Exodus 24:4—How could Moses have written this when modern scholars say several different authors (JEPD) are responsible for it?

Problem: Modern critical scholars following Julius Wellhausen (19th century) claim that the first five books of the OT were written by various persons known as J (Jehovist), E (Elohimist), P (priestly), and D (deuteronomist), depending on which sections reflect the literary characteristics of these supposed authors. However, this verse declares that “Moses wrote all the words of the Lord.” Indeed, many other verses in the Bible attribute this book to Moses (see points 6–9 below).

Solution: Here is another example where negative criticism of the Bible is wrong. There is very strong evidence that Moses wrote Exodus. First of all, no other person from that period had the time, interest, and ability to compose such a record.

Second, Moses was an eyewitness of the events and as such was qualified to be its author. Indeed, the record is a vivid eyewitness account of spectacular events, such as the crossing of the Red Sea and receiving the Ten Commandments.

Third, the earliest Jewish teaching ascribes this book to Moses. This is true of the Jewish Talmud, as well as Jewish writers like Philo and Josephus.

Fourth, the author reflects a detailed knowledge of the geography of the wilderness (cf. Ex. 14). This is highly unlikely for anyone, unlike Moses, who did not have many years of experience living in this area. The same is true of the author’s knowledge of the customs and practices of the people described in Exodus.

Fifth, the book explicitly claims that “Moses wrote all the words” (Ex. 24:4). If he did not, then it is a forgery which cannot be trusted, nor could it be the Word of God.

Sixth, Moses’ successor Joshua claimed that Moses wrote the Law. In fact, when Joshua assumed leadership after Moses, he exhorted the people of Israel that “This Book of the Law” should not depart out of their mouths (Josh. 1:8) and that they should “observe to do according to all the law which Moses ... commanded” (Josh. 1:7).

Seventh, a long chain of OT figures after Moses attributed this book to him, including Joshua (1:7–8), Josiah (2 Chron. 34:14), Ezra (6:18), Daniel (9:11), and Malachi (4:4).

Eighth, Jesus quoted from Exodus 20:12, using the introduction “for Moses said” (Mark 7:10; cf. Luke 20:37). So either Christ is right or the critics are. Since there is strong evidence that He is the Son of God, the choice is clear (see Geisler and Brooks, When Skeptics Ask, Victor Books, 1990, chap. 6).

Ninth, the Apostle Paul declared “Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law” (Rom. 10:5, citing Ezek. 20:11). So we have it on apostolic authority, as well as on the authority of Christ, that Moses wrote Exodus.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.