The Books Of Moses And The Hebrew Calendar

Q. I have been told that the ancient Rabbis call the first 4 books of the Bible the Song of Moses. They also believed that the verses in this group of books could be numbered for the years of life on earth. Each verse says something about what is going on on earth in that co-responding earth year. I also understand that there are some verses that we have in our Bible that the Jewish Bible does not have; so we have to take that into consideration. All this is very confusing and kind of far fetched. What are your thoughts on this?

A. You’re right. It is confusing and probably incorrect as well. It’s the first 5 books of the Bible, not the first 4, and they’re called the Books of Moses. The Song of Moses is contained in Exodus 15 and is only 18 verses long. There are 5853 verses in the Christian version of the 5 Books of Moses and 5845 in the Hebrew version. This is due to a difference in the way verses are numbered and not because some have been added. By the way, some Hebrews scholars say the total should be 5888 verses since 35 verses from the 5 Books of Moses also appear in 1-2 Chronicles and 8 also appear in the Psalms. 5845 + 35 + 8 = 5888.

As to each verse being relevant to the year corresponding to its number, that would also appear to be highly speculative. Even if you could agree on the correct number of verses (5845, 5853, or 5888) it’s been estimated that about 200 years have been lost on the Jewish calendar due to various Old Testament judgments. The current year on the Jewish calendar is 5770. If you add those years back, you would have exceeded the maximum number of verses attributed to the Books of Moses.

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