Monday, April 27, 2009

Horeb or The Moutain of God - E and D

The word "Horeb" or the phrase "the mountain of God" ("har Elohim") appears 6 times in E, 9 times in D, and never in P or J. The complete list is set forth below.

(E) Exod. 3:1: Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. (Note: E and J are both present in the burning bush story. Separating them is complex. However, Friedman makes a reasonable case in his footnote. I will discuss how reasonable or unreasonable this is when we discuss that particular story. At that time, we will assume the various characteristics of each source and see how well that explains the divisions. But for now we are doing the opposite; we are assuming the divisions into sources and seeing how well that explains the characteristics of each source.)

(E) Exod. 4:27: The LORD said to Aaron, "Go into the desert to meet Moses." So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him.

(E) Exod. 17:6: "...I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink."

(E) Exod. 18:5: Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, together with Moses' sons and wife, came to him in the desert, where he was camped near the mountain of God.

(E) Exod. 24:13: Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God.

(E) Exod. 33:6: So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mount Horeb.

(Dtr1) Deut. 1:2: It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road.

(Dtr1) Deut. 1:6: The LORD our God said to us at Horeb, "You have stayed long enough at this mountain. . . ."

(Dtr1) Deut. 1:19: "Then, as the LORD our God commanded us, we set out from Horeb . . . ."

(Dtr1) Deut. 4:10: Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, "Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children."

(Dtr1) Deut. 4:15: You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire.

(Dtr1) Deut. 5:2: The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb.

(Dtr1) Deut. 9:8: At Horeb you aroused the LORD's wrath so that he was angry enough to destroy you.

(Dtn) Deut. 18:16: For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die."

(Dtr1) Deut. 29:1: These are the terms of the covenant the LORD commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb.

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Sinai and Horeb are both names of the mountain where God appeared to Moses and the Hebrews. Yes Sinai is used exclusively by P and J, while Horeb is used exclusively by E and D. Standing alone, that strongly supports the DH. In a separate post, I will examine the traditional Jewish understanding of why this mountain has two names.

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As an aside, the only other place in the Tanach where "mountain of God" is used is in 1st Kings, and it is equated with Horeb: "So he [Elijah] got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God." (1 Kings 19:8.) First Kings is part of the Deuteronomist history, and it is noteworthy that it uses Horeb, not Sinai, like the rest of D.

In Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, the only place where Sinai appears in in the Song of Deborah, in Judges 5: "The mountains quaked before the LORD, the One of Sinai, before the LORD, the God of Israel." (Judges 5:5.) Scholars believe this song was from an independent very early source, and was inserted into Judges by D.

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Update: see here for a particular problem with J and E.

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