Mark Leuchter, «Eisodus as Exodus: The Song of the Sea (Exod 15) Reconsidered.», Vol. 92 (2011) 321-346
This study continues a line of inquiry from the author’s previous essay regarding the 12th century BCE battle traditions embedded in the Song of Deborah (Judg 5) as the basis for a nascent Exodus ideology surfacing in the Song of the Sea (Exod 15). Exod 15 is identified as developing an agrarian ideal into a basis for national identity: Israel’s successful struggles against competing Canaanite military forces echoing earlier Egyptian imperial hegemony is liturgized into a myth where YHWH defeats the Egyptian foe and then settles his own sacred agrarian estate.
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332 MARK LEUCHTER
to the people and canonized into the Book of Yashar (2 Sam 1,18)
is one expression of this memory: the tradition may not reflect an
actual event, but it sheds light on how the historiographer behind the
passage believed official ideologies in the formative years of the
monarchy were established and preserved 44. Such an enterprise
would consolidate claims to power of early kings interested in shap-
ing public perception of royal policies 45.
Finally, the interest in demonstrating continuity with the past tra-
ditions of the tribal population in a way that reified the early monar-
chyâ€™s policies is evidenced in other works of liturgical verse best
viewed as originating in the 10th century BCE as well. Psalm 99, for
example, contains an early stratum of material that attempts to sup-
port the transfer of the Shilonite Ark to Jerusalem by appealing to the
figures of Moses and Samuel, the outstanding personalities associ-
ated with the Shiloh tradition 46. Given the tensions that arose later
between Solomon and the Shilonites (cf. 1 Kgs 2,26), this early stra-
tum of material is best viewed as reflecting a composition dating to
Davidâ€™s reign 47. If this brief poem is indeed a window into the logic
of cultic politics during Davidâ€™s reign, it reveals that the earliest days
of the monarchy saw an effort to associate the royal circle in
Jerusalem with pre-monarchic liturgical norms.
The transcription and standardization of ancient cultic poetry such
as Exod 15 would be consistent with this type of effort, and one that
persisted (albeit in a different way) into Solomonâ€™s reign as well 48.
SCHNIEDEWIND, How the Bible Became a Book, 53-55.
HUTTON, Transjordanian Palimpsest, 172-173; BYRNE, â€œRefugeâ€, 22.
The addition of Aaronide terms and imagery in this psalm belongs to
the secondary redactional stratum therein. See M. LEUCHTER, â€œThe Literary
Strata and Narrative Sources of Psalm xcixâ€, VT 99 (2005) 30-36.
Compare this to Ps 132,6, where the Ark is associated exclusively with
Judahite locales. The mention of an Ephraimite or Shilonite background is
strictly eschewed. For the qualified support of a Solomonic date to this
psalm, see A. LAATO, â€œPsalm 132: A Case Study in Methodologyâ€, CBQ 61
(1999) 25-33. If the psalm does derive from a Solomonic writer, the likeli-
hood that Ps 99 derives from Davidâ€™s reign is increased given the dramatic
shift in geo-political interest. Even if it derives from a post-Solomonic writer,
the ideological genotype encoded therein regarding Shilonite aversion must
be traced to Solomonâ€™s reign.
One indication of this is Solomonâ€™s patrimonial state strategy, which
sought to incorporate extant clan hierarchies into a monarchic matrix. See
STAGER, â€œPatrimonial Kingdomâ€.