Did God rest on the seventh day or the eighth?

This is a follow up to my earlier post, A Genesis editing error? Separating the second and third days of Creation. The earlier post argued that with the exception of the second day, God declares at the end of each day’s work that “it was good.” On the second day, the expression is missing but on the third day it is used twice, in the middle and at the end. I suggested that thematically, the activities occurring in the first part of the third day fit better with the second day’s activities than the third’s, and suggested that there was an editing error in which the second day’s activity should have included that part of the third day’s activities that occur prior to the first of the two notices that “it was good,”, and that notice originally signaled the end of the second day.

If correct, that would leave us with six days each including the phrase “it was good.” But the sixth day also includes two separate claims that the day’s activities were good. The first part of the day brings forth the animals “And God saw that it was good.” Then God created “man.” Several translations substitute “humankind” for “man” but the underlying Hebrew uses Adam, meaning “man.”

The problem here is that if the phrase “it was good” is used to mark off a day’s activities, as it does for five of the six days (and all six days per my analysis of the second day), then we should consider that the double use of “it was good” should indicate that there were two separate days of activities combined into one day. The creation of the animals happened on the sixth day, as the text indicates, but the creation of Adam, after the first statement that “it was good” should have occurred on the seventh day. If this is the case, then God rested on the eighth day, and we have the Sabbath traditions all wrong.

A Genesis editing error? Separating the second and third days of Creation

As the story of creation unfolds day by day in Genesis 1, you can see something of a formulaic structure in the wording. On Days 1,3, 4, 5, and 6, the text has God declare that each days creation was “good.” On each of those days, the text ends with “there was evening and there was morning, the [N] day”, where N represents the particular day’s number. But there is a slight flaw in that structure on the second day and third days.

While the second day ends with the formulaic “there was evening and there was morning, the second day,” there is no reference to the events of the second day being “good.” On the third day, however, there are two separate references to the day’s events being “good.” Let’s take a closer look at these two days.

On the second day, God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” The waters above were separated from the waters below, and the dome was called “sky” (in the NRVS version.) This is followed with the formulaic note about evening and morning.

On Day 3, God is still fooling around with the waters. “’Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so.” God called the land “earth” and the waters under the sky “Seas.” As an aside, this sees to be something of a contradiction. Seas implies multiple waters separated from each other, but we were just told all the waters were gathered in one place.

At the conclusion of this task and naming exercise, we are told, “And God saw that it was good.” On all the other days, this phrase comes at the end of the day’s activity. Here it comes in the middle of the day’s activity. God next plants fruit and vegetation and the trees and seed. And, again, “God saw that it was good.” This is followed by the formulaic description of evening and morning.

The question I have is why the second day’s activities are not declared “good”, but the third day’s activities are declared “good” on two separate occasions for two different projects, one of which continues the second day’s activities.

The second day was concerned with creating a dome to separate the waters above from the waters below. The first part of the third day is devoted to gathering together the waters below and causing dry land to appear. It seems to me that that activity should have been part and parcel of the second day’s activities. In fact, the act of separating the waters above from the waters below actually left the waters below in one place. We know that because dry land had not yet appeared on the second day.

Furthermore, the end result of the third day was not the gathering of the waters in one place, the declared purpose, but separating the waters so that land can appear. We know some waters were separated from other waters because they were turned into separate Seas. Now, I am sure I am not the first person to notice this problem, and I am sure there is no end of creative theological solutions to paste over what appears to be an obvious error, but something is clearly wrong here.

It is my suggestion that in the original version of Genesis, the second day ended after the separation of the waters above from the waters below, leaving the waters gathered together in one place. Somehow, in the course of textual transmission, this got screwed up, with the gathering of the waters in one place being confused with the separation of the waters into Seas.

To be more specific: On the second day, God separated the waters above from the waters below, causing the waters to be gathered in one place, with no land divisions. This act was called “good” and there was evening and there was morning. The third day was not concerned with “gathering” the waters in one place but with separating the waters into Seas and bringing out the dry land, upon which God seeded and planted the vegetation and fruits and trees. That was also called “good” and there was evening and there was morning.

KMT reviews Gensis Chronology and Egyptian King-lists

KMT magazine, a popular scholarly journal that covers ancient Egypt, published a review of my Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-lists. In the most positive portion, the reviewer wrote, “The numerous tables, where they deal with Egyptian king-lists . . . are excellent, highly informative, as also is his discussion of the same. These alone are worth the price of the book (emphasis added).” I take this as a tacit acknowledgment that the book deals well with the basics of mainstream Egyptian chronological studies.

Where we part company is over whether I have made the case that the numerous precise year-to-year alignments (none of which are cited in the review) between Genesis birth and death dates and the Egyptian High Chronology starting dates of every Egyptian dynasty down to the Eighteenth, as well as the starting dates for several major Egyptian kings and the beginning date of the Egyptian Sothic cycle constitute sufficient reason to believe that there is a relationship between the Genesis birth-death chronology and the Egyptian king-lists. Given the precise chronological alignments between the Genesis birth and death dates and the Egyptian dynastic dates, I am not sure what sort of additional evidence would be needed to make the case.

I have some other criticisms of the review, but I’ll let those pass for now.

God’s Footnotes

On many occasions, one or another of the books of the bible cites a so-far undiscovered written source as an authoritative proof that what the biblical author said was true. I like to think of these instances as God’s footnotes. So, here’s a theological question: If a biblical text cites a so-far undiscovered written text as an authoritative source for a claim in the bible, should that so-far undiscovered text be treated as an additional canonical biblical book?

Release set for “Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-lists.”

Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-lists: The Egyptian Origins of Genesis History, Volume 1: Egypt’s Dynastic Period should be available for purchase sometime in the next couple of days, depending upon how quickly the distributor’s computer’s talk to Amazon’s computers. I expect the book to also appear on the Barnes and Noble site. As soon as I have links, I’ll post them.

I’ll be presenting a paper at the annual meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt

I’ll be presenting a paper titled Enoch and Sothis: Is there a link between Genesis chronology and Egyptian king-lists at the annual meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt. The conference will be held from April 12-14 in Alexandria Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C. My presentation will be at 12:45 PM on April 13th. For full details on the conference go here.

Read Chapter One of Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-lists

I was hoping to have my new book, Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-lists: The Egyptian Origins of Genesis History: Volume I, the Egyptian Dynastic Period, my follow up to The Moses Mystery, out during February. There has been a couple of minor production glitches and a February release is possible, but it might take another week or two. In the meantime, you can now read Chapter One: The Mystery of the Genesis “Begats.”

Teaser for “Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-lists”

Here’s some information about my next book, Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-Lists: The Egyptian Origins of Genesis History, Volume 1: Egypt’s Dynastic Period. Over the next couple of weeks, I will post a Table of Contents and readable access to the first chapter. So far, the release date is still set for no later than mid-February.

Revealed! the hidden links between
Genesis chronology and Egyptian history

The Book of Genesis  contains a 2,300-year chronology of Patriarchal births and deaths, from Adam to Joseph. Most biblical scholars believe the lists were fictional creations but Gary Greenberg, the provocative author of The Moses Mystery, says the birth and death dates contain a disguised but accurate chronology of Egypt’s dynastic history.

Based on a deep and thorough examination of the many problems in establishing an accurate Egyptian chronology, Greenberg makes a compelling case that an alignment of the Genesis birth-death chronology with the High Egyptian Chronology favored by many Egyptologists demonstrates  a precise one-to-one relationship between most Genesis birth and death dates and the starting years for Egypt’s first eighteen dynasties and many of its most important kings.

Some of the surprising discoveries in Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-lists

  • The patriarch Enoch lived 365 years, a puzzling solar reference from a lunar calendar culture. What very important astronomical and chronological event (utilized by Egyptologists) happened in the year he died?
  • The patriarch Methuselah lived for 969 years, the longest-lived person in the bible. What important Egyptian political period lasted 969 years and ended in the year Methuselah died?
  • The patriarch Eber’s birth and death dates coincide with the same years in which two of Egypt’s most important and celebrated political events occurred. Find out what they were.
  • The patriarch Peleg’s name means “divided.” What division occurred in Egypt in the year Peleg died? Which important Egyptian king ascended to the throne in the year Peleg was born?
  • The patriarch Joseph guided the Pharaoh to unprecedented political power in Egypt. What is the chronological and political correlation between Joseph’s rise to power and the Thutmosid kings?

Long-delayed supplement to “The Moses Mystery” to be released early 2019.

Those of you who read my book The Moses Mystery: The Egyptian Origins of the Jewish People, might recall that a portion of the argument depended on an extensive study of Egyptian Chronology. Unfortunately, since the book was written for the popular market and the full study would have more than doubled the length of the book, the publishers strongly opposed my inclusion of the extra material. After negotiations, the editor agreed that I could provide a significantly abbreviated summary of the material, which I did. In the book, I said I would separately publish the chronological material.

That was about 20 years ago, and life being what it is, I wound up with new book deals and new directions of interest. Earlier this year, I convinced myself to go back to my original research, do a lot of updating, and separately publish my detailed study showing that the author of the Book of Genesis used ancient Egyptian archival material to fashion his chronological history of Genesis, from Creation to the death of Joseph.

This is going to be a massive study dealing with Egyptian chronology, mythology, and history. My initial plan has been to do a three-volume study titled Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-lists: the Egyptian origins of Genesis history. “Volume I, Egypt’s Dynastic Period” is now completed and going through the process of transformation into a book. I expect it to be published no later than February 2019. The first volume is the one that supplements The Moses Mystery. Over the next few weeks, I will release some information about Volume I of the Genesis study.

The second volume will deal with the mythological chronology present in Egyptian king-lists and its relationship to Genesis. This will result in some substantial revelations about the nature of Egypt’s mythological chronology and the Genesis author’s reliance on that mythological chronology. The third volume will deal with the chronology of Genesis Creation and the patriarchal history from Adam to Joseph. I will show that almost all of Genesis history is highly dependent on Egyptian mythology. These last two volumes can be considered supplements to my 101 Myths of the Bible: How ancient scribes invented biblical history.

My original publishing plan called for me to release Volume 2 either in late 2019 or early 2020, and volume 3 within a year after releasing the second volume. Once again, life has intruded and I have just recently contracted with an academic publisher to produce my lengthy and controversial study on the source origins of the four New Testament gospels. The major draft of that book is complete, and I will have to spend time seeing how much editing and rewriting needs to be done and getting it in final shape for publication. That time frame is uncertain I hope that this won’t cause much delay in producing the next two volumes of Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-lists: The Egyptian Origins of Genesis History. More details on the Gospels project in a couple of months.

Joab and Abishai as Apologetic Tropes

Most biblical scholars familiar with the biblical accounts of David’s rise to the throne of Israel recognize that the text has been overlaid with an apologia defending David against charges that he murdered his way to the throne by killing off those who stood in his way. The most significant assassination charged to him was that he arranged for King Saul to be murdered.