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Index to this Study

A History of the Bible

Dr. William S. Sadler

7. Development of the Hexateuch

  • 1. The first five books of the Hexateuch were supposed to be written by Moses, the sixth by Joshua.
  • 2. The five books--the Pentateuch--make up the Torah-the Law.
  • 3. It was about 250 B.C. when they began to claim that Moses wrote the Pentateuch.
  • 4. In recent times students of the Hexateuch made certain observations of the Hexateuch-viz.:
    • a.Two or more accounts of the same incident.
    • b.Numerous inconsistencies.
    • c.The evident composite character of the document.
  • 1. Abraham twice presents his wife as his sister. Gen. 12:11-14; 20:2-5
  • 2. Isaac did the same thing. Gen. 26:6-11
  • 3. Abraham three times receives promise of a son. Gen. 15:4; 17:16; 18:10
  • 4. Three accounts of Sarah and Abraham. Gen. 17:17-19; 18:12,13; 21:6
  • 5. Hagar twice expelled. Gen. 16.-4-14; 21:9-21
  • 6. Jacob twice names Bethel. Gen. 28:19; 35:6,15
  • 7. Jacob's name twice changed to Israel. Gen. 32:28; 35:10
  • 8. Name Yahweh twice revealed to Moses. Ex. 3:14,15; 6:2,3
  • 9. Moses commissioned twice. Ex. 3:10-18; 6:11
  • 10. Moses twice hesitates to accept. Ex. 4:10-13; 6:12
  • 11. Twice Moses receives Aaron as spokesman. Ex. 4:14-16; 7.-1,2
  • 12. Twice the quails are given. Ex. 16:13; Num. 11:31,32
  • 13. Twice water comes from the rock. Ex. 17:1-7. Num. 20:1-13
  • 14. At Sinai, Moses three times commands observance of the feasts.
  • 15. Six times--the keeping of the Sabbath.
  • 1. Man and woman created together. Gen. 1:26,27. This was after the completion of creation. In Gen. 2:7 man is created first, then the trees and animals; at last woman is made from Adam's rib. Gen. 2:21,22
  • 2. Noah told to take into the ark one pair of animals. Gen. 6:19,20. In Gen. 7:2,3 told to take seven pairs of clean animals and one pair of unclean.
  • 3. Gen. 7:12 records rain on the earth 40 days. In 7:24, 150 days.
  • 4. In Gen. 41:34 Joseph advises storing up one fifth of grain. In verse 35 advises all the food.
  • 5. Moses' father-in-law named Reuel in Ex. 2:18,21. In Num. 10:29, Hobab. In Ex- 3:1 and other places--Jethro.
  • 6. According to Num. 2 the sacred tent was in the "midst of the camp"; Ex- 33:7 says it was "outside the camp."
  • 7. In Numbers 13:27 the spies tell Moses Palestine is fertile. In verse 32 they say it is no good.
  • 8. In Numbers 22:20 God gives Balaam permission to go to the princes of Balak--in verse 22 God is angry because he went.
  • 9. In Josh. 2:15 Rahab's house was on the wall of Jericho which collapsed. In 6:22 Joshua directs they bring her out of the house.
  • 10. There are many inconsistencies in the laws.
  • 1. In Gen. 12:11 Sarah is an attractive woman--to Pharaoh. Gen. 17:17 says she was 10 years younger than Abraham, who was 75 (Gen. 12:4).
  • 2. Gen. 25:26. Isaac was 60 years old when Jacob and Esau were born. In 26:34 Esau is forty years old, so Isaac is 100 years old at this time, when he blesses Jacob on his deathbed. But according to 35:28 he did not die until he was 180--he was 80 years dying.
  • 3. The chronology of Jacob's life is hopelessly mixed up.
  • 4. According to Ex. 12:40, the Israelites had been in Egypt 430 years. Putting a number of separate events together it counts up to only 250 years.
  • 5. Thirty-seven years are "lost" in going from Sinai to Kadesh.
  • 6. These, and many others, show that the Hexateuch is the work of more than one author.
  • 1. In 1753, Astone--a physician-called attention to the alternating use of God and Yahweh in Genesis. This, he claimed, pointed to two authors.
  • 2. In a hundred years several students claimed that the Hexateuch was a compilation of "fragments."
  • 3. In 1858 Hupfeld claimed that there were two documents--the Elohim and the Yahweh narratives.
  • 4. Graf-Wellhausen Theory. In 1865 Graf recognized the Elohim document (E) and the Yahweh (J), and claimed that the book found in the temple by Josiah was Deuteronomy (D) and that the editorial additions of the priests during and after the exile represented a fourth (P) factor.
  • 5. This theory presents four documents:
    • a. The earliest was J, because of the use of the name Yahweh. The tradition of the southern tribes, written about 1000 B.C. Hebron is their center.
    • b. The second document was known as E, because God was called Elohim. This was about 700 B.C. This was following the fall of Samaria and was designed to harmonize the J document with the traditions of tribes having their center at Shechem.
    • c. The third document was Deuteronomy D. By the sixth century J and E had been conflated. JED was accepted as the Scripture by all Hebrews.
    • d. P represents the Exilic and post-Exilic additions of the priesthood. This is a fourth century document and makes Jerusalem the center of Jewish life.
  • 6. The people of the J document entered Palestine from the East--over Jordan. They seemed to know very little about Moses. They know little of Kadesh-Sinai is the center of their history.
  • 7. In the E document, Yahweh is unknown until revealed by Moses. Hebron is never mentioned. The covenant is given at Mt. Horeb. Kadesh is never mentioned. The Jordan is not crossed at Jericho but at Adamah. After crossing the Jordan they go straight to Shechem.
  • 8. The purpose of P was:
    • a. To build morale
    • b. Elevate the priesthood
    • c. Preach holiness
    • d. Revive the Sabbath
    • e. Make Jerusalem the center
    • f. Restore circumcision