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"A Message of Ancient Days"

Page 6 (go to Page 1)

Houghton Mifflin's biased version of  Judaism
for the 6th grade


One or two mistakes or omissions would be understandable, but Houghton Mifflin consistently rewrites "Biblical history" to explain how Israel survived as though God did not exist.

1.  The textbook states:

“When the Jews rededicated the temple after defeating the Syrians,
 they only had enough oil to light their holy lamps for one day.
  Yet according to tradition, the lamps burned for eight days.”

 Jews believe this to be a monumental miracle of God, and the only honor it is given is “according to tradition.”  Compare this to the eloquent and extremely lengthy renditions of Muhammad and Islamic beliefs stated as fact!

 2.  The textbook states regarding Exodus:

  “The Israelites took a round about route to reach their homeland.
  The Torah states that the trek lasted 40 years…”

Why can’t the textbook disclose things such as God led them miraculously, with a pillar of light by night and a cloud by day?  In the Islam section, great emphasis is given to the relationship between Allah and Muslims.  Could it be because the Quran states they were told to travel by night and in darkness?  That would conflict with what Jews believe, so the Jewish details are left out to the extent the Quran agrees. 

3.  The textbook states:

“In 1020 BC, the Israelites chose
 a man named Saul as their first king.”  (pg 309)

The Bible states:  “And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to you of!  This same shall reign over my people.”  (1 Samuel 9:17)   

God chose Saul, not the people as the textbook states. 

The title of this lesson is “Early Biblical History” and should give Biblical History!

4.  The textbook states:

  “David went to a nearby brook, gathered five smooth stones, and put them in his leather bag.  Then he went out to face Goliath, according to the Bible.” (pg 308)

 Twice David said in the Bible, “Who is this that should defy the armies of the living God?…  The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.”  (1 Sam 17)  

 What a dramatic interesting passage for children!  Instead, the textbook chooses to focus on David’s going to the brook to pick out stones, which is in the Bible. But notice how obscure facts are repeatedly chosen if they line up with Islam.  In the Quran, the only mention about Goliath has to do with a stream!

 "Allah will test you at the stream…
By Allah's will they routed them;
 and David slew Goliath”  (2:249-2:251)

The textbook continues: 

“This young boy grew up to become the king of the Israelites.” 

The textbook fails to mention that Samuel the Prophet had already prophesied God chose David to be king and anointed him with oil.  David did not actually become king until after a long string of miraculous events, long after the prophet died.  The Bible is rich with quotes from God which are omitted: 

Finally the Lord said to Samuel,
 '…for I have selected one of his sons to be My new king
  (1 Sam 16) 

Yet Houghton Mifflin presents the Jewish belief as though David just grew up to be king and claims prophets did not tell the future.

What’s the prime agenda, to keep God completely out or to match it up with the Quran?  Why, in the Islam section, are events described so beautifully and compelling toward Allah, but in the Jewish section, everything is rewritten to omit God while events occur in happenstance?

 5.  The textbook states,

“Solomon showed his skill as a diplomat by making treaties with the pharaoh of Egypt and other rulers.  These treaties assured Israel’s safety.” (pg 309)

This is a HUGE Bible story about the wisdom and relationship between God and Solomon. Instead, the textbook chooses to credit Solomon independent of God.

 6.  The textbook states:

           “The prophets taught that God had power over all peoples, not just the Jews.  As a result, the Jews came to believe that their god alone controlled all nations and directed the course of history.”
(pg 311)

This statement discredits the object of Jewish belief, (God) and again credits Jewish belief to the prophets alone, who apparently needed time to convince the Jews for they had to "come to believe."  God showed Himself over and over again to the Jews throughout the ages, but not according to Houghton Mifflin, unless the god discussed is Allah and the beliefs of Islam.

This sounds like a disclaimer of validity of the Bible.  Because the next paragraph says,

“Although many people believe that the scriptures are a factual record of biblical times, most historians combine them with other kinds of evidence.” 

Is this a self-authenticating license to change what the Bible says?  The lesson is titled “EARLY BIBLICAL HISTORY,” not the Bible as rewritten by historians. 

 7.  The textbook states:

 “To remind themselves to obey the law of the Torah,
some Jews wear phylacteries.”  (pg 312)

 They wore phylacteries because God told them to!  "And you shall place these words upon your hearts and upon your souls and you shall bind them as a sign upon your hands and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes." (Deut. 11:18)   How can Houghton Mifflin write so many pages about a religion and avoid God so much?  Why didn’t they present Allah and Mohammad this way in the Islam section?

 8.  The textbook states,

“Religious Jews did not object to Syrian rule…” (pg 313)

 Oh my gosh, this is almost as ridiculous as saying everyone benefited from Muslim tolerance. 

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