By the count of F.I. Andersen and A. Dean Forbes, Spelling in the Hebrew Bible (Biblica et Orientalia 41 (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1986), pp. 323–324. Note also the omission of final -h as a mater lectionis for the feminine suffix, /â/, as at Genesis 26:14, 28 (J source). This phenomenon, which reflects writing prior to the late eighth century B.C.E. in Jerusalem (as found in the Siloam tunnel inscription), is of course most frequent in the Pentateuch.


See generally Baruch Halpern, David’s Secret Demons (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001).


Frank M. Cross and David N. Freedman, Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry, Society of Biblical Literatue Dissertation Series (SBLDS) (Missoula, MT: Scholars, 1975); D.A. Robertson, Linguistic Evidence in Dating Early Hebrew Poetry, SBLDS 3 (Missoula, MT: Scholars, 1972), pp. 31–32 and 138. Robertson’s criteria are generally sound, but he mistook b ‘r in Judges 5:27 as a preposition + (late) relative, rather than as a proposition + (old) noun meaning, “in the place where.”

Furthermore, -m to indicate the third-person plural (in verses 14, 20, 21) is not an index of age, and may even reflect an original defective orthographic tradition. And in identifying suffix-form verb followed by w + prefix-form verb as a standard later form, Robertson failed to analyze verb function as an index of age. The instance in verse 28, nqph wtybb, expresses ongoing action in the past (“she was looking down and wailing”); this is not identical with the later use of the sequence for simple past narration (for example, “she looked down and wailed”).


See Numbers 10:36, and also compare Psalms 68:2 and Numbers 10:35.


See Shmuel Ahituv, Canaanite Toponyms in Ancient Egyptian Texts (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1984), pp. 121–122.


Halpern, The Emergence of Israel in Canaan (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1983), pp. 32–43.


There is, of course, a question whether the Song of the Sea documents an Exodus at all. Clearly, it connects an Egyptian defeat to the secure settlement of the Israelites in Canaan. The idea of an Exodus is never divorced from that of the Conquest in any Israelite literature. After all, the Exodus without the promise of the land would be pointless. A connection between Egyptian defeat and the Conquest, coupled with an identification of YHWH as the God who led Israel into Canaan, is prima facie evidence for an Exodus tradition.


As my friend Gary Knoppers reminds me.


How long thereafter the southern coastal territory may be called “Philistia” is also a question. Furthermore, though the song connects the Exodus directly with the Conquest, such a direct connection may not have been close to the events in question.