Until This Day or
As This day
Critics, who assume a late dating of the Pentateuch, have indicated that the use of the phrase "until
this day" or "as this day" presents a lapse of time or an anachronism and evidence against Mosaic authorship.
In their view, they see a historical or chronological implication to the verse in question. However the
use of this phrase is often within the context of the time and / or reminds the Israelites what they have
seen or what God has done as in these examples:
Deuteronomy 2:30 - the initiation and decisiveness of Sihon’s conquest.
"But Sihon king of Heshbon was not willing for us to pass through his land; for the
LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, in order to deliver him into your hand, as
he is today.
Deuteronomy 3:13-14 - Jair, the abbreviated name of Havvoth-jair and of the half-tribe Manasseh,
is given honorary mention by Moses for his heroics in the conquest of the Transjordan.
The rest of Gilead and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, I gave to the half-tribe of
Manasseh, all the region of Argob concerning all Bashan, it is called the land of Rephaim. (Jair the
son of Manasseh took all the region of Argob as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites,
and called it, that is, Bashan, after his own name, Havvoth-jair, as it is to this day.)
Deuteronomy 4:20 - a reminder that Israel continues being as the covenant nation.
"But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be
a people for His own possession, as today.
Deuteronomy 4:38 – a reference to the imminent conquest of Canaan as Israel’s inheritance.
driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in and
to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 8:18 - a hope that God’s favor in the future may continue as it is right now in Moses
"But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make
wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
Deuteronomy 10:8 – a reminder of the levitical priesthood that began 40 years earlier in light of
the recent passing of Aaron.
At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of
the LORD, to stand before the LORD to serve Him and to bless in His name until this day.
Deuteronomy 10:15 - confirms the permanency of God’s choice of Israel as His people.
"Yet on your fathers did the LORD set His affection to love them, and He chose their
descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day.
Deuteronomy 11:2 – a reminder that these Hebrews saw God’s awesome power against the Egyptians.
"Know this day that I am not speaking with your sons who have not known and who
have not seen the discipline of the LORD your God--His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm,
Deuteronomy 29:4 – a statement of Israel’s faith.
"Yet to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see,
nor ears to hear.
Deuteronomy 29:28 - has a prophetic perspective as it predicts a future judgment upon the disobedient
and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and in fury and in great wrath, and
cast them into another land, as it is this day.
There are instances of the phrase "until this day" or "as this day" that cannot be conclusively
determined if they represent editorial additions. However, if an alleged phrase was introduced, critics
do not consider the possibility that an earlier inspired author, such as Moses, may have made the editorial
use of the phrase "until this day" to events that occurred historically before his time.
So he called it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.
Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is
on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob's thigh in the sinew of the hip. (Gen 32:32)
Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt valid to this day, that Pharaoh
should have the fifth; only the land of the priests did not become Pharaoh's. (Gen 47:26)
just as He did for the sons of Esau, who live in Seir, when He destroyed the Horites from
before them; they dispossessed them and settled in their place even to this day. (Deut 2:22)
In some cases, the term "this day" emphasizes and memorializes an incredible victory over a fearsome
opponent. In the conclusion of the Israel’s conquest of the Transjordan, Deuteronomy 3:8-11 describes
the defeat of and the size of the bed or sarcophagus of the giant King Og of Bashan (13 feet long and 6
feet wide). Some Scholars consider this an editorial inclusion; they claim that the statement would not
make sense since King Og was vanquished just a few weeks earlier, and thus, they date this gloss to King
However, this passage summarizes the impressive conquest of Transjordan, covering an expanse
of roughly 430 miles long and 30 miles wide, and King Og ruled the largest kingdom that the Hebrews faced
on the east side of the Jordan river. It is quite possible that this message was for the non-combatants
who were in Gilead (mid-Transjordan) and far from the fighting.
"Thus we took the land at that time from the hand of the two kings of the Amorites
who were beyond the Jordan, from the valley of Arnon to Mount Hermon (Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, and the
Amorites call it Senir): all the cities of the plateau and all Gilead and all Bashan, as far as Salecah and
Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. (For only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the
Rephaim. Behold, his bedstead was an iron bedstead; it is in Rabbah of the sons of Ammon. Its length was nine
cubits and its width four cubits by ordinary cubit.) (Deut 3:8-11)
Then they turned and went up by the way of Bashan, and Og the king of Bashan went out
with all his people, for battle at Edrei. But the LORD said to Moses, "Do not fear him, for I have given him
into your hand, and all his people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon, king of the
Amorites, who lived at Heshbon." So they killed him and his sons and all his people, until there was
no remnant left him; and they possessed his land. (Num 21:33-35)
Giants were held in awe for their immense physical stature and strength
(see Giants of the Bible), and the following two examples
are often cited as more instances of alleged inspired textual updating found in Deuteronomy 2. .
(The Emim lived there formerly, a people as great, numerous, and tall as the Anakim.
Like the Anakim, they are also regarded as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim. The Horites formerly lived
in Seir, but the sons of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them and settled in their place,
just as Israel did to the land of their possession which the LORD gave to them.)
(It is also regarded as the land of the Rephaim, for Rephaim formerly lived in it,
but the Ammonites call them Zamzummin, a people as great, numerous, and tall as the Anakim, but the LORD
destroyed them before them. And they dispossessed them and settled in their place, And the Avvim, who lived in
villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorim who came from Caphtor, destroyed them and lived in their place.)
But do these passages really represent post Mosaic additions? Roughly 600 years
earlier, God had given the land of Moab and Ammon to the sons of Lot, and these two passages
recount the early history of these two areas. As a consequence of the 40 years of wandering, Moses
is now the oldest Hebrew and likely the only one who would know of this early history. Rather
than being an editorial addition by a late author (who would not likely know much about various giant
groups), it is very possible that Moses added this editorial comment after the conquest of the Transjordan
In some cases, the verses are difficult to rationalize when the supernatural is involved. Deut 34:6
presents a perplexing text that is difficult to understand. Moses has died amidst his people, God has
buried him, and the burial site of this revered leader is unknown. Destructive critics who deny any
supernatural possibilities point to the phrase "to this day" as suggesting a late authorship, which would
explain why the burial site is unknown.
And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man
knows his burial place to this day. (Deut 34:6)
But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body
of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (Jude 1:9)
Constructive critics, who would consider a supernatural possibility, would disagree and place
authorship closer to the time of Joshua not long after Moses died (1400 BC). A supernatural explanation is also
consistent with the New Testament reference in Jude 1:9.
However, contributing to the difficulty of interpreting this passage is the question of who
wrote Moses’ obituary, which ultimately questions the authorship of the book of Joshua (see
Who Wrote the Book of Joshua?).
The use of the phrase "until this day" or "as this day" may, on some occasion, be evidence of post
Mosaic authorship by another inspired author. However these editorial comments were not made long after
the biblical event and proabably not done by hypothetical editors of the Exile as destructive critics propose.
Furthermore, these changes were made for the purpose of clarifying the Text for later generations and
did not alter the doctrinal message or substance of the Bible.
A resource for learning how to read the Bible.