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 343
EISODUS AS EXODUS: THE SONG OF THE SEA
The concept of divine kinship redemption in Exod 15 carries an
additional connotation, however, that suggests an early usage â€” it
creates a sense of ethnic uniqueness that complements the deliberate
adjustments to Canaanite mythopoesis earlier in the poem. In Exod
15, highland life connects the people to their patron on the same
â€œancestralâ€ estate in a familial manner. This is not simply a mythic
or ritual matter: by making Israel the kin of YHWH, the poem forever
precludes the possibility that Israelâ€™s kinship ties may be traced to
the earlier Egypto-Canaanite culture 94. The recitation of the poem
during festivals throughout the Israelite hinterland helped to delin-
eate social boundaries as early Israel crystallized from the mixed
multitudes that came together through common cause and creed.
Those who partook in the building of communities upon the land
could participate in the recitation of the poem at communal festi-
vals. Those who recited the poem were thus liberated from â€œEgyptâ€
through YHWHâ€™s act of salvation and became his own kinsmen, and
those who became kinsmen of YHWH became the kin of all Israel.
In this way, families and clans in different regions and from differ-
ent backgrounds could become a cohesive network. The M( â€” the
divinely redeemed kinship group (v. 13) â€” became M( l)r#y 95.
This idea would indeed be ripe for re-use in the mid to late 6th cen-
tury BCE as Deutero- and Trito-Isaiahâ€™s audiences returned to the
land, struggled to establish social cohesions and stability, and at-
tempted to reconnect with the foundations of national memory.
who do not rise to the task. See L.E. STAGER, â€œThe Song of Deborah: Why
Some Tribes Answered the Call and Others Did Notâ€, BAR 15 (1989) 50-64.
It is notable that the same attitude is not preserved regarding the ma-
jority of eastern nomads. Midian and Amalek eventually stand out as ene-
mies; see SCHLOEN, â€œCasus Belliâ€, 38. Polemics against Moab, Ammon,
Edom, and other groups surface especially within the Patriarchal tales in
Genesis. But these tales do not deny ancient kinship commonalities shared
between Israel and these other nations, whereas the repeated anti-Canaanite
polemic fixes the ethnic gap.
On M( as a kinship term, see VAN DER TOORN, Family Religion, 200,
203-204. See also CROSS, From Epic to Canon, 11-13.