Do We Have the Original Old Testament?
Encyclopedia Britannica says, “The Old Testament was written in different eras (times), and by the hands of different authors from different cultures”.
In his book, “The Story of Civilization”, Will Durant said that these stories had been mixed, and took their final form in 300 BCE. He said, “Scholars agree that the earliest book of the Old Testament’s books is Genesis, some of it was written in Judah, and some in Israel. Then what was written here and there was combined after the fall of the two countries. The prevailing opinion is that the five books of the Torah took their final form in about 300 BCE”.
However, other scholars said that the Pentateuch took its final status in 400 BCE, while the rest of the Old Testament’s books in 200 BCE.
Genesis speaks about Abraham’s wife, Sarah’s beauty and that the Pharaoh of Egypt liked her even though she was sixty-five years old. (See Genesis 17:17 “Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?”) Thus, there were ten years between them. Abraham left Haran when Sarah was sixty-five years old. “Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran. And they went forth to go into the land of Canaan.” (Genesis 12:4-5)
Then, when she became more than ninety (See Genesis 17:24 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.) she moved the desirability of Abimelech the king of Gerar. “And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt that he said unto Sarai his wife. Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon. Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive…And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.” (Genesis 12: 11-15)
Then Genesis mentions that Abraham reached ninety-nine years old and that he was circumcised at that age; that means that Sarah was ninety. The book, then, continues in telling about the journey of Abraham and his old wife to the South, to be admired and liked – this time – by Abimelech the king of Gerar. “And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, she is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.” (Genesis 20: 1-3) Is it possible that kings would fall in love with a woman who is almost ninety? It is one of the mistakes of the Holy Bible, and one of the proofs that it is man-made.
Among the Mistakes in the Holy Bible are those promises that the Torah promised, and then had not been fulfilled, which indicate that they are mistakes; if they were true, the promise should be fulfilled.
Genesis mentions that God said to Abraham, “And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither (Palestine) again”. (Genesis 15: 15-16) In fact, the historical reality belies this; the third and fourth generations of Abraham, the tribes and their children, were those who entered Egypt, not those who left it. Those who left Egypt were the sixth generation of Abraham.
Genesis mentions the trip of Hagar and her son Ishmael, however, the writer also made a mistake. The Torah mentions that the trip was after the birth and the weaning of Isaac. Then it mentions that Hagar carried her son Ishmael on her shoulder, as if he was a small child. He was not less than sixteen years old, as evidenced by the age of Abraham at the birth of his sons (adding 30 months for weaning). (See Genesis 16:16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, (86) when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram and Genesis 25:5 And Abraham was an hundred years old,(100) when his son Isaac was borne unto him.)
The writer had made a mistake and had forgotten that he was writing about a young man, a teenager, and not a small child. The writer said, “And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned… And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed… And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child… and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand… and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.” (Genesis 21: 7-19)
Book of Genesis mentions of Esau’s mother, and that she knew what her son kept in his heart. It says, “And Esau said in his heart, the days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob. And the words of Esau, her elder son, were told to Rebekah.” (Genesis 27: 41-42), it supposed that Esau said in his heart, so how did she know it?
Genesis tells about the betrayal of Joseph’s brothers to him. It says that Midianites merchants lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to some people of the Ishmaelites by twenty pieces of silver; and that these Ishmaelite brought him with them to Egypt. “The there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.” (Genesis 37:28)
In Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, and it supposed that he was sold to Potiphar by the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt after they had bought him for twenty pieces of silver. However, the author of the book had made a mistake. He said, “And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard”. (Genesis 37: 36)
It supposed that the Ishmaelites were the ones who sold him to Potiphar, and this is the truth; for, the Book of Genesis says, ” And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him down there”. (Genesis 39: 1)
Critics have spoken of the differences between these three texts. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the Samaritan text differs from the Greek text (in the Pentateuch) by over four thousand differences, and differs from the standard Hebrew text by more than six thousand differences. Such as:
The saying of Abraham in the Greek text, which also published in the (Christian Community Bible Catholic Pastoral Edition), says, “The LORD God of heaven and god of earth, which took me from my father’s house” (Genesis: 24:7). The words ‘and god of earth’ are deleted from the Protestants’ copies, which considers only the Hebrew text.
The Samaritan Torah mentions that Shem was six hundred years when he died, but this verse does not exist in the Hebrew and the Greek text. “He had more children and died at the age of six hundred.” (Genesis 11:11)
In the Hebrew text, we read, “And Cain told Abel his brother. And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up” (Genesis 4: 8), and it does not mention what Cain said, while in the Samaritan and Catholic Torah the verse is complete. It reads, “Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go for a walk.” And when… ”
When examining the ages of the parents in Genesis 5 according to the Hebrew Torah, we understand that the flood of Noah happened after 1656 years from the creation of Adam. However, the Greek Torah makes it in the year 2262 and the Samaritan in1307. How one could combine these three texts?
The transcribers’ wrong or corrected readings created hundreds of differences in the Torah’s readings. Praising the tribe of Naphtali, the Book of Genesis says, “Naphtali is a hind let loose; He gives goodly words” (Genesis: 49: 21). However, the editors of the English Standard Version were uncertain about this meaning; therefore, they changed it to, “Naphtali is a doe let loose that bears beautiful fawns”.
The Pentateuch mentions events that happened after Moses, which indicates that it was written after him.
The writer of Genesis, who supposed to be Moses, said, “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the oak of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land (Palestine)”. (Genesis 12: 6) The writer had witnessed the Canaanite’s exit from the holy land after the children of Israel entered it; he is not Moses.
The writer of Genesis said, “At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were still living in the land.” (Genesis 13: 7) A few of the Bible’s versions put this verse between two brackets to indicate that it is an addition. The truth is that it is original, and the book is of late authorship.
The writer of Genesis said, “And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel”. (Genesis 36: 31) The writer had witnessed the Kings’ Time, which was four centuries after Moses. The scholar Adam Clark admitted this fabrication. He said, “Probably Moses did not write this verse, and the verses after it until the thirty-ninth verse. I think and it is close to certainty that these verses were written in the margin of a correct copy, and the transcriber thought it was part of the text.”
The Pentateuch mentions the names of many things that the children of Israel knew only after Moses. Those things were named centuries after the death of Moses; how did the Torah of Moses mentioned them?
In Genesis we read, “And went after them as far as Dan” (Genesis 14: 14). Dan had had its name during the time of Judges, more than a hundred years after Moses. The Book of Judges says, “And they took that which Micah had made, and the priest whom he had, and came unto Laish…And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father”. (Judges 18: 27 – 29)
In Genesis we read, “For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews” (Genesis 40: 15) Palestine did not have this name in Moses’ time; for, the Hebrews did not enter it yet.
In Genesis we read, “And Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, at Kiriath-arba, that is, Hebron” (Genesis 35: 27). Hebron had this name in the time of Joshua, as mentioned in his book. “And Joshua blessed him; and he gave Hebron unto Caleb.. ow the name of Hebron beforetime was Kiriath-arba; which Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim.” (Joshua14: 13 – 15) The writer of Genesis had witnessed Joshua’s entrance to Palestine, and the change of the city’s name from Arba to Hebron.