Documentary Hypothesis_Source Criticism

Edward D. Andrews

It was in the latter half of the nineteenth century that higher criticism began to be taken seriously. These critics rejected Moses as the writer of the Pentateuch, arguing instead that the accounts in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy were based on four other sources [writers] written between the 10th and the 6th centuries B.C.E. To differentiate these sources one from the other, they are simply known as the “J,” “E,” “D,” and “P” sources. The letters are the initial to the name of these alleged sources, also known as the Documentary Hypothesis.

Image 1 Diagram of the Documentary Hypothesis.

*    includes most of Leviticus

†    includes most of Deuteronomy

‡    “Deuteronomic history”: Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings – Wikipedia

DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIPSource Criticism, a sub-discipline of Higher Criticism, is an attempt by liberal Bible scholars to discover the original sources that the Bible writer(s) [not Moses] used to pen these five books. It should be noted that most scholars who engage in higher criticism start with liberal presuppositions. Dr. Gleason L. Archer, Jr., identifies many flaws in the reasoning of those who support the Documentary Hypothesis; however, this one flaw being quoted herein is indeed the most grievous and lays the foundation for other irrational reasoning in their thinking. Identifying their problem, Archer writes, “The Wellhausen school started with the pure assumption (which they have hardly bothered to demonstrate) that Israel’s religion was of merely human origin like any other and that it was to be explained as a mere product of evolution.”[1] In other words, Wellhausen and those who followed him begin with the presupposition that God’s Word is not that at all, the Word of God, but is the word of mere man, and then they reason into the Scripture not out of the Scriptures based on that premise. As to the effect, this has on God’s Word and those who hold it as such; it is comparable to having a natural disaster wash the foundation right out from under our home.

Liberal Christianity says that Moses did not pen every word from Genesis through Deuteronomy. They conclude that this is nothing more than a tradition that originated in the times that the Jews returned from their exile in Babylon in 537 B.C.E. and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. These source critics reason that there was and is a misunderstanding of Deuteronomy 31:9, which says that Moses “[wrote] this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, that bare the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, and unto all the elders of Israel.” They argue that Deuteronomy only implies that Moses wrote the laws of Deuteronomy chapters 12–28; moreover, this was extended into a tradition that encompassed the belief that the entire Pentateuch was not written by Moses.

BIBLICAL CRITICISM - Beyond the BasicsIn addition, these source critics put forth that the language of Deuteronomy chapters 12–18, as well as the historical and theological context, places the writing and completion of these five books centuries after Moses died. According to these critics, this alleged tradition of Moses being the author of the first five books of our Bible was completely accepted as fact by the time Jesus Christ arrived on the scene in the first-century C.E. These critics further argue that Jesus, the Son of God, was also duped by this tradition and simply perpetuated it when he referred to “the book of Moses” (Mark 12:26), which to the Jews at that time counted Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy as a book by Moses. In addition, at John 17:23, Jesus spoke of “the law of Moses,” which he and all others Jews had long held to be the Pentateuch. Thus, for the critic, Jesus simply handed this misunderstood tradition off to first-century Christianity.

We have read much in previous chapters thus far about these critical scholars, but it will not hurt to review, before delving into discrediting their hypothesis. How has such extreme thinking as this Documentary Hypothesis come down to us, going from being a hypothesis to being accepted as law in secular universities and most seminaries? What is the relationship between a hypothesis, theory, and law? In the physical sciences, there are several steps before a description of a phenomenon becomes law.

  • Observation: “I noticed that objects fall to the earth.”
  • Hypothesis: “I think something must be pulling these objects to the earth. Let me call it gravity.”
  • Experimentation: “Let me put this to the test by releasing different objects from that cliff. Umm, it seems that everything I let go falls. My hypothesis seems to be right.”
  • Theory: “I have noticed that every time I release an object, and wherever I do it, over the sidewalk, from the 32nd floor of that office building and even from the cruise ship—they fall to the earth as if pulled by something. It happens often enough to be called a theory.”
  • Law: “Well, this has consistently been occurring over the years. It must be absolutely true and therefore a Law.”

Where does the “Documentary Hypothesis” fit into this scheme? Wellhausen et al. made certain Observations and then produced a Hypothesis to explain what they saw. I would argue that is as far as they made it in following the formula for the scientific method.

The Forefathers of Source Criticisms

Abraham Ibn Ezra (1089–1164) Ibn Ezra was, by far, the most famous Bible scholar of medieval times. True enough, he may have questioned the idea that Moses wrote the entire Torah; however, he chose not to do this in an outward way; he chose to be more subtle in presenting such an idea. For Ibn Ezra, several verses seemed not to have come from Moses, but one verse stood out above the others. Deuteronomy 1:1 reads: “These are the words that Moses spoke to all of Israel beyond the Jordan.” The east side of the Jordan would be “this” side with the west side being the “other side.” (Numbers 35:14; Joshua 22:4) The point of his contention here being the fact that Moses was never on the other side of the Jordan, the west side, with the Israelite nation. Therefore, the question begs to be asked, Why would Moses pen “beyond,” a seeming reference to the west side? This will be answered soon enough.

Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) writes, “It is therefore sufficiently evident that the five books of Moses were written after his time, though how long after it be not so manifest.” Is Hobbes a friend or foe of Christianity? Like Francis Bacon before him, he deepened the crack in the acceptance of the Bible being a source of divine authority.[2]

BIBLICAL CRITICISMBenedict Spinoza (1632–1677) writes, “It is thus clearer than the sun at noon the Pentateuch was not written by Moses but by someone who lived long after Moses.” Spinoza lays the groundwork for higher criticism based on logical or reasonable deduction, believing that thought and actions should be governed by reason, deductive rationalism.[3] He writes that because “There are many passages in the Pentateuch which Moses could not have written, it follows that the belief that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch is ungrounded and irrational.”[4] Moses was not the only Biblical author to lose his writership at the chopping block of Spinoza. “I pass on, then, to the prophetic books … An examination of these assures me that the prophecies therein contained have been compiled from other books … but are only such as were collected here and there, so that they are fragmentary.” Daniel did not fare so well either, he is only credited with the last five chapters of his book. Spinoza presents the notion that the 39 books of the Hebrew Old Testament were set down by none other than the Pharisees. Moreover, the prophets spoke not by God, being inspired, but of their own accord. As to the apostles, Spinoza wrote, “The mode of expression and discourse adopted by [them] in the Epistles show very clearly that the latter are not written by revelation and divine command, but merely by the natural powers and judgment of the authors.” Did Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, fare any better? Hardly! Spinoza states: “It is scarcely credible that God can have designated to narrate the life of Christ four times over, and to communicate it thus to mankind.”

Spinoza had no respect for those he deemed fools because of their belief in miracles. He writes, “Anyone who seeks for the true causes of miracles and strives to understand natural phenomena as an intelligent being, and not gaze upon them like a fool, is set down and denounced as an impious heretic by those, whom the masses adore as the interpreters of nature and the gods. Such a person knows that, with the removal of ignorance, the wonder which forms their only available means for proving and preserving their authority would vanish also. . . . A miracle, whether a contravention to, or beyond nature is a mere absurdity.”[5] Such a dogmatic disbelief in miracles is a contributing factor to Spinoza being the father of modern-day higher criticism.

Richard Simon (1638–1712). This French Catholic priest accepted Moses as the author for most of the Pentateuch, but he is the first to notice repetition with certain portions that would come to be known as doublets.

  • two different creation stories
  • two stories of the Abrahamic covenant
  • two stories where Abraham names his son, Isaac
  • two stories where Abraham claims Sarah as his sister
  • two stories of Jacob’s journey to Haran
  • two stories where God revealed himself to Jacob at Bethel
  • two stories where God changes Jacob’s name to Israel
  • two stories of when Moses got water from a rock at Meribah

Jean Astruc (1684–1766) This French physician and professor of medicine would, by a rather naïve observation, get the Documentary Hypothesis underway. While Astruc never denied Mosaic writership, he had observed that there seemed to be two sources for Moses’ penning the early chapters of Genesis: one that favored the title God (Elohim), and another that favored the personal name of God (Jehovah). This theory seemed to carry even more support by duplicate material, as Astruc viewed Genesis chapter one as one creation account and Genesis chapter two as another. It should be kept in mind that Astruc credited Moses as the writer, but was simply looking for what Moses may have drawn on in penning the Pentateuch.[6]

David Hume (1711–1776) was an eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher whose influence on the denial of divine authority, miracles, and prophecy has had a major impact that has reached down to the twenty-first century! Hume has three major pillars that hold up his refutation of divine authority. First, he writes, “A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature.”[7] The laws of nature have been with man since his start. If a person falls from a high place, he will hit the ground. If a rock is dropped into the sea, it will sink. Each morning our sun comes over the horizon and each night it goes down, and so on. Without a doubt, there are laws of nature that never fail to follow their purpose. Therefore, for Hume, there is nothing that would ever violate the laws of nature. This ‘conclusive evidence,’ Hume felt, “is as entire as any argument from experience” that there could never be miracles.

Hume’s second pillar is based on his belief that humankind is gullible. Moreover, he reasons that the masses of ‘religious persons’ want to believe in miracles. In addition, there have been many who have lied about so-called miracles, which have been nothing but a sham. For his third pillar, Hume argues that miracles have occurred only in the time periods of ignorance; as the enlightenment of man grew the miraculous diminished. Hume reported, “Such prodigious events never happen in our days.” Hume rejected the inspiration of Scripture on two grounds: (1) he denied the possibility of miracles and prophecy, and (2) he rejected the Bible’s divine authority as a whole because, to him, it was based upon perception or feeling, rather than upon fact, nor could it be proved by observation and experiment. Thus, for Hume, the result is that the Bible “contains nothing but sophistry and illusion.”[8] As we can see, Hume’s conclusion is obvious: Because the Bible is, in fact, not inspired, it could never be a true source of knowledge that it claims, and it is certainly not God’s Word for humankind.

Johann Gottfried Eichhorn (1752–1827) took Jean Astruc’s conjectures beyond Genesis to other books of the Pentateuch, arguing that the Pentateuch contained three primary sources that were distinct by vocabulary, style, and theological features. He also borrowed the phrase “higher criticism” from Presbyterian minister and scientist Joseph Priestly, and he was the first to name these alleged sources “E” (for Elohim) and “J” for Jehovah.[9]

Karl Heinrich Graf (1815–1869), aside from Julius Wellhausen, was the person we look to most for the modern documentary hypothesis. For Graf the “J” source was the earliest, composed in the ninth century B.C.E.;[10] the “E” source was written shortly thereafter. The author of Deuteronomy wrote shortly before Josiah’s clearing away false worship in the seventh century B.C.E., and finally, the “P” source was written in the sixth century after the exile.

In 1878, the German Bible critic Julius Wellhausen (1844–1918), writing in Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels (Prolegomena to the History of Israel), popularized the ideas of the above scholars that the first five books of the Bible, as well as Joshua, were written from the 9th century into the 5th century B.C.E., over a millennium [1,000 years] after the events described.[11]

The capital letter “J” is used to represent an alleged writer. In this case it stands for any place God’s personal name, Jehovah, is used. It is argued that this author is perhaps a woman as it is the only one of their presented authors who is not a priest. (Harold Bloom, The Book of “J”) They date the portion set out to “J” to c.850 B.C.E. Some scholars place this author in the southern portion of the Promised Land, Judah.[12]

Another writer is put forth as “E,” for it stands for the portion that has Jehovah’s title Elohim, God. Most higher critics place this author c.750–700 B.C.E. Unlike “J,” this author “E” is said to reside in the northern kingdom of Israel. As stated earlier, this author is reckoned a priest, with his lineage going back to Moses. It is also proffered that he bought this office. In addition, it is argued that an editor combined “J” and “E” after the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians but before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, which they date to about 722 BC.E.[13]

These same critics hold out that the language and theological content of “D,” Deuteronomy, is different from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Thus they have another author. They argue that the priests living in the northern kingdom of Israel gathered “D” over several hundred years; however, it was not until much later that “D” was combined with the earlier works. It is also said that the “D” writer (source) was also behind Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings (Dtr). It is suggested strongly that, in fact, this is the book found in the temple by Hilkiah the high priest and given to King Josiah. (2 Kings 22:8) It is further put forth that J/E/D were fused together as one document in about 586 B.C.E.[14]

The source critics use the capital letter “P” for Priestly. This is because this portion of the Pentateuch usually relates to the priesthood. For instance, things like the sacrifices would be tagged as belonging to this author. Many scholars suggest that “P” was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, which they date at 586 B.C.E. Others put forth that it was written during the exile of seventy years, the Priest(s) composing this holy portion for the people who would return from exile, while others say it was written after the exile, about 450 B.C.E. These liberal scholars find no consensus on when this supposed author “P” wrote this portion of the first five books. The critics tell us that the final form of J/E/D/P was composed into one document about 400 B.C.E.[15]

The capital “R” represents the editor(s) who put it together and may have altered some portions to facilitate their social-circumstances of their day. The “R” comes from the German word Redakteur (Redactor), which is an editor or reviser of a work.

With all the focus on Wellhausen and the impetus he has given to the Documentary Hypothesis, one would conclude that he had made an enormous, critical investigation of the text, which, in essence, moved him to cosign with his predecessors. If that is your conclusion, you will have to regroup, for it was simply a feeling that something was not quite right that moved Wellhausen to accept a system of understanding without any evidence whatsoever. In his book Prolegomena to the History of Israel, first published in 1878, Wellhausen helps his readers to appreciate just how he came about his expressed interest in the Documentary Hypothesis:

In my early student days I was attracted by the stories of Saul and David, Ahab and Elijah; the discourses of Amos and Isaiah laid strong hold on me, and I read myself well into the prophetic and historical books of the Old Testament. Thanks to such aids as were accessible to me, I even considered that I understood them tolerably, but at the same time was troubled with a bad conscience, as if I were beginning with the roof instead of the foundation; for I had no thorough acquaintance with the Law, of which I was accustomed to be told that it was the basis and postulate of the whole literature. At last I took courage and made my way through Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and even through Knobel’s Commentary to these books. But it was in vain that I looked for the light which was to be shed from this source on the historical and prophetical books. On the contrary, my enjoyment of the latter was marred by the Law; it did not bring them any nearer me, but intruded itself uneasily, like a ghost that makes a noise indeed, but is not visible and really effects nothing. Even where there were points of contact between it and them, differences also made themselves felt, and I found it impossible to give a candid decision in favour of the priority of the Law. Dimly I began to perceive that throughout there was between them all the difference that separates two wholly distinct worlds. Yet, so far from attaining clear conceptions, I only fell into deeper confusion, which was worse confounded by the explanations of Ewald in the second volume of history of Israel. At last, in the course of a casual visit in Göttingen in the summer of 1867, I learned through Ritschl that Karl Heinrich Graf placed the law later than the Prophets, and, almost without knowing his reasons for the hypothesis, I was prepared to accept it; I readily acknowledged to myself the possibility of understanding Hebrew antiquity without the book of the Torah.[16]

Martin Noth (1902–1968) A liberal twentieth-century German scholar who specialized in the pre-Exilic history of the Jewish people. Noth presented what he called the “Deuteronomic Historian.” He argued that the language and theological outlook of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings was the same as the book of Deuteronomy. Noth believed this writer lived during the exile because of a reference from 2 Kings to the exile. Modern critics, however, believed this writer lived before the exile, with 2 Kings 25:27 being a later addition.

Frank M. Cross, Jr., Hebrew and Biblical scholar’ muddies the water even more with his proposition that there was not one Deuteronomistic history, but two. The first he proposed to be written during the reign of the Judean King Josiah to aid him in cleaning up the false worship going on within Judah. After the destruction of Jerusalem, Cross said the same writer or possibly another goes back to edit this work, to add in the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile to Babylon.

Redaction Criticism

I briefly address the Redaction Theory here because of its relationship to the Documentary Hypothesis. As stated above in our alphabet soup of alleged authors (“J,” “E,” “D,” “P,” and “R”), a redactor is an editor or reviser of a work. Redaction Criticism is another form of Biblical criticism that intends to investigate the Scriptures and draw conclusions concerning their authorship, historicity, and time of writing. This form of criticism, as well as the others, has really done nothing more than tear down God’s Word. R. E. Friedman, the Documentary Hypothesis’ biggest advocate, asserts that the “J” document was composed between 922–722 B.C.E. in the southern kingdom of Judah, while the northern kingdom of Israel was composing the “E” document during these same years. Friedman contends that sometime thereafter a compiler of history put these two sources together, resulting in “J/E,” with the compiler being known as “RJE.” Friedman states that shortly thereafter, the priesthood in Jerusalem put out yet another document, known today as “P,” this being another story to be added to the above “J/E.” Going back to their authors for the first five books of the Bible, Friedman and these critics claim a redactor, or editor put the whole Pentateuch together using “D,” “P,” and the combination of “J/E.” For them this editor (Deuteronomist) used the written sources he had available to make his additions for dealing with the social conditions of his day. They claim this editor’s express purpose was to alter Scripture to bring comfort and hope to those who were in exile in Babylon. Wellhausen’s theories, with some adjustments, have spread like a contagious disease, until they have consumed the body of Christendom. However, the real question is, Do these higher critics have any serious evidence to overturn thousands of years of belief by three major religious groups (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) that the Pentateuch was written by Moses?

What these critics have are pebbles, each representing minute inferences and implications [circumstantial evidence at best] that they place on one side of a scale. These are weighed out against the conservative evidence of Moses’ authorship of the Pentateuch. As unsuspecting readers work their way through the books and articles written by these critics, the scales seem to be tilted all to one side, as if there were no evidence for the other side. Thus, like a jury, many uninformed readers; conclude that there is no alternative but to accept the idea that there are multiple authors for the Pentateuch instead of Moses, who is traditionally held to be the sole author.

Just what impact has the Documentary Hypothesis had on academia? Let us allow R. Rendtorf, Professor Emeritus of the University of Heidelberg, to answer:

Current international study of the Pentateuch presents at first glance a picture of complete unanimity. The overwhelming majority of scholars in almost all countries where a scholarly study of Old Testament is pursued, take the documentary hypothesis as the virtually uncontested point of departure for their work; and their interest in the most precise understanding of the nature and theological purposes of the individual written sources seems undisturbed.[17]

Let us take a moment to look at many of these pebbles and see which side of the scale they are to be placed on. As stated at the outset, we will address the major arguments as a case against the whole. Some of these pebbles are major obstacles for honest-hearted Christians.

Arguments of Higher Critics for the Documentary Hypothesis

We will address four areas of argumentation from the higher critics: (1) the divine names, (2) discrepancies, (3) repetition, known as “doublets,” and (4) differences in language and style. We will give at least one example of each and address at least one example under the evidence for Moses’ writership.

Divine Names

The higher critics argue that every Bible verse that contains the Hebrew word for God, (’Elohim´), set off by itself has its own writer, designated by the capital “E” (“Elohist”). On the other hand, any verse that contains the Tetragrammaton, (Jehovah, Yahweh), God’s personal name, is attributed to yet another writer, “J” (“Jawist”). (Cassuto, 18-21) Let us see how they explain this. The critics argue that “God” (’Elohim´) is restricted in use exclusively in the first chapter of Genesis (1:1–31) in relation to God’s creation activity, and that starting in Genesis 2:4 through the end of the second chapter we find God’s personal name.

  1. E. Friedman speaks of a discovery by three men: “One was a minister, one was a physician, and one was a professor. The discovery that they made ultimately came down to the combination of two pieces of evidence: doublets and the names of God. They saw that there were apparently two versions each of a large number of Biblical stories: two accounts of the creation, two accounts each of several stories about the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob, and so on. Then, they noticed that, quite often, one of the two versions of a story would refer to God by one name and the other version would refer to God by a different name.” (R. E. Friedman, 50)

Different settings, however, require different uses. This principle holds true throughout the whole of the entire Old Testament. Moses may choose to use (’Elohim´) in a setting in which he wants to show a particular quality clearly, like power, creative activity, and so on. On the other hand, Moses may choose to use God’s personal name (Jehovah, Yahweh) when the setting begs for that personal relationship between the Father and his children, the Israelites, or even more personable, a one-on-one conversation between Jehovah God and a faithful servant.

The Divine Names: The weakness of claiming multiple authors because of the different names used for God is quite evident when we look at just one small portion of the book of Genesis in the American Standard Version (1901). God is called “God Most High,” “possessor (or maker) of heaven and earth,” “O Lord Jehovah,” “a God that seeth,” “God Almighty,” “God,” “[the] God,”[18] and “the Judge of all the earth.” (Genesis 14:18, 19; 15:2; 16:13; 17:1, 3; 18:25) It is difficult to believe that different authors wrote these verses. Moreover, let us look at Genesis 28:13, which says, “And, behold, Jehovah stood above it, and said, I am Jehovah, the God [“Elohim”] of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.” Another scripture, Psalm 47:5, says, “God is gone up with a shout, Jehovah with the sound of a trumpet.”[19] In applying their documentary analysis, we would have to accept the idea that two authors worked together on each of these two verses.

Many conservative scholars have come to realize that in a narrative format one will often find a ruler being referred to not only by name but also by a title, such as “king.” M. H. Segal observes: “Just as those interchanges of human proper names and their respective appellative common nouns cannot by any stretch of the imagination be ascribed to a change of author or source of document, so also the corresponding interchanges of the divine names in the Pentateuch must not be attributed to such a literary cause.”[20] If one were to look up “Adolf Hitler” using Academic American Encyclopedia, within three paragraphs he will find the terms “Führer,” “Adolf Hitler,” and simply “Hitler.” Who is so bold as to suggest that there are three different authors for these three paragraphs?

Dr. John J. Davis[21] helps us to appreciate that there is “no other religious document from the ancient Near East [that] was compiled in such a manner; a documentary analysis of the Gilgameŝ Epic or Enūma Eliŝ would be complete folly. The author of Genesis may have selected divine names on the basis of theological emphasis rather than dogmatic preference. Many divine names were probably interchangeable; Baal and Hadad were used interchangeably in the Hadad Tablet from Ugarit,[22] and similar examples could be cited from Egyptian texts.[23]

In fact, we now know that there were many deities in the ancient Near East that had multiple names. As stated above with the Babylonian Creation account, the Enuma Elish, the god Marduk (Merodach), chief deity of Babylon, also had some 50 different names.[24] It would not even be thinkable to apply any of the Documentary Hypothesis analysis to any of these works. Why? Not only because we can see that ancient writers are no different than modern writers and are able to use different names and titles interchangeably within their work, but they were written on stone, so to speak. If one has one clay tablet that has both a personal name and two different titles for the same king, it would be difficult to argue that there were two or three different authors for the one tablet. Bible scholar Mark F. Rooker has the following to say about the use of Elohim and Yahweh in the Old Testament:

Moreover, it is clear that throughout the Old Testament that the occurrence of the names of God as Elohim or Yahweh is to be attributed to contextual and semantic issues, not the existence of sources. This conclusion is borne out by the fact that the names consistently occur in predictable genre. In the legal and prophetic texts the name Yahweh always appears, while in wisdom literature the name for God is invariably Elohim. In narrative literature, which includes much of the Pentateuch, both Yahweh and Elohim are used.[25] Yet consistently the names do not indicate different sources but were chosen by design. The name Elohim was used in passages to express the abstract idea of Deity as evident in God’s role as Creator of the universe and the Ruler of nature. Yahweh, on the other hand, is the special covenant name of God who has entered into a relationship with the Israelites since the name reflects God’s ethical character. (Cassuto, 31) Given the understanding of the meaning of these names for God, it is no wonder that the source which contains the name Yahweh would appear to reflect a different theology from a selected group of texts which contained the name Elohim.”[26]

Let us, on a small scale, do our own analysis of the divine names in the first two chapters of Genesis. The Hebrew word (’elohim´) is most often agreed upon to be from a root meaning “be strong,” “mighty,” or “power.”[27] It should be said too that by far, most Hebrew scholars recognize the plural form (im) of this title ’elo·him´ to be used as a plural of “majesty,” “greatness,” or “excellence.” The Hebrew word (’elo·him´) is used for the Creator 35 times from Genesis 1:1 to 2:4a. Exactly what is the context of this use? It is used in a setting that deals with God’s power, his greatness, his excellence, his creation activity, all of which seems appropriate, does it not?

Moving on to Genesis 2:4b–25, we find God now being referred to by his personal name, the Tetragrammaton (YHWH, JHVH), which is translated “Jehovah” (KJV, ASV, NW, NEB, etc.) or “Yahweh” (AT, NAB, JB, HCSB, etc.). It is found in verses 4b–25 eleven times; however, it comes before his title (’elohim´).[28] Why the switch, and what is the context of this use? This personal name of God is used in a setting that deals with his personal relationship with man and woman. This is not a second creation account; it is a more detailed account of the creation of man, which was only briefly mentioned in chapter one in passing, as each feature of creation was ticked off. In chapter two, the Creator becomes a person as he speaks to his intelligent creation, giving them the prospect of a perfect eternal life in a paradise garden, which is to be cultivated earth wide, to be filled with perfect offspring. Therefore, we see a personal interchange between God and man as He lays out His plans to Adam, which seems very appropriate, does it not when switching from using a title in chapter one to using a personal name in chapter two? In chapter two, we have the coupling of the personal name “Jehovah” with the title “God,” to show that we are still talking about this ‘great,’ ‘majestic,’ ‘all powerful’ Creator, but personalized as he introduces himself to his new earthly creation.

Thus, there is no reason to assume that we are talking about two different writers. No, it is two different settings in which a skilled writer would make the transition just as Moses did. It would be no different than if a modern-day news commentator was giving as a report about the United States President visiting Russia to meet with Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, in which he used the title President predominately. The following week the same news commentator may be covering the President visiting a hospital with injured children who had survived a tornado and refer to the President as President Obama. It isn’t difficult to see that one is an official setting where the President needs to be portrayed as powerful, while in the other setting; he needs to be portrayed as personable. The same principles used herein apply to the rest of the Pentateuch and the Old Testament as a whole.

Discrepancies

Discrepancies, or should I say “perceived” discrepancies, are the critic’s favorite pebble. These perceived discrepancies set off an alarm for the critic, and then he rushes off with his pebble like a child to add it to the multiple-authors side of the scale. To differentiate between the supposed different sources texts, I will lay them out as follows:

(“J”) will be used to represent an alleged writer. In this case, it stands for any place God’s name Jehovah is used.

 (“E”) will be for the portion that has Jehovah’s title, Elohim, God.

 (“P”) will be for the portion of priestly activities.

(“D”) Deuteronomy is different from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Thus, it has another author.

(“RJE”) will represent the compiler who put “J” and “E” together.

 (“R”) will represent the editor(s), who put it all together and may have altered some portions to express their social circumstances of their day.

(“U”) will represent the alleged “unknown independent texts.”

Narrative Discrepancy” (Genesis 12:1, ASV) Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee: (“J”) (after Terah, Abram’s father, died, Abram is commanded to leave Haran)

(Genesis 11:26, ESV) When Terah had lived 70 years, he fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran (“U”). (When Terah was 70, Abram was born.)

(Genesis 11:32, ESV) The days of Terah were 205 years (“U”): and Terah died in Haran (“R”). (Terah died at the age of 205, which would make Abraham 135 when he left Ur.)

(Genesis 12:4, ASV) So Abram went, as Jehovah had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him (“J”): and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out (“P”) of Haran (“R”). (12:4 has Abram being only 75 when he leaves Haran.)

Discrepancy: According to 11:32, Terah died at the age of 205; hence, Abram must have been 135 when he was called to leave Haran. However, 12:4 says that he was only 75 when he left Haran. The Source Critic informs us that this seeming contradiction is resolved if Genesis chapter 12 is of a different source from the genealogy of Genesis chapter 11.

The above need not be a contradiction at all. True enough, it was at the age of 70 that Terah began having children (Genesis 11:26), but does Abraham have to be the firstborn child simply because he is listed first? Consider, what weight does the names Nahor and Haran play in the Bible account? Now consider, what about the name Abraham? He is considered the father and founder of three of the greatest religions on this planet: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He is the third most prominent person named in God’s Word. This practice, that of placing the most prominent son first in a list of sons even though they are not the firstborn is followed elsewhere in God’s Word with other prominent men of great faith, for example, Shem and Isaac. (Genesis 5:32; 11:10; 1 Chronicles 1:28) Therefore, let us keep it simple. Genesis 11:26 does not say that Abram was the firstborn; it simply says that Terah began fathering children, and then it goes on to list his three sons, listing the most prominent one first. Thus, it is obvious that Terah fathered Abram at the age of 130. (Genesis 11:26, 32; 12:4) In addition, it is true that Sarah was Abram’s half-sister, not by the same mother, but by having Terah as the same father. (Genesis 20:12) Therefore, in all likelihood, it is Haran who is the firstborn of Terah, whose daughter was old enough to marry Nahor, another of Terah’s three sons. – Genesis 11:29.

Narrative Discrepancy” (Genesis 37:25–28, 36; 38:1; 39:1, YLT)

(Genesis 37:25–28, YLT) And they sit down to eat bread (“E”), and they lift up their eyes and look, and lo, a company of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, and their camels bearing spices, and balm, and myrrh, going to take [them] down to Egypt. 26 And Judah saith unto his brethren, ‘What gain when we slay our brother and have concealed his blood? 27 Come, and we sell him to the Ishmaelites, and our hands are not on him, for he [is] our brother—our flesh;’ and his brethren hearken (“J”). 28 And Midianite merchantmen pass by and they draw out and bring up Joseph out of the pit (“E”), and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt (“J”). (Genesis 37:36) And the Medanites have sold him unto Egypt, to Potiphar, a eunuch of Pharaoh, head of the executioners (“E”). (Genesis 38:1) And it cometh to pass, at that time, that Judah goeth down from his brethren, and turneth aside unto a man, an Adullamite, whose name [is] Hirah (“J”). (Genesis 39:1) And Joseph hath been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, a eunuch of Pharaoh, head of the executioners, an Egyptian man, buyeth him out of the hands of the Ishmaelites who have brought him thither (“J”).

Discrepancy: In Genesis 37:25 the Ishmaelites are passing by at the opportune time mentioned in verses 26 and 27, with Judah suggesting that instead of killing Joseph they sell him to the Ishmaelites. Yet, verse 28 switches in midstride to the Midianites, as they drew Joseph from the pit, selling him to the Ishmaelites. In verse 36, the Medanites (likely a scribal error; almost every translation has Midianites, so we will accept that as so) are selling Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt. Yet, the discrepancy pushes the envelope even further, for Genesis 39:1 says, it was the Ishmaelites who delivered and sold Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt. Was Joseph sold to Ishmaelites or to Midianites? In addition, who delivered and sold Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt? It seems that the higher critics are bent on using ambiguous passages (ambiguous at first glance to the casual reader) to facilitate their Documentary Hypothesis. You might say that these discrepancies are fuel for the engine that drives their Documentary Hypothesis locomotive. E. A. Speiser writes:

The narrative is broken up into two originally independent versions. One of these (J) used the name Israel, featured Judah as Joseph’s protector, and identified the Ishmaelites as the traders who bought Joseph from his brothers. The other (E) spoke of Jacob as the father and named Reuben as Joseph’s friend; the slave traders in that version were Midianites who discovered Joseph by accident and sold him in Egypt to Potiphar.[29]

For Speiser, it is time to slice up the text and divide it up between our alleged “J”-Text and “E”-Text writers. It is also hypothesized that our “R”-Redactor edits the two and slips in some additional information as well, suggesting that the Midianites are the ones who were actually passing by, selling Joseph later to the Ishmaelites. Thus, it would be the Ishmaelites, who would deliver and sell Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt. Yes, at first glimpse, this would appear to make it all well, but we still have a problem: Genesis 37:36 states that it was the Midianites, who sold Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt.

Actually, when one looks below the surface reading, there is no discrepancy here at all. Ishmael (son of Hagar and Abraham) and Midian (son of Keturah and Abraham) were half-brothers. It is highly likely that there was intermarriage between the descendants of these two, allowing for an interchangeable use of the expression “Ishmaelites” and “Midianites.” (Genesis 25:1–4; 37:25–28; 39:1) We see this in the days of Judge Gideon when Israel was being attacked, with both terms “Ishmaelites” and “Midianites” being used to describe the attackers. (Judges 8:24; 7:25; 8:22, 26) Alternatively, even still we could have an Ishmaelite caravan encompassing Midianite merchants that were passing by, with the Midianites brokering the deal and delivering Joseph from the pit to the Ishmaelite caravan, where Joseph would be under the Ishmaelites’ custody even if he was being detained by the Midianites. Once they arrived at Potiphar’s place in Egypt, it would be the Midianites to broker the deal with Potiphar. Thus, it can be stated either way, the Ishmaelites or the Midianites delivered and sold Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt.

Repetitions (Doublets)

What are doublets? It is the telling of the same story twice, making the same events appear to happen more than once. For example,

  • there are two stories of the creation account,
  • two stories of God’s covenant with Abraham,
  • two stories where Abraham names his son Isaac,
  • two stories where Abraham claims Sarah is his sister, two stories of Jacob’s journey to Haran,
  • two stories where God revealed himself to Jacob at Bethel,
  • two stories where God changes Jacob’s name to Israel,
  • two stories of when Moses got water from the rock at Meribah, and a detailed description in Exodus 24–29 of how to build the tabernacle, then within five chapters a retelling of how they did it, repeating the details again in chapters 34–40.

The critic goes on to point out that, there is more to this “doublet” story than meets the eye; they argue that one of the doublets will contain the title for the Creator, God (Elohim); while the other doublet of the same story will contain the personal name for the Creator, Jehovah. Moreover, they argue that there are other defining features that are only within one side or the other.

(Genesis 1:27, ESV) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

(Genesis 2:7, ASV) And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Within two chapters, we have two verses where the writer, if one person, informs us of the creation of man twice, the second as though the first was never mentioned at all. Again, the source critic will argue that there were two sources of the same information on the creation of man and the compiler allowed both to remain. What the source critic fails to tell his reader is that there are sense breaks within the various accounts in these first three chapters. Genesis 1:1–2:3 is the basic creation account. Genesis 2:4–25 is the restating of day three (verses 5, 6) and the subsequent preparation of the earth for the settling of man and woman in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:1–24 is specifically about the temptation, the entry of sin and death into the world, the promise of a seed to save humankind, a description of the conditions of imperfection and of man’s loss of the Garden of Eden.

Bible scholar Leon Kass, who supports the Documentary Hypothesis, had this to say about the creation account of Genesis chapters 1 and 2:

Once we recognize the independence of the two creation stories, we are compelled to adopt a critical principle of reading if we mean to understand each story on its own terms. We must scrupulously avoid reading into the second story any facts or notions taken from the first, and vice versa. Thus, in reading about the origin of man in the story of the Garden of Eden, we must not say or even think that man is here created in God’s image or that man is to be the ruler over the animals. Neither, when we try to understand the relation of man and woman in the Garden, are we to think about or make use of the first story’s account of the coequal coeval creation of man and woman. Only after we have read and interpreted each story entirely on its own should we try to integrate the two disparate teachings. By proceeding in this way, we will discover why these two separate and divergent accounts have been juxtaposed and how they function to convey a coherent, noncontradictory teaching about human life.[30]

Let us look at another example in which the critic has argued that one source says forty days while the other speaks of 150 days:

(Gen 7:12, NET) And the rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.

(Gen 7:24, NET) The waters prevailed over the earth for 150 days.

Genesis 7:24 and 8:3 say the floodwaters lasted for 150 days, yet; Genesis 7:4, 12 and 17 say it was only forty days. Once again, the difference is solved with a simple explanation. Each is referring to two different time periods. Let us look at these verses again (italics mine):

 (Gen 7:12, NET) And the rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. [Notice that the 40-days refer to how long the rain fell—“the rain fell.”]

(Gen 7:24, NET) The waters prevailed over the earth for 150 days. [Notice that the 150-days refer to how long the flood lasted—“waters prevailed.”]

(Gen 8:3, NET) The waters kept receding steadily from the earth, so that they had gone down by the end of the 150 days.

(Gen 8:4, NET) On the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the ark came to rest on one of the mountains of Ararat.

(Gen 7:11; 8:13, 14, NET) In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. In Noah’s six hundred and first year, in the first day of the first month, the waters had dried up from the earth, and Noah removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. And by the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was dry.

By the end of the 150 days, the water had gone down [Gen 8:3]. Five months from the beginning of the rain, the ark comes to rest on Mount Ararat [8:4]. Eleven months later the waters dried up [7:11; 8:13]. Exactly 370 days from the start (lunar months), Noah and his family left the ark and were on dry ground.

Yet another example is found in 2 Kings 24:10-16. Verses 10-14 say, “At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up to Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to the city while his servants were besieging it, and Jehoiachin the king of Judah gave himself up to the king of Babylon, himself and his mother and his servants and his officials and his palace officials. The king of Babylon took him prisoner in the eighth year of his reign and carried off all the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold in the temple of the Lord, which Solomon king of Israel had made, as the Lord had foretold. He carried away all Jerusalem and all the officials and all the mighty men of valor, 10,000 captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths. None remained, except the poorest people of the land.”

Verses 15-16 say, “And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon. The king’s mother, the king’s wives, his officials, and the chief men of the land he took into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. And the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon all the men of valor, 7,000, and the craftsmen and the metal workers, 1,000, all of them strong and fit for war.”

Here we have a repetition of the same events back-to-back. Why? Is it multiple sources and the redactor simply keeping both? In an attempt to stave off the conservative view of Moses’ writership, scholar, and critic Richard Elliot Friedman writes:

Those who defended the traditional belief in Mosaic authorship argued that the doublets were always complementary, not repetitive, and that they did not contradict each other, but came to teach us a lesson by their ‘apparent’ contradiction. But another clue was discovered that undermined this traditional response. Investigators found that in most cases one of the two versions of a doublet story would refer to the deity by the divine name, Yahweh . . . , and the other version of the story would refer to the deity simply as ‘God.’ That is, the doublets lined up into two groups of parallel versions of stories. Each group was almost always consistent with the name it used. Moreover, the investigators found that it was not only the names of the deity that lined up. They found various other terms and characteristics that regularly appeared in one of the other group. This tended to support the hypothesis that someone had taken two different old source documents, cut them up, and woven them together to form the continuous story in the Five Books of Moses.[31]

Ancient Semitic literature has other similar examples of repetition. Moreover, the use of Elohim in one instance and Jehovah in another is due to context and semantic issues. Notice Friedman’s use of the phrases “in most cases” and “almost always.” Which is it? And as we will see, he is overstating his case to the point of exaggeration. Let us look at the most popular example in the “Matriarch in Danger.” It has three occurrences in Genesis: Sarah in Egypt with Pharaoh (Genesis 12:10–20), Sarah in Gerar with Abimelech (Genesis 20:1–18), and Rebekah in Gerar with Abimelech (Genesis 26:7–11). Friedman would argue that we simply have one story with three different sources that had been maintained over time. The personal name of God, Jehovah, is used in the account of Sarah in Egypt with Pharaoh (vs. 17). The title Elohim is used in the account about Sarah in Gerar with Abimelech (vs. 3), but so is Jehovah (vs. 18). In the account of Rebekah in Gerar with Abimelech, neither Elohim nor Jehovah is used. Therefore, Friedman’s case is really no case at all, because both Jehovah and Elohim appear in one account with Sarah in Gerar with Abimelech and neither Jehovah nor Elohim appear in the account with Rebekah in Gerar with Abimelech. It should be noted that all three occurrences are in reference to Abimelech and Pharaoh, but both times that the name Jehovah is used, it is in reference to Jehovah executing a punishment of these rulers. If their best example does not even come close to their claims, then what are we to think of the others? Before moving on to the differences in language and style, we should close with one last point about the literature of the Ancient Near East (ANE). One of the features of ANE literature, which includes Hebrew, is its parallelism, repetition, the telling of stories that are similar to stress patterns that are important. Even in the book of Acts, you have three different accounts of Paul’s conversion (Ac 9:3-8; 22:6-11; 26:12-18). It is repetition for emphasis. At the outset of this section, we mentioned that chapters 24-29 of Exodus give a detailed description of how the tabernacle was built, and chapters 34-40 repeat the very same information. Chapters 24-29 contain the directions, and chapters 34-40 show how they did it; thus, the repetition is emphasizing that they did exactly what Jehovah had asked them to do.

Dfferences in Language and Style

Supporters of the Documentary Hypothesis would argue that within the Pentateuch we see such things as preferences for certain words, differences in vocabulary, reoccurring expressions in Deuteronomy that are not found in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, all evidence for the higher critics and their multiple source theory. Also, there are individual characteristics in grammar and syntax. Further, the critic describes “P” as being very boring, completely lacking in interest or excitement, dry; while the writers of “J” and “E” are very vivid and lively, holding the reader’s interest in their storytelling. Additionally, “D” uses expressions like ‘with all your heart and all your soul,’ which the rest of the Pentateuch lacks in those types of expressions. Their conclusion is that there is no alternative but to have multiple writers as the differences in language and style dictate.

If the alleged writers of the Pentateuch were so narrow in their vocabulary and writing abilities that they would use only one given word for a given idea and never use another when dealing with that idea, it would be easy to suggest a division of actual sources. Yet this is not the case at all. The writers of the Hebrew Scriptures throughout ancient Israel actually expressed a great variety of words in their work. Douglas K. Stuart (Ph.D., Harvard University), Professor of Old Testament at Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary, is of the same opinion:

In fact, the contrary situation appears to be true. In ancient Israel there were four demonstrable indications of a preference for variety in written expression rather than for desire for stylistic consistency. (1) If there were two different ways of spelling a word the Israelites chose to preserve both spellings as valid and to include both of them frequently in any document. Thus with regard to spelling (orthography), ancient Israelites had no commitment to consistency to style, but the free use of alternative spellings was regarded as not only proper but desirable. (2) In the case of common expressions, a similar phenomenon can be observed. Where variation was possible, it apparently was not avoided but preferred. Alternative ways of forming a given multiword expression were employed commonly so that both alternatives were preserved. Thus, in the case of repeated phraseology in prose contexts, there was no commitment to consistency of style, but rather the alternative formulation was regarded not only proper but desirable. (3) With regard to variation in grammatical forms, a similar phenomenon is observed. If there existed two different ways of saying something, even in the case of a common verb form, both ways were used so as to preserve both in the common discourse. Again, the preference appears to have been for inclusion of variety rather than for consistency of one form if two existed. (4) The Masoretic system of Kethib-Qere represents a fourth indicator of the tendency in past times to preserve variance rather than to select one option and to employ it consistently, a tendency that extended into the medieval period when the Masoretes worked. This system arose from a desire to include, not merely side-by-side, but actually within the same word, two variant readings rather than two select ones. The Masoretes provide the consonants of one text option in the vowels of another. They indicated their preferred reading, but did not omit the reading they regarded as inferior, they simply did not localize it.[32]

Differences in Style and Vocabulary: An investigator would not be honest if he were simply to reject these differences out of hand, as though they did not exist. Therefore, rightly, we need to investigate these differences, giving an answer that has substance. I will cite one of their pillar examples, to demonstrate the principle that if they are so far off base here, then we can conclude their foundation in this area is really no foundation at all. Before we get started, let us do a little review of Biblical Hebrew, to be better able to address our example.

(Qal): Qal is the simple form of the verb, meaning “light” or “easy.” This is the simple active stem of the verb.

(Hiphil): This is generally called the “causative” form because it reveals the causative action of the qal verb. The “h” is prefixed to the stem, which modifies the root.

Qal yalad (to give birth)
Hiphil holid (he caused to give birth)

Examples:

Gen. 14:18: Irad begat (yalad) Mehujael

Gen. 5:4: Adam after he begat (holid) Seth

The advocates of the Documentary Hypothesis argue that to find yalad in the genealogy of Cain in Genesis chapter 4, the Table of Nations in Genesis chapter 10, and Nahor’s family line in Genesis chapter 22 (all being of the “J” author), while finding holid in Adam’s history down to Noah in Genesis chapter 5 as well as the genealogy of Shem found in Genesis chapter 11 (being of the “P” author) is nothing more than proof positive that there are two authors: “J” and “P.”

In short, we are not dealing with a word or phrase that is peculiar to an individual writer like “J” or “P.” No, this is nothing more than an example of following the basic rules of Hebrew grammar and syntax. In many cases, it could not have been written in any other way, because it is the socially accepted usage of the Hebrew language. When those who support the Documentary Hypothesis pull Hebrew words or even phrases out of their setting (as I have done above), looking at them in isolation, their reasoning becomes based solely on personal wishes, feelings, or perceptions, rather than on linguistic rules, reasons, or principles of the language itself. Hebrew, like any other language, conforms to the socially accepted style, with the regular and specific order, or arrangement. The Hebrew language has its own rules and allowable combinations of how words are joined together to make sense to the Hebrew mind. Umberto Cassuto, also known as Moshe David Cassuto, (1883–1951), who held the chair of Biblical studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem had this to say concerning the usage of yalad and holid:

It will suffice to note the fact that the verb yaladh occurs in the signification of holidh only in the past tense [perfect] and the present [participle]. We say, “so-and-so yaladh [mas. sing. perfect] so-and-so,” and we say yoledh [participle mas. Sing.: “is begetting”]; but we do not say in the future tense [imperfect] so-and-so yeledh [to signify: “he will beget”] (or wayyeledh [imperfect with waw conversive, to connote: “and he begot”]) so-and-so.” In the imperfect, the Qal is employed only with reference to the mother, for example, so-and-so teledh [“will give birth to”] (watteledh [“and gave birth to”]) so and so.” In connection with the father one can only say, yolidh [hiphil imperfect; “he will beget”] or wayyoledh [hiphil imperfect with waw conversive; “and he begot”] (although we find in Prov. xxvii 1: what a day may bring forth [“yeledh”; Qal imperfect] the verb is used there not in connotation of “begetting” but actually in the sense of “giving birth”). Similarly, we do not say, using the infinitive, Aajare lidhto [to signify: “after his begetting”] but only Aajare lidhtah [“after her giving birth”]; with regard to the father we can only say Aajare holidho [“after his begetting”]. This is clear to anyone who is sensitive to the Hebrew idiom. In the genealogies from Adam to Noah and from Noah to Abraham, it would have been impossible to write anything else but wayyoledh and Aajare hoilidho; every Hebrew author would have had no option but to write thus and not otherwise. It is not a question of sources but of the general usage of the Hebrew tongue.[33]

Professor K. A. Kitchen, one of the leading experts on Biblical history, notes in his book Ancient Orient and Old Testament: “Stylistic differences are meaningless, and reflect the differences in detailed subject-matter.” He says that similar style variations can also be found “in ancient texts whose literary unity is beyond all doubt.”[34]

A 1981 news report relates to this debate and provides some interesting facts.[35]

TEL AVIV, Israel (UPI)—A five-year long computer study of the Bible strongly indicates that one author—and not three as widely held in modern criticism—wrote the book of Genesis.

“The probability of Genesis’ having been written by one author is enormously high—82 percent statistically,” a member of the research team said in an article published in Wednesday’s Jerusalem Post.

Professor Yehuda Radday, a Bible scholar from the Technion, a Haifa university, said more than 20,000 words of Genesis were fed into a computer which conducted a painstaking analysis of its linguistic makeup.

Bible critics widely hold that Genesis had three authors—the Jawhist or “J” author, the Elohist or “E” author and a priestly writer, dubbed “P.”

“We found the J and E narratives to be linguistically indistinguishable,” Radday told a news conference today. But the P sections differ widely from them.

“This is only to be expected, since dramatic tales and legal documents must necessarily display different ‘behavior,’” he said. “If you compared love letters and a telephone directory written by the same person, linguistic analysis would point to different authors.”

The team combined statistical and linguistic methods with computer science and Bible scholarship to reach their conclusions. They used 54 analysis criteria, including word length, the use of the definite article and the conjunction “and,” richness of vocabulary and transition frequencies between word categories.

“These criteria are a reliable gauge of authorship because these traits are beyond an author’s conscious control and furthermore are countable,” Radday said.

A mathematics expert on the team ran a computer check against classical German works by Goethe, Herder and Kant and found that the statistical probability of their being the sole authors of their own work were only 22 percent, 7 percent and 9 percent respectively.

As mentioned above, Jewish and Christian conservatives accept one writer for the first five books of the Bible, namely, Moses. The critics, however, argue that although Moses is definitely the main character of the Pentateuch because they are unable to find any direct mention within it of Moses having written these five books, it is for them simply a tradition that Moses is the writer. This author is certain that is not the impression you will have after reading the next chapter.

Internal and External Evidence for Moses Authorship

First, it is obvious that Moses did not write every word of the Pentateuch. Why? The section that relates his death would be something that Joshua could have added after Moses’ death. (Deuteronomy 34:1–8) In addition, the critic would argue, it would hardly seem very meek to pen these words about oneself: “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3, ESV) Nevertheless, consider that Jesus said of himself: “I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29, ESV), which no one would fault Jesus with as though he were boasting. Both Moses and Jesus were simply stating a fact. The amount of possible material that may have been added by Joshua, another inspired writer is next to nothing and does not negate Moses’ authorship.

What Does the Biblical Evidence from the Old Testament Report?

Exodus 17:14 (ASV)

 14 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

Exodus 24:4 (ASV)

4 And Moses wrote all the words of Jehovah, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the mount, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

Exodus 34:27 (ASV)

27 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.

Leviticus 26:46 (ASV)

46 These are the statutes and ordinances and laws, which Jehovah made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by Moses.

Leviticus 27:34 (ASV)

34 These are the commandments, which Jehovah commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.

Numbers 33:2 (ASV)

2 And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of Jehovah: and these are their journeys according to their goings out.

Numbers 36:13 (ASV)

13 These are the commandments and the ordinances which Jehovah commanded by Moses unto the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.

Deuteronomy 1:1 (ASV)

1 These are the words which Moses spake unto all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah over against Suph, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab.

Deuteronomy 31:9 (ASV)

9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, that bare the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, and unto all the elders of Israel.

Deuteronomy 31:22 (ASV)

 22 So Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel.

Deuteronomy 31:24 (ASV)

24 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,

Joshua 1:7 (ASV)

 7 Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee:

Joshua 8:31 (ASV)

31 as Moses the servant of Jehovah commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of unhewn stones, upon which no man had lifted up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt-offerings unto Jehovah, and sacrificed peace-offerings.

1 Kings 2:3 (ASV)

3 and keep the charge of Jehovah thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his ordinances, and his testimonies, according to that which is written in the law of Moses, that thou may prosper in all that thou does, and whithersoever thou turn thyself.

2 Kings 14:6 (ASV)

6 but the children of the murderers he put not to death; according to that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, as Jehovah commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall die for his own sin.

2 Kings 21:8 (ASV)

8 neither will I cause the feet of Israel to wander any more out of the land which I gave their fathers, if only they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.

Ezra 6:18 (ASV)

18 And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.

Nehemiah 13:1 (ASV)

1 On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that an Ammonite and a Moabite should not enter into the assembly of God for ever,

Daniel 9:13 (ASV)

13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet have we not entreated the favor of Jehovah our God, that …

Malachi 4:4 (ASV)

4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even statutes and ordinances.

To reject Moses as the writer of the Pentateuch is to reject these inspired writers and suggest they are not reliable; moreover, this would mean they were not inspired, because those under inspiration would not make such errors. If these critics are correct, then all the above is merely a great conspiracy. This author hardly thinks so!

What Does the Biblical Evidence of Jesus Christ Report?

Matthew 8:4 (ESV)

4And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

Matthew 11:23-24 (ESV)

23And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

Matthew 19:4-5 (ESV)

4He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

Matthew 19:8 (ESV)

8He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

Matthew 24:37 (ESV)

37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Mark 10:5 (ESV)

5And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.

Mark 12:26 (ESV)

26And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?

Mark 1:44 (ESV)

44and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

Mark 7:10 (ESV)

10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’

Luke 5:14 (ESV)

14And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

Luke 11:51 (ESV)

51from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.

Luke 17:32 (ESV)

32 Remember Lot’s wife.

Luke 24:27, 44 English Standard Version (ESV)

27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

John 5:46 English Standard Version (ESV)

46For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.

John 7:19 English Standard Version (ESV)

19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?”

John 8:58 (UASV)

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham came to be I have been in existence.”[36]

How does one ignore the strongest evidence of Moses’ writership of these five books, which is specifically referred to by Jesus Christ and numerous other inspired writers? Being on trial by the modern day critic, I am certain Moses would appreciate the numerous witnesses that can be called to the stand on his behalf.[37]

What Does the Biblical Evidence from the Apostles Report?

Acts 2:32 (ESV)

32This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.

Acts 6:14 (ESV)

14for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.”

Acts 15:5 (ESV)

5But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

Acts 26:22 (ESV)

22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass:

Acts 28:23 (ESV)

23When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.

Romans 10:5 (ESV)

 5For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.

1 Corinthians 9:9 (ESV)

9For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned?

Hebrews 9:19 (ESV)

19For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and …

Hebrews 10:28 (ESV)

28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.

What Does the Internal Evidence Report?

If the writer(s) of the Pentateuch were, in fact, living from the ninth century into the fifth century b.c.e., more than a millennium [1,000 years] after the events described, they would have had to be thoroughly familiar with, even an expert in geology, geography,[38] horticulture, archaeology, toponymy, onomatology (Archer, 1974), botany, zoology,[39] climatology,[40] and history. Alternatively, he would have to have been an eyewitness who walked through the events and situations detailed in the Pentateuch; thus, the writer. Here is how I defend these affirmations:

  • He would need to have a thorough knowledge of Egyptian names and titles that match inscriptions.
  • He would need to have been an expert in toponymy, the study of place-names.
  • He would need to have been an expert in onomatology, the study of proper names of all kinds and the origin of names.
  • He would need to be aware of the customs and cultures and religious practices of Egypt, desert dwellers, and life in Canaan 1,000 years into the past.
  • He would need to have a thorough knowledge of the environment, climate, and the physical features of three regions.
  • He would need to have a thorough knowledge of botany, being aware of naturally occurring plant life in three regions 1,000-years before his time.
  • He would need to have a thorough knowledge of the environment, climate, and the physical features of three regions.

This internal evidence deals with the proof within the Pentateuch about Moses: the customs and culture of some 3,500 years ago, literary forms used as well as the language itself, and the unity of these five books. As to dating the Pentateuch based on literary forms, one needs look no further than the titles by which God is referred to within the Hebrew Scriptures. From the years of 850–450 B.C.E., we find the Hebrew expression Yehowah´ tseva’ohth´, “Jehovah of armies,” being used in a significant way. It is found 243 times, with variations, in the Scriptures: 62 times in Isaiah, 77 in Jeremiah, 2 in Micah, 4 in Nahum, 2 in Habakkuk, 2 in Zephaniah, 15 in Haggai, 54 in Zechariah, and 25 in Malachi. This is the same time period, in which higher criticism places the writing of the books of the Pentateuch. If they were penned or constructed during this time period, one would expect to find a high number of occurrences of the expression “Jehovah of armies.” Yet, we find just the opposite: there is not one occurrence of this expression to be found in the five books of the Pentateuch. This evidence demonstrates that these books were written prior to the book of Isaiah, before 800 B.C.E., which invalidates the Documentary Hypothesis. Moreover, many aspects of the priesthood that had been adjusted over the centuries, under inspiration, would have been evident if the Pentateuch were written after David[41] and others had made such adjustments.

The building of the tabernacle at the foot of Mount Sinai fits in with the environment of that area. F. C. Cook stated, “In form, structure, and materials, the tabernacle belongs altogether to the wilderness. The wood used in the structure is found there in abundance.”[42] The external evidence validates names, customs, and culture, religious practices, geography, places and materials of the book of Exodus, which would have been privy only to an eyewitness. The geographical references by this writer are so vast, detailed, and tremendously precise that it is almost impossible to have him be anyone other than an eyewitness.

Deuteronomy reads, “Then we . . . went through all that great and terrifying wilderness.” This region in which the annual rainfall is less than 25 cm./10 in. is not different even today, which puts the nomadic traveler on a constant search for water and pasture. In addition, we have meticulous directions as to the encampment of the Israelites (Numbers 1:52, 53), the marching orders (Numbers 2:9, 16, 17, 24, 31), and the signals of the trumpet (Numbers 10:2–6) that directed their every move as evidence that these accounts were written in the “great and terrifying wilderness.” Numbers 13:22 makes reference to the time Hebron was built, using the city of Zoan as a reference point: “They went up into the Negeb and came to Hebron. Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)” Moses “was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22); thus, he would have knowledge of the building of Zoan, an Egyptian city, and of Hebron, a city on one of the trade routes between Memphis in Egypt and Damascus in Syria.

From the internal evidence, it is clearly obvious that the writer must have had an intimate knowledge of the desert, being an eyewitness to that environment. (See Leviticus 18:3; Deuteronomy 12:9; 15:4, 7; Numbers 2:1; Leviticus 14:8; 16:21; 17:3, 9.) The evidence is such because it is something that cannot be retained for a thousand years, but must come from an eyewitness. The details are extremely exact, and some would not have existed hundreds of years later: “Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there by the water,” and “ram skins dyed red, fine leather, acacia wood.” – Exodus 15:27; 25:5

Again, it should be noted that Moses “was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” (Acts 7:22) It is also obvious that the writer was quite familiar with Egyptian names: Pithom, meaning “House of Atum;” On, meaning “City of the Pillar” (the Greeks called the city Heliopolis); Potiphera,[43] meaning “He Whom Ra Has Given;” and Asenath, her name deriving from Egyptian, meaning: “Holy to Anath.”

In addition, the writer used Egyptian words generously. “He had Joseph ride in his second chariot, and [servants] called out before him, ‘Abrek!’ So he placed him over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:43) The exact meaning of this expression transliterated from Egyptian into Hebrew has not yet been determined. Some feel that it is an Egyptian word meaning (Attention!) while others see it as a Hebrew word meaning Kneel or Bow down! One misstep and the writer will lose credibility. However, this is never the case with the writer of the Pentateuch. He mentions the acacia tree, which is found in Egypt and Sinai but not in the land of Canaan. Moreover, this writer refers to numerous animals that are to be found primarily in Egypt or Sinai. – See Deuteronomy. 14:5; Leviticus 16:11.

The old form of words in the Pentateuch are of the time frame of the fifteenth century B.C.E. as well, and had no longer been in use for centuries by the time of the supposed writer(s) and redactor(s) of the ninth to the sixth centuries B.C.E. Dr. John J. Davis gives us the most widely recognized example, “The pronoun she, which appears as hiw’ instead of hî’. Another example is the word young girl, spelled naar instead of na‛ărâ, the feminine form.”[44]

All who engaged in idolatry or prophesying falsely were to be stoned to death, no exceptions. (Deuteronomy 13:2–11) This included not only individuals but also entire communities, every person within a city (verses 12–17). One has to ask, why would a writer include this if it were penned during the time period of 850–450 B.C.E. when most of the time Israel was shoulder deep in idolatry and false prophets abounded? This would mean certain destruction for every city in the kingdom. It would have been mere foolishness to incorporate these laws, which could never be enforced and would cause nothing but resistance to the law. However, it makes perfectly good sense for laws such as these to be given to people living in the time of Moses who had just exited an idolatrous nation and who was preparing to go in and conquer a number of other nations who lived and breathed idolatry.

What Does the External Evidence Report?

“The book of the law of Moses,” as Joshua called the Pentateuch, was accepted by Jews, Christians, and Muslims as containing evidence of inspiration. The fact that Moses is the writer of these five books is not something that grew up out of tradition; it is something Moses himself claims, saying he wrote under the divine command of Jehovah God. Moreover, the Jewish communities throughout the Roman empire were in total harmony with the fact that Moses was the writer of the Pentateuch, this being supported by the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Palestinian Talmud, the Babylonian Talmud, the Apocrypha, Philo Judaeus (a contemporary of Jesus and Paul and the first century), and by Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37–100 C.E.).[45] What about the early Christian writers, who wrote about Christianity between 150 C.E. and 400 C.E.?

Moses, the servant of God, recorded, through the Holy Spirit, the very beginning of the creation of the world. First he spoke of the things concerning the creation and genesis of the world, including the first man and everything that happened afterwards in the order of events. He also indicated the number of years that elapsed before the Deluge.–Theophilus (c. 180, E), 2.118.[46]

The origin of that know ledge should not, on that account, be considered as originating with the Pentateuch. For knowledge of the Creator did not begin with the volume of Moses. Rather from the very first it is traced from Adam and paradise.—Tertullian (c. 207, W), 3.278.[47]

What portion of scripture can give us more information concerning the creation of the world than the account that Moses has transmitted?–Origen (c. 225, E), 4.341.[48]

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire on account of their sins is related by Moses in Genesis.–Origen (c. 248, E), 4.505.[49]

Moses said, “And the Lord God saw that the wickedness of men was overflowing upon the Earth” [Gen. 6:5–7].–Novatian (c. 235, W), 5.658.[50]

It is contained in the book of Moses, which he wrote about creation, in which is called Genesis.–Victorinus (c. 280, W), 7.341.[51]

If you will look at the books of Moses, David, Solomon, Isaiah, or the Prophets who follow . . . . You will see what offspring they have left.–Methodious (c. 290, E), 6.333.[52]

Let the following books be considered venerable and holy by you, both of the clergy and the laity. Of the Old Testament: The five books of Moses—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. . . .–Apostolic Constitutions (compiled c. 390, E), 7.505.[53]

Archaeology and the Bible

Unlike higher criticism, archaeology is a field of study that has a solid foundation in physical evidence, instead of presenting only hypotheses, inferences, and implications. Within archaeology, one has both explicit and direct evidence as well as implicit evidence. There are many great publications that will undoubtedly go into this area in much greater detail, but suffice it to say that the Biblical events, the characters, geography, agriculture, plants and trees and settings are all in harmony with and accessible through archaeology.

While archaeology is not a total vindicator, it has defended God’s Word. No one can argue against the fact that our understanding of ancient times has increased tremendously over the past 150 years and is being continuously refined. At present, one could list thousands of events within the Scriptures that are in complete harmony with the archaeological record. In fact, Wellhausen had nothing like what is available to the modern scholar. If he had, one would have to wonder if he would have come to the same conclusions. Conveying this exact point, Dr. Mark F. Rooker, Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, stated:

Regarding the issue of differing divine names, it is now clear from archaeological data not available to Wellhausen and early critical scholars that deities in the ancient Near East often had multiple names. This fact is especially clear in the conclusion to the Babylonian Creation account, the Enuma Elish, where the god Marduk is declared to be preeminent and his fifty different names are mentioned in celebration of his conquest.22 No one has suggested that each name represents a different source, as was done in biblical studies. On the contrary, it would have been impossible to attribute these different names to different sources that have been pasted or joined together in the literary account because the Mesopotamian writing system involved inscription in stone! Moreover, it is clear that throughout the Old Testament the occurrence of the names of God as Elohim or Yahweh are to be attributed to contextual and semantic issues, not the existence of sources. This conclusion is borne out by the fact that the names consistently occur in predictable genre. . . . Thus through scientific discovery and analysis the criterion of the differing divine names, which gave rise to the Documentary Hypothesis, has been found wanting. If this information would have been known in the last years of the nineteenth century, it is safe to assume that the critical approach to the Pentateuch would never have seen the light of day.[54]

Much archaeological evidence as well as other forms of evidence has been uncovered to reveal the accuracy of the record. The ziggurat located at Uruk (Erech) was found to be built with clay, baked bricks for stone, and asphalt (bitumen) for mortar.[55] The Egyptian names and titles that Moses penned in the book of Exodus match Egyptian inscriptions. The book of Exodus shows that the Hebrew people were allowed to live in the land of Egypt as foreigners, as long as they kept separate from the Egyptians. Archaeology supports this custom. Likely, you will recall that Pharaoh’s daughter bathed in the Nile (Exodus 2:5), which “was a common practice in ancient Egypt,” according to Cook’s Commentary. “The Nile was worshipped as an emanation . . . of Osiris, and a peculiar power of imparting life and fertility was attributed to its waters.”

The fact that a king’s daughter should bathe in the open river is certainly opposed to the customs of the modern, Mohammedan East, where this is only done by women of the lower orders, and that in remote places (Lane, Manners and Customs); but it is in harmony with the customs of ancient Egypt,[56]* and in perfect agreement with the notions of the early Egyptians respecting the sanctity of the Nile, to which divine honours even were paid (vid., Hengstenberg’s Egypt, etc. pp. 109, 110), and with the belief, which was common to both ancient and modern Egyptians, in the power of its waters to impart fruitfulness and prolong life (vid., Strabo, xv. p. 695, etc., and Seetzen, Travels iii. p. 204).[57]

In addition, history also testifies to the fact that magicians were a well-known feature of Egyptian life during the period of Moses.–Genesis 11:1-9; Exodus 8:22; 2:5; 5:6, 7, 18; 7:11.

Bricks have been found made with and without straw. The painting below was found in the private tomb of Vizier Rekhmire (the highest official under Pharaoh) on the west bank of ancient Thebes. Archaeology also supports “taskmasters–Egyptian overseers, appointed to exact labor of the Israelites,”[58] as well as strictly controlled or enforced quotas that had to be met. (Exodus 5:6) Moreover, Egyptian papyri express serious concern for the needed straw (which was lacking at times) to be mixed with the mud to make these bricks. (Exodus 1:13, 14) The Papyri Anastasi, from ancient Egypt, reads, “There was no one to mould bricks, and there was no straw in the neighbourhood.”[59]

Furthermore, the historical conditions and surroundings are in accord precisely with the occasions and assertions in the book of Numbers. We have references to Edom, Egypt, Moab, Canaan, Ammon, and Amalek, which are true to the times, and the names of places are free from error.[60] Archaeology is never absolute proof of anything, but it continues to add evidence, weighty at times to the fact that Moses had to be the writer of the Pentateuch. Halley’s Bible Handbook writes, “Archaeology has been speaking so loudly of late that it is causing a decided reaction toward the conservative view. The theory that writing was unknown in Moses’ day is absolutely exploded. And every year there are being dug up in Egypt, Palestine and Mesopotamia, evidences, both in inscriptions and earth layers, that the narratives of the Old Testament are true historical records. And ‘scholarship’ is coming to have decidedly more respect for the tradition of Mosaic authorship.”[61]

The Silver Amulet is one of many archaeological nails in the coffin of the Documentary Hypothesis. Why? This portion of Numbers is argued by the critics to be part of the “P” document that was supposedly penned between 550 and 400 B.C.E. However, initially, it was dated to the late seventh / early sixth centuries B.C.E.

Of course, this dating was subsequently challenged by Johannes Renz and Wolfgang Rollig (Handbuch der Althebraischen Epigraphik, 1995) because the silver was cracked and blemished to the point of making many words and a few lines unreadable. This allowed these critics to argue for a date in the third to second centuries B.C.E. period, which would remove this stain on the lifeless body of their Documentary Hypothesis.

Then it was shipped to the University of Southern California to be examined under photographic and computer imaging. The results? The researchers stated that they could “read fully and [had] analyzed with far greater precision,” which resulted in the final analysis of being yet another vindication for Moses—the original dating stands: late seventh century B.C.E.

Exodus 14:6, 7 (ESV) reads, “So he [the Pharaoh] made ready his chariot and took his army with him, and took six hundred chosen chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them.” Pharaoh, being the god of the world and the supreme chief of his army, personally led the army into battle. Archaeology supports this custom.

Why are there no Egyptian records of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt? The critics may also ask why is there no archaeological evidence to support the Israelite’s 215-year stay in Egypt (some of which was in slavery) and the devastation that was executed on the gods of Egypt. There is, in fact, one simple answer that archaeology has provided us: Any new Egyptian dynasty would erase any unflattering history prior to their dynasty, if such even existed, as it was their custom never to record any defeats that might be viewed as embarrassing or critical, which could damage the dignity of their people, for they were an extremely prideful empire.[62]

For example, Thutmose III ordered others to chisel Queen Hatshepsut out of the history books when he removed the name and representation of Queen Hatshepsut on a monumental stone record later uncovered at Deir al-Bahri in Egypt as well as from any other monuments she had built. Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmose I, would eventually gain the throne upon her father’s death even though Thutmose II (husband and half-brother to Hatshepsut) technically ascended the throne in name only. At best, Thutmose II lasted only three or four years before dying of a skin disease. Thutmose III was too young to rule, thus, Queen Hatshepsut simply held her own as the first female Pharaoh. Embarrassing for Thutmose III, indeed! Thus, as he grew, his hatred mounted for Hatshepsut and Senmut (her lover). After her death, Thutmose III worked vigorously to remove her name and the name of her lover from Egyptian history. If this was embarrassing, how much more so would be the ten plagues that had humiliated numerous gods of Egypt, including the Pharaoh himself? The exodus of 600,000 male slaves and their families, plus Egyptians who had chosen Jehovah as God instead of the Pharaoh of Egypt would have been quite embarrassing, indeed!

In 1925, discoveries of clay tablets were made at the ancient town of Nuzi in northeastern Mesopotamia; it was here that archaeologists found a tremendous number of legal contracts dating to the fifteenth-century B.C.E. These actually shed much light on the life of people of that time. Due to the slow-moving life condition of the ancient Near East, they reflect life conditions for many years on both sides of the fifteenth century. Thus, what we now possess and know from studies of these Nuzi Tablets is that there are numerous customs in the Patriarchal period that were very much in common practice among the ancient Hurrians who lived in northern Mesopotamia, encompassing Haran, which was the home of Abraham after he left Ur and where Isaac later found his wife Rebekah.

Abraham’s Contract. Eliezer was to be the legal inheritor of childless Abraham’s property and position after Abraham’s death. In fact, Abraham referred to Eliezer when he said, “a slave born in my house will be my heir.” (Genesis 15:2, 3) Tablets from Nuzi discovered by archaeologists help the modern-day reader understand how a servant could become heir to his master’s household. Mesopotamian records from the time of Abraham (2018–1843 B.C.E.); makes mention of the tradition of a childless couple adopting a son in their old age to have him take care of them up unto their death, and thereafter inheriting the household property. But if for some reason the couple would end up having a child, the child would become the primary heir instead, with the adopted servant or son getting a minor portion of the property as well. (Wood, 1996) In a culture that passed history down orally through its generations, we find Moses being only three generations removed from Abraham’s great-grandson Levi (Levi, Kohath, Amram, and Moses) while our alleged “J” was a thousand years removed from Abraham, and the redactor even further. It is only by means of modern-day archaeology that we are aware of just how accurate the Genesis account is with minor details such as the legal system of adoption rights in Mesopotamia from 2000 B.C.E. (time of Abraham) to 1500 B.C.E. (time of Moses), knowledge that would not be available to our alleged composers. Thus, archaeology puts the Genesis account right back into the hands of its true writer, Moses.

The Price of a Slave. Joseph was the son of Jacob by Rachel, the grandson of Isaac, and the great-grandson of Abraham, and was sold as a slave to some Midianite merchants for a mere 20 pieces of silver by his jealous brothers in about 1750 B.C.E. (Genesis 37:28; 42:21) Throughout the stream of time, we find inflation in the slave trade, and the Biblical account of the price for Joseph falls exactly where it should to be in harmony with secular archaeology, as you can see in chart 1. Again, our alleged “J,” “E,” “D,” and “P” composers would be a thousand years removed from Abraham, and “R” (the redactor) even further; thus they would have no access to this information so as to have gotten it correct. Only the actual writer, Moses, would be aware of this information by family records or oral tradition.

The Inflation of the Slave Trade in Biblical Times (Wood, 1996)

Source Date Price of a Slave in Silver
Akkad and 3rd Ur Dynasties 2000 B.C.E. 8–10 pieces of silver
Joseph (Genesis 37:2, 28) 1750 B.C.E. 20 pieces of silver
Hammurabi Code 1799–1700 B.C.E. 20 pieces of silver
Old Babylonian Tablets B.C.E. 15–30 pieces of silver
Mari tablets 1799–1600 B.C.E. 20 pieces of silver
Exodus 21:32 1520–1470 B.C.E. 30 pieces of silver
Nuzi tablets 1499–1400 B.C.E. 30 pieces of silver
Ugarit tablets 1399–1200 B.C.E. 30–40 pieces of silver
Assyria First millennium B.C.E. 50–60 pieces of silver
2 Kings 15:20 790 B.C.E. 50 pieces of silver
Persia 750–500 B.C.E. 90–120 pieces of silver

     Seti I began much like his father Ramses, as a military commander. His military prowess led to many triumphs that are recorded on the walls of the temple of Amon-Ra at Karnak. Here Seti I recorded his military triumphs; captives are shown being seized by their hair. As was expressed earlier, victories were proudly recorded on Egyptian monuments, but embarrassing or critical events were ignored, that is, never chiseled into their annals of history.

Concluding Thoughts

I had given much thought to a conclusion that contained quotations from many reputable scholars who use thought-provoking points to support the writership of Moses for the Pentateuch, but what would that prove? Certainly, if you quote a reputable scholar you would add weight to an argument, but it does not make the case. It only validates that you are not alone in your reasoning. Therefore, I have added quotations of only two scholars to make just that point. One does not count the number of people who believe one thing as opposed to another and those with the most votes win. No, the results should be based on evidence. In fact, the higher critics will infer that they are in the right by saying, ‘Today, you will hardly find one scholar in the world who will argue for the writership of Moses for the Pentateuch.’ If that makes them in the right, it also makes them in the wrong. Why? Because for centuries, for millenniums, the majority of Bible scholars—in the Jewish world, the Christian world, and the Islamic world—accepted Moses’ writership; that is, until the Age of Reason within the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when people started to question not only the writership of Moses but the very existence of God.

Would any Christian living in 1700 C.E. have ever doubted the writership of Moses? Hardly! So how did the Documentary Hypothesis become Documentary Fact? All it took was for some leading professors at major universities to plant seeds of doubt within their students. Being at the entrance of the era of higher criticism and skepticism of the nineteenth century, this Documentary Hypothesis had a well-cultivated field in which to grow. It created a domino effect as a few scholars produced a generation of students, who would then be the next generation of scholars, and so on.

As we moved into the twentieth century, these questions had become “facts” in the eyes of many; in fact, it became in vogue to challenge the Bible. Leading schools and leading scholars of higher criticism were the norm, and soon the conservative Christian was isolated. The twentieth-century student received a lean diet from those few scholars who still accepted God’s Word as just that, the Word of God, fully inerrant, with 40 writers of 66 books over a period of about 1,600 years. No, these students would now be fed mostly liberal theology, and any who disagreed were portrayed as ignorant and naïve. This planting of uncertainty or mistrust, with question after question bringing Moses’ writership into doubt, with most literature focusing on this type of propaganda, would create the latest generation of scholars, and today they dominate the world of scholarship.

How did this progressive takeover come off without a hitch? The conservative scholarship of the early twentieth century saw these liberal naysayers as nothing more than a fly at a picnic. Most did not even deem it necessary to address their questions, so by 1950–1970, the Documentary Hypothesis machine was in full throttle. It was about this same time that the sleeping giant finally awoke to find that conservative scholarship had taken a backseat to this new creature, liberal scholarship. It is only within the last 30–40 years that some very influential conservative scholars have started to publish books in a move to dislodge this liberal movement.* Is it too little, too late?

*This is not to say that the 19th and early 20th century did not have any apologist defending against biblical criticism. There were some giants in this field, like R. A. Torrey.

It is possible to displace higher criticism, but many factors stand in the way. For one, any opposition is painted as uninformed and inexperienced regarding the subject matter. Moreover, the books that tear down the Bible with all their alleged critical analysis sell far better than those do that encourage putting faith in God’s Word. In addition, many conservative scholars tend to sit on the sideline and watch as a few leading scholars attempt to do the work of the many. In addition, there are liberal scholars continually putting out numerous articles and books, dominating the market. Unlike the conservative scholars in the first part of the twentieth century, these liberal scholars in the first part of the twenty-first century are not slowing down. Moreover, they have become more aggressive.

The book Introduction to the Bible, by John Laux, explains just what the Documentary Hypothesis would have meant for the Israelites if it were true:

The Documentary Theory is built up on assertions which are either arbitrary or absolutely false. . . . If the extreme Documentary Theory were true, the Israelites would have been the victims of a clumsy deception when they permitted the heavy burden of the Law to be imposed upon them. It would have been the greatest hoax ever perpetrated in the history of the world.[63]

It goes much further than that; it would mean that the Son of God was either fooled by what these higher critics argue, that there was a tradition of Moses being the writer of the Pentateuch, which developed through time and was accepted as reality during Jesus’ day, or that Jesus was a liar, because he had lived in heaven prior to his coming down to earth and was aware of the deception but had continued a tradition that he knew to be false. The truth is that the Son of God was well aware that Moses was, in fact, the writer of the Pentateuch and he presented Moses as such because he was there at the time!

So again, because Jesus taught that Moses was, in fact, the writer of the Pentateuch, we have three options:

  • Jesus knew Moses was the writer because Jesus was there, in heaven, prior to his Virgin birth and observed Moses as the writer; or
  • Jesus knew that Moses was not the writer and simply perpetuated a Jewish tradition that Moses was the writer; or
  • Jesus possessed a limited knowledge and simply believed something that was a tradition because he was unaware of it being such.

So if Jesus knew Moses was not the writer and purposely conveyed misinformation for the sake of Jewish tradition, this makes Jesus a liar and therefore a sinner, which would contradict what Hebrews 4:15 says of him, that “he was without sin.” If he was simply in ignorance and was mistakenly conveying misinformation, this certainly does away with Jesus having a prehuman existence. (John 1:1–2; 3:13; 6:38, 62; 8:23, 42, 58; Colossians 1:15–18; Revelation 3:14; Proverbs 8:22–30) Based on the scriptures and other evidence presented, we can conclude that Jesus was well aware that Moses was the writer, and that is what he truthfully taught.

Duane Garrett makes the following observation concerning the Documentary Hypothesis:

The time has long passed for scholars of every theological persuasion to recognize that the Graf-Wellhausen theory, as a starting point for continued research, is dead. The Documentary Hypothesis and the arguments that support it have been effectively demolished by scholars from many different theological perspectives and areas of expertise. Even so, the ghost of Wellhausen hovers over Old Testament studies and symposiums like a thick fog. . . . One wonders if we will ever return to the day when discussions of Genesis will not be stilted by interminable references to P and J. There are indications that such a day is coming. Many scholars are exploring the inadequacies of the Documentary Hypothesis and looking toward new models for explaining the Pentateuch.[64]

These world-renowned scholars who have gone left of center are witty and able to express thoughts, ideas, and feelings coherently, having conviction that leads unsuspecting ones who are not aware of the facts to accept ideas that are made to appear as smooth-fitting pieces in a large puzzle, thinking that they are nothing more than long-awaited answers. Sadly, many unsuspecting readers have taken their words as absolute truth.

Jesus quotes or alludes to 23 of the 39 books of the Hebrew Scriptures. Specifically, he quotes all five of the books attributed to Moses—the book of Deuteronomy 16 times alone, this obviously being one of his favorites. As we close this chapter, we are going to let our greatest witness take the stand. As you read Jesus’ references to Moses and the Law you will undoubtedly notice that he viewed Moses’ writership as historically true, completely authoritative, and inspired of God. If one does not accept, Moses, as the writer of the Pentateuch as Jesus did, is that not calling Jesus a liar.

As Christians, we accept what the Bible teaches as true. By way of common sense and sound reasoning, the vast majority of the issues of higher criticism’s Social Progressive Christian and Christian Modernists have been answered quite easily by the conservative scholar in absolute terms: for example, F. David Farnell, Gleason L. Archer Jr., C. John Collins, K. A. Kitchen, Norman L. Geisler, and others. For the handful of issues left, we still have reasonable answers, which are not beyond a reasonable doubt at this time; we are quite content to wait until we are provided with the concrete answers that will make these few issues beyond all reasonable doubt. The last 150 years of evidence that has come in by way of archaeological discoveries, a better understanding of the original language, historical-cultural and contextual understanding, as well as manuscripts has answered almost all those doubtful areas that have been called into question by the higher critics. Therefore, because we lack the complete answers for a few remaining issues means nothing.

Consider this: A critic raises an issue, but it is answered by a new archaeological discovery a few years later. The critic runs to another issue, and it is later answered by an improved understanding of the original languages. Then he runs to look for yet another issue, and it is answered by thousands of manuscripts that are uncovered over a period of two decades. This has been the case with thousands of issues. What are we to think the agenda is of those who continue scouring God’s Word looking for errors, discrepancies, and contradictions? How many times must they raise objections and be proven wrong before we stop listening to their cries? If that is the case, why do their books still outsell those that expose their erroneous thinking? Does that say something about the Christian community and their desire for tabloid scholarship (sensationalized stories)? Would the average Christian rather read an article or book by Dan Brown on how Jesus allegedly married and had sexual relations with Mary Magdalene and fathered children (false, of course), or read an article or book on the actual, even more fascinating account of Jesus’ earthly life, based on the four Gospels?

For today’s Christian, there is no more important study than the life and ministry of the real, historical Jesus Christ. The writer of the book of Hebrews exhorts us to “fix our eyes on Jesus,” to “consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men.” Moreover, Jehovah God himself commanded: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (NIV, bolding added) While an apologetic of the study of the “Historical Jesus,” or “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus[65] is certainly fine, the primary source of the four Gospels accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John should be first place, the starting point of any real investigation of Jesus’ life and ministry. A life and ministry that viewed the Old Testament as historically true and of the greatest importance to his followers that he would leave behind after his ascension back to heaven.

We return to Wellhausen, who investigated his documentary hypothesis under the worldview of Israelite religion from an evolutionary model: (1) at the beginning it was animistic and spiritistic, (2) gradually developing into polytheism, (3) moving eventually into henotheism (choosing one god out of many), and finally (4) gravitating to monotheism. Wellhausen could not accept that this development took place in a short period, but was an evolution that took more than a millennium. This evolutionary process is no longer held among today’s critical scholarship.

Another obstacle was that Wellhausen did not believe in the miraculous and could not accept prophetic statements (for example, Genesis 49) happening before the actual events. This mindset was the catalyst behind his research.[66] Consequently, Wellhausen investigated the text with this way of thinking and that state of mind contributed to his discovering the Documentary Hypothesis issues of different uses of the divine name, discrepancies, repetitions (doublets), and differences in style and language, reading his views into the text (eisegesis).

The above facts of this book have easily demonstrated that the evidence of the documentary hypothesis is really no evidence at all. The modern-day critic has to deal with the lack of consensus on the part of his colleagues, who lack in agreement for the explanation of the sources.

This failure to achieve consensus is represented by the occasional division of source strata into multiple layers (see Smend’s J1 and J2) that often occasions the appearance of new sigla (for instance, Eissfeldt’s L [aienquelle], Noth’s G[rundschrift], Fohrer’s N [for Nomadic], and Pfeiffer’s S [for Seir]. A further indication of the collapse of the traditional documentary hypothesis is the widely expressed doubt that E was ever an independent source (Voz, Rudolph, Mowinckel; cf. Kaiser, IOT, 42 n. 18). Similar disagreements are also found in the dating of the sources. J has been dated to the period of Solomon by Von Rad, though Schmidt would argue for the seventh century, and Van Seters (1992, 34) has advocated an exile date. While most scholars believe P is postexilic, Haran has argued that it is to be associated with Hezekiah’s reforms in the eighth century BC.[67]

While the lack of consensus is not in and of itself capable of disproving the proposition of sources other than Moses for the writing of the Pentateuch, it does cast even more doubt on the critical scholar’s proposal that the new school of the Documentary Hypothesis has any more to offer than the old school of Wellhausen.

As this book has clearly demonstrated, Moses is the inspired author of the Pentateuch. At best, we can accept that it is likely that Joshua may have updated the text in Deuteronomy chapter 34, which speaks of Moses’ death, and it is possible that Joshua may have made the reference in Numbers 12:3 that refer to Moses as being ‘the humblest man on the face of the earth.’[68] In addition, we can accept that a later copyist [or even possibly Ezra, another inspired author] updated Genesis 11:28, 31 to read “of the Chaldeans,” a name of a land and its inhabitants in the southern portion of Babylonia that possibly was not recognized as Chaldea until several hundred years after Moses.

The origin of the Chaldeans is uncertain but may well be in the west, or else branches of the family may have moved there (cf. Job 1:17). The general name for the area in the earliest period is unknown, since it was part of Sumer (see Shinar); so it cannot be argued that the qualification of Abraham’s home city Ur as “of the Chaldeans” (Gen. 11:28, 31; 15:7; as later Neh. 9:7; cf. Acts 7:4) is necessarily a later insertion in the text.[69]

The same would hold true of a copyist updating Genesis 36:31, which reads: “Now these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the sons of Israel.” Moses and Joshua were long gone for hundreds of years before Israel ever had a king over them.[70] The same would hold true again for Genesis 14:14, which reads: When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. Dan was an area settled long after Moses death, after the Israelites had conquered the Promise Land. This too is obviously an update as well, making it contemporary to its readers.[71]

Reference to “Ur of the Chaldeans”[72] (11:28) identifies the native land of Haran but not necessarily of Terah and his sons Abram and Nahor. In fact, the inclusion of this information for Haran may suggest the ancestral home was elsewhere (for this discussion see comments on 12:1). “Ur of the Chaldeans” occurs three times in Genesis (11:28, 31; 15:7) and once elsewhere (Neh 9:7). Stephen identified the place of God’s revelation to Abram as “Mesopotamia” from which he departed: “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran” (Acts 7:3–4). The “land [chōra] of the Chaldeans” rather than “Ur of the Chaldeans” is the Septuagint translation, as reflected in Stephen’s sermon, which can be explained as either a textual slip due to the prior phrase “land of his birth” or the ancient translator’s uncertainty about the identity of the site. J. W. Wevers proposes that due to the apposition of “land of his birth,” the translator interpreted “Ur” as a region.[73], [74]

As we have already stated, the critic is fond of finding portions of the text that lack secular support, and then summarily dismissing it as not being a real historical account. Once evidence surfaces to support their dismissal as being wrong and premature, they simply never mention this section again, but move on to another. The question that begs to be asked by the logical and reasonable mind is, how many times must this take place before they stop and accept the Bible as sound and reliable history? Let us look at the historicity of the above account of Abraham’s men defeating the Mesopotamian kings, for it is historically sound. Information had become known in the 20th century that vindicates this account as being historically true, and removes yet another arguing point from those supporters of the documentary hypothesis:

The name of Chedorlaomer, King of Elam, contains familiar Elamite components: kudur meant “servant,” and Lagamar was a high goddess in the Elamite pantheon. Kitchen (Ancient Orient, p. 44) generally prefers the vocalization Kutir instead of Kudur and gives the references for at least three Elamite royal names of this type. He equates tidal with a Hittite name, Tudkhaliya, attested from the nineteenth century B.C. As for Arioch, one King of Larsa (“El-Larsa”) from this era was Eri-aku (“Servant of the Moon-god”), whose name in Akkadian was Arad-Sin (with the same meaning). The Mari tablets refer to persons by the name of Ariyuk. The cuneiform of the original of Amraphel, formerly equated with Hammurabi of Babylon, is not demonstrable for the twentieth century (Hammurabi himself dates from the eighteenth century, but there may possibly be a connection with Amorite names like Amud-pa-ila, according to H. B. Huffman. . . . It should be added that according to G. Pettinato, the leading epigraphist of the Ebla documents dating from 2400–2250 B.C., mention is made in the Ebla tablets of Sodom (spelled Si-da-mu), Gomorrah (spelled in Sumerian cuneiform I-ma-ar), and Zoar (Za-e-ar). He feels that quite possibly these may be the same cities mentioned in the Abrahamic narrative.[75]

  1. F. Albright comments: In spite of our failure hitherto to fix the historical horizon of this chapter, we may be certain that its contents are very ancient. There are several words and expressions found nowhere else in the Bible and now known to belong to the second millenium. The names of the towns in Transjordania are also known to be very ancient.[76]

In the final analysis, based on both the internal and external evidence, we can absolute confidence that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch. The minor additions of Joshua, who was himself an inspired writer, as well as the handful of updates in the text to make it clearer to the then-current reader does no harm to the inspired message that God wished to convey.

[1] [1]. Gleason L. Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Moody Publishers, Chicago, 2007), 98.

[2] Garrett, Don, The Cambridge companion to Spinoza (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 389.

[3] Richard Elliot Friedman, Who Wrote The Bible (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1997), 21.

[4] R. H. M. Elwes, A Theologico-political Treatise, and a Political Treatise (New York, NY: Cosimo Classics , 2005), 126.

[5] Norman L. Geisler, Inerrancy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1980), 318.

[6] Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible. Rev. and Expanded (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, c.1986, 1996), 156.

[7] David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (Boston, MA: Digireads.com, 2006), 65.

[8] Ibid., 90.

[9] Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible. Rev. and Expanded (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, c.1986, 1996), 157.

[10] B.C.E. means “before the Common Era,” which is more accurate than B.C. (“before Christ”). C.E. denotes “Common Era,” often called A.D., for anno Domini, meaning “in the year of our Lord.”

[11] Ernest Nicholson, The Pentateuch in the Twentieth Century: The Legacy of Julius Wellhausen (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 36–47.

[12] Mark F. Rooker, Leviticus: The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2001), 23.

[13] Ibid., 23.

[14] Ibid., 23.

[15] Ibid., 23–24.

[16] Julius Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Israel (1878), 3–4

[17] R. Rendtorff, “The Problem of the Process of Transmission in the Pentateuch,” JSOT (1990): 101.

[18] The title ’Elo·him´ preceded by the definite article ha, giving the expression ha·’Elo·him´.

[19] See also Psalm 46:11; 48:1, 8.

[20] See also Psalm 46:11; 48:1, 8.

[21] John J. Davis, Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis (Salem: Sheffield, 1975), 22–23.

[22] G. R. Driver, Canaanite Myths and Legends (New York: T. & T. Clark, 1971), 70-72.

[23] For example, see the “Stele of Ikhernofret” in James B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts, 2nd ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955, pp. 329–30.

[24] K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 424–5.

[25] Similarly, Livingston has pointed out that the cognate West Semitic divine names il and ya(w) appear to be interchangeable in the Eblaite tablets. (The Pentateuch in Its Cultural Environment, 224.)

[26] Mark F. Rooker, Leviticus: The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2001), 26–27.

[27] Ibid., 27.

[28] “Jehovah God.” Heb., Yehwah´ ’Elohim´.

[29] E. A. Speiser, Genesis, Anchor Bible (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1964), 293–4.

[30] Leon R. Kass, The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis (New York: Free Press, 2003), 56.

[31] Richard Elliot Friedman, Who Wrote The Bible (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1997), 22.

[32] Douglas K. Stuart, The New American Commentary: An Exegetical Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture: EXODUS (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2006). See pp. 30–31 for examples of the above four points.

[33] Umberto Cassuto, The Documentary Hypothesis (New York, NY: Shalem Press, 2006), 55-56.

[34] K. A Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1975), 125.

[35] As published in the St. Petersburg Times: http://tinyurl.com/noke4m

[36] K. L. McKay, A New Syntax of the Verb in New Testament Greek (New York: Peter Lang, 1994), p. 42.

[37] Old Testament witnesses to Moses’ writership of the Pentateuch: Joshua 1:7; 8:32–35; 14:10; 1 Kings 2:3; 1 Chronicles 6:49; 2 Chronicles 33:8; 34:14; 35:12; Ezra 3:2; 6:18; 7:6; Nehemiah 1:7, 8; 8:1, 14, 15; Daniel 9:11, 13; Malachi 4:4. New Testament witnesses to Moses’ writership of the Pentateuch: Matthew 8:2–4; 19:7; Mark 1:44; 12:26; Luke 2:22; 16:29, 31; 24:27, 44; John 1:45; 7:22; 8:5; 9:29; 19:7 [Leviticus 24:16]; Acts 3:22; 6:14; 15:5; 26:22; 28:23; Romans 10:5; 1 Corinthians 9:9; Hebrews 9:19; 10:28.

[38] Genesis 13:10; 33:18; Numbers 13:22.

[39] Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.

[40] Exodus 9:31, 32; Exodus 16–Deuteronomy.

[41] David organized the tens of thousands of Levites into their many divisions of service, including a great chorus of singers and musicians.—1 Chronicles 23:1–29:19; 2 Chronicles 8:14; 23:18; 29:25; Ezra 3:10.

[42] F. C. Cook, Exodus (1874), 247.

[43] A funeral pillar (stele) discovered in 1935 and now in the Cairo Museum refers to a personage named Potiphare.

[44] John J. Davis, Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis (Salem: Sheffield, 1975), 26.

[45] See Ecclesiasticus 45:5; 2 Maccabees 7:30; Philo (On the Life of Moses II; III, 12–14; IV, 20; VIII, 45–48, pp. 93–95); Josephus (The Antiquities of the Jews, 3.8.10); Exodus 17:14; 24:4.

[46] David W. Bercot,  A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1998), 599.

[47]. Ibid., 600.

[48]. Ibid., 600.

[49]. Ibid., 600.

[50]. Ibid., 601.

[51]. Ibid., 601.

[52]. Ibid., 601.

[53]. Ibid., 602.

[54]. Mark F. Rooker, Leviticus: The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2001), 26–27.

[55] (Genesis 11:3, ESV) “And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.”

[56] Wilkinson gave a picture of a bathing scene in which an Egyptian woman of rank is introduced, attended by four female servants.

[57]. Carl Friedric Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), S. 1:278.

[58]. Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown. A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, On the Old and New Testaments (Oak Harbor: Scranton & Company, 1997), 51.

[59]. Adolf Erman and H. M. Tirard. Life in Ancient Egypt (Whitefish: Kessinger, 2003), 117.

[60]. “Sirion . . . Senir.” These names appear in the Ugaritic texts found at Ras Shamra, Syria, and in the documents from Bogazköy, Turkey.

[61]. Henry Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), 56.

[62]. Joseph P. Free, Archaeology and Bible History (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 1964).

[63]. John Laux, Introduction to the Bible (Chicago: Tan Books & Pub., 1992), 186.

[64] Garrett, Duane. Rethinking Genesis: The Sources and Authorship of the First Book of the Pentateuch (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1991), 13.

[65]. Recommended: Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1996); Gary R. Habermas, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2004); Craig A. Evans, Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2006); Timothy Paul Jones, Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrmans Misquoting Jesus (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2007).

[66] Tremper Longman III, and Raymond B. Dillard, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 43–44.

[67]. Ibid., 49–50.

[68] For the possibility of Moses penning these words, see my comments in the first paragraph of section four.

[69] Geoffrey W. Bromiley, vol. 1, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1988; 2002), 630.

[70] It should be noted that even this statement could belong to Moses, even though there were no kings in Israel at this time. How? He would be aware that Jehovah had promised Abraham that he would be so great that kings would come out of him (Gen 17:6) and the preparation for such is mentioned at Deuteronomy 17:14-20.

[71] It should be noted that this author does not accept higher criticisms unending desire to find source(s) for a book, because they have dissected it to no end. While there are a few details that may have been updated by a copyist, or even the inspired writer Ezra (writer of Chronicles and the book that bears his name), this does not mean that we accept the update, if it is such, as the inspired material that was originally written, unless it was done by another inspired writer like Joshua, Ezra, or Nehemiah, or even possibly Jeremiah. It is also possible that it could be an explanatory addition.

[72] Hb. “Chaldeans” כַּשְׂדִּים is kaldu (Akk.) in Assyrian texts, and the Gk. has καλδαιοι; the original sd has undergone a change to ld (see R. S. Hess, “Chaldea,” ABD 1.886–87).

[73] J. W. Wevers, Notes on the Greek Text of Genesis, Septuagint and Cognate Studies 35 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993), 158.

[74] K. A. Mathews, vol. 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2007), 99–100.

[75]. Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982), 90–91.

[76]. H. C. Alleman and E. E. Flack, Old Testament Commentary (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1954), 14.