Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Contradiction #9 - Zin or Sin?

The problem here is that a story from the Book of Exodus is retold in the Book of Numbers in a totally different setting. Here are the relevant verses and here are the relevant maps: Kadesh Barnea, Rephidim.

Here is a single map to illustrate the distance between these two regions and cities:

I've not yet found any harmonies of these two stories, but I'm guessing that some apologists will fall back on "nearly the same story happened twice" as we've seen in gospel harmonies. Naturally, I'm hoping for a more creative and interesting solution.

1 comment:

Joey said...

Um, you noticed there are significant differences in the two stories, right? Besides just that they happened in two different places, that is.

In the Exodus account, Moses is commanded to strike the rock, which he does, and all goes well. In the Numbers account, Moses is commanded to speak to the rock, but he disobeys the order and strikes it as he had done the first time. God is angry with him for not trusting Him and this is ultimately the sin that keeps Moses from eventually crossing over into the promised land (Moses dies and Joshua ends up leading the people over Jordan; see Deu 32:51-52).

It's true that in both cases the people are thirsty and both cases involve water coming from a rock, and in both cases the place is called "Meribah" because the people quarreled, but you are ultimately correct in your conjecture that the usual and most logical interpretation is that these are two similar yet separate events.

Sorry to disappoint by not providing any novel approach.