fancied, as in the days of Micah, that it was enough for them to claim His name, and397 bribe Him with sacrifices.723723   Mic. iii. 11. Above all, they boasted of and relied upon the possession of His Temple, and placed their trust on the punctual observance of external ceremonies. All these sources of vain confidence it was the duty of Jeremiah rudely to shatter to pieces. Standing at the gates of the Lord's House, he cried: "Trust ye not in lying words, saying, 'The Temple of the Lord! the Temple of the Lord! the Temple of the Lord, are these!' Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods; and come and stand before Me in this house, whereupon My name is called, and say, 'We are delivered,' that ye may do all these abominations? Is this house become a den of robbers in your eyes? But go ye now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I caused My name to dwell at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of My people. I will do unto this house as I have done to Shiloh; and I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out the whole house of Ephraim."724724   Jer. vii. 4, 8-15.—Yet all hope was not extinguished for ever. The Scythian might disappear; the Babylonian might come in his place; but one day there should be a new covenant of pardon and restitution; and as had been promised in Deuteronomy, "all should know Jehovah, from the least to the greatest."

At last he even prophesies the entire future annulment of the solemn covenant made on the basis of Deuteronomy, and says that Jehovah will make a new covenant with His people, not according to the covenant which He made with their fathers.725725   Jer. xxxi. 31, 32. And in his398 final estimate of King Josiah after his death, he does not so much as mention his reformation, his iconoclasm, his sweeping zeal, or his enforcement of the Deuteronomic Law, but only says to Jehoiakim:—

"'Did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice?—then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Was not this to know Me?' saith the Lord."726726   Jer. xxii. 15, 16.

Whether because its methods were too violent, or because it only affected the surface of men's lives, or because the people were not really ripe for it, or because no reformation can ever succeed which is enforced by autocracy, not spread by persuasion and conviction, it is certain that the first glamour of Josiah's movement ended in disillusionment. A religion violently imposed from without as a state-religion naturally tends to hypocrisy and externalism. What Jehovah required was, not a changed method of worship, but a changed heart; and this the reformation of Josiah did not produce. It has often been so in human history. Failure seems to be written on many of the most laudable human efforts. Nevertheless, truth ultimately prevails. Isaiah was murdered, and Urijah, and Jeremiah. Savonarola was burnt, and Huss, and many a martyr more; but the might of priestcraft was at last crippled, to be revived, we hope, no more, either by open violence or secret apostasy.

"Then to side with Truth is noble, when we share her wretched crust,

Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and 'tis prosperous to be just;

Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside,

Doubting in his abject spirit till his Lord is crucified,

And the multitude make virtue of the faith they have denied."



"Jehovah is our Lawgiver."—Isa. xxxiii. 22.

What was the Book of the Law which Hilkiah found in the Temple?

The great majority of eminent modern critics have now come to the conclusion that it was the kernel of the Book of Deuteronomy. Nor is this in any sense a mere modern notion. It occurs as far back as St. Jerome (Adv. Jovin., i. 5) and St. Chrysostom (Hom. in Matt., ix., p. 135, B. See W. Rob. Smith, p. 258).

It is no part of my immediate duty to argue this question, but I may state that the arguments for this conclusion are partly historical, partly literary, and partly depend on internal evidence.

I. As regards the literary argument, it is maintained that—

1. The full, rounded, rhetorical style of Deuteronomy, so widely different from the extreme dryness of other parts of the Torah, could not have been as yet developed in the days of Moses, and required the slow training of centuries for its perfection. It is a new phenomenon, and differs widely from earlier prophetic writings, such as those of Amos and Hosea.

2. The style and language of the Deuteronomist are so marked, that they can scarcely escape an intelligent reader of the English Version. Riehm enumerates sixty-four characteristic words or phrases. Their significance lies in the fact that they express obvious ideas, and are not names for special objects, which force a writer to use peculiar words. The style closely resembles in many phrases and particulars the style of Jeremiah, and of him alone among the prophets. "Even supposing that no historic text," it has been said, "taught us that the articles of Smalkald were the work of Luther, we should still have the right to affirm that these articles closely resemble the ideas of Luther, and could hardly have been published without his cognisance."

II. As regards historical evidence, we observe that—

1. No author earlier than Josiah shows any acquaintance with Deuteronomy: after that date, proofs of such knowledge abound.

2. The Book of Deuteronomy insisted with reiterated emphasis on the centralisation of worship. All its ordinances are framed with a view to promote this end. But we have seen that there400 is not a trace of any belief that local shrines were prohibited earlier than the reign of Hezekiah, who certainly would have defended his boldness by appeal to a written law if he had known of such as existing.

III. As regards internal evidence, we see that—

1. Many passages and injunctions of the Book of Deuteronomy differ entirely from those found in the old Book of the Covenant which forms the most ancient nucleus of Exodus (Exod. xx. 22-xxiii. 33).

2. Even the most conservative English critics—even those who, with any pretence to competent knowledge, argue against the more advanced conclusions of the Higher Criticism—cannot help admitting that at least three codes, which in many, and in some fundamental, respects differ widely from each other, and which make no reference to each other, are found in our present Pentateuch—viz., that of the Book of the Covenant, that of the Deuteronomist (D.), and that of the Priestly writer (P.). All three may contain elements as old as the days of Moses; but most critics (with scarcely an exception in Germany) now believe that the Deuteronomic Code, in its present form, is not earlier than the date of Josiah's reformation (circ. b.c. 621); and the Priestly Codex (whatever older documents may exist in it) not older, in its present form, than about the time of Ezra (b.c. 444). Dillmann, Kittel, and in his later days Delitzsch, have been of necessity compelled to give up the views that, in their present form, D. and P. are as ancient as the days of Moses. The last German critic who held that Moses wrote our present Pentateuch was Keil (d. 1888). Canon Cheyne argues for the late date of this misnamed "Deuteronomy," on the grounds that the authors (1) used documents manifestly later than Moses; (2) alluded to events which only occurred long after Moses; and (3) expressed ideas which, in the age of Moses, are not psychologically possible.

The Book of Deuteronomy consists mainly of an historical introduction, probably added later (i. 1-5); Moses' first discourse (i. 6-iv. 40); Moses' second discourse (iv. 44-xxvi.); a section marked specially by blessings and curses (xxvii.-xxix.); a third discourse of Moses (xxix. 2-xxx. 20); his farewell (xxxi. 1-13); his song (xxxi. 14-xxxii. 47); conclusion, narrating his blessing and death (xxxii. 48-xxxiv. 12).

I have no space here to enter fully into the arguments which401 seem decisive as to the date of the main part of Deuteronomy. Those who desire to see them must study Colenso, The Pentateuch, pt. iii.; Reuss, Hist. Sainte et la Loi, i. 154-211; W. Robertson Smith, Old Test. in the Jewish Church, lect. xvi.; Kuenen, The Hexateuch, E. T., 1886; Kittel, Gesch. d. Hebräer, pp. 43-59; Cheyne, Jeremiah, pp. 48-86; S. R. Driver, s.v. "Deuteronomy" (Smith's Dict. of the Bible, new ed.); W. Aldis Wright, The Documents of the Hexateuch, pp. lvii.-lxxix. The name "Deuteronomy" (or "second law") arises from the mistaken rendering of the LXX. and Vulgate in Deut. xvii. 18.

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