In what script did Moses write the Pentateuch?

BibleAsk Team

Moses and the Pentateuch

Skeptics mocked the idea that Moses could have written the Pentateuch in Hebrew during the second millennium B.C., convinced that Hebrew writing didn’t exist at that time. Those who admitted that Moses might have written part of the Pentateuch, or certain experiences, thought that he must have used either Egyptian hieroglyphic script or Babylonian cuneiform.

According to the evidence, the first alphabetic form of writing was invented—if not in Phoenicia or southern Palestine—in the very region of Sinai where Moses received the command to write the story of Amalek’s defeat in a book (Exodus 17:14). In 1916, Dr. Alan Gardiner published his first attempt to decipher inscriptions found some ten years earlier by Sir Flinders Petrie which the Egyptian copper mines of the Wadi Magâra on Sinai.

Later expeditions have increased the number of inscriptions from that place, and the combined labor of a number of outstanding linguists has succeeded in deciphering this previously unknown script. These inscriptions show the amazing fact that they constitute the earliest attempts at composing a Semitic script, which consisted of about 25 characters.

The makers of this alphabet were probably Canaanites who worked for the Egyptians in mines in Sinai. These used certain Egyptian hieroglyphs to express abstract phonetic sounds instead of concrete objects. This was a great invention. We still use a modified form of the alphabetic script invented probably on the Sinai Peninsula before the Exodus. For example, the letter b, is a direct descendant of the first character used at Sinai for that sound.

The invention of alphabetic writing shortly before the Exodus was a gift from God as the invention of printing by movable type shortly before the Reformation. The Bible could never have become the “book of the people” if it had been necessary to write it in the complicated hieroglyphic or cuneiform systems which preceded the invention of alphabetic script. With this new script, it was easy for Moses to write the story of God’s dealings with His.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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