#314. Is Balaam responsible for the Baal Peor apostasy OR not? (Num 31:16; Rev 2:14 vs Num 22-24, 25:1-19)

Numbers 31:16 is the only verse in the Hebrew Bible that attributes the apostasy of Baal Peor to Balaam’s doing. Indeed, we have already seen in an earlier contradiction (#297-298) how the later Priestly writer inserted the Midianites into a solely Moabite affair in their retelling of the earlier Yahwist version of the Baal Peor incident (Num 25:1-5). Numbers 31:16, however, presents another contradictory layer—that it was Balaam’s doing, that itRead More

#313. Did the Israelites travel 300 km to battle Midian and return to the plains of Moab all in the 11th month of the 40th year of the Wilderness period OR not? (Num 31:1-12 vs Deut 2-3)

In my Introduction to Numbers 21, I laid out the chronological and geographical problems created when the variant traditions represented in this chapter were stitched together and a later chronology and wilderness itinerary were superimposed upon it by its editors (see #268 for a visual diagram of this). To some extent Numbers 31 recalls many of these same chronological and geographical discrepancies. Numbers 31 recounts how the Israelites, commanded by Yahweh, are to avengeRead More

#312. Was the tamid to be performed once daily OR twice? (2 Kgs 16:15; Ez 46:13 vs Ex 29:38-42; Num 28:3-8; 1 Chr 16:40)

Despite Number 28’s decree that the tamid was to be offered twice daily, in the morning and in the evening, this sacrificial legislation seems to reflect public cultic practices of a late time period in Israelite history, to be exact of the post-exilic period. First, as we saw in the previous entry (#311), the tamid is only mentioned two times in all of Torah legislation, and not surprisingly in some ofRead More

#311. Was the regular burnt-offering (tamid) performed at Sinai OR not? (Num 28:6 vs Ex 24:3-7, 32:5-6; Lev 8-9)

Numbers 28-29 outlines the schedule of public sacrifices performed in the cult during the calendar year. The schedule complements P’s list of public festivals or holy assemblies enumerated in Leviticus 23 (see Festival Calendars for an overview). It is one of five different sacrificial or festival calendars in the Torah, whose contradictions and historical developments we’ve already discussed: For the Passover see #194-197 For the Festival of Weeks see #198-204 ForRead More

#309. Where does Joshua get appointed: in public OR in the Tent of Meeting? (Num 27:18-23 vs Deut 31:14-15)
#310. When does Yahweh confer Joshua as Moses’ successor: Before the giving of the laws OR after? (Num 27:18-23 vs Deut 31:14-15)

Following contradictions #307 and #308, the place where Joshua’s appointment is conferred and when are also contradictorily represented between the Torah’s different sources. The earlier tradition of Joshua’s appointment, which comes from the Elohist source, has been grafted onto the end of Deuteronomy. As noted previously (#166), it has some striking differences when compared to the Priestly writer’s version. As we saw in other entries (#166, #220, #231, #254), the AaronidRead More

#308. Is it on account of Yahweh’s indignation toward Moses and thus his refused to let him enter the promised land that Joshua is selected as his successor OR is it because Joshua was faithful during the spying of the land incident? (Deut 1:34-38; 3:26-28 vs Num 14:30, 38; 27:15-21)

I concluded yesterday’s contradiction (#307) with this thought: Finally, the author of Deuteronomy also informs us that Joshua was selected in Moses’ stead precisely because Moses too was not allowed to enter the promised land. The surprising thing here, is that if we look at the Deuteronomic tradition on its own terms, nowhere does it inform us that Joshua was granted access to the promised land because of his faith inRead More

#307. Did Moses already know about Joshua’s election as his successor OR not? (Deut 1:38 vs Num 27:15-17)

Numbers 27:15-23 introduces the election of Joshua as Moses’ successor for the first time, narratively speaking, in the Torah. Chronologically speaking it is presented as happening in one of the months in the last half of the 40th year of the wilderness period and coincides with Moses’ climb onto Abarim (but see #305) before he is to die so that he may see the land that he himself is refused accessRead More