Was Samuel an Ephraimite?

The lie we will be inspecting today is found here.

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/sacrifice.html

Leviticus 17:1-5 – And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them … What man … that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people: To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the LORD.

Numbers 18:6-8 – And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the LORD, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest’s office for everything of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest’s office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever.

1 Samuel 1:1-2, 20 – Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah …  an Ephrathite: And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah…. Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel. (“Ephrathite” here means “Ephraimite” — so Samuel was a non-Levite.)

1 Samuel 7:7-9 – And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him.

The crux of the lie is found here:

(“Ephrathite” here means “Ephraimite” — so Samuel was a non-Levite.)

Ephrath is a location in the Bible, and it means “fruitful”. Ephrathite can either mean a person from Ephrath or, in some uses, a person of wealth or influence. It can also mean a descendant of Ephraim. SAB is making a pretty big assumption that here it means a descendant of Ephraim since IN THE SAME VERSE it says they were of “mount Ephraim”, making him an Ephrathite by one definition right off the bat.

Fortunately, we do not have to leave the issue at being vague, because 1 Chronicles 6 lists Samuel as a Levite.Therefore, the evidence points towards Samuel being a Levite.

Does The Bible Contradict Itself On The Authorship Of The Torah?

The SAB lies we shall address today come from this link.

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/pentateuch.html

Deuteronomy 31:9 – And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi.

Deuteronomy 1:1 – These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness.

Numbers 12:3 – Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.

Deuteronomy 34:5-6, 10 – So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. (vv.5-6) …And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. (v.10)

The SAB claims that the first two verses assert that Moses wrote the entire 5 book Torah by hand, and that the later two verses are examples contradicting that (and the last two verses are among many which do make it seem like Moses could not have put the pen to paper for the entire as-we-have-today 5 book Torah).

The problem with the SAB’s assertion here is its claim that the first two verses claim Mosaic authorship of every “jot and tittle” of the Torah. The first verse only attributes “this Law” to Moses – that is, the law that he just presented in Deuteronomy. It does not attribute the whole of the Torah, or even all of Deuteronomy, to Moses. When these words were written in Deuteronomy the Torah was not yet organized into the five book collection we have today – We know that Deuteronomy was separate from the rest until at least the late 7th century BC because that is when Jeremiah’s father Hilkiah found Deuteronomy as a separate scroll in the Holy of Holies as a separate scroll (2 Kings 22:8, 2 Chronicles 34:14) and the first time the Torah existed in the modern collection was when Ezra brought it with him out of exile – almost two centuries later.

Deut 1:1, similarly, does not attribute the whole of the Torah or even the whole of Deuteronomy to Moses. Even among the most traditional supporters of Mosaic authorship, the belief is that those final verses concerning Moses’ death were written by Joshua.

The argument here is weak, responds to a strawman, and lies about what the verses are saying.

How characteristic of the SAB.

If you ask someone for something and they give it to you, are you stealing?

SAB appears to believe so.

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/steal.html

The verses for discussion are these:

Exodus 3:22 – But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour … and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.

Exodus 11:2 – Let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver and jewels of gold.

Exodus 12:35-36 – And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians … and they spoiled the Egyptians.

The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible would have you believe that this is a case of theft. But it is not.

The Hebrew word translated as borrow is this one:

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H7592&t=KJV

The word’s meaning is explicit – it means to ask or beg for something. In certain tenses, it means to ask and have had it given to you. It never means steal. Every possible meaning of the word necessitates asking.

Why would such extreme requests be successful? And is it fair to accuse the SAB of lying for making assumptions about a vague translation?

The answer to both questions is found in Exodus 3:21 – the verse before the first verse given by SAB.

“And I’ll put this people’s favor in Egypt’s eyes; and it will be, when you go, you won’t go empty-handed.”

They were so helpful because God put favor for them in the eyes of the Hebrews. Why would God put favor in Egypt’s eyes for the sake of theft? Egypt’s opinion wouldn’t matter for theft. Egypt’s opinion being favorable matters because they are making a request, which they want to be successful. Since we know the author of the SAB read this verse, the only conclusion that can be drawn is dishonesty.

Wow, this post is so short O.o

Let’s go ahead and look at the other two verses (skipping Wisdom because I do not consider it scripture and do not know as much about it).

Ezekiel 39:10 – They shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robben them, saith the Lord God.

Nahum 2:9 – Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold: for there is none end of the store and glory out of all the pleasant furniture.

Before I address either of these individually, friendly reminder that predicting something and condoning it are not inherently the same thing. God saying X will happen is not the same as God saying X SHOULD happen. These are only two verses and this only applies to one of them, but it is important as a general principle so I am throwing it out there anyway.

Say you’re in school and a bully takes your lunch money.

If you take it back, are you guilty of theft? SAB’s interpretation of the Ezekiel passage. This prediction (not command) centers around Israel taking things back from the people who had robbed them. This is not the same as ethically condoning theft.

The Nahum verse is the prophet Nahum prophesying against Ninevah, declaring its destruction. His characterization of the plundering is not him actually ordering people to plunder. And even if he was, the people being plundered are dead. So it isn’t really theft.

In conclusion, there are no verses in the Protestant Old Testament left to support the idea that the Bible condones theft

No doubt my answers raised more questions about the nature of what constitutes a just war and why Nahum and Ezekiel would prophesy such things against these nations in the first place, but that is a discussion for a different time and not relevant to the topic of the Biblical stance on theft. When I write a post about war in the Bible somewhere I will edit in a link in this post.

Does mentioning other gods indicate a belief in those other gods? (There are like a million verses in this post so settle in)

Okay oh my gosh. We will be looking at all of this page except the first three (which were covered in the previous post).

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/gods.html

The verses concerned are as follows.

Exodus 12:12 – And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment

Exodus 15:11 – Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods?

Exodus 18:11 – Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods.

Exodus 20:3, 5 – Thou shalt have no other gods before me. … Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.

Exodus 22:20-28 – He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed. (v.20)

Thou shalt not revile the gods. (v.28)

Exodus 23:13-32 – Make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth. (v.13)

Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. (v.24)

Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. (v.32)

Exodus 34:14 – For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Numbers 33:4 – Upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments.

Deuteronomy 3:24 – What God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works?

Deuteronomy 5:7 – Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

Deuteronomy 6:14-15 – Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;(For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you)

Deuteronomy 10:17 – For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords.

Deuteronomy 28:14 – Thou shalt not … go after other gods to serve them.

Joshua 24:2-14 – They served other gods. (v.2)

Fear the Lord … and put away the gods which your fathers served. (v.14)

Judges 11:24 – Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess?

1 Samuel 6:5 – Ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods.

1 Samuel 28:13 – And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.

1 Chronicles 16:25 – The Lord … is to be feared above all gods.

Psalm 82:1-6 – God standeth in the congregation of the mighty, he judgeth among the gods. (v.1)

I have said, Ye are gods. (v.6)

Psalm 86:8 – Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord.

Psalm 96:4 – For the Lord … is to be feared above all gods.

Psalm 97:7 – Worship him, all ye gods.

Psalm 135:5 – Our Lord is above all gods.

Psalm 136:2 – O give thanks unto the God of gods.

Jeremiah 1:16 – I will utter my judgments against them … who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods.

Jeremiah 10:11 – The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.

Jeremiah 25:6 – And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.

Jeremiah 46:25 – I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods.

Zephaniah 2:11 – The Lord will be terrible to them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth.

John 10:33-34 – The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

1 John 5:7 – For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Okay, wow. Some of these require a little extra attention, but let’s lay down some general facts first.

The link above also contains some references to explicit declarations of monotheism in Deuteronomy. Yet the author of Deuteronomy, the same guy, also wrote some of the verses in this list. Could he not make up his mind? Did his position change as he was writing? (Adherents to the Documentary Hypothesis should note that some scholars believe that the author was Jeremiah and his scribe, Baruch – if this is accurate, the same point applies to the Jeremiah excerpts)

The correct, obvious response is summarized in Friedman’s Commentary on the Torah:

Some argue that the wording of the first commandment is not properly monotheistic. They say the commandment “You shall not have other gods before my face (or: in my presence, or: before me)” suggests a recognition that other gods exist. They therefore argue that the commandment only prohibits the worship of other deities but does not deny their reality. This appears to be a too-careful reading of these words. The fact is that it is difficult to word a command of monotheism without referring to other deities. This is simply a fact of language. (I frequently suggest to my students that they try to compose a number of formulations of a command of monotheism, and we regularly find that a substantial number of the possible formulations will contain reference to other gods.) Those who hold the view that monotheism came late in Israel cannot build a case on the wording of the first commandment. The issue here is linguistic, not theological.

Basically, a sentence referring to someone’s gods is not a recognition that those gods exist. If an atheist facebook page posts an image macro attacking God, they are not saying they believe in God, they are referring to a character that we believe in. This is just ordinary language stuff, and the SAB using these sorts of verses to pretend it indicates poly/henotheism is characteristically dishonest.

It is also worth noting that some verses (including almost all of the Psalms passages (although Psalms are poems and songs anyway and don’t necessarily reflect literal truth claims in every given sentence, so perhaps this point is moot to begin with)) use Hebrew words which include not only deities but earthly kings and judges and so on, and just means authority figures. Here is one example of a few.

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H430&t=KJV

That knocks out most of these verses right off the bat, but a lot of them have nuances which deserve specific attention.

This one, from Judges 11:
Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess?

This is a message from Jephthah (Remember him? The guy who killed his daughter? That guy) to the King of Ammon. He is trying to be persuasive, and is appealing to their own religious convictions to get them to do what he wants them to do. If I was talking to a Muslim and was like “Allah wouldn’t want that, gangsta” or if a mythicist asked me what Jesus would do in a given situation, that is not an admission that those beings exist. It is an attempt to appeal to a fundamental aspect of the listener’s belief system in order to persuade them.

1 Samuel 28:13
And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.

This is one of several of the verses that uses a vague term which could also mean judges, kings, deities, etc, but I am giving it special attention because it features clearly supernatural beings. Traditionally, this passage is about angels or (given the context, she is summoning dead souls, specifically that of Samuel, Prophet and Judge) extremely Godly men. The Talmud explains the verse thusly ( http://halakhah.com/pdf/moed/Chagigah.pdf ):

For it is written: And the woman said unto Saul: I see godlike beings coming up out of the earth. ‘Coming up’ implies two:
one was Samuel, but [who was] the other? Samuel went and brought Moses with him, Saying to him:
Perhaps, Heaven forfend, I am summoned to Judgment: arise with me, for there is nothing that
thou hast written in the Torah, which I did not fulfil.

So portraying this as poly/henotheistic is a bit of a stretch, to say the least. The Hebrew does not necessitate so and the ancient Hebrews did not view it so.

John 10:33-34
The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

… Here Jesus calls other humans “gods”. This is not a declaration of poly/henotheism. This verse would have a very good place in certain arguments but doesn’t make any sense in this context. The verse he is quoting is from Psalms, and uses one of those words that just means “powerful beings”, so it seems most likely that Jesus is punning here, because the verse he is quoting is not calling people actual deities.

1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

This is just straight up Trinitarian theology. At the end it says they are one. One. Not three deities. One. Construing Trinitarian theology as polytheism misunderstands Trinitarian theology. This topic calls for an article on its own (and within the coming weeks, I will write one, and edit this post to link it here), but in the meantime, the author knows what this is, and this feels more like a potshot than a legitimate attempt to argue for Biblical poly/henotheism. The SAB goes on to claim that this verse was added later, presumably by Trinitarians. Which would weaken any counterargument that Trinitarian theology is not the natural reading of the text and that I am forcing an interpretation that isn’t there. Again, it straight up says they are one. Open/shut, until I write the Trinity article.

So… I feel comfortable concluding that, with the 11 monotheistic verses provided by SAB and all of their poly/henotheistic verses being not as they claim, the Bible appears to not necessarily assert that other deities exist.

Does Exodus 22:29 Condone Human Sacrifice?

My first round is mostly going to come from this page because it seems like as good a place to start as any.

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/human_sacrifice.html

(Note: I am only doing one a day. I will get to most of this list, one at a time)

One of the verses on this list, the Lie Of The Day, is Exodus 22:29. Which says:

Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.

This does indeed sound intimidating. But, and this is my cardinal rule of Biblical interpretation, we have to strip away all our assumptions and ask ourselves the following question:

What does the text SAY?

It is common to skip this step and go right to what we think the text MEANS. But our 21st century 1st world is different than the ancient one, we are reading it in a different language and neck high in ways of interpreting “insinuations” that would have been totally alien to the authors of the Bible.

What it says is that they shall give their firstborn sons to God.

This does not refer to sacrifice. It refers to the redemption of the child, which was a ritual described in greater detail in Numbers 18:

Everything that opens the womb of all flesh, whether man or beast, which they offer to the Lord, shall be yours. Nevertheless, the firstborn of man you shall redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. And their redemption price s(at a month old you shall redeem them) you shall fix at five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, twhich is twenty gerahs.

It is a symbolic gesture. They are taken to the Kohen (the Priests) and 5 silver coins are paid to them as a symbolic gesture. I don’t see a way to improve upon Wikipedia’s summary of the meaning here, so I won’t try.

Following the Israelite Exodus from Egypt, after the nation had sinned with the Golden Calf, the priesthood was taken away from the first-borns, and given to the tribe of Levites, specifically to the Kohanim, High Priest Aaron, his children, and their descendants. At the same time it was instituted that the first born of each family should be redeemed; i.e. they would be ‘bought back’ from the dedication to God that would previously have been required of them. Levites were substituted for the first-born and wholly given to Divine service:

The ancient Hebrews did not sacrifice their firstborn children😛 That’s ridiculous. One of many examples to come of ways in which the SAB is lying to you to advance its agenda.

Hello, and welcome to my new blog

I don’t intend to stick with this forever, but until I get bored with it and feel I have made my point I will be calling the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible on one lie per day.

The SAB is an awful source, and it is tiresome to see people citing it as a good source while being condescending about equally bad sources they disagree with.

If you like what you find here and want to keep up with my future writings after I abandon this in the future, you should follow my twitter.

https://twitter.com/NakaiTheRash

So without further ado/adue/whatever, I am going to write my lie of the day for today😀