One of the difficulties in debating issues with atheists, is their constant moving of the goalpost. For about 40 years the Documentary Hypothesis was defined by a few points that enabled critics the alleged ability to disprove the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. Chief amongst these was the idea that no alphabet or writing system existed when Moses wrote the Torah. This posit has been thoroughly impeached.
In 2012, Joel Baden realized that this former tactic of asserting no early writing system, was no longer tenable. Picking up where other critics of the Torah had left off, Baden set out to demonstrate the inconsistencies, he believes, are found in the texts of the first five books of the Bible.
Writing essays, publishing Podcasts and a book, Professor Baden convinced a generation of atheists and progressive Christians, that the Bible was not a reliable representation of the God it declares. These inconsistencies that Baden asserts for the Torah, have become the evidence that non-believers use today to try and refute the Bible as the Word of God.
When we examine the texts that Baden claims are inconsistent and proves the hypothesis of the JEDP theory, we find that he has made critical errors in his exegesis of these texts. What Baden asserts for these texts as being inconsistent and contradictory, is simply not there.
This essay explores a few of Baden’s primary arguments.
Professor Baden’s Primary Argument To Disprove The Documentary Hypothesis: Contradictions, Inconsistencies, and Inaccuracies.
The primary argument put forth by Joel Baden in a majority of his essays, podcasts, and books, is the idea that the first five books of the Bible are filled with many contradictions, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies. The premise of Baden is that if Moses was truly the only writer, we would not find these errors in the texts. Professor Baden believes that these inconsistencies are an indication that multiple writers composed the Torah.
Here is the problem: There are no contradictions, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies in the first five books, only Baden’s misunderstanding of the texts. You will see in this essay—what Baden asserts as errors, and how it is he who has made errors by not understanding what the texts of the Hebrew Bible are actually saying. This is a stunning revelation, considering that a PhD has been conveyed to Professor Baden.
- The entire premise of Baden in asserting multiple writers for the Pentateuch, is based upon assertions of inconsistencies.
- We can review the books, podcasts and essays that Baden has produced, in which he states these inconsistencies.
- Upon examination of the texts from the Bible, in comparison with what Baden alleges are inconsistencies, we find his assertions are not true.
This is the purpose of this essay; to demonstrate the poor scholarship of Professor Joel Baden, in his exegesis of the texts for the Hebrew Bible.
- Proving The Exodus Happened, And Moses Wrote The Pentateuch.
- The Historical, Scholarly View That Moses Is the Singular Author of the Torah
- The Historicity Of Moses
Understanding that the entire premise of Professor Baden to assert multiple writers for the first five books, is based upon his supposition of inconsistencies in the text; and upon examination of his comments in comparison with the texts of the Hebrew Bible—we find them untrue—Baden’s entire hypothesis collapses.
In this brief essay you will see that the conjecture of Joel Baden is severely flawed, as he makes many critical errors
On May 25, 2022, Joel Baden posted a comment on his Twitter-feed, directed at his adoring atheist fans. In this post Baden disputes the non-operational alphabet and Moses authorship, as important difficulties for the first five books.
It appears that Professor Baden has read my impeachment of his Documentary Hypothesis statements, at my website, and has now reasserted his accusation of inconsistencies and contradictory texts, as proof that there are multiple writers for the Torah. Baden maintains that Moses could not be the author of all five books that comprise the Torah because of these inconsistencies he alleges in the texts.
This essay examines what Baden has said, and compares these statements with the actual texts of the Bible, revealing the errors he has made in his exegesis of the texts
Baden’s Primary Arguments For the Documentary Hypothesis—Inconsistencies—Also Impeached
In a Podcast with Professor Baden, on August 25, 2020, titled: “Did MOSES Write the Torah?, Baden tells the listener what the real arguments are, in his mind, concerning the first five books of the Bible.
When I listened to this Podcast I was dumbfounded that a man known as a Yale Professor of Hebrew studies, doesn’t know the answers to the following arguments Baden presents. Understanding that these false assertions are the reason that Baden does not believe Moses could have written the Pentateuch, It is difficult to understand how he achieved academic status as a biblical scholar.
In the most basic exegesis of the texts for the first five books of the Bible, Baden seems to be lacking fundamental reading comprehension. Professor Baden states that Moses could not have written the texts of Deuteronomy because the opening words of Deuteronomy states that these texts were actually written in Canaan. Baden reads the opening text of Deuteronomy, “on the other side of the Jordan,” revealing that Professor Baden thinks this means, Canaan. Baden says that Moses never made it to Canaan, rendering the opening statement of Deuteronomy, if written by Moses, a contradiction.
The facts are, seven times Moses told the Israelites that they will be crossing the Jordan River without him: Numbers 33:51, 35:10, Deuteronomy 27:2, 27:3, 27:4, 27:12, 32:47.
Moses told the Israelites that God had informed him that he would not be going across the Jordan River with them. God told Moses that he was going to die near Moab, near the mountains on the East side of the Jordan River:
Deuteronomy 32:48-50 Moses’ Death Foretold
“…That same day the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Moab, to the mountains east of the river, and climb Mount Nebo, which is across from Jericho. Look out across the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the people of Israel as their own special possession. Then you will die there on the mountain.”
To this revelation from God, Moses prepared himself for his death by finishing the Book of Deuteronomy, including the writing of his own obituary:
Deuteronomy 34:1-5 “Then Moses went up to Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab and climbed Pisgah Peak, which is across from Jericho. And the LORD showed him the whole land…Then the LORD said to Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have now allowed you to see it with your own eyes, but you will not enter the land.” So Moses, the servant of the LORD, died there in the land of Moab, just as the LORD had said.”
The Agenda of Professor Baden Is Clear
As I take you through the items Baden cites in the Pentateuch, which, he says, proves that Moses could not be the author, you will quickly learn that the arguments Baden presents as primary to discounting Moses as the author of the Pentateuch—are lies—contrived by him to deceive the reader.
It quickly became apparent to me that the entire premise of Baden’s view of the Documentary Hypothesis, is based upon his ignorance of the texts. He simply does not know what the scriptures say, and this has caused a majority of his errors.
Joel Baden—”Did MOSES Write the Torah?—Podcast
In a Podcast with Joel Baden, on August 25, 2020, he tells us that the reasons he does not believe Moses is the single author of the Pentateuch, is due to several inconsistencies he finds in the texts of the first five books of the Bible.
First Argument: Moses Was Dead, He Couldn’t Write All The Books of the Pentateuch
Baden finds impossible circumstances in the texts of the Pentateuch, which he cannot reconcile as possible for Moses, because the elder spokesman for God, was dead.
Baden states: “Deuteronomy begins by saying this is what Moses said to the Israelites on the other side of the Jordan, but if he says this on the other side of the Jordan then it must be written from inside Canaan. Where did he write it? Moses never got there, so how it doesn’t quite make sense.“
What the Book of Deuteronomy Chapter 1 actually states:
“These are the words that Moses spoke to all the people of Israel while they were in the wilderness east of the Jordan River.”
Notice the inability of Professor Baden to understand the fundamentals of the opening statement for Deuteronomy. Baden thinks “the other side of the Jordan, means Canaan.” In facts we know that Moses was still in the wilderness, on the EAST side of the Jordan river, when he wrote the texts of Deuteronomy. Moses had not entered Canaan, as Baden asserts.
This is Baden’s First Error
The Israelites are at Kadesh-Barnea in the fortieth year after they were delivered from slavery in Egypt. As Deuteronomy chapter 1 begins, the texts states that Moses is going to expound the Law of God and restate many of the principles He has already taught the people. Deuteronomy is known as the “second telling of the Law.”
Moses tells the people who will go on without him, that in order to conquer the people of Canaan and receive the inheritance that God promised them, they should remember that this is their second and final chance. The generation who doubted and complained against God in the wilderness, all died. In this reminder of Deuteronomy, God is telling this generation that has come through the wilderness after forty years, what they must do to be successful.
Moses doesn’t want this generation to fail and die in the wilderness as their fathers had. It was only an eleven day journey from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-Barnea. The people God brought out of Egypt should have arrived at Canaan, thirty-eight years earlier. Moses wants to ensure that this new generation doesn’t make the same mistakes of not believing and trusting God.
“Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses addressed the people of Israel, telling them everything the LORD had commanded him to say. This took place after he had defeated King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, and at Edrei had defeated King Og of Bashan, who ruled in Ashtaroth. While the Israelites were in the land of Moab east of the Jordan River, Moses carefully explained the LORD’s instructions as follows.” ~Deuteronomy 1:2-5
Notice that Moses gives us a frame of reference when this text was written: “This took place after he had defeated King Sihon of the Amorites.” Moses wrote the texts of Deuteronomy, in the wilderness, after this battle between the Israelites and “King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, and at Edrei had defeated King Og of Bashan, who ruled in Ashtaroth.”
This texts proves that Moses composed Deuteronomy long before his death and the entire book was completed while the Israelites were still in the wilderness.
This Battle is Described in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 21:
Numbers 21:18-24: “Then the Israelites left the wilderness and proceeded on through Mattanah, Nahaliel, and Bamoth. After that they went to the valley in Moab where Pisgah Peak overlooks the wasteland. The Israelites sent ambassadors to King Sihon of the Amorites with this message: “Let us travel through your land. We will be careful not to go through your fields and vineyards. We won’t even drink water from your wells. We will stay on the king’s road until we have passed through your territory.” But King Sihon refused to let them cross his territory. Instead, he mobilized his entire army and attacked Israel in the wilderness, engaging them in battle at Jahaz. But the Israelites slaughtered them with their swords and occupied their land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River.”
We can now see why Professor Baden, scholar of the Hebrew Bible, is a failure in his exegesis of these texts: He doesn’t actually know the Hebrew Bible. Anyone who simply reads the texts can quickly see that Baden doesn’t know what he is talking about. Moses wrote Deuteronomy, not in Canaan, as Baden asserts, being impossible because Moses never made it to Canaan; Moses wrote Deuteronomy, “While the Israelites were in the land of Moab east of the Jordan River.”
Either Baden is inept as a scholar, or his false assertion that Moses must have written Deuteronomy in Canaan, was intentional, to mislead the readers of his commentary and make them believe the texts of Deuteronomy proves that Moses could not have written these texts.
We can now see the true agenda of Professor Baden: He is purposely misleading people into believing that Moses could not have written all of the Pentateuch, because of false claims Baden makes here at the start of his Podcast: “Moses claimed to be on the other side of the Jordan, at Canaan.”
The text of Deuteronomy proves that Baden is lying. Moses wrote the texts “while the Israelites were in the land of Moab, East of the Jordan river, not in Canaan.
Second Argument: The Texts of Numbers 12:1:3 Is Inconsistent—Proving Moses Could Not Have Written This Text
A common objection used by atheists and critics of the Bible, is the idea that the texts of the Bible contradict each other. I have heard this assertion on more occasions than any other, in my personal debates with atheists over the past 47 years.
It is a fact of the Bible, with no ambiguity; there are no valid contradictions or discrepancies in the Bible. What we do find are the errors of inept scholars and laypeople who don’t understand what they are reading. A good example of this is seen in the following error made by Yale Professor, Joel Baden:
Baden states: “In Numbers 12…my favorite verse that that doesn’t make sense for Moses to have said, is where it says in the numbers 12 says “now Moses was the most humble man on earth,” which I always have the funniest thing for Moses to potentially written, but you can see why people would say that maybe Moses didn’t write anyway, so the question of maybe Moses didn’t write all of it?”
Baden’s Podcast comments are identical to what he published in his book, “The Composition of the Pentateuch: Renewing the Documentary Hypothesis.”
As we examine the actual texts of Numbers 12, we can see very quickly why Baden has made his error of assumption:
What The Book of Numbers 12:1-3 Actually States: “While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because he had married a Cushite woman. They said, “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he spoken through us, too?” But the LORD heard them. (Now Moses was very humble—more humble than any other person on earth.)”
I have two theories that define why this controversial text appears in Numbers 12. I like the second because it is fits a good exegesis of the entire text of Numbers 12.
First: In a majority of reliable translations of the Bible, we often find parentheses to indicate an editorial comment or remark made by a person other than the one writing the texts. If you pick up any one of my 21 Bibles in my office, you will quickly notices that they are filled with comments made by me in the margins and columns of these Bibles.
No one reads my comments and thinks that the original writer said these things. Most intelligent persons who do not have an insidious agenda to impeach the texts of the Bible, understand this fact of ancient extant manuscripts. We find comments written by persons other than the original writer, in a great number of surviving manuscript copies of the Bible.
We find the usage of the parenthesis also in the New Testament, where editorial comments are made in John 7:22, and 7:39.
A requirement for all good exegesis of any text found in the Bible, is to begin our investigation by first examining the text in question. We notice in Numbers 12:1 that Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses, and said: “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he spoken through us too?”
What follows this challenge to the authority of Moses leadership, is the statement that Baden criticizes as inconsistent for Moses to have said: “Now Moses was very humble—more humble than any other person on earth.”
In response to this challenge of Moses, he does not become angry—he does not fight back—Moses takes this conflict to the Lord. In verse 4, the Lord calls Moses, Aaron, and Miriam and says to them:
“Go out to the Tabernacle, all three of you!” So the three of them went to the Tabernacle. Then the LORD descended in the pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the Tabernacle. “Aaron and Miriam!” he called, and they stepped forward. And the LORD said to them, “Now listen to what I say:
“If there were prophets among you, I, the LORD, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams. But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! He sees the LORD as he is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” The LORD was very angry with them, and he departed.” ~Numbers 12:4-9
This is evidence that proves ONLY Moses was given access to God, because of his humility, whereby, God dictated directly to Moses—all the texts of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy—personally.
This statement above, from God, regarding the qualities of character that Moses possessed—defines Moses as writing what God wanted to be said. It also tells us that the statement about Moses’ humility was placed in the text of Numbers 12, because God wanted it there, so the Jews would know what kind of man Moses was, and his humility was the chief reason God spoke only to him.
Second: We see in the above text from Numbers 12:4-9, that there is tremendous evidence that Moses had a unique and special status with God that no other man on earth had. This status with God allowed Moses to write in the third person and speak honestly about himself.
Numbers 11:16, describes the “officers, Hebrew, “shoter,” שׁוֹטֵר šôṭêr; to write; a scribe, an official superintendent or magistrate: — officer, overseer, ruler. The Hebrew in this instance indicates that God considered Moses far above any other man on earth. This was the reason He spoke only to Moses, and only Moses could have written the Torah.
The text in Numbers 11:16, gives us an indication that Moses had a special standing before God, and his relationship was of such intimacy that Moses was permitted by God, to speak truth objectively, as God revealed each text He personally dictated to Him.
We see this exhibited as Moses freely describes his own faults, and failures, including his misrepresentation of God before the people at the rock at Horeb. Moses was also permitted to write God’s view of Moses, as “more humble than any other person on earth.”
It was because God saw Moses as a truly humble man, that Moses was the friend of God, and there was no one else among the Hebrews that God would speak directly to. We see this when Korah challenged Moses authority, and God opened the earth and swallowed Korah and all the men who came with him (Numbers 16). It seems clear to me that God told Moses to write the text regarding his humility, as this was how God saw Moses, and He wanted future generations to understand why He chose only Moses to write the Torah.
The Rock and Moses’ Great Error—Included by Him in the Torah
Throughout the Old Testament, whenever we read a story that contains a rock, the intended meaning is to illustrate a particular point of the Messiah’s ministry. From the beginning, the prophecies of the Old Testament describe a Messiah who will be known as—The Rock. This principle came from the Book of Exodus, where the Lord is leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, through the desert and into Canaan. While in the desert, the Lord gives His people water from “the rock.”
This is the first generation of Hebrews who God delivered from Egypt
And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!” And the LORD said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. ~Exodus 17:3-6
Paul told the Christians at the church of Corinth that when Israel was drinking water in the desert that came from the rock, that Rock was Jesus Christ.
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. ~1 Corinthians 10:1-4
This is the amazing story of the children of Israel, traveling through the desert for 40 years, on a journey that should have taken just 11 days.
While 2.5 million people were kept every day under God’s care and protection, they still found reason to complain and doubt the goodness of the Lord. As they come to Moses with their desire for water to quench their thirst, Moses approaches God with their request, and receives both strange and wonderful instructions on how God’s people can satisfy their thirst:
“…you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” ~Exodus 17:6
As the rock is struck, water flows out to quench the thirst of those who drink from it, giving them life.
It is not until we arrive at the New Testament Book of 1 Corinthians, that Paul tells us that this rock in the desert, which was struck, was really Jesus Christ:
“For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”
Jesus would be struck once for our sins. Any person who comes to Him, in confession of his sins, has the assurance that all his record of wrong has been removed, and a new life has begun.
“But this Man (Jesus Christ), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.” ~Hebrews 10:12
The Bible states that Jesus would be struck for our sins just one time
After the first generation died in the wilderness, the second generation, made the same mistake of complaining in the desert
Although the Lord miraculously delivered the Israelites from the terrors of Pharaoh, opened the Red Sea, fed and watered two and one-half million people while they journeyed through the desert, they still complained against the Lord. As a result of their ungratefulness, the Lord allowed this entire generation to die in the desert, never seeing the land that He promised them.
As their children continue in the journey, they repeat the same errors of their parents. The progeny of the complainers also come to Kadesh, and they are thirsty. Forgetting what happened to their parents, this second generation brings their complaints to Moses. His anger is aroused, and he returns to the Lord. Moses is instructed to go back to the rock and simply speak to it this second time, and water will flow out for the people.
This journey from Egypt to Canaan should have only taken 11 days. Because the people would not trust the Lord and cease in their complaining, it has taken nearly 40 years. As a new generation of people return to the rock, they are instructed by Moses to simply speak and water will flow out to quench their thirst.
When we examine Numbers Chapter 20, as Moses returns to the rock this second time, he does not speak; he takes his staff and strikes the rock twice. As a result of this action, the Lord informs Moses that he will not be allowed to enter into the land God had promised to the children of Israel.
And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” ~Numbers 20:10-12
Moses was angry with the people; but, in the process of expressing his anger, he misrepresented the Lord
The rock in the desert was a prophetic picture of the coming Messiah. The sacrifice Jesus would make for the sins of the world would be made just once. Therefore, the rock that Moses struck twice distorted the true plan of God. The Messiah would be struck once for the sins of the world, not twice. In this error of Moses, we see how important it is to do exactly what the Lord has said, and nothing else. We also understand that correctly representing who Jesus is to other people—salvation by grace through faith—is of vital importance. Finally, we see that in the mind of God, these prophecies of the Messiah are extremely important and must be fulfilled with great precision.
The rock in the desert represented Jesus Christ, who would be struck only once. By Moses striking the rock a second time, he misrepresented God before the people.
The people were thirsty, and God wanted to quench their thirst. The Lord was not angry because the people need help. In Moses’ irritability, by striking the rock twice when he should have spoken to it, he was representing to the people that when they came to God with their needs, He also was angry. In fact, the Lord loves His people and delights in meeting their needs.
Since our Rock, Jesus Christ, has already been struck for us, all that we have to do today is speak to Him, and the Living Water He longs to give us will pour forth. God is not angry with us when we ask Him for help. In fact, He delights when we come to Him in humility and ask for any good thing we need for our life.
This prophecy of Exodus 17 is a vivid and powerful representation of the importance of fulfilled prophecy in the Bible and how God uses prophecy to illustrate who Jesus is and why He came to the earth for us.
The entire purpose of the Old Testament is to give us a basis for understanding the future salvation God promised through the Messiah. Jesus told the leaders of Israel that what Moses wrote concerning the scriptures was all about Him.
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.” ~John 5:46 (ESV)
The rock in the desert typified the coming Messiah. Only once would the Savior of the world be required to atone for our sins. Since Jesus has died once for the sins of every person, there is no further sacrifice or work that is required.
“But this Man, (Jesus) after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God… For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” ~Hebrews 10:12,14
From Moses’ error and the penalty he suffered, we understand how important it is to properly represent the Lord and His plan of salvation to other people. If we imply that a person must perform a certain work or ritual in an effort to make themselves acceptable to God instead of simply coming through the sacrifice Jesus has already made for us, this is a misrepresentation of God’s salvation. If we imply that God is impatient, hateful, spiteful, or full of vengeance instead of loving, patient, and kind towards people, we have misrepresented Him.
As a result of his error, Moses will die in the desert and not be permitted to enter the land the Lord has promised His people
“Aaron shall be gathered to his people, for Moses shall not enter the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word at the water of Meribah.” ~Numbers 20:24
Notice that God told Moses he was going to die, here in the book of Numbers chapter 20, before Moses writes his obituary in Deuteronomy 34. This was possible because God told Moses in advance that he was going to die and not enter Canaan.
Later in the New Testament, Paul comments on those who complained against the Lord as well as Moses who misrepresented the Lord: They could not enter the rest the Lord planned for them because of their disobedience.
“And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?” ~Hebrews 3:18 (ESV)
We also learn by this prophecy that the title of “Rock,” as it is attributed to the Messiah, came from the example of this rock that was struck in the desert.
It is difficult to understand how Professor Baden does not know or understand these texts of the Bible
Personally I am shocked that a young man who has achieved a PhD, and is a Professor at Yale Divinity School, doesn’t know this fact of ancient manuscript documents.
Once again Professor Joel Baden has failed in his arguments to try and discredit the Pentateuch, with Moses as the author of all the texts. This is an extremely juvenile and unscholarly manner in conducting a proper exegesis of the Hebrew Bible.
Third Argument: The Texts of Genesis 1 and 2 Are Contradictory, Stating Two Creation Stories—Bringing Doubt To Moses Authorship
Professor Baden again suffers from a severe form of faulty exegesis in his conclusion for Genesis chapters one and two:
Baden states: “The two creation stories of Genesis 1 and 2, are contradictory, presenting two different creation stories.”
The primary problem that some scholars like Professor Baden, have with Moses as the Author of Genesis, is due to their incorrect premise that Moses could not have written Genesis because the events described in this book, took place long before Moses was born.
In order to arrive at the conclusions put forth in Professor Baden’s Podcast, one must assume the conclusions he describes, as facts. Describing events twice is not an indication that there are two distinct “doubling” of these events. It was customary in the writing of early Hebrews that the author, in this case, Moses, would state a summary of an event and return later to fill in the details of these events later.
Any genuine Hebrew scholar is well aware of this artifact of Hebrew writing
This is what we find in Genesis 1-2. When Moses wrote these texts there were no chapters or verses. Chapters one and two were one continuous narrative. Chapter one is a summary of creation; chapter two is merely a return to the same creation narrative, filling in specific details.
When God dictated the events to Moses that are found in Genesis, He did so by direct revelation, similar to what Paul states in the New Testament where he describes secrets or mysteries given to him by “direct revelation” from God.
Galatians 1:11-12 “Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.”
In this regard, God often repeats important principles or statements more than once. This is not an indication of two separate writings of the same event as Baden asserts. It is merely the style of revelation that God often uses in both the Old and New Testaments.
The problem with any conjecture of doubling or duplication of writing for events in the Bible, is that it gives the reader a false impression that “Secondary Sources,” ie., Mesopotamian sources, are valid. They are not. We do not need a secondary source to confirm the texts of the Bible. We have the primary source of the extant manuscript evidence of the Hebrew Torah that tell us everything we need concerning what God dictated directly to Moses.
The first two chapters of Genesis are not in conflict with each other. Chapter one tells us one creation narrative; chapter two, adds specific details to the Creation narrative of chapter one. In Genesis chapter One God gives us a brief summary of the events that took place in creation; chapter two He tells us the specific details of these events in greater detail.
Did you notice how this principle works? I just demonstrated it in the above paragraph. I stated the facts, then added a second comment to the original statement. Both are describing the same thing.
In order to arrive at the conclusions described in Professor Baden’s Podcast, one must assume the conclusions he describes, as facts. Describing events twice is not an indication that there are two distinct “doubling” of these events. It was customary in the writing of early Hebrews that the author, in this case, Moses, would state a summary of an event and return later to fill in the details of these events later.
Fourth Argument: The Texts of Genesis Describing The Flood, Contradict Each Other
Baden states: “How long did the flood last; like we all know it lasted 40 days and nights, except for the verses that say it lasted 150 days!”
Let’s examine the texts in question to see what it states:
What The Book of Genesis 7:17-24 Actually States: “Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.”
Did you see what Baden’s error is?
Verse 17 states that the rain and groundwater from the earth, continued for 40 days. Then the water that covered the earth, remained on earth for 150 days.
If we merely listen to Joel Baden’s comments on his Podcast, he leads us to believe that there are two contradictory statements in the Genesis 7 texts. When we read it for ourselves we see that Professor Baden deceived us. The statement of 40 days of rain, is not the same as how long the water remained on earth for 150 days, after the rain stopped.
This is the type of subtle deception that atheists construct in their comments on the Bible. Professor Baden did this because he wants us to believe that the Pentateuch is unreliable. He wants to convince us that the Pentateuch contains serious contradictions. These contradictions are due to the certainty there are multiple writers. We are learning already that what Joel Baden asserts as a contradiction or difficulty, is merely his injection of a false assertion.
The fact of the matter is, it is Professor Baden who has serious issues of dishonesty.
Fifth Argument: The Texts of Genesis Describing Joseph Taken To Egypt, Contradict Each Other
Baden states: “People go through Genesis 37 in a painstaking process…showing everybody’s attempt to try to reconcile who took Joseph to Egypt”
Baden’s Podcast comments are identical to what he published in his book, “The Composition of the Pentateuch: Renewing the Documentary Hypothesis.”
THE SALE OF JOSEPH, GENESIS 37:18-36, Baden’s commentary regarding this event:
“There are, however, problems in the text that cannot be easily resolved, problems that preclude any straightforward reading of the plot. These derive from the narrative presence and action of both Ishmaelites and Midianites in the sale of Joseph. When we read the text as it stands, according to its plain meaning, these two foreign groups are the source of great confusion. The Ishmaelite traders arrive on the scene first (v. 25), leading Judah to persuade his brothers that rather than kill Joseph, they ought to sell him; they will be just as effectively rid of him, and even profit in the process (vv. 26-27). Before the transaction can take place, however, the Midianite traders pass by, and though it was the brothers who had planned to sell Joseph to the caravan of Ishmaelites, it is the Midianites, according to the plain reading of the text, who pull Joseph from the pit, and it is the Midianites who sell him to the Ishmaelites.4 The Midianites, therefore, appear to frustrate Judah’s plans, as it is they who reap the benefits of selling Joseph to the Ishmaelites. If the brothers are present for this, they are strikingly silent.
Far more difficult is the notice at the end of v. 28 that the Ishmaelites, upon purchasing Joseph, brought him to Egypt. This is expected in light of what preceded in v. 25, where the Ishmaelites are said to be heading toward Egypt. But it is expressly contradicted by what follows at the end of the chapter in v. 36: “The Midianites, meanwhile, sold him in Egypt to Potiphar.”5 If this were not problem enough, Genesis 39:1 states that Potiphar bought Joseph “from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there.”
Essentially Baden states that in one instance the texts allegedly written by Moses in Genesis 37, states that Joseph’s brothers first say they are going to sell Joseph to “Ishmaelites,” then later to “Midianite traders.”
This particular assertion by Joel Baden is one that tells me his understanding of original languages is very poor. Professor Baden is so unfamiliar with the texts of the Hebrew Bible, that he doesn’t know that the Ishmaelites, are Midianite traders. They are one and the same, just different words used often in the Hebrew Bible to describe the same persons.
I use the name Robert Clifton Robinson in my formal scholarly studies and publications, but no one called me by that name, except my late, dear, mother. People who know me call me Rob. Both names are the same; both are describing me.
Let’s review the actual texts of Genesis 37 that Professor Baden has such great difficulty with:
Genesis 37:18-36 Joseph Sold into Slavery
“When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. “Here comes the dreamer!” they said. “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!”
But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.
So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing. Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt.
Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime. Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. 28 So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.
Some time later, Reuben returned to get Joseph out of the cistern. When he discovered that Joseph was missing, he tore his clothes in grief. Then he went back to his brothers and lamented, “The boy is gone! What will I do now?” Then the brothers killed a young goat and dipped Joseph’s robe in its blood. They sent the beautiful robe to their father with this message: “Look at what we found. Doesn’t this robe belong to your son?”
Their father recognized it immediately. “Yes,” he said, “it is my son’s robe. A wild animal must have eaten him. Joseph has clearly been torn to pieces!” Then Jacob tore his clothes and dressed himself in burlap. He mourned deeply for his son for a long time. His family all tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “I will go to my grave mourning for my son,” he would say, and then he would weep.
Meanwhile, the Midianite traders arrived in Egypt, where they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Potiphar was captain of the palace guard.”
Notice that verse 28 reveals the correct answer that I formerly stated: “So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.”
If Baden is truly a scholar with an academic Phd, from Yale, and is currently resident at this organization as a Professor of the Hebrew Bible, why is he incapable of knowing what the texts he disputes, actually say?
Joel Baden has an agenda to cause people who don’t really study the Bible for themselves, to believe what he says, because after all, Joel Baden is an academic scholar. The problem is, as we have seen exhibited by how inept Professor Baden is in his personal exegesis of these texts, he doesn’t know what he is talking about!
Moses included a definition for who the Ishmaelites are, Midianite traders, in the same text where Baden states there is a contradiction. The only contradiction found in this instance is that Baden is known as a scholar of the Hebrew Bible, but he doesn’t know the Bible.
The Midianites, in the Hebrew Bible, were members of a group of nomadic tribes related to the Israelites and most likely lived just east of the Gulf of Aqaba in the northwestern location of the Arabian Desert.
It is important to remember that Abraham had more than one son. God gave his promises to Abraham and his descendants—through Isaac, but there were other sons that were also sons of Abraham. Ishmael came by Hagar, and Abraham had six additional sons by Keturah, who. he married after the passing of Sarah: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah (Genesis 25:2).
The Midianites were the descendants of Midian, of course, and also children of Abraham. These descendants moved into in the land of the east (Genesis 25:6). It is highly likely that the location of Midiah was located on both sides of the Gulf of Aqaba. Habakkuk records in 3:7, that the Midianites were nomadic later in their history.
After Moses departed Egypt to escape the anger of Pharaoh, he journeyed to Midian (Exodus 2:15), where he met and married Zipporah. The father of Zipporah was Jethro, a shepherd for forty years, also described as “a priest of Midian” (Exodus 2:16).
This is evidence that the Midianites during Moses’ life, had knowledge of the God of their father Abraham. In Exodus 18, near the time when Moses departed Midian, God appeared before Moses while he still resided in Midian, and commanded him to lead the Israelites out of slavery (Exodus 3—4).
There was a very long and detailed history for the Israelites, concerning the Midianites. Knowledge of who these people were as they traveled through the location that Joseph’s brothers describe, was certain. When we read: “just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt,” there is no ambiguity as to who Moses met.
This is made clear in the text if we simply continue a little further, where we read: “So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern,” The identity of this group is made clear.
Why a Yale Professor could not find this in the text, is a stunning indictment against Joel Baden’s credibility as a scholar of the Hebrew Bible. This is the primary reason that I decided to undertake a critical review of these issues at my website. Baden has a large number of adoring fans who are enamored by his illustrious title from Yale. They do not realize that a Phd, and a professorship at a prominent school of Divinity, does not guarantee that the person will have actual, practical, accurate, knowledge about the subjects they teach students.
If you are a student at Yale where Baden teaches this drivel, challenge him in these five arguments. There are numerous, additional problems in the entire Podcast. From this brief sample, the first five arguments Baden makes in his lecture, all five are erroneous and quite easy to impeach.
In virtually all of the hundred of assertions of “inaccuracies and contradictions,” that Professor Baden levels against the Pentateuch, they are all easily defeated by a simple reading of the text themselves.
Why does Baden do this? He wants the reader to believe his supposition that Moses did not write all of the texts of the first five books of the Bible. Professor Baden wants us to believe that up to four unknown writers are the true authors of the Pentateuch.
The reason is as insidious as the first statement satan made to Eve, “did God really say…”
If Baden and others like him, can convince us that there are many discrepancies in the Pentateuch, this may convince some who are not aware, that these texts were not dictated by God to Moses, and they are not reliable. From this place, some begin to imagine: “what if these discrepancies are also true for the rest of the Bible? What about the texts of the New Testament which state Jesus is God, the only Savior of the world, are they inaccurate also?”
By destroying, very gradually, the foundation of truth found in the first five books of the Bible, satan and his scholars, erode the confidence of people who start to believe—”did God really say…”
Categories: Alleged Contradictions, Apologetics, Archeological Confirmation, Atheists uneducated observations, Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptics, Bible, Contradictions in the Bible, Defending the Gospel, Exegesis and Hermeneutics, Joel Baden, Josh Bowen, New Testament Criticism, Old Testament Apologetics, Old Testament Transliteration, Principles of Biblical Interpretation, Reasons For Unbelief, Robert Clifton Robinson, Studying the Word of God