Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry

By Frank Moore Cross Jr.; David Noel Freedman | Go to book overview
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Notes to the Text
Massoretic 'āšîrâ is suitable. Textual evidence, however, shows that we are dealing, in this verse, with variant readings of great antiquity. The parallel in vs. 21 reads šîrû which is perhaps metrically more exact. On the other hand, the Hebrew underlying the LXX, Peshitta, and Vulgate, seems to have been nāšîrâ, which harmonizes well with the introduction to the song. The Samaritan reads ורשא, apparently a conflate text, combining 'āšîrâ and šîrû. The use of the first person in victory odes is quite proper, however, cf. Jud. 5:3. Similar variations in the opening lines of a hymn are to be found in Num. 10:35 // Ps. 68:2, etc.
MT is awkward; LXX (αυαβάτητ), Vulgate, Old Latin and Syro-hexaplar presuppose rôkēb, which is scarcely an improvement. Haupt, "Moses' Song of Triumph', ad loc., suggests rékeb, and observes that ἅρμα is found in the margin of one Greek ms. Cp. also rikbô in vs. 19. The final vowel letter (waw) would not have appeared in the early orthography. It is to be noted that te endings are retained. From an historical point of view, ובכר must be interpreted as referring to chariotry, or conceivably to the charioteers. There is now excellent evidence that cavalry were not introduced into the Near East until the late twelfth century B.C., and probably not into Egypt until considerably later. Israel does not seem to have made use of cavalry until some time in the ninth century, cf. Albright, Archaeology and the Religion of Israel, 2nd ed., Baltimore, 1946, p. 213, note 25.
Vs. 2 which appears to be a couplet, 3:3.3:3, does not conform to the metrical structure which prevails throughout the remainder of the song. It also seems to be out of context at this point in the poem. The first bicolon is a common ascriptit bicolon is a common ascription of praise, found again in Isa. 12:2b and Ps. 118:14. It may have been used here as an introductory doxology, before the body of the poem, beginning at vs. 3 (vs. lb being taken as a refrain). The antiquity of the couplet is not at all affected by these considerations, as the following notes will indicate:


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Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry


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