Monday, May 11, 2009

Super Glue and Moses

And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Write thou these words, for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.' 

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 words.

And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mount.

Darned! Too bad the LORD did not give Moses some Superglue® along with the tablets- just in case. And why didn't the LORD supply Moses with some Titanium-based tablets which would have resisted breakage? So many questions, so few answers.

I thought about this scenario the other day as I glued together a stepping stone that has cracked. I bought a tube of professional all-purpose construction adhesive and in no time, it was a good as new. Too bad the LORD didn't give Moses a tube- just in case.

And Moses did not eat or drink for forty days and forty nights? Or was that only four? Mistake of the scribe, perhaps?

Myths, legends and tall-tales have a way of expanding over time until they are finally written down. Paul Bunyan, Hercules, Helen of Troy and Zeus grew larger and more virulent with each telling and re-telling of the story until they became, well, larger than life. Yet, once penned, their size and power arwere fixed for all time.

How many times did the story of Moses grow in size, depth and importance until some scribe took pen to parchment? One can only surmise.

Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein in his work, The Bible Unearthed, regards the Exodus as non-historical, at best containing a small germ of truth. Finkelstein points to the appearance of settlements in the central hill country around 1200 BCE, recognized by most archaeologists as the earliest settlements of the Israelites and suggests that the local Canaanites would adapt their way of living from an agricultural lifestyle to a nomadic one and vice versa. So, there would have been no need to 'exodus' that land to find greener pastures, so to speak. Further, the Egyptians have no record of any Israeli captivity in their historical records.

Myths and legends grow to immense proportions as they are told and retold, from father to son to grandson. So here we are in 2009, some 3,500 years after the Ten Commandments event, supposedly to believe this tall tale of incredibility. It works for children and for those adults who never grew out of that childlike belief system, but for any thinking, discerning adult, the entire episode is rather like a fictional MGM film classic.

Here's the question upon which one could dwell for some time: did the LORD know that the tablets were breakable and if so, why didn't he supply Moses with a caulking gun and a canister of construction adhesive- just in case?

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