Gallery B

Rules Of Clay

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Moses Wrote The Laws Books – Not God

By James Donahue

The first five books of the Old Testament are known as the Books of the Law. They comprise the Hebrew Torah, the holy book of God’s teachings that were allegedly given by God to Moses to be written on parchment and used as instruction for holy living.

Most of the information was given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The last of the list of laws were reportedly given to Moses at the tabernacle and added to the holy parchment at that time. The Torah includes the Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Since Deuteronomy contains the story of the death of Moses, we must assume that someone else wrote at least part of that book’s list of laws.

The laws within the Torah have been faithfully followed by the Hebrew people for thousands of years. They also have influenced the Christian religion, which had its roots in Judaism. Consequently the laws found in the Torah have influenced the laws of the land in the United States and influenced decisions made in our courts.

The belief among the Jewish people and among many fundamental Christians is that God was the author of all five books of the law. They believe Exodus 31:18 which states that God gave the laws unto Moses. And "when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tablets of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God" where produced.

There is a problem with this story. The ancient tablets, whether of stone or clay, were heavy and the information, obviously written in Hebrew text, would be limited in size and weight if Moses was expected to carry them down from the mountain. So all of the laws contained in the five books of the Torah certainly could not have been included on those tablets.

The other problem is that in Exodus 32 we find out that Aaron, the apparent leader of the Hebrew people waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain, got tired of waiting, collected all of their gold jewelry, melted it down and make an image of a calf which the people decided to worship instead.

When Moses came stumbling back into town, still hauling those stone tablets carved by God, and saw what the people were up to, he went into a rage and smashed the tablets.

Yup, that’s right. Moses threw those sacred tablets made by God on the ground and smashed them into pieces. That’s why you can’t find them in any holy tabernacle or museum in Israel today. Those tablets don’t exist.

So where did the Israelites get the laws that appear in the Torah? It seems that Moses went back up on Mount Sinai and created new tablets. This time Exodus 33:27-28 tells us: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words . . .And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments."

Moses told everybody that God was there telling him what to write. But we all know that the God of Moses and the Israelites hasn’t made an appearance or spoken to anybody for thousands of years. And as far as we know, there were no witnesses up there to confirm that God really appeared to Moses. We have to wonder if Moses didn’t make this story up.

That would mean he sat up on that mountain for the next forty days thinking up and writing down a long list of laws for the people to live by. Many of those laws made sense. A lot of them applied to the times in which they were written. And a lot of other laws, which literally fill four of the five books of the Torah are so out of place they either make little sense or place a lot of hardship on the people attempting to live by them.

Those laws created a bloody time for the Israelites. A lot of people were stoned to death for their crimes, as defined by the laws. Children and women were put to death for either talking back to their parents and husbands, or sexual misbehavior. Entire communities were put to death for failing to correctly worship their Lord. A lot of sheep became blood sacrifices on stone altars to cover the constant sinning that went on. With four books of really strict laws, it was easy to become a victim of a sin, sometimes by accident.

Contemporary law books, many of them based on the laws created by Moses, and many others drafted by elected legislators who were attempting to force modern behavior into social molds established by a religious majority, have become so cumbersome, and the books so cluttered, that we have just as much trouble walking the straight line of the law.

I once road for a day with a county deputy who told me jokingly . . . although I believe he was also quite serious . . . that if he wanted to make trouble for a driver, all he had to do was follow the car for a few minutes and he could find a violation of law that would give him cause to stop the vehicle and issue a summons.

While it makes sense for a society to live under law, and for a legal system to exist that enforces the law, it seems that we have overdone the creating, writing and enforcement of the laws on our books. The laws we live under have become so complex that we must hire lawyers, men and women who specialize in studying and understanding the volumes of books that contain all of the written codes and ordinances, to help us wade through them.

The simple task of paying our income taxes each year is a prime example of what I am saying here. Few of us dare to fill out our own tax forms without chancing a federal audit of the decisions we make. And after going through a couple of personal audits, I realize that even the federal auditors don’t really understand the tax laws, which . . . by the way . . . get changed just about every year.

Are we nuts? Or is this form of insanity by design?