#219. What is the minimum age of service for Levites: 25 OR 30? (Num 8:24 vs Num 4:3, 4:23, 4:30)

The book of Numbers apparently preserves divergent traditions regarding the minimum age of service for Levites. And Yahweh spoke to Moses saying: “This is what applies to the Levites: everyone 25 years and older must serve in the work forces, performing the tasks of the Tent of Meeting.” (Num 8:23-24) And Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron saying: “Take a head count of the Kohathites, who are part of the Levites,Read More

#218. The total number of Levites is 22,300 OR 22,000? (Num 3:22, 28, 34 vs Num 3:39)

The numbering of Levites from one-month old and up as recorded in Numbers 3 contains a minor textual discrepancy, which I shall nonetheless count as a contradiction. Numbers 3:39 states that “the total number of Levites which Moses and Aaron tallied by order of Yahweh, by their clans, all males one-month of age and older amounted to 22,000.” This total sets the stage for the Levite redemption of all firstborn malesRead More

#217. What was the organization of the Israelite camp during the wilderness period: no arrangement with the Tent of Meeting outside the camp OR in a circular tribal arrangement around the Tent of Meeting at its center? (Ex 33:7-8; Num 11:26, 12:4 vs Num 2)

This entry will serve as a general introduction to the book of Numbers—75% of which is a continuation of a once independently existing scroll written by the Aaronid priesthood of the exilic and post-exilic periods. In fact, all of the literature from Exodus 35 to Numbers 10:11 is from the pen of this elite priestly guild. This is supported by this literature’s sustained emphasis on the Aaronid priesthood (#152, #153-154, #160-161,Read More

#214. Who were the beneficiaries of the tithes: the Aaronid priests alone OR the Levites OR the people? (Lev 27:30-33 vs Num 18:21-24 vs Deut 14:22-27)
#215. What was tithed: all the produce of the land and the animals OR only the produce of the land? (Lev 27:30-33 vs Deut 14:23)
#216. Is one-fifth of the value to be added to tithes redeemed by money OR not? (Lev 27:31 vs Deut 14:24-25)

There are 3 Pentateuchal laws concerning the annual mandatory tithe—Leviticus 27:30-33 (H), Numbers 18:21-30 (P), and Deuteronomy 14:22-27 (D)—all of which were written by different authors or priestly guilds, and evidence contradictory views on what is tithed and to whom the tithe belongs. The earliest of these tithe laws is probably the Deuteronomic law. It is also the most radical of the three. In general, the authors of Deuteronomy de-emphasized theRead More

#213. Must a firstborn ass that is not redeemed be killed OR sold? (Ex 13:13, 34:22 vs Lev 27:27)

This contradiction should have been added to the previous one, #212, since it goes with it. It deals with the fate of an unredeemed firstling ass. Reiterating the sacrificial theology of all firstborns—humans and animals—found in all of the sources of the Pentateuch, I reproduce again Exodus 13:2. “Consecrate every firstborn for me [Yahweh]. The first birth of every womb of the children of Israel, of a human and of anRead More

#212. An impure firstborn animal, particularly an ass, is redeemed with a lamb OR the priest’s appraisal price plus a fifth OR 5 shekels? (Ex 13:13, 34:20 vs Lev 27:27 vs Num 18:15-16)

This contradiction follows from the previous one, #211, and an earlier contradiction dealing with the consecration of all firstborns to Yahweh, #145. All of the Pentateuch’s sources agree that firstborn human males, firstborn male animals, and the firstfruits of the harvest are to be consecrated to Yahweh. “Consecrate every firstborn for me [Yahweh]. The first birth of every womb of the children of Israel, of a human and of an animal,Read More

#211. Israelites are to consecrate the firstborn of animals to Yahweh OR not? (Ex 13:2; Deut 15:19 vs Lev 27:26)

All of the Pentateuch’s sources adhere to the law of the firstborns, a sacrificial theology which mandates that the firstfruits of reproduction—whether of plants, animals, or humans—be sacrificed to Yahweh. “Consecrate every firstborn for me [Yahweh]. The first birth of every womb of the children of Israel, of a human and of an animal, is mine!” (Ex 13:2) I have already addressed this firstborn sacrificial theology as it relates to allRead More