Summary of the Torah with Liberal Commentary
About the Book
The Documentary Hypothesis posits that there are four major sources of the Torah (J, E, P, and D) canonized in about 400 BCE. The historic and archeological evidence supports the fact that many very similar Torah stories and laws predated it by many centuries. With the number of punishments being over three times the number of rewards, the authors make it very clear that our vengeful God does not hesitate to punish anyone who does not obey his commands including the Israelites. Furthermore, the punishments are considerably more horrible than the rewards are wonderful. God punishes all humanity by killing everyone with a flood except Noah and his family and as a reward He promises never to do it again. Many times, God has threatened to wipe the people out and has killed many tens of thousands in punishment but has never let them perish (reward). In contradiction God commands people to live a maximum of 120 years that is contradicted on many occasions. Soon after flooding the earth killing all except Noah and his family God forbids people to kill other people. Repetitions occur once, twice, or many times. The repetitions are in all Five Books: Pharoah’s hardened heart and what God did for the Israelites in Egypt is repeated thirty-nine times. The Teachings (i.e., the Torah) are for all time (repeated forty-eight times). The wonders God performed is repeated thirteen times and his promises occur sixty times. Making an oath, a pledge, or a vow is repeated seventy-one times, twenty-three times and nineteen times respectively. Many of the commandments are redundant varying language to say the same thing usually with a negative and a positive commandment. Many are repeated in more than one Book. Deception and lying are human traits utilized by both humans and God. God deceives Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to test his faithfulness and at the last moment gives him a ram entangled in a thicket to sacrifice instead of his son. Rebekah who favored her son Jacob over Esau deceived her husband Isaac who favored Esau into blessing Jacob disguised as Esau. Laban deceived Jacob and received fourteen years of his labor so he could marry his two daughters, Leah, and Rachel. Rachel deceives both her husband Jacob and her father Laban by secretly taking Laban’s idols. Simeon and Levi deceive the men of Shechem with a peace pact they do not uphold. Jacob’s sons deceive their father regarding the fate of their brother Joseph, who they sold to a passing caravan headed toward Egypt. When Er died, his father Judah did not give his wife Tamar one of Er’s brothers so she could bear a child. Tamar deceived Judah into lying with her so she could conceive a child. The Teaching by God is a gift to the Israelites for all time however, it was used as a witness against the people for all their infidelities: Gather to me all the elders of your tribes and your officials, that I may speak all these words to them and that I may call heaven and earth to witness against them (D31:28). Does creating humankind in the likeness of God mean our physical bodies are like our Creators or human characteristics, traits, senses, and personalities are like our Creator, or both? God having human traits and characteristics is clear throughout the Five Books. God’s human traits throughout the five books include: Forgiveness; do for me and I will do for you (tit for tat); remembering; anger and wrath; changing one’s mind; showing one’s power and glory; impassioned; compassionate; making errors; sense of smell and hearing; disowning others; testing others; defiance; showing displeasure and vexation; making promises; abandonment of others; forecasting; vengeance.