Who would write such negative, detrimental, and destructive descriptions of the Jewish people?
The authorship of the Torah has one of two possibilities: either God wrote it, or a human being wrote it. Let’s take for argument’s sake the side that a human being wrote it. If so, we discover a very strange phenomenon.
This human being could not have been a Jew! Can we actually believe that a Jew would write such negative, detrimental, and destructive descriptions of his ancestors?
Listen to what the author of the Torah describes: That his patriarch, Jacob was a liar and tricked his father, Isaac; that the sons of Jacob kidnapped and sold their brother Joseph into slavery; that the Jews of the Desert preferred slavery in Egypt rather than freedom; that the Jews are a stiff-necked people; that Moshe, the true prophet of God, complains to Him and does not want to be the leader of what he describes as such a rebellious nation; that the Jews of the Desert worshiped a golden calf; that they showed a lack of trust in God by believing the spies’ evil reports concerning Israel.
The list goes on and on.
Included in this list is the event in Parshat Chukat (Bamidbar 20:7-13) that tells the story of Moshe and Aharon’s failure in hitting the rock instead of speaking to it, in order to draw water to quench the people’s thirst. Moshe and Aharon are punished and not permitted to enter the Land of Israel.
Of course, the real meaning and interpretation of these difficult passages are explained by all the commentaries and they are not as negative as they seem. Sometimes the verses are simply misunderstood at the surface level and not meant negatively at all (as is the case with Jacob seeming to trick Isaac). But no Jew would ever risk the tarnishing of his ancestors’ reputations even if only at the superficial level of understanding.
Why would a Jew write such terrible things about his ancestors? No other nation records an unfavorable history of their ancestors. One cannot read of a single defeat of Egypt in Egyptian history books. One must turn to the Assyrian texts to read of Egyptian failures, and vice versa. Even today, there are major distinctions between British and American history books in their accounts as to what happened in the American Revolutionary War. But somehow the fact that descendants generally look at their ancestors with reverence in their historical writings is not true when it comes to the Jews and the Torah.
So which human wrote the Torah? It could not have been a Jew! The only possibility then is that an anti-Semite wrote it! But then we are left perplexed as to how this anti-Semite could have persuaded the Jews to accept it!
To suggest that a human wrote the Torah is not a realistic possibility.
If God wrote it, then we understand how the Jewish people accepted it. They knew what God writes is true and they trusted that He, at times, writes negative and critical descriptions only in order to teach important lessons. God, in writing such fact, does so to engage in constructive criticism.
This unique aspect of revealing negative-sounding ancestral history makes us stop and realize that God must have written the Torah. But there are other distinct facets described in the Torah that also lead to the conclusion of its Divine authorship.
The Torah makes prophecies that have come true. Now, there are many books that have made prophecies of the future such as Nostradamus, that some claim to have been true. But a close examination of these prophecies reveals them to be ambiguous and it is virtually impossible to prove their accuracy. Any ‘prophecy’ that can only be understood after an event has already taken place cannot be accepted as prophecy.
True prophecy is clearly comprehended before an event takes place and then we can see for ourselves whether the prophecy came to fruition or not. We find exactly such prophecies in the Torah. These prophecies are impossible for a human being to have predicted.
The fate of the Jewish nation, if they are to abandon God, is specifically described in horrid detail (See Vayikra 26, Devarim 28:15-68, 29:17-28, 30:1-10, 31:16-21, much of Yeshaya and Yechezekel). Sure enough, all of the details have indeed occurred throughout history. The Torah writes that the Jews will be thrown out of their land, return, and then thrown out again. It then foretells that the Jews will come back to Israel much later. The Jews held on to their faith in the Torah’s promises of their return to Israel for 2,000 years. And now in modern times, the Jews have come back. It is surely not coincidental that there have been no other nations who have not assimilated into their occupying or host nation after hundreds of years of exile and destruction. Moreover, not only did the Jews survive 2,000 years of exile, but they did so despite being scattered among various nations without a common language or culture.
This was all stated way in advance! The Torah, written over 3,000 years ago, teaches that the Jews will be dispersed to all the corners of the earth but would maintain their distinct identity. What human being would write such nonsense? How could he expect the Jews to accept it and live with faith in it?
But if God wrote it, it is obviously understandable. He can know that the Jews would never assimilate into the nations of the world. And if the Jews knew God wrote it by their witnessing God speak to them at Sinai, their faith in their eventual return to Israel is comprehended.
(There are more points to ponder concerning the veracity of the Torah’s claim that it was written by God. See Kol Yaakov V’etchanan and Behar)
If one takes the time to stop and think about the unique aspects of the Torah, one is inevitably drawn to the conclusion that the Torah could not have been written by a human being. It must have been authored by God.