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Numbers 13:21-22 has the perfect setup. A small band of spies are sent on a dangerous mission to survey a dangerous foreign land where danger will no-doubt ensue… dangerously! Nope. Leave it to the bible to make a story about undercover espionage as boring as a tax return! Instead of a heroic reconnaissance mission, we get a lesson in geography. Now don’t get me wrong, I love geography, but I’m just pining over how 007 this could have been.

So, you want geography? You got it! The spies begin heading north through the Desert of Zin (pro tip: deserts are the best place to look for grapes). They head as far north as Rehov, which we’re told, unnecessarily, is in the same direction as the great city of Hamath. From Rehov, they head south through Negev to Hebron where they discover the children of Anak (more on him later).

One stand-out passage is where we’re told that Hamath was built seven years before Zoan, a city in Egypt. The reason this is strange is because Zoan has never been mentioned yet, and won’t be mentioned again until Psalms 78! There we’re told that Zoan was the name of the city where Moses demonstrated the plagues before Pharaoh. However, the majority of Psalms wasn’t written until hundreds of years after the first drafts of the Numbers. And this seems to explain why this sentence doesn’t fit with the flow of the story, it was probably added to the Book of Numbers by the Priestly source in order to ret-con Zoan. The only thing that still makes me wonder is, why mention this here in Number rather than Exodus when the plagues actually happened? This is just one more out-of-place sentence to deteriorate the bible’s credibility as the perfect work of a perfect author.



Ladyofthemasque writes:



...Maybe that's the point? Maybe whoever was stuck with the job of editing this all together was a logical person who was so pissed at what he was reading (misogynistic shepherd cultures don't let women write important religious texts, usually) that he decided to screw everyone over by making it clear to other fellow logical thinkers that this book ISN'T perfect, nor the unerring Word of God?

Ladyofthemasque writes:


(Obviously he wouldn't be allowed to rewrite any of the text, but he could jumble it up and "insist on inserting all versions of the story, so as not to omit a single word of God!"...oh, how clever...)

(...Or maybe Editing just hadn't been invented yet, just as any real sort of awareness of how to tell a really good story clearnly hadn't been figured out yet. *shrug*)

Baughbe writes:


Or maybe just a good example how poor thinking results in poor writing. To be mentally deficient enough to contiue to believe in this after maturing to your full mental capabilities and actually reading the stupid book, must be a requirement of belief. See the nice little circular reasoning I did there? Just like the believers like to use!

Sander the Great writes:


are other stories of gods and histories of nations as mixed up and boring as the bible.


Oh the irony!