The Place of Textual Updating in an Inerrant View of Scripture: Part Two

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This article was originally published in the December 2001 issue of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. Posted with permission of the author.

Excerpt In part one of this article, Dr. Grisanti spelled out some of the foundational definitions and conceptions of inspiration and canonicity. In part two, the discussion turns to some potential examples of inspired textual updating. Continue reading

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III. Possible Examples of Inspired Textual Updating

 

Since we do not possess texts from that early period that can evidence any textual updating that took place during the compositional process, we are limited to the biblical text available to us today. The present section of the paper considers the composition of certain biblical books that have no specified author and surveys various specific biblical passages that constitute examples of textual updating. It will also briefly touch on the issue of the development of the Hebrew language.

 

1. The example of biblical books that were composed over a relatively long period of time. Beckwith points out that the concept of canonicity was not merely punctiliar but also part of a process. For example, when the Psalter was composed over a number of years, individual psalms were gathered into collections that were then gathered into books and eventually brought together into the entire Psalter. At all points along the way, an individual psalm had canonical status as part of the OT Scriptures.10 The books of Kings could have been composed over a long period of time and might have involved more than one historian/writer.11 If more than one writer/compiler participated in the composition of the books of Kings, each unnamed prophetic figure delivered to the next writer an authoritative piece. These books that were compiled over a period of time and underwent editorial reshaping do not violate a conservative understanding of the inspiration of the Scriptures. The book of Proverbs is primarily Solomonic, but has “pieces” added by someone after Solomon (e.g. other Solomonic proverbs copied by officials of King Hezekiah, chs. 25–29; words of Agur, ch. 30; words of King Lemuel, ch. 31). In each case, an unnamed figure added these words to the book of Proverbs. This writer contends that the children of Israel would have regarded the proverbs of Solomon as canonical before and after the other sections of proverbial material were added.

 

a. Deut 34:1–12. Unger (and most OT scholars) points to the narration of Moses’ death, burial, and final tribute to his prophetic ministry in Deut. 34:1–12 as “an obvious post-Mosaic addition.” 12 Gleason Archer concludes that the final chapter of Deuteronomy is “demonstrably post-Mosaic.” 13 An unnamed prophetic figure added ch. 34 sometime after Moses completed his work on the Pentateuch. Both prior to and after the addition of ch. 34, the Pentateuch was fully inspired, authoritative, and inerrant. 14

 

b. Gen 14:14. The place name “Dan” often appears in the historical books as a reference to the northernmost point of the Promised Land (Judges 18:29; 20:1; 1 Kgs 12:29–30; 15:20; etc.) and is part of the common geographical expression, “from Dan to Beersheba” (1 Sam 3:20; 2 Sam 3:10; 17:11; 24:2, 15; 1 Kgs 4:25). It is customarily identified with Tell el Qadi. This ancient city was known as Laish in the Egyptian execration texts and Mari texts. 15 The city of Dan received its name in the settlement period when the Danite tribe migrated north and conquered the city of Laish (Gen. 14:14)/Leshem (Josh 19:47–48). Consequently, it appears that this place did not receive the name of Dan until after the Mosaic period (Judg 18:29). 16

 

Several scholars argue that this mention of Dan is indeed Mosaic. Wood points to a city named Dan-jaan, mentioned in 2 Sam 24:6, which he locates in Gilead. 17 Archer points out that the place name “Dan” appears as early as the second Egyptian dynasty 18 (which ended ca. 2700 BC ). 19 Three facts argue against the Mosaic authorship of this place name. In the first place, the presence of a place name in ancient Egyptian literature does not demonstrate that the name Dan in Genesis 14 is Mosaic. It simply indicates that the place name of Dan was attested in pre-Mosaic times. Secondly, simply because a city named Dan existed in David’s day does not mean that it existed in Abraham’s time. Finally, the precise location of this Dan-jaan is unknown. A number of scholars equate it with Israelite Dan, located at the northern extremity of Israel’s boundaries. 20

 

However, Gen 14:14 mentions Dan as the ending point of the first phase of Abram’s pursuit of Lot’s captors. From Dan, Abraham and his men divided into two groups and pursued the enemy as far as the region to the north of Damascus. We may assume that Moses originally wrote “Laish,” which was later changed to Dan when that place name was changed.21 The geographical parameter of “Gilead as far as Dan” in Deut 34:1 and the placement of the blessing for the tribe of Dan (Deut 33:22) after the blessings promised to Zebulon, Issachar, Gad and before the blessings promised to Asher (all northern tribes) suggests a similar updating.

 

There are five other examples of scribal glosses in Genesis 14 where an updated place name is given instead of an outdated one. 22 This updating of the onomastic entries indicates the antiquity of the source document and was done to make the text intelligible to the reader. Although this updating could have been done by Moses, most scholars regard these examples as post-Mosaic additions. 23

 

c. Gen 11:28, 31. This passage records Abraham’s place of origin as “Ur of the Chaldees.” 24 The annals of Ashurnasirpal II contain the first documentary evidence concerning the presence of Chaldeans in southern Babylon. 25 Although well established when they first appear on the historical scene, there is no written record of the early history of the Chaldeans documenting their rise to power in southern Babylonia. 26 The Chaldeans did not become contenders for the Babylonian throne until the middle of the eighth century BC. 27  Consequently, the expression “of the Chaldees” could represent a scribal gloss supplied to distinguish Abraham’s Ur from other cities carrying the same name. 28

 

d. The expression “until this day.” The expression “until today,” “until this day,” “as is the case today” is the translation of three different Hebrew expressions: 'ad hayyôm hazzeh, 29 kayyôm hazzeh, 30 or kehayyôm hazzeh.31 It often occurs to direct the attention of the audience to an event whose impact is still obvious. For example, Moses could remind the children of Israel that Egypt was still in shambles at the time of the Israelite conquest of Canaan (Deut 11:4; cf. 4:20; 29:4). Moses constantly reminded the children of Israel that they had witnessed or were witnessing the things of which he spoke (Deut 1:19; 2:30; 11:1–19). In addition to this usage of the phrase “until this day,” which does not carry any chronological or compositional implications, eight occurrences may represent a post-Mosaic editorial note (Gen 26:33; 32:32 [HB v. 33]; 47:26; Deut 2:22; 3:14; 10:8; 29:28 [HB v. 27]; 34:6). The following section briefly considers the three most promising examples. Deut. 34:6, part of a post-Mosaic section, affirms that the location of Moses’ grave is unknown “until today.” Deut 29:28 [HB v. 27] occurs in the midst of the proposed answer to the question by the surrounding nations concerning God’s future judgment of His chosen nation. Consequently, the expression “as it is this day” in reference to Israel’s experience of exile could simply be part of that proposed answer with no implication of a post-Mosaic date of composition or could have been inserted by a later writer for special emphasis to the exilic or post-exilic community.32 Finally, the statement that Bashan was called Havoth Jair “to this day” in honor of Jair the son of Manasseh who was influential in the conquest of that region (Deut 3:14) would make little sense in the time of Moses when that region was first taken over by Israel. This phrase suggests that passage of some time. According to the chronology of this period before the Conquest of Canaan, Moses arrived at the plains of Moab approximately three months before Joshua led the children of Israel across the Jordan River. In that brief time frame, Moses wrote the bulk of the book of Deuteronomy, he died, Israel mourned for him for thirty days, and preparations were made for the conquest. This hardly leaves time for Jair to become memorialized “until this day” as the great conqueror of Bashan.

 

e. Deut 2:10–12. Deuteronomy 2–3 contains at least two possible examples of inspired textual updating. In a lengthy parenthesis (2:10–12), the writer provides details concerning the indigenous population of Moab and Edom and describes the circumstances surrounding their being driven out of that region. Scholars have understood “the land” in the expression in v. 12, “just as Israel did in the land the Lord gave them as their possession,” to refer to one of three places: the Transjordan region, Canaan itself, or Canaan and Transjordan. According to those who equate “the land” with the Transjordan region, Moses wrote this statement, referring to the Israelite occupation of the Transjordan region that had already occurred.33 Other scholars who identify “the land” in verse 12 as Canaan or Canaan and Transjordan regard vv. 10–12 as an anachronistic reference to Israel’s conquest of the promised land, that is, the land on the west side of the Jordan River.34 Although some scholars contend that this indicates that the “final composition” of Deuteronomy took place long after the time of Moses,35 it is also conceivable that this statement was a post-Mosaic inspired editorial addition that would not warrant speaking of a “final composition” of Deuteronomy long after his death.36

 

f. Deut 3:8–11. This passage concludes the account of Israel’s conquest of the Transjordan with a summary of Israel’s defeat of Sihon and Og. Verse 11 states that Og’s immense bed (13 feet long and 6 feet wide) “is still in Rabbah of the Ammonites.” Ridderbos identifies this statement as a post-Mosaic gloss, perhaps from the time of David when Rabbah was the capital city of Amman, a place where such antiquities like Og’s bed would likely be stored for display.37 Recording the location of Og’s bed would have made little sense coming from Moses, one of Og’s contemporaries.

 

g. Gen 36:31. The following statement introduces a list of Edomite kings in Gen 36:31–39: “Now these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the sons of Israel.” Various scholars regard this entire section as Mosaic. They contend that Moses’ knowledge of the eventual rule of kings over Israel would provide the natural occasion for the reference to a king reigning over Israel.38 In light of the promise to Jacob that a king would come out of his loins (Gen 35:11), Hertz contends that Moses would have naturally told the Israelites that their history was not yet complete, that is, that they would yet have a king, after relating a list of Edomite rulers.39

 

Several scholars posit that the entire section was composed sometime after the reign of Saul. For example, Hamilton writes that regardless of whether v. 31 simply describes the timing of the reign of these Edomite kings (pre-Saul) or these kings reigned in Edom before any Israelite king (e.g. David) reigned over Edom, v. 31 indicates that “this particular king list is either a post-Saul or post-David composition inserted into the genealogies of Esau and Seir.” 40 Sarna argues that the contextual function of this insertion (i.e. the reason for its insertion at this point) is that Saul’s war against the Edomites (1 Sam 14:47) represented the beginning of the fulfillment of the elder serving the younger (cf. Gen 27:40).41

 

A third option limits the post-Mosaic addition to the phrase, “before any king reigned over the sons of Israel.” Some scholars allow for the possibility that either this phrase or the entire section is post-Mosaic.42 Although the Mosaic awareness of kingship and the contextual reference to the promise of a king demands consideration, the face-value meaning of the phrase in question suggests a post-Mosaic date of composition for this expression.

 

h. Gen 15:2b. In Genesis 15 Abram is speaking with God concerning his wife’s barrenness as it relates to God’s promise of an heir. He appears to concoct an ad hoc solution that would entail Abram and Sarah adopting Eliezer, their chief servant, and making him their heir. The last part of Gen 15:2 has caused numerous Hebrew scholars great consternation.43 In the first part of v. 2 Abram pleads, “Lord God, what will you give me, seeing I go childless. . . . ” Hamilton translates the last section of this verse as follows: “and have as my heir the son of Meshek (that is, Damascus), Eliezer?” 44 According to Hamilton, the phrase hû’ dammeśeq ( qfM<D" aWh ) is an evident gloss to explain to a later generation that meseq ( qvm< ) is another name for dammeśeq ( q fM<D" ) or Damascus.45

 

i. Conclusion. These eight examples of textual updating suggest that the original form of a biblical book was not transmitted absolutely unchanged from the time of its original composition. Although limited in scope, important changes took place from the time of a biblical book’s initial composition to the time when it reached its final canonical form. Those changes were “maintenance changes,” done to make a given text more intelligible to a later generation of readers. Once again, I contend that these changes were made by a prophetic figure and are part of the process of inscripturation.

 

3. The normal development/evolution of a language. Although I realize that the issue of the development of the Hebrew language continues to be debated, the evolution of the English language provides an analogy. The following poem dates from the latter half of the sixteenth century ad, around four hundred years prior to the present time:

 

Summer is icumen in:

Lhude sing cuccu!

Groweth sed, and bloweth med,

and springth the wude nu—

Sing cuccu!

Awe bleteth after lomb;

Lhouth after calve cu;

Balluc sterteth bucke verteth

Murie sing cuccu!

Cuccu, cuccu, well singes thus, cuccu:

Ne swike thu naver nu.

Sing cuccu, nu, sing cuccu!

Sing cuccu, sing cuccu, nu!46

 

Over a period of four centuries, the English language experienced enough development that the spelling, grammar, and syntax of the seventeenth century would demand significant updating to make this poem intelligible for the reader in the twenty-first century. Building on that analogy, consider some basic developments in the Hebrew language.

 

a. Script changes. Based on epigraphic evidence it appears that, in its earliest stages, the text of biblical books was written in the proto- Canaanite alphabet, a pictographic alphabet.47 In the tenth or ninth centuries BC an early Hebrew script, sometimes called Phoenician,48 developed from the proto-Canaanite script used before that time. Any biblical books written or copied up through the time of the exile would have been written in this early Hebrew script. At some stage during the Second Temple period, a gradual transition occurred from the Hebrew script to the Aramaic script, from which a script developed that is exclusive to the Jews and was called the square script.49 No early fragments of the biblical text have been discovered in the early Hebrew script.50

 

b. The use of vowels to indicate case and verbal conjugation. The Amarna correspondence, Ugaritic texts, and other epigraphic evidence suggest that before the Amarna period (ca. 1350 BC) Hebrew possessed final short vowels which would have differentiated nominal cases as well as distinguishing between various verbal conjugations.51 During the last centuries of the second millennium (by about 1100 BC), the case system disappeared. Only a few remnants of these early case endings still survive in the HB (largely in names).52 Waltke also contends that short vowels that distinguished between the two alleged prefix conjugations were dropped at the same time.53

 

c. The use of vowel letters. Once again, epigraphic evidence suggests that the Hebrew texts would have gone from a phonetic consonantism (only consonants represented) to a writing system that employed alphabet letters to objectively indicate the presence of vowels.54 At first, final vowel letters appeared; eventually medial vowel letters occurred in Aramaic, Moabite, and Hebrew texts after the ninth century BC.55

 

d. Conclusion. An acceptance of widespread, sweeping developments in the Hebrew language does not constitute the backbone of evidence in favor of inspired textual updating. However, this paper does conjecture that over the 1,000 years of OT compositional history, enough changes took place to occasion the need for linguistic updating that went beyond merely changing the script and involved adjustments in word choice and word order.56 The possibility of this kind of change does not fit within a view that rejects any inspired textual updating. As Garrett argues regarding the book of Genesis, although Genesis is written in standard Hebrew, “there is no reason to think that there could not have been any revisions to keep up with semantic developments in the Hebrew language.” 57

 

The analogy of certain “anonymous” biblical books that were composed over a long period of time and involved multiple writers/compilers, the examples of several passages that contain modernizations, and the basic idea of linguistic development suggest that textual updating of the biblical text had to take place between the time of a book’s initial composition and the time when the OT canon reached its final form. The question at hand is this: “How should one relate the possibility of textual updating to an inerrant view of Scripture?”

 

In part three, we will attempt to answer this important question, as well as engage with some objections to this thesis.

Michael Grisanti is Professor of Old Testament at The Master’s Seminary where his scholarly interests include Deuteronomy, Old Testament theology, biblical ethics, the prophets, and the history of Israel. He has been actively involved in ministries around the world, which have brought him to Colombia, Honduras, Albania, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Russia, and Ukraine. For several years, he taught at Central Baptist Theological Seminary.


 

Endnotes:

 

10. R. Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1985) 68. Return to text


11.  The books of the Kings cover a time period from the end of King David’s life until the time of King Jehoiachin’s release from Babylonian prison (ca. 550 BC). Return to text


12.  Merrill F. Unger, Introductory Guide to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1951), 239. He also cites Exod 11:3 and Num 12:3 as possible post-Mosaic glosses since they praise Moses in such a manner that Moses might not have written them (ibid.). Return to text


13.  Gleason Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (updated and rev. ed.; Chicago: Moody, 1994) 276. Return to text


14. Some readers of an earlier form of this paper regard Deuteronomy 34 as Mosaic and reject this passage as potential evidence for the thesis of the present article. These individuals recognize that to grant post-Mosaic status to chapter 34 opens the door to the very issue with which this paper deals. The many scholars who accept the post-Mosaic composition of Deuteronomy 34 must consider how that conclusion fits with their understanding of bibliology. Return to text


15. N. Sarna, Genesis (New York: Jewish Publication Society, 1989) 108. Return to text


16. At the very least, this migration took place some time after Joshua allocated the land to the tribes in ca. 1399 BC. Return to text


17. Leon Wood, A Survey of Israel’s History (rev. ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986) 40; cf. H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1942) 1.459. Wood (p. 40) does add that a later scribe might have substituted “Dan” for the city’s older, less familiar, name in the interest of clarity. Return to text


18. Archer, Survey 228. Return to text


19. James K. Hoffmeier, “Egyptians,” in Peoples of the Old Testament World (ed. A. Hoerth, G. Mattingly, and E. Yamauchi; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994) 255–56. Return to text


20. A. Anderson, 2 Samuel (Dallas: Word, 1989) 285; Robert Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel 476; P. K. McCarter, Jr., II Samuel (New York: Doubleday, 1984) 510; Ronald Youngblood, “1, 2 Samuel,” in Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992) 3.1098. Return to text


21. G. Ch. Aalders, Genesis (trans. W. Heynem; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975) 1.288; John D. Davis, Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1975) 181; Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., A History of Israel (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1998) 86; Derek Kidner, Genesis (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1967) 15–16, 178; J. Ridderbos, Deuteronomy (trans. E. van der Maas; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984) 315; D. J. Wiseman, “Abraham Reassessed,” in Essays on the Patriarchal Narratives (ed. A. R. Millard and D. J. Wiseman; Leicester, U.K.: InterVarsity, 1980) 141; Ronald Youngblood, The Book of Genesis: An Introductory Commentary (2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991) 156. Return to text


22. 14:2: “Bela (that is, Zoar)”; 14:3: “the valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea)”; 14:7: “Enmishpat (that is, Kadesh)”; 14:8: “Bela (that is, Zoar)”; 14:17: “the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).” Return to text


23. Duane Garrett, Rethinking Genesis: The Sources and Authorship of the First Book of the Pentateuch (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991) 86; Davis, Paradise 166; Merrill F. Unger, Archaeology and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954) 116–17. Return to text


24. The Hebrew term for “Chaldees/Chaldean” is myDicK" (kaśdîm). The shift from the Hebrew form to the form that serves as the basis for the English translation (kaldu) was part of a common phonetic shift of the sibilant (ś) to a lamed (l) when it was followed by a dental (d). A. R. Millard, “Daniel 1–6 and History,” EQ 49 (1977) 70–71; cf. W. von Soden, Grundriss der akkadischen Grammatik (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1969), section 30g. Return to text


25. The annals refer to the Chaldeans in passing in relationship to the Assyrian campaign of 878 BC. J. A. Brinkman, A Political History of Post-Kassite Babylonia, 1158–722 B.C. (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1968) 260. The annals of Shalmaneser III preserve the earliest description of Chaldean tribes (in 850 BC). J. A. Brinkman, “Merodach-Baladan II,” in Studies Presented to A. Leo Oppenheim (ed. R. D. Biggs and J. A. Brinkman; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964) 8. Return to text


26. J. A. Brinkman, “Babylonia c. 1000–748 BC,” in Cambridge Ancient History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982) 3/2.287. Return to text


27. Bill T. Arnold, “Babylonians,” in Peoples of the Old Testament World (ed. A. Hoerth, G. Mattingly, and E. Yamauchi; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994) 57. Return to text


28. Bill T. Arnold, Encountering the Book of Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998) 78; U. Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis, Part Two (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1964) 272; Davis, Paradise 166; Alfred Hoerth, Archaeology and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998) 59; Eugene Merrill, Kingdom of Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987) 26, n. 13; H. W. F. Saggs, “Ur of the Chaldees: A Problem of Identification,” Iraq 22 (1960) 200–209; Unger, Archaeology 108; Gordon Wenham, Genesis 16–50 (Dallas: Word, 1994) 272. Those who reject the idea that this reference to the Chaldeans represents a later editorial insertion contend that the phonetic shift (kaśdîm > kaldu), which occurred in the mid-second millennium bc, fits Mosaic authorship. Also, Abraham’s nephew Kesed may have been the ancestor of the Chaldeans (kaśdîm; a connection rejected by D. Wiseman, “Chaldea; Chaldeans; Chaldees,” ISBE 1.630). Return to text


29. This phrase  hZ,h" mwYh" d[" occurs 84 times in the OT (cf. Brevard Childs, “A Study of the Formula, ‘Until This Day,’ ” JBL 82 [1963] 280). It occurs 12 times in the Pentateuch (Gen 26:33; 32:32 [HB v. 33]; 47:26; 48:15; Exod. 10:6; Num. 22:30; Deut 2:22; 3:14; 10:8; 11:4; 29:3; 34:6). Return to text


30. This phrase hZh mwYK" occurs 24 times in the OT and 7 times in the Pentateuch (Gen 50:20; Deut 2:30; 4:20, 38; 8:18; 10:15; 29:28 [HB v. 27]). Return to text


31. This expression hZh mwYhK" occurs 6 times in the OT and 2 times in the Pentateuch (Gen 39: 11; Deut 6:24). Return to text


32. Both Peter C. Craigie, The Book of Deuteronomy (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1976) 360 and Merrill, Kingdom 385 regard both alternatives as worthy of consideration. Return to text


33. J. Thompson, Deuteronomy: An Introduction and Commentary (London: InterVarsity, 1974) 92. Return to text


34. Craigie, Deuteronomy 110–11; Ridderbos, Deuteronomy 22, 70; M. H. Segal, The Pentateuch: Its Composition and Its Authorship and Other Biblical Studies (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1967) 95; Jeffrey H. Tigay, Deuteronomy (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1996) 26. Return to text


35. D. Christensen, Deuteronomy 1–11 (Dallas: Word, 1991) 42. Return to text


36. M. Weinfeld, Deuteronomy 1–11 (New York: Doubleday, 1991) 163; cf. E. Merrill, Deuteronomy (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1994) 94. Return to text


37. Ridderbos, Deuteronomy 75–76; cf. Merrill, Deuteronomy 106. Return to text


38. Leupold, Genesis 2.945. Archer (Survey 163, n. 13) contends that since “only the secondary line of Esau had achieved royal status, it was appropriate for a covenant-conscious author in the fifteenth century to note the fact that the posterity of Jacob had not yet attained to that dignity.” Return to text


39. J. Hertz, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs (2d ed.; London: Soncino, 1962) 133. Return to text


40. Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis Chapters 1–17 (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1990) 399–400. Cf. G. Aalders, Genesis 2.177; Garrett, Rethinking 92; Sarna, Genesis 252; Wenham, Genesis 16–50 339; Claus Westermann, Genesis 12–36: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1985) 565. Return to text


41. Sarna, Genesis 252. Along a similar vein, Terence Freitheim suggests that this list of eight non-dynastic kings of Edom predate Israel’s entry into Canaan (cf. Num. 20:14; Judg 11:17) and continue down to the time of the United Monarchy, at which time David conquered the Edomites (cf. 2 Sam 8:13–14; 1 Kgs 11:14–17); “The Book of Genesis,” in New Interpreter’s Bible [ed. Leander E. Keck et al.; Nashville: Abingdon, 1994] 1.590). Return to text


42. Kidner, Genesis 15–16, 178; Allen P. Ross, Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of the Book of Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988) 587; John Sailhamer, “Genesis,” in Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990) 2.224; Youngblood, Genesis 241. Return to text


43. Hamilton (Genesis 421–22) provides a helpful overview of several of the interpretive options regarding this verse. Westermann adds another possibility not mentioned by Hamilton, that the final portion of Gen 15:2 is corrupt and cannot be translated (Westermann, Genesis 12–36 219). Return to text


44. Hamilton, Genesis 417, 420. Return to text


45. Ibid. 422; cf. W. F. Albright, “Abram the Hebrew: A New Archaeological Interpretation,” BASOR 163 (1961) 47; M. F. Unger, “Some Comments on the Text of Genesis 15:2, 3,” JBL 72 (1953) 49–50; idem, Israel and the Arameans of Damascus (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1957) 114, n. 22; F. M. Cross, “The Stele Dedicated to Melcarth by Ben-hadad,” BASOR 205 (1972) 40. Return to text


46. B. Grebanier et al., English Literature and Its Backgrounds (New York: Hold, Rinehart, and Winston, 1963) 65. Return to text


47. W. Albright, The Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions and Their Decipherment (Cambridge: Oxford University Press, 1969) 5–9; B. Waltke and M. O’Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990) 17. Return to text


48. Waltke and O’Connor, Introduction 5–9. Return to text


49. E. Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992) 219. The square script is called by some the “Assyrian script” in light of the fact that its ancestor, the Aramaic script, was in use in the Assyrian empire. Return to text


50. Fragments of 11–14 biblical texts written in a later form of the “early Hebrew script,” called paleo-Hebrew, have been discovered at Qumran (Tov, Textual Criticism 220). These were written at the same time as the square script was in use in most circles. Return to text


51. Waltke and O’Connor, Introduction 17, s1.5.2f;126, s8.1c. Return to text


52. Ibid. 127, s8.2. Return to text


53. Ibid. 469, s29.4j. Return to text


54. Ellis R. Brotzman, Old Testament Textual Criticism (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996) 40. Return to text


55. Waltke and O’Connor, Introduction 17–18, section 1.5.2h. Return to text


56. Brotzman (OT Criticism 41), following others, suggests that a major revision of Hebrew grammar took place around 1350 bc. This grammatical revision, however, did not change the content of the Old Testament (ibid. 42). Return to text


57. Garrett, Rethinking 85. Return to text

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