Hans Ausloos, «Exod 23,20-33 and the War of YHWH», Vol. 80 (1999) 555-563
Some crucial elements of the compositional structure of the "war of YHWH" which can be found in Exod 14, Josh 10, Judg 4 and 1 Sam 7, equally occur in Exod 23,20-33. The differences between the latter text and the former pericopes, however, point into the conclusion that Exod 14, Josh 10, Judg 4 and 1 Sam 7 on the one hand and Exod 23,20-33 on the other are separate witnesses of an earlier tradition about YHWH as warrior.
In reaction against the tendency to characterise Tetrateuch texts as dependent on Deuteronom(ist)ic literature, simply because of similarities of some disparate words, I have accentuated the importance of compositional schemes in order to determine the relationship of a passage in GenesisNumbers and Deuteronom(ist)ic literature19. Although much attention has been paid to the vocabulary of Exod 23,20-33 in the past, as far as I am aware, only J. Halbe has dealt with the presence of a compositional pattern within this pericope20. Against the background of his analysis of Exod 34,11-26, he points to the syntactical scheme "Interjektion" "Feststellungssatz" "Imperativ", that is often used in the Old Testament and that can likewise be found in the first verses of Exod 23,20-3321.
The relationship between Exod 23 and a more encompassing compositional pattern which plays an important role within Deuteronomistic literature, can be clarified by examining the aforementioned terminology of the "war of YHWH". In a preliminary phase, however, attention will be paid to this stereotypical scheme within Deuteronomistic literature.
2. The Scheme of the "War of YHWH" in Exod 14; Josh 10; Judg 4; 1 Sam 7
It has been convincingly demonstrated by W. Richter, P. Weimar and M. Vervenne, that the narratives of the crossing of the Sea in Exod 1314, the taking possession of the South in Josh 10, Deborah and Baraks victory on Sisera in Judg 4 and Israels triumph against the Philistines in 1 Sam 7, are closely related to each other22. In all these pericopes not only does the motif of the "war of YHWH" play an important role, but a similar compositional pattern can be found as well. Although these four texts are not entirely identical23, the scheme according to which they are composed is remarkable: threat speech or complaint action of YHWH.
According to Vervenne, the pattern that Exod 14, Josh 10, Judg 4 and 1 Sam 7 have in common, can be sketched as follows24: