Torah Study Notes 8-2-14

August 2, 2014
Much of the region is coming under the control of a neo-Babylonian empire. The redactor/authors are also thinking about the experience of Israel when the Assyrians came This is effectively Moses farewell address. It is roughly the year 600 BCE.
P. 1161
11:1 These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel on the other side of the Jordan… The reference to the “”other side of the Jordan.” Suggests that the people have already crossed and have settled the land. Horeb and Mt. Sinai are used interchangeably – each drawn from a separate literary tradition. Note that the time delay was within Israel’s control. A journey of two week has become 40 years, See Kafka’s “Before the Law.” http://www.kafka-online.info/before-the-law.html
JB: Was the 40 year delay a failure of leadership on the part of Moses? PG: Much of the Torah can be read as a meditation on leadership. Moses offered patience as the preferred approach.
11:5 A different, more expansive vision of the land to be occupied. In last week’s portion the new land to be occupied appeared to end at the Jordan River. Here we are seeing a greater Israel ending at the Tigris. For many years it was thought that this was composed by Jeremiah. Moderns scholar do not accept that. It is suggested that there are “Jewish” communities at the Tigris – as well as the other named locations. The exile has created an unprecedented form of identity – one that is not predicated on national cohesion. They are no longer strictly tribal but they have discovered a way of maintaining an identity via their assumed history/myths. This is proto-Judaism. The new way incorporates religion and culture. The essential tenets include monotheism, some of the still evolving law and a history that has become part of the culture.
11:9 You are as numerous as the stars in the sky… but I Moses have organized you. This is a significant revision from the Book of Exodus where Jethro saw what Moses was doing and expressed opposition. See verse 21 on page 472. The criteria for dispute resolution is set forth. Here, verse 15 identifies tribal leaders as judges. A class has been established. The earlier notion is Edenic or idealist. The population increase should be considered diachronically; i.e. from the perspective of historical overview. Many biblical peoples have entirely disappeared.
11:19 Take possession of the land of Amorites.
11:22 Let us send notables ahead. One from each tribe selected. Compare to the text in Numbers which also describes spying out the land. They start with the positive features of the land but then go on to emphasize the negative.
11:26 There is a certain level of revision here since the substance of the negative report is omitted. The burden shifts to the people themselves for making a decision.
11:34 The Eternal… becoming angry… vows that none of the recalcitrant generation shall enter the land. An exception is made as to Caleb and Joshua in recognition of extraordinary services rendered.
11:41 Some enter the land prematurely and are routed by the indigenous forces.
Note that reward and punishment are joined. You won’t go into the land but you children will.

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