Covenant Forms in Israelite Tradition Author(s): George E. Mendenhall Source: The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 17, No. 3, (Sep., 1954), pp.

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ARCAEOLOGIST BIBLICAL BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST

Published By

The American Schools of Oriental Research
(Jerusalem and Baghdad) Drawer 93A, Yale Station, New Haven, Conn. Vol. XVII SEPTEMBER, 1954 No. 3

Fig.

1.

of Dagon from the Philistine removed temple being The Ark of the Covenant of Dura Europos is from the synagogue (middle of (I Samuel 5,6). The painting la synaorue d de era). From LeI peintures of the Christian the third century by Comte du Mesnil du Buisson, P1. XXXIV. Doura'Europos,

Contents Covenant Forms in Israelite Tradition, by George E. Mendenhall ................50
A nnouncem ent .................................. .. ................. .... 76

trans. Conn.) p. Also Oesterlcy and Hebrew Religion (1937). six pence per year. Covenant Forms in Israelite Tradition George E. XVII. (Vol. p. Welihausen. Its purpose is to meet the need for a readable. Robir. with the assistance of Floyd V. XVII.. Elinburgh. New Haven. im A. S. at the Post Office at New Haven. Halsted St. non-technical. Cross. how otherwise God?" Luther. some assigning it to the work of Moses. However. The real historical problem involved is not one which concerns the pre-Mosaic religious ideas so 1.y Eichrodt. Die Bundesvorstellung all religious thought is anthropomorphic: This is of course anthropomorphism. Werke.50 50 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGiST ARCHAEOLOGIST (Vol. a study of the covenant form as we know it in ancient legal documents may possibly serve to bring into the chaos of opinion some objective criteriafor reconstructing the course of Israelite history and religion. payable to B. God? . or $1. Mendenhall University of Michigan The names given to the two parts of the Bible in Christiantradition rest on the religious conception that the relationshipbetween God and man is establishedby a covenant. payable to the American Schools of Oriental Research. under the Act of March 3. of Wellhausen. The relation of Jehovah to Israel was in its nature and origin a natural regarding one: there was no interval between Him and His people to call for thought or question. 2. October 2.3Therefore. Ernest Wright and Frank M." conditions conditions. See Kraetzschmar. exist from the time cf Moses in the form of the covenant. Subscriptions run for the calendar year. September.1 and others maintaining that it was the product of prophetic religious thought in the eighth and seventh centuries.. 156-9. Entered as second-class matter. When the statement is made that religion is based on covenant. Editors: G. F.. 417: "Nor did the theocracy Menzies. give me the most learned doctor in all the world. Editorial correspondence should be sent to one of the above at 2330 N.There is no agreementamong scholars concerningthe origin of the concept. Connecticut. Albright. T. Vol. 1896. Broad St.50 per year for each. H. Ten or more subscriptions for group use.35 per volume. BACK NUMBERS: Available at 35c each. 6-11.00 per year. (Lectures 3. Johns Hopkins University. $0. .2Since it is nooriously difficultto reconstructthe history of Israelite religion from the historical traditions preserved in the Bible. Subscription Price: $1. and put in its place a relation depending orl Mcst scholars have followed this position' of a moral character. Jr.. p. 12. Yale Station. Drawer 93A. Filson in New Testament matters. mailed and billed to one address. III. some external criterion is necessaryfor the historianto checkhis theories. of Israel had come to be threatened Only when tVe existence and by the Syrians did such prophets as Elijah and Amos raise the Deity high above the people. . Weimar Ed. . Yale University. See especial.-on. May. 1879. Blackwell. The Biblical Archaeologist is published quarterly (February. Theologie d's Altcn Testaments I. 1942. Assyrians. Chicago 14. by J. XLII will even he speak and teach concerning on Genesis. to the Histor: Prolegomena of Israel. though that was afterwards a favorite mode of it. IN ENGLAND: seven shillings. Ltd. December) by the American Schools of Oriental Research. sever the natural bond between them. Millar Burrows. Oxford. yet thoroughly reliable account of archaeological discoveries as they are related to the Bible. But to say nothing "For how otherwise can man talk with man concerning about children'.. Editorial Board: W. Black and A 1885. it implies that a form of action which originatedin legal custom has been transferredto the field of religion.

as Wellhausen maintained. See also ibid. as the basis of Israelite solidarity be given up. It is perhaps more possible now than it was in the nineteenth century to conceive of a feeling of unity which was not "national" or political. See Holmes. If. at that time. kinship. The difficulty in the past has been in arriving at any concept of a covenant which would bind together the tribes and also adequately form a foundation for the normative conception that in this event Yahweh became the God of Israel.4 If those blood-ties. there is the problem of the origin of that sense of law and justice. however. at least to the present writer. and also the relative absence of the do ut des type of religion in which man and deity are business contractors in which each agrees to confer a benefit unon the other-the sort of concept which is the foundation of legally binding contracts today.Isaac. in short a group bound together by blood-tiesor a clan. The Spirit of the Common law. the original relationshipof the group to Yahwehas well as to each other. it is true that the movement which resulted in the establishment of the monarchy brought together for the first time into organic unity the elements which previously had existed only in an isolated condition. "Israel" in Encyclopedia Britannia. becoming increasinglydifficultto maintainthat there were blood-ties close enough to bind Israel together or to produce the feeling of solidarity.5 4. but Israel's sense of national personality was a thing of much earlier origin. then it follows inevitably that the covenant relationship between Israel and Yahweh which is inseparable from the historical solidarity of the tribes. Thts was never true of contracts made by seal. it is inconceivable." It is of course true that there was rlb political constitution. and must have had a great hold on the mind of the nation. and therefore the covenant idea must have been a much later developmentof religiousthought. Finally. that there could have been. Wellhausen. morality and ethic which is so inseparable from the religion of Israel. but was an event which had a definite historical setting and the most surprising historical consequences. as Israelite tradition maintained. 5. p. Further. a each party receives as well as gives-Is The "mutuality" of covenant-whereby very recent innovation in the law of contract in so far as it is thought to be that characteristic of a which makes the contract bir(ling. 258. and Jacob. . and consequently a necessary covenant.which has since Wellhausen been described as the pre-eminent effect of the work of Moses. 432: "Again. 438-9. would have been a "natural"one. although there was no formal and binding constitution to give itsupport. is not merely a stage in the history of religious concepts. p. 3) THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST 51 much as the question of the pre-Mosaicrelationshipswhich existed between the various groups who ebecameIsrael. If so. then it is not so likely that a covenant would have been necessary to bind them together as a religious group. which even in the time of the judges bound the various tribes and families together. reprinted in volume cited above. p.there were only descendantsof Abraham. any other basis of solidarity than a covenant relationship.1954. there is the problem of Israelite monotheism in contrast to the polytheisms of ancient cultures. Rather. It is.

Stipulatio" R. du droit oriental 5 (1950-51). 7. At the present time. 32-4. but in prehistoric form called the stipulatio.e. Dull.. . See also Begrich. The form is even translated from one culture to another. These are only a few of the many questions which arise when attempt is made to describe the beginning point of Israelite religion. tends to become merely the constitutive legal form which makes the promise binding. 68 (1951). an appeal to the gods to punish the promiser if he defaults. I owe to The latter reference of the modern Arabic covenant forms an. of legal forms from Sumerian Translation der altbabylonischei Kauf. 1922. and are known as oaths.6 This is the suzerainty treaty by which a great king bound his vassals to faithfulness and obedience to himself. C'f.. At the risk of rushing in where angels fear to tread. d. 191-216. See the oath dropped out as a neoessary part of the particular Zeits. and Oesterley customs and patterns of thought. H. the oath which is a conditional selfcursing. 19 (1944). the oath is merely an "ancient ruin still standing. L. for it is in this realm of human relations that adequate legal procedures (i. Bikerman. non-military) for enforcing promises are most difficult to find. of the covenant in Israel have been largely based on nomadic Arab Past treatments Der Eid hei den Semiten.9 In such circumstances.und Tauschvet-traege. References to interna6. 8. and other elements will enter in to produce a legal form which the society or its law will recognize as one which is binding.52 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST (Vol. XVII. San Nicolo. p. cit. As time passes. op cit. Rechtsgesch. Those procedures are in the beginnings of law most closely connected with religion. who are evidently less confident d'histoire Areh. p. Pedersen. It is no wonder that thoroughgoing skepticism reigns with regard to the possibility of ever being able to say what the work of Moses was. The oath may actually disappear. The Nature of Covenant No society compels its members to keep every promise they may make. 9. op. Professor are not binding unless therb is a consideration "Promises. to Babylonian are especially well attested."8 When the form is once fixed it tends to have an extraordinary vitality. f.d concepts. from one language to another. the legal procedures of the society actually guarantee contracts-the direct intervention of the gods to punish the offender can hardly be said to be the real foundation of faithfulness to a contract. and it perfects forms and procedures by which it can guarantee those promises. It is particularly in the realm of international relations that covenants upheld by oath continued as a binding form. Die Schlussklauseln Munich. for them. T Wissensch.7 At the same time the good of society itself demands that certain promises must be followed by performance. A. Savigny Stift. Ginsberg." times Contracts were probably sealed by oath in early Roman law. the writer would suggest that there is a type of covenant preserved in ancient oriental sources which may be of use in arriving at some tentative conclusions concerning all of the problems mentioned above. "Zur romtschen Roman'istische Abt. even though the meaning of the form may no longer be understood. 1-10 and Zeits. 253: Holmes. and Robinson.

we have adequate source material for studying international covenants only from the Hittite Empire. Leipzig. rebellious vassals of Egypt.10 and it would seem likely that covenants upheld by oath must go back many centuries if not millennia before. Hethitische Staatsvertraege. 1931. it is not surprising that internationalcovenants had developed a specialized form of their own in Babyloniaand Assyria. Fig. Probably by the accidents of transmission or excavation. 1450-1200 B. The seemingly far-fetched procedure of comparing Hittite and biblical material becomes less so 10. 2. .C.1954. This material is invaluable for our purposes. which do not have any direct relationshipto the forms known in ordi- Fig. 17c. Figurine Burden used (smashed) in cursing of Egypt. since it is contemporary with the beginnings of the people of Israel.. 23. From Wilson.C. 3) THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST 53 tional (i. inter-city-state) covenants occur already in old Sumerian texts of the third millennium B. Consequently. The nary business or private legal contracts.e. p. V. Korosec.

. outsiders13who have no legal status. The Amoritesin all our historical sources are in contact with high civilizations-and frequently in covenant relations with them. and consequently it must have been common property of any number of peoples and states in the second millennium B. Many of these covenants were made with peoples of Syria itself. Purchase "Abraham's Journ. It is by its very nature an form. Kizzuwatna. They are described in biblical traditions as Hebrews-i. is merely an hypothesis which more than ever today needs to be proven before it can be accepted.particularly since nomadic groups of the second millenniumB.e. however. It seems certain that the Hittites themselves did not originate the covenant form which we shall discuss. Albright.e. 15ff. Goetze. did not have. Indeed. abundant opportunityto become familiarwith the treaty form must be admittedfor ancient Israel. forthcoining Nowhere do we find in'dication that nomads were equated with 'Aplru. 11. writer has no intention of beginning a "pan-Hittite" simply happen to be that in most if not all cases. From the Cf. Among others we have covenants with Aziru. 13.ll i. Lit. there is increasing reason to doubt that the tribes in question can at all be regarded as typical nomadic tribes.C. his son. on the subject. F. The Law" and Hittite 129. But Abraham is not a typical nomad. The alleged parallels to bedouin Arab tribes can no longer be the point of departurefor understandingbiblical traditions. This. nor is Jacob. and as heads of roving bands who have covenant relationshipswith the citystates of Palestine. Bbl. and his grandson referred to or preserved for us in the Hittite archives. many of which are also attested to many cultures of Palestine. LIX (1940) 316. monograph see also the forthcoming by Moehe Greenberg. when three facts are kept in mind: 1. and could hardly have had the independence of the Arab camel-nomads. 12. Ibid. The same form was used for concluding a treaty with Egypt. 37. The writer also has a study Stone Age to Christianity. Lehmann. BASO p. or indicated in the Amarna Letters. XVII.there is abundant indication that they themselves borrowed the form from the East. In view of the fact that Israelite traditions now vindicated indicate close relationshipsbetween the pre-Mosaicpeoples who became Israel and northern Mesopotamia.12 The most cogent argument against the possibility of Israel'sknowledge of this particularcovenant form is based only upon the assumption that the pre-Mosaic tribes were much too primitive a group either to know or to understandsuch a highly developed form. the Hittite materials would maintain from which we know customs which were to a large extent common property the source Syria. and Asia Minor. Albright. Other completely independent parallels between the Hittite and biblical materialshave alreadybeen pointed out. W. ultimately Mesopotamiansources.C. 3. of Machpelah he school of biblical interpretation. 182-3.(Vol. international 54 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST 2. M. Rather.

each king binds the other to identical obligations.C.e. 15. War IV 117-119. 3) THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST The Hittite covenants have been very carefully analyzed by Korosec14 with the following results. The covenants are not all of a sir type. both parties are bound to obey identical stipulations. 3. P1. the carrying From B. since the parity treaties are in effect two treaties in opposite directions.). and those two states between former may have been known i. The suzerainty treaty is the basic form. 39:1. famous treaty between the Hittites and Egypt during the reign of 14. In the latter. cit. Saidt-Joseph de Universite Melanges the commands stipulated by the Hittite king.15 The basic difference (between the two is that in the forr only the inferior is bound by an oath-the vassal is obligated to o Fl ?1 Fig. ! The Sudjin Stele (eighth century. Pelop. The also in ancient times. The .1954. Op. V 23. mentions which established treaties Thucydides peace which imposed positive between obligations them. text of a covenant of Assyria between two vassals XV (1930-31). but are rather to be classified as suzerainty treaties or as pa treaties.

Ramses II is the classical example. the structure of the covenant by which they bound their vassals is entirely different. Deuteronomy. 17. The writer submits that we do have such traditions. In all the materials is missing. the writer submits that the older form 16. We should also expect that even if it did survive. follows that the method of Begrich is highly questionable when he attempts to classify covenants on the basis of the terminology used. In addition. 18. however. . p. in fact three different bodies of material in the books of Exodus. of course. It is only by the examination of the text of the covenant that a classification can be carried out. innumerable incidents and ideas in the entire history of Israel can be adequately understood only from this complex of covenant patterns of thought. there is no legal formality by which the Hittite king binds himself to any specific obligation.19 Even in Israel. able to find no evidence more or less far-reaching changes in the form would also have taken place. and only the vassal took an oath of obedience. Assyrlan' The entire pattern is also radically different. and Joshua are directly connected with this legal tradition. for it. The covenantt relationship from capricious would of course protect the vassal attack This is.18 The question which immediately faces us therefore. 5.C.17 A most important corollary of this fact is the emphasis upon the vassal's obligation to trust in the benevolence of the sovereign. 19.16 The primary purpose of the suzerainty treaty was to establish a firm relationship of mutual support between the two parties (especially military support).56 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST (Vol. It Korosec. ibid. It established a relationship between the two. we have the' "historical and only the prologue" deities are listed as witnesses. it would seem that the Hittite king (by his very position as sovereign is concerned to protect his subjects from claims or attacks of other foreign states. 6-7. in which the interests of the Hittite sovereign were of primary and ultimate concern. p. taken for granted. by the sovereign. XVII. but in its form it is unilateral. This treaty took place about the same time as the Exodus out of Egypt according to the chronology now most probable. This covenant type is even more important as a starting point for the study of Israelite traditions because of the fact that it cannot be proven to have survived the downfall of the great Empires of the late second millennium B. It is most important to observe that the Hittite treaties cannot be classified on the basis of terminology alone. The stipulations of the treaty are binding only upon the vassal. It is. is whether or not we have any historical or legal traditions in the Bible which can be identified as preserving the text of the covenant between Yahweh and Israel. When empires again arose. Consequently for him to bind himself to specific obligations with regard to his vassal would be an infringement upon his sole right of selfdetermination and sovereignty. Even then at least one of the Hittite treaties is ambiguous. Though the treaties frequently contain promises of help and support to the vassal. notably Assyria. op. cit. Rather. possible that the form survived but the writer has been elsewhere.

a **'. 1-23). .i . . well known contract forms. ^^^.> c . He is the author. 3a. . especially in the prophets.}C ['sP/) qqw/ s>yA0909o^^q <Cf& ?4 )aL Yw}^%Mz4% ) AlCssqp7 M* o . . . .' . Similarly. .14z>^n cSo2 f 'i x^^^^^ Oox7 . 3." The covenant is regularly spoken of as that which the sovereign gave to his vassal-it is the sovereign's covenant. The specific obligations imposed upon the vassal are called the "words" of the sovereign. it is not the command from a position of power. .0^>29e'1 X . . . and the Babylonian as well. J Fig. 3) THE BIBLICAL ARCHAESOLOGISTT 57 of covenant was no longer widely known after the united monarchy.> o> w? >W9 1Yo) o 'c PW ' '' to 94 Xo t ? 0M S 7 9" 0 j9 5 9 + t74 5 Q9 I 4. Cf. 9.. Fig.. . tNr1 . The Structure of the Covenant The very highly developed Roman legal system never had a single general term for contract in spite of the fact that it had a number of . never had a single word for contract or covenant. though its characteristic features continued to play an important part in the later development of religious ideas. Yet. \-'.. . . . i'.'o. * -.. : . .><^>o9^. Y se Y4S Awott * ^ +^. .1954.. A transcription of a section of the Sudjin Stele (Ab..94*S7w^oZs . but something . the Hittite language.. for to speak is to command when the great king delivers utterance. as we shall see.wfI. In both languages the covenant was designated by a phrase which would be translated literally as "oaths and bonds.: f . .^^^<?^.. .

the valiant. XVII. Burrows. giving his titles and attributes. Here we shall give a brief resume of Korosec's juristic analysis of the covenant form. king of the Hatti land. that they are a most important source for the historian. Rather. who confers a relationship by covenant upon his vassal. Pr(amble: Begins with a formula "thus (saith) NN. whether by design or accident it is difficult to say. The Basis of Israelite p. to receive a gift without becoming obligated is a prerogative only of the emperor. The emphasis is upon the majesty and power of the king. 1. . but it is most important to see that the vassal is exchanging future obedience to specific commands for past benefits which he received without any real right. and such a narrative is never lacking in texts which have been completely preserved. as Korosec says: "What the description amounts to is this. the historical prologue is more brief. of tribute without any resulting claim to a reciprocal Payment gift is the criterion of of gifts see For the importance of thought-patterns subordination. one or another of the elements may be lacking. In the suzerainty treaties great emphasis is placed upon the benevolent deeds which the'Hittite king has performed for the benefit of the vassal.. inkvolving exchange M. Nearly always the following six elements will be found in the Hittite treaty texts. 11-13." In other words." This identifies the author of the covenant. consideration. of the Hittite were themselves refugees. but are rather such careful descriptions of actual events. the vassal Empire political Frequently kings was the more real and vivid. their obligation Consequently. Marriage. Occasionally. the devotion of the vassal to the great king is expressed as a logical consequence. on the other hand. son of NN . the mutuality of covenant is present even in these treaties.21 20. but it must be emphasized that the form is not an extremely rigid one. as well as his genealogy. They are emphatically not stereotyped formulae. as one might expect. the Sun. Immediately following this.20 the actual position of relative strength-that is.58 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST (Vol. 2. that the vassal is obligated to perpetual gratitude toward the great king because of the benevolence. 21. there is considerable variation in the order of the elements as well as in the wording. and favor which he has already received. for the obvious reason that frequently the previous relationships between the two was of such a sort that little good could be said. Since. for. and neither could be regarded as the recipient of gifts which bound him to obedience. the inability of the vassal to defend himself from overwhelmingly superior power is a fact which deprives him of any ground which would enable him to escape obligation to an overlord who has granted him a boonfrequently of kingship itself. This section of the treaty is not mere embroidery.. but a most important element. the great king. radically different which is the real motivation for obedience. The historical prologue: This part of the treaty describes in detail the previous relations between the two. In the parity treaties.

nor must he permit any evil words against the King. e. Compare Deut 7:7 where we have the same emphasis upon the fact to tho sovereign. but although you were ailing. It should be pointed out that there is almost no hint of interference in the internal affairs of the vassal state.). g. The covenant form is still thought of as a personal relationship. put you in the place of your father and took your brothers (and) sisters and the Amurru land in oath for you. probably on the occasion of annual tribute (Cf. 3) THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST 59 A striking formal characteristic of this section is the "I-Thou" form of address. The parity between the vassals. the prohibition of other foreign relationships outside the Hittite Empire. you were sick and ailing. commitment . Since the Hittite king is the author of the covenant.1954. I. The vassal must not give asylum to refugees from any source (there are many variations in detail concerning refugees."22 3 The stipulations: This section states in detail the obligations imposed upon and accepted by the vassal. These stipulations give an indication of the interests of the king which were protected by covenant. the "I-Thou" form does not exclude entirely the address in the third person. The vassal could rule as he saw fit. that the vassal's and that the power is due solely to his relationship is due not to his intrinsic value. created by the Hittite king must not be changed. he must not entertain malicious rumors that the King is acting disloyally toward the vassal ("since man is depraved"). Every hostile action against a co-vassal is hostility against the king himself. I sought after you. Some illustrations which occur in the historical prologues show striking parallels to Israelite patterns of religious thought: "Since your father had mentioned to me your name with great praise (?). ANET p. To fail to respond is breach of covenant. he speaks in the first person directly to the vassal. As is the case in so much of ancient oriental stylistic features. for this is the beginning of rebellion. To be sure. prohibition of any enmity against anything under sovereignty of the great king. but this latter is much more rare. The vassal must appear before the Hittite king once a year. b. but this was evidently treated as a very serious problem). One cannot be a slave or dependent of another. The vassal must answer any call to arms sent him by the king. impersonal statement of law. c. f. the Sun (god). 23:17). 204. The vassal must hold lasting and unlimited trust in the King. hut to the sovereign"s choice of the vassal previous to earlier generations. (Cf. and the only concern of the '. Judg 21:8 ff. They include typically. d. Controversies between vassals are unconditionally to be submitted to the king for judgment. a. (Later treaties lack the personal appearance stipulation-the interest seemed to shift primarily to the tribute). Ex. and the king promises to take the part of the oppressed. rather than as an objective.

Other Factors in the Covenant Thus far we have described the written text of Hittite treaties. so far as our evidence goes. This is almost self-explanatory. The curses and blessings in the texts are treated. but of this there is no word in the treaties. on the other hand. for the only sanctions for the covenant are religious ones. however. In other words. naturally enough. Since the treaty itself was under the protection of the deity. So we must add: 7. and second. the winds and the clouds. Hittite king was. to familiarize the entire populace with the obligations to the great king. The deitles . sea. but his entire state which was bound by the treaty. to increase the respect for the vassal king by describing the close and warm relationship with the mighty and majestic Emperor which he enjoyed.60 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST (Vol. is the inclusion of the (deified) mountains.23 Most interesting for the purposes of this paper.. The right to determine succession was not considered an automatic privilege or right of the vassal. 6. at least seem to have been ignored. the gods of the vassal themselves enforce the covenant. The treaty stands wholly within the realm of sacred law. in the succession to the throne of an heir who would remain faithful. XVII.Dt 32:1. (Cf. possibly as the agent by which the divine curse is brought down upon the vassal. In the written text. We know that other factors were involved. periodic public reading served a double purpose: first. as the actions of the gods. Included are of course the gods of the Hittite state. The curses and blessings formula: In some ways this is the most interesting feature of the covenant. heaven and earth. the Hittite king would proceed against the vassal with military forces. rivers. so the gods acted as witnesses to the international covenants. The list of gods as witnesses: Just as legal contracts were witnessed by a number of peoples in the community. it was deposited as a sacred thing in the sanctuary of the vassal state-perhaps also. but was a specific privilege granted by the Hittite king. Provisionfor deposit in the temple and periodic public reading: 5. Since it was not only the vassal king. (Cf. usually a considerable number. but the pantheon of the vassal state is also included. for the ratification of the treaty did not take place by the mere draft in written form. this section enumerates the deities who are invoked. It goes without saying that in case of breach. to indicate that the local deity or deities would not and could not aid in breach of covenantk 4. so to speak. Ezek 17:12-21). Isaiah 1:2). This is in contrast of the vassal state to Assyrian custom. The formal oath by which the vassal pledged his obedience-although 23. springs. and enumerate much the same sort of things as those to be found in Deut 28.

C. Journ. second millennium B. 4.24All told. 3) THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST 61 we have no light on its form and content. It must be emphasized again. of the gods. Yazilikaya D. it is perfectly clear that the home of this form is in the It is well known that biblical traditions preserve for us a number 24. . at Yazilikaya lrom Veroeff. as witnesses to covenants. (Wiss. and 8.O.G:.1954. Cf also Psalm 2:9. 0perhaps The procession of the Hittite the capital Empire. it is quite likely that some sort of form existed for initiating procedure against a rebellious vassal. we then have nine different elements involved in the complex covenant relationship familiarthroughoutthe Mediterranean coastal lands in the period before Fig. Again we know nothing for certain of this. and cannot be proven (outside Israel) to have survived elsewhere. Finally.2. see Oost. 9. War" Am. Covenant Forms in Israel Though it is to be expected that survival of the form outlasted the Hittite Empire. or perhaps was a symbolical oath. near 61). though Hittite texts do describe for us the ceremony by which Hittite soldiers bound themselves to obey the king. to do with formalities have something execration texts may possibly The Egyptian are well kn'own in Rome. Such formalities for initiating a state of hostility. P1. of Philology "The Fetial Law and the Outbreak of the Jugurthine LXXV (1954) 147-59. 15. some solemn ceremony which accompanied the oath. the time of Moses. that this particular structure of covenants is not attested for any other subsequent period.

it is recognized that the Israelite tribes were not an ethnically homogeneous group derived from a common ancestor. Fourth. XVII. The first is the Decalogue.28 25.rminology worked out. of their unity. like the mark on Cain of Gen 4. not political nature. the earliest organization of the tribes was that of a religious federation or amphictyony27 based on a common allegiance to the same deity. . it can readily be seen that the covenant with Abraham (and Noah) is of completely different form. so to speak. it is clearly stated or implied that it is Yahweh Himself who swears to certain promises to be carried out in the future. as well as the similarity E. p. emphasizing. it may be worthwhile to trace the meaning and function of the Decalogue in the early history of Israel. but there may term is not used. It has also been accepted that this unity was of religious. Third. IXis System der zwoelf Staemme Israels (1930).62 THIE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST (Vol. With the materials presented above. This federation as we know it in biblical traditions came into existence in the land of Palestine itself. and centered about a central sanctuary which served as a symbol. 153-4. Begrich op. It serves to identify the recipient(s) of the covenant. however. Whole groups of the population of Palestine must have entered en bloc into the Israelite federation. Noth. Bikerman tlittite treaties. 27. to ihe has already pointed out this fact. M. The covenant of Moses.. 26. cit. Both in the narrative of Gen 15 and 17. cit. op. like the rainbow in Gen 9. as well as to give a concrete indication that a covenant exists. that what follows in these pages is probably one possibility among others which may not have presented themselves to the writer. It imposes specific obligations upon the tribes or clans without binding Yahweh to specific obligations.25 There are only two traditions. though it goes without saying that the covenant relationship itself presupposed the protection and support of Yahweh to Israel. the fact that Moses gave a new feeling of unity to the tribes has been accepted and even emphasized since the days of Wellhausen. Several facts about the early history of Israel are well accepted. Circumcision is not originally an obligation. however. on the other hand is almost the exact opposite.26 Since there is increasing difficulty in assigning the covenant to post-monarchial times in Israel. of references to covenants of different sorts. nor did Israel grow merely by biological reproduction. which fall into the form described above.. It is for the protection of the promisee. The term berit occurs more than 200 times in the Bible. but a sign of the covenant. to covenant be many references where this particular relationships in biblical to he Hebrew still remains connected with covenants The t. perhaps. and the second is included in the narrative of Joshua 24. and in the later references to this covenant. It is not often enough seen that no obligations are imposed upon Abraham. First.

and even more in the content of the covenant itself. (Ex 19:8 is not a prediction of fact. the Israelites did not bind themselves by oath to obey Moses as their leader. 3) THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST 63 All these elements in the traditions of Israel hold together and indeed make sense only on the supposition that there actually was a covenant relation at the basis of the system. The clans who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses were of diverse background with perhaps a nucleus who traced their origin back to Jacob. and in the days of Isaiah both Damascus and Judah attempted to form a similar federation against Assyria. The federation itself is almost certainly an adaptation of political devices which had been used by the peoples of Palestine and Syria for centuries before. In the 15th century a federation whose center was in central Syria fought Tuthmosis III at Megiddo in Palestine. In return. Num 11:4. while the others evidently fell apart in a short time. as late as the time of Ahab a similar federation fought the Assyrians to a standstill at the battle of Qarqar in northern Syria. but a formula by which they acknowledge their obligation. they were formed into a new community by a covenant whose text we have in the Decalogue (granting. ibid. and the Rel. and this is the historical prologue which establishes the obligation of Israel to their benefactor. On this see Albright. Therefore. of course. It was the only way in which small political groups could have any hope at all for self-determination in the face of much more powerful enemies. In the Amarna Age federations of Canaanite city states were attempting (and evidently succeeding) in throwing off the yoke of Egypt. Precise parallels to the statement are to be found in 28. of Israel. of Moses. 29. Contrary to the usual procedure. as also in Egypt the entire group had no status in any social community large enough to ensure their survival. Others are called in Numbers29 a "mixed multitude. Compare the tradition of the "meekness" ." In the desert. The question which faces us is why the Israelite federation had such a lasting influence.30 Instead. Num 12:3. Arch. A partial answer (and any answer is bound to be only partial) is to be found in the circumstances accompanying the formation of the covenant community. Moses' role in the whole proceeding is described merely as that of messenger-he is himself not a party to the covenant. 30. following the form of suzerainty treaties. they obligate themselves to obey the stipulations of the Decalogue. The structure of the covenant is again the same: the delivery from Egypt was the first event in the previous relationships between the two parties. that in the present form later materials are included). To come down to much later times.1954. they were bound to obey certain stipulations imposed by Yahweh Himself. 99. p.

and even long before. No clan was sovereign. various ways in which the leaders of a coalition attempted to gain adherents. 99). behold I guard day and night the word of the king my lord. Though scholars may no doubt be very dubious about admitting the historicity of the tradition for the time of Moses. the suzerainty Of course. outside groups could enter the community by acknowledging of Yahweh. which is illuminated this covenant form. The traditions concerning the patriarchal refusal to become assimilated to their Canaanite neighbors may very well have played a part in the post-Mosaic refusal of complete assimilation. and by implication. however. The tradition of the deposit of the law in the by Ark of the Covenant is certainly connected with the covenant customs of pre-Mosaic times. with other political groups. suzerainty and is the issue in the preposed covenant between Shechem an'd the independent states." There are a number of commands of the king are acknowledged. "All the words of the king my lord I have heard.32 It meant that they could not make covenants with their neighbors either in the desert or later in Palestine for to do so would be to recognize the pagan deities as witnesses and guarantors of the covenant. The unity of which we spoke was further enhanced by the fact that they evidently had no other political ties. Cf. so to speak.33 In view of the great variation in the attitude toward foreign nations throughout Israelite history. there was difference of opinion in the interpretation of this obligation. The terms of the covenant. though the traditions are not clear on this point. did leave them free to take over as much of Canaanite culture as seemed good-even such central features of the later religion as the sacrificial system. yet as we have seen. it would seem that from the earliest times on. however. in which case they simply became a part of Israel. but most important was the fact that the first obligation of the covenant was to reject all foreign relations-i. particularly (Albright.Tafeln. then. Die El-Amarna.e. the Amarna letters.64 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST (Vol. another is the banquet in the presence of Yahweh. Thus it is religion to speak of early Israelite not at all unreasonable religion as a missionary to when the Amarna Letters are full of references ARI p." EA 64:18-19 and passlm. 315:10-11: "Whatever the king my lord has said. with other gods. Knudtzon. This was true of the Amarna between' Egypt and other of the Hittite treaties treaties. One ceremony is the sprinkling of blood upon altar and people. each clan became a vassal of Yahweh by covenant-and at the same time bound to each other in a sacred truce. relations were intimately connected Such covenant with inter-marriage. and at the same time. XVII.31) There follows a solemn ceremony which by act puts the covenant into effect. 32. 33. . forms by which specific Most frequent of all is the formula. It is not only the Decalogue itself. In effect. the terms of the covenant left each clan free to regulate its internal affairs so long as the religious covenant obligations were protected. it is perfectly in keeping with what we know was 31. Jacob clans of Gen 34. This freedom in internal affairs also permitted great cultural variations between the various tribes-which became so great a centripetal force during the monarchy.

Fig. 1290-1224 B. We do not have in the text of the Decalogue any provision for deposit in the sanctuary and periodic public reading. The differences between the two bodies of material must also be taken into consideration. nor the curses and blessings except 34. 5. especially in view of the fact that the Ark was a portable sanctuary. . we have no list of witnesses. which leaves Yahweh free to destroy the culprits. 3) 1954. The Burden of Egypt. It is frequently to be observed that in a "natural religion" the devotee may address his god in most outrageous terms. threatening to the verge of blackmail. As a cursory examination of the Decalogue will show. A covenant relationship is much too delicate and sensitive a t5t' Fig. 3) THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIS1T THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST 65 customarily done in the time of Moses. The "orthodox" attitude is vividly illustrated in EA 262:7-11.rved with the Hittites. blaming. the last three elements of the Hittite form are lacking. The Ramesseum. the matter to bear "evil words. From Wilson." and just as in our Hittite sources. which the "Everything king does to his land is very very good!" It is not necessary to assume that early Israel was any less able than the vassals of Egypt to conceive of trust iln the sovereign as an imnortant obligation. but on the contrary such actions do not seem to be characteristic of the early religion of Israel-it is only after the centuries have rolled past to the time of Job that we find such vehement reproach of deity. The traditions of the "murmurings" in the wilderness is also a motif which receives new meaning in the light of the covenant. text of the treaty on the walls of which Ramses II (c. such action is breach of covenant.C.) ca.1954.34 This does not by any means exhaust the parallels between the Mosaic traditions and the extra-biblical treaties. 29a.

In Greek covenants as well. For the Greek with the dynasty of David until the Exilic period.66 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST (Vol. only in connection p. Later ideas conceived of Yahwleh as having sworn. Ilaelfte. however. Jer 34:8ff). strictly speaking. In similar fashion. XVII. I)ii Ulrspri 'nge ds Israclitiscllen Ibid. there is no reference to an oath as the foundation of the covenant relationship. It(ehts. 32ff. though there is no curse and blessing formula in the Decalogue itself.38 a renewal of 35. so to speak. . as Alt has long ago pointed out. Tn Israel also the term lerit 'olam occurs vassal king could bind only his own posterity. Finally. This varied from once to three times a year in the Hittite treaties. Finally. I) p. curses and blessings. Even these are not.35 The list of witnesses need cause no difficulty. mountains and hills. There are several reasons: 1. 37. 37 Here we are faced with two possibilities which must be distinguished. Griechisclhe Staatnsklunde. 2. either as witnesses or as judges in the controversy between Yahweh and Israel when Israel is indicted for breach of covenant. The "perpetual they were extended over more than a generation for a with the claim to dynastic covenant" seems to be closely connected succession. p. As the tradition in Deuteronomy indicates. this is a most important and most early part of Israelite "legal" tradition. covenants see (. reaffirming the obligation long after the community had actually incorporated the matters involved into its system of customary law. another possibility. 38. so far as the writer has been able to determine. and possibly even after the customary law had ceased to be concerned with them. 2. I refer to the appeal to the heavens and earth. later materials do make poetic use of this legal pattern in spite of the fact that they really do not succeed in walking on all fours. the curse and blessing formula is itself inseparably connected with covenants: this is one means through which new "legislation" become binding in the ancient world (Cf. for in the very nature of the case. but as an action which accompanied the ratification of the covenant. 68/69. the curses and blessings may not have been regarded as an element in the text of the covenant. it would be impossible to appeal to any other third party as a guarantor of this covenant between Yahweh and Israel. as we have seen. Busolt. is likewise a most persistent element in the Israelite traditions. 36. Significantly enough. The oath may have been a symbolical act rather than a verbal formula. One is the matter with which we have already dealt-that covenants were to be publicly read at periodic intervals. though it is hardly to be denied that the solemn action continued as a religious rite. 1251. There is. '(Reprinted in lileine Schriften vol. however. and the demonstrably later addition to the command to honor father and mother. Since covenants were not regarded as binding in perpetuity from the first. Later and in perpetuity. the provision for public periodic reading of the covenant though also lacking in the Decalogue itself. For further suggestions on this point see below.36 But. in the prohibition of other deities. the earlier ones were for a specific and brief period.

the same phenomen'on is to be found in the historical and in treaties. Toshuasuddenly speaks in the first The only stipuperson. (Kleine Sehriften 1. The Covenant of Joshua 24. At the end of the historicalprologue in the "I-Thou" form. It would be a mistake. bringing the historicalprologue up to date. and adapted them to his own contemporarysituation. conclusions It is an en'tirely different matter when a new person suddenly begins speech in the first person. Josna. prologues to the Hittite other categories of ancient oriental literature of themvariants as well. the stipulations are referred to in vs. and the stipulations as well.41 The formationof the covenant in 39.upon the death of the vassal king. It is quite striking. 25. 3) THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST 67 the covenant would be from time to time necessary. 21ff. and Yahweh is referredto in the third person. This passage is inserted into a narrativewhich obviously includes later materials. 79-88). Handb. and is followed by a similar summary of the historical prologue. The covenant renewal ceremonies referredto in Deuteronomycould be this sort of thing.however. The variations in detail from the pattern are themselves of the historical indications foundation of the narrative. Such stylistic selves cannot establish in literary criticism. may not have regarded themselves as bound. since they had not been taken under oath. to maintain that the death of the earlier generationfreed the later one frGmany covenantobligation. however.another witness (the great stone)-and again the curse and blessing formulais not present. together with the populace over which he ruled. z. the people themselves are the witnesses to the covenant. 14. to draw up a new covenant with the heir. but that the later writer used the materials of the traditionwhich were of importanceand value to him. we cannot be sure that we have the text (whether actually written or oral is beside the point) of the covenant which was ratifiedon the occasion described in this chapter. It was customary.1954. In the sequel. 16. . 40. The introductory formulaidentifying the author which includes some unique traditionsas to the early history of Israel. For previous studies see especially "Die Wallfahrt nach Bethel" von Sichem Alt. The posterity of the vassal. Noth. Vs.39Consequently. of the covenant (2b). A. However. This we see in the oath formula in vs. that the form of the action is precisely that which we have outlined. whereby a new generationwas formally bound. the writing and deposit of the covenant in the sanctuary. It is very difficult to escape the conclusion that this narrative rests upon traditionswhich go back to the period when the treaty form was still living.40 lation referred to is the putting away of other gods-which was the foundation of all other obligations. 'whichrecapitulatesthis stipulation. the historical prologue in the "I-Thou" form 41. 7a also includes a reference to Yahweh in the third person. it does not follow the rigid pattern of the Certainly Deuteronomic historian.T. for with vs. the stipulations are missing. pp.

The curses of Deut 27 would fill in the gap of Joshua 24 beautifully. Alt has suggested Josh 24. 37. Before di'scussing the later history of the covenant form.') Gurney. i. These problems underlie many of the narratives in Toshua-Samuel and must be investigated further. Westminster "AMEN" The response by the "And the conyregation prayers: "Hittite Prayers of Mursilis II" that the 116. the prohibition of war of one tribe upon another. for the people involved and the entire cultural situation were both so different that it was in everything except form. there was a new covenant formed. p.68 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST (Vol. XXVII (1940) p.e. Palestine is itself precisely what we should expect. 43. On the other hand.42 Consequently. furthermore. p. not only a new generation. 324ff. some 42.that which became the basis of the federation of tribes. and the obligation of mutual support in warfare against a foreign nower. These include. XVII. It is also possible that the stipulations of this covenant have been taken up in the Covenant Code. an entirely new covenant. is found in the text of Hittlte congregation assembled cries 'Let it be so!' (Lit: 'Let that thing be. at least in part. The traditions are insistent upon the fact that there was a discontinuity between the generation of iMoses and that of Joshua-only Joshua himself and Caleb survived the wilderness period. but here it can only be said that in all likelihood the stipulations of the federation covenant have been lost. though the latter cannot be identified with the missing stipulations of Joshua 24 for the simple reason that the Covenant Code does not deal with the sort of matters which would have been absolutely necessary for a federation-it belongs rather to a local political or legal unit of society. The continuity cannot be traced primarily because the narrative does not include the stipulations other than that which is by far the most important characteristic of all covenants we know of this type. the provision for extradition of refugees from one tribe to another (the writer feels that the traditional "cities of refuge" are somehow a substitute for this). it is here submitted that the history of Israel before the monarchy can be understood and reconstructed only on the assumption that a covenant did exist. 93. but the amalgamation with groups already in Palestine probably because there was a tradition of kinship common to the groups involved. There was. except in the historical prologue. but the sort of stipulations which we should expect from extrasbiblical treaties are lacking in the entire corpus of law.43 so far as they go. There is no indication in Joshua 24 that it was a continuation of the Mosaic covenant. Urspruenge. described in procedure of Dt 27 belongs to the situation . Possibly there were no others--though this would seem extremely unlikely. Historical Wright. the prohibition of foreign relations-other gods. 35. and Anthrop. Atlas to the Bible. Annals of Arch. The desert covenant as such was not relevant to this situation (and is not mentioned).

These events became identified with those actions of Yahweh which establish obligation. We have seen that the historical prologue furnishes the foundation of obligation and the motivation for accepting the stipulations of the covenant as binding. it became necessary to identify Yahweh with the god of the fathers. which was already a part of the historical traditionsof the clans enteringthe covenant. Joshua 24 gives us a most interestingillustrationof the development of this part of the covenant. King. 6. nor to the various kings of Northern .44 It refers neither to Philistines. Instead. 12. the previous relationshipis pushed backwardin time to include the patriarchalperiod Fig. From Steindorff and Seele. When. At the same time. Fig. (passed over in the Decalogue). Here the delivery out of Egypt is not the only motif in the previous relations between Yahweh and Israel. 49. and consequently.1954. as in Ex 3 and 6. D. 3) THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST 69 further observations are in order. the actions of Yahweh are brought down to the immediate past of those who were entering the covenant-and the last incident may very well have been the defeat of a coalition of Palestiniankings such as that described in Joshua 10. Syrians tribute to the Egyptian bearing Egypt Ruled the East.

ignore. 47. cit. and a tremendous liability in the very independence and autonomy under Yahweh which they fostered. 418: "idea" comes under the same stricture. op." G. the older religious traditions were both a tremendous asset in the feeling of unity they produced. Wellhausen and most scholars Against since. and "law" were inseparable. presuppositions. over against the mythological religions of their pagan neighbors. p. It is not surprising that the first king fell victim to the extreme difficulties involved. And perhaps even more important is the fact that what we now call "history" and "law" were bound up into an organic unit from the very beginnings of Israel itself. Palestine. the covenant "In this way arose. of an hypothesis) (and it is obviously no more at present than the statement proposition. 10 and Judges JNES V (1946). XVII. and developed as a result of of the covenant by succeeding If fhere Is anty truth in this the "renewal" generations. but yet as an entirely new of the notion of covenant or treaty. history. The reorganization of the Israelite tribes became so widely felt a need that the demand for a king could no longer be resisted.of Israelite religious traditions. and that the history of Israelite religion is not the history of the gradual emergence of new theological concepts. 105-14.46 but of the separation and re-combination of these three elements so characteristic of Israelite religion. and at the same time suppress.45 Since the cultus was at least connected with the covenant proclamation or renewal. The "national J and E epic" underlying may have had its "Sitz im Leben" in the covenant form. The monarchy had to maintain the continuity . of the past has been proceeding with completely then' the literary criticism inadequate See Noth. Wright. 46." thing. . form-critical." frequency Cf. It was 44. is the fact that the covenant form itself furnished at least the nucleus about which the historical traditions crystallized in early Israel. cultus. In the establishment of a monarchy. or alter certaiA characteristics most closely associated with them. p. The point which is to be made here. 40.70 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST (Vol. we can see that in early Israel. from ideas which easily suggested it. This is not the place to discuss the problems involved in unravelling the historical traditions. "The Literary and Historical Problem of Joshua 1. F. treatment to be "found with special among non-theologians. the substance Jer 7:12 uses the incident to bring home the imminent end of another era. Geschichte Israels. 45.47 No longer could the religious federation with its loose organization suffice to hold back the more efficient Philistine invaders. which 'again indicates an independence from the Deuteronomic reconstruction of Israelite history according to which Joshua led the battle which resulted in the defeat of the northern coalition of Canaanite kings. It was the source of the "feeling for history" which is such an enigma in Israelite literature. 440 anld p. rather caustically intellecualism"' the "theological against himself protested Wellhausen of His own. The Breakdown of the Covenant Form The fall of Shiloh to the Philistines foreshadowed the end of an era.

for political organizationand the monarchy were now the foundation of social obligation-though it goes without saying that legal custom affected as it was by the religious imperatives of earlier periods contributed greatly to the content of the law of the monarchy. instead they were redefined in purely cultic terms (Exodus 34:).g. 49. This does not mean that moral. It was no longer possible under a king for each man to do "what was right in his own eyes"-the formula which amounted to the ancient Declaration of Independence. there can be no reasonable doubt that Israel was bound by oath to acknowledge and obey the king.Yahweh as witness could hardly be expected to punish Israel for a breach of covenant if the king demanded someTherething which was in flagrant violation of all religious tradition. The direct religious obligations to Yahweh were no longer of a sort which could give rise to a popular conflict with the official law of the state. he is no longer a faithful servant. as Frankforthas pointed out. Though we do not have details enough to analyze its form. it means merely that there was no longer the right of selfdeterminationin these matters for each community (Deut 12:8).d in so doing furnished the foundation for royal 24. no more religious in essence than a Babylonian business document guaranteed and sealed by an oath formula.48What was done eventually was the separationof the historicaland legal traditions. One of the various ways in which that was secured was by taking over the conceptof a covenantrelation. p. with Yahweh acting as witness. 341. Solidary responsibility for breach of covenant was still . responsibility ideas. The king was made king by covenant. II Samuel 11 and 12. sins of the king are visited upon Israel.50 48. It was thus. This in turn meant that the state had to have powerfulreligiousbacking. social. an. Only the prophets continued such old-fashioned to the people. The stipulationsof the covenant were not really relevant. But this was not a very much alive-the religious idea to which the kingship could long have taken kindly. The later biblical writers jumped to the conclusion that absence of king meant absence of law-misunderstanding completely the nature of the covenant. E. The historicalprologue of the covenant was taken over for the support of the Monarchy-thus the "nationalisticfeeling" which has often been noted in the "J" document. 3) David who worked out a modus vivendi so successfully that his reign was always regardedas the Golden Age (which was to be re-established in the hopes of later generations). The political demands and needs of the new state had to take precedence over the felt religious obligations of the individual. 50.THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST 71 1954. Kingship and the Gods. and legal obligations were secularized. EA 162:13 an*J many ottler passages. or a modem court proceeding with the witness "sworn in. When a person acts "in accordance with his own desires". clan and village. Again in Amarna we have a phrase/ which indicates a similar independence of political authority. relatively secular in origin."49 This. was insufficient. however. in spite of the fact that Solomon ruled in much more glory.

exactly as in the Abrahamic and Noachite covenant. The original center of the old Federation. It is. in the nature of an indictment for breach of covenant. whereby Yahweh promised to maintain the Davidic line on the throne (II Sam 23:5). not surprising that J does not seem to emphasize the Mosaic covenant-the important one was that which Yahweh gave to Abraham. 2. Dynastic . would be to attribute to Him breach of covenant. The normative covenant idea in their time was one which could not be used: 1. and the only way out was to ignore completely the covenant-and it is quite possible that the Mosaic covenant was almost completely forgotten. understandably enough. though it never succeeded in producing the stability of a single dynasty on the throne. XVII.) This was the prophetic dilemma. Yahweh bound Himself. but they had to use every other figure and device to convey their message than that to which their message really related. and therefore Israel could not escape responsibility to the king. Whether or not the prophets of the eighth century were completely aware of the nature of the Mosaic covenant (at least as it has been described here!). Their messages are. It is for that reason that so much of the evidence for these traditions is dependent upon Deuteronomy and related works. With this situation in mind. evidently preserved far more of the old Mosaic covenant traditions." This was evidently accepted in the South. the tradition of the covenant with Abraham became the pattern of a covenant between Yahweh and David. 20. in the north did not become established succession p.51 The Davidic covenant became normative in Judah-and may have been accepted eventually in the North as well. The covenant with Abraham was the "prophecy" and that with David the "fulfilment. likewise. To maintain that Yahweh would destroy the nation. and indeed was under His judgment.72 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST (Vol. but not in the North. fore. the prophetic silence concerning the covenant becomes explicable. (Ahijah succeeded in his apologetic by pointing out that the Davidic dynasty did have a throne-Yahweh had made no promise concerning the extent of the kingdom. To give only a few points: 1. The Prophetic 51. The Mosaic legal tradition could hardly have been any more attractive to Solomon than it was to Paul. It guaranteed the continuation of the monarchy (and of course the state which the monarch ruled) in spite of a state of affairs iwhich the prophets felt could not be supported by Yahweh. it is certainly true that their messages are completely in harmony with its basic structure. in den Reichen Israel und Juda" I (1951) "Das Koenigtum Alt. Vetus Testamentum till the time of Omri. during the Monarchy and according to every indication we have in the time of David.

The Rediscovery of Moses The premonitionof the end of an era so effectively expressed in the Israelite prophetic writings was shared by ancient oriental empires as well.The king together with the people entered into covenant (before the Lord: i.he . 2.tiquity" Leland Volume.But could the laws of Deuteronomy by themselves have had such a profound effect? It is highly questionable whether the content of Deuteronomy law was really so new and unfamiliarthat the simple reading of the commands would have resultedin such a reform. 3) "I-Thou" is a continuation of the covenant form of address. These are only a few of the points of similarity.73 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST 1954.It is here suggestedthat what was rediscovered was not old legislation. Studles In -.The commands of 52. Moses was rediscoveredafter having the Davidic-Abrahamic been dormantfor nearly three and a half centuries. "Primitivism Albright. The impact of this find was phenomenal. and Related Ideas in An. In Egypt and Babylonia there were attempts to re-createthe Golden Age of the past at the very time Jeremiahwas appealing to the past to justify his views of the future. It brought home to Josiah and the religious leadership that they had been living in a fool's paradise in their assumption that Yahweh had irrevocably committed Himself to preserve the nation in covenant. 4. History of Culture. The rejectionof the political boundary between Israel and Judah as significantreligiously goes back to the religious federation. The association of history and ethical obligation is of course indication of the same continuity of the Mosaic pattern. The book of the law is universallyregarded as that incorporated in what is now Deuteronomy.The violent attacks on sacrifice and emphasis on "ethic" presupposesthat the real religious obligations are of social and moral nature exactly as in the Decalogue and in the days of the Federation when religious sanctions were the only ones upholding the unity of the tribes and legal actions. It is not to deny that the prophets were capable of originality-it is praise enough to say that they did not condemn everything that had happened since the fall of Shiloh in the attempt to bring back the "good old days" of the amorphousFederation.52In the eighteenth year of king Josiah a "book of the law" was discovered in the Temple at Jerusalem. with Yahweh as witness.e. but the basic nature of the old amphictyonic covenant. a thorough house-cleaningwas carried out to do away with the pagan cults in his territory.5. The contrast drawn between Yahweh's precedent acts of benevolence and Israel's disobdience means the bringing of the curse-and the curses under the covenantalways include destructionof the state. not as a party to the covenant) to keep the commandments of the Lord.Josiah upon hearing the book read tore his garments. 3.

the prophetic position that the fall of the nation was possible It of course vindicated under the covenant.54The new had to be fitted into the frameworkof the old. just as the authorityin law rests ultimately with the king from David and Solomon on-as a Supreme Court. but the prophets did not create the idea. both the prophets and Deuteronomy.74 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST (Vol. preserving what was of value both in the old and the new. It is not easy in a highly sophisticated and cosmopolitan period 'to define so easily the acts of God which impose obligation. XVII. Here in the covenant (except in the Decalogue. It was a most amazingly successful creative adjustment. The necessity for a religious motivation for obedience to the laws of society was merged with the tradition of direct and immediate responsibility to divine command under covenant. The death of Josiah probably seemed to give a new coup de grace to the new discovery. the religious law had a new urgency behind them when it was seen that the covenant provided for curses as well as blessings (II Kings 22:13).53 Still the achievementsand ideas regnant for centuries could not be so easily displaced. The book of Deuteronomy itself gives some very interesting phenomena. fact of 587 finally vindicated but the historical . and we will hear and do it. at the same time it did not result in thoroughgoing anarchv and individualism so that the same religious impulse could undergird the formation of a new political unit after the Restoration. and hear all that the Lord our God will say. and place was made for the authority of political leadership while at the same time making that leadership responsible to religious tradition. The re-establishment of the old traditions of course did not and could not have reinstated the conditions of the period before the monarchy. The covenantof Moses had to be harmonizedwith the covenant of Abraham." (Deut 5:25-33) In this way the traditions of an original direct command of God were harmonized and merged with the fact that the monarchy had developed a customary law with an ultimately religious foundation giving it divine authority. The direct religious responsibility was strong enough to preserve the religious community in spite of complete destruction. and to whom the law is given directly. This is felt to be a change in the original situation. of course) it is no longer Yahweh but Moses who speaks in the firstperson. perhaps gradually in the years and centuries which followed. Go near. and this was done. if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more. and speak to us that the Lord our God will speak to you. The motivationfor it was attributednot to the royal urge for power.. but to the religious awe of the people themselves: "For this great fire will consume us. but a necessary and inevitable one. we shall die . Moses becomes a kingly type to whom Yahwehhas entrusted legislative matters. . It was 53. 54.

The covenant is solemnly established not in the setting of a majestic phenomenon of the power of God in nature. The obligation. but of religious. is not to a new political (case) law. It is only this that could harmonize the fact of human breach of covenant with the divine promise to protect and preserve Israel. the preceding act of God which confers a benefit upon the individual and the group both forms the motivation and ground for a lasting relationship by covenant. but in spite of this.but from the bondage to sin. but is an historical event whereby the disciples are bound together with their Lord as the new Israel-the new Kingdom ." Since this was an inevitable law of the universe. Son of David. The benefit is not of political nature. but in the insignificant gathering of a small group in an upper room. historical event-suffering-made this solution impossible for the pious individual. In addition. It is this which is then placed at the very center of both Judaism and New Testament religion. divine. disobedience and calamity. The New Covenant of Christianity obviously continued the tradition of the Abrahamic-Davidiccovenant with its emphasis upon the Messiah.1954. The covenant given is not a mythical presentation of a timeless. Israelite religious leadership was always too profound in insight to fall into this trap which would have reduced religion to a commercial transaction. There is of course vast difference in detail. but one whose "citizenshipis in heaven." The curses and blessings are not reducibleto an historicalcorrelationof obedience and prcsperity. disobedience and curse characteristic early covenantrelationsbecame a cosmic principle of -in fact tended to become a myth-"the divine cosmic pattern to which all life shapes itself. as illustratedin the book of Job. the basic structureof New Testamentreligion is actually. The harmonizationof the two covenant traditions meant that great emphasishad to be placed upon the divine forgiveness. consequently. It is historical event which establishes obligation. for they are eschatological-to be imposed at the end of time. all well-being depended upon knowledge and obedience to the law in order to receive the blessing instead of the curse. Paul uses the covenant of Abrahamto show the temporaryvalidity of the Mosaic covenant. as the early church constantlymaintained. 3) THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST 75 more and more the future and the remote past which was the basis of obligation. The correlationof obedience and blessing. The religious communityitself is not the nucleus of a new culture or political unit. The delivery from bondage by the act of God is not from a political oppression.the continuationof Mosaicreligion. cosmic process. but to a sort of duty which is not bound to any culture or state.and this becomes the foundation of the New Covenant predicted by Jeremiah. and at the same time brings about a willing obedience to the divine command. Thus the Deuteronomic philosophy or theology of history became in popular thought at least a caricatureof the original structure of religion.

Epilogue The later history of the covenant falls within the field of church history. Requests for fewer than 50 copies should be addressed. ANNOUNCEMENT The Editors of Archaeology magazine wish to announce that in the Winter. Missouri. The reprints will be sold at cost price. $3. leads to chaos. the emphasis upon direct responsibility to God. University of Missouri. The new stipulations of the covenant are not a system of law to define in detail every obligation in every conceivable circumstance. Cambridge 38. to Business Manager. it is planned to print separate reprints which can be obtained either singly or in bulk. 211 Jesse Hall. and which opposition continues to the present day.00 for 100 copies. even if it must be maintained by sheer force. postage extra. upon freedom and self-determination-all of which. Rowe.76 THE BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGIST of God. "Archaeology as a Career. On the other hand the emphasis upon stability and continuity. . It may also help to show the issues involved in the extremely long and complex history of two opposing concepts of religion which come into conflict in biblical religion at the beginning of the monarchy. degenerating. $5. after January 1. Associate Professor of Anthropology of the University of California. the preservation of a particular cultural pattern and the establishment of authority to hold in check the unpredictable and disruptive tendencies of undisciplined humanity-all of which may also degenerate and lead to stagnation and satisfaction with the status quo. He also describes the various kinds of posts available and the rewards. which may be expected. After publication it may not be possible to fill large orders. financial and otherwise. It may also lead to myth-by identifying itself with the divine power which defeats the powers of chaos. It is hoped that this discussion of a very ancient religious and legal form may have some correspondence with reality. Archaeology.00 for 50 copies. the attempt to reduce the actions of God to a readily communicable and comprehensible system. Andover Hall." by Professor John H. but the law of love. The article will be illustrated and includes a brief bibliography of useful reading material. Believing that such an article will be of wide interest. Such orders should be addressed to The Editor. 1954 issue they will publish an article. Archaeology. and will not be dealt with here. On the one hand there is the emphasis on experience of the past as the foundation of obligation. 1955. Columbia. Massachusetts. It would be of great assistance if those institutions or individuals who wish to order 50 copies or more would place their orders in advance of publication. In this article Professor Rowe describes in detail the education and preparatory work desirable for a young man or woman considering an archaeological career.

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