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.
See more by the same author
Biblica_1:Layout 1 21-11-2011 12:59 Pagina 339
EISODUS AS EXODUS: THE SONG OF THE SEA
Exodus tradition associated with Ephraimite circles, Isaiahâ€™s avoid-
ance of the poem follows his predilection for valorizing native Ju-
dahite mythotypes. Second, as Exod 15,13.17-18 suggest, Exod 15 is
concerned with the mythic ramifications of life in the highland frontier,
and liturgizes this experience for ritual rehearsal 73. If Isaiah does not
refer to the poem, it may be due to its agrarian emphasis (see further
below), which would not have served Isaiahâ€™s interests in reifying an
urban Zion tradition against the rural ire that had accrued by his day 74.
Whatever the reasons for the lack of reference to Exod 15 in Isa-
iahâ€™s oracles, the pivotal term in identifying the poem as a product
of the Zion tradition is dsx, and it is with the weight of this term in
the mythos of the Davidic line that some commentators have as-
sumed the poemâ€™s origination in a Jerusalemite setting. Even this
term, however, carries implications for kinship structures that need
not be strictly associated with its later appearance in the Zion tra-
dition 75. The other terms involved in this question (#dqm, K#dq and
Ktlxn rh) are not as heavily encumbered, and are easily acceptable
as part of a poem unaware, or at least unconcerned, with a
Jerusalemite theology 76. The poem may therefore still be used to re-
cover concepts from the pre-monarchic hinterland culture. In par-
ticular, the phrase Ktlxn rhb demands attention, as it is here where
the poem begins to shift from the realm of the divine to that of the
poetâ€™s own world, thereby incorporating Israel into its own myth 77.
The construct Ktlxn rh is often cited as evidence of the monar-
chic-era composition of the poem, with the assumption that it relates
See the conclusion to the present study for further discussion on this
The 8th century BCE socio-economic tension between the urban and
rural sectors is conveniently summarized by M.L. CHANEY, â€œModels Matter:
Political Economy and Micah 6:9-15â€, Ancient Israel. The Old Testament in
its Social Context (ed. P. ESLER) (Minneapolis, IN 2006) 146-149.
See F.M. CROSS, From Epic to Canon (Baltimore, MD 1998) 5-6.
PROPP, Exodus 1-18, 532, 568, notes that #dqm (â€œsanctuaryâ€) need not re-
late to a temple or shrine structure but is a viable description of sacred terrain,
and that K#dq hwn in v. 13 is especially connected to old tent-shrine ideology.
Pace CROSS, CMHE, 141, who sees the first half of the poem as histor-
ically rooted. Nevertheless, CROSSâ€™s observation (CMHE, 142) that Ugaritic
myth utilizes similar terminology for the divine realm supports the view that
the poet wishes to establish a sort of parallel between the Israelite highlands
and the divine abode.