First and foremost a person should be intellectually honest with themselves when looking at the Torah and the Tanach. I say this for several reasons.

The first reason is because the Torah, the one we have today, was not written by Moses. This is because the original Paleo-Hebrew Law "of" Moses was lost or destroyed between 586 BCE and 285 BCE. 586 BCE is when the Temple was burned to the ground by the Babylonians and the remaining people of the Kingdom of Judah were hauled off into exile, into Babylon. In 285 BCE a copy of our current Torah was translated into Greek in the Hellenistic town of Alexandria. Thus, somewhere between these two dates the real law was destroyed. What we have today is a patchwork of stories and narratives that were thought to be authentic to world history and to Jewish history. Furthermore, regarding the individual laws and statutes found in the Torah, many of them that are attributed to Moses were in fact, given by other prophets. Some Laws* in the current Torah indicate that certain manners of conduct are sinful, yet, according to the other writings outside of the Torah such things were not considered "sins" at all. This shows there is a confusion with the authors of the Torah regarding what was considered a sin.  

Without touching too much on that, however, the people that lived between this time frame of 586 BCE and 285 BCE are the ones that authored our current Torah.

When reading the "Torah," it is clear that the "five books of Moses" were written by various authors, because of this, it is understandably discerned "why" there are different traditions and contradictions found in the Torah. Furthermore, while in captivity, the Judeans adopted many myths of the ancient Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and Persians. Those myths were believed upon and then canonized into our current Torah.

It is my opinion, that because so much time lapsed from the patriarchs to then (the time after 586 BCE), things were simply forgotten or mingled up in the minds of these authors. The authors were merely trying to preserve their culture by putting things down in writings. Yet, the authors did not know, or were unaware that several things that they are writing down were not authentic to Jewish or Israelite history.

Moreover, if the "Torah" was truly written by a single author (Moses) in a certain time frame (1505 - 1465 BCE), the Torah would not contradict itself in its laws, nor be so vague in its narratives. Furthermore, the Torah would never have phrases like, "The LORD said unto Moses..." It would have phrases like this... "The word of the LORD came unto me in the Wilderness of Sin...." or something like that. Similarly, when reading the Law, it also does not discuss certain laws at all, whereas the other prophets do (e.g. not to conduct business during the New Moons and holy days, blowing the shofar on the New Moon and Full Moon, priests, prophets and lawyers are not allowed to take money, a righteous king can not help a wicked kingdom, and so forth.) Then on top of this, the Law is totally lacking in a lot of areas, such as modest clothing, arson, gutting the Passover so that you don't cook it with its manure in it, New Moon Laws, uncleanness laws are lacking specifics, and other things.

Therefore, one must be honest when looking at the Torah and the Tanach for there are many contradictions. This is not necessarily the case with the writings of the prophets, for the prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos and so forth were all inspired. But one can usually find several contradictions in any writing that did not come directly from a prophet because these writings come from an uninspired simple man/historian writing things down.

Having established that the Torah was obviously not written by Moses, but literally came almost 1000 years after Moses, I am going to share another contradiction that I have found with you.

The contradiction is found between Genesis 21:22-32 and Genesis 26:23-33.

There are several contradictions and problems...

1. Who dug the well?
2. Abimelech and his General Phichol are still alive and together (in both stories), even though it is 40 plus years later.
3. Why was BeerSheba named Beersheba?
4. Both stories tell of an oath.

Here are the passages...

Genesis 21:22-32
22 And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phicol the captain of his host spoke unto Abraham, saying: 'God is with thee in all that thou doest. 23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son; but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.' 24 And Abraham said: 'I will swear.' 25 And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of the well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away. 26 And Abimelech said: 'I know not who hath done this thing; neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to-day.' 27 And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and they two made a covenant. 28 And Abraham set seven ewe-lambs of the flock by themselves. 29 And Abimelech said unto Abraham: 'What mean these seven ewe-lambs which thou hast set by themselves?' 30 And he said: 'Verily, these seven ewe-lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that it may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.' 31 Wherefore that place was called Beer-sheba (Well of the Oath); because there they swore both of them. 32 So they made a covenant at Beer-sheba; and Abimelech rose up, and Phicol the captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.

Now here is Genesis 26::23-33
23 And he went up from thence to Beer-sheba**. 24 And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said: 'I am the God of Abraham thy father. Fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for My servant Abraham's sake.' 25 And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there; and there Isaac's servants digged a well. 26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath his friend, and Phicol the captain of his host. 27 And Isaac said unto them: 'Wherefore are ye come unto me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?' 28 And they said: 'We saw plainly that the LORD was with thee; and we said: Let there now be an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee; 29 that thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace; thou art now the blessed of the LORD.' 30 And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. 31 And they rose up betimes in the morning, and swore one to another; and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace. 32 And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac's servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him: 'We have found water.' 33 And he called it Shaba'. Therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba (Well of the Oath) unto this day. {S}


** = This is not meant to mean that it was already named Beer-sheba. Rather, the author of this narrative lived over a thousand years after this event, and is merely pin-pointing the local of "where" this event took place.

So, by this we can see that the these stories or narratives came from different authors and we cannot know for certain "who" dug the well.

When Abimelech and Phicol came to Abraham, Isaac had just been born, thus, Abraham was 100 years old.

When we get to Genesis 26 Isaac is beyond forty years old. Furthermore, the way the narrative reads, it would "appear" that Abraham was dead already, because in Genesis 25:9 Ishmael and Isaac bury their father. To go along with this, Genesis 25:26 tells us that Isaac's wife Rebekah gives birth to Esau and Jacob, yet, Isaac is only 60 years old at the time.

In addition, there is another contradiction...
According to one passage Abraham was 100 years old when Sarah has Isaac, then in another passage it says Abraham lived to 175 years old. Yet, according to Genesis 25, Abraham was dead before Esau and Jacob were born, when Isaac was only 60 years old.

Because of this age and death discrepancy, this explains why Abraham doesn't bless Isaac, nor Jacob and Esau.

In conclusion, it is clear that there were many authors of our current "Torah" and that the historical stories were so scrambled up, to say the least, thus giving us many contradictions in the Biblical text.

Maregaal
11/28/2011 6:33 AM (Arkansas time)

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* "some laws..."
If we look at the laws of the kings recorded in Deut 17, we can see that Moses did not give these laws concerning the king, but Samuel did (I Samuel 8). Since so much time had transpired (600 years or so) from Samuel to the time the authors of our current Torah penned it down, the authors obviously forgot who initially gave the Laws of the king, so they credited Moses with giving these Laws, but they were obviously given by Samuel.  Moreover, Moses never points out that it would be a sin for the people to ask for a king, whereas Samuel said it was a sin to do so. Third, the forbidden things of Deut 17 go directly against Solomon, yet, it was YHWH that gave Solomon his wealth, horses and so forth. Also, YHWH gave power, wealth and wives unto David and Saul and the other kings of Judah.