Hildebrandt, OT History, Lit. and Theology, Lecture 12
© 2012, Dr. Ted Hildebrandt
This is Dr. Ted Hildebrandt in his Old Testament History, Literature and Theology course, Lecture #12: The Plagues and the Tabernacle in the book of Exodus.
Exam Preview [0:00-3:14]
Class, let’s get started. We’ve got quite a bit to do today. Thursday you guys have got an exam going. I sent you information about the review sessions and study guides. So you should have that. Looks like in the last class we will just get through Exodus. The Leviticus questions will not be on there. It is over however far we get. Largely it’ll be multiple choice, probably about 80 multiple choice. There’ll be a couple memory verses. Then an essay, an integrative essay, where you will have to pull things together. It’s not something you can really study for. The essay will be basically three points on the back of a sheet of paper. How do you write an essay? Let me just say in this class this is how you do it. You’ve got an introduction, point one, two, three, conclusion. In the introduction, you’re introducing. Then you developing your three points or so and then in your conclusion you wrap up with what you’ve concluded. That’s the basic structure of the essay. You will put it on the back of your answer sheet. Peter asked if the multiple choice questions will be pulled from the online quizzer. No. It will be from the class lectures and the study guide-ish kind of things from your class notes. There won’t be any of the other stuff. We did that on the quiz so this will be totally different. Are there any other questions or comments? Okay. Let’s open with a word of prayer and then we’ll get down into the book of Exodus and try to finish Exodus today. Let’s begin.
Father we thank you for this day. We thank you that you are the great redeemer and that you bought your people back out of the land of slavery. You set them free and you led them through the wilderness. We pray that you might give us hearts that follow after you closely and not rebel as the Israelites did so frequently when you blessed them with manna, when you blessed them with water, when you blessed them with meat to eat. We pray that you might help us to realize your goodness and your grace to us and from thankful hearts to praise you and to follow you and to be obedient to your Word. We pray you might help us as we go over some difficult things today in your Word. Give us understanding in them. We thank you most of all for Jesus who is our Passover lamb. In his precious name we pray, Amen.
Names: Yahweh and El Shaddai [3:15-4:49]
Alright, let’s get started here. Last time we raised a question at the end of class and we didn’t answer the question. This is Exodus 6:3, where it says, “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob as God Almighty.” The word God Almighty, “God” is going to be what from the Hebrew, do you guys know what that is? Yahweh will be translated LORD, that will be Yahweh/Jehovah. When it says “God” it’s usually El or Elohim. Then “God Almighty” is El Shaddai. So El Shaddai, he’s saying “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew me as El Shaddai.” But it says, “but by my name Yahweh I did not make myself known to them.” So the name Yahweh they did not know.
However, when you go over to Genesis chapter 49 verse 18 there you have Jacob blessing his children and he says, “I look for your deliverance, O LORD,” or “O Yahweh.” So Jacob knows the name of Yahweh and he blesses his children in the name of Yahweh. Yet Exodus says that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not know the name. So there apparently seems to be this tension, this contradiction, between what Exodus says that the patriarchs didn’t know the name Yahweh, and Genesis, which says no, he did.
JEDP: Source Critical Theory [4:50-10:27]
Now the critics get a hold of this and they say: “see what you have in the Bible is different sources and these different source documents contradicted each other. When the editor put those source documents together, he didn’t smooth over the text to take care of this contradiction.” So this becomes known as the source critical way of looking at the text and I just basically want to put it up. So they suggested that Moses didn’t write any of this material. The first thing they assume is Moses didn’t write any of this and about 850 BC there was a writer who favored Jehovah’s name. They call this writer who favored Jehovah’s name, the “J” source. So this is the “J” writer and he favors the name Jehovah when he writes. He writes it about 850 BC. What are the two dates you need for this class so far? Abraham is 2000 and who is the 1000? David. So If I say 850 BC to you, is that after the time of David by about 150 years? Could this then have been written by Moses? No. Is Moses 400 years before David? So this is saying it’s 150 years after David, that this J-writer is writing some of this Pentateuch . He favors the name Jehovah. Now 100 years after the “J” source, there was an “E” source, and he favors the name Elohim. What is the name Elohim, how is that translated in your Bible? It is translated “God,” and both El or Elohim can be translated “God”. Jehovah, how did they translate Jehovah in your Bibles? LORD. This is the name Yahweh or Jehovah when you have in your Bibles all capitals with “LORD,” that means it’s the name Yahweh. Does that make sense?
So Jehovah and Elohim, these are two writers that are writing. What happens is somebody comes along and takes this J document and the E document and puts them together. But when they did that they didn’t see that these two verses contradicted each other and so this is what they call a seam between these documents. They put these two documents together and there’s a seam here where there’s an error, a contradiction between the two documents put together.
Then what happens is you have another document and that is the Deuteronomist. He’s writing the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy gets written in this critical theory about 620 B. C., which is the time King Josiah “finds” the book of the Law. The critics will say he didn’t really find it, but had it written or was written just before he became king. So the deuteronomist is responsible for writing the book of Deuteronomy.
Then lastly the P-writer. The P-writer is a priestly writer. A lot of times this would be associated with Ezra, the priest after the Exile (ca. 500 BC). When you look at the Pentateuch, is there a lot of priestly stuff in the Pentateuch? The priestly stuff would be the book of Leviticus, how to do sacrifices, how to do feasts and detailed things like that. So the priestly writer put in all these priestly details.
Then the Pentateuch was compiled about 450 BC out of these four documents. This is called the JEDP theory. Do you see why it’s called the JEDP theory? And these were documents that the critics say were written, and then they got compiled under Moses’ name. Therefore what we have in the Bible was not really written by Moses at all.
Now question: is this what the Bible says or is this all theoretical conjecture that they made up. Yes, it’s theoretical conjecture that they made up. Have they ever found one document of J or one document of E, or one document of D? Have they ever found any document or hard evidence to support this? Zero. So this is all totally theoretical. It was made up in the 19th century by a guy named Julius Welhausen and was adopted in the 20th century. If you guys were sitting in a university context they would assume this theory. They would go on to some other things probably but this would be assumed as underlining a lot of the work in the universities. This is basically a critical theory that’s taught everywhere.
Now, by the way, does this contradict what Scripture says? Does the Scripture say that Moses actually wrote this down? Yes. The Bible says that Moses wrote this down. We’ve given you references that Moses wrote Genesis.
Now does Moses write all of the book of Deuteronomy? No, because he’s dead at the end of the book, so he can’t write that. But who’s following after Moses? Joshua. So does Joshua fill in the rest of Moses’ life? It’s not a very difficult thing suggest since that they worked together all the time. So this is the JEDP theory.
Now you say, “Okay, Hildebrandt, how did you solve the problem? How come the one says that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not know the name Yahweh? What I’m suggesting here is that this theory, by the way, this is simple and as you move here it’s more complex. So these JEDP sources move from simple to complex. What other theory moves from the simple to the complex? It is built on evolutionary model. This basically plays with Darwinism too. You know there’s pros and cons of the evolutionary framework, but they’ve kind of embedded this in the source theory.
A Proposed Solution to Exodus 6:3 [10:28-12:25]
Now here’s the way I look at this as far as a solution. It says, “Abraham, Isaac and Joseph did not know me by the name Yahweh.” Now you say, “wait a minute, Abraham didn’t know the name Jehovah?” Wait a minute Hildebrandt, go back to Ebla, this is 400 years before Abraham, in Ebla there is mention of the name “Yahweh.” Apparently the name “Jehovah” was known 400 years before Abraham ever lived. So is it saying he doesn’t know the name or he doesn’t know the meaning of the name? What I’m suggesting to you is that God is saying this: They knew me as El Shaddai, I came to them and I promised Abraham, and I promised Isaac, and I promised Jacob, I was the Great Promiser in the book of Genesis, I promised all these things. You Moses are going to know me as Yahweh because now I am going to show you that I am the covenant keeper. You are going to see me keep my promise. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew me as the Promise Maker. You, Moses, are going to know my name Yahweh that I am the God who keeps my promises. And you are going to see me keep my promises to Israel. I’m going to free Israel out of the land of Egypt, I’m going to bring them into the promised land and give them the land that I promised to their father Abraham. So what’s being said here is not that they did not know the name, they knew the name, but they didn’t know the meaning of the name. They had seen God make all these promises but they had never seen God fulfill all these promises. Now, in Exodus, Jehovah/Yahweh announces to Moses, you’re going to see me now fulfill my promise. I’m going to bring them out and bring them into the land of promise. So do you see the difference there? They didn’t know the meaning of the name, they knew how to say the name. Now Moses is going to be able to see the promise fulfilled.
Bloody-Bridegroom Passage [12:26-16:43]
Now what’s happening with Zipporah? In the end of chapter 4, Moses is going, God says, “Moses go back to Egypt and deliver my people, pull them out of there.” So Moses goes back and on his way back, he runs into something. Chapter 4:24ff says this, “At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him.” Now who is the “him” that was about to be killed? Was it Moses or was it the son? The actual Hebrew is somewhat ambiguous there. It says “him” but you don’t know who the “him” is. Is it the kid or is it Moses? So, “he was about to kill him, but Zipporah,” that’s the “bird lady”, Moses’ wife, “took a flint knife and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. Surely you are bridegroom of blood to me! So the Lord let him alone.” What’s going on with this here? It’s interesting, she cuts off the foreskin of her son and she touches Moses’ feet with it.
Now I should be a little honest with what the word “feet” means. Do you know what a euphemism is? A euphemism is when you want to say something that’s not appropriate, so you make a euphemism and you say something else. So when somebody dies do you say, “he died” or do you say, “he passed away” or “he went to be with the Lord”? If they say, “they went to be with the Lord,” you say, “Oh good!” If they told you “he died,” that’s not so good. So do you see euphemisms with death and with bad things.
The word “feet” in Hebrew can also mean male genitals. Now I don’t want you to go through the Bible and say “Hildebrandt says the word “feet” always means “male genitals” and so every time you see, and “Jesus washed the disciples’ feet,” and you say, “holy cow!” Do you understand? I got to back off from that I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have used that as an example. He says they’re taking off their sandals, is it really clear that sandals are on your feet feet? But what I’m telling you is that there are about two or three passages in Scriptures where it uses this word “feet” to refer probably to something else. Does anyone remember the book of Ruth? Ruth comes in with Boaz and she uncovers his feet. You have to ask some other questions there. This is one of those passages.
Does it have to do with the circumcision? So the people are suggesting that she circumcises her son and takes his foreskin and touches Moses’ “feet?” Do you see the symbolism there from the son to the father? But all I’m saying is that it doesn’t occur very often, it occurs very rarely in Scripture, but it does occur. I’m trying to be honest with you guys.
So first of all, who did God attack? Did God attack Moses or was the son attacked? That text is somewhat ambiguous. Why did God attack him, whoever it was? Then the third question comes up here is: are there similar stories in Scripture? Does anyone remember the story of Balaam? And God says to Balaam, “okay, you can go.” Remember, he’s going to go, Balak says, “Balaam I’ll pay you money to come down and curse Israel for me.” At first God says, “don’t go with him, the guy is going to have you curse Israel.” The guy comes back and says, “Hey, I’ll give you whatever you want if you come down and serve me.” So God says, “Okay, Balaam, you can go.” So Balaam goes and what happens? An angel with a sword comes and is about to kill Balaam on the way down. So you say wait a minute, God tells him to go but this angel is there opposing him. So you get this idea that God tells someone to go but then there’s this opposition. By the way, is that a similar thing you saw with Jacob? Jacob is called to come back into Israel, when he comes back into Israel this angel of the Lord meets him and wrestles with him and puts his hip out. You get this come back and go to a land I will show you and then you get this opposition from God. It seems to be a similar type pattern here and there are different ways of looking at it.
Three Approaches to the Bloody-Bridegroom passage [16:44-23:57]
I want to propose three ways built off three people that have made suggestions here. The first is a guy named Brevard Childs, he was at Yale University and I assume he’s retired now. He was old many years ago. He’s a great Old Testament scholar from Yale University. He says that the boy was sick and it was God who struck the boy that the “him” there is not Moses, it’s the boy. The boy was sick and then the boy was circumcised and the boy got better. What this is is what’s called an etiological tale. Do different cultures have different stories explaining why they do things a certain way? Different cultures will have different stories. For example, if someone sneezes in class you say what? Bless you. Are there stories to explain why you say, “bless you”?
Different cultures have different things. In Massachusetts culture I learned that I get rammed in the back of my car three times when I got here. Three times somebody rear-ended me. I was stopping at a stop sign, and bam, I got hit from behind. I stop at another sign and bam I get hit in the rear. After a while I learned what? Do people in Massachusetts roll their stop signs? Yes they do. I got the back of my car wrecked up because I didn’t roll the stop sign so they just rammed right into the back of me. So question, did I get a hint after a while? I’m not from this area, so now I do what? By the way, I’m not saying, you guys as college students should do that. The police love to pick up college students, so when you come to a stop sign, stop. All I’m telling you is that people roll stop signs here. Now why do people roll there stop signs in Massachusetts? Someone told me this etiological tale of why they roll them. Because in the winter snow is a problem here. If you stop in the winter, what happens to your car? It gets stuck. So you roll your stop signs, and then then they just do it all year round. Do you see how that was like a tale that they told to explain some phenomenon.
So the suggestion is that here the story is telling us then why Moses is doing circumcision. So this is an etiological tale to say this is why we do circumcision. God almost killed Moses’ kid, he was circumcised, he was spared, and this is why the Jews do circumcision. A tale like that is called an etiological tale.
Now a second view is done by Walter Kaiser. Walter Kaiser was the president of Gordon Conwell Seminary for quite a while. He is a great Old Testament scholar and an evangelical too. He says that Moses was the one that was sick. When God struck “him”, it was Moses and the boy was circumcised. The point of the story is obedience. Moses had not circumcised his own son and therefore God is calling Moses to say, “if you’re going to lead my people, you need to be obedient to me.” The leader needs to be obedient as a model for the people who are under him. So he’s saying, “Moses you need to be obedient to me and your own son is not that way.”
Here’s a second reason that I’m kind of putting out to Kaiser’s suggestion. Some people suggest this, that Moses’ son needed to be circumcised because do you remember Passover? At Passover who dies? The firstborn son. If his son was not circumcised, can his son stay and eat the Passover. Or does his son have to go outside the door with the blood on it because the son is not circumcised. If the son is outside the door, what happens to that son? He’s dead. So what God is saying is, “Moses, there’s going to come a situation later on, circumcise your kid so he can eat the Passover with you and won’t be kicked out.” So this could be like a premonition that he’s taking care of this problem. By the way, this argument is conjectural. Does biblical text say that? No, that’s conjectural on my part. I just think there might be some truth to that. So this is Walter Kaiser stressing obedience.
So then why does Zipporah get so ticked off? Zipporah actually gets really angry and it turns out that Allen Ross says that Moses was struck down and the boy was circumcised. What I like about Ross’ bloody bridegroom argument is that it explains why Zipporah was so angry. What Allen Ross suggests is that Zipporah was used to adolescent circumcision. In some cultures they do circumcise adolescents. What’s the problem with being a guy? Well there are several problems, but what the problem with being a guy…when a girl gets to be a certain age does her body signals the girl to woman change. And there’s definitely things that go on in her body. In a lot of cultures the boys to men transition is a problem. Some cultures use things like Bar Mitzvah to indicate when a boy becomes a man. That sounds like a pretty good question. When is the boy a man? That’s what I was afraid of, some of the women say, “Never.” There’s a part of the boy that stays with all of us, at least with this boy, and I’m an old man now.
So because the culture has this problem especially with males in transition into adulthood some of cultures will use adolescent circumcision as kind of the gateway or rite of passage. Once the boy has been circumcised now he is welcomed into the adult community. So Zipporah is used to adolescent circumcision and she was not used to neonate circumcision. Neonate means baby circumcision. So when she has to circumcise a child who’s not ready for adulthood she is really really upset with Moses. It’s gross to circumcise a baby from her perspective. Who would ever do that to an innocent baby? What I’m telling you is that is the best time in life to do it. But anyways, so she gets really upset, by the way, in the narrative does Zipporah, “the bird lady”, does she fly away? Is she gone when Moses is down in Egypt? Where is Zipporah? She is nowhere to be found. Miriam is there; Aaron is there, and the people are there. Zipporah, many people think and I would be in agreement with this, seems to have gone back to her father Jethro the priest of Midian in Sinai. So she actually goes back and leaves Moses as a result of this. She gets upset and leaves. So she doesn’t appear in the text, she’s gone after this. I like this interpretation because it explains Zipporah’s anger and why she may have left. Again, it’s somewhat conjectural but I think it makes sense in a lot of details.
Date of the Exodus [23:58-24:28]
Now, when did Moses cross the Red Sea, or the Reed Sea? The date of the Exodus is one of the most hotly debated topics in the book of Exodus. When we go through this on a college level course, you should be aware that there is a huge debate over the early date and the late date of the Exodus. I’m going to run through the arguments and then we’ll make an analysis of this. So there’s going to be this big debate over when did Moses leave Egypt.
Early Date: 1445 BC [24:29-30:13]
First of all I want to give you the early date. The early date most people date around 1445 B.C. 1440 is called the Early Date Theory. Where did they get the early date from? They get it from the Bible in 1 Kings 6:1 it says this, and you should be able to figure this out, “480 years before Solomon’s fourth year, Moses came out of Egypt.” Now, you don’t know Solomon’s date but whose date do you know? David’s a 1000 BC. Is Solomon before or after David? Solomon was David’s son, so therefore when it’s his son, they usually come after. So we’ve got David’s 1000, now we’re down into the 960’s. If you take the 480 and you add that to the 965 you end up with this 1445 B.C. date. Do you see where they get that? David is 1000 BC and Solomon is right after that, about 30 or 40 years after that, and you take the 480 years before Solomon’s fourth year, then that gets you back at about 1445 BC.
So Scripture tells us this 480 year period, but not just in Kings. In the book of Judges 11:26, Jephthah is a judge. Remember how we said this is Jordan over here, the Sea of Galilee, Jordan River, Dead Sea? You guys are Israel and you guys are the Mediterranean Sea. Jephthah’s over here fighting with the Ammonites and he’s telling the Ammonites “My family has owned this property for 300 years.” Now does that tell you anything? He says, “my family has owned this territory for 300 years.” When did that territory get acquired? Under Moses. When does Jephthah live? Jephthah is about 1100 B.C., so if Jephthah says my family has owned this for 300 years, and its 1100 BC, what date does that put you back to? 300 + 1100 puts you back to the 1400’s. So these two scripture verses seem to support this early date then and so that’s a good thing.
Now there is the Merneptah Stele. First of all what’s a stele? What’s a tombstone look like? A tombstone is a rock usually about 6 inches thick, kind of rounded corners about this high. A stele looks like a tombstone only they stand about six feet high. And what happens is they’re made out of rock. The ones we saw were about six feet tall and 4 inches thick. They were made out of rock. They carve stuff in the rock. “I am the Great Pharaoh of Egypt and everybody bow down and kiss my feet.” So they carved on the front of this stele, on the back of them, sometimes on the sides of them. And these are called “stele.” You learn how to read these steles and they tell you history. On the stele from Merneptah it says, and we know the date of Merneptah is about 1200 BC, it says that Israel was in the land. If Israel is tenting in the land at 1200, so then they must have entered it before then. So the 1445 date fits well with Israel being settled in the land at 1200, they came in at 1400 and they’ve had time to settle down. So that’s the Merneptah Stele in support of this early date.
Lastly are the Amarna letters. These letters are really neat letters. They’re written in Acadian. The Amarna letters, what are these? Right in here is Jerusalem. The Jebusite, or the Canaanite guy who is king of Jerusalem writes to Pharaoh and we actually have copies of these letters. These letters date from 1400 BC. Abi-Heba of Jerusalem writes to the Egyptian Pharaoh and says “Pharaoh, how come you won’t help us? I’ve been asking you for help. This group called the Habiru are swarming us and they are overpowering us and we need some of your help Pharaoh. Why won’t you help? I’ve written you before but you’re not helping me. These Habiru are coming in all over the place.” Now what does that sound a little bit like? “Habiru” sounds like “Hebrew” and in the past some scholars have made the association that the Habiru were the Hebrews. Don’t do that. That’s incorrect. The Habiru is a much bigger group than the Hebrews. There are Habiru all the way over in Mesopotamia, that the group of Habiru is very big, is it possible that the Hebrews were a type or sub-set of Habiru? The Habirus were pictured as more like gypsies that move from place to place and they were coming in now as these hordes wandering in and taking over the land. The King of Jerusalem is asking Pharaoh for help. Why won’t Pharaoh help him? Is it possible that the Pharaoh just got his tail whooped in the Exodus and he’s saying I’m not messing with those Jews anymore. These Amarna letters seem to fit this 1400 BC date. This is why I would actually hold this early date.
Late Date for the Exodus: 1260 BC [30:14-39:58]
Now, some of my good friends hold to what’s called the late date. They have the privilege of being wrong if they want. No actually they may right and I may be wrong. This is one of those questions that I’m not sure on. I think I’m right, but I can see why they say what they say. The late date dates from about 1260 BC. So you have the early date [ca. 1440 BC] and the late date [ca. 1260], this is a big argument. The first and strongest of their arguments, they say is Exodus 1:11. It says that “the Israelites built two cities, one called Pithom and one called Rameses.” The city of Rameses was probably built in whose honor? Rameses. Rameses II, who is the big Rameses dates from about 1200 BC. So if they built a city it would be to this Rameses. By the way have you guys ever seen the movie “The Ten Commandments”? The Pharaoh in The Ten Commandments with the bald head, his name was Yul Brynner. Anyways, he plays Rameses. So in the movie The Ten Commandments, which date did they take, the late date or the early date? They took the late date, and they make Rameses the Pharaoh. By the way does the Bible ever tell us the name of the Pharaoh? It never does. Actually that fits with early records before 1000 BC, because before 1000 BC they didn’t usually name the Pharaoh. After that period, they call him Pharaoh Neco, Shishak or whatever. Rameses is here, Exodus 1:11 says they built the city in honor of Rameses, so therefore the 1200 date fits best.
Burn levels at Lachish is another argument for the late date of the Exodus. What are burn levels? First, we’ve got to do a little archaeology. So you’re going from Gordon College, you’re going to work on Ashkelon with the guys from Wheaton. You’re going to go dig a tel. What is a tel? It’s a city mound, layered cities on top of cities. It’s like a layer cake. Now, by the way, where are you? Let me use Jericho for an example. First of all, if you’re going to build a city in the ancient world, what’s the first thing you need. You’ve got to have water. Are you going to build a city in the desert? No. Are you going to build it by a spring or a well? All the cities are near springs or well because you’ve got to have water. Now once you have water, let’s do Jericho. Jericho has this huge spring. Your city starts out on ground level. You build a wall around your city, and then where do you put your trash? In the recycle bin and they take it out. Okay, now we’re talking 8000 B.C., where do you put your trash? The people put their trash kind of like Massachusetts; they just throw the trash on the street. So what happens? They throw the trash on the street, by the way does sand get blown into the city? And so all of a sudden the city has a tendency to do what? Trash, more trash, trash, trash, does the city build up? So in the tel of Jericho, it started flat on the ground but by the time it gets done, it’s 75 feet high now. 75 feet high and is it layer upon layers of cities of different ages.
Now let’s be archaeologists. You’re standing on top of the 75 foot mound. What do you want to do? You want to dig it. So what you do is you basically get a 10 by 10 foot square and then what do you need? You need slaves, so you go to Gordon College and other colleges and say “Wouldn’t you like to be an archaeologist and you can really study archaeology!” So you go over there and they turn you into slaves. You end up digging 10 by 10 foot squares and they give you a toothbrush to dig all this stuff. Why do they want you to use a toothbrush? They don’t want you to break anything and does everything have to be recorded as you move down through the stratas you have to record every little thing and take pictures.
Now you’re digging down this 10 foot square and you get down a ways. Can you tell that dirt has a certain color to it. All of a sudden you get to a certain layer and the dirt gets all black and soot. So you got a 6 inch layer of soot there, what do you think immediately? I would think actually the guy had a woodstove and it got out of hand and it burned his house down. Is it possible the guy burned his house down here? Now suppose we start digging over there, and when we get to same layer we hit this soot layer. By the way will soot stain the soil? It will stain the soil. We get down to a certain layer and boom we’ve got another 6 inch soot layer. We’ve got a soot layer there and a soot layer here. Now what conclusion do I come to? The city was burned down at that layer. So this is what’s called the burn layer. And this is what’s called a tel. A tel is a city mound and then the archaeologists dig down. By the way the more they dig down, does it get older or younger? The more you dig down it gets older. Then you try to date things with carbon 14 dating, with pottery dating, with material remains dating, you try to date things at each level as you dig down.
What they found is that there are burn layers indicating that the city of Lachish was burned about 1200 BC. Actually, it’s found in several cities in Palestine around 1200 BC which would mean then that possibly Joshua came in and smoked several cities and burned them down? So some people suggest that this is Joshua burning things down around 1200 BC, which would fit this 1200 date of the Exodus. Do you see how that argument goes? By the way, archaeology is really a wonderful thing, but is it hot and dry and it’s a lot of work. Why would you want to go to Ashkelon is because there’s a beach right next door on the Mediterranean Sea, about 50 yards away. That’s the place to go. You just have to dodge some Arab missiles from Gaza but other than that you’re alright.
Now here’s another reason. The Bible says that 480 years before Solomon they came out of Egypt. How do they get rid of this 480? What they suggest is that a generation is 40 years. 40 years per generation times what gets you 480? Is anyone a math major here? How many generations of 40 years does it take to get 480? 12 generations. Now I ask you how many years between you and your parents? Is it usually 40 years? Well your generation may be, but did some of your grandparents get married when they were 18 years of age? My mother had me when she was 19. If my daughters came to me, let’s not even think about that. Let me not get into that. So what I’m saying is, is it really 40 years or is it more like 20 years between generations. So if you take it as 20 years, what does it do to that 480 number? It cuts it in half. So what they’re suggesting is 12 generations of 40 is the way that the scheme was rendered, but an actual generation is 20, so it was really 240 years and not the full 480 years. That’s how they shrink that number. How many years was Moses in the wilderness for? 40 years. So that 40 year time period may have been just kind of a standard measurement kind of thing. They tagged that onto the generation. They may have done that. These people were suggesting that kind of shrinkage here. It’s conjectural. We don’t do that, but it does make some sense because a generation is shorter. Their calendar was off some, they did lunar calendars and different things, but it wasn’t that far off. This is like hundreds of years off. We’ll use that lunar calendar actually during some of the feasts. We can use the different calendars, and that will help us some. But when we’ve got 480 years going to 240, that doesn’t get us there. Save that argument, that’s an excellent argument and we’ll use that later on.
So the early date and the late date. Is this really boring stuff? Yes, it is. So we’ll get on, but this is a big debate in the book of Exodus, on whether it was 1400 or 1200 BC. This is a big debate and there’s good people on both sides of this.
Number of Israelites leaving Egypt [39:59-52:03]
Here’s another question. This one’s really tricky. How many people left Egypt? Here you’ve got statements, clear statements in Exodus 12:37 and repeated again in 38:26, and in the book of Numbers it repeats it again. Remember how Numbers numbered the tribes? So it totals it up that there were 600,000 men that came out of Egypt. 603,500 men in the book of Numbers, so 600,000 men come out of Egypt. Now what’s the problem with that? 600,000 men, 20 years old and upward. Do men usually have wives? We’re trying to figure out how many people came out of Egypt, so if you get 600,000 men coming out, would you give me that each Israeli man had one wife? Now what’s the problem with that? One man, one woman, we’ll just do that. So there’s 600,000 men, and 600,000 women. And by the way which one probably out-populated the other one because the Egyptians were trying to kill the males, so there were probably more females, kind of like Gordon College. But let’s assume 600,000 men, 600,000 women. Would you give me two nice American children for every family? Now what’s the problem with two children in that culture? Is it possible in that culture for someone to have 10 or 12 children? Some of them would have none, but would you give me two. If you do that and add it up, this number 600,000 men and women and two children each, you end up with 2.4 million people coming out of Egypt. Is that a problem? Is that a lot of people?
Have any of you guys ever been down to Boston for the 4th of July? If you ever get a chance to do that it’s incredible. Now by the way when the fireworks are over in Boston, everybody’s leaving at the same time. Have you guys ever been down there? You’ve got half a gazillion people trying to make it through these streets. They just shut the streets down and the people are walking down the middle of the streets. What’s the population of Boston? When you get in these crowds, it’s just a swarm of people. There are 600,000 people in Boston.
What’s the problem? 2.4 million people now you’re walking them through the desert, is this going to be a problem? Well, let me just point out some of these things. What about water? You’ve got 2.4 million people with water problems, they’re in the Sinai desert. Is water a problem? Let me tell you about Sinai desert, I lived in the Sinai desert for 3 weeks. Ora Lipschitz is an expert in Sinai was taking us down. Ora comes up and she tells us when you get in the desert, your body will not register that you are thirsty. So what will happens is your body will say I don’t need any water, so you got to eat these crackers. You eat these crackers because they make your mouth water and then you will say my mouth is dry, I need to drink something. You eat the cracker and then it tells your body I need to drink something. If you don’t eat the crackers, what happens? Your body says it’s not thirsty then your body gets dehydrated from the desert.
We had this one German dude, I’ll call him Hans. So Hans, big tough German guy says, “I’ll drink when I’m ready. I know my body.” So we’re out in the desert, 3 days later what happens to poor old Hans? He’s in the back of the bus rolling around (groaning) and he has this massive headache. Now what happens when you get dehydrated? Your brain is mostly made out of what? Now, I’m not saying this as a blonde joke. What is your brain mostly made out of? Is there a ton of water up in your brain? So when you get dehydrated, what happens to your brain? Your brain shrinks. Now when your brain shrinks, it pulls in from your skull, and what does that do to you? It hurts like the worst migraine headache you’ve never had in your life. You can’t see. It actually can affect your seeing. Your brain shrinks because of this and with Hans rolling around in the back, did he have the worst headache he’d ever had in his life? Everyone knew he wasn’t eating the crackers, kind of like it served him right. Nobody says that, but we were all thinking it. Anyways, so Ora walks back up there and she says one word to him, “crackers?” After that, Polly was eating his crackers. When we walked up Mount Sinai we left at 3 A.M. in the morning because it was cold and we had to carry a gallon of water. What I’m saying is you need at least a gallon of water a day. When you’re in Sinai with a gallon a day, what’s the problem? You got 2.4 million people and a gallon of water a day for each one of them. What’s the problem with that?--2.4 million gallons. You tell me how much water that is? How many of you picture Moses prancing up to this rock, taking his little stick, and striking the rock and a little water comes out? You got 2.4 million people, do you need a ten inch pipe blasting water out there? 2.4 million people, is that a lot of water on a daily basis?
What about the food? When I was younger I thought the manna came down like snow. You got 2.4 million people. I have four kids, how much does it take to feed four kids? I want to tell you, a lot. I used to think it was this manna floating down. Have you got to have trainloads of manna to feed 2.4 million people? You need tons and tons and tons of food to feed 2.4 million people.
Here’s another one. Hannah said they’re spread out, that’s exactly right. I’ve been in Sinai. Sinai has these granite mountains. What’s the problem with granite mountains? Granite mountains will cut your feet. They’re very hard to walk on. You don’t walk on the mountains, you walk in the valleys. Now if you walk in the valleys and you’ve got 2.4 million people, does that spread them out? It’s possible that the people in the front had water and it would be three days until the people in the back got up there. What happens in the desert in 3 days? You’re cooked. What I’m saying is that they get spread out like that in the wadis. Wadis are another term for valleys in between the mountains.
What about the midwives? You guys have read about the midwives in chapter 4. The names of the two midwives were Shiphrah and Puah. Does anyone remember Shiphrah and Puah? You’ve got two midwives and you got 2.4 million people. Have we got a problem here? I came from Warsaw, Indiana. I’ll give you the whole hospital in Warsaw, Indiana. If you’ve got 2.4 million people, can that hospital service that many people? No chance.
What about the taking of Canaan? Israel, they sent out the spies up in the land. There are giants up there. If you’ve got 2.4 million people are giants a problem? All you do is surround the city and eat all the food. And the big giants have nothing to eat because you just ate all the food. 2.4 million people are going to be like locusts, the giants are going to starve to death. I don’t care how big he is, the bigger he is the harder he falls because he’s going to need a lot of food and there’s going to be nothing to eat there. So what I’m saying is 2.4 million people is a lot of people.
Now you say, “Hildebrandt what do you do with this?” All I’m telling you is 2.4 million people, by the way, if the Bible says it, do I believe it? Does that settle it? In my head am I going “2.4 million people, is a lot of people out in the desert like that. And then the size, I just can’t imagine that.” This is a problem for me. Now what do you do? Some people take the word eleph which is the Hebrew term for “thousand.” They take the word thousand in Hebrew and they say the word eleph can be translated “thousand,” but it can also be translated “clans” or “families.” And so then it would be 600 clans or families. They figure out clan size, family size, and this would be about 72,000 people. By the way, is 72,000 people still a pretty big group to take through the desert? That’s still pretty big, but it limits it down. So some people use that eleph and taking it as “clans” to get it down. It still doesn’t do it…that solution has never really satisfied me. The word eleph is the word for thousand, so 600 thousand or 600 “clans.” So the word would be 600 clans, and we got 50 to a clan or something like that. So it would limit the size down.
This is one of the problems with Scripture, to be honest with you, I don’t know the solution to this. I probably should just skip this, but part of it I want you to see is what do you do when you run into a problem in Scripture that you don’t know how to solve? Is it possible that they used a different base system than we use. We use a ten base system. Is it possible like in Babylon’s where they have a 60 base system, so they counted differently? It is possible. What I’m saying is that with this problem, I don’t know what the solution is. Some people think that number is a hyperbole, it’ an overstatement for emphasis. Again, I’m struck with that. The Bible uses hyperbole all the time, but it’s usually with “all” statements or something that’s usually pretty clear. The numbers that project that, I don’t know if there’s evidence for that. So this is one that I’m stuck with. In other words, what I’m trying to say is: are there things in the Bible that still need to be solved? This is one of those big problems and I’m not sure how to solve it exactly. I’ve thought about it a lot, I’ve wrestled with it, I’ve read on it, and I still don’t know.
My guess is that the way they numbered things is differently than the way we do, and we are understanding their numbers differently than what they meant. So that the way they numbered things and they were conceptualizing is different than the way we understand it. I think that our two cultures have missed each other on this numbering thing. In other words, what I’m trying to tell you is, I don’t know. I wish I did, I’ve read a lot of scholars and I don’t think anyone knows, really. There have been a lot of suggestions, but the suggestions all fall apart. This is one that we don’t know. Were there a lot of people that came out of Egypt? There were a lot of people that came out of Egypt. Let’s use the words “a lot.” This is one of those problems. How do you deal with conflicts like that? What I’m trying to say is that there are some conflicts in Scripture that take you back and you just wonder how you solve this. I think we’re just missing some data on how they were meaning these things to be understood. I think it’s a missing between the two cultures in terms of numbers.
Plagues of Egypt: Three reasons for the plagues [52:04-55:56]
Now plague cycles, what do we have with plague cycles? There are at least three reasons for the ten plagues of Egypt. The first reason was that it was a judgment on the gods of Egypt. In Exodus 12:12 it says that he’s bringing these plagues “on the same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every first born both men and animals and I will bring judgment on their gods.” Who is one of the main gods of Egypt? He says I’m going to take their first born, Pharaoh himself was considered a god. God says I’m going to take his first born; he’s not going to be able to protect his own child. They mummified him and they basically sent him on to the afterlife. The way they conceptualize their gods, some of their gods got chopped in two and they had battles between the gods and one god would kill another god. So their gods were very human-like.
Here’s the second reason: “that they may know that I am Yahweh.” God said in the plagues he’s going to reveal who he is. So in the plagues you’re going to see the revelation of God’s character, might, strength and his power. This is going to happen here, “that they may know that I am Yahweh.” The plagues are going to reveal his character.
Then thirdly, there seems to be this lex talionis nature of it. Now what is lex talionis? Lex means “law,” talionis means “retaliation,” the law of retaliation. If I said to “you eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth,” that’s lex talionis. What you have here I think in Exodus 4:23 is that God says, what has pharaoh been doing to God’s firstborn? Pharaoh has been trying to destroy God’s firstborn through killing the infants, through working the daylights out of them, through enslaving them. What’s going to happen is God says, “therefore because you were seeking to destroy my firstborn, I’m going to take your firstborn. You, Pharaoh, as god are not able to protect your own kid. You destroy my kid, your kid’s gone.” So there is this kind of like eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth thing. This is the law of retaliation. [Question from student] Yes, that’s New Testament and we’ll leave stuff for the New Testament. What I suggest is that you have to be very careful about taking some of the statements from the Sermon on the Mount, for example, and trying to universalize them. I know people do that, they try to take statements from Sermon on the Mount and universalize them. All I’m trying to say is there’s different ways that God himself does things. Does God favor shalom and peace, yes, but are there other times when God’s at war. So you can’t take a single statement and universalize it like that. I’m afraid people do that making Jesus this wimp with turn your other cheek on a person. I think if you read the book of Revelation, he’s not too wimpy. So you’ve got to be careful with that, but it’s really good that you feel the tension, because we want to feel the tension and to wrestle with that.
Hardening Hearts [55:57-57:54]
Now, does God harden people’s hearts? Here you’ve got some statements, who hardened Pharaoh’s heart? Here you’ve got a statement that God hardened it in chapter 4:21 where we just were. It says, “God says, I have given you power to do but I will harden his heart, [pharaoh’s heart] so that he will not let the people go.” He will harden Pharaoh’s heart, but you know what’s interesting? God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but there are also a bunch of passages that say Pharaoh hardened his own heart. So therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be? In other words, did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? Yes. But Pharaoh hardened Pharaoh’s heart too. So the answer is what? Yes. In other words, is God involved in activities and humankind is also involved in activities. This takes us back to the free will and predestination kind of thing. Does God determine things? Yes. Does humankind determine things? Yes. Is it possible that you can have two agencies working on the same event? From God’s perspective, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart in judgment on Pharaoh because of the evils that he’s done, and God hardens his heart as a judgment on him. Is it possible that Pharaoh hardens his heart in rebellion against God? So what you have is the same event happening for two different reasons with God meaning one thing by it and pharaoh meaning another thing by it. It’s the same event. So who hardened Pharaoh’s heart? God hardened it and Pharaoh hardened it.
Plagues on Egypt [57:55-61:13]
Now, there were the ten plagues of Egypt. I don’t want you to know all of these. I would like you to learn four of them. The ones that are in yellow are the ones I want you to learn. Now the first plague is the plague of snake. Do you remember Moses cast down his rod and it becomes a snake? The magicians threw down their rods and they became snakes. Then what happens? Moses’ snake does what? It eats them up. By the way, is the snake the symbol of Egyptian power? What is on the crown of Pharaoh? It has what coming out the front of it? A cobra. So the snake is a symbol of Egyptian power. What does Moses’ snake do? Eats it up and destroys it. So the snake is a famous plague. Then he strikes the river and the river becomes like blood red color. So the river becomes blood. Was the Nile considered a god in Egypt? Yes. Egypt the gift of the Nile. So the Nile is taken down in terms of the blood. Now you’ve got all these other ones: frogs, gnats, flies, hail, locusts, and things.
The darkness, why is the darkness important? Ra or Re is the Sun god. Is the sun god the big god in Egypt? So what God is saying is I’m going to take the sun god down and he causes darkness. Lastly, the firstborn, I think the firstborn is a judgment on Pharaoh because Pharaoh cannot protect his own son. So those are the ones I want you to know: the snake, the blood, the darkness and the firstborn. They had other gods, the cattle gods, the one that I used to see in Sinai is Hathor, Hathor is a cow god.
Now this pattern here is the pattern of the plagues. God makes an announcement and God tells Moses: “Moses I’m going to do a plague,” and God gives instructions. “Moses, take your rod, go down by the river, and you and Aaron go down there.” So God gives some instructions, Moses goes down to the river, strikes the river, turns it red, and then what do the magicians do? Magicians duplicate it. We’ll look at the magicians in a minute. I always thought if the magicians were so powerful, rather than duplicating the plague they should do what? Undo the plagues. So, in other words, Moses strikes the river to become blood. The magicians if they had any stuff in them, they’d turn it back to water. But they duplicate the miracles, and that’s interesting. Pharaoh then responds usually saying, “please stop all these flies, stop all these locusts from eating that place out.” Pharaoh asks for help. Then Moses and God respond usually in grace backing off of the plague. Then after Moses and God back off, Pharaoh’s heart gets hardened. Once his heart gets hardened then you start back up on the next plague.
So this is the cycle, can you see how all the plagues ran through this cycle, and Pharaoh’s heart gets hardened and it starts again on the next cycle. This is the cycle that happens in the book of Exodus on the ten plagues.
Magicians as a foil [61:14-63:12]
Now, the magicians actually are a foil to Moses and so the magicians are really pretty important in the narrative. Initially the magicians oppose Moses, so they are a foil to Moses. Moses does a miracle, the magicians duplicate it. So initially they oppose Moses and Aaron. They are a foil, so there’s an opposition. But what happens interestingly enough is during the plague of the gnats is the Egyptian magicians can’t pull it off. The Egyptians magicians confess, “This is the finger of God.” So what you have is the magicians go through a transition. They initially oppose Moses but now they in the end they become testimony and witnesses of Moses’ and God’s power through Moses. They warn Pharaoh this isn’t just magic tricks anymore, “this is the finger of God.” So it’s an interesting transition that the magicians go through.
Here’s another thing that happens during the plagues. There seems to be a separation of the land of Goshen. Does anyone remember when the hail came in and the hail is bombing out Egypt and destroying everything? Over in Goshen it’s nice. God separates his people in the land of Goshen and the plagues only fall on Egypt. There’s this separation of Goshen, where the Israelites live, and basically the plagues don’t fall on them. God is protecting his people as he’s bringing judgment on others. That’s kind of a neat thing.
Now let’s hit the Passover here. The Passover happens in chapter 12. Let me just walk through this. If you ever get a chance to go to a Jewish Pesah service, go to it, it’s really worth seeing a Passover service. Basically there are three things involved in the Passover service. One of them is the lamb. What happens to the lamb? They kill the lamb, they drain the blood, and what do they do with the blood of the lamb? They put it on the door frames and across the lintel. When the angel of death looks down and sees the blood, what does the angel do? Passes over. That’s where the name Passover comes from. The angel of death “passes over” when it sees the blood on the door frames. Does anyone remember “when I see the blood I will pass over you”? It used to be an old hymn that narrated this Passover event of seeing the blood and passing over. By the way, what do they do with the lamb? They roast the lamb on an open fire and they eat lamb that night. They’re supposed to eat the whole lamb up in one night. Lamb is good meat. So they eat the lamb and blood is placed over the doorway, that’s what happens to the lamb. Today they don’t kill lambs, but back then they probably put it in a bowl and then used a swab thing to swab the blood around the doorframe.
Bitter herbs, they were to eat the bitter herbs to remind them of the bitter slavery in Egypt. What do they use for bitter herbs today? Has anyone ever been to a Pesah service? Does anybody do horseradish? Have you tried that? My father used to love horseradish. All I can say is when you eat it, it’s like you had hair in your nose, you don’t have hair anymore. It burns everything out of you. You only need a little bit, and actually if you’re smart you’ll smell it ahead of time. The smell will be enough for you to know that you don’t eat this stuff. Some people eat horseradish, my father ate horseradish outright. You want to taste something bitter, try horseradish. Does anybody like horseradish? So there are people that like horseradish. So for the bitter herbs they eat horseradish now to dip. (Question from student). Your eyes start watering; it’s almost like onions only worse.
Third is unleavened bread. Why were they to eat unleavened bread? This Passover feast starts the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted for 7 days. Basically God said you’re going to have to leave so fast from Egypt that you’re not going to have time to let the bread rise. In other words, in order for bread to rise, you have to let it sit and the yeast works and the bread grows. He says you’re going to have to leave so fast you won’t have time. Eat unleavened bread.
Even to this day, if you go over to Israel during Passover time. By the way, Passover time is Easter for us as Christians, this is when Jesus is going to die, the Lord’s Supper and then he’s going to die. So right around our Easter is their Passover. When you go over to Israel to this day and you do the Passover if you walk into a grocery store, it was a dime for a loaf of bread. I’ve been in a grocery store in Israel, and you pick the bread up off the shelf, it’s not wrapped in paper, you pick it up and it is still warm. Is this good? This is really good it’s like homemade bread. We’ve taken it home and eaten it, its great bread.
Now the problem is, on Passover you’re going to go in and buy your bread, what’s the problem? Have you ever seen that white butcher paper? And all of a sudden you go to the bread place where this wonderful bread is, and it’s all covered over with white butcher paper and they won’t sell you leavened bread. That means you have to eat crackers. I need my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I eat that every day of my life and so what do I do? If they won’t give you leavened bread you go over to the Arab section and buy the bread over there. The other thing I should say, they make these bagels for about a dime. You get a bagel like this, it’s a loaf of bread, it’s round with sesame seeds on it. I’ll never forget my last bagel out of Damascus gate. I come out of Damascus gate and this Arab dude is out there selling these bagels. So I buy this bagel off him and then I take a bite of it and it was really good bagel and I’m starving. The only problem is when I went back for a second bite, I looked at the bagel and there’s only one thing worse than seeing a fly in your bagel, and that’s seeing half a fly, I did. Half a fly there, and I had already swallowed, and that was my last bagel from there, I just couldn’t do it any more. You get so used to it in that culture where they let the food sit out. The food is just sitting out and the flies, you get used to it after a while. But I could never get used to that. So anyways, unleavened bread, they go for 7 days with unleavened bread and this is the Feast of Passover which kicks off the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread.
What about the children? I love the way to Jews do their children in their feasts. In chapter 12:26, it describes the children’s role. In many of our churches what do we do with children? Do we dismiss the children and get them out of there? The Jewish children participate. What do kids love doing? Ask questions. So here it says, when your children ask “What does this ceremony mean? Then tell them it is the Passover, a sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the house of Israelites in Egypt.” So what happens is the children are prompted and allowed to ask questions, and then the parents answer the kids’ questions. What does that do to the family structure? Does that bond families together? The kids participate in the worship with their parents by asking questions which is what they want to do anyway. So it’s beautiful with the children and how they incorporate them is beautiful.
Passover and the Lord’s Supper [69:48-71:41]
Now what about the Lord’s Supper? “Jesus on the same night he was betrayed took bread and broke it and said, ‘This is my body which is broken for you.’” So the Lord’s Supper is actually the Passover feast with the lamb, only this time, who is going to be the lamb? Jesus is going to be the Passover lamb. The bread is broken. By the way, many of you in churches to this day when you do communion you’ll do unleavened bread, based on the feast of Passover. What is Jesus saying? Jesus could die any time, but when does he choose to die? Right at Passover, because Jesus is the new Exodus. As Moses delivered them from the slavery in Egypt, Jesus is going to now deliver them from the bondage of sin. So Jesus is doing a new Exodus, and who is Jesus? In 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul tells us that Jesus is our Passover lamb.
Do you remember when Jesus was on the cross and he wasn’t dying fast enough? What did they want to do to him to get him to die faster? They’re going to break his legs, because when you’re on a cross you asphyxiate because you can’t breathe. If they break your legs then you can’t hold yourself up anymore. By the way, were they supposed to break any of the bones of the Passover lamb? No. Were Jesus’ bones supposed to broken? No. Just like it was prophesized in Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, wonderful passages of Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus’ bones were not broken. So Jesus is our Passover lamb. So this whole thing of moving out to freedom, breaking out of Egypt becomes ours in Christ.
Where did Moses cross the Reed Sea? [71:42-72:30]
Now here’s another question that comes up. Where did Moses cross the Reed Sea? Now notice I’m being ornery by saying “Reed Sea.” In Hebrew the term is yam suph, which actually literally means “Reed Sea.” Yam means “sea,” suph means “reed,” so yam suph means “Reed Sea.” It does not mean Red Sea, it means Sea of Reeds. So the question is which sea is this. So there’s two main suggestions, and then I had this guy from Wisconsin that was emailing me for about three months, beating me up about going to Arabia. I’ll show you where he thinks crossing the Reed Sea was way over by Arabia. He thought that very strongly, I think he’s wrong, but anyway.
God as warrior [72:31-76:08]
So let’s work with these guys here, but before we do that, let me hit on this one. They’re going to cross the Reed Sea and check this statement out from the Scripture, chapter 14 verse 14, it says this: “Moses answered the people ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.’” “The Lord will fight for you.” Does God get involved in war? What does Exodus 15:3 say? It says this, “The Lord is a warrior.” They’re singing after they cross the sea and they sing in praise of God and one of the things they praise God is that “The Lord is a warrior. Yahweh is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The Lord is a warrior.” What I’m saying is, and your generation is all peace, love, and peace, love. Is God a warrior? Actually some of the kids were dressed up today like the old 60’s kind of thing. Is God considered a warrior? Is that one of God’s titles that he is a warrior?
It’s really funny, I hear all these people saying war is not the answer. Sometimes is war the answer? Sometimes it is. Ecclesiastes says, “there is a time for peace, and there’s a time for war.” And so what I’m saying is, and you have to be very careful in academic settings as we are the peace kind of people. In academic settings, do we argue peace and love? In the real world, there are people over in Afghanistan fighting and dying right this day probably as a result of what’s going on in the world. I had to struggle with that for seven months as my son was over there. He’s been back now for quite a while. Does he still have the remnants in his head of stuff that he saw that he’s told my wife and I about. He says, “I’ve seen stuff that nobody should ever see in their lifetime.” Do you know what it’s like to see your friend blown the smithereens? You have to pull his body off the wall, and you say it’s like beef jerky, put it in a box and pray to God that his parents don’t open the box. There’s a lot of stuff that goes down. All I’m saying is that war is really, really ugly and bad. However, God portrays himself as a warrior.
By the way, is that just God, or does Jesus also portray himself as a warrior too? You say well Jesus is love and peace, turn the other cheek. Did you ever read the book of Revelation? Read Revelation 19 sometime, Jesus is coming back as a warrior as well. I’m just harassing you on that. It’s okay to disagree on that question. Last class period we had a student who’s a friend of mine who’s a pacifist and was getting in my face and it’s okay. Different people hold more pacifistic things, while some take more of a just war position. I’m more of a just war person myself. It’s okay to disagree on that, different people hold different standards.
Where did Moses cross the Reed Sea? [76:09-79:15]
Where did Moses cross the Reed Sea? Here they are in Goshen, this is the land of Goshen where the Jews are settled. Now there’s two places basically they could go across the Bitter Lakes or Lake Timsah, they could cross here. By the way would that fit the Sea of Reeds? These are less saline than the ocean. The ocean is salty, do reeds grow really well in salt? No. So when it says “Reed Sea,” some people think it was these because these have less salt and there are reeds on these lakes. By the way, are these lakes big enough to drown an army? “Well,” you say, “no because it’s only three feet deep,” but these lakes are big enough to drown a whole army. These lakes are big, so some people suggest they went to cross the Bitter Lakes and then went down to Sinai. That’s one view, the Bitter Lakes or Lake Timsah.
The other way is that they cross the top of the Red Sea. This would be the Red Sea crossing, they came down here and this is the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez arm of the Red Sea. Then they crossed here and went down to Mount Sinai here. So that’s the second view.
Now, a third view that this guy from Wisconsin is promoting says that Moses came across from the land of Goshen. By the way, why didn’t Moses just go up into the land of Canaan? It would be a lot shorter to go that way. God’s taking them into the desert, this is going to be God’s honeymoon with Israel in the desert, where he’s alone with them in the desert. The other thing he says explicitly in chapter 13, he was afraid because who was up here? The Philistines were up here and he said if I take them straight up into Canaan, they’re going to run into the Philistines an turn around and run back, saying I don’t want to fight with the Philistines because the Philistines were nasty fellows. He says, “I’m not going to take you directly into war with the Philistines because you won’t be able to handle it.” So he takes them out in the desert.
Now third view then is that Moses takes them all the way across Sinai and Pharaoh chases them all the way across the desert and Moses crosses here at the Red Sea at the Gulf of Aqaba. They’ve actually found a chariot wheel here, so this guy has made a case that because of the chariot wheel, this is where Moses crossed and then went down to Mount Sinai in Arabia.
Now where is Mount Sinai? Mount Sinai is here. Mount Sinai is here. Mount Sinai is here. Mount Sinai is here. Mount Sinai is here. Mount Sinai is here, here, here, here, and here. Where’s Mount Sinai? There are actually over twenty sites for Mount Sinai. When Moses was up on top of Mount Sinai, did he sign off and say, “I was here”? No. So do we know where Mount Sinai is? No. So there are over twenty sites for Mount Sinai and nobody really knows where it is. By the way, if you ever get a chance, go to this one at Saint Catherine’s Monastery here. It’s worth the trek down there, it’s just a wonderful old Monastery. It’s been there since the 300’s AD and there are wonderful monks down there and just really some cool artifacts. I recommend it.
Now the Sabbath, we have about three more things to do here, the Sabbath. Why do we keep 9 out of the 10 commandments? Thou shall not murder, thou shall not lie, thou shall not steal, we revere all of commandments, but how come we don’t do the commandment of observing the Sabbath? You say what does that have to do with Wisconsin roads? I grew up in New York, and in New York they have pot holes that are so big they will eat your car. Actually most roads in Massachusetts have pot holes, in New York the pot holes have roads. You get into Wisconsin though the roads are like glass. I ask what’s the difference?
Part of it is the way Wisconsin builds their roads. They tile the water out from underneath it, they put a bunch of crushed rock on so the water is able to escape, and they make their roads with a good base. That good base makes it so that the roads last. What I’m going to suggest to you is that the Sabbath principle is a good base to set your life on. Now I’m talking hypocritically here, and this is a lecture as much to myself as it is to anybody, because I’ve had a really hard time with this Sabbath thing. I have some friends who are very Sabbath oriented and other friends who just work seven days straight.
One of the things concerning to the Sabbath is that you remember what God has done and that you reflect on life. What happens when you just truck through life, just running as fast as you can and you never turn around? Can you make sense out of life? Do you need to turn around and take time to bring life together? Remembering of your past is needed in order to have the present make sense out of life. So remembering is a really important principle.
Rhythm, you guys know about rhythm. What happens when you have to write a paper for class? You stay up all night writing the paper. You violate the day-night rhythm by staying up all night. What happens the next day? Is the next day good or bad? What happens if you have to stay up two nights in a row? Is that like murder? Don’t do that, it’s just really bad. In other words, is there a certain daily cycle you need to observe? Actually as college students I just tell you to try to get your sleep, it’s really important. There’s daily cycles, are there also weekly cycles? What happens if you violate the weekly cycle? I used to work with a guy and he worked seven days a week. He would drive a truck and he would go to college, he was one of my students and I would see him in school. Then on weekends he would drive trucks and he would work 30 hours over the weekend. After a while, he’d go to school, work, and then go to work. He never took a break. Question, after about three months of doing that, did he know which end was up? He lost all sense of meaning and purpose in life. He was ready to quit everything because he just couldn’t make sense of things. So just be careful about that.
Renunciation of work is your master. Work is not our master, and so the Sabbath breaks that cycle of work and allowing us to renounce work as our master.
Refreshment, do you need to take a break sometimes on the Sabbath? My parents when I grew up would always rest on Sunday. There’s something to be said for that.
Here’s another one, role model. Did God himself rest on the Sabbath? Did God rest because he was tired? No, God rested on the Sabbath, he looked at everything he has made and saw that it was very good, tov me’od. So God rested and God is our model and so there’s something to be said for that as well as it being one of the Ten Commandments.
Do we need time to reevaluate and rethink things? Let me go back here. So these are basically the rationale for doing the Sabbath.
By the way, does the New Testament say that we must obey the Sabbath? Paul in Romans says that some people observe the Sabbath and some people do not and consider every day alike. So what I’m saying is that you can make a commitment for yourself, but be careful about forcing it on other people on those who may have other commitments.
What do we know about the Tabernacle? This is a major verse with this, “Then have them make me a sanctuary for me and I will dwell among them.” I will dwell among them, what name of God does this trigger in your head? Immanuel. What does Immanuel mean?—“God with us.” “I will dwell among them.” Israel is in the desert and where are the Israelites living in the desert? They’re living in tents. If God is with the Israelites in the desert, where does God live? In a tent. The Israelites are living in tents in the desert, so God is living in a tent with them. Some people that are friends of mine say that the Tabernacle has this notion of the holy of holies with the cherubim, that this is heaven on earth. In other words, the tabernacle is like a little bit of heaven on earth because of the cherubim. Other friends of mine say that the tabernacle symbolizes the return to the Garden of Eden. Now both of these suggestions I never have been able to get off on. These suggestions are made by some people that I very much respect, but they have never made much sense to me. What makes more sense to me is the tabernacle is a tent and God is tenting with his people. That seems to make more sense than this “heaven on earth” idea, but some people will go in that direction. So for me it’s more of God tenting with his people.
Now, I’m going to put up a drawing of the tabernacle. This on your PowerPoint that you guys can download. Here’s a drawing of the tabernacle, let’s just kind of walk through this. First of all, and I’m going to walk over to the other side here. Let’s get the size of this thing. The whole tabernacle is 150 feet long by 75 feet wide. How long is that? How many yards? 150 feet is how many yards? 50 yards. What’s 50 yards that you know pretty well? That’s like half a football field. Is this huge? Is it about as wide as a soccer field? Now that’s the outer core. The inner tabernacle itself is 45 feet by 15 feet. Could that fit it in this room? From here to the back wall is that about 45? And 15 feet, this room wider than 15 feet. So the tabernacle could fit right in here. All I’m saying, is this huge? No, it’s not.
When you come in, what direction do you come in from? The east, which means your back is to the rising sun. Is the sun a problem for gods in that culture? Now, where are the tribes of Israel? There were three tribes on this side, three tribes on this side, three tribes on this side, and three tribes on this side. Are the tribes camped around this? There were three tribes on each side.
When you come in from the east and you drop your sacrifice off, who picks up your sacrifice right here and kills the animal? The priests. So do the priests operate in here? You bring your animal here, your sheep or goat, the priest then takes it and burns it on this altar of burnt offering. This is about 7 ½ feet long and they burn the animals up here.
Now, by the way, when you slay an animal is there going to be blood? So this is the laver. A laver looks like a bird bath, it actually does. This has water in here. Why would the priests need water at this point? They got messed up with the blood, so they wash up here. This is the laver and the altar of burnt offering out here.
Now when you go in here you basically have this, I’m sorry this is a terrible drawing. This is what the Jewish people call a Menorah. A Menorah is a seven branch candle holder. Have you ever seen those Jewish ones with the seven branches? It’s a lampstand. Why do you need a lampstand inside this tent? It gets dark in there. This is the Menorah, the lampstand. This is the table of Shew bread here. It is like a coffee table. On this coffee table is the Shew bread, 12 loaves of bread. How many tribes are there? 12 tribes, 12 loaves of bread. This is the incense altar. The incense altar is 6 inches by 6 inches, probably about three feet tall. On this, they burn special incense that God said had to be mixed in a special way. When you came in by the tabernacle, would you know that you were in God’s presence by the fragrance that you smelled? Do fragrance or odor and presence go together? Can you tell you’re in someone’s presence sometimes by the way things smell? I put it in a bad way, but in other words, does smell trigger presence. Yes, so you have the fragrance I should say.
Now here there’s a curtain that goes across here. This is the Holy of Holies. The “Holy of Holies” means the most holy place. There’s the ark of the covenant there. The ark is about this big by this big, on top of the ark is the cherubim. Where does the blood get put? Once a year the priest goes in there, on what day does the priest put the blood between the cherubim? The Day of Atonement, the most sacred day, Yom Kippur. If I said Yom Kippur, does that sound familiar? On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, they bring the blood in and put in on there. So this is the ark. They carry the ark on their shoulders as they walk.
Three Things in the ark [89:59-91:28]
There were three things in the ark. This should sound like a multiple choice question to you. The Ten Commandments are in the ark. Aaron’s budding rod, Aaron was to be the leader since his rod budded. They took Aaron’s budding rod and put it in the ark. Then they took a pot of manna, they gathered up some manna and put it in there. By the way what does the word “manna” mean? Do you see there’s kind of a play on words here with “manna”?—It means “what is it?” They didn’t know what it was, so they called it “what is it.” So these three things then are found in the ark of the covenant. Later on in Israel’s history these two things will be gone, and the only thing that will be left in it will be the Ten Commandments. So the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod were lost while the Ten Commandments are the only thing left in the ark.
So that’s the tabernacle. We’ve got a test on Thursday. I had one more slide to go, this slide here won’t be on the exam. So don’t worry about this question on abortion.
Rough edited by Ted Hildebrandt-2