Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Exodus 6-7 Uncircumcised Lips

Exodus 6-7

Someone needs to edit The Bible.  Seems the story in Exodus 3-5 is pretty much repeated in 6-7 with some begats thrown in.  Am I missing something?

God reveals his name to Moses.  Why would he open up to Moses and not Abraham?

Moses has the best line so far in The Bible in describing his speaking skills.

I'm guessing that Exodus 3-5 and 6-7 are just two versions of the same story.  We've seen this in previous readings but not to this extent.

54 comments:

  1. Wait until you get to the copy/paste world of Chronicles vs Kings/Samuel. =)

    ReplyDelete
  2. 6:20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years.
    WTF?

    ReplyDelete
  3. 7:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.

    What does it mean that god made Moses a god?
    I have not read any where that anyone tried to convert the Egyptians so that they could avoid the plagues.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Moses has the best line so far in The Bible in describing his speaking skills."

    That is so true! Uncircumcised lips? Quite the turn of phrase ole Moses has there!

    "God reveals his name to Moses. Why would he open up to Moses and not Abraham?"

    In her lectures Dr. Hayes says that a common belief of the time was that a name held the essence of a thing. To know the name gave one power over that thing, hence god's reluctance to give his name. (As in when wrestling with Jacob)

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Bruce
    "Someone needs to edit The Bible. Seems the story in Exodus 3-5 is pretty much repeated in 6-7 with some begats thrown in. Am I missing something?"

    3-5 This is what "I AM" will do.
    6-7 This is what "I AM" is doing and how it plays out, with some "begats" thrown in. :-)
    By 5:22,23 Moses was at his wit's end, wishing he had staid in Midian. :-) So God gives Moses the assurance of success in this negotiation, repeating the promise made him in ch 3:20.

    "God reveals his name to Moses. Why would he open up to Moses and not Abraham?"
    Borrowing from MHC
    The patriarchs knew this name, but they did not know Him in this matter by that which this name signifies. God would now be know by His name Jehovah, that is 1. A God performing what He had promised, and so inspiring confidence in His promises. 2. A God perfecting what He had begun, and finishing His own work.

    @Barbara
    At this point in time it was not wrong to marry close kin. We will get to where that is outlawed.
    "What does it mean that god made Moses a god?"
    (MHC)
    I have made thee a god to Pharaoh; that is, my representative in this affair, as magistrates are called gods, because they are God's vicegerents. He was authorized to speak and act in God's name and stead, and, under the divine direction, was endued with a divine power to do that which is above the ordinary power of nature, and invested with a divine authority to demand obedience from a sovereign prince and punish disobedience. Moses was a god, but he was only a made god, not essentially one by nature; he was no god but by commission. He was a god, but he was a god only to Pharaoh; the living and true God is a God to all the world.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm guessing that Exodus 3-5 and 6-7 are just two versions of the same story. We've seen this in previous readings but not to this extent.

    Yep, 6-7 is mostly P, with some E mixed in and some genealogy inserted.

    The P stories include its version of the Burning bush incident. Note that God claims he let himself be known to the patriarchs as God Almighty (El Shadday)- and withheld his secret name YHWH/Jehovah/Yaweh. Which is true in the P and E narratives, but explicitly contradicted by other parts of Genesis. (e.g. Gen. 4:26)

    The genealogy given here is rather incomplete- of the "twelve", the sons of only three are listed, and then it focuses on Aaron's relatives. This whole section is framed with resumptive repetition (the uncircumcised lips line) which is evidence of a redactor's insertion.

    The P account is very pro-Aaron, as you'll notice Aaron suddenly appearing in the story in chapter 7. Aaron is the one who throws down his staff, and his staff is SO AWESOME it eats the magicians staff. Aaron is hot stuff to P.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I would like to volunteer and do some of the readings Bruce when you can not...Keep in mind...my questions will be geared for non-believers to defend there position since mostly these post are attacking the Bible...I think its time to play a little role reversal.

    What do you think?

    ReplyDelete
  8. @ Tom
    We think we are discussing the literary merit of a wonderful work of art.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Barbara,

    I have not read any where that anyone tried to convert the Egyptians so that they could avoid the plagues.

    Exodus 12: 33The Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, “We will all be dead.” 34So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders.

    35Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; 36and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

    37Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children. 38A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock...


    Apparently a large number of Egyptians were convinced of the truth of the God of Israel. Remember that the 10 plagues were direct assaults, obvious "in-your-face"s, to the 10 major gods of contemporary Egyptian paganism.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "God reveals his name to Moses. Why would he open up to Moses and not Abraham?"

    Robert Oden, a Harvard prof. of religious studies, gives an entire lecture on the two accounts of the revelation of the divine name YHWH in Ex. 3 and Ex. 6. There are two points that are emphasized, particularly here in the P account of Ex. 6: 1) I am definitely the same god that was worshiped by the patriarchs (continuity). 2) I am now revealing to you, Moses, my divine name which the patriarchs did not know (discontinuity). These are both repeated throughout Ex. 6.

    Oden says that questions that are answered so insistently in the text point to questions that the ancient Israelites must have been asking, namely "Is the god we worship now the same god worshipped by our ancestors?" and "Was there a time when we did not know the divine name YHWH?"

    Apparently some scholars argue that P and E are preserving the memory of a time that the people that would become Israel worshiped the Canaanite god El. The name that Yahweh says the patriarchs knew him as (El Shaddai - properly translated "god of the mountain") was a common Canaanite epithet for El. Prof. Christine Hayes of the Yale Open Courses lectures, that I'm happy to see many here are finding helpful, points out many of the similarities between El and Yahweh and briefly mentions some of the models by which Yahweh worship may have developed from Canaanite religion.

    As I mentioned yesterday, according to the J source Abraham did know the name YHWH, but P & E wouldn't be cool with that because they want Moses and Aaron to be special. Prof. Oden sees Gen 12:1-3 (promise to Abram) as the key transitional event in the relationship of Yahweh and his people in the J narrative, while in E and P the important transition occurs with the revelation to Moses in Ex. 3 and Ex. 6 respectively.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Brian Hitt,

    Just FYI, the JEPD theory is a joke, invented by liberals out of whole cloth. One wonders if it wasn't done for the purpose of easing their guilt over their refusal to take the Scripture seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @momofatheists: Yup!

    @Tom: "my questions will be geared for non-believers to defend there position"

    I think this is a good idea. I would be thoroughly interested to see what form such questions would take. Since people of faith make extraordinary claims about the Bible it is natural that challenging and confrontational questions about it will be addressed to them. On the other hand the secular "position" on the Bible involves pulling out interesting literary observations and potential bits of cultural insight rather than absolute truth claims, so I imagine hard-hitting questions will take a bit of creativity.

    @Rhology: Indeed. The "mixed multitudes" reference seems to indicate that the Hebrews were joined by Egyptians in their wandering in Sinai. I wonder what kind of cultural and ethnic integration this indicated to the Israelites. Did they see themselves as part Egyptian?

    ReplyDelete
  13. @Brian H,

    Yes, it must've been sort of weird, but we'll see once we get to detailed exposition of the Mosaic Law numerous prescriptions for how they're supposed to be treated and how they can worship God. "The sojourner and alien among you", etc.

    And in other places in the OT, you see guys in Israel who still trace their heritage to non-Jewish peoples. Like Uriah the Hittite.

    ReplyDelete
  14. @Rhology: Regarding the documentary hypothesis, we've been over this. A lot. It's taken for granted that secular and religious views will differ on this, and if you don't find it useful disregard it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The name that Yahweh says the patriarchs knew him as (El Shaddai - properly translated "god of the mountain") was a common Canaanite epithet for El

    These kind of direct connections between the Israelites and the supposedly foreign Canaanites have really convinced me of a strong continuity between the two cultures. Everything I've read points strongly to the Israelites being, culturally, pretty indistinguishable from Canaanites.

    I think the connection is most obvious in the book of Judges. (Where Israelites freely worship Baal and household idols.) In The Torah and Joshua, the Canaanites are distinctly a separate people. But little hints have snuck through the editing process. Obviously the big 4 sources were all Yahweh-worshippers and their writings reflect that theological development.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @Rhology
    Thanks agin for your insight. I'm enjoying it!

    As for your comment;
    "the JEPD theory is a joke, invented by liberals out of whole cloth. One wonders if it wasn't done for the purpose of easing their guilt over their refusal to take the Scripture seriously."

    Could you provide a link or two to support this statement? The sometimes disjointed and repetitive nature of the OT would seem to reinforce the JEPD theory. Not being a theologian, I can't really comment either way.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Bruce,

    The only evidence that there were multiple authors is in appealing to the same thing you just said and hoping that ppl will uncritically accept it. "See, there are different genres and it repeats itself, etc! It must be different authors." Sorry, I don't accept that as prima facie evidence. How about some real evidence?
    IOW, they're making the claim, let them establish it. As for me, I recognise the rather obvious - ppl's writing styles change over time. I don't write now like I wrote 10 years ago, and I'm still young. My blog contains numerous different genres and writing styles, written at different times under different experiences, when I was feeling different emotions.
    Jesus, for His part, thought the Pentateuch was written by Moses. He has much better credentials than modern OT scholars.

    Peace,
    Rhology

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Tom,
    I'm still thinking about the guest post idea. I'd be very interested in your questions to non-believers. Feel free to post them in the comments.

    As for the posts "attacking" the Bible, please give me an example.
    My posts are from an Atheist perspective. They are going to reflect that fact.

    ReplyDelete
  19. @Rhology
    I think that fragmented style and layout of the Bible would actually lean against the single author model. Unless Moses wrote many versions of the story (a possibility but again, prove it), it seems that the easiest answer would be a sourcing of multiple story tellers.

    Also, Why would Jesus (in the flesh) have a better idea of who wrote the Pentateuch then modern scholars? Those he lived much later then Moses and would have less access to information the todays researchers.
    If his credentials are him being the son of an all-knowing God, I may have to rethink my position. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Bruce,

    Remember that JEPD is only about the Pentateuch. You said "the Bible", so I just want to be clear.
    Why would multiple-author be easier? Now you have to acct for how they got together, how they knew about each other, who wrote what, how and why they mixed all their stuff together, how it remains consistent, why Jesus and the Jews throughout time thought it was Moses. All kinds of stuff.

    Jesus would know better b/c Jesus is God in flesh.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Why would multiple-author be easier? Now you have to acct for how they got together, how they knew about each other, who wrote what, how and why they mixed all their stuff together, how it remains consistent, why Jesus and the Jews throughout time thought it was Moses. All kinds of stuff.

    It's not that it's "easier", it's that it fits the evidence better. Yes, it's difficult to account for how the sources got combined (J and E are the hardest to sort out).

    But the text does *not* remain consistent, which is the whole issue! If the Bible really read like a linear work by one person, there wouldn't be an issue.

    Jesus thought Moses wrote the Bible because it was tradition. Doesn't make it true. People said "Who wrote this? I dunno... Moses?" and it stuck. Same reason the Wisdom got attached to Solomon, the Psalms got attached to David, and the Gospels got attached to random disciples.

    Moses might have lived a long time (well, not really) but the idea that one hand is responsible for all the content in the OT is a much more extravagant claim than somebody combined various sources to form the final product.

    Look, the use of sources in the Bible is undeniable. Kings and Chronicles share a source, used selectively by each. Or one is based on the other. The connection is undeniable. Likewise, the textual connection between the synoptic gospels is readily apparent to everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  22. betterthanesdras,

    Nice handle, BTW.
    Well, I don't think it does fit the evidence better, since there's, well, no evidence for it. It's just a hypothesis dreamed up to solve a non-existent problem. Where is the evidence for it?

    I think our quibble about consistency depends on the definition. I was referring to factual/event consistency, not necessarily writing style, etc - I covered the latter in my last comment.

    Jesus is infallible, being God. Where is your evidence that He followed "tradition" in His thinking about this issue?
    The text of the Psalms say in many cases "A Psalm of David", FYI. If this "attachment" occurred as you say, it occurred a long time ago. Give me a reason to discount it. (And BTW, not all Psalms are of David.)
    Also, are you aware of a manuscript copy that does not include "according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John" in the Gk? Why assume they were originally w/o such labels? Just b/c it's convenient for skeptical "scholarship"? Why would an objective observer think that is impressive?

    Yes, no one questions sourcing. HOW the sourcing occurs is the question. And of course the Gospels look similar - they cover mostly the same subject matter, and are historical narratives.

    Peace,
    Rhology

    ReplyDelete
  23. @betterthanesdras

    "Moses might have lived a long time (well, not really) but the idea that one hand is responsible for all the content in the OT is a much more extravagant claim than somebody combined various sources to form the final product."

    I think you mean the idea that one hand is responsible for all the content in the Pentateuch--Genesis through Deuteronomy. Nobody says one person wrote all 66 books of the OT. :)

    I am really enjoying this discussion and appreciate Bruce taking on this project.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Sheesh, I meant 39. *rolls eyes at self*

    ReplyDelete
  25. Bruce, I really appreciate your efforts on this project, and I am enjoying it.
    However, I may be one of the posts that can be accused of "attacking" the bible. I am atheist, and I see no reason to believe that the book is a true account of anything. External sources that I have read are "The Oxford Companion to the Bible", "Asimov's Guide to the Bible", and several books by Bart Ehrman. Now I am reading the Bible for the first time since I was a child, and it still doesn't make any sense, but I am enjoying the project and trying to appreciate the literature.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Jesus is infallible, being God. Where is your evidence that He followed "tradition" in His thinking about this issue?

    Sigh, that's kind of a conversation stopper.

    Look, I don't think Jesus was the son of God, I don't think the Gospels are a perfect record of him and his words (did he hire a court stenographer to record all his speeches? Who could remember what he said well enough to write it down verbatim?)

    I think there is clearly factual inconsistency in the Bible. It's not a question of various styles or literary devices. It's trivial to find contradictions. Yes, nearly all can be theologically "explained" using contrived reasoning, but if you have to explain away the contradiction you can't deny there is an apparent contradiction to be found in the first place.

    The Documentary Hypothesis is, IMHO, a more convincing explanation for the apparent contradictions. It too says they are only apparent- they are the product of various sources being inelegantly meshed. That's much more parsimonious than the ad-hoc explanations theists have to devise for each and every "apparent" contradiction.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sigh, that's kind of a conversation stopper.

    Well...yeah. :-)
    I don't see any way around it, tbh. There's no neutral playing field here. I think atheism is irrational and absurd; you probably blv sthg similar about Christianity.


    Who could remember what he said well enough to write it down verbatim?

    Just so you know, Christians trust God to make the memory sufficient to get it down correctly. Inspiring the Scripture was a supernatural act.


    I think there is clearly factual inconsistency in the Bible.

    Yeah, and I've seen many, many attempts to substantiate claims like that, and they always fail.
    On my own blog, I usually give ppl a chance to give me their 5 favorite for open examination, and if they fail to work out, then I conclude they've got nothing and move on. Maybe you'd like to do the same?


    Yes, nearly all can be theologically "explained" using contrived reasoning

    I'd contend you haven't seen contrived reasoning if you haven't seen an atheist try to justify his atheism. :-)


    That's much more parsimonious than the ad-hoc explanations theists have to devise for each and every "apparent" contradiction.

    I've given numerous reasons above why it is not more parsimonious. Outside of a specific response to those, we can just leave the matter here, since I don't see much more than naked assertion.

    Peace,
    Rhology

    ReplyDelete
  28. @Barbara
    "External sources that I have read are "The Oxford Companion to the Bible", "Asimov's Guide to the Bible", and several books by Bart Ehrman."

    You are getting one side from authors like these. For balance, read some orthodox Christian literature as well. Can someone post some links or titles?
    BTW reading Ehrman on the Bible is like reading Hitler on Jews.

    ReplyDelete
  29. @ Rhology

    Your last post pretty much highlights why I hope no-one posting here is doing so in the hope of converting others to their way of thinking. I've said this in another post, but both sides are commenting based on their worldviews. To be honest, I glaze over when I read a comment on a piece of text that starts quoting future bible passages as the justification for some prima facie strange or inexplicable passage or action in the text, or appeals to supernatural forces or biblical authority. I'm more interested when people give context of the actual historical times in which the text was written, and the various theories of how and when the text was written.

    I would submit that by most accepted definitions of the word 'rational' you cannot appeal to supernatural causes as a means of supporting or justifying an argument, so I do think that the atheists here have a better claim to a rational, rather than a faith-based approach to analysing the readings.

    Rather than have pointless debates about what we think about each other, shouldn't we just be focusing on giving our thoughts and reactions to the readings. I'm certainly learning a lot, as this is the first time I have read the bible seriously since I was about 15. However, I am now reading in it a totally new light, and enjoying every minute of it (well, maybe not when they get to the long passages of genealogy!)

    ReplyDelete
  30. "BTW reading Ehrman on the Bible is like reading Hitler on Jews."

    Whoa!. . .um, okay. I suppose a Hitler reference is one way to respond when someone dedicates their career to studying something and comes to a different conclusion than one's own. I find Ehrman's extensive work on the formation of the New Testament, the early Christian church and the historical Jesus to be quite insightful but can certainly see how it would ruffle orthodox feathers. Discussing the New Testament here is going to be. . . fun(?).

    My last word on the documentary hypothesis: We don't know who wrote the books of the Pentateuch but we'd like to ask questions about why they were written and what they mean. When physicists are trying to explain how things work, they use models that fit their observations, then experimentally test the predictions that follow. The DH is a similar model, and, to horrifically misapply the immortal words of Carl Sagan, it "delivers the goods."

    Here's a thoughtful post from a religious (LDS) blog that lists some of the many textual difficulties that the DH successfully sorts out:
    http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/what-you-have-to-explain-without-the-documentary-hypothesis/

    Though it has been taken to extremes in the past, source criticism was not a fad and has been refined and built upon since being developed by Wellhausen in the 1870s. It may not jive with everyone's approach to these texts, but those of us who choose to use it in discussions here will continue to do so despite frustrated and ill-founded protests that it is "made-up."

    ReplyDelete
  31. Here's a thoughtful post from a religious (LDS) blog that lists some of the many textual difficulties that the DH successfully sorts out:
    http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/what-you-have-to-explain-without-the-documentary-hypothesis/


    Ooooh, thanks muchly for that link. Good stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  32. @brian
    Great link, thanks for sharing.

    @Roh
    "I'd contend you haven't seen contrived reasoning if you haven't seen an atheist try to justify his atheism. :-)"

    There are many intelligent people who are atheists. There are also many intelligent people who are Christians. Just because they have not commented on your blog, does not mean they don't exist. These types of generalized statements are detracting from the discussion of the text.

    If you have relevant links disproving the documentary hypothesis we would love to see them.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wow you guys have been busy today. I see we are kicking around that old dead horse of JEDP Hypothesis. Nice. :-D This really does come down to what you want to believe. With that much said i offer these nuggets.
    Introduction to the Old Testament by Edward J Young (ps this is not me but a book i have on hand.) pg 163
    There are, of course, difficulties in the position that Moses himself wrote the Pentateuch. But these seem to be almost trifling when compared with the tremendous difficulties that emerge upon any alternate theory of composition. There are, however, certain factors which have not received sufficient consideration.
    (a) For one thing, it is perfectly possible that in the compilation of the Pentateuch Moses may have made excerpts from previously existing written documents. If he did so, this fact may account for some of the alleged difficulties that appear. For example, it might in certain cases explain the use of the diving names in Genesis.
    (b) On the other hand we must remember that the Bible, when considered in its human aspect, is an Oriental book. Now, parallels from antiquity show that the Oriental mind did not always present his material in the so-called logical order of the Occidental. The fact that the Pentateuch is, considered from the human side, a product of the Orient, may to some extent account for its form. One thing at least is clear. The elaborate "scissors-and-paste" method which the documentary analysis postulates is without parallel anywhere in the ancient Oriental world.
    (c) Furthermore, we may ask, who in Israel's history was better prepared than Moses to write the Pentateuch? He had the time and also the training and learning to do so. Also, as human founder of the theocracy, he had the information that was requisite. The Pentateuch exhibits an inner plan and structure that betray a great mind. Who, better than Moses, could have produced such a work?
    More than two hundred years of exhaustive study have been unable to produce a satisfactory substitute for the time-honored Biblical view that Moses himself was the human author of the Law. Hence, we cannot do better than to regard the Pentateuch as the product of the great lawgiver of Israel.

    Special Literature on the Literary Criticism of the Pentateuch
    For a general survey of the field up to 1885, the student should consult Edwin Cone Bissell: The Pentateuch: Its Origin and Structure: An Examination of Recent Theories,* New York, 1910, where he will find a bibliography of more than 2000 titles, pp. 410-475.
    Recent surveys of Pentateuchal studies are by George A Barton: "The Present State of Old Testament Studies" in The Haverford Symposium on Archaeology and the Bible, New Haven, 1938, pp. 47-78; Otto Eissfeldt: "Modern Criticism,"

    I will stop there, i don't think you want the rest. If you do let me know. :-D

    ReplyDelete
  34. @betterthanesdras
    "I think there is clearly factual inconsistency in the Bible."

    This is a sincerer request, as we come across these inconsistencies from here on out will you point them out? Then we can stay on topic and discuss them.

    "Yes, nearly all can be theologically "explained" using contrived reasoning, but if you have to explain away the contradiction you can't deny there is an apparent contradiction to be found in the first place."

    If you really want a contradiction in any text you can believe that it has one. I believe it comes down to do you want to understand the text enough to know it's not a contradiction? And sometimes it is a contradiction. Because there is recording of what one person said, then someone else will come along and say something different. The Bible does record different people and their interactions. Heck i will even admit that the Bible has lies in it. Genesis 3:4 That is a lie, if you don't think so go talk to Eve and let me know what she says. :-D

    Believing that the Bible is more than just a "wonderful work of art" brings with it some baggage. So it is understandable why one would not.

    ReplyDelete
  35. And now back to the content at hand. /smirk

    From the NIV version

    Exd 7:19 The LORD said to Moses, "Tell Aaron, 'Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs'—and they will turn to blood. Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in the wooden buckets and stone jars."

    Exd 7:24 And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile to get drinking water, because they could not drink the water of the river.

    So all the water in Egypt in the river, lakes, buckets and jars will turn to blood but if you dig beside the river the ground water will be fine? o.O

    ReplyDelete
  36. @Brian Hitt
    "Regarding the documentary hypothesis, we've been over this. A lot. It's taken for granted that secular and religious views will differ on this, and if you don't find it useful disregard it."

    Yes we have been over it a lot, however i guess not enough yet. :-)
    It's interesting that Rhology made that comment. I think it's good someone brings that up every once in a while. To me, others will come across this blog and read it, and if the DH does not go challenged they may:
    1. Think it has historical merit.
    2. No Christian can argue against it.
    3. It's posted so much it must be true.
    So i am happy to see someone else speak up against it. However it now appears that it would be better to post why the text in reading does not fit into the DH and why. Something more we believers in the authority of scripture should do.
    I think this blog will be a great resource tool to read at the end of the year... granted i don't think there are to many Christian comments in the first few chapters of Genesis.

    ReplyDelete
  37. @Raven
    You keep using the NIV you are going to be missing things. Just an FYI. :-D
    "So all the water in Egypt in the river, lakes, buckets and jars will turn to blood but if you dig beside the river the ground water will be fine? o.O"

    You have to understand the gravity of the problem at hand. They knew there was a way to change water into "blood", so they may have thought because Moses did this, he surely could not have gotten to the water that has soaked into the soil by the river. They were desperate and desperate people will do desperate things in times of trouble.
    However they may have found water. From (MHC)
    The Egyptians, in the mean time, are seeking for relief against the plague, digging round about the river for water to drink, v.24 Probably they found some, with much ado, God remembering mercy in the midst of wrath; for He is full of compassion, and would not let the subjects smart too much for the obstinacy of their prince.

    I can agree with that.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Something else in context
    7:22,23
    (MHC)
    Pharaoh endeavours to confront the miracle, because he resolves not to humble himself under the plague. He sends for the magicians, and, by God's permission, they ape the miracle with their enchantments ( 22), and this serves Pharaoh for an excuse not to set his heart to this also ( 23), and a pitiful excuse it was. Could they have turned the river of blood into water again, this would have been something to the purpose; then they would have proved their power, and Pharaoh would have been obliged to them as his benefactors. But for them, when there was such scarcity of water, to turn more of it into blood, only to show their art, plainly intimates that the design of the devil is only to delude his devotees and amuse them, not to do them any real kindness, but to keep them from doing a real kindness to themselves by repenting and returning to their God.

    ReplyDelete
  39. @Bruce
    "If his credentials are him being the son of an all-knowing God, I may have to rethink my position. ;-)"

    He is that All-Knowing God. John 14:10,11. We will get to more as we read the text. However for now i will leave this to time. As we read the text i hope i can point out all the signs for the coming Messiah. And we all get to understand the true character of the All-Knowing God.

    ReplyDelete
  40. @Dave
    "To be honest, I glaze over when I read a comment on a piece of text that starts quoting future bible passages as the justification for some prima facie strange or inexplicable passage or action in the text, or appeals to supernatural forces or biblical authority."

    So how would you really know that these future Bible passages are the justification for some prima facies? Since you just "glaze over them"? I am not going to say that you want to understand the Bible, however anyone that would, it might not be a bad idea to check the references out and see what they say. Later on in the year when we come to those passages we will reference back to the older ones and you would already be familiar with the connection.

    That's just my 2 cents.

    ReplyDelete
  41. He is that All-Knowing God. John 14:10,11

    This is my eyes glazing over too.

    Look, atheists don't think the Bible is magic. Using NT verses written hundreds of years later- no matter what they actually say- to argue a point about the OT- is inherently silly to us.

    Later on in the year when we come to those passages we will reference back to the older ones and you would already be familiar with the connection.

    The important point is that it is a one-way connection. The NT authors referenced the OT. The OT can't reference the NT, and it doesn't need the NT author's interpretations.

    Quoting the NT to make a point about the OT will NEVER convince anyone except fellow Christians. It carries major assumptions that atheists don't buy into. That's why our eyes glaze over. "God is magic and can do anything" is a boring answer to the Bible's mysteries.

    ReplyDelete
  42. @ betterthanesdras: I wish I could have stated that as eloquently as you.

    @ Edward: I was raised as a christian, inculcated in the dogma, I still have my copy of 'The Young Moses' ( A conconcoction extrapolated from the text we have recently read) that I won as a Sunday School Prize (for attendence! :) ) in 1971), and confirmed in my faith by my church at the age of 15, sincerely believing the tenets of faith of my church. However, (and I promise this is the last time I'm going to do this in these posts) I have biblical authorty for my current philosophy! 1 Corinthians 13:11. Therefore, I no longer accept biblical authority, or convoluted theology to justify the stories we are reading.

    Rather I enjoy them as (a) an interesting anthropological exercise in the myths and legends of an ancient people, and (b) as some of the finest English literature (for those following the KJV, translated by a bunch of theological and classical scholars working for the King in Westminster Abbey) ever written.

    ReplyDelete
  43. As an aside, does anyone know of any actual historical evidence for the actual existence of Moses?

    ReplyDelete
  44. @Dave

    I know of no historical evidence for Moses outside the Bible. The first mention of anything biblical is the Stela of Merneptah (around 1204 BCE). It's a passing mention that Israel was defeated.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merneptah_Stele

    It's always been my understanding that the exodus story was a myth. As with all myths, there might be a kernal of truth in there somewhere, but I take it as oral histories passed down, and embellished, through the generations.

    ReplyDelete
  45. @Dave,

    I glaze over when I read a comment on a piece of text that starts quoting future bible passages as the justification for some prima facie strange or inexplicable passage or action in the text, or appeals to supernatural forces or biblical authority.

    Well, sure, and I would expect nothing less.
    However, just b/c you don't believe has no bearing on the Bible's authority and truth, both of which apply to you. I'm not doing my job if I'm not warning you about the coming wrath and judgment, and urging you to repent before Jesus.


    I'm more interested when people give context of the actual historical times in which the text was written, and the various theories of how and when the text was written.

    Part of the reason why I critique such things as this statement is b/c you assume a priori that the Bible is not itself a reliable historical source, and itself provides a great deal of its own context (though certainly not exhaustive context; that doesn't exist). I find this kind of approach biased and unfair. You don't ask the same questions of the "corroborating sources".


    I would submit that by most accepted definitions of the word 'rational' you cannot appeal to supernatural causes as a means of supporting or justifying an argument

    Now all you need is an argument. ;-)


    rather than a faith-based approach to analysing the readings.

    Let's be clear here - we all have to make huge faith-based presuppositions. Can we agree on that?
    If we cannot, please prove atheism to me. Failing that, prove materialistic naturalism. Failing that, prove that your cognitive faculties are reliably aimed at producing true beliefs.
    If you can't, those are some huge things you can't answer, so you have to take them on faith b/c life is futile if you don't accept, for example, that you can understand truth.


    @Brian Hitt,

    The DH is a similar model, and... it "delivers the goods."

    Well, w/o answers to the questions I've raised here, I honestly don't see how it does help anyone.
    Further, Moses = author also explains the Pentateuch. And explaining it = delivering the goods.


    http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/what-you-have-to-explain-without-the-documentary-hypothesis/

    That's a thought-provoking article, to be sure, but just as surely it thinks it's smarter and more difficult than it really is. For example, the "two creation stories" falls apart upon analysis.



    @Paul,

    There are many intelligent people who are atheists.

    Never questioned that. I was referring to bad argumentation. Intelligent ppl make bad arguments all the time.


    If you have relevant links disproving the documentary hypothesis we would love to see them.

    Please see my above comments. Edward's comment directly below yours also contains some good stuff.


    @betterthanesdras,

    Using NT verses written hundreds of years later- no matter what they actually say- to argue a point about the OT- is inherently silly to us.

    Understandable. PLease keep in mind that a worldview that says that nothing produced everything, that unintelligent matter produced intelligent beings and amorality produced moral beings is inherently silly to us.

    Peace,
    Rhology

    ReplyDelete
  46. @betterthanesdras
    "The important point is that it is a one-way connection. The NT authors referenced the OT. The OT can't reference the NT, and it doesn't need the NT author's interpretations."

    No you would be wrong. There are verses in the Old Testament that prophecy what will happen. The New Testament is where it is recorded the fulfillment of those prophecies.

    @Dave "1 Corinthians 13:11" now that's good. I thought you would use something like Romans 1:22. :-D

    ReplyDelete
  47. No, I would never profess or presume wisdom. :)

    ReplyDelete
  48. @ David, thanks for the link.

    ReplyDelete
  49. We have a winner!!!

    The first instance of Godwin's law goes to Euslyss.
    "BTW reading Ehrman on the Bible is like reading Hitler on Jews."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

    ReplyDelete
  50. Bruce,

    That's not an example of Godwin's Law.
    And citing Godwin's Law is usually just a smokescreen. I hope you can be fairer minded than that.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Actually it's a perfect example of Godwin's Law!

    ReplyDelete