In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, the secretary, to the house of the Lord, saying, 4 “Go up to the high priest Hilkiah, and have him count the entire sum of the money that has been brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the threshold have collected from the people; 5 let it be given into the hand of the workers who have the oversight of the house of the Lord; let them give it to the workers who are at the house of the Lord, repairing the house, 6 that is, to the carpenters, to the builders, to the masons; and let them use it to buy timber and quarried stone to repair the house. 7 But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.”
8 The high priest Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.” When Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, he read it. 9 Then Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of the workers who have oversight of the house of the Lord.” 10 Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “The priest Hilkiah has given me a book.” Shaphan then read it aloud to the king.
11 When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. 12 Then the king commanded the priest Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary, and the king’s servant Asaiah, saying, 13 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our ancestors did not obey the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
—II Kings 22
Christians claim that over 500 eyewitnesses received an appearance by their god, Jesus. But Jews can top that miracle. Jews claim that 3,000,000 Jews heard the voice of their god, Yahweh, as they camped with Moses at the base of Mt. Sinai! Imagine that: Three million people heard a voice coming out of the empty sky!
That is pretty incredible eyewitness testimony!
If you ask an orthodox Jew how he (or she) knows that the Hebrew Bible is true, he will respond, “Because three million of my ancestors heard G_d speak to them at Mt. Sinai, and this eyewitness testimony has been passed down generation by generation to me.”
Who can argue with the testimony of three million eyewitnesses? Sounds like an open and shut case, right?
Is there any explanation for why Jews living today would believe that all their ancestors heard the voice of God several thousands of years ago other than that this shocking supernatural event really did happen?
What about this possibility: The stories in the Hebrew Bible regarding the origin of the Jewish people are false. They are pure fiction. The Jews are actually descendants of ancient Canaanites. They had always lived in Palestine. They were never slaves in Egypt. They never trekked in the Sinai for 40 years. There never was a Conquest of Canaan. The stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, etc., etc., are folk tales.
So where did the story of Yahweh speaking to three million Jews come from?
Answer: It was made up.
And how could such a fantastical story be made up without it being obvious that it was a fabricated tall tale? Well, how about this: One day in a house of worship in Jerusalem, a scroll is suddenly “discovered” hidden away in a long forgotten compartment. And shock of shock, this scroll records the ancient history of the Jewish people, starting with a man from Ur of the Chaldeans, named Abraham. And later in this scroll, it is recorded that Yahweh spoke to three million Hebrews at the foot of Mt. Sinai after they had escaped Egypt and slavery under a cruel Egyptian pharaoh. This book also contains laws given to the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai. Laws that call for the Jewish people to worship in just one place, Jerusalem, which just so happens to be the seat of power of the king of Judah, and the seat of power of the Jerusalem priests.
But the truth is that this scroll was not serendipitously discovered. It was invented. It was invented and planted for “discovery” for political purposes. It was invented and planted to give the central political and religious leaders in Jerusalem more control over the people and to instill the people with a sense of unified Jewish nationalism.
And why hadn’t anyone alive at the time of the discovery of this scroll heard about these stories and about this Law of Moses? “Well,” the political and religious leaders replied, “several generations ago, our ancestors disobeyed Yahweh and started worshiping other gods and worshiping Yahweh in unapproved ways. That is why no one still living has heard anything about these stories and these laws.”
And the tale of God speaking to three million Hebrews at Mt. Sinai was born!
Dear Reader: This very possible hypothetical scenario makes clear that alleged eyewitness testimony from thousands of years ago is not reliable evidence for a supernatural claim, regardless of the alleged number of witnesses. Both the Jewish and Christian core supernatural claims are based on weak, unreliable, unconfirmable evidence!