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Did Moses write the Pentateuch


by Johannes van de Lagemaat

The Bible is a Book which has been exposed to strong criticism throughout the ages. How many efforts are not being undertaken these days to ridicule the Word and to try to show the incredibility of it! Some of these efforts are flatly ridiculous themselves and arise from enormous ignorance.

Other efforts are more subtle and can even sow small seeds of doubt with God’s own children. Certainly these efforts need not arise from bad intentions. They can be questions which arise from a sincere quest for truth. We don’t need to defend the Scriptures. They stand firm for themselves. But we can look for answers to those questions which make God’s children doubt whether they can build on the firmness of God’s infallible Word (according to our confession).

An objection

One of the many objections is that the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, has not been written by Moses, nor could even have been written during Moses’ days. In spite of what the Bible itself tells of the matter, critics think that they date from a much later stage of Israel’s history

One of the proofs for this is supposed to be Genesis 36:31. “And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.” And then it is all about this last part: “before there reigned any king over the children of Israël.” If Moses should have written this, then isn’t something remarkable going on here? In the time of Moses there were no kings in Israel at all. That would take hundreds of years yet. And yet Moses refers to a king here. How could he have known this? Surely this sentence could not have been written earlier than the days of Saul, the first king of Israel?

Moses knew the promises

Well, remarkable it is. But there are two logical reasons why Moses could refer to a future king of Israel.

In the first place Moses knew of the express promises to Abraham and Jacob concerning the future kings of Israel. Genesis 17:6: “And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.” And Genesis 17:16: “And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her, yea I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.” But even a lot closer to the te