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The story of
Eve and the serpent, and of Noah and his ark, drops to a level with the
Arabian Tales, without the merit of being entertaining, and the account
of men living to eight and nine hundred years becomes as fabulous as the
immortality of the giants of the Mythology.

Besides, the character of Moses, as stated in the Bible, is the most
horrid that can be imagined. If those accounts be true, he was the
wretch that first began and carried on wars on the score or on the
pretence of religion; and under that mask, or that infatuation,
committed the most unexampled atrocities that are to be found in the
history of any nation. Of which I will state only one instance:

When the Jewish army returned from one of their plundering and murdering
excursions, the account goes on as follows (Numbers xxxi. 13): "And
Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation,
went forth to meet them without the camp; and Moses was wroth with the
officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains
over hundreds, which came from the battle; and Moses said unto them,
'Have ye saved all the women alive?' behold, these caused the children
of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against
the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the
congregation of the Lord. Now therefore, 'kill every male among the
little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with
him; but all the women-children that have not known a man by lying with
him, keep alive for Yourselves.'"

Among the detestable villains that in any period of the world have
disgraced the name of man, it is impossible to find a greater than
Moses, if this account be true. Here is an order to butcher the boys, to
massacre the mothers, and debauch the daughters.

Let any mother put herself in the situation of those mothers, one child
murdered, another destined to violation, and herself in the hands of
an executioner: let any daughter put herself in the situation of
those daughters, destined as a prey to the murderers of a mother and a
brother, and what will be their feelings? It is in vain that we attempt
to impose upon nature, for nature will have her course, and the religion
that tortures all her social ties is a false religion.

After this detestable order, follows an account of the plunder taken,
and the manner of dividing it; and here it is that the profaneings of
priestly hypocrisy increases the catalogue of crimes. Verse 37, "And the
Lord's tribute of the sheep was six hundred and threescore and fifteen;
and the beeves were thirty and six thousand, of which the Lord's tribute
was threescore and twelve; and the asses were thirty thousand, of which
the Lord's tribute was threescore and one; and the persons were sixteen
thousand, of which the Lord's tribute was thirty and two." In short, the
matters contained in this chapter, as well as in many other parts of the
Bible, are too horrid for humanity to read, or for decency to hear;
for it appears, from the 35th verse of this chapter, that the number
of women-children consigned to debauchery by the order of Moses was
thirty-two thousand.

People in general know not what wickedness there is in this pretended
word of God. Brought up in habits of superstition, they take it for
granted that the Bible is true, and that it is good; they permit
themselves not to doubt of it, and they carry the ideas they form of the
benevolence of the Almighty to the book which they have been taught to
believe was written by his authority. Good heavens! it is quite another
thing, it is a book of lies, wickedness, and blasphemy; for what can be
greater blasphemy, than to ascribe the wickedness of man to the orders
of the Almighty!

But to return to my subject, that of showing that Moses is not the
author of the books ascribed to him, and that the Bible is spurious.
The two instances I have already given would be sufficient, without any
additional evidence, to invalidate the authenticity of any book that
pretended to be four or five hundred years more ancient than the matters
it speaks of, refers to, them as facts; for in the case of pursuing them
unto Dan, and of the kings that reigned over the children of Israel; not
even the flimsy pretence of prophecy can be pleaded. The expressions are
in the preter tense, and it would be downright idiotism to say that a
man could prophecy in the preter tense.

But there are many other passages scattered throughout those books that
unite in the same point of evidence. It is said in Exodus, (another of
the books ascribed to Moses,) xvi. 35: "And the children of Israel did
eat manna until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna until
they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan."

Whether the children of Israel ate manna or not, or what manna was, or
whether it was anything more than a kind of fungus or small mushroom, or
other vegetable substance common to that part of the country, makes no
part of my argument; all that I mean to show is, that it is not Moses
that could write this account, because the account extends itself beyond
the life time of Moses. Moses, according to the Bible, (but it is such
a book of lies and contradictions there is no knowing which part to
believe, or whether any) died in the wilderness, and never came upon
the borders of 'the land of Canaan; and consequently, it could not be
he that said what the children of Israel did, or what they ate when they
came there. This account of eating manna, which they tell us was written
by Moses, extends itself to the time of Joshua, the successor of
Moses, as appears by the account given in the book of Joshua, after
the children of Israel had passed the river Jordan, and came into the
borders of the land of Canaan. Joshua, v. 12: "And the manna ceased on
the morrow, after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither
had the children of Israel manna any more, but they did eat of the fruit
of the land of Canaan that year."

But a more remarkable instance than this occurs in Deuteronomy; which,
while it shows that Moses could not be the writer of that book, shows
also the fabulous notions that prevailed at that time about giants' In
Deuteronomy iii. 11, among the conquests said to be made by Moses, is
an account of the taking of Og, king of Bashan: "For only Og, king
of Bashan, remained of the race of giants; behold, his bedstead was a
bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine
cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after
the cubit of a man." A cubit is 1 foot 9 888/1000 inches; the length
therefore of the bed was 16 feet 4 inches, and the breadth 7 feet 4
inches: thus much for this giant's bed. Now for the historical part,
which, though the evidence is not so direct and positive as in the
former cases, is nevertheless very presumable and corroborating
evidence, and is better than the best evidence on the contrary side.

The writer, by way of proving the existence of this giant, refers to his
bed, as an ancient relick, and says, is it not in Rabbath (or Rabbah)
of the children of Ammon? meaning that it is; for such is frequently the
bible method of affirming a thing. But it could not be Moses that said
this, because Moses could know nothing about Rabbah, nor of what was in
it. Rabbah was not a city belonging to this giant king, nor was it one
of the cities that Moses took. The knowledge therefore that this bed was
at Rabbah, and of the particulars of its dimensions, must be referred to
the time when Rabbah was taken, and this was not till four hundred
years after the death of Moses; for which, see 2 Sam. xii. 26: "And Joab
[David's general] fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and
took the royal city," etc.

As I am not undertaking to point out all the contradictions in time,
place, and circumstance that abound in the books ascribed to Moses, and
which prove to demonstration that those books could not be written by
Moses, nor in the time of Moses, I proceed to the book of Joshua, and
to shew that Joshua is not the author of that book, and that it is
anonymous and without authority. The evidence I shall produce is
contained in the book itself: I will not go out of the Bible for proof
against the supposed authenticity of the Bible. False testimony is
always good against itself.

Joshua, according to Joshua i., was the immediate successor of Moses; he
was, moreover, a military man, which Moses was not; and he continued as
chief of the people of Israel twenty-five years; that is, from the time
that Moses died, which, according to the Bible chronology, was B.C.
1451, until B.C. 1426, when, according to the same chronology, Joshua
died. If, therefore, we find in this book, said to have been written
by Joshua, references to facts done after the death of Joshua, it is
evidence that Joshua could not be the author; and also that the book
could not have been written till after the time of the latest fact
which it records. As to the character of the book, it is horrid; it is
a military history of rapine and murder, as savage and brutal as those
recorded of his predecessor in villainy and hypocrisy, Moses; and the
blasphemy consists, as in the former books, in ascribing those deeds to
the orders of the Almighty.

In the first place, the book of Joshua, as is the case in the preceding
books, is written in the third person; it is the historian of Joshua
that speaks, for it would have been absurd and vainglorious that Joshua
should say of himself, as is said of him in the last verse of the sixth
chapter, that "his fame was noised throughout all the country."--I now
come more immediately to the proof.

In Joshua xxiv. 31, it is said "And Israel served the Lord all the days
of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that over-lived Joshua." Now,
in the name of common sense, can it be Joshua that relates what people
had done after he was dead? This account must not only have been written
by some historian that lived after Joshua, but that lived also after the
elders that out-lived Joshua.

There are several passages of a general meaning with respect to time,
scattered throughout the book of Joshua, that carries the time in which
the book was written to a distance from the time of Joshua, but without
marking by exclusion any particular time, as in the passage above
quoted.



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