654.     We quote from a valuable book on “Lines of Defense of the Biblical Revelation,” by Prof. D. S. Margoliouth, M.A. of Oxford, some words of special interest to women. He says: “The whole of the modern theory of the Pentateuch is liable to be wrecked on a verse of 1 Samuel, where it is stated that the sons of Eli misused the women who assembled (A. V.) at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation” 2:22.

655.     We are interested at once, as women, to know what all this means. First, what is the “modern theory,”¾for some may not know? The Higher Criticism teaches that the rules relating to worship set forth in Leviticus, and to some extent in Exodus and Numbers, did not take shape, and were not promulgated in full until somewhere about the time when Ezra makes his appearance in Scripture history,¾just before or after the Babylonian exile was past. In fact, some claim that Ezra himself promulgated them. For, denying revelation (in the sense that we generally understand it), and substituting evolution in its place, time must be allowed for the evolution of such an elaborate and intelligent as well as monotheistic system of worship.

656.     When I was a missionary in China, I knew of a Chinese mother who was so provoked because her daughter’s bound foot was too large for the tiny shoe she had embroidered for it, that she seized the shears and attempted to cut the foot to the size of the shoe. Revelation is too great and wonderful a fact to be fitted into the narrow theory of evolution; so the destructive critics attempt to hew away the Living Word to fit it into their theory. They would cut the foot to fit the shoe.

657.     Now it is not so difficult to declare a very ancient book centuries newer than it happens to be. But other things are involved, in this particular case. For instance, what about the Tabernacle itself, for which these regulations regarding worship were made? Solomon’s Temple was built some 500 years before Ezra’s day. Was the Tabernacle built 500 years after the Temple? The Bible declares it was built about 500 years before the Temple. The Tabernacle dates (in round numbers), 1500, Solomon’s Temple 1000, and Ezra 500 B.C. Can we date the Tabernacle 1000 years later than we have been accustomed to date it? The Higher Criticism theory does so. Wellhausen, the chief exponent of the Higher Criticism says. “The Tabernacle is a copy of the Temple at Jerusalem.” This looks to most of us like childish nonsense. For what object was the portable structure called the Tabernacle built, if not for meeting the conditions of the wilderness life of wandering Israelites?

658.     And how could Ezra, or anyone else, invent the entire ritual law, and then convince the Jews that the law was revealed to Moses, and had been in use among their own people for long centuries? And yet, this is what is claimed; this is that “modern theory.” The children of Israel must be convinced that this newly invented system of laws is centuries old, to secure veneration for it! Abraham Lincoln once said, in his own homely way: “You can fool all the people some of the time; and some of the people all of the time; but you can never fool ALL of the people ALL of the time.” We all know this is true. The Higher Critics would have us believe, “All the Jews and all the Christians, from Ezra’s day until now¾including even the Apostles and Jesus Christ¾have been fooled ALL THIS TIME, until our brilliant intellects have discovered the fraud for you.” But this is something more difficult to believe than to believe that it is the Higher Critics themselves who are perpetrating the fraud for us to accept. If Ezra could do so badly, why not they?

659.     One passage in the Bible ought to be regarded as sufficient to explode this “modern theory,”¾1 Kings 8:4-9. The Ark and all the furniture of the Tabernacle¾including, by inference, the Tabernacle itself¾were stored away in Solomon’s Temple, when it was dedicated. Thus Lange’s Commentary (Bähr) says: “Not only the Ark, but the Tabernacle which had hitherto stood at Gibeon, with all its vessels, was brought . . . into Solomon’s Temple.” The Tabernacle could not very well have been put into Solomon’s Temple, if it was not built until a long time after that Temple had been destroyed. How do these critics get around this statement?  Wellhausen declares that the words “Tabernacle of the Congregation” have been interpolated into this particular passage. This is an easy thing to say; the proof is a different matter altogether.

Now this is not primarily a lesson on Biblical criticism, but on women. Therefore we will not stop to discuss this claim of Wellhausen’s, further than to say that feeble as it is, it satisfies those who wish to believe in it. Having laid our foundation, we will turn to the passage about women of which Prof. Margoliouth speaks,¾about “the women who assembled (A.V.) at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.” We wish to know how this verse in 1 Samuel 2:22 is “likely to wreck” this “modern theory” that the Tabernacle was a copy of the Temple, and built 500 years, more or less, after the Temple.

660.     It is, of course, not logically proper to bring the Pentateuch, or the “Hexateuch” (the first six books of the Bible), into the argument against this “modern theory,” since they are the books whose date is called into question. These books mention the Tabernacle some eighty times. For logical purposes we must search for a mention of the Tabernacle in books of the Bible that these critics will admit are older than the Hexateuch. The books of 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles can be admitted as proof, in the argument against this “modern theory,” because the critics claim (not we) that these books are older than the Hexateuch,¾that is, their date is older than the date when the Tabernacle was built. The Tabernacle is mentioned in these books many times¾certainly very clearly some fourteen times, according to Bishop Hervey.

661.     But the destructive critic is very fastidious as to terms. He will only accept one expression as clearly designating the Tabernacle,¾the Hebrew ‘ohel moed, “tent of meeting,” and against every one of these fourteen cases he finds some objection which causes him to doubt the proof. Now it happens that the verse in 1 Samuel 2:22 is the strongest instance among these fourteen, so the argument against the “modern theory” centers here, and the verse is being given increased study. The verse employs the accepted Hebrew expression ‘ohed moed, and it relates to a period of time prior by about 200 years to Solomon’s day; and the reliability of this book of Samuel has not been seriously called into question by the destructive critics.

622.     But those critics thought that particular verse could be dismissed with scarcely a thought, because the part that relates to women does not appear in the manuscripts of the Septuagint Greek version (which was made by the Jews nearly 300 years before Christ). So they declared the verse to be an interpolation into the Hebrew text, and not genuine. But here is a difficulty, as pointed out by Dr. Orr: Why should the Jewish translators of the Septuagint make mention of the same women in Exodus 38:8? And why should Ezra, or whoever (according to the modern theory) concocted the Pentateuch, mention these women in the Pentateuch, at a later time (if the Pentateuch is indeed a comparatively late production), in a period when women were known to have been held in contempt, unless there was a strong tradition, at least, that women had served in the Tabernacle, and what more likely than that the statement lay before him in 1 Samuel 2:22?

(To be continued.)

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