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Home Forums Evidence for a script Moses could have used to write the Torah Comparing Genesis 1:9-10 and Exodus 14:21-22

  • Comparing Genesis 1:9-10 and Exodus 14:21-22

  • Michele Rousseau

    April 15, 2021 at 7:12 am

    Could there be similarities in these Scripture verses (Genesis 1:9-10 and Exodus 14:21-22) that reveal Moses’ writing style as evidence of writing the Torah? Or, if I may rephrase the question for deeper thinking, could Moses’ witness of the parting of the Red Sea have helped Him in writing about the Creation, demonstrating comparable writing style of Moses in these passages of the Torah?

  • Tommy Miller

    June 10, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Michele, you ask an interesting question concerning the grammatical style of Gn. 1:9-10 and Ex. 14:21-22 potentially arguing for mutual Mosaic authorship. I went to my library hoping a Hebrew scholar had already spoken to the issue, but to no avail. My rudimentary Hebrew skills also proved deficient. But I can see much similarity in the vocabulary of both. Nonetheless, I am unconvinced that vocabulary alone argues for a common author.

    The JEDPers (Graf, Wellhausen, et. al.) would no doubt posit that, indeed, Moses was not the author: Genesis is Elohist, the Exodus passage is Yahwist. To the contrary, I denounce the poor scholarship of Documentarianism for several reasons, but especially on the grounds that Jesus attributed both Genesis and Exodus directly to Moses (Mt. 19:3-9; Mk. 12:26).

    So I thought to tackle your question another way: the Rabbis may have already made the connection you suggest in their writings. I looked for any correlation between Gn 1:9-10 and Ex. 14:21-22 in the Talmud (both Bavli and Yerushalmi), in Rashi’s Commentaries on Bereishis (Genesis) and Shemos (Exodus), in my limited collection of Dead Seas Scroll literature, and also in the works of Josephus. Then, I expanded the search for in a fairly voluminous collection of Logos resources (12,155). I did not exhaust my print editions of Edersheim or Schurer.

    Still, I have yet to find a single commentator, linguist, historian, theologian, or Jewish writer who has previously affirmed the link you are suggesting. Short of a well-versed Rabbi, perhaps Jacob Neusner, or a more recent expert on Jewish literature, like David Instone-Brewer, could be of assistance.

    In summation: I cannot say that the two passages have never been connected. That would require reading everything ever written on the subject. I am simply relating that my idea to research the issue via scholarship, apart from grammatical style, has thus far turned up empty. It would be extremely beneficial if a grammarian could weigh-in on the discussion.

    • Deborah Hurn

      June 11, 2021 at 12:10 am

      Michele, Tommy, this is a lovely observation. Like you, Tommy, I am very surprised that these verses have not been often (or at all?) linked in biblical exposition. There seem to be intentional allusions by the biblical author to the Creation story. The similarity in theme is recognised in the Catholic and Anglican lectionaries where the main “resurrection” passages throughout the Bible are read together at the Easter Vigil service: see the list here:


      Gen 1:2 והארץ היתה תהו ובהו וחשׁך על־פני תהום ורוח אלהים מרחפת על־פני המים׃

      Gen 1:9 ויאמר אלהים יקוו המים מתחת השׁמים אל־מקום אחד ותראה היבשׁה ויהי־כן׃

      Gen 1:10 ויקרא אלהים ליבשׁה ארץ ולמקוה המים קרא ימים וירא אלהים כי־טוב׃


      Exo 14:20 ויבא בין מחנה מצרים ובין מחנה ישׂראל ויהי הענן והחשׁך ויאר את־הלילה ולא־קרב זה אל־זה כל־הלילה׃

      Exo 14:21 ויט משׁה את־ידו על־הים ויולך יהוה את־הים ברוח קדים עזה כל־הלילה וישׂם את־הים לחרבה ויבקעו המים׃

      Exo 14:22 ויבאו בני־ישׂראל בתוך הים ביבשׁה והמים להם חומה מימינם ומשׂמאלם׃


      The word for “spirit/wind” רוח appears in both passages. The word “darkness” חשׁך in Gen 1:4, 5 is represented by both “darkness” חשׁך and “night” לילה in Exo 14:20, 21, another allusion to the Creation story. It is “deep” תהום, “water” מים, and “seas” ימים in Gen 1:2, 9, 10; but only “sea” ים in Exo 14:21. Yet “deep” תהום appears in Exo 15: 5, 8, and in other poetic references to the Red Sea crossing, i.e. Psa 77:16; 106:9; Isa 51:10; 63:13. The word for “dry land” יבשׁה in Gen 1:10 is not the same as that in Exo 14:21 חרבה which is the same word as “Horeb”.

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