What happened to the scrolls of Moses?
Did Moses really write the books of his name?
When King Josiah read out the recently found Torah scroll to all the people from the least to the greatest, was he reading the very words of Moses, written around six hundred years earlier? What a thought!
We have reached a crossroads, a true test of faith. Do we swing to the Hebraic way or the “Greek” path? If it is to the latter, let’s get their take on this Torah scroll, that King Josiah was reading to his people.
Well, there are many theories, most appearing in the last 150 years, but few of them include Moses as an author of even a part of the books that bear his name. Not a good start. Again the documentary hypothesis rears its ugly head, influencing much modern scholarship.
In brief, this “hypothesis” states that there are at least four sources for the content in the five books of Moses. The “J” source would have been from the 9th Century BC in Judah. The “E” source would have come from the 9th Century BC in Israel. Then there was the “D” source, with many potential culprits put forwards, including the very same man, Hilkiah, who had discovered the Torah scroll and handed it over to King Josiah. He evidently had time to scribble his additions before the handover.
This is, of course, a massive over-simplification of all the possible ideas put forward by scholars, but none of them seek to confirm the Word of God. I say this because there was one more source, the “P” source, put forward. This Priestly source is attributed to the time of the exile in Babylon, something that had not yet happened and was not going to happen for a few decades after the discovery of the Torah scroll.
So, if we go along with this and accept that the Torah hadn’t yet been put together from its four (or more) sources, what was it that Hilkiah found in the Temple?
Let’s not let Holy Scripture get in the way of earnest research and scholarship, shall we?
I would prefer to swing the Hebraic way and affirm that the Torah scroll found in the Temple was the one put there by Moses (and added to by Joshua, of course).
And why would I say that? It is because we have a great God, a God who is trustworthy and faithful and who would not deceive us. If God tells us that Hilkiah found the Torah scroll and that Moses wrote the Torah and had it placed by the Ark of the Covenant, then I have perfect faith that they are the one and the same book.
Why on earth would God want to deceive us? Why can’t some people just trust what He says?
For the previous article in this series, click here.
For the next article in this series, click here.
To find out what is my favourite book of the Bible, click here.
You can reach Steve with any comments or questions at the Saltshakers Web Community website.