#174. Sin can only be atoned through sacrifice OR not? (Lev 4-5; Num 15 vs Deut 4, 17, 23-24, 28; Gal 2-4; Rom 4-7)

There are significant differences, indeed contradictions, between the views and precepts of the Aaronid-led priestly guild who wrote the book of Leviticus and the Levite-led scribes who wrote the book of Deuteronomy. These are large sweeping theological differences that existed between ancient Israel’s rival priestly schools (see also #30, #151, #152, #153-154). The Priestly literature is centered around its most important cultic and theological institution: the Tabernacle. The sacrificial cult wasRead More

#173. If the people sin inadvertently is a bull offered up as a sin-offering OR is a goat offered up as a sin-offering and a bull as a burnt-offering? (Lev 4:13-21 vs Num 15:22-26)

Both of these passages, Leviticus 4 and Numbers 15, were penned by the Aaronid priestly guild. So they may reflect differences within the priesthood that would have naturally arisen over the centuries it existed. It might also be that Numbers 15 was a later amendment to the earlier instruction (torah) of Leviticus 4. Leviticus 4 details the sin or purification offering, and in order of descending urgency: the sin-offering to beRead More

#172. “All fat is Yahweh’s” OR not? (Lev 3:16b-17, 7:23-27 vs Deut 12:15-16, 12:21-25)

The contradictions in the book of Leviticus are minimal. This is largely because unlike the books of Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers, the book of Leviticus was composed by one priestly guild, the Aaronids. So it displays a natural unity, cohesion, and theological thrust. Indeed, we’ll encounter contradictions and inconsistencies within the Priestly source itself, but most of them will be between the Priestly writer and the Deuteronomist. The contradictions that theRead More

#171. Was the law of the Sabbath known before Sinai OR was it only given at Sinai? (Ex 16:23-30 vs Ex 23:12, 31:12-17, 35:1-3)

This entry looks to be our last contradiction for the book of Exodus. Like others, this one appears repeatedly in the scholarly literature. The particular textual peculiarity is: While Exodus 31:12-17 and 35:1-3 officially present Yahweh giving the commandment to observe the Sabbath for the first time in P (but in E, already at Ex 23:12), Exodus 16 not only speaks of the Sabbath but presumes that the people already knowRead More

#170. Does the action from Exodus 40 to Numbers 7 take place on one day OR not? (Ex 40:2-33; Lev 8; Num 7:1 vs Lev 9; Num 1:1)

And it was in the 1st month, in the 2nd year, on the 1st of the month, the Tabernacle was set up. (Ex 40:17) This is the Priestly writer’s chronology: the cultic institution, around which its whole theology is based, is erected on the New Year’s day of the second year from the Exodus (see also #109-110). Yet, even within the Priestly source there seems to be some discrepancies concerning whatRead More

#169. Yahweh makes a covenant with Israel based on which Ten Commandments? (Ex 24:3-8 vs Ex 34:27)

Both Exodus 24:3-8 and Exodus 34:27 present Yahweh as making a covenant with the children of Israel based on “all of Yahweh’s words (Ex 24:4) and “based on these words” (Ex 34:27). Yet the words, or commandments, referred to in each of these passages, Ex 20:1-23:19 and Exodus 34:14-26 respectively, are not the same—despite the fact that the text claims that they are (Ex 34:1)! This contradiction is an extension ofRead More

#168. Is the festival of firstfruits the festival of Harvest OR of Weeks? (Ex 23:16 vs Ex 34:22)

There are several different festival calendars in the Bible, each penned by a different author: Exodus 23:24-19 (E), Exodus 34:18-23 (J), Deuteronomy 16:1-17 (D), and Leviticus 23 and Numbers 28-29 (P). We will look at these differences in greater detail later on. Here, I simply note that the spring festival of reaping the first barely crop is variously labeled as the festival of Harvest in the Elohist tradition and the festivalRead More