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.
its meaning is different, since this verse does not deal with the expulsion of an enemy, but with their destruction43.
Taking these elements together, one can conclude that, although Exod 23,20-33 resembles the scheme of YHWH-war as it can be found in Exod 14, Josh 10, Judg 4 and 1 Sam 7, it at the same time differs from it on significant points. First, contrary to these pericopes, in which a battle between Israel and the hostile nations is narrated, the aforementioned elements reflecting the war of YHWH scheme in Exod 23,20-33 all are part of a divine command. Secondly, the specific scheme that structures the narratives of Exod 14, Josh 10, Judg 4 and 1 Sam 7 is entirely absent from Exod 23, since only some, nevertheless very important, fragments of it can be found in the latter pericope. Thirdly, parallel to Exod 14, the Israelites do not have to take part in the war against the foreign peoples, unless v. 24 is taken into consideration. Moreover, because of the fact that dyb Ntn is not characteristic to the scheme and Pr( Ntn is absent from it, it seems doubtful whether the author(s) of Exod 23 can be considered to be literarily dependent on the more or less stereotypical scheme that can be found in Exod 14, Josh 10, Judg 4 and 1 Sam 7. Probably, the compositor(s) of the epilogue of the "Book of the Covenant" would have applied it more rigorously to his/their own composition. As such, even if the loose combination of elements from the scheme in Exod 23 can be seen either as an early preamble to the (Deuteronomistic) pattern or as a late imitation of it44, in my view, there is more evidence to consider both Exod 23 on the one hand, and Exod 14, Josh 10, Judg 4 and 1 Sam 7 on the other as separate witnesses of a tradition about the war of YHWH45.
Against this background, it is interesting to recall the other elements scholars have brought into relation with the tradition about the "war of YHWH" within Exod 23,20-33. These, however, do not play a role in the (Deuteronomistic) scheme. Moreover, none of these elements points to a dependency on Deuteronomistic literature. There are no good reasons to consider the K)lm (vv. 20.23), leading the Israelites into the Promised land, to be a typical Deuteronom(ist)ic theme46. Within the Deuteronomistic