Gilead And Bashan; Or, The Præ-Mosaic Manassite Conquest -- By: Henry Hayman
BSac 55:217 (Jan 1898) p. 29
Gilead And Bashan; Or, The Præ-Mosaic Manassite Conquest
IT is a curious question, Why should the cause celebre of the Zelophehad heiresses crop up in the tribe of Manasseh and in its eastern branch just where we find it? And one wider and no less curious, Why should Manasseh have had an eastern branch, any more than Ephraim or Judah? We find that heiress - question emerging in Numbers xxvii., just after the numbering of the Tribes. They demand “a possession,” a “possession of inheritance” (ver. 4, 7); and the direction given (ver. 7) is, “Thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them.” And this at once becomes (ver. 11) the basis of “a statute of judgment,” “If a man die,” etc. (ver. 8), precisely similar in form to laws found in Lev. 15:2, 19; 24:15, et al.1
This aptly illustrates the genesis of laws out of cases decided, and justifies the process exemplified in the Bibliotheca Sacra for October, 1896, “The Great Pentateuchal Difficulty Met”; and since in the Churchman, March, 1897,—that, viz., of translating a judgment back into its facts of origin, and taking these as indicating a social system then existing. It was shown in that October number that a “judgment” in the original sense of the term does
BSac 55:217 (Jan 1898) p. 30
not presuppose a law existing, but emanates from the judge as a decision pro re nata, which a divine afflatus is believed to communicate to him at the moment. Now I take it that the phrase “a statute of judgment” means a statute founded on a judgment, and recognized as having either a general character, or at least a governing power over other similar cases. Such was the character of this famous decision. It becomes a “statute unto the b’ne Israel”; and I may add, retrospectively to the argument traced in the October number, that the “judgments” therein dealt with presumably either, in like manner, became “statutes,” or were committed to writing with a view to their becoming such.
With the fact of the question emerging at this particular time, viz., after the latter of the two “numberings,” and of its arising in the tribe of Manasseh, is to be connected the fact of the unparalleled increase in the tota...
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