Notes by Autumn Light

On Hebrew, English, translation, editing, and more—by Jonathan Orr-Stav


Why does God in the Bible at first harden the heart of the pharaoh and then punishes him for not letting Jews go?  

[A2A] Because He was putting on a show, to demonstrate to the Hebrews* and other nations that He is the greatest—nay, the only—God.

This was, if you like, God’s comeback performance (His first since the Flood), so he was intent on making a big impression. And what greater impression could there be than to beat up and humiliate the most powerful kingdom in the known world at that time?

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Was the golden calf of the Bible not Israelite at all, but actually the Egyptian Apis or Hathor?

It was definitely not Hat’ḥor , for the simple reason that a number of statues of Hat’ḥor at the turquoise mining site now known as Serabit el-Khadim were defaced with Hebrew graffiti—not something that worshippers would do:


The Egyptian goddess Hatḥor (a.k.a. Astarte) at Serabit-el-Khadim in the western Sinai Desert

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So long Genesis, hello Exodus: the SimHebrew Bible

Imagine a Latin text—e.g. the first verse of the Latin Vulgate Bible:

In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram Terra autem erat inanis et vacua et tenebrae super faciem abyssi et spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas.
Most of us don’t know Latin, but at least we can read it, and guess at the meaning of some words—or look them up.

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If ancient Israel had Quora, what kind of questions would they ask?

Ooh boy—that’s a great question. Here are a few, to titillate the palate:


  • Are we there, yet?
  • Why isn’t God allowing Moses to enter the Holy Land? Isn’t that mean, considering all he’s done?

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