The details of these apparent discrepancies between Deut. 16 and other Passover regulations in the Pentateuch are discussed below in the present chapter. But the very fact that regulations which appear to stand in contradiction to each other have been preserved raises the problem that faces all students of the Pentateuch. How did the Compiler act when such discrepancies appeared in the texts? Whether these discrepancies were real or imaginary is of minor consequence, for even imaginary divergences would give rise to an attitude of doubt that it is the aim of religious codes to remove. It may be assumed that the Compiler was a representative of the official schools of teachers at Jerusalem. Did the Compiler emend the text where it was at variance with the practice of his own time? Or did he simply omit what was inconvenient? Or, on the other hand, did he pass down all those texts that had reached his day, however embarrassing they might be to the hierarchy of his time? To these questions the answer is clear- in the narrow context of the Passover. It is certain that the Compiler would not have ventured to emend the text, even where it contradicted the practices of his contemporaries. Of this the apparent opposition between our texts of Ex. 12 and Deut. 16 is proof enough. These texts are equally proof that the Compiler would not have omitted words or phrases. A small omission in the text of Deut. 16 would have removed, at one stroke, a serious embarrassment; this was not done. We may conclude that the texts are largely preserved in the form in which they reached the hands of the Compiler. Their antiquity and their sanctity were guarantees of their survival.


from page 191, The Hebrew Passover