Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Implications of the Original Narrative of Exodus According to 4Q158

It is rarely discussed outside the small circle of authorities on the Qumran text that - following the pattern in the Samaritan Pentateuch - material from Deuteronomy 5 and Exodus 20 were 'integrated' into a single narrative. The assumption of most scholars is that - somehow! - the existing Jewish text is still 'correct' despite the basic agreement between the ancient Jewish and surviving Samaritan text - viz. that Exodus originally 'contained' material 'from Deuteronomy 5.'

Of course it goes without saying that our Exodus couldn't have been redacted in the Common Era.  Perish the thought!  Yet it becomes clear - to me at least - that the two powers heresy were responsible for not only the transformation of Masoretic Exodus but also both the Samaritan and Jewish of the narrative immediately following the revelation at Sinai.  For we read in 4Q158:
Honor your [father] and your mother, [so that you may live long in the land God will give you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear] false witness [against] your [neighbor]. You shall not desire [your] nei[ghbor's] wife, [slave, ox, donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor]. God said to Moses, Dt 5:30- 31 "Tell them to [return to their tents. And with you next to Me I will tell them all the commandments, statues] and ordinances you are to teach them. They are to follow these rules in the land [I am about to give them"...] 5The people returned to their tents, but Moses remained before Ex 20:22-26 [God. God said, "tell the Israelites] 'that they have seen Me speak to you from heaven. They are not to make [gods of silver or gold. They need to only make an altar of earth, and sacrifice] on it your burnt offerings and offers of well being, your sheep [and oxen. Every place where I cause My named to be remembered I will come and bless you. If] you build me [an altar of stone] do not use formed stone. For by using a chisel [upon it you ruin it. Do not go up steps to My altar or your nakedness will be exposed] on it"
Now just look at the implications of the narrative here.  According to the author of the Pentateuch (i.e. Ezra retelling the ancient story of how the Israelites received the Law) the people only saw the revelation of the ten utterances.  They went back into their tents and then 'afterwards' all these other laws that Moses claimed now (i.e. with the publication of the Pentateuch) to have received from God.

But clearly the original narrative was developed because the people only knew the ten utterances.  All that came afterwards was something new that was 'added' by Ezra in the name of Moses.  For God's sake people, we can't continue to all be this stupid can we?

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