the appropr iate place. S o much for the Five B o oks of Mo s e s ; it is t i me now
to examin e the othe r b o oks.
7 ] For s i milar rea s ons , the B o ok of Jo shua als o c an b e show n not to
have b e e n w r itte n by Jo shua.
It is another p e rs on who te st i¢e s that
Jo shua’s fame had spread throughout the e ar th (s e e
6 .27), that he o mitte d
non e of the c o mma ndme n ts of Mo s e s (s e e the la st ve rs e of ch.
), that he g rew old, that he su mm on e d the m all to an a s s e mbly,
and ¢nally that he di e d.
The n to o s o me thing s are told that happ e n e d
afte r his de ath, for example , that afte r his de ath the Is raelite s worshipp e d
Go d a s long a s the old me n who kn ew hi m re maine d alive.
It is s aid at
16.10 that Ephrai m and Mana s s eh ‘did not dr ive out the C ana anite that
dwelt in Ge z e r, but’ (it adds) ‘the C ana anite ha s dwelt in the midst of
Ephraim to this day and has paid them tribute’. This is exactly what is
s aid in the b o ok of Judge s , ch.
, and the expre s s ion ‘to this day’ shows
that the writer was speaking of something from the past. Similar is the
text in the last verse of chapter
about the sons of Judah, as well as the
story of Caleb which begins at verse
13 of the same chapter.The incident
related at ch.
22.10 ¡. about the two
tribes and the half tribe that built
the altar beyond Jordan also seems to have occurred after Joshua’s death:
there is no mention of him in the whole account, and it is the people
alone who debate the question of war, send out envoys, await a response
and make the ¢nal decision for war. Finally, it plainly follows from
that this book was composed many generations after Joshua; for it says:
‘there has been no day like that day either before or afterwards, on which
God’ (so) ‘hearkened to any man’, etc. If Joshua ever wrote a book, it was
surely the one which is cited in this same narrative at
8] No sensible person, I believe, is persuaded that the Book of Judges
was composed by the Judges themselves. For the summary of this whole
history given in chapter
clearly proves that it was written entirely by one
narrator alone. Moreover, it was undoubtedly written after the kings
assumed the government, since its author often reminds us that ‘in those
days’ there was no king in Israel.
10.13: ‘Is this not written in the Book of Jashar?’ (how the sun stood still in heaven).
Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings
9] As for the books of Samuel, there is no reason to tarry long as the
narrative continues far beyond his lifetime. Here, I would merely want to
note that this book too was composed many generations after Samuel. For
1 Samuel 9.9 the narrator mentions in parenthesis, ‘In the old days
each man spoke thus in Israel when he went to consult God: ‘‘Come, let
us go to the seer’’; for he who today is called a prophet was in the old
days designated a seer’.
10] Finally, the books of the Kings, as they themselves make clear, were
excerpted from the books of the ‘Acts of Solomon’ (see
1 Kings 11.41),
from the ‘Chronicles of the Kings of Judah’ (see
14.19, 29) and from the
‘Chronicles of the Kings of Israel’.
11] We conclude therefore that all the books we have surveyed so far
are derivative works,
and the events they describe are recounted as
having happened long before. If we now turn to the unity of theme and
structure of all these books, we shall readily conclude that all were writ-
ten by one and the same chronicler, who set out to write the ancient
history of the Jews from their earliest origins down to the ¢rst destruc-
tion of the city.
These works are so closely joined to each other that we
clearly discern from this alone that they consist of a single narrative by a
single historian. As soon as he has ¢nished relating the life of Moses, he
passes to the history of Joshua with these words: ‘And it happened, after
Moses the servant of God died, that God said to Joshua’ etc.
account is completed by the death
of Joshua, he commences the history
of the Judges with the same transitional phrase, even the same conjunc-
tion: ‘And it happened, after Joshua had died, that the sons of Israel
sought from God’, etc.
He annexes the book of Ruth to Judges, like an
appendix, in this manner:‘And it happened in those days inwhich the Judges
were judging that there was a famine in that land’.
He joins the ¢rst book
of Samuel to Ruth in the same manner, and after completing that,
proceeds, with his customary transition, to the second book of Samuel.
Before the history of David is ¢nished, he moves into the ¢rst book of
Kings, where he continues his account of the history of David, and ¢nally
joins the second book of Kings to the ¢rst with the same connecting device.
The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in
587 bc (2 Kings 25).
The thematic structure and design of the histories also show that there
was only one chronicler who had set himself a particular goal. For he
begins by narrating the earliest origins of the Hebrew nation, then in due
order tells on what occasions and at what times Moses issued laws and
made many prophecies. Then he tells how, in accordance with Moses’
predictions, they invaded the promised land (see Deuteronomy
after they possessed it, abandoned the laws (Deuteronomy
31.16), as a
result of which they su¡ered many ills (ibid.
17). He explains how, sub-
sequently, they desired to choose Kings (Deuteronomy
17.14), who also
fared well or ill according to their respect for the Laws (Deuteronomy
28.36 and the last verse), until ¢nally he narrates the ruin of the state,
just as Moses had predicted. Other matters that have nothing to do
with supporting the Law, he either simply consigns to silence or else
refers the reader to other historians. All these books therefore collude
to one end: to teach the sayings and edicts of Moses, and illustrate
them by the outcome of events.
12] These three things, hence, taken together, namely unity of theme
in all these books, their interconnectedness, and their being derivative
written many centuries after the event, lead us to conclude, as we
said above, that they were all composed by a single historian.Who this was,
I cannot conclusively prove, though I suspect it was Ezra himself. Several
substantial considerations concur to make me think this. The historian
(whom we now know to have been only one man) takes his story down to
the liberation of Jehoiachin, adding that he sat at the table of the king all
(that is, either the life of Jehoiachin or the life of the son of
Nebuchadnezzar, for the sense is completely ambiguous). It follows that no
one before Ezra’s time could have
been this historian. But Scripture tells us
of no one living at that time other than Ezra (see Ezra
7.10), who set himself
zealously to reseach and explain the Law of God; it also relates that he was a
7.6), well-versed in the Law of Moses. Hence, I cannot think
that it was anyone but Ezra who wrote these books.
Ezra not only applied himself zealously to research the law of God, we
see from this testimony, but also to elaborate it; and at Nehemiah
is also said that ‘they read the book of the Law of God as it was
expounded and applied their intelligence to it and understood the
2 Kings 25.27^30.
Spinoza’s text gives Nehemiah
Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings