#232. Is Aaron rival to and envious of Moses OR not? (Num 12:1-2 vs Ex 40:12-16; Lev 8:10-13, 8:30, 9:8-22, 10:8-11, 16:1-34, 21-22; Num 3:5-10, etc.)

There are two places in all of the Pentateuch where Aaron is presented in less than flattering terms, as doing something gravely wrong: as the fabricator of Israel’s greatest sin during the wilderness period, the Golden Calf (see #157, #160-161), and as jealous rival and want-to-be to Moses and his authority as depicted in Numbers 12:1-2. Additionally it is only in these two stories that Aaron addresses Moses as “my lord,”Read More

#231. Are the elders allowed in the Tent of Meeting OR not? (Num 11:16 vs Num 3:10, 3:38, 17:28, 18:22)

Contradictions in the Bible don’t just exist on the narrative, thematic, and linguistic levels. Many of the contradictions so far listed, especially those within the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, deal with broader theological and/or ideological differences and contradictory views and beliefs as they existed between the various authors of this corpus of literature we call the Bible. In this example, we can readily perceive a whole different train ofRead More

#230. Were there still 600,000 men OR not? (Num 11:21 vs Ex 23:28; Num 11:1)

This contradiction builds on two previous contradictions: #116: How many Israelites left Egypt during the Exodus: 600,000 OR 625,550? and #218: The total number of Levites is 22,300 OR 22,000? Excluding the contradiction between P’s 625,550 men and E’s 600,000 men, the particular discrepancy here is that between the Elohist source’s first mention of the 600,000 men who left Egypt in Exodus 12:37 and its reiteration of the same 600,000 men in NumbersRead More

#228. Whose idea is it to form the judiciary: Yahweh’s OR Jethro’s? (Num 11:14-16 vs Ex 18:13-27)
#229. When were the heads/chieftains of Israel’s thousands elected: before or after Sinai? (Ex 18:13-27 vs Num 1:1-43, 11:16)

There are 3 passages in the Torah that are regularly cited which detail the origins of Israel’s judiciary, that is the establishment of judges to judge the people: Exodus 18:13-27, Numbers 11:14-16, and Deuteronomy 1:9-18. Each one of these traditions exhibit minor variations when compared with one another. Compare also contradiction #153. The most noticeable of these variations, indeed contradictions, is to be found in the Deuteronomist’s rewriting of the earlierRead More

#227. Was there only manna to eat OR not? (Ex 16:35; Num 11:6 vs Ex 12:38, 17:3, 24:5, 34:3; Lev 1-27; Num 7, 9:1-14, 28-29)

Numbers 11—a story about the people’s complaining to Moses that they have no meat to eat, only manna—is part of the murmuring traditions, some of which we have already looked at (#125, #126, #127) and even seen use contradictorily by other biblical scribes (#124). To a large extent the quail story of Numbers 11, where Yahweh responds to the Israelite’s complaining that they have had no meat to eat only mannaRead More

#226. The Ark of Yahweh: an empty throne seat which served a martial function OR the holy of holies which served a ritual function? (Num 10:33-36, 14:44-45; 1 Sam 4:1-7 vs Ex 25:22, 37:1-9; Lev 16:11-17; Num 4:5-15)

At Numbers 10:33, attributed to J, we are abruptly introduced to a story about the Ark of the covenant of Yahweh, which is portrayed in a very unique role. And it was, when the Ark traveled that Moses said “Arise Yahweh and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee from your presence.” (Num 10:35) In this passage, as in others, the Ark of Yahweh is beingRead More

#225. Who is to lead the way through the wilderness: Yahweh OR Reuel? (Num 9:18-23 vs Num 10:31)

There is a mix of curious and out-of-place material that immediately follows the detailed narrative of the Tent of Meeting, the place of the Aaronid priests and their Levite subordinates, the construction of the cultic institution, and all the cultic and purity issues raised throughout the book of Leviticus and Numbers 1:1-10:28. Starting at Numbers 10:29, we suddenly here stories about: Reuel again (or is it Jethro? #85) Yahweh’s Ark, whoseRead More