Proposed Reconstruction Of The Pentateuch -- By: Edwin Cone Bissell

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 041:161 (Jan 1884)
Article: Proposed Reconstruction Of The Pentateuch
Author: Edwin Cone Bissell

Proposed Reconstruction Of The Pentateuch

Prop. Edwin C. Bissell

The subject of the relation of the Pentateuchal codes was considered, in a number of important particulars, in the preceding article. In the present one it will be concluded; the special point of view, however, being the code of Deuteronomy (chaps, 12.-26.), which will be compared with those associated with it as far as the legislation covers common ground. A matter of no less importance in the criticism — the laws of Deuteronomy which are original with that book, and the question of the harmony of Deuteronomy with itself and its historic surroundings — must be reserved for later treatment.

1. Destruction of Idols and of Heathen Shrines in Canaan. — The code of laws found in Deuteronomy is consistently introduced (12:1) with the words: “These are the statutes .and judgments which ye shall observe and keep in the land which the Lord God of thy fathers giveth thee as a possession.” And the first requirement is no less so (vs. 2–4): “Thou shalt utterly destroy all places where the nations whom thou drivest out serve their gods,” etc. It is something to which attention had been already repeatedly called in the preliminary history (4:15–19; 7:5, 25, 26), and to which the present code also, under another form, reverts in this and a

subsequent chapter (12:29, 30; 20:18). Such a requirement, moreover, was naturally to be expected when the essential character of the Israelitic religion is considered as contrasted with that of the Canaanites. And that it is found in all phases of the Pentateuchal legislation will not surprise us when we reflect on the extreme difficulties that, notwithstanding, always attended its execution, even down to the Exile (Judg. 2:2; 8:24–27; 18:11 f.; 1 Kings 12:25 f.). The Deuteronomic form is some what more pictorial and detailed, but is no more emphatic than that of the Book of the Covenant (Ex. 23:24; cf. vs. 33;

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