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 are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created in the day that Jehovah God made the earth and the heavens. And every shrub of the field was not yet on the earth, and every plant of the field had not yet sprung up, for Jehovah God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground. read more. But there went up from the earth a mist and watered all the face of the ground. And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And Jehovah God planted a garden eastward in Eden. And there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. The tree of life also was in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden. And from there it was divided and became four heads. The name of the first is Pishon; that is it which surrounds all the land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. There is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that surrounds the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is Tigris; it is that which goes toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. And Jehovah God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree in the garden, but you shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. And out of the ground Jehovah God formed every animal of the field and every fowl of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. And Adam gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field. But there was not found a suitable helper for Adam. And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept. And He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh underneath. And Jehovah God made the rib (which He had taken from the man) into a woman. And He brought her to the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife; and they were not ashamed.
But I will establish My covenant with you. And you shall come into the ark, you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with you. And you shall bring into the ark two of every kind, of every living thing of all flesh, to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female.
And you shall bring into the ark two of every kind, of every living thing of all flesh, to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Two of every kind shall come to you to keep them alive; of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind. read more. And take for yourself all food that is eaten, and you shall gather for yourself. And it shall be for food, for you and for them. Noah did so, according to all that God commanded him, so he did.
You shall take with you every clean animal by sevens, the male and female. And take two of the animals that are not clean, the male and female. Also take of the fowls of the air by sevens, the male and the female, to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
And they went in to Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, in which is the breath of life.
And Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, unto the Oak of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
And these were the kings that reigned in the land of Edom before the reigning of a king over the sons of Israel.
And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying, What are you looking for? And he said, I am seeking for my brothers. Please tell me where they are feeding. read more. And the man said, They are gone from here, for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brothers, and found them in Dothan. And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. And they said to one another, Behold, this dreamer comes. Therefore come now, and let us kill him, and throw him into some pit, and we will say some evil beast has devoured him. And we shall see what will become of his dreams.
And Jehovah said to Moses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened. He refuses to let the people go.
And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh. And Jehovah hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he would not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.
And Jehovah said to Moses, Write this, a memorial in a book, and set it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heavens.
And Moses wrote all the Words of Jehovah, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar below the mountain and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the ears of the people. And they said, All that Jehovah has said we will do, and be obedient.
(Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all the men on the face of the earth.)
When you come to the land which Jehovah your God gives you, and shall possess it and shall live in it and shall say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations around me,
And it happened when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this Law in a book, until they were finished,
And never since has a prophet like Moses arisen in Israel, whom Jehovah knew face to face,