Sussing Out Authorship

One of the more interesting questions of the Old Testament is establishing the authorship dates of the narratives. Some of my favorite little gems are the side comments given by the authors when an event, situation, or practice continues to point of the authors’ own time.

For example, the phrase “to this day” appears (relevant to this issue) in 48 verses between Genesis 22 and 2 Chronicles 35. They’re pretty interesting (all verses from the NIV):

  1. Gen. 22:14 – So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
  2. Gen. 26:33 – He called it Shibah, and to this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.
  3. Gen. 32:32 – Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.
  4. Gen. 35:20 – Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.
  5. Deut. 2:22 – The LORD had done the same for the descendants of Esau, who lived in Seir, when he destroyed the Horites from before them. They drove them out and have lived in their place to this day.
  6. Deut. 3:14 – Jair, a descendant of Manasseh, took the whole region of Argob as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maakathites; it was named after him, so that to this day Bashan is called Havvoth Jair.
  7. Deut. 34:6 – He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is.
  8. Josh. 4:9 – Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.
  9. Josh. 5:9 – Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.
  10. Josh. 6:25 – But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho– and she lives among the Israelites to this day.
  11. Josh. 7:26 – Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.
  12. Josh. 8:28 – So Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day.
  13. Josh. 8:29 – He impaled the body of the king of Ai on a pole and left it there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered them to take the body from the pole and throw it down at the entrance of the city gate. And they raised a large pile of rocks over it, which remains to this day.
  14. Josh. 9:27 – That day he made the Gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the assembly, to provide for the needs of the altar of the LORD at the place the LORD would choose. And that is what they are to this day.
  15. Josh. 10:27 – At sunset Joshua gave the order and they took them down from the poles and threw them into the cave where they had been hiding. At the mouth of the cave they placed large rocks, which are there to this day.
  16. Josh. 13:13 – But the Israelites did not drive out the people of Geshur and Maakah, so they continue to live among the Israelites to this day.
  17. Josh. 15:63 – Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.
  18. Josh. 16:10 – They did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim but are required to do forced labor.
  19. Jdg. 1:21 – The Benjamites, however, did not drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites.
  20. Jdg. 1:26 – He then went to the land of the Hittites, where he built a city and called it Luz, which is its name to this day.
  21. Jdg. 6:24 – So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
  22. Jdg. 10:4 – He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys. They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair.
  23. Jdg. 18:12 – On their way they set up camp near Kiriath Jearim in Judah. This is why the place west of Kiriath Jearim is called Mahaneh Dan to this day.
  24. 1 Sam. 5:5 – That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.
  25. 1 Sam. 6:18 – And the number of the gold rats was according to the number of Philistine towns belonging to the five rulers– the fortified towns with their country villages. The large rock on which the Levites set the ark of the LORD is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh.
  26. 2 Sam. 4:3 – because the people of Beeroth fled to Gittaim and have resided there as foreigners to this day.
  27. 2 Sam. 6:8 – Then David was angry because the LORD’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.
  28. 2 Sam. 18:18 – During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King’s Valley as a monument to himself, for he thought, “I have no son to carry on the memory of my name.” He named the pillar after himself, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.
  29. 1 Ki. 9:13 – “What kind of towns are these you have given me, my brother?” he asked. And he called them the Land of Kabul, a name they have to this day.
  30. 1 Ki. 9:21 – Solomon conscripted the descendants of all these peoples remaining in the land– whom the Israelites could not exterminate– to serve as slave labor, as it is to this day.
  31. 1 Ki. 12:19 – So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
  32. 2 Ki. 2:22 – And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.
  33. 2 Ki. 8:22To this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah. Libnah revolted at the same time.
  34. 2 Ki. 10:27 – They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day.
  35. 2 Ki. 13:23 – But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.
  36. 2 Ki. 14:7 – He was the one who defeated ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt and captured Sela in battle, calling it Joktheel, the name it has to this day.
  37. 2 Ki. 16:6 – At that time, Rezin king of Aram recovered Elath for Aram by driving out the people of Judah. Edomites then moved into Elath and have lived there to this day.
  38. 2 Ki. 17:34To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the LORD nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that the LORD gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel.
  39. 2 Ki. 17:41 – Even while these people were worshiping the LORD, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.
  40. 1 Chr. 4:41 – The men whose names were listed came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. They attacked the Hamites in their dwellings and also the Meunites who were there and completely destroyed them, as is evident to this day. Then they settled in their place, because there was pasture for their flocks.
  41. 1 Chr. 4:43 – They killed the remaining Amalekites who had escaped, and they have lived there to this day.
  42. 1 Chr. 5:26 – So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria (that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria), who took the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara and the river of Gozan, where they are to this day.
  43. 1 Chr. 13:11 – Then David was angry because the LORD’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.
  44. 2 Chr. 8:8 – Solomon conscripted the descendants of all these people remaining in the land– whom the Israelites had not destroyed– to serve as slave labor, as it is to this day.
  45. 2 Chr. 10:19 – So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
  46. 2 Chr. 20:26 – On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the LORD. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah to this day.
  47. 2 Chr. 21:10To this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah. Libnah revolted at the same time, because Jehoram had forsaken the LORD, the God of his ancestors.
  48. 2 Chr. 35:25 – Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments.