IS IT GOD'S WORD?
CHAPTER TWO: A SKETCH OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
R RA SKETCH OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES R R THE BIBLE A COLLECTION OF "LITTLE BOOKS" R R THE LANGUAGE OF THE BOOKS
R RTHE BIBLE LANGUAGE -- HEBREW R R THE NAME OF THE HEBREW TRIBAL GOD R R THE BIBLE ALL COPIES OF COPIES
R RAND TRANSLATIONS OF TRANSLATIONS R R WHEN THE BOOKS WERE WRITTEN R R SOME LIGHTS ON BIBLE CHRONOLOGY
R RSOME SIDELIGHTS ON MOSES R R THE "FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES" R R THE BIBLE "PREFACE" R R SOME "POST-MOSAICA"
R ROTHER LATE-WRITTEN BOOKS R R "YAHVEH" AND "ELOHIM" R R A RARENTHESIS OF EXPLANATION
R ROTHER "SOURCES" OF SCRIPTURE R R DUPLICATIONS OF INSPIRATION R R INSPIRATION AND CONTRADICTION
R RTHE LAWS AND TEST OF TRUTH R R FATAL CONTRADICTIONS OF REVELATION: THE CREATION
R RTHE "DAYS" AND MATTER OF CREATION R R SOME SIGNIFICANT MISTRANSLATIONS R R "ADAM" MEANS ONLY "MAN"
R R"LIVING CREATURES" AND "LIVING SOUL" R R THE "FLOOD" CONTRADICTIONS R R THE TOWER OF BAB-EL
R RJACOB'S LADDER, AND BETH-EL R R JACOB'S BARGAINING VOW R R SUNDRY OTHER CONTRADICTIONS
R RRETURN TO THE INDEX OF CHAPTERS
A SKETCH OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
THE Bible, as all must admit, is the only source of knowledge which we have, of the great questions of miracle and of "revealed religion" which come to us through its pages. The authenticity of its remarkable contents, as the word and will of God, can only be tested and ascertained by itself; by the internal evidences of its own words must its divine origin and inspired truth be vindicated, or its mere human origin and want of inspired truth be demonstrated. On a matter of such high importance to man and to the soul and its destiny, no candid and honest mind can offer reasonable objection to a candid and honest inquiry, made by a frank and faithful examination of its own words. To this capital end, therefore, we will follow the injunction of the Man of Galilee and "search the Scriptures," haply to find the answer to the eternal question posed by Pilate, "What is truth?"
THE BIBLE A COLLECTION OF "LITTLE BOOKS"
What, first, is this Bible? It is not one single and homogeneous book, in the form in which we see it printed; indeed, it was first printed, in Latin, in the year A.D. 1452, by Gutenberg, in Mainz. And what we know-and fondly cherish-as the Bible is not the Bible at all, but a translation, or version, more or less faulty and incorrect-and often intentionally very misleading-of ancient manuscripts of Hebrew and Greek writings, themselves very faulty and conflicting, forming together the so-called Bible. The very name Bible indicates its nature as a collection of writings. The name Bible is the Latin Biblia, from the Greek diminutive plural, ta bibliay "the little books," a term first used as referring to the Hebrew Scriptures in 1 Maccabees 12: 9. The Greek word biblos, from which comes the diminutive biblia, is from the Greek bublus, papyrus, the name of the material, from Egypt, on which ancient books were written. The title Ta Biblia for the whole Scriptures, Hebrew and Christian, was first used in the Second Epistle of Clement (14: 2 ) written in A.D. 170.
The Bible, thus called, is a compilation, or gathering into one volume, of sixty-six separate "little books," or fragmentary "sacred" writings, from Genesis to Revelation. These sixty-six little books were written, or edited and compiled, in very different ages of the world, by wholly different, and mostly unknown, persons, in different countries and languages, Hebrew and Greek principally; but, as is commonly supposed, by Jews invariably. Together they form the "sacred writings" of the later Hebrews and of the early Jewish and Pagan Christians-the name given, first at Antioch (Acts 11: 26 ), to the followers of the Jewish Jesus Christ.
THE LANGUAGE OF THE BOOKS
The Hebrew little books," thirty-nine in number according to the accepted Hebrew and Protestant "canon," forty-six according to the Catholic, were written, of course, mainly in the Hebrew language, though Aramaic elements enter into some of the later compositions. This Hebrew language, like several others of the allied Semitic languages, was written entirely with consonants, having no written means of expressing vowel sounds; their words consist mostly of only three consonantal letters. The whole Hebrew Scriptures is a solid mass of words in consonants only, with not a single vowel among them. This consonantal mass of words was written from right to left, without spacing between words, and without a single mark of punctuation from end to end.
Jerome, who made the Vulgate Version of the Old Testament, says:
"When we translate the Hebrew into Latin, we are sometimes guided by conjecture." Le Clere says: "The learned merely guess at the sense of the Old Testament in an infinity of places."
But what they have guessed it to mean we must believe or be damned.
There were no divisions, as at present, into chapters and verses, these divisions having been invented only some three or four centuries ago to facilitate quotations and references; even now the chapter and verse divisions differ considerably between the Hebrew text and the English translations. The Hebrew rabbis and scholars, somewhere between the fifth and eighth centuries A.D., devised and put into use in their manuscripts of the Bible a system of so-called "vowel points"-dots and dashes as in modern shorthand-to express and preserve what they considered to be the probable ancient pronunciation of the Hebrew words. No wonder there are infinite doubts and difficulties as to the original words and their vowelization, and therefore even of their meaning. Many of the Hebrew words are almost untranslatable, and the same Hebrew word is often given scores of wholly different meanings in translation. A glance at the index-lexicon to the Old Testament in Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible, demonstrates the difficulties, or the ingenuity, of the King James translators. For example, the word abar is given 88 different meanings; amar, 51; asah, 96; nathan, 94; nephesh (soul), 27; and so throughout the list-many of these renditions being totally unrelated to each other, as nephesh; soul, appetite, pleasure, fish, heairty, ghost. This results from the rude nature of the Hebrew language, which has only about 2050 root words, of which only 500 make up the bulk of the Old Testament. (Cath. Encyc., Vol. 7: p. 177 ).
THE BIBLE LANGUAGE-HEBREW
Such a thing as the "Hebrew language," as a separate and distinctive speech of the ancient Israelites, in which they held familiar converse with Yahveh, and in which Yahveh spoke with Adam and Eve and with the patriarchs and Moses, never existed; no more than an "American language" now exists as distinct from the mother speech of England, or than the "Latin" languages of South America are distinct from the Spanish and Portuguese of the Iberian peninsula. As to the language of Yahveh and Adam and Eve, says the Catholic Encyclopedia: "The contention that Hebrew was the original language bestowed upon mankind may be left out of discussion, being based merely on pietistic a priori considerations."
Abraham was a native of "Ur of the Chaldees," and hence naturally, with all his family and people, spoke the Chaldean or Babylonian language, which was very much akin to that of Canaan, where Abraham migrated, and was spoken by him and his descendants until the Seventy migrated to Egypt, 215 years later. Indeed, even as late as Isaiah; the language of the Chosen People is expressly said to be the "language of Canaan" (Isa. 19: 18 ). The Catholic Encyclopedia further says: "The name Hebrew (as applied to the language spoken by the ancient Israelites, and in which are composed nearly all the books of the Old Testament) is quite recent in biblical usage, occurring for the first time in the Greek prologue of Ecclesiastics, about 130 B.C." (Cath. Encyc. Vol. 7: 176 ). And further, as to the language of Abraham and the patriarchs: "That it was simply a dialect belonging to the Chanaanitish group of Semitic languages is plain from its many recognized affinities with the Phoenician and Moabitic dialects. Its beginnings are consequently bound up with the origin of this group of dialects. ... The language spoken by the clan of Abraham was a dialect closely akin to those of Moab, Tyre, and Sidon, and it bore a greater resemblance to Assyrian and Arabic than to Aramaic" (Id.). Indeed, the dictionary of the Hebrew language which lies before me is called The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon -- so nearly one and the same are the two dialects.
So, if Yahveh, God of Abraham and of Israel, spoke all these wonderful things to his Chosen People, he spoke them in the common language of the peoples and gods of Canaan and Assyria, and not in some choice and peculiar "Hebrew language" as a special idiom of his Chosen People and of his divine revelations to his people and through them to mankind. Highly important sidelights on inspiration and the verity of sundry characteristic Scripture histories flow from this fact, so that its importance and interest justify this brief paragraph.
THE NAME OF THE HEBREW TRIBAL GOD
So obsolete did the "Hebrew language" become, following the world-conquests of Alexander the Great and the almost universal spread of the Greek language and culture throughout the Orient, that several centuries before the time of Christ even the form and proper pronunciation of the name YHVH of the Hebrew tribal deity were lost and unknown; though a few Jews, as Philo of Alexandria and Josephus, a generation after the time of Christ, professed to know it, but held it unlawful to pronounce or divulge it (Josephus, Antiq., 2: 12: 4; see Cath. Encyc., Vol. 8: art. Jehovah).
Again the authoritative Catholic Encyclopedia speaks on this very significant point: "The modern Jews are as uncertain of the proper pronunciation of the Sacred Name as their Christian contemporaries. ... The name was not pronounced after the destruction of the temple" (Vol. 8: p. 329 ). On page 330 it gives a list of the forms of the name as found in ancient writers, and lists: Jao, Jaoth, Jaou, Jeuo, Ja, Jabe, Jahb, Jehjeh. It then comments: "The judicious reader will perceive that the Samaritan pronunciation Jabe probably approaches the real sound of the Divine Name closest. Inserting the vowels of Jabe into the original Hebrew consonantal text, we obtain the form Jahweh (Yahweh), which has been generally accepted by modern scholars as the true pronunciation of the Divine Name" (p. 330 ).
Very remarkably, for an orthodox Christian authority, this scholarly thesaurus of theology-which so often seems to forget orthodox theology when engaged in questions of pure scholarship- reviews at some length inquiries of scholars to discover the origin of the old Hebrew tribal Yahveh-that is, whence the Chosen People got or "borrowed" their tribal god. The colloquy between the God and Moses at the burning bush demonstrates that neither Moses nor the Chosen People knew or ever had heard of Yahveh, or of any other "God of their fathers"; for Moses says to the God: "Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?" (Ex. 3: 13 ). The matter of the traditional "revelation" of the name of the God to Moses we will duly consider a few pages later.
The article referred to reviews amply the suggested origins of Yahveh and his adoption by the Chosen People, of which but one or two very significant ones may be here noticed. Under the sub- caption, "Origin of the name Jahveh (Yahweh)," this high authority says: "The opinion that the name Jahveh was adopted by the Jews from the Canaanites, has been defended by [a number of eminent scholars], but has been rejected by [others]. It is antecedently improbable that Jahveh, the irreconcilable enemy of the Canaanites, should be originally a Chanaanite god" (Vol. 8: p. 331 ). Passing other suggested origins, it says: "The theory that Jahveh is of Egyptian origin may have a certain amount of a priori probability, as Moses was educated in Egypt. Still, the proofs are not convincing. ... Plutarch (De Iside, 9 ) tells us that a statue of Athene (Neith) in Sais bore the inscription, 'I am all that has been, is, and will be,' ... the common Egyptian formula, Nuk pu Nuk, but though its literal signification is 'I am I,' its real meaning is 'It is I who'" (Id.). Again: "As to the theory that Jahveh has a Chaldean or Aceadian origin, its foundation is not very solid," and the familiar Assyrian forms Yahu or Yah and Yau are cited, with the statement added, "Jahveh is said to be merely an artificial form introduced to put a meaning into the name of the national god" (Id.).
The immense significance of this scholarly confession that the theory of Egyptian origin of Yahveh may have "a certain amount of a priori probability," and that this name is said to have been adopted "to put meaning into the name of the national god" Yahveh, or that the Hebrews may have adopted or adapted their tribal or "national god" from Egypt, Chaldea, or some other of their heathen neighbors, is that such concessions, or their bare possibility as fact, destroy at once utterly the Bible "revelations" and the pietistic Hebrao-Christian assertions that YHVH is eternal and "self-revealed" God since before the foundations of the world. It totally explodes the pretended "revelation" to Moses at the Burning Bush, soon to be noticed. In a word, such fact or the admission of it wholly destroys Yahveh except as a pagan Hebrew myth and a Christian "strong delusion" to believe ancient primitive myths for revealed truth of God.
The name of the God, too, is often and variously abbreviated in the Hebrew texts. Dozens of times in Genesis it is written simply yy, the first time in Gen. 2: 4, the first mention of Yahveh. Elsewhere it occurs as Yah, or Yehu, Yeho, and as Yah,-Yahveh; often as Yahveh-Elohim. It is always, as we shall see, falsely rendered in the translations as "Lord" and "Lord God," for reasons of pious fraud which will duly appear.
THE BIBLE ALL COPIES OF COPIES
There is not existent in the world a single original book or manuscript of Hebrew or Christian Scriptures, containing the inspired Word of Yahveh. The most ancient manuscripts of the Hebrew texts date only from the eighth century of the era of Christ; while of the Christian books, said to have been written by the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost within the first century of the era, all, all are lost, and the oldest "copies" bear the marks of the fourth century. And even in this fourth century, so gross was the corruption of text, so numberless the errors and conflicting readings, that the great St. Jerome, author of the celebrated Latin Vulgate version of the Scriptures, has left it recorded, as his reason for his great work, that the sacred texts "varied so much that there were almost as many readings as codices," or manuscript copies of the text. And for years past, the papal authorities have been collating all known extant versions and bits of Scriptures for the purpose of trying to edit them into one approved version of the inspired Word of Yahveh
Curious indeed it seems that in this inspired revelation ofYahveh, the Hebrew God, to Man, wherein the awful destinies of the human soul are said to be revealed to eternal salvation or damnation, some ten thousand different, conflicting, and disputed readings and textual corruptions and verbal slips of inspiration admittedly exist in the inspired texts, with the knowledge and sufferance of the God whose awful will it all is; while the Providence of that same God, Yahveh, by special miraculous intervention has preserved wholly "incorrupt" through all the ages of faith, the cadavers and ghastly scraps and relics of holy saints and martyrs galore, from the very Year One on, which are yet to-day (or at last reports were-Cath. Encyc., passim) as fresh, fragrant, and wholly "encorrupt" of flesh as when alive-which, in very truth, in the case of many saints-as their lives are recorded by the monks-is not saying very much for either freshness or fragrance. An instance-e pluribus unum-is that of the pioneer Saint Pachomius, who, ambitious to outdo in bodily mortification his companions in filth, left the pig-sty in which he dwelt, and sat himself on the ground at the entrance of a cave full of hyenas in the pious desire of entering glory via their bestial maws; but the hyenas, rushing out upon the holy saint, stopped short of a sudden, sniffed him all over, turned tail, and left him in disgust uneaten.
AND TRANSLATIONS OF TRANSLATIONS
On the title-page of Bibles in current use is the statement "translated out of the original tongues"; but this does not tell the whole or the true story. The first translation of some of the Hebrew Scriptures (for all were not yet written) was the Septuagint into Greek, undertaken at the behest of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, of Egypt, begun at Alexandria about the year 285 B.C., and completed after some three hundred years. In many places this Greek translation differed widely from the Hebrew. About 392 A.D. Jerome made his translation from the Hebrew into Latin, this being the "Vulgate" version, which only gradually made its way into acceptance and suffered so many perversions that it was pronounced by Roger Bacon to be "horribly corrupt"; but it was adopted by the Council of Trent in 1546 as the "sole authoritative source of quotation; and it [the Council] threatened with punishment those who presumed to interpret the Scriptures contrary to the sense given them by the Fathers" (New Int. Encyc., Vol. ]3: p. 251 ).
This Latin Vulgate, Old and New Testaments alike, with the Apocrypha added, was in its turn translated into English in the Douai Catholic version of 1609, thus removed three steps of translation from the Hebrew and two from the Greek. The Protestant versions in English, including the King James version of 1611, are more directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts of the respective Testaments. It is reported that the Tennessee legislator who sponsored the notorious "Anti-evolution" law in that state was greatly surprised to learn, from the eye-opening revelations of the Scopes trial, that his cherished King James version of Holy Writ, whose precious petrified "Sacred science" he sought to protect from the destroying effects of modern knowledge, was not in the original language of "revelation," in which Yahveh and the talking snake spoke to Adam and Eve. Some further anomalies and a number of tricks of translation will appear in their due order as we proceed.
WHEN THE BOOKS WERE WRITTEN
It will be of signal value to inquire, for a moment, concerning the periods of time indicated by the Bible, and the times when the principal books of it were written and by whom they were written-or rather, as that is the only course possible, to show, negatively, by whom, and when, they were not written. This inquiry will be confined to the "internal evidences" of the Bible texts themselves, with a bit of reference to their marginal editorial annotations. The force of such "internal proofs" is self-evident.
To assist to an easier understanding, take this illustration:
If one picks up a book, a newspaper, a letter, or any piece of written or printed matter which bears no date-mark or name of some known writer, one may not be able to ascertain exactly when or by whom it was written or printed. But one can often very readily determine, by the nature of its contents, that it was not written or published until after such or such a known time; and hence that it could not have been written by some person already dead or of one not yet born.
If such a document, for instance, contains the name of Julius Caesar or of Jesus Christ, this proves at once that it was written some time within the past 1900-odd years, and not possibly before the advent of these two personages. If it mentions President Washington or some incident of his administration, it is evident that it could not have been written before Washington became President, in 1789; if it mentions Presidents Washington, Lincoln, and Coolidge, it is proof that it was written as late as the date the latter became President. So of every factual or fanciful allusion-it can go no higher than its source. In a word, we know that no writing can speak as of a matter of fact of any event, person, or thing, until after such event has become an accomplished fact, or such person or thing has existed. No one can to-day write even the name of the President of the United States in the year A.D. 1939.
With this simple thumb-rule of ascertaining or approximating the time of production of written documents by what is known as their "internal evidences" we may gather some astonishing proofs as to when, and by whom, sundry inspired records of Holy Writ were not written-contrary to some currently accepted theories.
SOME LIGHTS ON BIBLE CHRONOLOGY
According to the chronology, or time-computations worked out of the Bible narratives (principally by Bishop Usaher) and printed in the margins of all well-edited Bibles, Catholic and Protestant alike, until recent ridicule shamed the Bible editors into quietly dropping them, the world and Man were created by the fiat or by the fingers of the Hebrew God Yahveh about 4004 years before the present so-called Christian Era, not yet two thousand years old; so that the reputed first man, Adam, inhabited the new-made earth slightly less than six thousand years before the present time. The revelation of this interesting event-which by every token of human knowledge outside the Bible is known not to have occurred just when and how there related-and of many equally accredited events, is recorded (for wonder of mankind) in the first five books of the Bible Genesis to Deuteronomy, called the Pentateuch or Five Books, or, as entitled in the Bible, "The Five Books of Moses." Moses is reputed to have written them at the inspiration or by the revelation of Yahveh, the God of Israel.
According to the Bible chronology, Moses lived some 1500 years before Christ; the date of his exodus out of Egypt with the Israelites is laid down as the year 1491 Before Christ, or some 2500 years after the Biblical creation of the world. So, if Moses wrote the account of the creation, the fall of man, the flood, and other notable historical events recorded in Genesis, he wrote of things happening, if ever they happened, 2500 years more or less before his earthly time, and some of them before even man was created on earth; things which Moses of course could not personally have known.
But it is explained that while this is true, yet Yahveh inspired Moses with a true knowledge or "revelation" of all those things unknown to him, and so what he wrote was revealed historical fact. This is a matter which will be noticed a little later.
But the Book of Genesis, and all the Five Books of Moses, contain many matters of "revealed" fact which occurred, if ever at all many hundreds of years after the death of Moses. Moses is not technically "numbered among the Prophets," and he does not claim for himself to have been inspired both backwards and forwards, so as to write both past and future history. It is evident therefore, by every internal and human criterion, that these "five Books of Moses," containing not only the past events referred to, but many future events-not in form of prophecy, but as past occurrences -- could not have been written by Moses, the principal character of the alleged Exodus and of the forty years' wandering in the Wilderness of Sin, at the end of which he died. The cardinal significance of this fact, and of others connected with it, as bearing upon the historicity of Mosaic narrative and revelation, will appear in due course.
Indeed, in the light of modern knowledge, it is quite evident that Moses and the "Hebrews" of his supposed time (1500 B.C.) could not write at all; or, if at all, on the theory of their 430 years in Egypt, only in Egyptian hieroglyphs. Not till many centuries later did the Hebrews acquire the art of writing. Professor Breasted, the distinguished Egyptologist of the University of Chicago, points out that to the nomad Hebrews writing was unknown; and that it was not until about the time of Amos (about eight hundred years after Moses) that the Hebrews were just "learning to write"; that "they were now abandoning the clay tablet, and they wrote on papyrus with Egyptian pen and ink. They borrowed their alphabet from the Phoenician and Aramean merchants." [James H. Breasted, Ancient Times (Boston: Ginn & Co.), see. 305] These Arameans themselves borrowed the alphabet from the Phoenicians "about 1000 B.C."; [Op. cit., see. 205.] the Phoenicians had themselves "devised an alphabet drawn from Egyptian hieroglyphs." [Op. cit., see. 400; see also Andrew Norton, The Pentateuch, p. 44.]
SOME SIDELIGHTS ON MOSES
Moses, as the traditional great leader and lawgiver of Israel, is worthy of very interested attention. In no accurate sense was Moses, if he ever lived, a Hebrew at all; indeed, he is expressly called "an Egyptian" (Ex. 2: 19 ). Certainly be did not speak the Hebrew language, since it was non-existent as such, as noticed in another place; and after four hundred years in Egyptian slavery the slave descendants of Jacob the Syrian, of Chaldea, had evidently ceased to have any knowledge of their old Chaldean tongue, and could speak only an Egyptian dialect. As well should the descendants of the African slaves brought to America three hundred years ago speak to-day the strange dialects of their native jungles. In another place we shall see that neither the people nor Moses had ever heard of Yahveh, God of Israel; and that during the sojourn in Egypt and for a millennium afterwards they continued to worship the gods of Chaldea and of Egypt.
All know the story of "Moses and the Bulrushes"; how the unnamed Pharaoh sought to destroy all the new-born male children of the Israelites, commanding the Hebrew midwives to slay them at birth; how the yet unnamed infant son of Amram was put into an "ark of bulrushes" and hidden on the bosom of the sacred Nile, watched over by his sister Miriam, found by the Pharaoh's daughter, drawn from the water by her, raised by his own mother, and adopted by the daughter of the Pharaoh. All this is very romantic, but not novel. Other high-born ladies have concealed their indiscretions by more or less similar shifts.
Sargon, King of Accad about 3800 B.C., as shown by his monuments yet existing, was also secretly born, was placed by his mother in an ark of bulrushes, just like Baby Moses, and turned adrift on the Euphrates, where he was found by a kindly gardener (as were also Romulus and Remus, born of the god Mars and the vestal virgin, Rhea Silvia), The gardener nurtured him until his royal birth was discovered; he became beloved of the goddess Ishtar, and was raised by his valorous deeds to the throne of his country. Sargon then conquered all western Asia, including the land of Canaan, and set up his monuments of victory even on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, where they remained, undisturbed by the floods of Noah, Xisuthros, and Deucalion, until discovered in recent years, and their records confronted with those of Holy Writ, in the British Museum in London, and elsewhere, where they may be seen to-day. The stele of Hammurabi's Code, we may also recall, stands to-day an eloquent and unimpeachable witness of the mighty past, in the Louvre at Paris; while Moses's Tables of Stone, writ by the finger of the Hebrew God Yahveh, are even as the sepulchre of Moses, whereof no man knoweth unto this day.
To return from the digression. As the story is recorded in Exodus 2: the princess of Pharaoh spied the ark in the Nile, "had compassion on" the babe and rescued him; afterwards, when he grew, "he became her son." Now the remarkable incident: "And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water" (Ex. 2: 10 ). What has "Moses" to do with "drew" out of the water? In English speech nothing discernible; but in the original Hebrew it is a plain play on words: "and she called his name Mosheh, ...
Because meshethi (I drew) him out of the waters" (Heb., mashad, to draw). The curious thing about it all is that the Egyptian princessis represented as speaking in Hebrew, or Chaldee, and making a pun-name for her protege in that evidently unknown tongue. That it hardly happened that way is obvious. The birth, rescue, and "christening" of Moses have every indicium of myth. This evidently fabled beginning must raise grave doubts as to the historicity of Moses himself and of all his reputed career. Other indications of the legendary will not be wanting as we proceed to review the life and times of Moses, and his Five Books.
THE "FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES"
The first and most obvious proof that the so-called 'Five Books of' Moses were not written by Moses, but date from a time many centuries after his reputed life and death, is very simple and indisputable. This proof consists of very numerous instances of what are called post-Mosaics, or "after-Moses" events, related in those books under the name of Moses as their inspired author; events of which Moses of course could not have known or written, as they occurred long after his death.
It may be remarked, parenthetically, that Moses nowhere claims to have written the Five Books, nor does the Bible elsewhere impute their authorship to Moses. It is only "the law" which is elsewhere attributed to Moses. Indeed, the books are written throughout in the third person-Moses did or said this or that; never, in all the relations of the doings and sayings of Moses does "I did" or "I said" once occur, except when Moses is recorded as making a speech.
A singular passage in Exodus vi illustrates this point and is striking evidence that Moses could not have written the books. In verse 13 it is related: "And Yahveh spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt." Immediately, in verses 14 to 27, follows a strange interruption of the narrative by the insertion of a series of family genealogies, beginning "These be the heads of their fathers' houses," with many names, including the pedigrees of Moses and Aaron, the marriage of Aaron, and mention of the names of his offspring; then this careful explanation: "These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom Yahveh said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt. ... These are they which spake to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these are that Moses and Aaron" (vv. 26-27 ). Moses could never have written in this form and manner among his contemporaries who knew him and, all about the "bringing out of Egypt." A thousand years afterwards the thing was written, and the sacred scribe took these pains, thrice reiterated, to identify the Aaron and Moses mentioned in the genealogies with the traditional Moses and Aaron of the traditional Exodus.
It is recognized by scholars that all these elaborate genealogies inserted in the Five Books are post-exilic compositions. Their exact duplicates are found in the post-exilic Books of the Chronicles, and some in Ezra. This too is the origin of the use of "Adam" as a proper name instead of the common noun that it is. Again, if Moses had written the books, surely be would have at least once written the name of the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
But several times in the verses cited is it said, as often elsewhere in the Five Books, "Pharaoh king of Egypt," as if Pharaoh were the name of the king instead of simply the official title of the ruler. The Egyptian title "Pharaoh" means "Great House," the dynasty of the divine wearers of the double crown; the more modern appellative "Sublime Porte," for the Grand Turk, is an instance of a similar usage. The writer did not know the name of the Pharaoh, and thought that Pharaoh was his personal name. In later and more historical books, several Pharaohs are mentioned by their proper names, as Pharaoh Necho (2 Kings 23: 29 ) Pharaoh Hophra (Jer. 44: 30 ), and Shishak, king of Egypt (1 Kings 14: 25 ).
THE BIBLE "PREFACE"
A flood of light on Mosaic authorship of the Book of Genesis, as well as on "divine revelation" of the most wonderful of its recorded events, breaks in at this vital point. In this light we will read a record which will totally destroy the theory of divine revelation.
The Hebrews claim to "have Abraham as our father," or tribal founder. The "history" or account of tribal traditions of the Chosen People as a new or separate-and "peculiar"-ethnic division, first as nomadic desert Bedouins, later grown into a Hebrew nationality, begins with the "calling" of Abram and his departure out of Ur of the Chaldees into Canaan, the "Land of Promise." This event is related in Genesis 12; from there to the end the whole of Hebrew Scripture is a miraculous "history" of Abraham and his descendants as the Hebrew people.
The first eleven chapters of Genesis are not Hebrew history at all; they deal with cosmic and human-race history, of the creation of the world and the progress of the gentile races of mankind, centered around an alleged direct line of personages, non-Hebraic and pre-Hebrew, from Adam, through Noah and his son Shern, to the immediate forbears of the Hebrew Father Abraham, who was born a Chaldean (Gen. i-xi). All the rest of the record deals with the theocratic history of the Hebrews as "Chosen People" of their god Yahveh, through their whole national life down to the Babylonian captivity, their restoration to their native land under Ezra and Nehemiah, by grace of the Persian conquerors of Babylon, and their subsequent re-establishment of their theocracy.
Note now this capital fact: in the whole Scripture record, from Genesis 12 to the post-exilic Books of the Chronicles, Ezra, etc., there is not a word of mention of one of the transcendent wonders of Genesis i-xi: creation, Father Adam and Mother Eve, Eden, and the serpent, Noah and his flood, the Tower of Babel- not a hint of any of these great events and personages preceding Abraham's trek into Canaan in the year 1921 B.C. Does not such singular silence of all subsequent history, prophecy, and poetry of the Hebrews excite curiosity or wonder? The explanation is easy and very revealing.
In 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, conquered Judea, destroyed Jerusalem, and carried away into captivity the Chosen People. There in the new, strange country, "by the rivers of Babylon ... We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof; For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song. ... How shall we sing Yahveh's song in a strange land?"
(Psalm 137: 1-4 ) This proves, too, that David did not write this Psalm, for it was written after the captivity; and there they dreamed of the Messiah who should arise to "deliver us from the Assyrian." There in Babylonia, for fifty years (not seventy, as their prophecies say) until Ezra, and for 150 years until Nehemiah, the Chosen People remained, among the wonders of the highest civilization of the East. There they learned the lore and the literature of the Assyrian and Babylonian cultures; and they no doubt conned with amazement the tablets and books of the great libraries of the land in which they dwelt.
From these wonderful records of the past they learned the Babylonian Epic of Creation, wherein are recorded the fables of creation, the first parents, the garden, the forbidden trees of knowledge and of life, the serpent, the temptation, the fall of man, the flood and the ark, and of the Tower of Babel, the reputed original of which stood there before their wondering eyes. There they gathered these legends of the ancient past; and there, or after their return from captivity, they wrote, or rewrote, or edited their own ancient chronicles and their books of religious lore for use in the restored homeland.
The thing speaks for itself: they simply recast the wonders of the Epic of Creation to suit their own notions and so as to make their own Yahveh the great Creator instead of Marduk. And to show that Yahveh's Chosen People were of the most ancient and illustrious lineage, they worked in the marvelous direct descent from the first man Adam, through Noah, to Terah, father of Abraham, only twenty generations since "in the beginning." When this product was completed, they tacked it on to their own tribal chronicles as a sort of introduction, and there it stands today-the revised Babylonian Epic of Creation as Genesis 1 - 11 -the preface to the theocratic history of the Hebrews. Later priestly theologians attached the potent name of Moses to the first five books, and the whole gained credit as divinely revealed by Yahveh God to the traditional first historian and lawgiver, Moses.
The instance is well known of the graphic account, in the last chapter of Deuteronomy, of the death and burial of Moses; this he could hardly have written himself. Even if he were inspired, as some people explain, to write of his own coming death and funeral, it would be odd for him to add (34: 6 ), when he was not yet dead or buried, "but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day"- which was evidently very long afterwards, and proves an authorship much later than Moses. And in verse 8 is the statement: "And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: So the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended"- a post-mortem which it is needless to say Moses did not write.
In the same chapter is another similar proof of much later authorship by some other than Moses; for it is written: "And there hath not yet arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses" (verse 10 ) -- a statement which could only have been made after many later great prophets had arisen with whom Moses could be compared. Moses could not himself have written that no prophet had arisen "since" himself when he was yet alive and when no prophet could as yet be his successor.
In Exodus 11: 3 it is stated "the man Moses was very great"; and in Numbers 12: 3 is the information, "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." So meek a man would not probably have made such immodest boasts of himself. It must have been some later chronicler sounding his praises. This conclusion is strengthened by the use of "was" and "were," in the past tense. And Moses no doubt well knew the name of his own pagan father-in-law; but the latter is variously named in the Five Books by four different names: Jethro (Ex. 3: 1 ); Reuel (Ex. 2: 18 ); Raguel (Num. 10: 29 ); Jether (Ex. 4: 18 ); and in Judges he is given a fifth name, Hobab (Judges 4: 11 ), all which indicates several different authors, or one very careless one, but not Moses.
Moses is reputed to have written the Five Books in the chronological order of the inspired events, and of course he must have written it all before be died, which was months before the Israelites entered the promised land. The events of the forty years in the wilderness are supposed to have been written in the wilderness where they occurred. Yet in Numbers 15: 32 it is recorded: "And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day"; and he was brought to Moses, and "they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And Yahveh said to Moses, The man shall surely be put to death" (15: 33-36 ). The writer was not "in the wilderness" when this was written, or be would never have added that phrase to it, as everything that occurred at all was "in the wilderness." Moreover, the "law" had already (it is alleged) been declared at Sinai, "whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, be shall surely be put to death" (Ex. 31: 15 ) -- so this narrative is just another "mistake of Moses."
Joseph tells the Pharaoh: "I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews" (Gen. 4: 15 ). There was no "land of the Hebrews" in the days of Joseph, nor of Moses, nor until some years later when the Hebrews more or less possessed the land of Canaan or the "promised land" under Joshua after the death of Moses. The Song of Moses in Exodus 15, in exultation over the destruction of the Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, declaims upon the effects of that catastrophe, which had occurred that very day, upon the nations for hundreds of miles around: [This is a notable non-Mosaic form; the name Palestina is not Hebrew but Greek; it is in Herodotus that we first find the expression "Syria or Palestina" (New Standard Bible Dictionary, p. 650 ).] of Palestine, of Edom, of Moab, of Canaan (15: 14, 15 ). Moses sings: "The peoples have heard, they tremble" (15: 14, R.V.); which was impossible, as they could not so soon have heard the wonderful news, and their reactions to it been known so soon to Moses. But the significant proof of long post-Mosaic authorship is in these anachronic strophes of the Song:
"Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Yahveh, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Yahveh, which thy hands have established" (15: 17 ). This mountain was Zion, at Jerusalem, and the sanctuary was Solomon's temple; and Jerusalem did not come into the hands of the Chosen until partly captured by David. The temple was built by his son Solomon, some five hundred years after the so-called Song of Moses at the Red Sea, wherein these things are spoken of as already existing. So this reputed Song of Moses was written centuries after the death of Moses.
In Genesis 14 is the account of the capture of Lot, nephew of Abram, in a battle; Abram took a posse of 318 of his armed retainers and went to his rescue, and "pursued as far as Dan" (14: 14 ). Now Dan clearly did not exist in those times, nor in the time of Moses. This name of one of the tribes of Israel, descended from Abraham through his grandson Jacob, was given to the town (then named Laish) of the Promised Land which was captured by the tribe of Dan during the conquest (Judges 18: 27-29 ), some seven hundred years after Abraham and long after the death of Moses.
In Deuteronomy 3: Moses is supposed to tell of a war which he had with the giant Og, King of Bashan, whom he conquered and killed. It is related (3: 11 ), that Og had an iron bedstead 16 1/2 feet long and 7 1/3 feet wide; and for proof of the whole story, it says: "Is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon?"- preserved as a relic unto those days. But Moses never saw or heard of Rabbath, and could not have known what was in its local museum, for the town was first captured and entered by the Hebrews under David (2 Sam. 12: 26 ), some five hundred years after Moses died.
During the forty years in the wilderness the Hebrews were provided each day, it is recorded, with manna to eat. In Exodus it is said, "the taste of it was like wafers made with honey" (16: 31 ); while in Numbers it is averred, "the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil" (11: 8 ). If Moses had eaten it as a steady diet for forty years, he would have known just what it did taste like, and he would have said, "the taste is like" oil or honey, if it tasted so diversely.
But the strangest feature of this inspired story is this: in Exodus it is averred that the people ate manna for forty years "until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan" (Ex. 16: 35 ). It was Joshua who led them across Jordan into Canaan, some time after the death of Moses, and Joshua relates for a fact that when they got across the Jordan, they "did eat of the old corn of the land in the selfsame day, and the manna ceased on the morrow, after they had eaten of the corn" (Josh. 5: 11, 12 ). Moses could not possibly have known when the manna ceased or have written of this incident happening some time after his death.
In Genesis 36 a list of Edomite kings is given and it is said: And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel (36: 31 ). It was some five hundred years after the death of Moses before Saul became the first king (1095 B.C.); hence Genesis could not have been written by Moses, or by any one until after the time when there were kings over Israel so that such a comparison could be possible. Again, in Judges 17: 6 it is stated: "In those days there was no king in Israel, every man did that which was right in his own eyes"; which shows two things: that the Book of Judges was not written until during or after the time when there were kings in Israel; and that the Five Books of Moses, containing the laws of Yahveh, were not written by Moses, and that the "law" claimed to have been "given" at Sinai was not existent; for that "law" specially forbade and fearfully denounced idolatry and minutely governed the whole lives of the Chosen People, leaving nothing to choice.
Several of the Five Books abound with the provisions of the priestly code of sacrifices attributed to Moses in the wilderness, and are full of accounts of the manifold kinds of sacrifices made during the forty years in the wilderness. But all this is denied by the later prophets: "Thus said Yahveh Saboath, Elohe of Israel: I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Jer. 7: 21, 22 ); and a chorus of them join in this refrain: "I hate, I despise your feast days; though ye offer me burnt sacrifices and meat offerings, I will not accept them" (Amos 5: 21-26; Hosea 8: 13; Micah 6: 6, 7; Isa. 1: 11, et seq.).
All this shows that Moses never received or wrote the laws attributed to him and did not write the Five Books which relate all these things; and it confirms the view that this elaborate and intricate code of sacrificial and ceremonial law was a late priestly invention, unheard of by Moses, impossible in the wilderness, and unknown in all the intervening history of Israel, as we shall see in other places.
OTHER LATE-WRITTEN BOOKS
This same sort of simple but conclusive proof produces the same result with the succeeding books-Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, etc., showing that they likewise are of a date many centuries later than their supposed times and authors, as they relate matters occurring all the way from David to the Exile (about 500 B.C.). I will mention but an instance or two.
The Book of Joshua relates the death and burial of Joshua (Josh. 24: 29-31 ), and records that "Israel served Yahveh all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua," thus showing that the book was written many years after Joshua's death by someone else. The late authorship of the book is proved by the reference (10: 13 ): "Is it [the fable of the sun and the moon's standing still] not written in the Book of Jasher?" This book of Jasher was itself not written until at least the time of David, for in the account of this bandit hero it is recorded: "Also he [David] bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the Book of Jasher" (2 Sam. 1: 18 ); so that Joshua, quoting Jasher, could not have been written before the latter, which records David.
In the Book of Judges it is recorded: "Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem and had taken it" (1: 8 ); whereas it was not until King David had reigned seven years and six months in Hebron that "the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land," and tried to take the city and failed. "Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, and called it the City of David" (2 Sam. 5: 5-9 ). So Judges and Samuel must have been written long after David was King and after Samuel was long since dead. Samuel died some years before the event he is quoted as recording (1 Sam, 25: 1 ); and of course he could not have written of the calling up of his own ghost by the witch of En-dor, recorded in I Sam. 28: 7-19.
A most conclusive proof of post-exilic composition or editing of these books now appears. In Judges 17 is the account of Micah and the elaborate idol-worship which he established, and of the silver phallic ephod which he set up in his house. He hired a Levite to be his idol-master and priest; then these sacred trophies were captured by the Danites; and this remarkable historical recital is made: "And the children of Dan set up for themselves the graven image [Micah's ephod]; and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, he and his sons were priests to the Tribe of Dan until the captivity of the land" (Judges 18: 30 ). Here we have Moses's own grandson, and his descendants for generations acting as heathen priests of idol-worship in Israel, so fearfully forbidden by Moses in his law. This "until the captivity of the land" proves that Judges was not written for nearly a thousand years after the events related, and after the captivity.
In 1 Chronicles 9: 1 reference is made to "the kings of Israel and Judah, who were carried away to Babylon for their transgressions"; which shows that these books, too, were not contemporary chronicles of passing current events, but were compiled after the carrying away into Babylon.
As the Hebrew God and religion are principally to be found in the Five Books of Moses, these instances of the late authorship of the other books are sufficient for present purposes; other instances will be noted here and there as they may be pertinent. The purpose of thus pointing out the internal proofs that the Five Books of Moses and the others are of a date ages after Moses is to show by the Bible itself that the records of the origins and development of the Hebrew legends, history, and religion were not written by Moses, who is accounted to have been the medium through whom the Hebrew God Yahveh revealed these events and this religion; and hence that these revelations are not authentic emanations from Yahveh, God of Israel, but are mere tribal traditions reduced to their present form of writing many centuries after their misty and mythical origin; and that much of it all and particularly the law, as we shall more fully see, was the creation of the priests in the late and declining days of the nation, and after the captivity. These facts also illuminate the question of the inspiration of the "Holy Scriptures," on which depends their claim to full faith.
"YAHVEH" AND "ELOHIM"
In connection with the question of authorship of the Hebrew "Scriptures" there is another feature which is conclusive proof of human workmanship, not divine "revelation." This is apparent in the books written in the Hebrew language, and is of course known to all scholars. It is also evident in our English translations, where it can be readily traced through large portions of the books by the English words "God," "Lord" and "Lord God," as the original Hebrew words are therein translated falsely.
In a word, by these proofs it is manifest: that there were at least two older, independent, and contradictory sources of the present "Scriptures," that have been very carelessly patched together by later compilers who have worked them into more or less their present form. One of the older writers or schools of writers, of the Scripture records always makes use of the generic words El, Elohe, or Elohim (God, Gods), to designate the Hebrew tribal divinity; the other school invariably uses the personal name "Yahveh," or Jehovah.
The first writer or school is thus designated as Elohist, or by the initial "E"; the latter is called Jahvist, designated by the letter "J"; these two original sources are together designated as "JE." As even a cursory perusal of the books will prove, these two original "Elohim" and "Yahveh" records were at some later time combined into one record, in more or less its present form, evidently by reckless and "priestly" editors, who added much material of their own, designated by the initial "P," for priestly. This composite product is known as "JEP." Other minor sources and combinations are also to be discovered; but "E" and "J" tell the remarkable tale the "twice-told tale"-of revelation and inspiration beyond all contradiction-but contradictorily, always.
A PARENTHESIS OF EXPLANATION
A critical study of the Hebrew Scriptures by competent scholars reveals that their present form results from much and very uncritical editing and patching together of ancient traditions, folk lore tales, and written records, long after the times usually attributed to the several books; and indicates that the Hexateuch, or Five Books of Moses plus the Book of Joshua, took its present form about 620 B.C. The older parts of the composite, by the "Yahveh" writer, or "J," roughly date from about 800 B.C.; the "Elohist" or "E" document from about 750 B.C. One is considered to have been composed in Israel, the other in Judah, after the division of the kingdom upon the death of Solomon. The hostile factions of the Hebrews had common traditions, but each gave partisan interpretation and color to them; this resulted in the signal discrepancies and contradictions which are apparent from the combination of the two records without careful pruning.
Later, during and after the captivity, to about 450 B.C., when national longings and aspirations were very strong, and the tribal Yahveh was being evolved into "one God of all the world," the priestly editors, or "P," worked the Yahveh and Elohim documents into one whole, with fine dramatic skill and much originality, but with total want of critical sense. Still other editors, designated from their traces as "J2," "E2," "JE," and "R," worked the composite "JEP" over from time to time, to suit their own views, policies, and tastes, very freely making editorial additions and changes. All this can be followed by the critic's eye through the Hebrew texts almost as distinctly as the blue water of the Gulf- stream can be distinguished winding its way through the green waters of the ocean. And so the interested English reader can readily distinguish the main sources of composition by the different terms for the Deity, "God" for "El," "Elolic," or "Elohim"; "Lord" for "Yahveh"; and "Lord God" for the Hebrew "Yahveh Elohim."
It may not be without interest to mention that the personal God-name "Yahveh" occurs some 6000 times in the Hebrew Scriptures; the noun "El," meaning God or Spirit, occurs but two hundred and sixteen times; "Elohim," which is plural and means spirits or gods, is found some 2570 times; and the "dual plural" form "Elobe" is used many times, in composition, as "Yahveh, Elohe Yishrael." Further on we shall note another highly significant fact connected with this plural usage.
OTHER "SOURCES" OF SCRIPTURE
The fact is very obvious throughout that the later compilers or editors of the "Scriptures" in their present form often made use of older written materials, rather than always speaking "as they were moved by the Holy Ghost"-who is not in those Scriptures revealed as having existed in their days. This fact is proved by the fact that these "inspired" writers frequently refer to and quote copiously from older, uninspired, and now lost books as the sources of information for matters which they relate. The instances of this editorial use of wholly profane sources are numerous.
Thus in Numbers 21: 14 it is stated, "Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of Yahveh," followed by the quotation. The famous account of the sun and moon's standing still for Joshua is related not as original "inspired" matter; the story is told, and the writer asks, "Is not this written in the Book of Jasher?" (Josh. 10: 13 ). David's Lament over Jonathan and Saul, in 2 Samuel 1: 17-27, is quoted in full, with the reference, "Behold, it is written in the Book of Jasher." This Book of Jasher is several other times quoted, as is the Book of the Wars of Yahveh.
After all that is told of Solomon down to the time of his death, it is stated, "Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?" (1 Kings 11: 41 ) There are repeated references to, and quotations from the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah (e.g., 1 Kings 15: 7, 23 ); and the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel (e.g., 2 Kings, 14: 15, 28 ). Other lost books of sources, of uninspired secular records, are referred to, three in a single verse: The History of Samuel the Seer, the History of Nathan the Prophet, the History of Gad the Seer (1 Chron. 29: 29 ). In another verse we have references to the Book of Nathan the Prophet, and the Prophecy of Ahijah, and the Visions of Iddo the Seer (2 Chron. 9: 29 ). Again we are referred to the Histories of Shemaiah the Prophet and of Iddo the Seer, concerning genealogies (2 Chron. 12: 15 ). And we are told that "the rest of the acts of Ahijah, and his ways, and his sayings, are written in the story [commentary] of the prophet Iddo" (2 Chron. 13: 22 ).
Again, "Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Jehu, ... who is mentioned [which is inserted] in the book of the kings of Israel" (2 Chron. 20: 34 ). And so, as to the other acts of Hezekiah, "they are written in the vision of Isaiah, the prophet, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel" (2 Chron. 32: 32 ). At the close of the Scripture sketch of each of the several kings of Judah and of Israel occurs the editorial reference to the source of the chronicled events in the formula, "Now the rest of his acts are written in the book," the name of which is given in each instance.
That the whole of both books of Chronicles was written after the return from captivity, is apparent from the plain statement of the text, following the first eight chapters of genealogies, "So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies; and behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, who were carried away to Babylon for their transgression" (1 Chron. 9: 1 ). This is true, too, of the Books of Kings, which, like the Books of the Chronicles, form only a single book in the Hebrew sacred writings.
The Acts of the Kings of Israel (2 Chron. 33: 18 ) is another cited work lost to posterity, as is also the quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore entitled "The Sayings of the Seers" (2 Chron. 33: 19 ). Some of the apocryphal material of the Book of Esther is said to be found in "The Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia" (Esther 10: 2 ), a purely pagan source. There is no claim at all that any of these many books of "sources" of Hebrew Scripture was inspired or was in any sense the "Word of God"; they were commonplace lay chronicles and books of history or literature; so that very large and material portions of "inspired" Hebrew Scriptures are from entirely uninspired and human sources. We shall see and judge of the other portions in due order.
DUPLICATIONS OF INSPIRATION
There are, moreover, numerous passages and even whole chapters of the Hebrew Bible which are in identical words, showing that the one was copied bodily from the other, or from a common older source, as is mostly the case, without giving the customary editorial credit to the original authors. A god would hardly repeat himself thus. Instances of these duplications of text may be multiplied; they very materially discount the theory of original inspiration of the copyists.
A notable instance, because the duplications immediately follow one another in the English versions (but not in the Hebrew Scriptures), is the last two verses of the last chapter of 2 Chronicles (36: 22-23 ), which are identical with the first two and a half verses of Ezra (1: 1-3 ). The Hebrew writer puts into the mouth of the pagan King Cyrus the avowal, "The Lord God [Heb., Yahreh Elohim] of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he [Yahveh] hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem" (Ezra 1: 2 ). Cyrus could hardly, as a good Persian pagan, have thus discredited his own gods in favor of the tribal god of the captive Jews. The latter half of verse 3 affords a signal instance of conscious mis-translation on the part of the clergymen of King James. It is recited that Yahveh "stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia" to build a house for Yahveh in Jerusalem; and Cyrus issued a proclamation in writing to the captive Hebrews, which is quoted in the English versions thus deceptively: "Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of Yahveh, the God of Israel (he is the God), which is in Jerusalem" (Ezra 1: 3 ). Thus the pagan King Cyrus is made to appear to make the wonderful public admission (though in parentheses) that "Yahveh he is the God." But the original Hebrew text reads: "Yahveh, Elohe Israel, he is the God which is in Jerusalem," without the parentheses, as may be read in the original Hebrew and as is shown in small type in the margin of the Revised Version; but the Authorized or King James Version wholly distorts the truth.
Several other instances of duplication of long passages or chapters may be cited out of many others: the "Song of David" in 2 Samuel 22 and Psalm 16; the battle between the Philistines and Israelites, in which Saul was killed, in 1 Samuel 31 and 1 Chronicles 10. The latter account adds two verses (10: 13, 14 ), giving as the reason why Saul was killed in the battle that he went and inquired of the witch of En-Dor, "enquired not of Yahveh"; though it is expressly stated as the reason why Saul had recourse to the witch: "When Saul enquired of Yahveh, Yahveh answered him not. ... Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit" (1 Sam. 28: 6, 7 ) -- after Yahveh had been enquired of and refused response. The priest applied to was evidently not friendly to Saul.
Other whole chapters practically identical are the accounts of the building of Solomon's temple, in I Kings 5-7 and 2 Chronicles 2-4 (though in 1 Kings 7: 15 and 2 Kings 25: 17, it is stated that the two pillars Jachln and Boaz were each 18 cubits high, and in 2 Chronicles 3: 15 that they were each 35 cubits high); the making of David king and his taking of Sion, part of Jerusalem, in 2 Samuel 5: 1-10 and 1 Chron. 11: 1-9; the removal of the Ark to Jerusalem, in 2 Samuel 6: 1-11 and 1 Chron. 13; the "finding of the law" by Josiah, in 2 Kings 22-23: and 2 Chronicles 34-35. Other striking instances of such duplications of inspiration may be found, in 2 Kings 19 and Isaiah 37; 1 Samuel 31, and 1 Chronicles 10 (see verse 10 of each for a contradiction); 1 Chronicles 16: 8-36 and Psalm 105. All these and many other like duplications, with their many variations and contradictions, clearly show that the writers used older sources, which they copied and changed to suit their own notions or purposes, and were not worried with "inspiration" at all.
INSPIRATION AND CONTRADICTION
The fact of distinct and contradictory sources worked up into a sort of composite hodge-podge with utter lack of literary or historical criticism and total disregard of self-contradiction is further very evident from the many double and contradictory accounts of the same alleged event. Some minor instances of this we have just noticed. These contradictions are indeed too many to be even cited here they infest every book and almost every chapter of Holy Writ from Genesis to Revelation, wherever the same event becomes a twice-told tale. At this place we shall notice particularly only the major early instances: the double and contradictory accounts of the creation and of Adam and Eve; of Noah's Flood; or of the Tower of Babel, and other lesser legends of Genesis. In other chapters we give special attention to the notable contradictions of the Exodus, of the ten commandments and the law, of the conquest and possession of the promised land; of the prophecies, of the life and career of Jesus Christ; together here and there with such others as may be incident to the matter at the time in hand. But first we shall note a highly important consideration to be borne in mind throughout.
THE LAWS AND TEST OF TRUTH
In connection with the numerous examples of flagrant conflicts and contradictions in the inspired revelations of the "Word of God" as recorded in the Hebrao-Christian Scriptures, I wish at the outset to call particularly to attention and constant remembrance two very simple principles of correct judgment, which must govern at all times in determining what is truth. One is an eternal principle of human thought, the other an ancient and valid maxim of the law of evidence.
At the base of all human knowledge and judgment there are three simple rules known as the "three primary laws of thought." Of these the third in order is this simple proposition, on which all valid judgment depends: "Of two contradictories, one must be false." Both of the contradictories may be false; but one must be false inevitably. If one person says of an object: "It is white," and another says: "It is black," one or the other statement must of necessity be false. Of course both may be false, as the object may be red or blue or vari-colored; but in any event, one or the other statement must be false, for it cannot be both. This is a fundamental law of thought or correct judgment, or of truth.
The other principle, somewhat complementary, is a rule of law. Every judge declares it to his juries as the law of every jury case on trial, for this ancient maxim is the law in every court to-day.
As a Latin maxim it is: "Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus"-that is, "false in one thing, false in all things." Not necessarily so as to the whole; for one part of the testimony of a witness, or of anything said or written, may be false or mistaken while the remainder may be quite true and correct. The maxim means, as the court always explains to the jury, merely that if the jury believes that a witness "knowingly or wilfully has testified falsely as to any material fact" in his testimony, they are at liberty to disbelieve him entirely and to reject all of his testimony as false. The reason is evident; for if a person orally or in his document or book says one thing which is detected as false; everything else which he says or writes is at once thrown into doubt, and unless otherwise corroborated, may well be considered to be all erroneous or false. Often it is impossible to know with certainty what things, if any, may possibly be true; all are taintedand discredited by the parts shown to be false. This is peculiarly true with respect to the Scriptures, said to be in totality inspired and true: if some parts are proved false, the whole is discredited.
Upon these two simple and fundamental principles of reason and of law I shall proceed to "search the Scriptures, whether these things were so," to the end that all may judge of their inspiration and their truth.
If we find that the "Word of God" tells the same story in two or more totally different and contradictory ways, or that one inspired writer is "moved by the Holy Ghost" of Yahveh to tell his tale one way, and another inspired writer is moved to tell it in another way, totally different and contradictory in the essence of the alleged facts of the same event, we are forced to know and confess that one or the other record at least is wanting in God's inspiration of truth and is inevitably false. This being so, and there being no possible way of determining which version is the false and which may not be, both must be rejected as equally false, or equally uninspired and incredible; and in either event, the theory of inerrant inspiration and of the revealed truth of the "Word of God" is irreparably destroyed.
FATAL CONTRADICTIONS OF REVELATION
The first chapter of Genesis declares by inspiration that creation took place in six days, in this exact order: 1. on the first day light and day and night were created, (though the sun and moon were not created until the fourth day); 2. on the second day, the "firmament of heaven," a solid something "dividing the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament"; 3. on the third day, the dry land, the seas, and all manner of plants and trees; 4. on the fourth day, the sun, moon, and stars; 5. on the fifth day, every living creature that moveth in the waters, and every winged fowl; 6. on the sixth day, all manner of beasts, and cattle, and creeping thing: then, afterwards, on the same sixth day, "God [Elohim] created man in his own image; male and female created he them." And then (1: 28 ), "God [Elohim] blessed them, and God [Elohim] said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it."' And, running over into the second chapter, this "Elohim" account concludes:
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished; and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God [Elohim] ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day" (2: 1, 2 ). Thus all creation, including man and woman, was fully made and finished in six days: no mention is made of any Adam and Eve, or Eden. This is the Elohist version of the creation.
Then, beginning with the fourth verse of the second chapter, a totally different "Yahveh" account of creation of the world and of man, without woman, all in one day, is related: "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth. when they were created, in the day that the Lord God [Yahveh Elohim; i.e., Yahveh of the Gods] made the earth and the heavens." Then follows this description of the processes after the earth was thus already created:
"And no plant or herb of the field was yet in the earth; ... and there was not a man to till the ground. ... And Yahveh Elohim formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And Yahveh Elohim planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there be put the man whom he had formed." And he planted all kinds of trees in the garden, and put the man into the garden to till it (2: 15 ). Then Yahveh Elohim said: "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet [i.e., fit, appropriate] for him" (2: 18 ). Then "out of the ground Yahveh Elohim formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto the man" (2: 19 ).
Before proceeding further, to the creation of the woman, we will note the glaring contradictions already apparent in these two accounts. First we see a creation of everything by Elohim (Gods) in six days; then a creation of the heaven and naked earth by Yahveh in one day. In the first or Elohim account, on the third day, after creating the dry land, Elohim (Gods) commanded, (Gen. 1: 12 ) "and the earth brought forth grass, herb yielding seed, and tree bearing fruit," etc. But in the second or "Yahveh" account, after the earth was all rough-finished and read , on the one day, it is declared (Gen. 2: 5 ): "no plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up." Then immediately follows the declaration (2: 7 ) "And Yahveh Elohim [Eng., Lord God] formed man out of the dust of the ground"; then planted the Garden of Eden, and all its trees, and put the man into the garden. Nothing could be more contradictory than this.
There is another very notable contradiction: in Gen. 1: 20, 21, on the fifth day, the "living creatures" (Heb., nephesh hayyah), and the "winged fowl" were brought forth out of the waters -- "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the living creatures Inephesh hayyah] and the winged fowl"; and this, of course, before the creation of man and woman on the sixth day; whereas, in 2: 19, after the creation of the man, and when Yahveh was trying to find a "help-mate" for him among the animals not yet created, "out of the ground Yahveh formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air, and brought them to the man."
Another notorious contradiction: in the Elohim version (1: 24, 25 ), Elohim made every beast, and animal, and cattle on the sixth day, before man was created. In the Yahveh account, as we have just seen, after the man was created and put into the Garden of Eden, Yahveh "out of the ground formed every beast of the field, and brought them to the man" (2: 19 ).
Most notorious of these creation contradictions is that of the creation of the woman. In the Elohim account, as we have seen, on the sixth day-after all else was created and done "Elohim created man in his own image, male and female created he them [i.e., man and woman]; and Elohim said, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth" (1: 27, 28 ): thus both man and woman were created on the sixth day, and were sexually equipped and commanded to multiply and reproduce. But in the second or Yahveh account we have man created all alone, and put into the Garden of Eden alone.
Afterwards Yahveh considers: "It is not well for the man to be alone; I will make an help meet for him" (2: 18 ). Then we have the very remarkable, not to say ridiculous, episode of Yahveh making all kinds of animals and parading them before the man for him to choose a female animal help-mate or wife, but none was "meet," or fit, or satisfactory for him-"but for the man there was not found an help meet [fit] for him" (2: 20 ). Then follows the rib story, of woman being made from the rib of the man and brought to him to be his wife (2: 22 ).
A peculiar contradiction resulting from these divergent forms of myth relates to the modus operandi of the creation. According to the Elohist, it was all the work of divine fiat; the Gods sat "upon the circle of the earth" (Isa. 40: 22 ), "and Elohim said: Let there be ... and the earth brought forth ... and it was so" (Gen. 1: 2, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26 ); "he spake, and they were made"-were brought into existence by his word. But the Yahvist represents the superman God as coming down bodily to earth and as busily engaged molding the dust of the ground into man and animals and fowls (but not fishes), planting a garden and trees, talking to the man, and then artistically carving the rib into Eve; all creation thus being "the work of his fingers" (Psalm 8: 3 ).
These are two totally contradictory stories of the creation of the earth, and of living creatures. Hence one is false; the notion of the inspired truth of God in one or the other of them must be abandoned as impossible. Of course we know that both are mere fables, equally false, and wholly disproved by every fact of the sciences of geology and anthropology and astronomy, which prove that the earth and sun and stars were countless ages in formation, and that human and animal life has existed for perhaps hundreds of thousands of years, far beyond the lately discovered Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon men, who outdated the biblical Adam by tens of thousands of years. But we will stick to our Bible "facts," and not appeal to the discoveries of science, nor to the common elements of modern human knowledge, to gainsay divine inspiration of the Bible. The book and its truth must be tried by itself. It is also evident on the face of these two conflicting accounts that two different writers, "E" and "J," wrote them, and not Moses; and also that the third man, "P," who patched them together, did it in a very apprentice-like manner, and without any inspiration or critical knack at all.
The Garden of Eden had some topographic and hydrographic features truly notable. Of so limited an area that a single man was sufficient "to dress and to keep it" (Gen. 2: 15 ), it yet contained every created species of fauna and of flora; and all this exuberant growth without water, "for Yahveh Elohim had not caused it to rain upon the earth; but there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground" (Gen. 2: 5, 6 ). So wondrously copious was this mist that its superfluity created a vast prehistoric river, which "went out of Eden to water the garden"-and so it would seem that the garden was somewhere outside of Eden. So vast was this Father of Waters that, after watering the garden, "from thence it was parted, and came into four heads" (2: 10 ). One branch, the Pison, "compasseth the whole land of Havilah" (2: 11 ), wherever that was; the second, Gihon, compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia" (2: 13 ), which we know to be a vast country in equatorial Africa; the third river was the Hiddekel, "which goeth towards the east of Assyria" (2: 14 ), and is supposed to be the Tigris, which however is west of Assyria;
"and the fourth river is Euphrates" (2: 14 ). These last two rivers are thousands of miles from Ethiopia, but all are a notable tribute to the copiousness of that watery mist of Eden.
THE "DAYS" AND MATTER OF CREATION
A word of comment may be made in passing on a couple of points which have given occasion to much concern and controversy, by the attempt to "accommodate" revelation to the everyday facts of science. It is argued that the "days" of creation may be used allegorically or figuratively; that, as "a day with Yahveh is as a thousand years," these Genesis "days" may well denote the indefinite eons assigned by science to the vast work of universal creation. (Cath.. Encyc., Vol. 4: p. 473, art. Creation.) But that the old Hebrew writers of these primitive myths had no such figurative notions, and my yom (day) meant exactly the solar day of twenty-four hours, is very clear: six times, at the close of each day's recorded work, it is declared, "and the evening and the morning were the first day," or the second, or third, day, etc.
The Hebrew word yom (day) is used in the Old Testament 1153 times; its plural (yammim, days) 811 times. Always the word means simply the twenty-four-hour solar day; always-can we believe it? Except in these "six days" of Genesis 1:where, instead of meaning "day," as plainly written, it is piously expounded as meaning "countless aeons of time" so as to make Genesis look like a work of modern science! Quaint double usage is jumbled into a single verse: "And Elohim called the light yom [day], and the darkness he called layil [night]. And the evening and the morning were the first yom [day]" (Gen. 1: 5 )! Here the light part of the day is the hours between dawn and dark; the darkness is only the hours between sundown and the next dawn; but together they form the "first yom"-countless aeons of the first process of creation! Verily, the theologians are funny-mentalists!
And if each of the first six "days" are not days but aeons of time, how about the seventh day? The gods (Elohim) "rested [Heb., shabath, the sabbath] on the seventh day" (Gen. 2: 2 ). If each of the other six days was an unreckonable won, the seventh day (aeon) of rest must, for proper recuperation from such vast and prolonged labors, be of more or less like ample duration; so that, as only six thousand brief years (not even a second of an aeon) have elapsed since all the work of creation was finished, the gods must be resting even yet-as might be suspected from some evidence in their creation.
Why "evening and morning" marking the "day" instead of morning and evening, as is more natural and of all but universal usage in speech? Simply because the Jewish day began, and yet begins, in the evening, at sunset, and their "day" is from one sunset to another; so in writing these myths it was conformable with Jewish customs to put the evening as the beginning of the day. Moreover, all the eight works of creation were stuffed into six days, so that Yahveh could rest on the seventh day, the Jewish sabbath, or day of rest. In order to accomplish this, and Yahveh thus be made to appear to institute and sanction the sabbath, two distinct works, the creation of the seas and the dry land and the creation of trees and plants, are assigned to one, the third day; and two other works, the creation of the animals, and the creation of man and woman, are crowded into another day, the sixth-eight distinct works in all.
This obvious conclusion it is pleasing to find confirmed by the Catholic Encyclopedia -which makes many admissions without seeming to see their logically fatal effects: "The third day and the sixth day are distinguished by a double work, while each of the other four days has only one production assigned to it"; and it adds, curiously for it, but acutely and correctly: "Hence the suspicion arises that the division of God's creative acts into six days is really a schemation employed to inculcate the importance and the sanctity of the seventh day" (Vol. 7: p. 311 )! From this it is palpably evident that the seven days of the ordinary calendar week were in the inspired mind of the old Jewish Chronicler who worked up the Hebrew creation myth from the Babylonian Epic of Creation.
All these material works of creation, the earth and the seas, the sun, moon, and stars, were not created by the fiat or by the architectural skill of Yahveh out of nothing, for "ex nihil nihil fit." From before the "beginning" of creation, or its constructive works, the material earth itself existed, but simply was "without form and void," or, in the Hebrew words, thohu (desolation) and bohu (waste) (Gen. 1: 2 ). And the material waters existed, for "the spirit [wind] of Elohim moved upon the face of the waters" (1: 2 ); the waters not being collected together into seas until the third day (1: 9, 10 ). It is curious how the otherwise intelligent human mind can so struggle through centuries to "accommodate" sense and science to "what are patently early myths and naive, childish, primitive folklore," as Charles P. Fagnani, D.D., frankly calls these tales of Genesis.
SOME SIGNIFICANT MISTRANSLATIONS
Before considering various contradictions in the Book of Genesis and other sections of the sacred history, it is pertinent to call particular attention to some very peculiar mistranslations, rather than errors of translation, which with painful frequency occur in exactly those passages where they are most significant. As the translators were theologians, as well as indifferent Hebrew scholars, their scholarship may subconsciously have been tinged with theological preconceptions in choosing precisely the word in English to meet the needs of theological translation from the uncritical Hebrew. Mistranslation began early and is persistent.
It is some very simple instances which I shall give, such as are apparent to one of very limited knowledge of the Hebrew text of the sacred books. Any one knowing merely the Hebrew alphabet and comparing a few Hebrew words with the words used by the theologians to translate them possesses the whole secret.
"ADAM" MEANS ONLY "MAN"
The word "Adam" as the proper name of a man is a deception of the theologian translators of Genesis. The original Hebrew text, which a schoolboy can follow in the excellent beginner's text-book, Magil's Linear School Bible, [Joseph Magil, Linear School Bible (Philadelphia: Joseph Magil Publishing Co. 1915 ).] says, not "Adam" as a proper name, but "ba-adam," the-man, a common noun. (There are no capital letters in Hebrew.) We will notice some instances of this.
In Genesis 1: 26 occurs the first mention of man, the first use of adam: "And Elohim [gods] said, Let us make man [adam] in our image"; "and Elohim created ha-adam [the-man] in his image" (1: 27 ) male and female both together.
In chapter 2: it is said in the translations that Yahveh formed the beasts of the field out of the ground (adamah), "and brought them unto Adam" (2: 19 ); "and Adam gave names. ... but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him" (2: 20 ). But the Hebrew text mentions no "Adam"; it simply reads that Yahveh brought. the animals "unto ha-adam (the-man), and "ha-adam [the-man] gave names," etc.
In Genesis 2: 7, "Yahveh formed ha-adam [the-man] out of the dust of ha-adamah [the ground]." And so throughout the Hebrew Bible "man" is "adam" (not "Adam"), and "ground" is "adamah." Man is called in Hebrew adam, because he was formed out of adamah, the ground: just as in Latin man is called homo because formed from humus, the ground, -- "homo ex humo," in the epigram of Lactantius. It may be instanced that the prophet Ezekiel many times represents Yahveh as addressing him as "ben adam" (son of man) -- the identical term Jesus so often uses of himself long after.
As the whole of the "sacred science of Christianity" is built and dependent upon the factual existence of a "first man" named Adam, the now attenuated ghost of this mythical Adam must be laid beyond the peradventure of resurrection. The texts of the Hebrew books will themselves effectively lay the ghost.
In Hebrew adam is a common noun, used to signify man or mankind in a generic sense; the noun for an individual man is ish, and so the sacred texts make manifest. The distinction is exactly that of Mann and Mensch in the Teutonic languages. A few out of thousands of instances must suffice.
Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis afford a number of these instances, as above seen, but these may be repeated along with the others, to get a fair view. "Elohim said: 'Let us make adam'" (1: 26 ), and "Elohim created ha-adam," male and female (1: 27 ). In chapter 2: "and there was not adam to till the adamah" (2: 5 );
"and Yahveh-Elohim formed ha-adam [the-man]. ... and ha-adam became a living soul" (2: 3 ); and Yahveh-Blohlm placed in the garden "ha-adam whom he had formed" (2: 8 ); and "Yahveh-Elohim took ha-adam" (2: 15 ), and commanded ha-adam" (2: 16 ); and said "it is not good for ha-adam to be alone" (2: 18 ); and made the animals and "brought them to ha-adam, ... and whatsoever ha-adam should call them" (2: 19 ); and "ha-adam called names; but for ha-adam he did not find an help meet" (2: 20 ); and "Yahveh-Elohim caused a deep sleep upon ha-adam" (2: 21 ), and from his rib made the woman, and he "brought her unto ha-adam" (2: 22 ); and "ha-adam said, ... and called her woman [Heb., isshah], because out of man [Heb., ish] was she taken" (2: 23 ); 'therefore shall a man [ish] leave his father. ... and cleave unto his isshah (2: 24 ); "and they were both naked, ha-adam and his isshah" (2: 25 ).
Chapter 3: "And Yahveh-Elohim called unto ha-adam (3: 9 ); "and ha-adam said, ha-isshah whom thou gavest me" (3: 12 ); and Yahveh-Elohim said to ha-isshah, thy longing shall be unto thy ish" (3: 16 ); "and to adam he said" (3: 17 ); and "ha-adam called the name of his isshah Havvah [life], because she was the mother of all living" (3: 20 ); and "Yahveh-Elohim made for adam and for his isshah coats of skins" (3: 21 ). And Yahveh-Elohim said, "Because ha-adam has become like one of us" (3: 22 ); therefore "he drove out ha-adam (3: 24 ).
Thereupon "ha-adam knew his wife Havvah, and she conceived, and bore Kain; and she said: I-have-acquired [Heb., kanithi] a man [ish] with Yahveh" (Gen. 4: 1 ). Lamech said to his wives, "I have killed a man [ish]" (4: 23 ). Chapter v is "the book of the generations of adam: in the clay that Elohim created adam; male and female created he them, and blessed them, and called their name adam" (5: 1, 2 ); "and adam lived ... and the days of adam were and all the days of adam were" (5: 3-5 ). In these latter verses adam is used indifferently without the article, and the translators write it Adam, as a proper name; but all the previous and subsequent usage shows it is the same common noun for mankind. In the next chapter 6: "ha-adam began to multiply upon the face of ha-adamah" (6: 1 ); and "the sons of the gods saw the daughters of ha-adam (6: 2 ); "And Yahveh said, My spirit shall not strive with adam ["Adam" was dead] forever" (6: 3 ). And Yahveh "saw the wickedness of ha-adam" (6: 5 ), and he repented that he "had made ha-adam" (6: 6 ); "And Yahveh said, I will destroy ha-adam, both adam and beast" (6: 7 ); "and all adam perished" (v2: 21 ). And Noah was "a just man [ish]" (6: 9 ). Yahveh said to Noah: "And surely your blood will I require of your lives; at the hand of ha-adam; at the hand of ish will I require the soul of ha-adam" (Gen. 9: 5 ). The "Egyptians are men [adam] and not God [El]" (Isa. 31: 3 ); "God [El] is not a man [ish] ... neither the son of man [ben adam]" (Num. 23: 19 ); prophets are ish ha-elohim (men of the gods) (Judges 13: 6 ); "put not your trust in the son of man [ben adam]" (Psalm 146: 3 ). All through the Hebrew Bible adam, ha-adam, is for generic man; ish for individual man; Adam never is a proper name, except in the post-exilic genealogies of Chronicles.
"LIVING CREATURES" AND "LIVING SOUL"
Another signal instance of the practice of false translation at critical points for dogma occurs in these first two chapters of Genesis. The Hebrew word for soul is nephesh always, and it properly means nothing else but soul wherever used. Ha-adam called his wife's name Havvah [life], "for she was the mother of all living."
In chapter one we are given the account of how the gods (Elohim), on the fifth day, created "the moving creature that hath life" and "every living creature," out of the waters (1: 20, 21 ); and on the sixth day "the living creature" out of the ground (1: 24 ); and he gave to ha-adam dominion over "everything ... wherein there is life" (1: 30 ). All these renditions are untrue: in each of the four instances the Hebrew is plainly nephesh hayyah-"living soul"-as is stuck into the margin of the King James Version. The significance of this appears below.
In chapter two Yahveh-Elobim (2: 7 ) formed ha-adam out of the dust of ha-adamah, and-in wonderful contrast to these lowly "living creatures" (nephesh hayyah) -- "breathed into his nostrils mishmath hayyim [living breaths], and ha-adam became a living soul [nephesh hayyah]." So here we have the humble "living creatures" (nephesh hayyah) of the dumb animal world contrasted with "Creation's micro-cosmical masterpiece, Man," endowed out of hand by Yahveh-Elohim with a "living soul" (but the self-same nephesh hayyah), and thus the crowning work of creation, but "little lower than the angels" (Psalm 8: 5 )! And then immediately afterwards Yahveh-Elohim, wanting to provide an "help meet" for his wonderful "living soul," out of ha-adamah formed and brought to ha-adam "every living creature" (again nephesh hayyah), for the-man to choose a she-animal for his wedded wife! But the "living soul" man refused to be satisfied with a female "living soul" animal wife; so Yahveh resorted to the rib expedient to provide a human "help meet" for his masterpiece! So reads in Hebrew the truth-inspired revelation of Yahveh, spoken by "holy men of old as they were moved by the Holy Ghost"! And thus we see that all "living creatures," animals, fishes, fowls, had or were nephesh hayyah (living soul, exactly like the-man; or the-man, with Yahveh's breath of life in his nostrils, became a simple "living creature" (nephesh hayyah) like all the other animals.
It is perfectly evident that the nephesh hayyah man was regarded by the inspired writer as no higher in the order of creation than any other nephesh hayyah or animal "living creature." For he represents Yahveh as creating all the beasts of the field for the express purpose of providing the-man with an "help meet" from among them, a female animal consort by which to fulfill the divine command, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth"!
THE "FLOOD" CONTRADICTIONS
To return to the contradictions of inspiration. The history of Noah's Flood shows the same conflicting compound of Elohist and Jahvist stories. Only one will here be noted. In Genesis vi Elohim commanded Noah, and told him, "of every living thing of all flesh two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; and they shall be male and female" (6: 19 ); and in 6: 22, the Elohist assures us: "Thus did Noah, according to all that Elohim commanded him, so did he"; that is, he took in two of every kind into the ark.
But in chapter 7 it is Yahveh who speaks, and it is recorded: "And Yahveh said unto Noah, Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee; and they shall be male and female" (6: 19 ) and in 6: 22, the Clean by two, the male and his female" (v2: 2, 3 ) and in 7: 5 the Jahvist states: "And Noah did according to all that Yahveh commanded him"-that is, Noah took into the ark seven (or maybe fourteen, seven male and seven female) of all kinds of clean beasts and of fowls, and two of all the others. But this enumeration is again contradicted by the inspired Elohist: "Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of everything that creepeth upon the earth, there went in by two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and his female" (Gen. 7: 8, 9, 15 ); thus is restored our faith in the scriptural accuracy of the animal rosters of the toy Noah's arks of our trustful childhood.
It is curious to note that the distinction between "clean" and "unclean" animals was never heard of until the Levitical law of kosher was prescribed by Moses, as is alleged, about a thousand years later (Lev. 11.). How did Noah know the difference?
A remarkable circumstance, illustrating the great piety, if reckless improvidence, of Noah, may be noted in this connection. The very first thing Noah did after he and his family and his animals landed in the neck-deep mud and slime of the year's Deluge was to build an altar and offer up a thanksgiving sacrifice to the loving God who in his providence had destroyed all his creation except the little Noah family menage. It is recorded that Noah took one each "of every clean beast and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar" to Yahveh there in the mud (Gen. 8: 20 ). We have noted that it is curious how Noah knew anything about kosher animals, first defined by Moses. But the prime wonder is, as there were only two of these different kinds of animals and fowls ("the male and his female") in the ark, and Noah killed and burnt in sacrifice one (whether male or female) of each kind, how the species was ever afterwards replenished on the earth. Revelation-as so often at crucial points-is silent on this wonder.
A mystery of the ages in connection with the Flood is how Noah's venerable grandfather Methuselah survived the universal cataclysm which destroyed all life except the Noah menage and menagerie in the ark. Methuselah did not die until a year or more after the Flood-fourteen years after according to the Septuagint. It is recorded that Methuselah was 187 years old when his son Lamech was born (Gen. 5: 25 ), and he lived for 787 years afterwards, dying at the ripe age of 969 years (5: 26, 27 ). Lamech was 182 years old when his son Noah was born (5: 28, 29 ). When the Flood began, Noah was in his six hundredth year, or, to be exact, he was 599 years, one month, and seventeen days old (v2: 11 ); and Noah lived for 350 years after the Flood, and was 950 years old when he died (9: 28, 29 ). Methuselah was alive when the Flood began and when it ended, if the Bible record is true: 1. From the birth of Lamech to the beginning of the Flood was (182 plus 599 ) 781 years; and from the birth of Lamech to the end of the Flood was 782 years. If Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech 782 years he survived the Flood. Or, again:
2. From the birth of Methuselah to the beginning of the Flood was (187 plus 182 plus 599 years) 968 years; the Flood ended a year later, when Methuselah was 969, and he died at that good old age. Or again: 3. From the birth of Methuselah to the death of Noah was (187 plus 182 plus 950 years) 1319 years. As Noah died 350 years after the Flood, from the birth of Methuselah to the end of the Flood was (1319 minus 350 years) 969 years, the age of Methuselah at his death, after the Flood.
As Noah shut his own aged grandfather out of the ark, it is a holy wonder where and how Methuselah spent that watery last year of his advanced old age.
THE TOWER OF BAB-EL
The historical sketch given in Genesis x-xi of the gathering of the nations in the Plain of Shinar, their ambitious project of building Bab-el-"a Gate of God"-to reach to heaven (11: 4 ), and the consequent "confusion of tongues" by Yahveh, is quite as confusing as the resulting babel of their strange new tongues.
Vainly, it may be remarked, may one seek to understand why a fatherly God, who would not let a sparrow fall to the ground without pitying concern, should have wrought this grievous affliction upon the new population of his earth just at the time when they would seem to need all the aid and comfort they could render each other in order to repair the devastating damage wrought by the yet recent Flood, only about 144 years before. But speculation aside, we will carefully note the recorded facts of sacred history.
Chapter x tells of the families and descendants of the triplet sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japhet; and how their prolific offspring, in only about 144 years since the Flood, had grown into many different nations; and how these nations, of which about a score are particularly named, with their great cities, were "divided in their lands, every one after his tongue"-which would imply that each nation already spoke a different language; that there were, indeed, as many tongues as there were nations sprung so suddenly from the three sons of Noah.
This inference that there were already as many different languages as there were nations would seem to be strengthened by the repetition of that positive statement three times, after the account of the off-spring of each of the three sons of Noah. For the sacred record, after each catalogue of off-sprung nations, asserts that thus the several nations "were divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations" (Gen. 10: 5, 20, 31 ). And for a final assurance it is in the closing verse averred: "These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations; and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the Flood" (10: 32 ). And all these nations were descended from three sons of Noah, in only 144 years; though it took the seed of Abraham 215 years to attain to merely seventy souls.
And in the same inspired chapter x we read of the founding by these numerous nations of extensive kingdoms and of their building of great cities-including Babel itself (10: 10 ), and Nineveh (10: 11 ), and a dozen others named in the inspired record. And it is recorded that these several large kingdoms extended from Assyria on the east unto Gaza, by the Mediterranean Sea, on the west (10: 19 ), many hundreds of miles; and all these wonders of nations and kingdoms and cities in 144 years of Bible time since the Flood. But, then, when one thinks of what the Yankees did in France in just one year, faith is encouraged.
Had one read this in some less inspired and sacred chronicle, some more human record, less would be the surprise when one reads the first verse of the very next chapter: "And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech." Next follows a truly remarkable migration; all the people of the earth, all these widely scattered nations in their great kingdoms and cities scattered from Euphrates to the sea, suddenly abandoned home, and city, and kingdom, and strangely journeyed from the east (though many must have come from the west, from towards the sea) and "they found a plain in the land of Shinah; and they dwelt there" (11: 2 ) camped in the open plain, without house or home. "And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick; ... and let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto Heaven; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth" (11: 3, 4 ). We need not stop to wonder why these nations had left their kingdoms and cities to come out in the plain and build one city for them all; nor how, speaking each a different language, they could talk understandingly together to concert such ambitious projection.
Yahveh heard of this project, and, with natural curiosity, he "came down to see the city and the tower" (11: 5 ) which were abuilding. And Yahveh said, to someone not named: "Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language" (instead of the many nations and many tongues of the immediately preceding records). "Go to, let us [who besides Yahveh is not specified] go down [though he was already come down], and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech" (11: 6, 7 ). And this Yahveh is said to have straightway done, and he "scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city" (11: 8 ); and it is further recorded:
"Therefore is the name of it called Babel: because Yahveh did there confound the language of all the earth" (11: 9 ).
It may be wondered which of them called it Bab-el, for all their languages now at least were different, and what would be Babel in one of tem might be a foreign word meaning the Bowery, or Hoboken, or Hell in some of the others. And it is a little curious that Bab-el should mean "confusion" (Heb., balel); for already there was a city, built by Nimrod, the mighty hunter, named Bab-el (Gen. 10: 10 ); and we know that in Assyrian, Hebrew, Arabian, and other Semitic languages, Bab-el means "Gate of God," just as Beth-el is "house of God"; and Bab-el is exactly the native and Hebrew Bible name of what we know as Babylon, the city or Gateway of the God El, or Bel, certainly there an entirely pagan deity. But as Moses-if he lived at all-was "an Egyptian man," and probably spoke only the Egyptian language, his mistaking the philology of Hebrew words may be excused. What great sin all these new inhabitants of the earth had been guilty of, to bring on them this new great vengeance, is not revealed: mayhap by trying to build a tower to reach to heaven, they provoked a "jealous God" by an effort to reach him in such a direct and unorthodox fashion, though as yet the world had not received the revelation of the only possible route to enter heaven, belief.
JACOB'S LADDER, AND BETH-EL
Notably higher than the abortive Tower of Babel is the justly famous ladder of Jacob, which reached from earth actually into heaven, so that Yahveh and the winged angels passed back and forth upon it. True, Jacob dreamed all this; but then, "Life is a Dream," and are not many of the most historical facts of the Bible admitted therein to be dreams? Such was Abram's, of the promise and the covenant; and Joseph's, he of the coat of many colors, about the sun and the moon and the eleven stars; such also was that of the other Joseph, the carpenter, about the paternity of the Virgin-born Child of Yahveh. And Jacob's wonderful ladder was at least 5,883,928,333,800,000,000,000 miles in length to reach from earth to heaven, as is elsewhere shown.
Shortly after Jacob had hoaxed the blessing and the inheritance from his blind father, Isaac, thus robbing his elder brother Esau of his dearest rights, Jacob started off to look for a wife, and was on his way toward Haran. Being overtaken by night, be slept on the wayside, a stone for his pillow. In his dream be saw the ladder which reached to heaven, with the angels; and Yahveh appeared to him and renewed the Promise. On awakening, Jacob recalled his dream, set up the stone pillow for a pillar (mazzebah), "and he called the name of that place Beth-el; but the name of that City was called Luz at first" (Gen. 28: 10-19 ).
The event is quite otherwise related in Genesis 32. Here Jacob had just tricked his heathen father-in-law Laban by the famous device whereby all the cattle were born "ringstreaked, speckled, and grizzled" (Gen. 31: 8-12 ); had stolen away in the night with his wives and the cattle; and after sundry incidents, on his way somewhere (32: 1 ), he passed over the ford Jabbok (32: 22 ). Here stopping alone over-night, "there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day" (32: 21,); and the stranger, who appeared to be Yahveh, changed Jacob's name to Israel, which means Soldier of God-though Jacob was fighting with God. All this happened by the ford Jabbok, which name Jacob changed to Peni-el (Gen. 32: 24-30 ). It is a bit mystifying to read a little later that Yahveh met Jacob somewhere near a place called Padan-Aram, and without any fight at all, and without any apparent reason at all, changed Jacob's name to Israel; and Jacob, on his part, set up a stone which he had not slept on, for his wives were along and he slept with them, and called the name of the place Beth-el (Gen. 35: 9-15 ). But the name of the place was already Beth-el, for Yahveh had said to Jacob: "Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there" (35: 1 ); "so Jacob came to Luz, that is Beth-el" (35: 6 ); and such had been the name of the place when Abraham camped there two hundred years before (Gen. 12: 8, 13: 3 ).
JACOBS BARGAINING VOW
A very instructive feature of this biography of Jacob is the curious instance of his well-known commercial instinct, here recorded in connection with the last mentioned bit of sacred history. For Jacob vowed a vow to Yahveh (which in the Bible is a very solemn thing, but which was coupled here with a bargaining condition precedent), saying: "If Elohim will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house, then shall Yahveh be my God" (Gen. 28: 20, 21 ). This seems to prove that Jacob had not yet adopted Yahveh. And Jacob makes a peculiar offer of bribe to Yahveh, saying: "And of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee" (28: 22 ), -- which no one can deny was even to a God a liberal commission in return for wealth bestowed.
In this proposal Jacob anticipated both the rule and the reason of the law, laid down some five hundred or a thousand years later: "Remember Yahveh thy God, for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth" (Deut. 8: 18 ) -- a reason often suggested for loving Yahveh. By some it has been thought that this exemplary bargain of Jacob served later as the approved precedent for the priestly system of tithes decreed by Moses (Lev. 27: 30-32 ), and everywhere and always since commanded and cajoled from all the faithful. In any event, the constant ecclesiastical refrain has ever been the same as that represented in Scripture as of the daughters of the horse-leech: "Give, give" (Prov. 30: 15 ); and the preferred measure has been that of Jacob's offered bribe to Yahveh of the tithe.
SUNDRY OTHER CONTRADICTIONS
In addition to these larger contradictions pointed out in a small part of Scripture and many others which remain yet to examine, there are numbers of minor flat contradictions, of which a few may be cited.
It is recorded, "And Yahveh spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend" (Ex. 33: 11 ); but just below, where Moses is reported as asking Yahveh to show himself to him, Yahveh replied: "Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live" (33: 20 ). But Yahveh evidently desired to be reasonably accommodating; so he had Moses hide in a cleft of the rock, and Yahveh covered Moses with his hand; then Yahveh "passed by," and took away his hand, and let Moses see his "back parts," for, he said, "my face shall not be seen" (33: 22, 23 ). How Yahveh could "pass by" and still keep Moses covered with his band is not explained; but it seems to confirm Yahveh's repeated description of himself as being of "a mighty hand and an outstretched arm."
There must be some mistake, however, in regard to the fatal consequences of seeing Yahveh. Holy Writ is full of recorded instances of "seeing Yahveh face to face." Yahveh celebrated the making of the covenant by a banquet on Sinai to Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders, "and they saw the Gods [ha-Elohim] of Israel," and "they beheld the Gods, and did eat and drink" (Ex. 24: 9-11 ).
When Joshua crossed over Jordan between the parted waters, whether with the original hosts of Yahveh or with their offspring, "an increase of sinful men" (Num. 32: 14 ), Yahveh commanded him to take twelve stones out of the middle of the river, "out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm," and to set them up "in the lodging place where ye shall lodge this night" (Josh. 4: 3 ) for a memorial; and it is stated that Joshua had the twelve stones carried "over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there" (4: 8 ), which was "in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho" (4: 20 ). But in the very next verse it is averred:
"And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the Ark of the Covenant stood: and they are there unto this day" (4: 9 ), sticking up out of the waters in the middle of the river. It is curious, that the stones were piled up in the middle of the river at the place where the priests had stood; for that is the very place where the stones were to be taken from, as Yahveh commanded in 4: 3.
In 2 Samuel 24: 1 it is recorded: "Yahveh moved David to number Israel and Judah"; of the same incident it is recorded in I Chronicles 21: 1 that "Satan provoked David to number Israel"- a strange confusion of personages.
In 1 Samuel 16; the first meeting of Saul and David is related: "an evil spirit from Yahveh troubled Saul," and music was recommended to him as having "power to soothe the savage breast"; "a son of Jesse" was also recommended as a good musician, "cunning in playing, and a mighty man of valor, and a man of war." So Saul sent messengers to Jesse, saying "Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep"; and Jesse sent David to Saul, who saw him now for the first time, and David became Saul's amour-bearer.
But in the next chapter David is introduced to Saul as if never heard of before, as the youngest of eight sons of Jesse. Three older sons of Jesse were in Saul's army, while the "mighty man of war," David, stayed home tending his father's sheep; his father sent him to the camp to carry food to his soldier brothers.
Here David saw Goliath and heard his braggart defiance of the "living gods" of Israel, and David wanted to fight him; this was reported to Saul, and "Saul sent for David" (17: 31 ), thus for the first time meeting David. Saul expostulated with David, saying:
"Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for thou art but a youth, and he is a man of war from his youth" (17: 33 ), apparently discounting the immediately preceding description of David as "a mighty man of valor, a man of war" himself. But greater surprises follow. Every child in Sunday school knows the heroic encounter between David and Goliath; how the stripling David went out unarmed save with a sling and some pebbles against the full-panoplied giant; how David put a pebble in his sling as he ran forward, "and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth" (i Sam. 17: 49 ); and David took Goliath's sword and cut off the dead giant's head (17: 51 ); and David took the head "and brought it to Jerusalem; and he put his armor in his tent" (17: 54 ). David, a country shepherd, just come to camp to bring dinner, would hardly have had a tent; and surely he did not take Goliath's head to Jerusalem; for Jerusalem was the stronghold of the Jebusites, and not till David was seven and a half years king, many years after, did he enter even a small corner of Jerusalem, Sion.
But the tale is entirely robbed of the romance and heroics by the flat contradiction of the whole episode; David did not kill Goliath at all. Some forty years later, when Saul was long since dead, and when David was king and at war with the Philistines, "there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam" (2 Sam. 21: 19 )! Here the translators slip in another "pious fraud": the verse is made to read "slew the brother of Goliath"-the words the brother of being in italics to indicate to the knowing that they are not in the original; nor are they, as any honest scholar will admit. The Revised Version fairly omits "the brother of," but puts these words in the margin, with a reference to 1 Chronicles 20: 5. Here it is quite differently related that "Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear staff was like a weaver's beam." Further confusion is furnished by the duplicated verses about the giant in Gath, with six fingers and six toes on each hand and foot, who like Goliath "defied Israel," and "Jonathan the son of Shimeah the brother of David slew him" (2 Sam. 21: 20, 21, and 1 Chron. 20: 6, 7 ).
As for Saul's death, in 1 Samuel 3i it is related that in a battle with the Philistines, Saul's army was defeated, and Saul was wounded and in danger of capture; so Saul ordered his amour-bearer (clearly not David), to kill him, but the latter refused;
"therefore Saul took a sword and fell upon it" (31: 4 ); and "so Saul died" (31: 5 ). But in 2 Samuel i the story is quite otherwise: Saul made this request of a young Amalekite (1: 8 ), who "happened by chance" (1: 6 ) upon the scene of battle at Mt. Gilboa (therefore not Saul's amour-bearer), and this stranger complied with Saul's request and killed Saul (1: 10 ), and took his crown and bracelet to David, who rewarded him by murdering him on the spot (1: 15 ).
This must suffice for the present; many, many other contradictions abound in the inspired records. But these instances of patent contradictions suffice to illustrate the constant violation of the two rules of reason and of law which I have quoted, and to demonstrate that at least one version of each of these inspired conflicting records is wholly wanting in truth.
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