THE PRIESTLY HANDS OF ESAU

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There are two different Ten Commandments in the book of Exodus.   

Christians insist the bible is infallible.  If so, why are there contradictory repetitions of the same events in the five books of “Moses?”  One version is clearly written by priests, while the other is not.  One calls God “Jehovah:” the other calls him “Elohim.”  This indicates that priests tampered with the bible in order to promote their own interests.

 

Two accounts of creation and the flood

Genesis presents two conflicting accounts of creation.  The first is a priestly version where God created man after he had created animals, and then took a Sabbath rest (Genesis 1:25-26).  However, there is another version where God created man before he created animals, with no reference whatsoever to the Sabbath (Genesis 2:18-19).

In addition, two different reasons are given for the Sabbath.  In the priestly account, we are told God instituted it because he rested on the seventh day of creation (Exodus 20:8-11).  But in another account, which Jesus validates (John 5:16-17; Mark 2:27), the Sabbath was established because God gave the Israelites rest from Egyptian slavery (Deuteronomy 5:12-15). 

Similarly, there are discrepancies in the biblical accounts of the flood.  In the priestly version, the flood was on the earth for forty days (Genesis 7:17).  But another version says the flood lasted for one hundred and fifty days (Genesis 7:24).

There are also anomalies in the number of animals that went into the ark.  Even though God did not differentiate between clean and unclean animals until the time of Moses (Leviticus 11); in the priestly version, Noah took seven of every clean animal and two of the unclean (Genesis 7:1-3).  Thereby, he sacrificed clean animals after leaving the ark without endangering the species (Genesis 8:20).

But in another version, we are told the animals went into the ark “two-by-two” (Genesis 7:13-15). 

 

Two covenants with Abraham: two quails from heaven

God made a covenant with Abraham, promising him a child and giving his descendants the land of Canaan (Genesis 15:1-21).  Paradoxically, he later made another covenant with him.  This one is priestly; requiring Abraham to circumcise every male child born in his house (Genesis 17:1-16). 

In the former covenant, Abraham believes God that he and Sarah would have a child (Genesis 15:6).  But in the latter, he does not believe; but laughs scornfully in disbelief (Genesis 17:17). 

There are also two conflicting versions of the provision of manna in the bible.  In the priestly version, the quails and the manna are blessings of God; and they are eaten without incident (Exodus 16:1-36; Psalm 105:40-42).  But in another version which Jesus validates (John 6:48-49); the quails are not a blessing.  They killed all those who ate them (Numbers 11:31-34; Psalm 106:13-15; 78:21-31). 

Two Ten Commandments: two golden calves

There are two different Ten Commandments in the bible.  One is in Exodus 20:1-17: the other in Exodus 34:12-28.  A feeble attempt is made to harmonise both versions through the unlikely story that Moses had the audacity to break the two tablets of stone on which God had written the commandments; because the people made a golden calf.  Therefore, we are told God asked Moses to come back up the mountain so he can rewrite exactly the same words (Exodus 34:1). 

However, it appears God forgot what he wrote the first time because he gave a different Ten Commandments the second time.  The authenticity of this second set of commandments is highly questionable because they cater primarily to the parochial interests of priests (Exodus 34:18-26). 

The making of a golden calf is also duplicated under very dubious circumstances.  In Exodus 32 when the Israelites made a golden calf, the Levites killed 3,000 of their brothers and neighbours on Moses’ instruction.  For this genocide, God is said to have rewarded them with appointment to the priesthood (Exodus 32:28-29).

Much later, Jeroboam, the king of Israel, installed two golden calves in Samaria, and created his own special priesthood (1 Kings 12:26-33).  Even though Aaron built one calf and Jeroboam two, during two different eras, both of them used the exact same words in launching their idols: “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt” (Exodus 32:4; 1 Kings 12:28). 

This shows the Exodus calf story is fictional; backdated polemically into Moses’ books by disgruntled Levite priests protesting against their exclusion from Jeroboam’s new priesthood.

 

The word of God           

The entire bible is not infallible.  Priests inserted their own forgeries (Jeremiah 8:8; Zephaniah 3:4).  Pro-David and anti-David factions from Judah and Israel also made conflicting inputs.  God is not committed to protect the varied man-made bible canons.  He is only committed to preserve the words of Jesus.  Jesus says: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35).