The first five books of the OT were known in Jewish circles as 'the five-fifths of the Law.' Christian scholars as early as Tertullian and Origen adopted the name Pentateuch, corresponding to their Jewish title, as a convenient designation of these books. 'The Law' was regarded as a unique and authoritative exposition of all individual and social conduct within Israel: a wide gulf seemed to divide it from the Book of Joshua, which inaugurated the series of historical books known as 'the Latter Prophets.' As a matter of fact, this division is wholly artificial. The five books of the Law are primarily intended to present the reader not with a codification of the legal system, but with some account of the antiquities and origins of Israel, as regards their religious worship, their political position, and their social arrangements. From this standpoint, nothing could be more arbitrary than to treat the Book of Joshua as the beginning of an entirely new series: 'its contents, and, still more, its literary structure, show that it is intimately connected with the Pentateuch, and describes the final stage in the history of the Origines of the Hebrew nation' (Driver, LOT [Note: OT Introd. to the Literature of the Old Testament.] 103). Critics have accordingly invented the name Hexateuch to emphasize this unity; and the name has now become universally accepted as an appropriate description of the first six volumes of the OT. In this article we propose to consider (I.) the composition, (II.) the criticism, and (III.) the characteristics of the Hexateuch.
I. Composition of the Hexateuch.
These the generations of the heavens and the earth in creating them, in the day of Jehovah God's making the earth and the heavens. And every green thing of the field before it shall be in the earth, and every green herb of the field before it will spring up: for Jehovah God rained not upon the earth and not a man to work the earth. read more. And a vapor shall go up from the earth and it watered all the face of the earth. And Jehovah God will form man of the dust from the earth, and will blow into his nostrils the breath of lives, and man shall be for a living soul. And Jehovah God will plant a garden in Eden from the east; and he will put there the man which he will form. And Jehovah God will cause to grow out of the earth every tree pleasant to the sight, and good for food; and the tree of lives in the midst of the garden, and the tree to know good and evil. And a river shall go out from Eden to water the garden, and from thence it shall be separated into four heads. The name of the one, Pison: it is that surrounding all the land Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. There bdellium and onyx stone. And the name of the second river, Gihon: that surrounding all the land of Cush. And the name of the third river, Hiddekel, that going forth east of Assyria. And the fourth river, Euphrates. And Jehovah God will take the man and will set him down in the garden of Eden to work it and to keep it. And Jehovah God will appoint to the man, saying, From every tree of the garden eating, thou shalt eat. But from the tree to know good and evil thou shalt not eat from it, for in the day of thy eating from it, dying, thou shalt die. And Jehovah God will say, It is not good for man to be alone; I will make for him a help as before him. And Jehovah God will form out of the earth every living thing of the field, and all the birds of the heavens, and he will bring in to the man to see what he will call to it; and all which the man will call it to the living soul, that its name. And the man will call the names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the heavens, and to every living thing of the field; but to the man was not found a help as before him. And Jehovah God will cause to fall a deep sleep upon the man, and he will sleep; and he will take one of his ribs and will close up the flesh underneath it And Jehovah God will build the rib which he took from the man, into a woman, and will bring her to the man. And the man will say, This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; and this shall be called woman, because she was taken from man. Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother and will cleave to his woman; and they shall be into one flesh. And they two shall be naked, the man and his woman, and they shall not be &shamed.
And I set up my covenant with thee; and thou shalt come in to the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. And from every living thing of all flesh, two of all shalt thou bring in to the ark, to preserve alive with thee: male and female shall they be.
And from every living thing of all flesh, two of all shalt thou bring in to the ark, to preserve alive with thee: male and female shall they be. From birds according to its kind, and cattle according to their kind; of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two from all shall come to thee to preserve alive. read more. And take thou to thee of all food which shall be eaten, and thou shalt collect to thee, and it shall be to thee and to them for food. And Noah will do all which God commanded him; so did he.
From all clean cattle thou shalt take to thee seven; seven male and female; and from cattle which are not clean, this two, male and female. Also of birds of the heavens, seven: seven male and female, to preserve alive seed upon the face of all the earth.
And they shall go in to Noah to the ark, two from all flesh in which is the breath of life.
And Abram shall pass over the land to the place Sichem, to the erect oak tree. And the Canaanite then in the land.
And these the kings which reigned in the land of Edom, before a king reigned over the sons of Israel.
And a man will find him, and behold, he wandered in the field. And the man will ask him, saying, What wilt thou seek? And he will say, I am seeking my brethren; announce to me now where they are feeding. read more. And the man will say, They -removed from this; for I heard them saying, We will go to Dothan. And Joseph will go after his brethren and will find them in Dothan. And they will see him from far off and before he will draw near to them, and they will act deceitfully with him, to kill him. And a man will say to his brother, Behold, this lord of dreams coming. And now, come, and we will kill him, and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, An evil beast devoured him: and we shall see what will be his dreams.
And Jehovah will say to Moses, Pharaoh's heart was heavy; he refused to send forth the people.
And Moses and Aaron did all these signs before Pharaoh; and Jehovah will bind fast Pharaoh's heart, and he sent not forth the sons of Israel from his land.
And Jehovah will say to Moses, Write this a remembrance in the book, and set in the ears of Joshua: for wiping off I will wipe off the remembrance of Amalek from under the heavens.
And Moses will write all the words of Jehovah, and he will rise early in the morning, and will build an altar under the mountain, and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.
And he will take the book of the covenant and read in the ears of the people: and they will say, All which Jehovah spake we will do, and we will heed.
And the man Moses greatly humble, more than all the men upon the face of the earth.
When thou shalt come to the land which Jehovah thy God gave to thee, and shall possess it and shall dwell in it, and thou saidst, I will set over me a king according to all the nations which are round about me;
And it shall be when Moses finished to write the words of this law upon a book until he finished them;
And there arose not any more a prophet in Israel as Moses, whom Jehovah knew him face to face.