Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Torah Must Have Been Written After the Times of King Saul (Unless You Want to Argue with an Explicit Verse in Samuel I )

Shmuel (Samuel) 9:9

ט לְפָנִים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, כֹּה-אָמַר הָאִישׁ בְּלֶכְתּוֹ לִדְרוֹשׁ אֱלֹהִים, לְכוּ וְנֵלְכָה, עַד-הָרֹאֶה: כִּי לַנָּבִיא הַיּוֹם, יִקָּרֵא לְפָנִים הָרֹאֶה
.
Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he said: 'Come and let us go to the seer'; for he that is now called a prophet was beforetime called a seer.--


What is this verse telling us? Read it again let it sink in. The Tanach is giving us a short lesson in philology. It is telling us that the word נביא Navi - prophet was not the original Hebrew word for a man of God. Rather the earlier word for a man of God was a רואה Roeh - a seer.

Fine so in the good ole days of Biblical times the word Roeh was used. Later on the word Navi was used. Why should you care?

Here's why:

Why is the Tanakh telling us this. Simply because a few verses later the Book of Samuel quotes Saul and his lad using this obscure term - Roeh.

יא הֵמָּה, עֹלִים בְּמַעֲלֵה הָעִיר, וְהֵמָּה מָצְאוּ נְעָרוֹת, יֹצְאוֹת לִשְׁאֹב מָיִם; וַיֹּאמְרוּ לָהֶן, הֲיֵשׁ בָּזֶה הָרֹאֶה.

As they went up the ascent to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them: 'Is the seer here?'


Apparently this word Roeh was obscure enough to the audience of Samuel that an explanation was required. We learn that in Shaul's time the word Navi had not yet become prevalent. Any use of the word Navi in the book of Samuel is the due to the language of a later writer who wrote in an era when the word Navi had already become the norm.

Now wait just one second..... the Pentateuch talks about prophets quite a lot right? Now what word does the Torah use to describe prophets? Hmmm?


"וְעַתָּה הָשֵׁב אֵשֶׁת הָאִישׁ כִּי נָבִיא הוּא וְיִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעַדְךָ וֶחְיֵה וְאִם אֵינְךָ מֵשִׁיב דַּע כִּי מוֹת תָּמוּת אַתָּה וְכָל אֲשֶׁר לָךְ."
"כִּי יָקוּם בְּקִרְבְּךָ נָבִיא אוֹ חֹלֵם חֲלוֹם וְנָתַן אֵלֶיךָ אוֹת אוֹ מוֹפֵת."
"נָבִיא מִקִּרְבְּךָ מֵאַחֶיךָ כָּמֹנִי יָקִים לְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֵלָיו תִּשְׁמָעוּן."
"נָבִיא אָקִים לָהֶם מִקֶּרֶב אֲחֵיהֶם כָּמוֹךָ וְנָתַתִּי דְבָרַי בְּפִיו וְדִבֶּר אֲלֵיהֶם אֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוֶּנּוּ."
"וְלֹא קָם נָבִיא עוֹד בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל כְּמֹשֶׁה אֲשֶׁר יְדָעוֹ יְהוָה פָּנִים אֶל פָּנִים."

...to name a few

Uh oh....

The Torah always uses the word Navi to describe a prophet

זה הכלל:

THE WORD ROEH IS NEVER USED IN THE PENTATEUCH TO REFER TO A PROPHET

THIS MEANS, IF WE ARE TO BELIEVE THE BOOK OF SHMUEL, THAT THE PENTATEUCH WAS AUTHORED AT LEAST AFTER THE ERA OF SHAUL

I fear that this is a another pretty big challenge Orthodox belief and traditional TMS. The beauty of it is that you have to argue not with Wellhausen not with Kugel but with the Biblical author of Sefer Shmuel to get around this slight problem.

Is there a way out of this dilemma while still maintaining the pashut peshat of the verse in Sefer Shmuel? Am I making too much of this verse? Am I misunderstanding something?

I doubt that there is an easy solution to this but I would love to hear anyone's take on it.

34 comments:

OTD said...

Nice upshlug.

G*3 said...

> Is there a way out of this dilemma while still maintaining the pashut peshat of the verse in Sefer Shmuel?

This one’s easy.
Originally, the word for someone who spoke with God was, properly, a “navi.” (You know, a six foot blue alien with a tail.)
In the time of Saul, the nation was corrupt and had adopted a different word, “roeh.” (Perhaps because the surrounding nations referred to the representatives of their gods as seers.)
By the time Shmuel was writing, the proper term, “navi,” had come back into use.

Just as long as you don’t ask me to back any of this up with linguistic research, we’re good.

> I doubt that there is an easy solution to this

There’s almost always an easy solution. The real trick is finding a convincing solution. Or even better, the truth.

Baruch Spinoza said...

Hello Shilty,

I made a three part series related to what you are discussing. Did Moshe write the Torah? You can go here: ( http://skepticbutjewish.blogspot.com/2010/02/did-moshe-write-torah-part-1.html ) , if you are interested to some some additional arguments.

Shilton HaSechel said...

G*3,

Great apologetics! Why didn't I think of that?

The same exact "theory" is used in the Gemara (i think it's in the Gemara) to explain the switch from Ktav Ivri to Ktav Ashurit.

"Back in the day Moshe wrote the Torah in Ashurit then everyone decided to switch to Ivrit and THEN everyone switched BACK to Ashurit."

(At least that's one opinion in the Gemara and I suppose the favorite of most Chareidim.)

You're right I need to keep reminding myself that with a little pinch of imagination any problem to faith can be "resolved". But as usual, to quote the Yeshivish saying, "the question is better than the answer"

So let me rephrase myself:

I doubt that there is an easy solution to this which doesn't elicit from me an eye roll

G*3 said...

In general, the problem with apologetics is that most of it comes across as people making stuff up to smooth over the gaps.

> I doubt that there is an easy solution to this which doesn't elicit from me an eye roll

Ah, but you're a kofer just looking for excuses to throw off the ol hamitzvos. Of course you dismiss my brilliant peshat out of hand!

Tamir said...

Why not say that both words were in use at the time of Sha'ul, and even at the time of Mosheh Rabeinu before that, "Navi" being the preferred one of the Torah and "Ro'eh" used more by the common people, and that by the time of the writing of Sefer Shemu'el, "Ro'eh" fell out of common use( maybe through the influence of the Torah's usage of "Navi"), prompting the the author to make the remark for his readers ?

G*3 said...

Tamir, that’s good too. If I remember correctly, that also mirrors one of the opinions regarding Ksav Ivri and Ksav Ashuri – Ksav Ivri was the everyday script, while Ksav Ashuri was reserved for formal documents like the Torah. Over time, Ksav Ivri fell out of use.

So now we have to miforshim that explain the problem.

How likely is it that all medrashim started this way?

Tamir said...

G*3( 1 July 2010 08:18): If I remember correctly, that also mirrors one of the opinions regarding Ksav Ivri and Ksav Ashuri ...

According to Wikipedia, what you bring here is, with some changes, the Ritva's opinion.

Shilton HaSechel said...

Tamir,

Very interesting idea. However I think the language of the verse is rather telling:

כִּי לַנָּבִיא הַיּוֹם, יִקָּרֵא לְפָנִים הָרֹאֶה

[that which we call] nowadays a Navi was once called a Roeh

The verse when it uses the word היום seems to be contrasting nowadays to the past. Which would imply that this the term Navi was not in usage in the past. (Its only used nowadays)

I suppose you could argue that the verse means :that which we say Navi colloquially was once colloquially referred to as a Roeh but you have to admit that that is a bit of a stretch and falls squarely into the category of apologetics.

E-Man said...

Let me ask you this, do yo uknow when Navi and Kesubim were compiled?

Shilton HaSechel said...

>Let me ask you this, do yo uknow when Navi and Kesubim were compiled?

Kind of irrelevant to the discussion (unless they were somehow written before the Torah???) because even if we were to credit Shmuel as the author of the first part of Sefer Shmuel we would still end up with the problem stated above.

I'm not sure what your point is maybe you're just curious of my opinion. In which case all I know is that many of the Gemara's assertions of "who wrote what" as found in Bava Batra are very unlikely (and I think, though I'm not certain, that the Abarvanel argued with some of the Gemara's assertions on this issue)

E-Man said...

I did not say who wrote what, but who compiled the entire Nach. See my point is that the Anshei Knesset Hagadola compiled the entire Tanach. They decided to leave out Jubilees and the book of enoch, etc.

While they did not edit the Torah, who says they did not edit the nach for clarification purposes?

But even if we say they did not and we hold only Shmuel's words are there, I think there is a very logical explanation.

The torah says prophets are Navis and the Sefer Shmuel says what was once called a Roeh is now called a navi.

You assume there was nothing called a Navi before. I believe you are approaching this whole thing incorrectly. Think of it like this, there are different levels of prophecy. A Navi is the highest level. Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Moshe, they were all Navis. They were able to talk to G-D plainly. They were on the highest level of communication with G-D. However, a Roeh is someone who is on a lower level of communication with G-D.

In the times of Shmuel or the Anshei Knesset Hagadola, the status of a Roeh was upgraded to a Navi. Why? Because at this point the clear prophecies that were given to prophets were diminished. That is why the later prophets all speak in parables because they have a lower level of prophecy. So, in the times of Avraham, Yitzchak, yaakov and Moshe, these Naviim would have been called Roehs. However, now that they are the highest level of prophecy available to man, they are no given the status of prophet.

Shilton HaSechel said...

>See my point is that the Anshei Knesset Hagadola compiled the entire Tanach.

You mean canonized I assume


>You assume there was nothing called a Navi before.

I explained before this is what the verse is saying, I'm not assuming anything, though you could argue I'm misinterpreting the verse.

As for your vort (are you basing it on the Rambam's levels of prophecies in the Moreh?)

I could start nitpicking on it but I think I'm gonna throw in a bit of an Occam's Razor here:

Your explanation, though might be true, is rather complicated and is predicated on many assumptions which are not apparent in the Tanach itself. Therefore I think it can be considered apologetics.

My explanation is IMHO much simpler no? You don't have to get into a whole convoluted vort of levels of prophecy and the change of prophecy in the time of the Second Temple etc.

Ah but my explanation contradicts traditional TMS. Yes. But if one wants to be intellectually honest one should follow the truth wherever it leads. In this case I feel that my explanation of the verse is:

1. The simplest

2. A Correct Reading of what the Verse is trying to say

Also you have an agenda while I do not. Contrary to what you might think I do not sit looking for things to "shlug up" TMS. These are merely things which stare me in the face and I wish to share. I like to think my only agenda is following truth wherever it leads me. If it leads me back to belief one day then all the better for me.

You on the other hand will not allow anything to question TMS. Therefore naturally all your explanations will do just that not contradict TMS. Coincidence? Of course not. All it shows is when you weigh different arguments you will always choose the one which DOES NOT contradict TMS JUST BECAUSE it doesn't contradict TMS. Is that intellectually honest? I don't think so

but OTOH I guess you can argue that you already KNOW TMS is true and therefore you have a right to think that way. In which case it will all lead back to the same question which ultimately is the source of all our arguments on this blog:

Is there any reason to think TMS is true?

E-Man said...

Are you trying to claim that you did not already conclude that the Torah was written later?

E-Man said...

Also, there is another problem with understanding this statement at its face value. In Shoftim 6:8 it also uses the word navi to refer to a prophet.

Shilton HaSechel said...

> Are you trying to claim that you did not already conclude that the Torah was written later?

You have a point however:

A. I'm always open to changing my view and have no emotional attachment to the denial of TMS or late authorship while you DO have an emotional attachment to TMS and early authorship Which of us do you think is more biased hmmmm?

and

B. This was one of the many things that led me to my ultimate conclusion

>In Shoftim 6:8 it also uses the word navi to refer to a prophet.

Lol seriously? I thought you could figure this out on your own. Just like I say the Torah was written at least later than Shaul so too based on that I would say that Shoftim was written after the time of Shaul.

But even without the word "Navi" why in the world would you think otherwise!? Read Shoftim again. What is the theme? The theme is "in those days there was no king in israel" Shoftim was obviously written during a period of monarchy, Otherwise that statement would be a little incongruous don't you think?

E-Man said...

I just find it disingenuous to say "The Torah Must Have Been Written After the Times of King Saul (Unless You Want to Argue with an Explicit Verse in Samuel I )" Based on this verse that has been explained by sooo many scholars in so many other possible ways that are simplistic and logic.

Also, you have to assume that not only was the Torah written after Shmuel, but also Shoftim.

So according to you the person or people that compiled the Tanach not only messed up and wrote the five books of Moses after Shmuel, but they also screwed up and wrote the book of judges after shmuel. This is a screw up because they were trying to trick us into thinking that the Torah and the book of judges came before Shmuel.

There are good questions that one could ask, but this is not one of them. The Torah itself makes statements like in those days. Ask from those verses that the Torah has a later date, but to say this proves (You use the word MUST) that the Torah was written after shmuel is not very convincing.

Shilton HaSechel said...

>Also, you have to assume that not only was the Torah written after Shmuel, but also Shoftim.

Um so......


>Based on this verse that has been explained by sooo many scholars in so many other possible ways that are simplistic and logic.

Scholars? So many possible ways?

Name a few. And then tell me that the people you name are not biased towards believing TMS.

>So according to you the person or people that compiled the Tanach not only messed up and wrote the five books of Moses after Shmuel

I don't think you understand so let me explain:

Someone we're not sure who wrote ALL THREE BOOKS (Torah, Shoftim, Shmuel) after the time of Shaul AT LEAST. That auhtor used HIS LANGUAGE to write the books. In his day people said "Navi". It's not complicated and I'm not saying anyone "screwed up"

>but this is not one of them.

there are many questions this is one I just felt like discussing. But I still think its a good question and you have not given a good answer your whole vort of different levels of Nevua is an ad hoc answer to explain a problem to TMS. Please bring scriptural support for your theory. Bring anything besides a bunch of "maybes" before you start building whole scenarios instead of just learning it k'pshuto.

>The Torah itself makes statements like in those days.

One of the many reasons I doubt Mosaic authorship...

>that the Torah was written after shmuel is not very convincing.

What would be convincing a verse that said "Moshe didn't write the Torah" I guess you would say "well all it means is he didn't write the last 12 verses but he wrote everything else"

זה הכלל

THERE ARE NO QUESTIONS TO ANY RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE IN ANY RELIGION WHICH CAN'T BE "ANSWERED"

HOWEVER ONE HAS TO JUDGE HOW CONVINCING THE "ANSWERS" ARE VIS A VIS THE QUESTION

You can make excuses for anything which suggests a lack of TMS . But ultimately one has to ask his or herself : Why do I need to make so many excuses? and what is leading me to make excuses for a doctrine that I have almost no evidence for?

E-Man said...

I just wrote a reply and it got lost, shoot.

My answer was by no means the simplest, it was just one of the many answers the commentaries give. However, I think the simplest is the one that explains (I think it is Rashi) that this verse is an insert from the author of the book, most likely Samuel. So lifnim or at the beginning part of Samuels life he and other prophets were called Roeh, seers. The reason for this is because prophets used to be used as future tellers, this is why Saul wanted to confer with Samuel as to where to find his lost things. However, at the end of Samuels life prophets role changed to being emissaries for G-D's word. The Radak and many others talk about how Navi is a play on words that translate into something like emissary of G-D. Look up the mikros gedolos on this pasuk and you will see. It is a very simple explanation. you are trying to explain something just by reading the verse itself, that doesn't make any sense to me, context does matter.

"HOWEVER ONE HAS TO JUDGE HOW CONVINCING THE "ANSWERS" ARE VIS A VIS THE QUESTION"

Yes, I think these answers are very convincing. They make a lot more sense than an explanation that ignores the context. Anyway, it is true, most things can be answered somehow, but I can admit when something is a good question.

Also, I really don;t understand your idea that you have to find an unbiased source? Every source that talks about these matters is either pro or against the Torah being authentic. You are biased and I am biased. But do you really think this verse demands that we conclude that the Torah was written after the book of Samuel?

What does lifnim even mean? Does it mean since the beginning of the time of Israel? Does it mean at the beginning of the life of the author?

Shilton HaSechel said...

Lemme just understand your explanation: You say that the role of a prophet as an apostle deteriorated to the role of a mere future seer. Later the prophet was restored to his "former glory"

Firstly I have to wonder what scriptural support there is for such a theory. I think given the paucity of evidence for your "Deteriorating prophet" (though by all means bring support from the Tanach and show me wrong) it is much simpler to explain the verse k'pshuto.

>you are trying to explain something just by reading the verse itself, that doesn't make any sense to me, context does matter.

Lol I don't consider medieval commentators contextual sorry I believe in trying to make sense of the Tanach by reading the Tanach.

>but I can admit when something is a good question.

And what difference will that make hmmmm?

>Also, I really don't understand your idea that you have to find an unbiased source?

You don't have to but don't you think its odd that no secular bible scholars believe in Mosaic authorship? Or do you think they are secretly scared that they might have to become religious. You do realize that many RELIGIOUS (though not too many Orthodox) people believe in the Documentary Hypothesis and late authorship. Do you think its a coincidence that only people who believe that literal TMS is a tenet of their faith believe in it?

>You are biased and I am biased

How am I biased? What do I gain from denying TMS besides dedication to intellectual honesty.

>What does lifnim even mean? Does it mean since the beginning of the time of Israel? Does it mean at the beginning of the life of the author?

Well you can decide for yourself:

http://sparks.simania.co.il/bibleSearch.php?query=%D7%9C%D7%A4%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%9D

But it basically means "back in the day" and I don't know how you could construe it to mean the "life of the author"

E-Man said...

"Lemme just understand your explanation: You say that the role of a prophet as an apostle deteriorated to the role of a mere future seer. Later the prophet was restored to his "former glory""

No, apparently you missed my point so I will repeat it in a clearer fashion.

The commentator that I think is the simplest says this:

In the times of Saul Prophets did not go around telling people to repent or G-D will bring this calamity, nor did they communicate any real message from G-D to the people. The reason they are called Roeh was because they were future seers. This is the act that they normally performed. They could see the future and told people what would occur in the future. No rebuke, no message from G-D.

This is why context matters. Because what is the point of the author telling us that Saul wanted to see the Roeh and then the author tells us the Roeh is what today we call a prophet? Because, back in those days, in Saul's days, they called prophets seers, because they foretold the future to people.

I think you are misunderstanding the word lifnim. You understand it to mean from the beginning of the bible. The true meaning is from the time of this story. See, Samuel lived a long life. In the beginning of his life, when he worked for Eli and when he appointed Saul, Prophets did not carry messages from G-D to the people, rather their main focus was to foresee the future and tell people what would occur to them. Hence, Saul wanted to ask Samuel if he (saul) would find his missing animals. Because Samuel was someone who told the future.

However, at the end of Samuel's life, when he appointed David king, prophets started carrying messages from G-D and were then called Naviim, a play on some words that mean emissary of G-D.

Yes, lifnim means back in the day. HOW FAR BACK? Samuel is talking about the difference between his past and the present. This is seen by the context of the verse. telling us why Saul says Roeh and in the present time of the author people use Navi.

E-Man said...

Well according to this link you gave me the book of Samuel could not have come before the book of Judges. רַק לְמַעַן דַּעַת דֹּרוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְלַמְּדָם מִלְחָמָה רַק אֲשֶׁר לְפָנִים לֹא יְדָעוּם

If "previously" from the dawn of time, according to your understanding, the Israelites did not need to know or did not know how to fight wars, then what was going on in the book of Samuel? ALl those wars against the Phillistines and such?

Anyway, none of these pesukim go against what I said quoting from the commentaries.

Shilton HaSechel said...

>In the times of Saul Prophets did not go around telling people to repent or G-D will bring this calamity, nor did they communicate any real message from G-D to the people.

What do you call the rebuke of Eli's sons?

>what is the point of the author telling us that Saul wanted to see the Roeh and then the author tells us the Roeh is what today we call a prophet?

As I explained it is because the audience of the book would not have known otherwise what the archaic word "Roeh" meant.

>You understand it to mean from the beginning of the bible.

I understand it to mean what it says: In the beginning of Israel.

>Samuel is talking about the difference between his past and the present.

You should've realized by now that Samuel didn't right Samuel.

Fine listen I concede that there are bigger questions to TMS then this. I was just sharing something I noticed. Im Yirtzeh Hashem I will discuss the more daunting problems with belief in TMS. I look forward to your responses then.

Shilton HaSechel said...

>Well according to this link you gave me the book of Samuel could not have come before the book of Judges.

I'm very confused at to how you read that verse but more importantly I don't know why you would think I have a problem with the book of Samuel not coming before Judges?

E-Man said...

http://bible.cc/1_samuel/9-9.htm check out this site. Also, the verse in Yishaya 30:10 shows that Roeh and Navi were two types of prophets, like I was saying.

Shilton HaSechel said...

The verse from Isaiah:

a. is an example of parallelism which is merely the style used in biblical poetry. (Only the malbim ever tried to make something of it)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_poetry#Parallelism

b. even if it was not parallelism (which it is) the two types of prophets mentioned are a "chozeh" and a "roeh". Nu maybe there are THREE types of prophets!

Rabban Gamliel said...

"You're wrong in the very same story in which Saul is looking for his donkeys and so goes to the Seer along the way back he has people saying "is Shaul amongst the Neviim" and it yet says that it became a proverb. You are flatly wrong.It wasn't that the word Navi was not used but rather that the Navi came to have the role and title of Seer." See Samuel 10:9-14

Shilton HaSechel said...

RG,
That's actually a rather good point. You win this round. ;)

Rabban Gamliel said...

Ok so nu buy me a pizza.:)

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