We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Bible “Contradictions” Rebutted, #3

Contradiction claim #13, who killed Saul?

1 Sam. 31:4-6  Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.  So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.
2 Sam. 1:14-15  And David said unto him, “How was thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD’s anointed? And David called one of the young men, and said, “Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died.” This being punishment for the Amalekite who killed Saul.

To keep this dissertation as easy as possible, I will again refer to “When Critics Ask”:  
Some claim that both stories are true, taking the Amalekite’s story as supplementary. They claim that Saul attempted suicide, but was not dead when the Amalekite arrived and finished the job. They point to the fact that the Amalekite had Saul’s sword and bracelet as evidence that his account was true, as well as the fact that David punished him by death for killing the king. The objections to this view are that it contradicts the statements of 1 Samuel 31, that “Saul took a sword and fell on it” and that his armorbearer “saw that Saul was dead” (vv. 4–5), as well as the inspired record that says “so Saul … died” (v. 6).
Others see the 1 Samuel story as the correct version and the one in 2 Samuel 1 as a true record of the fabrication of the Amalekite who came upon Saul after he died and thought he could gain favor with David by taking credit for the feat. They point to the fact that the story contradicts the record in 1 Samuel 31, that the Amalekite did not seem to know that Saul died by a sword, not a spear, and that 1 Chronicles 10 repeats the story as recorded in 1 Samuel, but not the fabrication of the Amalekite. The main objections to this view are that 2 Samuel does not say his story is a lie, and that David killed him for his act. In response, he may have been killed on the basis of his self-confession (2 Sam. 1:16). And the fact that his story was in contradiction to that in 1 Samuel may have been taken as sufficient evidence that his story was a fabrication.

Contradiction claim #14, How many children did Michal, the daughter of Saul, have?

2 Sam. 6:23  Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.
2 Sam. 21:8  But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:

It appears that the second passage is a scribal error.  Some Septuagint and two Hebrew manuscripts have the name Merab instead of Michal.  Michal was not married to Adiel but Paltiel (1 Sam. 25:44).  1 Sam. 18:19 says that Merab was married to Adriel.  It is possible also that Michal was the one who brought them up and in that way they are called her sons.

Contradiction claim #15, Who moved David to anger?

2 Sam. 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
I Chron. 21:1  And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

Again, I will cite “When Critics Ask”:
Both statements are true. Although it was Satan who immediately incited David, ultimately it was God who permitted Satan to carry out this provocation. Although it was Satan’s design to destroy David and the people of God, it was God’s purpose to humble David and the people and teach them a valuable spiritual lesson. This situation is quite similar to the first two chapters of Job in which both God and Satan are involved in the suffering of Job. Similarly, both God and Satan are involved in the crucifixion. Satan’s purpose was to destroy the Son of God (John 13:2; 1 Cor 2:8). God’s purpose was to redeem humankind by the death of His Son (Acts 2:14–39).

Contradiction claim #16, How many years of famine?

2 Sam. 24:13:  So God came to David, and told him, and said unto him, shall SEVEN YEARS OF FAMINE come unto thee in thy land? or will thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue. thee?
I Chron. 21:11: So God came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee. Either THREE YEARS OF FAMINE or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee;

I’ll let Geisler and Howe answer this from their book, “When Critics Ask”:  
There are two possible ways to reconcile these accounts. Some commentators propose that the prophet Gad actually confronted David on two occasions. This proposal is based on the difference in language used to present the alternatives to David. In the 2 Samuel passage, Gad presents the alternatives as a question, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land” (v. 13). In the 1 Chronicles passage the alternatives are presented more along the lines of a command, “Choose for yourself, either three years of famine, or three months to be defeated” (vv. 11–12). Those who offer this solution assume that perhaps the 2 Samuel passage records the first encounter of Gad and David in which the alternatives are presented for David’s consideration, and that after some fasting and prayer, Gad returned for David’s decision by which time God had reduced the duration of the famine from seven to three years in response to David’s supplication.
Another group of commentators suggests that the record in 2 Samuel is a copyist error. They point out that there are more reliable manuscripts which preserve the number “three” for the duration of the famine and that the NIV has employed this manuscript reading in its translation.

Contradiction claim #17, how many stalls and horsemen?

1 Kings 4:26  And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.
2 Chron. 9:25  And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.

This is from the book, “When Critics Ask,” by Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe:  
This is undoubtedly a copyist error. The ratio of 4,000 horses to 1,400 chariots, as found in the 2 Chronicles passage, is much more reasonable than a ratio of 40,000 to 1,400 found in the 1 Kings text. In the Hebrew language, the visual difference between the two numbers is very slight. The consonants for the number 40 are rbym,í while the consonants for the number 4 are rbh (the vowels were not written in the text). The manuscripts from which the scribe worked may have been smudged or damaged and have given the appearance of being forty thousand rather than four thousand.

Contradiction claim #18, Solomon's overseers—how many?

1 Kings 9:23:  550
2 Chron. 8:10:  250

According to John McArthur in his study Bible, the numbers are correct.  Here is his explanation at 2 Chronicles 2:2:  These numbers [in the text of 2:2] are repeated in 2:17, 18.  First Kings 5:16 records 3,300 overseers, compared to 3,600 in 2:18.  If, however, the additional supervisors (250 in 2 Chr. 8:10, but 550 in 1 Kin.9:23) are added, then both 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles agree that a total of 3,850 men worked.

Contradiction claim #19, When did Baasha die?

1 Kings 16:6-8:  26th year of the reign of Asa.
2 Chron. 16:1:  36th year of the reign of Asa.

Commentators accept this as a copyist’s error.  The difference in the Hebrew is a matter of small strokes that could easily have been misread or smudged.

Contradiction claim #20, How old was Ahaziah when he began to reign?

2 Kings 8:26:  22 years old
2 Chron. 22:2:  42 years old

Norm Geisler and Thomas Howe, in their book “When Critics Ask,” say, 
“This is clearly a copyist error, and there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that Ahaziah was 22 years old when he began to reign in Judah.  In 2 Kings 8:17, we find that Joram, father of Ahaziah and son of Ahab, was 32 years old when he became king.  Joram died at age 40, eight years after becoming king.  Consequently, his son Ahaziah could not have been 42 when he took the throne of after his father’s death, otherwise he would have been older than his father.”

Contradiction claim #21, How old was Jehoiachin when he began to reign? 

2 Kings 24:8  Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
2 Chron. 36:9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.

This is a simple scribal error.  The age has to be 18 because he “did that which was evil” and the Chaldeans imprisoned him in 597, which means they considered him a responsible adult.  This scribal error gives an apparent contradiction, but there is nothing harmed by this error in either history or doctrine.

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