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Exodus - invented narrative

The story of the exodus from Egypt is an unprecedented story in the history of nations since it does not contain epics, heroic and mythological figures that constitute a foundation in the formation of nations


The story of the exodus from Egypt is an unprecedented story in the history of nations since it does not contain epics, heroic and mythological figures that constitute a foundation in the formation of nations whether it is a tradition passed down from father to son or whether it is written narratives. The importance of the characters described is that they serve as centers of identification and objects of imitation. In this set of epics and sometimes also in the mythologies of peoples there is a kernel of truth upon which various layers of additions were built as a result of the invention of storytellers. For this reason the work of the historian who studies the antiquity of peoples requires detective work Extremely difficult. He must work very carefully to dig out of that literary ocean what seems likely to have actually happened and to sift out what seems to be the imagination of different authors.

This principle also applies to the story of the exodus from Egypt. The book of Exodus is the book in which the largest textual volume is found describing Israel's journeys in the desert. In the other books of the Pentateuch and Leviticus, in the Desert and Deuteronomy, only a few chapters refer to this. Most of their chapters are an extensive treatise of laws on how the people of Israel should behave . Therefore, the discussion regarding the historical validity of Israel's travels will focus mainly on the book of Exodus.

Towards the departure from Egypt

Chapter 1 of the Book of Exodus is in terms of an opening and in it the sad situation of the Israelites after the death of Joseph is succinctly described. A new king arose in Egypt who did not feel obligated to Joseph and his people and saw himself free to enslave and turn them into an economic asset and that he could do with them as he pleased. Furthermore, since the Israelites began to multiply, they became a demographic burden. His fear was that their number would exceed that of the Egyptians themselves and this could have far-reaching political implications. Pharaoh therefore decided to bring about their gradual destruction and the way that was found for this was the elimination of their sons. The explanation for this is clear. The daughters of Israel will have no choice and will have to conceive for the Egyptians themselves. But the Bible knows how to tell about two midwives who changed his mouth and saved many Hebrew children, including a boy from Beit Levi. It is about one of the Levites who took one of the daughters of the tribe as his wife (Exodus 16:26). The mother hid her child for three months and then put him in a rubber box that was watered in light in the hope that there would be someone who would save him and that is indeed what happened. One of Pharaoh's daughters saw the ark, understood what it was about, gathered the boy in her arms, gave him the name Moshe and kept the secret in her heart. From then on, Moses grew up in Pharaoh's house. A detailed account of Moses' ancestors is given in Exodus chapter 7 immediately after the description in which Moses and Aaron are commanded by God to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. The report is given in verses 8-XNUMX. In terms of narrative logic, this report should have been given already in chapter XNUMX as a paragraph between verses XNUMX and XNUMX. Those who authored or authored the book did not do so and their taste was with them. What was important in their eyes was the description of the difficult situation of the people, to show how degraded it was. The genealogy of Moses was given casually. In their eyes, it was important to emphasize Moshe's experimental rescue.

When Moses grew up, the scripture says, "And it came to pass in those days that Moses grew up and went out to his brothers and saw their suffering. And an Egyptian man saw a Hebrew man striking his brother" (Exodus 11:XNUMX). As a boy who grew up and matured into a boy and a man in Pharaoh's house, how did he know that he had passed away? Even if they told him about it, it was obviously impossible to do it in his childhood because children don't know how to keep secrets. The risk was too great. If he was indeed told about this in his adulthood, how did he deal with it? Moshe, who grew up in Pharaoh's house and was considered one of the ruling elite, finds out that he is the son of slaves. How did he deal with the fact that those who raised him were not his biological parents? The internalization of his true origin according to the narrator is too quick and problematic. Later, when he tried to separate two hawkish Hebrews, he was identified as the one who killed the Egyptian. How did his origin story spread so quickly? When Pharaoh found out about Moses' exploits, he wanted to kill him. How did Pharaoh himself deal with this fact when he was used to Moses being his grandson? It is almost certain that Pharaoh's emotional distress was not easy. The scripture does not tell about this, just as it does not describe what happened in Moshe's soul when he learned that he was Hebrew. The scripture gives a concise and to the point report without any reference to the drama that happened to these people. Another question that is asked about Moshe when his origin became clear to him, is whether he did not try to find out for himself who his biological parents were.

When Moses insisted that his identity was known and that Pharaoh decided to capture him and execute him, he fled to the land of Midian. During his escape, he became acquainted with the political interest, married his wife Zipporah and they had a son named Gershom (Exodus 21:22-2). From the scriptures it can be understood that Moshe was a young man at the time of his marriage. During his stay with Jethro, he experienced his first divine experience when he saw "the bush burning with fire and we do not eat" (Exodus 22:1-17, 19:6-60). During this experience, God designated him to bring the people of Israel out of slavery to freedom. One of the most important verses in the dialogue between God and Moses is the verse in which God tells him "For all the people who seek your life have died" (Exodus 80:11). How many years have passed since he left Egypt? The answer to this is found in chapter 13 28 "And Moses and Aaron did as he commanded them, so they did, and Moses was eighty years old and Aaron was eighty-three years old in their word to Pharaoh." If we accept as an assumption that the story of the beating of the Egyptians and the escape of Moshe to Madin was in his twenties, we are actually talking about a period of 31 years, which raises many questions. What did Moshe do in all those years? Can an XNUMX-year-old start vigorous political activity that requires good health and a lot of mental strength? Is this even possible? Bringing a large public of people out of slavery requires appropriate assessments. It is necessary to make souls for this idea and convince the public for such a bold move. Evidence that Moshe did act in this direction is seen in two places. In Exodus XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX it is written: "And they said to Moshe the Egyptians, there are no graves in Egypt, and they took us to die in the desert. What did you do to us to bring us out of Egypt? Isn't this the thing that we spoke to you in Egypt, to say, cease from it, and worship Egypt, for it is good for us to worship Egypt from our death in the desert." In chapter XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX it is said: "And Moses and Aaron spoke all the words of Jehovah that they had sent and all the signs that he commanded. And Moses and Aaron went and gathered all the elders of the children of Israel. And Aaron spoke all the things that Jehovah had spoken to Moses and performed the signs in the eyes of the people. And they believed And the people heard that Yahweh visited the children of Israel and that He saw the oppressed, and they bowed and bowed down." Moshe began practical preparations for the departure from Egypt and this cannot be done without an action headquarters and a team of workers who will convey Moshe's words to the masses of the people. Was all this hidden from Pharaoh's eyes? Most likely the Egyptians had institutions that supervised the behavior of the slaves, suppressed any attempt at rebellion and that they also had accomplices among the masses of slaves.

The ten blows

According to the scriptures, Moses brought a series of 10 plagues on the Egyptians, one more severe than the other, and they are blood, frogs, lice, locusts, fire, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and first-borns with the aim of softening Pharaoh so that he would allow the Israelites to leave. Some of the blows, each in itself, seem reasonable. They will indeed cause economic damage, but they are not irreversible. But combining all of them together with such power and on a national scale, their result is the same. Irreversible damage and the economic collapse of countries as strong as they may be. An in-depth examination of these blows will present a series of problems that, from the point of view of the internal logic of the text, raise doubts as to their historical validity.

A. When Moses came to Pharaoh with a claim to free his people, why did Pharaoh see fit to meet and confront him? From Pharaoh Moshe's point of view, he is an agitator and a politically dangerous factor. It is enough if he agrees to his claim, the other slaves will come with similar demands and the result will be one, the shutdown of the entire Egyptian economy. What sharpens this question is Pharaoh's claim in Exodus 8:9-XNUMX: "And a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph, and said to his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are greater and greater than him. Let us beware of him, lest he increase, and it shall be that war shall be called upon him, and he shall also be added. on our enemies and fought us and came up from the land." Pharaoh therefore had heavy political problems with neighboring countries. It is hard to believe that he looked for more problems for himself. Even if he did meet with Moshe several times, each time he was hit harder than the previous one. How would he have been perceived in the eyes of his people and in the eyes of the neighboring countries, if he had acceded to Moshe's demand? His political power would have weakened and Egypt's international status would have been undermined. In the best case Pharaoh would have put Moshe in prison and in the worst case he would have executed him, provided that his status would not be undermined.
B. The only plagues that did not harm the Israelites were the wind (Exodus 4:26), hail (Exodus 13:XNUMX), and the plague of firstborns (Exodus XNUMX:XNUMX). The obvious meaning is that they did suffer from the other plagues and they also had many damages and casualties. Was Moshe willing to harm his people in order to hasten the softening of Pharaoh's heart. From a practical point of view, how is it possible to physically isolate areas that will be harmed from areas that will not be harmed, as in the case of boils, lice and frogs?
third. According to what is said in Exodus 4:XNUMX, the Israelites had a basket, horses, donkeys and camels. As slaves, they were supposed to have no property.
d. The scourge of blood that swept through all the waterways can only be interpreted in one way. Water poisoning by some kind of drift that resulted in the death of the fish. But could this poisoning spread simultaneously to all the water bodies in the country, including those that are not connected to each other through artificial water canals and the Israelites were also supposed to use this water for drinking and fishing in it. Since it is a pollution that dyed all the water sources red at once, we must accept the possibility that the source of the pollution is a large ash cloud from a volcanic eruption. Considering the dormant nature of many of the volcanoes in the Mediterranean region, the source seems to be a volcanic eruption in the Italian region. The wind drove this ash to the east and part of it sank in Egypt.
God. The scripture says that the darkness lasted for 3 days. The darkness of daylight can only occur during a total solar eclipse and that too for only a few hours. Is there historical evidence of this astronomical event from the same time in neighboring countries? The darkness for 3 days means only one thing, that during this period the earth stopped rotating around its axis and the other half of the globe had daylight for 3 days. Is there evidence of this in the American Indian tribes? Is such an event even possible? And maybe this darkness is the result of that volcanic ash that covered the sky for 3 days until its sunset?
and. As for first-born plague, we will also accept as an assumption that as a result of some genetic defect the short life span of a first-born is possible, is it even possible for such a disease to simultaneously affect all animals in a given region of land?

From reading the story of the Firstborn Scourge, it seems that it is nothing more than a kind of literary equivalent to Pharaoh's order to kill every son born to the women of the Israelites. Since Pharaoh issued such a cruel decree, an equally cruel blow is placed on him. Egypt's execution is a kind of variation on the law "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". Since the firstborn was clearly not possible, it is nothing more than an invention of the author or authors of a book Names in order to intensify the drama described in the story of the Ten Plagues.

The exodus from Egypt and the fate of the Israelites

According to the scriptures, Moses gives final instructions before leaving Egypt and says to the multitudes of the people: "And this is how you shall eat it, your waists are girded, your shoes are on your feet, and your staff is in your hand" (Exodus 11:37). Everyone should be prepared and ready to go at a given moment. Again the question arises as to how the Egyptians did not feel this. In Exodus 2:37 it is said "And the children of Israel traveled from Ramses to Sukkot, about six hundred thousand men's feet alone with a fire extinguisher." If we take into account both the children and the women, this is a rough estimate of 35 million people. The children of Israel did not leave empty-handed, "and a great evening went up with them, and flocks and herds from a very heavy basket" (Exodus 70:400) and that they borrowed silver and gold vessels and dresses from the Egyptians (Exodus XNUMX:XNUMX). It turns out that among the Israelites there were wealthy people, at least in terms of agricultural capital, and this does not fit the description of them as slaves. Animals need to be rounded up and their orderly exit must also be taken care of and this requires heavy logistical assessments. Most likely the Egyptians would have felt this as well. Another question that begs is why would the Egyptians lend them jewelry? And maybe it's actually looting, which makes the problematic in this question even worse. Looting and evaluations for the same departure do not go together. Looting takes place at the time of Andralmosia. The number of exodus given here seems greatly exaggerated. Let's not forget that the number of souls in Beit Yaakov in Egypt, including Joseph's family, was XNUMX people. Did their numbers increase that much in XNUMX years? The only thing that can be taken into account is mixed marriages, and even then the total number of those leaving Egypt will be smaller by at most a few thousand or tens of thousands.

Mention of the number of those leaving Egypt is found in two other places. In the book of the Wilderness 1:3-603,530 Moshe turns to the people and asks to visit everyone "from twenty years of age and older, every military veteran". The total number of employees was 14. In the same book, in chapter 15:22,300-1, God commands Moses to command the Levites "every male from a month old and older". A total of 2 people were summoned. In chapter 601,730 XNUMX-XNUMX, God commands Moses to visit "the entire congregation of the Israelites from twenty years old and up to their ancestral home, every one who goes out to Israel" a total of XNUMX people. Although there is a reasonable correlation between the two censuses, what raises quite a few problems is why the census included only military veterans aged twenty and over? Having an army is appropriate for a state framework and not for nomads. An army requires the allocation of resources, camps, training and the production of weapons. In Egypt they certainly could not form an army. Slaves carrying weapons is the last thing any ruler who wanted a life would allow himself. It seems that these commanders or commanders existed when the people lived in the land in a sovereign state framework and the numbers were also attributed out of a certain need to the exodus from Egypt.

In Exodus 2 it is told about the meeting between Moshe and his father-in-law Jethro, which was probably very emotional since it was the first meeting between them in years. Jethro saw Moshe in his judicial work and advised him to make it more effective since it is not effective since Moses judged the whole House of Israel. Jethro advises him to appoint to appoint Ministers of thousands, ministers of hundreds, ministers of fifties and ministers of tens and only the difficult cases should be brought to his personal care. Moshe who grew up in the house of Pharaoh knew the Egyptian bureaucratic system well and there was no reason why he should not adopt its rules as a tool in the management of the people. He did not need the advice of surplus for this purpose. If we adopt the assumption that at least 100,000 million people left Egypt, two additional intermediate ranks in the judicial hierarchy, Sheri Rivova and Sheri XNUMX, are missing here, otherwise there will still be too large a number of cases waiting for Moshe's personal care. The scope of work that could still be exhausted. The fact that the highest rank in the judicial hierarchy is the ministers of thousands can give an indication of the true order of magnitude of those leaving Egypt. A small number of tens of thousands at most.

The date of the desert journey

The journey of the Israelites in the desert lasted 40 years. There are interesting references to this. In Exodus 33 it is said: "And the children of Israel ate the manna for forty years until they came to a windy land. They ate the manna until they came to the edge of the land of Canaan." The point of view is retrospective to the past, which means that this text was written long after the end of the people's travels in the desert. In the book in the wilderness of Yad, following the spies' travels, the wrath of God rose. He wanted to destroy the people and only following Moshe's pleas did he relent and soften the punishment. The current generation will die a natural death during the journey in the desert and only the young, the next generation, will get to reach the promised land. "Your children will be shepherds in the desert for forty years, they will carry your harlots until the end of your carcasses in the desert" (Bamadbar 3:XNUMX). This is about the expected future. The different citations show that these are two different sources that were attached together. Was the second text written at the time of the occurrence? The description given is a dialogue between Moses and God and Aaron is a patient listener. Could Aharon really write down the transcript of the conversation? It is hard to believe, and this is due to his position and his personal involvement in the whole relationship between Moses and God, what's more, as Moses' brother, he cannot be objective. Another description of the journey in the desert is given in the book of Deuteronomy XNUMX:XNUMX: "And it was forty years in the desert, on the tenth day of the month of Tishri, on the first day of the month, Moses spoke to the children of Israel according to all that Jehovah had commanded him to do." Writing with a perspective that can do much after the event itself. Forty years is not a short period of time in a person's life, and a description of such a course of life, whether it is handed down orally or in writing, requires reference to various events and their dates. In the description of Israel's journeys in the desert, there is indeed a chronology, but it is limited. There is reference only to some of the events.

The first date appears in Exodus 1:3-XNUMX, where it is said: "And they journeyed from Ilam, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the desert of China, which is between Ilam, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from Egypt. And the whole congregation of the Israelites cursed Aaron in the desert and the Israelites said to them, "May we die at the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt while we sat on the pot of meat while eating bread to our fill, because you brought us out into this desert to kill all this hungry crowd."

A second date in the book of Exodus 1:2-XNUMX says: "In the third month when the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, on this day they came from the Sinai desert and traveled from the desert and they came from the Sinai desert and camped in the desert, and Israel encamped there against the mountain" and a few days later the situation of Mount Sinai takes place.

A third date in the book of Numbers 1:3-XNUMX says: "And Jehovah spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai in the tent of meeting on the first day of the second month in the second year of their departure from the land of Egypt, saying: Take the heads of all the congregations of the children of Israel to their families to the house of their fathers by the number of names of every trace of their skulls. Of the twenty or more, assign them to their armies, you and Aaron."

Fourth date in the book of Numbers 1:2-XNUMX: "And Jehovah spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai in the second year of their departure from the land of Egypt in the first month, saying: And the children of Israel shall keep the Passover at its time."

The fifth date in the book of Numbers 11-12: "And it came to pass in the second year of the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, that the cloud rose above the tabernacle of the congregation, and the children of Israel went on their journeys in the wilderness of Sinai, and the cloud dwelt in the wilderness of Paran."

The sixth date in the book of Deuteronomy 3:5-XNUMX: "And they journeyed from Rameses in the first month on the fifteenth day of the first month, the day after Passover, the children of Israel went out with a raised hand in the sight of all Egypt." And the Egyptians are burying those whom Jehovah struck with them every firstborn, and with their gods Jehovah made judgments. And the Israelites traveled from Ramses and camped in Sukkot."

The seventh date in the Book of Deuteronomy 38-39: "And Aaron the priest went up to the mountain of the mountain according to Jehovah and died there in the fortieth year of the finding of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt in the fifth month on the first of the month."

Why is the number of dates so limited? The scripture does not extend all the events, especially major events such as the splitting of the Red Sea, rebellions such as that of Korah and his followers, the date of the construction of the golden calf, which in terms of its theological importance is no less valuable than the status of Mount Sinai. The Mount Sinai status is also not dated and it is only possible to estimate when it occurred, probably shortly after the second dating. And what about the meeting between Moshe and his father-in-law Jethro? What arouses interest is the dating in the book of Deuteronomy 1:2-1, which logically should have come before the third date in chapter 3:XNUMX-XNUMX. From this point of view, chapter XNUMX should have opened the book of Deuteronomy.

food shortages

During his journey through the desert, the people complained several times about the lack of water and food. This distress arose for the first time after Pharaoh drowned his chariot and horsemen in the sea. When they arrived in the wilderness of Shur, "they found no water and came to Merah, and they could not drink water from Merah because it was bitter, so he called her name Merah. And the people cursed Moses, saying, 'What shall we drink?'" (Exodus 22:24-27). The water was sweetened and found fit to drink. The next stop was "Alma, and there were twelve springs of water and seventy date-palms, and they encamped there on the water" (Exodus XNUMX:XNUMX).

The Israelites felt distressed when they arrived "in the desert of Sin, which is between Ilam and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month of their departure from the land of Egypt, and they afflicted the entire congregation of the Israelites against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness" (Exodus 1:2-6). As a response, God gave them meat in the evening and bread In the morning. As for the meat, quail, it is not stated how long it was available to them, but they ate the manna for forty years until they came to the land of Canaan. When they arrived at Rafid, they again encountered a lack of water. According to the word of God, Moses struck the flint "and water came out of it and the people died" (Exodus 5:8). The distress arose again and the people demanded meat. God promised such large quantities of meat that they would be tired of it. And what did they get, quail birds (Deuteronomy 16). When they arrived at Edom, the distress arose anew (Deuteronomy XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX). Instead of solving the problem, God punishes them, sends snakes and seraphim among them and kills many of them. Only when they reach the well does God give them water (Bamadbar XNUMX:XNUMX).

The only place in the desert where water can be found is in the desert. Since throughout the journey this lack caused severe hardships, it is clear that the water found was not in sufficient quantities to quench the thirst of 2 million people. Water in limited quantities can provide an answer to a small number of people, which strengthens the The assessment regarding the order of magnitude of those leaving Egypt. The only food they knew was manna and in certain periods quail. How is it possible for a long period of time to eat only one food item? They were tired of it, what's more, relying on only one food item would cause medical problems. Even in ancient times, they knew that food sources should be varied.

And here is "in the second year of their departure from the land of Egypt in the first month as mentioned and the children of Israel will keep the Passover at its time" (Bamadbar 2:XNUMX). Hasn't it expired before then? And how much time will be spent out of time? In order for a holiday to take place at a certain time, some sort of tradition must be established, and according to the scriptures, the celebration of Passover took place already in the second year after the exodus from Egypt. A possibility that must be taken into account is that they started celebrating the holiday years after the exodus from Egypt. Another thing that must be taken into account is that holidays are suitable for permanent yeshiva residents and not for nomads, whose main concern is only one problem and that is survival.

Har Sinai event

Mount Sinai is the most important event in Israel's journeys in the desert because it is where, as the scriptures indicate, the people of Israel received the Torah from God. To describe the event in modern terms, it is a sonic light vision with a very dramatic touch. According to what is described, the people of Israel were commanded not to approach Mount Sinai because anyone who approaches it will die (Exodus 12:13-5). This situation was preceded by a preparatory stage in which Moses was called by God to go up Mount Sinai and in which he instructed him what to say to the people and the condition he presented to the Israelites "And now if you hear, you will obey my voice and keep my covenant and you will be my virtue from all peoples because the whole earth is mine. And you will be a kingdom of priests to me and a holy nation" (Exodus 6:24-26). Moses went down to the people and gave them the Ten Commandments directly and later on he gave the rest of God's words regarding the earthen altar on which they would sacrifice to Him (Exodus 18-1). In the background "all the people see the voices and the torches and the sound of the shofar and the mountain of smoke and the people fear and move and stand afar off" (Exodus XNUMX:XNUMX). Later, a series of laws are given that the people must fulfill (Exodus XNUMX-XNUMX). This series opens with the sentence: "And these are the sentences that you shall put before them" (Exodus XNUMX:XNUMX). Is there a distinction here between the ten commandments that everyone hears and sentences that only Moses hears?

Was Moses alone on Mount Sinai? Before the beginning of the class, God said to Moses: "Go, go down and come up, you and Aaron with you, and the priests and the people, do not destroy the way up to Jehovah, lest he break through them" (Exodus 24:1). In chapter 2 3-4 it is said: "And Moses said, Go up to Jehovah, you, Aaron Nadav, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they bowed down from afar, and Moses approached Jehovah alone, and they would not approach, and the people would not go up with him." What is the duplication for? Immediately after that, Moses told "all the words of Jehovah and all the judgments to the people" (Exodus 7:XNUMX). Could Moses have remembered such a long series of sentences, unless he had a phenomenal memory. Concluding his words "And Moses wrote all the words of Jehovah" (Exodus XNUMX:XNUMX). Is it not more likely that Moses read the sentences to the people from the scriptures, which is confirmed in Exodus XNUMX:XNUMX where it is said "And he took the book of the covenant and read in the ears of the people".

Later in the chapter it is said: "And Moses and Aaron Nadav and his father and seventy of the elders of Israel went up and they saw the God of Israel and under his feet as the story tells... He did not put his hand to the nobles of the children of Israel and they prophesied about God and they ate and drank (Exodus 9:10-1). Here a strange thing happened. Everyone He who was with Moses saw God and nothing happened to him, and according to what is said in verse 12, they were far from the meeting place between Moses and God. According to this verse, they did not see God at all. In Exodus 12:16, Moses, as God commanded, went up the mountain to receive the stone tablets. The Torah and the commandments (Exodus 18:XNUMX). Why accept the laws when in previous verses it was already said that Moses put the laws in writing? The chapter ends with the following verses: "And the glory of Jehovah rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days, and Moses called to Moses on the seventh day out of the cloud. And the glory of Jehovah appeared as a consuming fire on the top of the mountain before the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses came in the cloud and went up to the mountain, and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights" (Exodus XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX). Again, a vision of light and sound is described. For what purpose God is speaking to the people is not clear and unclear. What did Moses do in the cloud? The most incomprehensible question is what did Moses do on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. A very confused description is given here. The impression one gets is that this description was written a long time after the occurrence, if indeed there was such an occurrence and many details have been lost over the generations. There is also the suspicion that this whole vision was man-made. It is very possible that Moses, who grew up in Pharaoh's house, acquired a very broad education, including the use of pyrotechnic means which he utilized to create a state full of majesty and splendor that would leave his mark on the Israelites (let's not forget that our knowledge of the world of scientific and engineering content of Egypt at that time is partial).

Following the act of the calf, Moses decided to punish the people and turned to the tribe of Levi, "And he said to them, Thus says Jehovah, the God of Israel, put his sword on his adversary, pass and return from gate to gate in the camp, and kill each man his brother, and man his neighbor, and man his kinsman. And the Levites did as Moses said, and there fell from the people about three "Thousands of people" (Exodus 27-28). Moses is seen here as a man jealous of God and by his explicit instruction a massacre was made of the people for the act of the golden calf, and only after that he turned to God and asked Him to atone for the people (Exodus 31-32). The only place in the Bible where it is described Such a murderous zeal for God is in the story of Elijah the prophet who slaughtered 400 false prophets on Carmel. It is possible that the story of Mount Sinai was written close to the historical activity of Elijah the prophet.

Later in the scripture it says that God commands Moses to "take two stone tablets as the first ones and I wrote on the tablets the things that you broke." And it was true in the morning, and in the morning you went up to Mount Sinai and stood there for me on the top of the mountain" (Exodus 1:80). Moses carved two stone tablets according to God's commandment and went up Mount Sinai with them. Is an 28-year-old person capable of such a job that requires a lot of physical effort? When Moses reached the top of the mountain, he wrote the words of God. Moses was on Mount Sinai "for forty days and forty nights he did not eat or drink water and he wrote on the tablets the words of the Ten Commandments" (Exodus XNUMX:XNUMX). Is it necessary to write the Ten Commandments on the tablets for such an extended period? After all, this is a short text. How is it possible to live such a long period without food and without water and Moshe is a very old man? And if Moshe was on the mountain alone, how did they know that he neither ate nor drank?

In the book of Deuteronomy, the story of Mount Sinai comes from the mouth of Moses himself: "My wife conceived to take the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that Jehovah made with you, and I sat on the mountain forty days and forty nights, I neither ate nor drank water, and Jehovah gave me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of God and on them all the words that Jehovah spoke with you on the mountain from God on the day of assembly" (Deuteronomy 9:10-15). The obvious questions: did God need forty days to prepare the tablets of the covenant? God can prepare them in the blink of an eye. For what purpose did Moses need to stay forty days and forty nights? And the question we asked earlier, how is it possible to exist for such a long period of time without food and water. When Moshe returns to the people with the tablets of the covenant in his hands, at the sight of the golden calf and God's desire to cut them down, Moshe says: "And I fell down before God as the first forty days and forty nights, I did not eat bread and I did not drink water for all your sins which you have committed by doing evil in the eyes of the Lord to anger him" (Deuteronomy 1:3) Self-starvation the first time is not enough, but this time another self-starvation comes as a sign of protest and a plea to God that He will not carry out His anger. God relents and according to his commandment Moses ascends Mount Sinai and prepares the Tablets of the Covenant and the ark of palm trees in which the Tablets of the Covenant were placed (Deuteronomy 10:XNUMX-XNUMX). The mountain forty days and forty nights (ibid. XNUMX). Moshe does not say whether he ate or drank during this period.

Why does the number forty repeat itself? The duration of Israel's wanderings in the desert is forty years. In all the cases related to the carving of the Tablets of the Covenant and the engraving of the Ten Commandments on them, Moshe stayed on the mountain much longer than required and twice did not eat or drink for forty days and forty nights. The possibility therefore arises that this was done on purpose by whoever wrote or wrote the Torah book. The creation of a book that will have mystical meaning and theological importance. Is this a pagan act that could not be avoided and this is because there is no possibility of making a sharp transition from pagan worship to monotheistic faith? And why was the number forty chosen?

The golden calf and the tabernacle there

Following the status of Mount Sinai, two foundational events of the greatest theological significance occur and they are the act of the golden calf and the setting up of a tent there. The scripture describes in great detail the process of erecting a tent there and in a concise manner the process of sculpting the golden calf. Tradition treated these events in a very profound way, but if we refer to the material side related to the establishment of these we will notice a number of interesting things. First, the raw materials that were needed for this. The scripture indicates that they used silver, copper, gold, and wood. Where did they get these materials? According to the scriptures, these materials came from donations. Were the total donations enough for this? An important ingredient that was used is wood and there are no trees in the desert. Where did you get it from? The second fundamental question refers to the fact that the establishment of worship centers requires semi-laborious means and this is appropriate for those who sit in a permanent yeshiva, for an urban population and not for nomads who have only one thing in mind: survival. Even if these descriptions did take place, the camping and wanderings necessitated the constant disassembly and assembly of the tent there. Regarding the golden calf, this question is less critical, since the number of items carried is limited, what's more, according to the description, this is a one-time act. In any case, this is a heavy logistical assessment that only burdens the nomads. Most likely these are events that took place, if they did take place, long after the wanderings had ended.

The pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire at the exit from Egypt

In Exodus 20:22-2 the scripture says: "And they traveled with tents and camped with them at the edge of the desert, and Yahweh went before them day in a pillar of cloud to guide them on the way and night in a pillar of fire and to give light for them to go day and night. The pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire would not be destroyed by night before the people." According to the scriptures, the multitudes of the House of Israel marched without stopping. Is this even possible? Even if that was the case, it should have been in the first days of leaving Egypt, in order to escape as quickly as possible in order not to be caught by the Egyptian army that kept a garrison along the border. In addition to that, in a time of crisis it is difficult to maintain order, especially when it comes to crowds. You can walk day and night non-stop because eventually you have to make intermediate stops to rest and gain strength. It is appropriate that the advance be made at night or in the early morning when it is not too hot. The march will be relatively comfortable. This can be done with a small group of people, not with 19 million people. Such a large group will naturally be exposed to attacks from the sides. If we refer to the same cloud that accompanied the people when Pharaoh approached them, "And the angel of God went before the camp of Israel, and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud went before them, and stood behind them, and came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel, and there was cloud and darkness, and it lit up the night, and they did not come near each other all night." Exodus 20-600. It is not written that the pillar of cloud was on the sides of Israel's camp. What prevented Pharaoh's power to bypass the pillar of cloud and attack from the side? The Egyptian force which consisted of XNUMX vehicles could come from the sides of the camp or split into small forces and then the column of cloud had to move quickly from place to place according to the need or split into several clouds for this purpose. In zero time he could not have done this, for it is written explicitly: "And the cloud traveled before them and stood behind them". The pillar of cloud needed time to move from one side of the camp to the other. Light and material had to be on the sides to prevent Egyptian attacks from this direction. In such a case he had to reduce the time intervals between crossings and prevent ahead of time attacks by the Egyptians from the side.


In Exodus 8:13-14 it is told about a war that the people of Israel had with the Amalekites and that they won. How can a society of nomads maintain a regular force of warriors? A fighting force needs weapons, a regular supply and prolonged professional training. A society of nomads does not have the resources to conduct wars. Nomads in ancient times used raids on settlements to get what they needed. In all descriptions of Israel's journeys in the desert there is no reference to raids. When the people arrived at Kadesh, Moshe asked the king of Edom for permission to pass through his country with an express promise that no harm would be done to the country, and this king refused (Bamadbar 21:11-12). Moses did not impose himself on the king of Edom. If we go back to the war with Amalek, it seems that there is an interesting reference to Moses: "And it was when Moses raised his hand and conquered Israel and when he laid down his hand and conquered Amalek. And Moshe's hands were heavy, and they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, and Aaron and Hur supported his hands from one and the other, and his hands were faith until the sun came up." (Exodus XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX) Even if Moshe was supported by his helpers to hold his hands up, still holding hands for hours is tiring and impossible, and he is a very old man.

Other wars are with the Canaanite king of Arad, with Sihon the Amorite king and a war with Midian. The war with the king of Arad happened when the people turned to the way of the ethers. The war was fought in two systems. Israel lost the first campaign and won the second campaign. After this war, the cities of the Canaanites were confiscated (Desert 1:3-25). When they came near the Amorites, a request was made to them like the king of Edom to pass through his country, but when their king refused, they did not give up on him. A war broke out. Against him: "And Israel took all these cities and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites in the reckoning and in all their daughters" (Bamadbar 35:7). There is a permanent settlement here. Did those who settled stay here for a long time and retire from the nomads? Thus, the Amorite's areas of influence were conquered and during the battles "they turned and went up the Bashan road and Og the king of Bashan went out to meet them, he and all his people to war against Adrien... and they beat him and his sons and all his people until he did not leave a remnant and they inherited his land" (Deuteronomy 8:XNUMX). Midian, a war in which all their kings were killed (Bamadbar no XNUMX-XNUMX).

Evidence that the people had an orderly and organized army is found in the book in the desert, chapter 5, in the description of the commander in the instructions regarding those who will be included in it. Regarding each tribe, it is said that every male twenty years of age and older, every military veteran, must be counted. In chapter no, as part of the preparations for the war with Midian, it is written: "And from the thousands of Israel a thousand shall be sent down to twelve thousand pioneers of the army" (Bamadbar no XNUMX). Descriptions that are more suitable for permanent residents and not for nomads.


Against the questions and doubts raised by the story of Israel's journeys in the desert, one basic question emerged, and that is who wrote it or wrote it, didn't they themselves feel the problems in the nature of the story? If so, why did they write it the way they did? It is likely that this story is anchored in an event that did take place, which is the escape of a group of people from Egypt because they were tired of slavery. The group included at most a small number of tens of thousands of people. The writer or writers had different traditions about the ways of their escape and perhaps also written material and decided to put everything on the scripture Neatly. But May? Since Judaism is a monotheistic religion, it does not have mythologies, mythical heroes, and heroes of epics. What was missing were founding events and figures that the masses of the people could identify with. to mythologies and larger-than-life figures that were common among other peoples. Therefore, those who recorded the beginning of the days of Israel, took an event that did happen and amplified it while adding a miraculous dimension. It is clear that those who fled Egypt had a leader or a group of leaders and they were younger than the stated age of Moses and Aaron. Older people do not have the physical and mental strength to lead such a dramatic move. The figure of Moses was amplified to pantheon dimensions, a founding figure of a nation. One of the most prominent evidences for this is his description as being heavy-mouthed and heavy-tongued when he met with Pharaoh. But throughout the journey and during his confrontations with God, he is not heavy-mouthed and heavy-tongued. The scriptures do not indicate that in these cases he was helped by Aaron to convey his messages.

Another problem that must be addressed is the monumental legal enterprise delivered during the Israel campaign. Did Moses really write this corpus of laws? A cultural enterprise is suitable for a society that sits permanently in the cities, for a framework of a political nature and not for a nomadic society. The great Greek literary enterprise was written when the Greeks sat down permanently and established political entities and not within the framework of their wanderings until they settled. The integration of this corpus of laws into the narrative of the Exodus also came with the aim of enhancing the character of Moses. Moses was more than a historical figure, he was a literary figure, and it is said of this figure, "From Moses to Moses, he did not rise like Moses."

12 תגובות

  1. How come there is no reference to the fact that the second tablet of the Ten Commandments is actually a word for word copy of Hammurabi's laws?! Embarrassing, after all, "God" commits literary theft here, at the most defining moment of the nation of Israel, while instructing people not to steal. Is it too awkward and silly? Too transparent? Too blunt? Violates your religious belief? what?

  2. The writing is amazing in its superficiality, but most of all - in the amount of anachronistic assumptions that show a terrible lack of understanding of the period and for example - what is slavery in Egypt, what was the situation of peoples who lived in Egypt.
    There are things in the biblical text that are very difficult for us as modern readers, but the whole form of examination is preconceived when turning to a text whose purpose is not a historical report, but a religious and cultural report.
    The text of the article does not go anywhere and does not clarify anything. It does not go into the details of the origin of the story properly. It is not clear what such a text is doing on the science website.

  3. Like many so-called "secular" writers, the writer Mr. Haim Mazar expresses intellectual superficiality, and ignorance on the biblical subject.
    His difficulty regarding administrative conduct ignores the fact that it is stated in the biblical text that the social structure of that group of Hebrew slaves was and remained throughout the days of their stay in Egypt a family (father's house) and tribal structure. Hence it is already clear that you have an organizational hierarchy that enables management by a leader or a limited team of leaders who received a mandate from the heads of the tribes (elders = wise in dealing with the challenges of life and the challenges of the pharaohs).
    The only change that is difficult for a secular perception is that this is an active force - the creator of all reality that is revealed through a prophecy that is not new in Hebrew culture, but this time its revelation through Moses is expressed in relatively detailed legal commandments and principles that are a dramatic revolution both for that people born in the land of Egypt and even more so on a global cultural scale, and Moses hesitates To contain a hierarchical structure as he was probably familiar to him as an Egyptian prince, probably justice, human decency, consideration as accurate as possible of human weaknesses for the benefit of all the elements of society were not common in the ancient cultures and in Egypt, to say the least.
    As an idealistic person aware of his extraordinary spiritual power to communicate with the Creator of the world, in such a detailed and complete manner that even among the tribes of Israel in their culture a prophetic tradition from the founding fathers was not known like it, and also within the tribes for example Serah Bat Asher, for example Joseph from the previous generation, and for example Aaron from the tribe of Levi who was known in his prophetic ability before the revelation of his younger brother. Moses is therefore afraid that these judgments of justice will be disconnected from the prophecy and will be misplaced because of human weaknesses. Jethro his father-in-law advises him by making a distinction between things that are not difficult to decide legally, that is, by tradition from the ancestors + the natural idealism that exists in practical activity among some of the Israelites who are considered as such by many of their tribesmen as special people, honest, decent, reciprocating kindness, and sensitive to others that the Hebrew culture cultivates Those from the time of the ancestors as a model for imitation, these will be an intermediate level without the need for prophecy. The difficult things that can constitute a precedent in principle for the divine human legal system born in its mature form starting with Moshe Rabbu, they will be brought to Moshe who will always be able to consult directly with the Creator of the world. The key sentence for Jethro's understanding of Moshe's justified sensitivity regarding the centrality of the legal system in directing the nation of Israel and humanity as a whole to morality and saving it from corrupt human cultures
    And optimal dealing with the dark parts of a person, is expressed in the wording "You will see" meaning that with the special spiritual power that you have endowed Moses, you will choose the intermediate level and fall into the knowledge of God and Adam. And it will be an extension of the idea you carry in your spirit to actually establish a human divine legal system.
    There is no doubt that the Jewish ideals are judges who are also prophets, see Shmuel the prophet. Although it is not necessary to hold justice trials according to the Torah, provided that the judge's stage is directed to the God of Israel and to man.
    Regarding military veterans. There is no doubt that there was a process of military formation in the desert on a tribal basis.
    After all the plan is to conquer the land of Canaan. Nomadic tribes also have warriors, at least to protect and also for robbery and supplies as the writer assumes. But here we are talking about a different tribal culture (accompanied by the morality of the founding fathers), as well as an overt supernatural help that should insure security and cover up a quantitative and/or technological deficiency.
    The removal of God's power from history in general, let alone from the history of the people of Israel, in particular from the system of forces and considerations at work, creates shallow thinking and elementary misunderstandings of Israel's wars and the survival of this nation, including these days!!

  4. The weekly count of the ancient Sumerians and others are all Near Eastern cultures. From the seafaring Phoenicians, the calendar came to the West as well as writing. Things did not come from Judaism to Christianity. These are from Phoenicians to the west. I was expired then. Only in retrospect did they dress up the story of Jesus on the board, but as the names of the months in Hebrew and Latin testify. The origin of the tablet is pagan and mentions the names of gods.

  5. If it's pagan then everything is pagan. Both the number 12 and 7 are mentioned for the first time in the creation story of Enlil. God the Keeper who created the world here in vain, then on the sixth day he created Adapa, then on the 7th day he rested. Why rest? Because the number 7 was believed by the ancient Samaritans to be lucky. Whatever he does in it will be treasured. According to the Jewish Law, crafts were forbidden on the 7th. There was also a Shemita in 7*7. 7 years
    And also their weekly counting and not from Judaism.

  6. The scripture is indeed based on the writer's gut feelings and contains many inaccuracies.
    If the writer knew, for example, about the Ifuar papyrus, he would know that there are scientific and archeological references for the ten plagues, for example.
    If he knew that the Egyptian soldier also had a pillar of fire and a pillar of smoke for the camp... (a pillar with an oil lamp for the fire and a similar pillar with a cover for the smoke)
    At the same time, it is clear that there are no inaccuracies in your book either, which proves that which stories are based on stories based on stories and so on.
    For example, if, as it is written, the people took advantage of Egypt and left with much booty, Mycenae and cattle, how could they run out of food so quickly?
    But it is also written that they went out with great property and with soldiers and cock tools (sorry..) so why wouldn't they have the gold needed for Calf or the warriors for Amalek..
    There is a lot of archeological knowledge, the study of the Tanach and external writings from other cultures that today allow us to get a very good picture, based on what, when and why the Tanach was written, formulated and changed..
    Go learn, don't believe anything or anyone!

  7. The thing that stands out the most in all the stories - both of the scientists themselves and of the believers is that each one is sure that it is the scientific truth and there is no difference, therefore the other side is either a liar or a charlatan or illogical or a "minimalist" or a "maximalist".
    The approach that anyone who thinks there is some kind of historical basis for the stories in the Bible is just a fanatical religious, while the advanced and correct science says with certainty that the Bible is just practical stories that were invented very late - is not a scientific approach (even though the followers of the Tel Aviv School think so), since the information they Bringing does not only include facts but also assumptions, prejudices, changes in findings and the like. The truth is that there is no single scientific theory that will decide whether it was or wasn't. There are archaeologists who find findings that confirm this theory, and there are those who find other things that undermine the theory of the Tel Aviv School. And both are researchers and no one has the right to appropriate the "scientific truth". The real (and humble) scientist says: This is what I found (these are the facts) my theory (a theory is not the truth! It is an interpretation based on the knowledge available at the time and until it is disproved it serves science. But as soon as the findings say something else - there is no theory in the world that cannot be throw it into the dustbin of history. The real scientist will never say "what I say is the absolute truth and there is no doubt about it" but the real scientist will say - this is my theory that can be debated and is valid only as long as there are no findings that contradict it.
    So it is true that the "Yaden" website pretends to present pure science, so in God's name what is this arrogance? Who determined that what the Tel Aviv school preaches is the truth and it is science? And that what the archaeologist Adam Zertal found is not valid? Or don't the excavations of H. Caifa contradict the "science" of the Tel Aviv school? And that King David was not? (After all, the people of the Tel Aviv school of thought - the knights of true, correct and advanced science - claimed that there was no such king and when an inscription was discovered that read "House of David" they claimed it was a forgery and even published an article about it in the scientific press - until fate ran its course and another such inscription was found and then the The glorious "truth" and David, who had never been there before, suddenly became "but not such a great king, but a small subject of a limited area and a tiny tribe." And seeing this as a miracle, H. Kaifa came and shot down this idea as well - so what is real and advanced science here?

  8. I enjoyed reading, although I find the reference and attempt to find a realistic basis for things that are faith-based to be a bit ridiculous.

    If there is a God, why can't he turn water into blood in one part and not the other. If there is not - then even if there is a reference to some of the things, large parts of the story, if not the whole, are made up.

    Even much later things, such as the very existence of the Christian Jesus, are not historical certainty (the first evidence of his alleged existence is from 70 years after his alleged death), so without unequivocal findings one can either believe that it happened as told or treat it as a fond legend.

    As for the 'proofs' that Mr. Kimchi links to - they do not meet any standard of proof. Matching a final picture to pieces of a puzzle that happen to fit in one or two places while ignoring everything that doesn't fit is what is called wishful thinking in English, it is not a scientific approach.

  9. Although this article does not deserve a response, I will respond anyway.

    The article is shallow and draws conclusions based on the writer's gut feelings, there is no depth and understanding here but an attempt to harm the Jewish religion or any other religion.

    The reason for this is the writer's inability to deal with the challenges that religion poses to man, these challenges are the ones that elevate man spiritually to understand the Torah.

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