Essays In Pentateuchal Criticism -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 065:260 (Oct 1908)
Article: Essays In Pentateuchal Criticism
Author: Harold M. Wiener

Essays In Pentateuchal Criticism

Harold M. Wiener


Inspirited by the remarkable results of their labors on the narrative of the plagues, the critics turn with zeal to the crossing of the Red Sea. “The triple narrative of the plagues,” writes Mr. Carpenter, “raises the presumption that the passage of the Red Sea was also related by all the three documents J, E, and P.” (Vol. 2:p. 99, note on Exodus 13:17.) The rest of this note contains nothing that need detain us, being devoted to phrases like “make strong the heart” and similar matters, but verse 21 brings us to the first appearance of the pillar of cloud, and this is one of the main arguments for the partition of the narrative of the middle books. The Glory and the position of the Ark and the Tent of Meeting are necessarily involved in any discussion of the Cloud, and we purpose therefore to dispose of these topics without further delay.

The Cloud

“Three representations of the divine presence in the cloud [writes Mr. Carpenter, on Ex. 13:21] are to be found in the Hexateuch. In P it covers the Dwelling at its consecration Ex 40:34 ff Num 9:15 ff, and remains over the Tent of Meeting until it is time for the camp to be moved, when it is taken up. A second set of passages also connects it with the Tent of Meeting, but places it at the entrance, where it comes down in the form of a pillar and remains in converse with Moses Ex 33:7 f Num 12:5 cp Deut 21:15: reasons will be given hereafter for ascribing these to E. But in the

text 21 [i.e. Ex. 13:21]nothing has yet been said of any sanctuary; the pillar with its twofold aspect by day or night serves another function, that of guidance and protection. In 14:19 two symbols, the angel of Elohim, and the pillar, have been combined by R. As the ‘angel of Elohim’ naturally belongs to E, the guardian pillar must be regarded as the equivalent in J.” (Vol. 2:p. 100.)

That passage may serve as an introduction to the higher critical case. In reply we intend to prove the following points: (1) It is not true that in P the cloud first makes its appearance at the erection of the Dwelling. On the contrary it is found before then and in the same position as in J. (2) The Lord comes down in a cloud in J as well as in E, but in both docum...

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