A List of Biblical Contradictions
Absurdities of the Bible
Best Selling Errancy An Essay On Inconsistencies In The Bible
Does the Bible contain errors?
Essay on the Intrinsic Flaws Inherent in Christianity
New Testament Contradictions
Solution to the Jehu Problem
Introduction to the Bible and Biblical Problems
Two Bible Contradictions
Archive for the Errancy Category
A List of Biblical Contradictions
Matt. 27 vs. Acts 1
By Dr. Niclas Berggren
There are Christians who believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. This note shows that they are wrong in this belief, since there is a contradiction between a passage in 27th chapter of Matthew and the 1st chapter of Acts. If the Bible were without error, there could be no contradiction at all.
Let me begin by stating the two passages which contradict each other. (If anyone is interested in taking a look at how other translations render these passages, go to The WWW Bible Gateway.)
Matthew 27:3-10 (KJV): “3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. 6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. 7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. 9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children ofIsrael did value; 10 And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.”
Acts 1:16-19 (KJV): “16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. 17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. 18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it was known unto all the dwellers atJerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue,Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.”
How do these verses contradict each other?
- In Matthew, Judas threw away the money to the priests before dying, then he went to hang himself. After that, the priests bought a field. In Acts, Judas used the money himself to buy a field.
- In Matthew, Judas threw away the money before dying, and then a field was bought. In Acts, the field was bought before Judas died.
- In Matthew, he died by hanging himself, whilst in Acts he fell headlong and his bowels gushed out.
How could an inerrantist Christian respond to these three points? Let me speculate on some possible counter-arguments.
As for point 1, one could infer that when Acts says that Judas bought the field, what is meant is that the priests bought the field on his behalf. This, however, is not permissible, since if one is allowed to change the meaning of the language, no significant discussion about the actual meaning of anything can be conducted. In ordinary language, we do not say that “this man purchased a field for $100” if someone else purchased it for their own usage with money thrown away by its original owner. Clearly, from Matthew, Judas did not give any order for the priests to buy a field for his money, and even if he did, why would they obey him, who they despised?
As for point 2, it seems hard to come up with a counter-argument, since the past tense is used in Matthew (“went and hanged himself”), implying that the execution of the deed had taken place before the purchase of the field. Meanwhile, Acts clearly presents the case where the field is bought prior to his dying (indeed, since he is said to have bought it himself!).
As for point 3, it is logically possible that the story in Acts is consistent with Matthew in terms of the method of dying, but it seems highly unlikely, from how his death is described. If one is to find consistency, one must include many things not in the text. Amongst other things, one wonders how the bowels could gush out simply from his having died by hanging, and one also wonders how he could fall headlong in a field, and where the tree came from (normally, there are no trees in the middle of a field).
Note that it suffices for only one of the three stated contradictions to hold for there to be a contradiction.
To conclude, the case for there being a clear contradiction between Matt. 27:3-10 and Acts 1:18 is strong, and hence the view that the Bible is without error is incorrect. For the serious implication of this conclusion, see my essay “The Errancy of Fundamentalism Disproves the God of the Bible”.
Let me add an additional item of interest. In Matt. 27:9-10, it is asserted that the prophet Jeremy (Jeremiah) uttered a prophecy regarding Judas, but no such statement is found in the book of Jeremiah. Instead, a similar statement is found in the book of Zech. 11:12,13. Again, we note that the Bible seems quite untrustworthy.
1 John vs. 1 John
By Dr. Niclas Berggren
This brief note documents a second contradiction in the New Testament (for the first, click here), thus undermining the view of some Christians, that the Bible is perfectly without error. We begin by taking a closer look at the two passages (for a check-up of different translations, go to The WWW Bible Gateway).
- 1 John 1:8, 10 (KJV): “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. … If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
- 1 John 3:9 (KJV): “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
What do these two passages, both directed to believers, say? The first one states that Christians are not without sin, and the second one that Christians are without sin. This is a clear contradiction, in that both these statements cannot both be true.
But is it possible for the Christian inerrantist to offer some possible re-interpretation such that the contradiction disappears? I shall take a closer look at four such attempts.
First, one may question that “born of God” refers to being a Christian. If it means something else, then the first passage may still be said to hold as a general description whilst the second one merely refers to some specific case, dealing with a subset of Christians “born of God”. But this interpretation is flawed, since 1 John 5:1 (KJV) defines the term in question: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” Surely, all Christians are implicated.
Second, one may attempt to change the meaning of some of the terms. Such an attempt has been made by one modern translation, the NIV, which renders the second passage in the following manner: “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning because he is born of God.” Now, on this reading, it seems as if the two passages are not necessarily contradictory. Perhaps the second passage now does not say that a Christian is without sin but that he has given up a life of sinning for one in which he may occasionally sin, but where sin is not a habit. Alas, for the Christian, this attempt is also a failure, for four reasons.
- The NIV operates on a suspicious translating principle, presented in its preface. On the one hand, it is admitted that changes of the wording – even insertion of words not in the original texts – are commonplace, and on the other hand, the scholars were all committed to the idea that the Bible is infallible. Hence, that means that if they identified a contradiction, they felt free to alter the text, in opposition to the original text, so that their a priori determination, that there are no contradictions in the Bible, was upheld. (One wonders if they have pondered upon Rev. 22:18, 19.) Clearly, such manipulative practices are not to be trusted, especially in light of almost all other translations, which are in agreement with the KJV quoted above.
- The Greek original text totally undermines this interpretation. The first part of 1 John 3:9 partly reads: “hamertian u poiei” which literally means “sin not commit”, whilst the second part partly reads “u dynatai hamartanein” which literally means “not he can sin”. The wordings “continue” and “go on” are nowhere to be found. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Old-Time Gospel Hour Edition) assists us in finding out what the Greek words stand for. First “poiei”: “to make or do (in a very wide application, more or less direct). Comp. prasso.” And if we look up “prasso”, we find: “to ‘practice’, i.e. perform repeatedly or habitually (thus differing from poiei, which prop. refers to a single act).” [italics in the original] Second, “harmatanein” is a verb which means “to miss the mark, i.e. to err, esp. to sin”. Thus, we see that the Greek explicitly destroys the suggested argument claiming that 1 John 3:9 refers to repeated acts or habits.
- Even if the two points just mentioned were incorrect (which they are not), one may wonder how one is let off the hook by the NIV translation. Consider the first part of the verse. It says that no Christian will continue to sin. What does “not continue” mean? It means that one stops doing something. If we sit in a car and say: “We will not continue any more”, that means that we stop our journey. It does not mean that we go a little longer from time to time in the near future – it means that we stop, period. Hence, it seems as if even the NIV, upon careful consideration, suggests that a Christian cannot commit sin. Also, the wording in the second part of the verse, that a Christian cannot go on sinning, implies the same thing: if we do not go on doing something, it means that we stop doing it entirely. It does not leave room for occasional lapses in the future. It implies that we have sinned in the past but that when we became Christians, that ceased altogether.
- Furthermore, one may question what habitual sinning is, exactly. Most Christians seem to have the idea that they do sin on a continual basis. This is confirmed in Rom. 7:19 (especially interesting translation in the NIV, for those who invoke that translation). So what is habitual sinning? One sin a year? One sin a week? One sin a day? Might one not divine that Christians differ vastly on this count, such that some Christians sin more than a non-Christian? Take, as an example, the sin of having sexual fantasies (see Matt. 5:27-30). Who seriously thinks that Christian boys and single men do not masturbate to sexual fantasies for years, possibly several times a day? Is that habitual sinning? If so, 1 John 3:9 states that the people who commit these acts are not Christians, for Christians cannot sin habitually. So even on the erroneous reading of 1 John 3:9, that it refers to habitual sinning, it does not really solve the problem, since most Christians probably sin habitually, on any reasonable definition of that term.
Third, it can be suggested that what 1 John 3:9 really takes into account is forgiveness, in the sense that even if a Christian commits a sin, in accordance with 1 John 1:9 he is cleansed and forgiven if he confesses it. In this sense, it could perhaps be said that a Christian, after having confessed a sin, is on record as not having sinned at all. But this actually violates what the verse says – that a Christian cannot sin – and it also fails to distinguish between an act of sin and a situation where the Christian has been forgiven for a sin. These are certainly not automatically equivalent. In fact, a Christian may commit a sin and not ask for forgiveness, which makes the suggested equivalence fallacious.
Fourth, is it possible that what 1 John 3:9 talks about is only one part of a Christian, namely, his born-again nature (his “spirit”), and that this nature cannot sin? This view is incorrect, for two reasons.
- Whilst the nature of a person may be sinful or not, the concept of committing a sin, as is discussed in this verse, necessarily entails a volitional act. Only a conscious act of the will can be deemed to constitute a sin. Someone’s nature, which is a condition, cannot sin – it can only be such as to induce sin. A sin requires free will, and the free will is an integrated part of a whole human being as such, superseding possibly conflicting natures. If this is held not to be so, it is also held that man does not have free will. Therefore, as most Christians claim that man has free will, it is wrong to suggest that the passage deals with the born-again nature of a Christian. If a Christian commits a sin, it is true, on the Biblical account, that his “old nature”, or flesh, may influence him to do so, but the actual decision to commit the sin is the result of that whole person’s will.
That this reasoning holds is obvious when considering 1 John 3:9 in conjunction with 1 John 5:1. The first verse states that “no one” who is born of God commits sin, and the second verse states that “everyone” who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. Now the point here is to realize what it is that believes, since it is that thing which does not commit sin. Take a human being. Before becoming a Christian, he is without spiritual life – the only part of his nature is his flesh. But it is exactly that non-Christian person who begins to believe, without before having a born-again nature. That nature comes immediately after the belief (1 Pet. 3:18). Therefore, invoking reasoning by transitivity, the born-again nature cannot in itself believe that Jesus is the Christ and, hence, neither can it be what does not commit sin in 1 John 3:9. This view is reinforced by Rom. 7:25, which states that Paul himself serves the law of God and that he also serves the law of sin with the flesh. It is the whole person Paul, not his flesh, which commits sins.
- The problem with inferring that the verb “to sin” means that “a Christians ‘old’ nature, or flesh, sins” is that it is completely arbitrary. Since both passages discussed here use the very same Greek verb for “to sin”, are we at liberty to introduce a very restrictive interpretation of the word in one place and not in the other? This does not seem a very plausible Biblical principle of interpretation. Rather then, to be consistent we should render both 1 John 1:8, 10 and 1 John 3:9 such that they talk about the born-again nature of the Christian committing or not committing sin, rather than the Christian committing or not committing sin, as an autonomous, whole person. But then the contradiction remains.
To conclude, the presentation has shown that two passages in 1 John contradict each other and that suggested attempts to remove this contradiction fail utterly. Hence, the Bible contains yet a documented error, the implication of which is outlined in my essay “The Errancy of Fundamentalism Disproves the God of the Bible”.
by Donald Morgan
The Bible consists of a collection of sixty-six separate books. These books were chosen, after a bit of haggling, by the Catholic Council of Carthage in 397 A.D.–more than three hundred years after the time of Jesus. This collection is broken into two major sections: The Old Testament, which consists of thirty-nine books, and The New Testament, which consists of twenty-seven books. (Catholic Bibles include additional books known as the Apocrypha.)
The Old Testament is concerned with the Hebrew God, Yahweh, and purports to be a history of the early Israelites. The New Testament is the work of early Christians and reflects their beliefs about Jesus; it purports to be a history of what Jesus taught and did.
The composition of the various books is thought to have begun around 1000 B.C., and to have continued for about 1,100 years. Much oral material was included. This was repeated from father to son, revised over and over again, and then put into written form by various editors. These editors often worked in different locales and in different time periods and were often unaware of each other. Their work was primarily intended for local use and it is unlikely that any author foresaw that his work would be included in a “Bible.”
No original manuscripts exist. There is probably not one book which survives in anything like its original form. There are hundreds of differences between the oldest manuscripts of any one book. These differences indicate that numerous additions and alterations, some accidental and some purposeful, were made to the originals by various authors, editors, and copyists.
Many biblical authors are unknown. Where an author has been named, that name has sometimes been selected by pious believers rather than given by the author himself. The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are examples of books which did not carry the names of their actual authors. The present names were assigned long after these four books were written. And–in spite of what the Gospel authors say–biblical scholars are now almost unanimously agreed that none of the Gospel authors was either an actual disciple of Jesus or even an eyewitness to his ministry.
Although some books of the Bible are traditionally attributed to a single author, many are actually the work of multiple authors. Genesis and John are two examples of books which reflect multiple authorship.
Many biblical books have the earmarks of fiction. For example, private conversations are often related when no reporter was present. Conversations between God and various individuals are recorded. Prehistoric events are given in great detail. When a story is told by more than one author, there are usually significant differences. Many stories–stories which in their original context are considered even by Christians to be fictional–were borrowed by the biblical authors, adapted for their own purposes, given a historical setting, and then declared to be fact.
The Flood story is an example of this kind of adaptation. Its migration from the earliest known occurrence in Sumeria, around 1600 B.C., from place to place and eventually to the Bible, can be traced historically. Each time the story was used again, it was altered to speak of local gods and heroes.
But is the Bible, nevertheless, the work of God? Is it a valid guidebook? How can we know?
If the Bible were really the work of a perfect, all-powerful, and loving God, one would reasonably expect it to be obviously superlative in every respect–accurate, clear, concise, and consistent throughout–as compared to anything that could possibly be conceived by human intellect alone.
Fundamentalists, in fact, hold this to be true. Using a circular argument, they say that because the Bible is without error or inconsistency, it must be the work of God, and because it is the work of God, it must be without error or inconsistency. It seems not to matter which proposition comes first, the other is thought to follow.
Notwithstanding the fundamentalist viewpoint, however, the Bible does contain a number of real problems. And some of these problems are absolutely fatal to its credibility.
Many passages relate God-ordained atrocities; such passages are unworthy of the Christian God. Some biblical precepts are both unreasonable and unlikely since they are in obvious disagreement with common sense as well as the qualities of character which are attributed to God. Some biblical statements are absurd in that they represent very primitive beliefs. The believability of many biblical stories–stories that are crucial to Christianity–are discredited by numerous inconsistencies. The picture is further complicated by the many different and conflicting interpretations that are often given to a specific passage by sincere, well-intentioned believers.
While Biblicists are capable of offering some sort of explanation for nearly any biblical problem that can be uncovered, such explanations should be unnecessary. The point is not whether some explanation can be conceived, but rather that a perfect, all-powerful, and loving God certainly could, should, and would do a much better job of it were he to have anything to do with the writing of a book.
The evidence which follows, taken from the Bible itself, is but a small portion of that which exists. This evidence demonstrates that the Bible cannot be the literal, complete, inerrant and perfect work of a perfect, all-powerful, and loving God. It also demonstrates that the Bible is not especially useful even as a guidebook. In addition, because the Bible reflects every important belief of traditional Christianity–the foundation of Christianity itself rests on shaky ground.
Note to reader: this Introduction is but one of eight chapters which originally made up a single, unified document. For purposes of increased compatibility with the Internet, the document was broken into eight separate files. The evidence referred to above can be found in the related files using the links below.
Key to Abbreviations
|AC = ACTS
AM = AMOS
CN = COLOSSIANS
DN = DANIEL
DT = DEUTERONOMY
EC = ECCLESIASTES
EP = EPHESIANS
ER = EZRA
ES = ESTHER
EX = EXODUS
EZ = EZEKIEL
GA = GALATIANS
GE = GENESIS
HA = HABAKKUK
HE = HEBREWS
HG = HAGGAI
HO = HOSEA
IS = ISAIAH
JA = JAMES
JB = JOB
JE = JEREMIAH
JG = JUDGES
JL = JOEL
JN = JOHN
JO = JONAH
JS = JOSHUA
JU = JUDE
KJV = KING JAMES VERSION
LA = LAMENTATIONS
LE = LEVITICUS
LK = LUKE
MA = MALACHI
MI = MICAH
MK = MARK
MT = MATTHEW
|NA = NAHUM
NE = NEHEMIAH
NT = NEW TESTAMENT
NU = NUMBERS
OB = OBADIAH
OT = OLD TESTAMENT
PH = PHILIPPIANS
PL = PHILEMON
PR = PROVERBS
PS = PSALMS
RE = REVELATION
RO = ROMANS
RSV = REVISED STANDARD VERSION
RU = RUTH
SO = SONG OF SOLOMON
TS = TITUS
ZE = ZECHARIAH
ZP = ZEPHANIAH
1CH = 1 CHRONICLES
2CH = 2 CHRONICLES
1CO = 1 CORINTHIANS
2CO = 2 CORINTHIANS
1JN = 1 JOHN
2JN = 2 JOHN
3JN = 3 JOHN
1KI = 1 KINGS
2KI = 2 KINGS
1PE = 1 PETER
2PE = 2 PETER
1SA = 1 SAMUEL
2SA = 2 SAMUEL
1TH = 1 THESSALONIANS
2TH = 2 THESSALONIANS
1TI = 1 TIMOTHY
2TI = 2 TIMOTHY
Fatal Bible Flaws?
NOTE: These lists are meant to identify possible problems in the Bible, especially problems which are inherent in a literalist or fundamentalist interpretation. Some of the selections may be resolvable on certain interpretations–after all, almost any problem can be eliminated with suitable rationalizations–but it is the reader’s obligation to test this possibility and to decide whether it really makes appropriate sense to do this. To help readers in this task, these lists are aimed at presenting examples where problems may exist given certain allowable (but not always obligatory) assumptions. It should be kept in mind that a perfect and omnipotent God could, should, and likely would see to it that such problems did not exist in a book which s/he had inspired. It should also be kept in mind that what is and is not a Biblical flaw is to some extent a matter of opinion. You are entitled to disagree with the author that these are, in fact, Biblical flaws–let alone fatal flaws.
DT 6:5, MT 22:37, MK 12:30, LK 10:27 Love God.
DT 6:13, PS 33:8, 34:9, 111:10, 115:13, 128:1, 147:11, PR 8:13, 16:6, 19:23, 22:4, IS 8:13, LK 12:5, 1PE 2:17 Fear God.
1JN 4:18 There is no fear in love.
PR 30:5 Every word of God proves true.
1KI 22:23, 2CH 18:22, JE 4:10, JE 20:7, EZ 14:9 God deceives some of the prophets.
JE 8:8 The scribes (copyists, editors, teachers) falsify the word.
2TH 2:11-12 God deceives the wicked (to be able to condemn them).
(Note: Not every word of God can prove true if God deceives anyone at all; teaching from the Bible cannot be trusted if the scribes falsify the word. In other words, the first reference is mutually exclusive with the other three. Thus, the Bible cannot be the perfect work of a perfect, all-powerful and loving God since one or more of the above references is obviously untrue. Note also: Some versions use the word “persuade” rather than “deceives.” The context makes clear, however, that deception is involved.)
EZ 20:25 God says that he intentionally gave out bad laws. (This means that God-given laws or commandments are sometimes suspect.)
LK 1:26-38 The angel who appears to Mary to foretell the birth of Jesus says that Jesus will be given the throne of David, that he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and that his kingdom will never end. (None of this took place nor can it now be fulfilled.)
MT 16:28, MK 9:1, LK 9:27 Jesus says that some of his listeners will not taste death before he comes again in his kingdom. This was said almost 2000 years ago.
(Note: This passage and many others indicate that Jesus was to come again in a relatively short period of time and not just “quickly” as present day Biblicists assert. All of his listeners are now dead, yet Jesus has not come again in his kingdom. All of the alleged words of Jesus put forth in the Bible are therefore suspect.)
MK 16:17-18 A believer can handle snakes or drink poison and not experience any harm.
(Note: Many unfortunate believers have died as a result of handling snakes and drinking poison. This kind of assertion negates the Bible as a useful guidebook for life.)
NOTE: These lists are meant to identify possible problems in the Bible, especially problems which are inherent in a literalist or fundamentalist interpretation. Some of the selections may be resolvable on certain interpretations–after all, almost any problem can be eliminated with suitable rationalizations–but it is the reader’s obligation to test this possibility and to decide whether it really makes appropriate sense to do this. To help readers in this task, these lists are aimed at presenting examples where problems may exist given certain allowable (but not always obligatory) assumptions. It should be kept in mind that a perfect and omnipotent God could, should, and likely would see to it that such problems did not exist in a book which s/he had inspired. It should also be kept in mind that what is and is not an absurdity is to some extent a matter of opinion. You are entitled to disagree with the author that these are, in fact, absurdities.
GE 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven(s) and the earth.” (One might ask what “existed,” and where God dwelt, before he created heaven and earth. Of course, if God were pure spirit the question could be considered moot, but inasmuch as the God of the Bible allegedly participated in a wrestling match, ate solid food, was seen face to face, spoke with Moses, etc., it would seem that he possesses physical attributes, including form.)
(Note: Some biblicists contend that biblical chronology fixes the date of creation at 4004 B.C. thereby making the earth about six thousand years old. Some present-day creationists stubbornly adhere to a young earth timetable in spite of overwhelming evidence that the earth is actually billions of years old.)
GE 1:3-5, 14-19 There was light (“night and day”) before there was a sun. (Note: If there were no sun, there would be no night or day. Also, light from the newly created heavenly bodies seems to have reached the earth instantaneously though it now takes thousands or millions of years.)
GE 1:12, 16 Plants began to grow before there was sunlight.
GE 1:29 Every plant and tree which yield seed are given to us by God as good to eat. (Note: This would include poisonous plants such as hemlock, buckeye pod, nightshade, oleander.)
GE 2:15-23, 3:1-5, 1TI 2:14 Eve was created after Adam had already been given the prohibition about eating the forbidden fruit. Eve believed the serpent (the craftiest of all of God’s wild creatures) when he assured her that she would become wise and would not die if she ate the fruit. Eve has been blamed for causing Adam to fall, and ultimately for the fall of mankind. (Note: Prior to eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve would have had no knowledge of right and wrong; they would not have known that it was a sin to disobey God or to obey the serpent. After they ate the forbidden fruit, God placed a guard around the “Tree of Eternal Life” to keep them from eating its fruit. He could have done the same for the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” before Adam and Eve disobeyed. In addition, even though the prohibition regarding the forbidden fruit was made to Adam before Eve came on the scene, Eve has been blamed for the Fall; 1TI 2:14 says: “… Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”)
GE 3:1-5 The serpent speaks human language (presumably Hebrew).
GE 3:14-16 God curses the serpent, Eve, and Adam for what they have done. (Note: This is inconsistent with God’s omniscience; God should have known full well, ahead of time, what the outcome would be. Since God created the three as well as the Tree of Knowledge, he is ultimately responsible for the Fall.)
GE 3:14 The serpent eats dust for the rest of his life (by command of God).
GE 4:15 A mark is placed on Cain as a distinctive identifying symbol when there were only three (known) persons on earth.
GE 4:17 Cain builds and populates a whole city in only two generations.
GE 6:4 There were giants on the earth at one time. (Note: No evidence exists to supports this assertion.)
GE 6:5 God is unhappy with the wickedness of man and decides to flood the earth to eliminate mankind. All living things including plants, animals, women and innocent children are also exterminated. (Note: This is like burning down a house to rid it of mice.)
GE 6:15 The size of Noah’s Ark was such that there would be about one and a half cubic feet for each pair of the 2,000,000 to 5,000,000 species to be taken aboard.
GE 7:17-19 The flood covered the entire earth at the same time. (Note: There is no evidence of a worldwide flood, but rather of many, widespread, but local floods.)
GE 7:19-20 The flood covered the earth with water fifteen cubits (twenty plus feet) above the highest mountains.(Note: This would require steady, worldwide rainfall at the rate of about 6 inches per minute, 360 inches per hour, 8640 inches per day–for 40 days and nights–so as to cover the entire earth with an endless ocean 5 miles deep, thus burying 29,000 ft. Mt. Everest under 22 ft. of water. How did the author know the depth of the water? Did Noah take soundings? And where has all this water gone?)
GE 8:20 Noah’s first recorded action following the flood is to sacrifice one of every clean animal and bird. (Since so few animals were saved, this could be considered rather wasteful and defeating–especially given that the stated purpose of taking the animals aboard the Ark was to keep them alive [GE 6:20]. To see a discussion of the various ways this verse can be interpreted, and in turn the different ways to approach the Bible generally, see addendum.)
GE 8:21 The odor of Noah’s sacrifices was pleasing to the Lord.
GE 9:12-16 God first creates the rainbow. (Note: Apparently the laws having to do with refraction of light were null and void prior to this time.)
GE 18:1, 7-8 God eats solid food with Abraham.
GE 30:37-43 Jacob alters the genetic characteristics of cattle by letting them view a striped rod. (Note: His purpose in doing so was to fleece Laban of his cattle.)
GE 32:24-30 God takes part in a wrestling match. He wins by injuring Jacob’s hip.
GE 38:27-29 Twins are being delivered. One puts out his hand and the midwife binds it with a scarlet ribbon to identify him as the firstborn. But he draws back his hand, and his brother is born first (thereby obtaining the rights of the firstborn son).
EX 4:24 The Lord sought to kill Moses (one of his own prophets.)
EX 12:30 The Lord kills all the first-born ofEgypt and there is not a house where there is not at least one dead. (This means that there was not a house inEgypt that did not include at least one first-born—a most unusual situation.)
EX 12:37, NU 1:45-46 The number of men of military age who take part in the Exodus is given as about 600,000. Allowing for women, children, and older men would probably mean that a total of more than 2,000,000 Israelites leftEgypt at a time when the whole population ofEgypt was less than 2,000,000.
EX 17:14 God says that he will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek.
DT 25:19 “… you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.”
(That remembrance is now permanently preserved in the Bible.)
EX 28:34-35 Entering the holy place without wearing bells can result in death.
LE 11:20-21 There are winged creatures (birds or insects) that go around on all fours. (Note: There are no birds that go around on four legs, and all insects have six or eight legs.)
LE 11:6 (States, incorrectly, that the rabbit, or hare, chews its cud.)
LE 14:33-57 God himself believes that a house or clothes can have leprosy and he details the remedy.
LE 14:49-53 The cure for leprosy involves incantations and the blood of a bird.
NU 11:31-33 A “wind from the Lord” brings such an abundance of quail that “he who gathered the least gathered ten homers,” or about 62 bushels. Altogether, this would have been enough to fill several thousand boxcars. Unfortunately, it was immediately followed by a great plague (food poisoning?) from the Lord.
NU 22:21-30 A donkey sees an angel, recognizes it as such, and then speaks in human language (presumably Hebrew) to his master.
DT 1:1 Moses speaks to “all” of Israel, perhaps 2,000,000 people (see EX 12:37 above).
DT 2:14 All of the “men of war”–some 600,000–who left Egypt in the Exodus were dead just thirty-eight years later. (See EX 12:37 above.)
DT 7:15 Moses promises his people that the Lord will take away all sickness.
DT 25:5-9 A man has an obligation to produce a child with his brother’s widow. If he refuses, his sister-in-law is to spit in his face in front of the elders.
JS 10:12-14 God obliges Joshua by making the sun and moon stand still (so that he can finish his battle by daylight).
JG 3:21-22 (KJV) “Ehud … took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out.”
JG 7:12 The camels were without number as the sand of the sea.
JG 15:15 Samson slays 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass.
JG 16:17-22 Samson loses his strength as a result of having his head shaved. (Note: This is not psychosomatic since he began to lose his strength while he was still asleep.)
JG 20:16 There were seven hundred men who were left handed and could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.
1SA 5:8-9 God causes “emerods” (hemorrhoids or tumors) amongst the Philistines (who have captured the Ark of the Covenant, where God was thought to reside).
1SA 13:5 The Philistines had “… troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude.”
1SA 16:14-23 Evil spirits can come from God (and be exorcised with God’s help).
1KI 3:12, 16-28 Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, can think of no better way to determine the natural mother of a child in dispute than to threaten to divide the child in half. (Note: This does not take into account the possibility of mental derangement on the part of the natural mother.)
1KI 4:29 God gave Solomon wisdom as measureless as the sand on the seashore.
1KI 6:2, 2CH 3:3 Solomon’s temple was only about ninety feet long by thirty feet wide, yet:
1KI 5:15-16 153,300 persons were employed to build it.
1KI 6:38 It took seven years to build.
1CH 22:14 ~7,500,000 lbs. of gold and ~75,000,000 lbs. of silver were used.
1CH 23:4 24,000 supervisors and 6,000 officials and judges were employed to manage it. (Note: Inasmuch as there seems to be uncertainty as to the exact weight of the biblical talent, some estimates place the weight of gold at more than 13,000,000 lbs. and the weight of silver at more than 116,000,000 lbs.)
1KI 10:24 The whole world sought an audience with Solomon to hear his wisdom.
1KI 17:2-6 The Lord commands ravens to bring bread and meat to Elijah.
1KI 18:33-38 Fire consumes wet wood, stones, and dust, and “licks up” water.
2KI 6:5-7 An iron axe head “swims” (or floats).
2CH 9:23 All the kings on earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom.
2KI 13:21 A man who is being buried comes alive after touching the bones of Elisha.
2KI 16:2, 20, 18:1-2 Ahaz was thirty-six years old when he died. His twenty-five year old son Hezekiah succeeded him. Thus Ahaz was a ten or eleven year old father.
2KI 19:35 (KJV) “…the angel of the Lord…smote…an hundred four score and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning … they were all dead….”
2KI 20:11 The shadow on a sun dial moves backwards.
2CH 7:5, 8-9 Solomon sacrificed 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep in one week. This is 845+ animals per hour, 14+ animals per minute, for seven days straight.
2CH 21:20, 22:1-2 Ahaziah was forty-two when he became king; he succeeded his father, who died at the age of forty. Thus, Ahaziah was two years older than his father. [Note: Some translations use “twenty-two” here in an attempt to rectify this discrepancy. The Hebrew is clear, however, that 2CH 22:2 is 42. The Hebrew words involved are Strong’s H705 and H8147, “forty” and “two,” respectively.]
2CH 13:3 Abijah sent 400,000 men into battle against Jeroboam’s 800,000 men. This is a total of 1,200,000 men, all of them Jews. (Note: Assuming one additional woman per man of fighting age, plus two persons per man [either older persons or children] would put the Jewish population of the surrounding area at a minimum of 4,800,000 persons; hardly feasible.)
2CH 13:17 500,000 Israelites are slain in a single battle. (Note: This is more than were lost in any single battle of World War II, and even exceeds the number of deaths that resulted from the dropping of the atomic bombs onNagasaki andHiroshima.)
ES 6:6, JB 19:27, PS 7:9, 16:7, 73:21, PR 23:7, 16, IS 10:7, JE 11:20, 17:10, 20:12, MT 9:4, LK 2:19, 9:47, AC 8:22, RO 10:9-10, HE 4:12, RE 2:23 (See KJV especially.) Thought occurs in the heart. The kidneys (“reins”) are the seat of conscience.(Note: This is not merely a poetic use of these terms, as is now claimed. In early times, it was actually believed that various body organs other than the brain were responsible for our thoughts, feelings, actions and the like. The heart was believed to be the seat of thought processes and beliefs, while the kidneys were thought to be the seat of conscience.)
JB 9:6 (KJV) God shakes the earth out of its place and makes its pillars tremble.
JB 9:7 God can make the sun not rise and seal up the stars.
JB 28:28, PS 111:10, PR 1:7, 9:10, 15:33, IS 33:6 Fear of the Lord is equated with obtaining wisdom.
PS 58:8 Slugs and/or snails melt as they move.
PS 121:6 It is apparently possible to suffer moonstroke as well as sunstroke.
PR 19:23, 22:4 Fear of the Lord brings freedom from trouble(s). Humility and fear of the Lord bring wealth, honor, and life.
PR 20:30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil.
IS 30:26 The moon will someday be as bright as the sun now is. (Note: Until relatively recent times, the moon and the planets were thought to give off their own light.)
IS 38:8 The shadow of the Sun is made to move backwards.
IS 40:22 The earth is a circle. (Note: The earth is really a sphere, not a circle, and this verse does not imply a sphere as some believers like to infer.)
JE 20:7, EZ 14:9 Jeremiah says that the Lord deceived his own prophet. God himself says that he deceives his own prophets in order to get rid of them.
EZ 37:1-10 Dry bones come alive.
AM 8:9 The Sun will be made to set at noon in “clear day.”
MT 4:8 There is a high mountain from which all the kingdoms of the world can be seen. (Note: This implies a flat earth.)
MT 4:23-24, 9:32-33, 12:22, 17:14-18, MK 1:23-26, 32-34, 5:2-16, 9:17-29, 16:9, LK 11:14, 4:33-35, 8:2, 27-36, 9:38-42, AC 8:7, 16:16-18 Both physical and mental illness are caused by demon possession and can be cured by exorcism.
MT 7:7-8, LK 11:9-10 Ask and it will be given. Seek and you will find. Everyone who asks, receives.
MT 13:41 Jesus will send his angels to purge his kingdom of evildoers and sin. (Note: How did evildoers get into his kingdom in the first place?)
MT 17:20, 21:21, MK 9:23, 10:27, 11:23, LK 17:6 Faith can move mountains. Nothing is impossible if you have faith [as small as] a grain of mustard seed.
MT 18:19 If two [believers] agree about anything they ask, God will do it for them.
MT 21:22, MK 11:24 Whatever you ask in prayer, if you have faith, you will receive it.
MT 24:29-30 Although the sun and the moon have been darkened and the stars have fallen from heaven, there is still enough light to see.
MT 26:52 All who take the sword will perish by it.
MT 27:52-53 The bodies of dead saints arise and go in force in the city.
MK 11:12-14, 20-21 Jesus curses a fig tree for not bearing fruit out of season. (Note: Rather than cause the fig tree to wither and to bear fruit never again, he could have performed a miracle and made it bear fruit even out of season.)
MK 16:17-18 Those who believe are able to handle snakes and drink any deadly poison without suffering harm.
LK 1:39-42 The fetus inElizabeth’s womb jumps for joy whenElizabeth hears Mary (who is pregnant with Jesus).
LK 22:28-30 Jesus assigns each of his twelve disciples (including Judas, his betrayer) a place (or throne) in his kingdom.
JN 6:24-30 A large crowd of persons (probably several thousand) asks Jesus for a sign so that they might see and believe. This occurs immediately following the Feeding of the Multitude which should have been one of the greatest miracles and most convincing signs of all time.
JN 8:51 Jesus says: “… if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
JN 12:34 A crowd of persons (speaking in unison?) asks Jesus a thirty word question.
JN 16:23 Jesus says: “Whatever you ask in my name, my Father will give you.”
RO 10:17-18, CN 1:23 The gospel had already been preached to every living creature even in Paul’s time.
2CO 12:2 There are at least three heavens.
2CO 12:4 There are things which cannot be told–things which man cannot utter.
GA 1:8-9 An angel (from God?) who preaches a gospel contrary to that of Paul will incur Paul’s wrath.
1TI 5:11 Younger widows want to marry because their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ.
1TI 6:10 The love of money is the root of all evil(s). (Note: Some translations emend the text to read, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evils,” or something similar, in an attempt to ameliorate an obvious problem. Those additional words are not there in the Greek of the oldest and most reliable manuscripts.)
TS 1:12 “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars ….” (Figure the logic of this verse–if you can!)
HE 7:1-3 Melchizedek had no mother or father, no beginning or end.
RE 14:1-4 Heaven is to be inhabited in part by 144,000 virgin men who have not been “defiled” by women.
RE 21:16 The city ofNew Jerusalem (where the residents of heaven reside) is only about 1500 miles square.
NOTE: These lists are meant to identify possible problems in the Bible, especially problems which are inherent in a literalist or fundamentalist interpretation. Some of the selections may be resolvable on certain interpretations–after all, almost any problem can be eliminated with suitable rationalizations–but it is the reader’s obligation to test this possibility and to decide whether it really makes appropriate sense to do this. To help readers in this task, these lists are aimed at presenting examples where problems may exist given certain allowable (but not always obligatory) assumptions. It should be kept in mind that a perfect and omnipotent God could, should, and likely would see to it that such problems did not exist in a book which s/he had inspired. It should also be kept in mind that what is and is not an atrocity is to some extent a matter of opinion. You are entitled to disagree with the author that these are, in fact, atrocities.
Note: In the Bible, words having to do with killing significantly outnumber words having to do with love.
GE 3:1-7, 22-24 God allows Adam and Eve to be deceived by the Serpent (the craftiest of all of God’s wild creatures). They eat of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil,” thereby incurring death for themselves and all of mankind for ever after. God prevents them from regaining eternal life, by placing a guard around the “Tree of Eternal Life.” (Note: God could have done the same for the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” in the first place and would thereby have prevented the Fall of man, the necessity for Salvation, the Crucifixion of Jesus, etc.)
GE 4:2-8 God’s arbitrary preference of Abel’s offering to that of Cain’s provokes Cain to commit the first biblically recorded murder and kill his brother Abel.
GE 34:13-29 The Israelites kill Hamor, his son, and all the men of their village, taking as plunder their wealth, cattle, wives and children.
GE 6:11-17, 7:11-24 God is unhappy with the wickedness of man and decides to do something about it. He kills every living thing on the face of the earth other than Noah’s family and thereby makes himself the greatest mass murderer in history.
GE 19:26 God personally sees to it that Lot’s wife is turned to a pillar of salt (for having looked behind her while fleeing the destruction ofSodom andGomorrah).
GE 38:9 “… whenever he lay with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked …, so the Lord put him to death.”
EX 2:12 Moses murders an Egyptian.
EX 7:1, 14, 9:14-16, 10:1-2, 11:7 The purpose of the devastation that God brings to the Egyptians is as follows:
to show that he is Lord;
to show that there is none like him in all the earth;
to show his great power;
to cause his name to be declared throughout the earth;
to give the Israelites something to talk about with their children;
to show that he makes a distinction between Israel and Egypt.
EX 9:22-25 A plague of hail from the Lord strikes down everything in the fields ofEgypt both man and beast except inGoshen where the Israelites reside.
EX 12:29 The Lord kills all the first-born in theland ofEgypt.
EX 17:13 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua mows down Amalek and his people.
EX 21:20-21 With the Lord’s approval, a slave may be beaten to death with no punishment for the perpetrator as long as the slave doesn’t die too quickly.
EX 32:27 “Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.
EX 32:27-29 With the Lord’s approval, the Israelites slay 3000 men.
LE 26:7-8 The Lord promises the Israelites that, if they are obedient, their enemies will “fall before your sword.”
LE 26:22 “I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children.”
LE 26:29, DT 28:53, JE 19:9, EZ 5:8-10 As a punishment, the Lord will cause people to eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters and fathers and friends.
LE 27:29 Human sacrifice is condoned. (Note: An example is given in JG 11:30-39)
NU 11:33 The Lord smites the people with a great plague.
NU 12:1-10 God makes Miriam a leper for seven days because she and Aaron had spoken against Moses.
NU 15:32-36 A Sabbath breaker (who had gathered sticks for a fire) is stoned to death at the Lord’s command.
NU 16:27-33 The Lord causes the earth to open and swallow up the men and their households (including wives and children) because the men had been rebellious.
NU 16:35 A fire from the Lord consumes 250 men.
NU 16:49 A plague from the Lord kills 14,700 people.
NU 21:3 The Israelites utterly destroy the Canaanites.
NU 21:6 Fiery serpents, sent by the Lord, kill many Israelites.
NU 21:35 With the Lord’s approval, the Israelites slay Og “… and his sons and all his people, until there was not one survivor left ….”
NU 25:4 (KJV) “And the Lord said unto Moses, take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun ….”
NU 25:8 “He went after the man ofIsrael into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man ofIsrael, and the woman through her belly.”
NU 25:9 24,000 people die in a plague from the Lord.
NU 31:9 The Israelites capture Midianite women and children.
NU 31:17-18 Moses, following the Lord’s command, orders the Israelites to kill all the Midianite male children and “… every woman who has known man ….” (Note: How would it be determined which women had known men? One can only speculate.)
NU 31:31-40 32,000 virgins are taken by the Israelites as booty. Thirty-two are set aside (to be sacrificed?) as a tribute for the Lord.
DT 2:33-34 The Israelites utterly destroy the men, women, and children of Sihon.
DT 3:6 The Israelites utterly destroy the men, women, and children of Og.
DT 7:2 The Lord commands the Israelites to “utterly destroy” and shown “no mercy” to those whom he gives them for defeat.
DT 20:13-14 “When the Lord delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the males …. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves.”
DT 20:16 “In the cities of the nations the Lord is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.”
DT 21:10-13 With the Lord’s approval, the Israelites are allowed to take “beautiful women” from the enemy camp to be their captive wives. If, after sexual relations, the husband has “no delight” in his wife, he can simply let her go.
DT 28:53 “You will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you.”
JS 1:1-9, 18 Joshua receives the Lord’s blessing for all the bloody endeavors to follow.
JS 6:21-27 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua destroys the city ofJericho men, women, and children with the edge of the sword.
JS 7:19-26 Achan, his children and his cattle are stoned to death because Achan had taken a taboo thing.
JS 8:22-25 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly smites the people of Ai, killing 12,000 men and women, so that there were none who escaped.
JS 10:10-27 With the help of the Lord, Joshua utterly destroys the Gibeonites.
JS 10:28 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the people of Makkedah.
JS 10:30 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the Libnahites.
JS 10:32-33 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the people ofLachish.
JS 10:34-35 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the Eglonites.
JS 10:36-37 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the Hebronites.
JS 10:38-39 With the Lord’s approval, Joshua utterly destroys the Debirites.
JS 10:40 (A summary statement.) “So Joshua defeated the whole land …; he left none remaining, but destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God ofIsrael commanded.”
JS 11:6 The Lord orders horses to be hamstrung. (Exceedingly cruel.)
JS 11:8-15 “And the lord gave them into the hand ofIsrael, …utterly destroying them; there was none left that breathed ….”
JS 11:20 “For it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be utterly destroyed, and should receive no mercy but be exterminated, as the Lord commanded Moses.”
JS 11:21-23 Joshua utterly destroys the Anakim.
JG 1:4 With the Lord’s support,Judah defeats 10,000 Canaanites at Bezek.
JG 1:6 With the Lord’s approval,Judah pursues Adoni-bezek, catches him, and cuts off his thumbs and big toes.
JG 1:8 With the Lord’s approval,Judah smitesJerusalem.
JG 1:17 With the Lord’s approval, Judah and Simeon utterly destroy the Canaanites who inhabited Zephath.
JG 3:29 The Israelites kill about 10,000 Moabites.
JG 3:31 (A restatement.) Shamgar killed 600 Philistines with an oxgoad.
JG 4:21 Jael takes a tent stake and hammers it through the head of Sisera, fastening it to the ground.
JG 7:19-25 The Gideons defeat the Midianites, slay their princes, cut off their heads, and bring the heads back to Gideon.
JG 8:15-21 The Gideons slaughter the men of Penuel.
JG 9:5 Abimalech murders his brothers.
JG 9:45 Abimalech and his men kill all the people in the city.
JG 9:53-54 “A woman dropped a stone on his head and cracked his skull. Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, ‘Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say a woman killed me.’ So his servant ran him through, and he died.”
JG 11:29-39 Jepthah sacrifices his beloved daughter, his only child, according to a vow he has made with the Lord.
JG 14:19 The Spirit of the Lord comes upon a man and causes him to slay thirty men.
JG 15:15 Samson slays 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass.
JG 16:21 The Philistines gouge out Samson’s eyes.
JG 16:27-30 Samson, with the help of the Lord, pulls down the pillars of the Philistine house and causes his own death and that of 3000 other men and women.
JG 18:27 The Danites slay the quiet and unsuspecting people of Laish.
JG 19:22-29 A group of sexual depraved men beat on the door of an old man’s house demanding that he turn over to them a male house guest. Instead, the old man offers his virgin daughter and his guest’s concubine (or wife): “Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine; let me bring them out now. Ravish them and do with them what seems good to you; but against this man do not do so vile a thing.” The man’s concubine is ravished and dies. The man then cuts her body into twelve pieces and sends one piece to each of the twelve tribes ofIsrael.
JG 20:43-48 The Israelites smite 25,000+ “men of valor” from amongst the Benjamites, “men and beasts and all that they found,” and set their towns on fire.
JG 21:10-12 “… Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword and; also the women and little ones…. every male and every woman that has lain with a male you shall utterly destroy.” They do so and find four hundred young virgins whom they bring back for their own use.
1SA 4:10 The Philistines slay 30,000 Israelite foot soldiers.
1SA 5:6-9 The Lord afflicts the Philistines with tumors in their “secret parts,” presumably for having stolen theArk.
1SA 6:19 God kills seventy men (or so) for looking into theArk (at him?). (Note: The early Israelites apparently thought theArk to be God’s abode.)
1SA 7:7-11 Samuel and his men smite the Philistines.
1SA 11:11 With the Lord’s blessing, Saul and his men cut down the Ammonites.
1SA 14:31 Jonathan and his men strike down the Philistines.
1SA 14:48 Saul smites the Amalekites.
1SA 15:3, 7-8 “This is what the Lord says: Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass ….’ And Saul … utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.”
1SA 15:33 “Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord ….”
1SA 18:7 The women sing as they make merry: “Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands.”
1SA 18:27 David murders 200 Philistines, then cuts off their foreskins.
1SA 30:17 David smites the Amalekites.
2SA 2:23 Abner kills Asahel.
2SA 3:30 Joab and Abishai kill Abner.
2SA 4:7-8 Rechan and Baanah kill Ish-bosheth, behead him, and take his head to David.
2SA 4:12 David has Rechan and Baanah killed, their hands and feet cut off, and their bodies hanged by the pool atHebron.
2SA 5:25 “And David did as the Lord commanded him, and smote the Philistines ….”
2SA 6:2-23 Because she rebuked him for having exposed himself, Michal (David’s wife) was barren throughout her life.
2SA 8:1-18 (A listing of some of David’s murderous conquests.)
2SA 8:4 David hamstrung all but a few of the horses.
2SA 8:5 David slew 22,000 Syrians.
2SA 8:6, 14 “The Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.”
2SA 8:13 David slew 18,000 Edomites in the valley of salt and made the rest slaves.
2SA 10:18 David slew 47,000+ Syrians.
2SA 11:14-27 David has Uriah killed so that he can marry Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba.
2SA 12:1, 19 The Lord strikes David’s child dead for the sin that David has committed.
2SA 13:1-15 Amnon loves his sister Tamar, rapes her, then hates her.
2SA 13:28-29 Absalom has Amnon murdered.
2SA 18:6 -7 20,000 men are slaughtered at the battle in theforest ofEphraim.
2SA 18:15 Joab’s men murder Absalom.
2SA 20:10-12 Joab’s men murder Amasa and leave him “… wallowing in his own blood in the highway. And anyone who came by, seeing him, stopped.”
2SA 24:15 The Lord sends a pestilence onIsrael that kills 70,000 men.
1KI 2:24-25 Solomon has Adonijah murdered.
1KI 2:29-34 Solomon has Joab murdered.
1KI 2:46 Solomon has Shime-i murdered.
1KI 13:15-24 A man is killed by a lion for eating bread and drinking water in a place where the Lord had previously told him not to. This is in spite of the fact that the man had subsequently been lied to by a prophet who told the man that an angel of the Lord said that it would be alright to eat and drink there.
1KI 20:29-30 The Israelites smite 100,000 Syrian soldiers in one day. A wall falls on 27,000 remaining Syrians.
2KI 1:10-12 Fire from heaven comes down and consumes fifty men.
2KI 2:23-24 Forty-two children are mauled and killed, presumably according to the will of God, for having jeered at a man of God.
2KI 5:27 Elisha curses Gehazi and his descendants forever with leprosy.
2KI 6:18-19 The Lord answers Elisha’s prayer and strikes the Syrians with blindness. Elisha tricks the blind Syrians and leads them toSamaria.
2KI 6:29 “So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”
2KI 9:24 Jehu tricks and murders Joram.
2KI 9:27 Jehu has Ahaziah killed.
2KI 9:30-37 Jehu has Jezebel killed. Her body is trampled by horses. Dogs eat her flesh so that only her skull, feet, and the palms of her hands remain.
2KI 10:7 Jehu has Ahab’s seventy sons beheaded, then sends the heads to their father.
2KI 10:14 Jehu has forty-two of Ahab’s kin killed.
2KI 10:17 “And when he came toSamaria, he slew all that remained to Ahab inSamaria, till he had wiped them out, according to the word of the Lord ….”
2KI 10:19-27 Jehu uses trickery to massacre the Baal worshippers.
2KI 11:1 Athaliah destroys all the royal family.
2KI 14:5, 7 Amaziah kills his servants and then 10,000 Edomites.
2KI 15:3-5 Even though he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, the Lord smites Azariah with leprosy for not having removed the “high places.”
2KI 15:16 Menahem ripped open all the women who were pregnant.
2KI 19:35 An angel of the Lord kills 185,000 men.
1CH 20:3 (KJV) “And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes.”
2CH 13:17 500,000 Israelites are slaughtered.
2CH 21:4 Jehoram slays all his brothers.
PS 137:9 Happy will be the man who dashes your little ones against the stones.
PS 144:1 God is praised as the one who trains hands for war and fingers for battle.
IS 13:15 “Everyone who is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their … wives will be ravished.”
IS 13:18 “Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.”
IS 14:21-22 “Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers.”
IS 49:26 The Lord will cause the oppressors of the Israelite’s to eat their own flesh and to become drunk on their own blood as with wine.
JE 16:4 “They shall die grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcasses shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.”
LA 4:9-10 “Those slain by the sword are better off than those who die of famine; racked with hunger, they waste away for lack of food. … pitiful women have cooked their own children, who became their food …”
EZ 6:12-13 The Lord says: “… they will fall by the sword, famine and plague. He that is far away will die of the plague, and he that is near will fall by the sword, and he that survives and is spared will die of famine. So will I spend my wrath upon them. And they will know I am the Lord, when the people lie slain among their idols around their altars, on every high hill and on all the mountaintops, under every spreading tree and every leafy oak ….”
EZ 9:4-6 The Lord commands: “… slay old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women ….”
EZ 20:26 In order that he might horrify them, the Lord allowed the Israelites to defile themselves through, amongst other things, the sacrifice of their first-born children.
EZ 21:3-4 The Lord says that he will cut off both the righteous and the wicked that his sword shall go against all flesh.
EZ 23:25, 47 God is going to slay the sons and daughters of those who were whores.
EZ 23:34 “You shall … pluck out your hair, and tear your breasts.”
HO 13:16 “They shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”
MI 3:2-3 “… who pluck off their skin …, and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.”
MT 3:12, 8:12, 10:21, 13:30, 42, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30, LK 13:28, JN 5:24 Some will spend eternity burning in Hell. There will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.
MT 10:21 “… the brother shall deliver up his brother to death, and the father his child, … children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.”
MT 10:35-36 “For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law a man’s enemies will be the members of his own family.”
MT 11:21-24 Jesus curses [the inhabitants of] three cities who were not sufficiently impressed with his great works.
AC 13:11 Paul purposefully blinds a man (though not permanently).
Bible Precepts: Questionable Guidelines
NOTE: These lists are meant to identify possible problems in the Bible, especially problems which are inherent in a literalist or fundamentalist interpretation. Some of the selections may be resolvable on certain interpretations–after all, almost any problem can be eliminated with suitable rationalizations–but it is the reader’s obligation to test this possibility and to decide whether it really makes appropriate sense to do this. To help readers in this task, these lists are aimed at presenting examples where problems may exist given certain allowable (but not always obligatory) assumptions. It should be kept in mind that a perfect and omnipotent God could, should, and likely would see to it that such problems did not exist in a book which s/he had inspired. It should also be kept in mind that what is and is not a valid or “good” precept is to some extent a matter of opinion. You are entitled to disagree with the author that these are, in fact, “questionable guidelines.”
GE 1:28 Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over all living things. (Note: God appears to be totally unconcerned with population control or ecology.)
GE 3:16, CO 11:3-9, EP 5:22-24, CN 3:18, TS 2:5, 1PE 3:1-6 The husband is to rule over his wife. Wives are to be subject to their husbands even when the husband is disobedient to God. Man is the image and glory of God, while woman is the glory of man. Man was not created for woman but woman for man.
GE 3:16 Women should suffer pain during childbirth. (Note: This verse was used by the Church to oppose the use of anesthesia during childbirth.)
GE 4:13-15 Cain–who murdered his brother Abel–is promised protection by God.
GE 15:18Egypt,Jordan,Saudi Arabia,Lebanon,Syria,Yemen, and part ofIraq belong to the Jews only.
GE 17:10 “This is my covenant, …every male among you shall be circumcised.” (Note: God seems to have an obsession with this–the words circumcise, circumcised, circumcising, circumcision, uncircumcised, uncircumcision, foreskin, and foreskins appear 157 times in the KJV. Although the KJV correctly translates the oldest Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, versions since the KJV attempt to soften this apparent obsession by creatively translating these words in a different fashion wherever possible.)
GE 17:14 A child is to be punished when his parents neglect to have him circumcised.
GE 27:18-24, 28:14-15 Jacob–who had cheated his brother Esau of his birthright–is given special blessings by God.
GE 31:17, GE 36:6, DT 21:15, JG 8:30, SA 5:13, KI 11:3, CH 14:3, CH 11:21, 13:21 Polygamy is condoned. (Note: David is one of the polygamists. He is an angel of God, SA 19:27, and always fulfills God’s will,AC 13:22.)
GE 38:8-10 A man who refuses to impregnate his widowed sister-in-law is put to death.
EX 20:4 We are not to make likenesses of anything. (Note: This seems to preclude all photographs, paintings, statues, etc.)
EX 20:5 We are not to worship a likeness. The children to the third and fourth generation will be punished for infractions.
EX 20:8-11, 31:15-17, 34:21, 35:1-3 No work of any kind is to be done on the Sabbath, not even lighting of a fire. This commandment is permanent. Death is required for infractions. (Note: This would require even that essential services, such as hospitals, police departments, etc., shut down on the Sabbath.)
EX 20:26 You should not go up steps to a high altar; you might expose yourself. (Note: Men wore skirts at this time.)
EX 21:7-11 A father can sell a daughter into slavery to pay a debt. A daughter sold into slavery is not released at the end of six years as is an ordinary male slave.
EX 21:12 Whoever strikes a man so that he dies is to be put to death–except that, in some cases, God will appoint a place to which the offender may flee instead.
EX 21:15 Whoever strikes his father or mother is to be put to death.
EX 21:16 Whoever steals a man is to be put to death. (Note: This is in spite of the fact that a father can sell his daughter into slavery; see EX 21:7-11.)
EX 21:17, LE 20:9, DT 21:18-21 A child who curses his parent(s) is to be put to death. A stubborn and/or rebellious child is to be put to death.
EX 21:20-21 A slave owner is to be punished if he strikes his slave and the slave dies shortly thereafter. If the slave lives a day or to and then dies, the slave owner is not to be punished. A slave is the same as money to his owner.
EX 21:23-25, LE 24:17-21, DT 19:21 An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, etc.
EX 21:28-32 When an ox gores a man to death, the ox must be stoned. If the ox has gored a man previously, the animal’s owner must also be put to death; in the case of the goring of a slave, the only requirement is that the owner of the ox must pay thirty shekels to the owner of the slave.
EX 22:16-17 An unbetrothed virgin is required to marry her seducer.
EX 22:18, DT 18:10 A witch or sorcerer is to be put to death.
EX 22:20 Anyone who sacrifices to other gods must be destroyed.
EX 22:29 Firstborn children should be sacrificed to the Lord.
LE 3:17 The eating of blood and fat are prohibited forever.
LE 10:9 Drinking strong drink in the tabernacle of the congregation will result in death.
LE 11:7, DT 14:8 Eating pork is prohibited.
LE 11:10 Eating shellfish is prohibited.
LE 12:2 A woman who has a child, especially a female child, is unclean and purification rites are required.
LE 15:2 When a man has any bodily discharge, it is unclean.
LE 15:4 Any bed that a man with a discharge lies on is unclean.
LE 15:5 Anyone who touches an unclean bed must bathe and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:6 Anyone who sits on anything that a person with a discharge sat on must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:7 Anyone who touches the skin of a person who has a discharge must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:8 Anyone who is spit upon by a person who has a discharge must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:9-10 Whatever [saddle] a person with a discharge sits on is unclean. Anyone who touches it must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:11 Anyone who is touched by a person with a discharge who has not washed his hands must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:12 Any clay or wood utensils that are touched by a person with a discharge are unclean and must be broken or washed.
LE 15:13-15 When his discharge has stopped, the person who had the discharge will count off seven days, wash his clothes and bathe. On the eight day, he must present two birds to the priest for an atonement for having had a discharge.
LE 15:16 When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body, and he is unclean until evening.
LE 15:17 Any clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed, and it is unclean until evening.
LE 15:18 When a man lies with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both must bathe, and they are unclean until evening.
LE 15:19 A woman who is menstruating is unclean. Anyone who touches her is unclean.
LE 15:20 Anything which a woman who is menstruating sits on or lies on is unclean.
LE 15:21 Anyone who touches the bed of a woman who is menstruating must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:22 Anyone who touches anything which was sat upon by a woman who is menstruating must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:24 If a man lies with a woman who is menstruating and any of her discharge touches him, he is unclean for seven days. Any bed he lies on is also unclean.
LE 15:28 After her flow stops, a woman who was menstruating must count off seven days before she is considered clean again. On the eighth day, she must present two birds to the priest for an atonement for having had a menstrual discharge.
LE 19:13 Hired help must be paid every day.
LE 19:19 Cattle must not be allowed to breed with a different kind.
LE 19:19 A field must not be sown with more than one kind of seed.
LE 19:19 A cloth garment made of two kinds of material must not be worn.
LE 19:26 Flesh with blood in it must not be eaten.
LE 19:27 The hair on the temples should not be rounded off.
LE 19:27 The edges of a beard should not be clipped.
LE 19:28 Tattoos and the like are prohibited.
LE 19:29 Do not make your daughter a prostitute.
LE 19:31 Do not consult mediums or wizards.
LE 20:10-12, DT 22:22 Adulterers (in some cases) must be put to death.
LE 20:13 Practicing male homosexuals are to be put to death. (Note: Female homosexuality is not considered in the OT though it NT. See RO 1:26-32.)
LE 20:14 If a man has sexual relations with both his wife and his mother-in-law, all three of them must be put to death.
LE 20:15-16 If a person engages in sex with an animal, both the animal and the person must be put to death.
LE 20:18 If a man has sex relations with a woman who is menstruating, both shall be excommunicated from their people.
LE 20:27 A medium or wizard is to be put to death.
LE 21:9 If a priest’s daughter becomes a prostitute, she is to be burnt with fire.
LE 21:14 A priest (or descendant of Aaron) must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, a woman who has been defiled, or a harlot, but only a virgin.
LE 21:17-23 A priest (or descendant of Aaron) with crushed testicles (or almost any other physical deformity) is not to be allowed near the sanctuary.
LE 24:16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death.
LE 25:44-46, DT 15:17, EP 6:5, CN 3:22, TS 2:9, 1PE 2:18 Slavery is an everlasting institution. Slaves are to obey their masters in everything.
LE 27:3-7 Males are more valuable than females.
LE 27:29 Human sacrifice is condoned.
LE 27:30-32 A tithe, a tenth of everything, is to be given to the Lord.
NU 3:10 An unauthorized person who acts as a priest must be put to death.
NU 5:2-3 Anyone who has a discharge or who has touched a corpse is unclean.
NU 5:12-31 A woman suspected or accused of adultery is to be tested by making her drink the “water of bitterness,” or holy water mixed with dust from the floor. (Note: There is no such test for men.)
NU 19:16 Whoever touches one who is slain in the field with a sword, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, is unclean for seven days. (Note: Isn’t one who is slain in the open field with a sword also a dead body? Why the distinction between the two?)
NU 19:22 Whatever an unclean person touches is also unclean. Anyone who touches an unclean thing also becomes unclean.
NU 31:18, 35, JG 21:12 Young virgins are considered a spoil of war and can be taken for the use of the victors.
DT 4:19 Be careful when you look at the stars and planets not to be enticed into worshipping them.
DT 13:2-5 Anyone who causes someone to turn to another god must be put to death.
DT 13:6-10 A man is required to slay his friends and members of his own family who are guilty of worshipping another god.
DT 15:1-3 Every seven years, a brother (meaning a fellow Israelite) should be released from his debt. Only a foreigner should be required, again, to honor his debt.
DT 17:12 A man who shows contempt for a judge or priest must be put to death.
DT 18:20-22, EZ 14:9 If a prophet’s words do not come true, he is a false prophet and must be put to death. This is true even if he has been deceived by God himself.
DT 22:5 One must not wear the clothing of the opposite sex.
DT 22:6-7 If you want to live a long time, you must not take a mother bird from her young, but you may take the young from the mother.
DT 22:10 You must not plow with an ox and an ass together.
DT 22:13-21 A bride in whom “the tokens of virginity” are not found is to be put to death. (Note: The bridegroom who falsely accuses his bride gets off with a fine.)
DT 22:23-24 A betrothed virgin who is seduced in the city is to be put to death unless she cries for help.
DT 22:28-29 A virgin who is raped must marry her rapist (if they are “found”).
DT 23:1 A man whose testicles are crushed or whose “male member” is cut off may not enter the sanctuary.
DT 23:2 A bastard–and his offspring to the tenth generation–are to be punished for his illegitimacy and cannot enter a congregation of the Lord.
DT 23:10 A man who has a seminal emission during the night is unclean and must go through a purification process.
DT 23:12-14 The Lord must not be allowed to see human excrement (it is indecent).
DT 23:19-20 Money must not be lent at interest to a brother (meaning a fellow Israelite). Interest can only be collected from foreigners.
DT 24:1-4 A man may divorce his wife simply because she displeases him.
DT 25:5-10 A man has an obligation to produce a child for his widowed sister-in-law.
DT 25:11 A wife who grabs her husband’s opponent by his “private parts” must have her hand cut off and is to be shown no pity.
JG 21:21 The Benjamites are commanded to take wives by hiding in the vineyards and then seizing the “daughters of Shiloh” as they come out to dance.
1KI 5:13, 9:3, 15 Forced labor is apparently sanctioned inasmuch as the Lord consecrated the house that Solomon built for the Lord using forced labor.
PR 13:24, 22:15, 23:13 Children are to be disciplined with the rod–if beaten with a rod, they will not die. (Note: Many Christian parents have inadvertently beaten a child to death following this precept.)
PR 26:4 Do not answer a fool. To do so makes you foolish too.
PR 26:5 Answer a fool. If you don’t, he will think himself wise.
PR 31:10-31 The able wife is to bring only profit and no loss, rise before dawn, buy land prudently, plant a vineyard with her earnings, keep her lamp burning all night, gird herself to work, be generous to the poor, lend a hand to the forlorn, talk shrewd sense, offer kindly counsel, and never be idle.
IS 56:4 A eunuch who keeps the Lord’s Sabbath will receive special rewards.
HO 4:14 The sins of female prostitutes and adulterers can be excused when the men themselves set a bad example.
MT 5:22 Do not get angry. Anger is a sin.
MT 23:9 Do not call any man on earth “father.”
MT 5:18-19 The OT law is to remain in effect until heaven and earth pass away.
MT 5:28 Whoever looks upon a woman lustfully commits adultery in his heart. (Note: This precept could cause some to think that they might as well commit adultery as to do so only in the heart.)
MT 5:29-30, 18:8-9, MK 9:43-47 If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. (Note: Many believers insist that this admonition, and others like it, are to be taken figuratively, although others take even this admonition literally. The problem is that there is no clear and decisive method to determine whether a passage is meant to be taken literally or figuratively. God could have foreseen this problem and should have provided an unambiguous solution.)
MT 5:33-37 Make no vows or oaths. They arise from evil (or the Devil).
MT 5:38-44 Turn the other cheek. Love your enemies. Do good to those that hate you.
MT 5:40 If any man would sue you and take your coat, give him your cloak also.
MT 5:42, LK 6:30, 35 Give to everyone who asks. Lend to everyone who wants to borrow.
MT 5:48 Be perfect.
MT 6:6 Pray in private.
MT 6:25-34, LK 12:22-31 Take no thought for tomorrow. God will take care of you.
MT 7:7-8, LK 11:9-10 Ask and it will be given. Seek and you will find. Everyone who asks, receives.
MT 19:12, RO 8:13 A man should consider castration, thereby making himself a eunuch, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. If you live after the flesh, you shall die, but if you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. (Note: During the dark and middle ages, saints castrated themselves by the thousands in order to become more godly. Even now, the practice continues in some sects.)
MT 22:37, MK 12:30, LK 10:27 Love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. (This is, of course, an impossibility.)
MT 23:3 Practice and observe everything the Pharisees and scribes teach.
MK 10:2-12, LK 16:18 Divorce is wrong, and to remarry is to commit adultery.
MK 10:29, LK 18:29 A man who leaves his house, wife, brothers, parents, or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will receive special rewards.
LK 12:33, TI 6:8 Sell your possessions and give to charity. Be content with having only food and clothing. (Note: Many believers claim that the first injunction applies only to those who are wealthy or have a problem with wealth. That this is not the case is clear from the context. It is also clear that the Disciples practiced this principle; see AC 2:44-45 and 4:32-35. This is in sharp contrast to the concept of abundance that many evangelists preach and to the personal wealth they often amass.)
LK 14:26 One cannot be a disciple of Jesus unless he hates his mother, father, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and even his own life.
LK 14:33 “… any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
LK 18:1, 1TH 5:17 Pray constantly. Don’t give up.
RO 1:26-27, 32 Men and women who commit unnatural sexual acts deserve to die.
RO 13:1-4, PE 2:13-14 Be subject to every human institution. All authorities (laws and governments) are from God. (Note: This would include those of a Nazi Germany, yet believers seldom follow this injunction. Even Jesus and his Disciples violated this principle.)
1CO 3:18 Become a “fool” (for Christ) in order to become wise. (Note: A fool is still a fool.)
1CO 6:1-8 Christians should never go to court against each other, but should, instead, let the church settle their differences.
1CO 7:1-38 Men and widows should not marry. Although it is well for a man to remain chaste, the temptation to immorality is a valid reason to marry; a man should marry if he cannot control himself. Yet, a man who is already married should live as if he were not. He that is unmarried is concerned about how he can please the Lord while he that is married is concerned about pleasing his spouse. It is better to remain single so as to attend to the Lord without distraction.
1CO 10:24 Put your neighbor’s good ahead of your own.
1CO 11:3-10 A woman is to keep her head covered while praying or prophesying.
1CO 11:14 It is a shame for a man to have long hair. (Note: Why is it, then, that most portrayals of Jesus show him with long hair?)
1CO 14:34-35 Women are to be silent in church. If they have any questions, they are to ask their husbands at home. It is a shame for women to speak in church.
2CO 13:12 Greet each other with a holy kiss.
CN 2:8 Philosophy is to be shunned.
1TH 5:16 Rejoice always.
1TH 5:18 Give thanks no matter what the circumstances.
2TH 3:10 Anyone who doesn’t work should not be allowed to eat.
1TI 2:9, 1PE 3:3 Women should not braid their hair, or wear gold or pearls or costly attire.
1TI 2:11-12 Women are to learn in silence (from men) in all submissiveness.
1TI 2:12 Women are not permitted to teach or have authority over men.
TS 1:10-11 There are many who must be silenced.
JA 4:7-10 Humble yourselves before God: be miserable, grieve and cry, let laughter be turned to sorrow. The Lord will then exalt you.
JA 5:14-15 Use prayer and anointing to cure illness.
2 JN 1:9-11 Do not allow anyone into your house who is not a fellow believer.
Bible Inconsistencies: Bible Contradictions?
NOTE: These lists are meant to identify possible problems in the Bible, especially problems which are inherent in a literalist or fundamentalist interpretation. Some of the selections may be resolvable on certain interpretations–after all, almost any problem can be eliminated with suitable rationalizations–but it is the reader’s obligation to test this possibility and to decide whether it really makes appropriate sense to do this. To help readers in this task, these lists are aimed at presenting examples where problems may exist given certain allowable (but not always obligatory) assumptions. It should be kept in mind that a perfect and omnipotent God could, should, and likely would see to it that such problems did not exist in a book which s/he had inspired. It should also be kept in mind that what is and is not an inconsistency or contradiction is to some extent a matter of opinion. You are entitled to disagree with the author that these are, in fact, inconsistencies or contradictions.
IMPORTANT: Please keep in mind that by “inconsistencies” I do not necessarily mean “contradictions.” Even though accepted and common definitions of the two terms often make them synonymous, I make a subtle distinction which is reflected in at least some of the accepted definitions. What I have in mind is that an inconsistency involves a lack of harmonious uniformity, regularity, steady continuity, or agreement among the verses cited. Thus, whereas a contradiction is necessarily an inconsistency, an inconsistency is not necessarily a contradiction. But certainly some of the listed biblical inconsistencies could be taken as biblical contradictions.
GE 1:3-5 On the first day, God created light, then separated light and darkness.
GE 1:14-19 The sun (which separates night and day) wasn’t created until the fourth day.
GE 1:11-12, 26-27 Trees were created before man was created.
GE 2:4-9 Man was created before trees were created.
GE 1:20-21, 26-27 Birds were created before man was created.
GE 2:7, 19 Man was created before birds were created.
GE 1:24-27 Animals were created before man was created.
GE 2:7, 19 Man was created before animals were created.
GE 1:26-27 Man and woman were created at the same time.
GE 2:7, 21-22 Man was created first, woman sometime later.
GE 1:28 God encourages reproduction.
LE 12:1-8 God requires purification rites following childbirth which, in effect, makes childbirth a sin. (Note: The period for purification following the birth of a daughter is twice that for a son.)
GE 1:31 God was pleased with his creation.
GE 6:5-6 God was not pleased with his creation.
(Note: That God should be displeased is inconsistent with the concept of omniscience.)
GE 2:4, 4:26, 12:8, 22:14-16, 26:25 God was already known as “the Lord” (Jahveh or Jehovah) much earlier than the time of Moses.
EX 6:2-3 God was first known as “the Lord” (Jahveh or Jehovah) at the time of the Egyptian Bondage, during the life of Moses.
GE 2:17 Adam was to die the very day that he ate the forbidden fruit.
GE 5:5 Adam lived 930 years.
GE 2:15-17, 3:4-6 It is wrong to want to be able to tell good from evil.
HE 5:13-14 It is immature to be unable to tell good from evil.
GE 4:4-5 God prefers Abel’s offering and has no regard for Cain’s.
2CH 19:7, AC 10:34, RO 2:11 God shows no partiality. He treats all alike.
GE 4:9 God asks Cain where his brother Able is.
PR 15:3, JE 16:17, 23:24-25, HE 4:13 God is everywhere. He sees everything. Nothing is hidden from his view.
GE 4:15, DT 32:19-27, IS 34:8 God is a vengeful god.
EX 15:3, IS 42:13, HE 12:29 God is a warrior. God is a consuming fire.
EX 20:5, 34:14, DT 4:24, 5:9, 6:15, 29:20, 32:21 God is a jealous god.
LE 26:7-8, NU 31:17-18, DT 20:16-17, JS 10:40, JG 14:19, EZ 9:5-7 The Spirit of God is (sometimes) murder and killing.
NU 25:3-4, DT 6:15, 9:7-8, 29:20, 32:21, PS 7:11, 78:49, JE 4:8, 17:4, 32:30-31, ZP 2:2 God is angry. His anger is sometimes fierce.
2SA 22:7-8 (KJV) “I called to the Lord; … he heard my voice; … The earth trembled and quaked, … because he was angry. Smoke came from his nostrils. Consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.”
EZ 6:12, NA 1:2, 6 God is jealous and furious. He reserves wrath for, and takes revenge on, his enemies. “… who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and rocks are thrown down by him.”
2CO 13:11, 14, 1JN 4:8, 16 God is love.
GA 5:22-23 The fruit of the Spirit of God is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
GE 4:16 Cain went away (or out) from the presence of the Lord.
JE 23:23-24 A man cannot hide from God. God fills heaven and earth.
GE 6:4 There were Nephilim (giants) before the Flood.
GE 7:21 All creatures other than Noah and his clan were annihilated by the Flood.
NU 13:33 There were Nephilim after the Flood.
GE 6:6. EX 32:14, NU 14:20, 1SA 15:35, 2SA 24:16 God does change his mind.
NU 23:19-20, 1SA 15:29, JA 1:17 God does not change his mind.
GE 6:19-22, 7:8-9, 7:14-16 Two of each kind are to be taken, and are taken, aboard Noah’s Ark.
GE 7:2-5 Seven pairs of some kinds are to be taken (and are taken) aboard theArk.
GE 7:1 Noah was righteous.
JB 1:1,8, JB 2:3 Job was righteous.
LK 1:6 Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous.
JA 5:16 Some men are righteous, (which makes their prayers effective).
1JN 3:6-9 Christians become righteous (or else they are not really Christians).
RO 3:10, 3:23, 1JN 1:8-10 No one was or is righteous.
GE 7:7 Noah and his clan enter the Ark.
GE 7:13 They enter theArk (again?).
GE 11:7-9 God sows discord.
PR 6:16-19 God hates anyone who sows discord.
GE 11:9 At Babel, the Lord confused the language of the whole world.
1CO 14:33 Paul says that God is not the author of confusion.
GE 11:12 Arpachshad [Arphaxad] was the father of Shelah.
LK 3:35-36 Cainan was the father of Shelah. Arpachshad was the grandfather of Shelah.
GE 11:26 Terah was 70 years old when his son Abram was born.
GE 11:32 Terah was 205 years old when he died (making Abram 135 at the time).
GE 12:4, AC 7:4 Abram was 75 when he leftHaran. This was after Terah died. Thus, Terah could have been no more than 145 when he died; or Abram was only 75 years old after he had lived 135 years.
GE 12:7, 17:1, 18:1, 26:2, 32:30, EX 3:16, 6:2-3, 24:9-11, 33:11, NU 12:7-8, 14:14, JB 42:5, AM 7:7-8, 9:1 God is seen.
EX 33:20, JN 1:18, 1JN 4:12 God is not seen. No one can see God’s face and live. No one has ever seen him.
GE 10:5, 20, 31 There were many languages before the Tower of Babel.
GE 11:1 There was only one language before theTower ofBabel.
GE 15:9, EX 20:24, 29:10-42, LE 1:1-7:38, NU 28:1-29:40, God details sacrificial offerings.
JE 7:21-22 God says he did no such thing.
GE 16:15, 21:1-3, GA 4:22 Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac.
HE 11:17 Abraham had only one son.
GE 17:1, 35:11, 1CH 29:11-12, LK 1:37 God is omnipotent. Nothing is impossible with (or for) God.
JG 1:19 Although God was withJudah, together they could not defeat the plainsmen because the latter had iron chariots.
GE 17:7, 10-11 The covenant of circumcision is to be everlasting.
GA 6:15 It is of no consequence.
GE 17:8 God promises Abraham the land of Canaan as an “everlasting possession.”
GE 25:8, AC 7:2-5, HE 11:13 Abraham died with the promise unfulfilled.
GE 17:15-16, 20:11-12, 22:17 Abraham and his half sister, Sarai, are married and receive God’s blessings.
LE 20:17, DT 27:20-23 Incest is wrong.
GE 18:20-21 God decides to “go down” to see what is going on.
PR 15:3, JE 16:17, 23:24-25, HE 4:13 God is everywhere. He sees everything. Nothing is hidden from his view.
GE 19:30-38 While he is drunk, Lot’s two daughters “lie with him,” become pregnant, and give birth to his offspring.
2PE 2:7Lot was “just” and “righteous.”
GE 22:1-12, DT 8:2 God tempts (tests) Abraham and Moses.
JG 2:22 God himself says that he does test (tempt).
1CO 10:13 Paul says that God controls the extent of our temptations.
JA 1:13 God tests (tempts) no one.
GE 27:28 “May God give you … an abundance of grain and new wine.”
DT 7:13 If they follow his commandments, God will bless the fruit of their wine.
PS 104:15 God gives us wine to gladden the heart.
JE 13:12 “… every bottle shall be filled with wine.”
JN 2:1-11 According to the author of John, Jesus’ first miracle was turning water to wine.
RO 14:21 It is good to refrain from drinking wine.
GE 35:10 God says Jacob is to be called Jacob no longer; henceforth his name is Israel.
GE 46:2 At a later time, God himself uses the name Jacob.
GE 36:11 The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz.
GE 36:15-16 Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz.
1CH 1:35-36 Teman, Omar, Zephi, Gatam, Kenaz, Timna, and Amalek.
GE 49:2-28 The fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel are: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, and Benjamin.
RE 7:4-8 (Leaves out the tribe of Dan, but adds Manasseh.)
GE 50:13 Jacob was buried in a cave at Machpelah bought from Ephron the Hittite.
AC 7:15-16 He was buried in the sepulchre at Shechem, bought from the sons of Hamor.
EX 3:1 Jethro was the father-in-law of Moses.
NU 10:29, JG 4:11 (KJV) Hobab was the father-in-law of Moses.
EX 3:20-22, DT 20:13-17 God instructs the Israelites to despoil the Egyptians, to plunder their enemies.
EX 20:15, 17, LE 19:13 God prohibits stealing, defrauding, or robbing a neighbor.
EX 4:11 God decides who will be dumb, deaf, blind, etc.
2CO 13:11, 14, 1JN 4:8, 16 God is a god of love.
EX 9:3-6 God destroys all the cattle (including horses) belonging to the Egyptians.
EX 9:9-11 The people and the cattle are afflicted with boils.
EX 12:12, 29 All the first-born of the cattle of the Egyptians are destroyed.
EX 14:9 After having all their cattle destroyed, then afflicted with boils, and then their first-born cattle destroyed, the Egyptians pursue Moses on horseback.
EX 12:13 The Israelites have to mark their houses with blood in order for God to see which houses they occupy and “pass over” them.
PR 15:3, JE 16:17, 23:24-25, HE 4:13 God is everywhere. He sees everything. Nothing is hidden from God.
EX 12:37, NU 1:45-46 The number of men of military age who take part in the Exodus is given as more than 600,000. Allowing for women, children, and older men would probably mean that a total of about 2,000,000 Israelites left Egypt.
1KI 20:15 All the Israelites, including children, number only 7000 at a later time.
EX 15:3, 17:16, NU 25:4, 32:14, IS 42:13 God is a man of war–he is fierce and angry.
RO 15:33, 2CO 13:11, 14, 1JN 4:8, 16 God is a god of love and peace.
EX 20:1-17 God gave the law directly to Moses (without using an intermediary).
GA 3:19 The law was ordained through angels by a mediator (an intermediary).
EX 20:4 God prohibits the making of any graven images whatsoever.
EX 25:18 God enjoins the making of two graven images.
EX 20:5, 34:7, NU 14:18, DT 5:9, IS 14:21-22 Children are to suffer for their parent’s sins.
DT 24:16, EZ 18:19-20 Children are not to suffer for their parent’s sins.
EX 20:8-11, 31:15-17, 35:1-3 No work is to be done on the Sabbath, not even lighting a fire. The commandment is permanent, and death is required for infractions.
MK 2:27-28 Jesus says that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (after his disciples were criticized for breaking the Sabbath).
RO 14:5, CN 2:14-16 Paul says the Sabbath commandment was temporary, and to decide for yourself regarding its observance.
EX 20:12, DT 5:16, MT 15:4, 19:19, MK 7:10, 10:19, LK 18:20 Honor your father and your mother is one of the ten commandments. It is reinforced by Jesus.
MT 10:35-37, LK 12:51-53, 14:26 Jesus says that he has come to divide families; that a man’s foes will be those of his own household; that you must hate your father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and even your own life to be a disciple.
MT 23:9 Jesus says to call no man on earth your father.
EX 20:13, DT 5:17, MK 10:19, LK 18:20, RO 13:9, JA 2:11 God prohibits killing.
GE 34:1-35:5 God condones trickery and killing.
EX 32:27, DT 7:2, 13:15, 20:1-18 God orders killing.
2KI 19:35 An angel of the Lord slaughters 185,000 men.
(Note: See Atrocities section for many more examples.)
EX 20:14 God prohibits adultery.
HO 1:2 God instructs Hosea to “take a wife of harlotry.”
EX 21:23-25, LE 24:20, DT 19:21 A life for a life, an eye for an eye, etc.
MT 5:38-44, LK 6:27-29 Turn the other cheek. Love your enemies.
EX 23:7 God prohibits the killing of the innocent.
NU 31:17-18, DT 7:2, JS 6:21-27, 7:19-26, 8:22-25, 10:20, 40, 11:8-15, 20, JG 11:30-39, 21:10-12, 1SA 15:3 God orders or approves the complete extermination of groups of people which include innocent women and/or children.
(Note: See Atrocities section for many other examples of the killing of innocents.)
EX 34:6, DT 7:9-10, TS 1:2 God is faithful and truthful. He does not lie.
NU 14:30 God breaks his promise.
EX 34:6, DT 7:9-10, TS 1:2 God is faithful and truthful. He does not lie.
1KI 22:21-23 God condones a spirit of deception.
EX 34:6, DT 7:9-10, TS 1:2 God is faithful and truthful. He does not lie.
2TH 2:11-12 God deludes people, making them believe what is false, so as to be able to condemn them. (Note: some versions use the word persuade here. The context makes clear, however, that deception is involved.)
EX 34:6-7, JS 24:19, 1CH 16:34 God is faithful, holy and good.
IS 45:6-7, LA 3:8, AM 3:6 God is responsible for evil.
EX 34:6-7, HE 9:27 God remembers sin, even when it has been forgiven.
JE 31:34 God does not remember sin when it has been forgiven.
LE 3:17 God himself prohibits forever the eating of blood and fat.
MT 15:11, CN 2:20-22 Jesus and Paul say that such rules don’t matter–they are only human injunctions.
LE 19:18, MT 22:39 Love your neighbor [as much as] yourself.
1CO 10:24 Put your neighbor ahead of yourself.
LE 21:10 The chief priest is not to rend his clothes.
MT 26:65, MK 14:63 He does so during the trial of Jesus.
LE 25:37, PS 15:1, 5 It is wrong to lend money at interest.
MT 25:27, LK 19:23-27 It is wrong to lend money without interest.
NU 11:33 God inflicts sickness.
JB 2:7 Satan inflicts sickness.
NU 15:24-28 Sacrifices can, in at least some case, take away sin.
HE 10:11 They never take away sin.
NU 25:9 24,000 died in the plague.
1CO 10:8 23,000 died in the plague.
NU 30:2 God enjoins the making of vows (oaths).
MT 5:33-37 Jesus forbids doing so, saying that they arise from evil (or the Devil).
NU 33:38 Aaron died on Mt. Hor.
DT 10:6 Aaron died in Mosera.
NU 33:41-42 After Aaron’s death, the Israelites journeyed from Mt. Hor, to Zalmonah, to Punon, etc.
DT 10:6-7 It was from Mosera, to Gudgodah, to Jotbath.
DT 6:15, 9:7-8, 29:20, 32:21 God is sometimes angry.
MT 5:22 Anger is a sin.
DT 7:9-10 God destroys his enemies.
MT 5:39-44 Do not resist your enemies. Love them.
DT 18:20-22 A false prophet is one whose words do not come true. Death is required.
EZ 14:9 A prophet who is deceived, is deceived by God himself. Death is still required.
DT 23:1 A castrate may not enter the assembly of the Lord.
IS 56:4-5 Some castrates will receive special rewards.
DT 23:1 A castrate may not enter the assembly of the Lord.
MT 19:12 Men are encouraged to consider making themselves castrates for the sake of theKingdom ofGod.
DT 24:1-5 A man can divorce his wife simply because she displeases him and both he and his wife can remarry.
MK 10:2-12 Divorce is wrong, and to remarry is to commit adultery.
DT 24:16, 2KI 14:6, 2CH 25:4, EZ 18:20 Children are not to suffer for their parent’s sins.
RO 5:12, 19, 1CO 15:22 Death is passed to all men by the sin of Adam.
DT 30:11-20 It is possible to keep the law.
RO 3:20-23 It is not possible to keep the law.
JS 11:20 God shows no mercy to some.
LK 6:36, JA 5:11 God is merciful.
JG 4:21 Sisera was sleeping when Jael killed him.
JG 5:25-27 Sisera was standing.
JS 10:38-40 Joshua himself captured Debir.
JG 1:11-15 It was Othniel, who thereby obtained the hand of Caleb’s daughter, Achsah.
1SA 8:2-22 Samuel informs God as to what he has heard from others.
PR 15:3, JE 16:17, 23:24-25, HE 4:13 God is everywhere. He sees and hears everything.
1SA 9:15-17 The Lord tells Samuel that Saul has been chosen to lead the Israelites and will save them from the Philistines.
1SA 15:35 The Lord is sorry that he has chosen Saul.
1SA 31:4-7 Saul commits suicide and the Israelites are overrun by the Philistines.
1SA 15:7-8, 20 The Amalekites are utterly destroyed.
1SA 27:8-9 They are utterly destroyed (again?).
1SA 30:1, 17-18 They raid Ziklag and David smites them (again?).
1SA 16:10-11, 17:12 Jesse had seven sons plus David, or eight total.
1CH 2:13-15 He had seven total.
1SA 16:19-23 Saul knew David well before the latter’s encounter with Goliath.
1SA 17:55-58 Saul did not know David at the time of his encounter with Goliath and had to ask about David’s identity.
1SA 17:50 David killed Goliath with a slingshot.
1SA 17:51 David killed Goliath (again?) with a sword.
1SA 17:50 David killed Goliath.
2SA 21:19 Elhanan killed Goliath. (Note: Some translations insert the words “the brother of” before Elhanan. These are an addition to the earliest manuscripts in an apparent attempt to rectify this inconsistency.)
1SA 21:1-6 Ahimalech was high priest when David ate the bread.
MK 2:26 Abiathar was high priest at the time.
1SA 28:6 Saul inquired of the Lord, but received no answer.
1CH 10:13-14 Saul died for not inquiring of the Lord.
1SA 31:4-6 Saul killed himself by falling on his sword.
2SA 1:2-10 Saul, at his own request, was slain by an Amalekite.
2SA 21:12 Saul was killed by the Philistines on Gilboa.
1CH 10:13-14 Saul was slain by God.
2SA 6:23 Michal was childless.
2SA 21:8 (KJV) She had five sons.
2SA 24:1 The Lord inspired David to take the census.
1CH 21:1 Satan inspired the census.
2SA 24:9 The census count was: Israel 800,000 and Judah 500,000.
1CH 21:5 The census count was: Israel 1,100,000 and Judah 470,000.
2SA 24:10-17 David sinned in taking the census.
1KI 15:5 David’s only sin (ever) was in regard to another matter.
2SA 24:24 David paid 50 shekels of silver for the purchase of a property.
1CH 21:22-25 He paid 600 shekels of gold.
1KI 3:12 God made Solomon the wisest man that ever lived, yet ….
1KI 11:1-13 Solomon loved many foreign women (against God’s explicit prohibition) who turned him to other gods (for which he deserved death).
1KI 3:12, 4:29, 10:23-24, 2CH 9:22-23 God made Solomon the wisest king and the wisest man that ever lived. There never has been nor will be another like him.
MT 12:42, LK 11:31 Jesus says: “… now one greater than Solomon is here.”
1KI 4:26 Solomon had 40,000 horses (or stalls for horses).
2CH 9:25 He had 4,000 horses (or stalls for horses).
1KI 5:16 Solomon had 3,300 supervisors.
2CH 2:2 He had 3,600 supervisors.
1KI 7:15-22 The two pillars were 18 cubits high.
2CH 3:15-17 They were 35 cubits high.
1KI 7:26 Solomon’s “molten sea” held 2000 “baths” (1 bath = about 8 gallons).
2CH 4:5 It held 3000 “baths.”
1KI 8:12, 2CH 6:1, PS 18:11 God dwells in thick darkness.
1TI 6:16 God dwells in unapproachable light.
1KI 8:13, AC 7:47 Solomon, whom God made the wisest man ever, built his temple as an abode for God.
AC 7:48-49 God does not dwell in temples built by men.
1KI 9:28 420 talents of gold were brought back from Ophir.
2CH 8:18 450 talents of gold were brought back from Ophir.
1KI 15:14 Asa did not remove the high places.
2CH 14:2-3 He did remove them.
1KI 16:6-8 Baasha died in the 26th year of King Asa’s reign.
2CH 16:1 Baasha built a city in the 36th year of King Asa’s reign.
1KI 16:23 Omri became king in the thirty-first year of Asa’s reign and he reigned for a total of twelve years.
1KI 16:28-29 Omri died, and his son Ahab became king in the thirty- eighth year of Asa’s reign. (Note: Thirty-one through thirty-eight equals a reign of seven or eight years.)
1KI 22:23, 2CH 18:22, 2TH 2:11 God himself causes a lying spirit.
PR 12:22 God abhors lying lips and delights in honesty.
1KI 22:42-43 Jehoshaphat did not remove the high places.
2CH 17:5-6 He did remove them.
2KI 2:11 Elijah went up to heaven.
JN 3:13 Only the Son of Man (Jesus) has ever ascended to heaven.
2CO 12:2-4 An unnamed man, known to Paul, went up to heaven and came back.
HE 11:5 Enoch was translated to heaven.
2KI 4:32-37 A dead child is raised (well before the time of Jesus).
MT 9:18-25, JN 11:38-44 Two dead persons are raised (by Jesus himself).
AC 26:23 Jesus was the first to rise from the dead.
2KI 8:25-26 Ahaziah was 22 years old when he began his reign.
2CH 22:2 He was 42 when he began his reign.
[Note: Some translations use “twenty-two” here in an attempt to rectify this discrepancy. The Hebrew is clear, however, that 2CH 22:2 is 42. The Hebrew words involved are Strong’s H705 and H8147, “forty” and “two,” respectively.]
2KI 9:27 Jehu shot Ahaziah near Ibleam. Ahaziah fled to Meggido and died there.
2CH 22:9 Ahaziah was found hiding in Samaria, brought to Jehu, and put to death.
2KI 16:5 The King of Syria and the son of the King of Israel did not conquer Ahaz.
2CH 28:5-6 They did conquer Ahaz.
2KI 24:8 Jehoiachin (Jehoiakim) was eighteen years old when he began to reign.
2CH 36:9 He was eight.
(Note: This discrepancy has been “corrected” in some versions.)
2KI 24:8 Jehoiachin (Jehoiakim) reigned three months.
2CH 36:9 He reigned three months and ten days.
2KI 24:17 Jehoiachin (Jehoaikim) was succeeded by his uncle.
2CH 36:10 He was succeeded by his brother.
1CH 3:11-13 The lineage is: Joram, Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, Azariah, Jotham.
MT 1:8-9 It is: Joram, Uzziah, Jotham, etc.
1CH 3:19 Pedaiah was the father of Zerubbabel.
ER 3:2 Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.
2CH 19:7, AC 10:34, RO 2:11 There is no injustice or partiality with the Lord.
RO 9:15-18 God has mercy on (and hardens the hearts of) whom he pleases.
ER 2:3-64 (Gives the whole congregation as 42,360 while the actual sum of the numbers is about 30,000.)
JB 2:3-6, 21:7-13, 2TI 3:12 The godly are persecuted and chastised but the wicked grow old, wealthy, and powerful, unchastised by God.
PS 55:23, 92:12-14, PR 10:2-3, 27-31, 12:2, 21 The lives of the wicked are cut short. The righteous flourish and obtain favor from the Lord.
PS 10:1 God cannot be found in time of need. He is “far off.”
PS 145:18 God is near to all who call upon him in truth.
PS 22:1-2 God sometimes forsakes his children. He does not answer.
PS 46:1 God is a refuge, a strength, a very present help.
PS 30:5, JE 3:12, MI 7:18 God’s anger does not last forever.
JE 17:4, MT 25:46 It does last forever. (He has provided for eternal punishment.)
PS 58:10-11 The righteous shall rejoice when he sees vengeance.
PR 24:16-18 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls or stumbles.
PS 78:69, EC 1:4, 3:14 The earth was established forever.
PS 102:25-26, MT 24:35, MK 13:31, LK 21:33, HE 1:10-11, 2PE 3:10 The earth will someday perish.
PR 3:13, 4:7, 19:8, JA 1:5 Happy is the man who finds wisdom. Get wisdom.
LK 2:40, 52 Jesus was filled with wisdom and found favor with God.
1CO 1:19-25, 3:18-20 Wisdom is foolishness.
PR 12:2, RO 8:28 A good man obtains favor from the Lord.
2TI 3:12, HE 12:6 The godly will be persecuted.
PR 14:8 The wisdom of a prudent man is to discern his way.
MT 6:25-34 Take no thought for tomorrow. God will take care of you.
PR 14:15-18 The simple believe everything and acquire folly; the prudent look where they are going and are crowned with knowledge.
MT 18:3, LK 18:17 You must believe as little children do.
1CO 1:20, 27 God has made the wisdom of the world foolish so as to shame the wise.
PR 16:4 God made the wicked for the “day of evil.”
MT 11:25, MK 4:11-12 God and Jesus hide some things from some people.
JN 6:65 No one can come to Jesus unless it is granted by God.
RO 8:28-30 Some are predestined to be called to God, believe in Jesus, and be justified.
RO 9:15-18 God has mercy on, and hardens the hearts of, whom he pleases.
2TH 2:11-12 God deceives the wicked so as to be able to condemn them.
1TI 2:3-4, 2PE 3:9 [Yet] God wants all to be saved.
PR 8:13, 16:6 It is the fear of God that keeps men from evil.
1JN 4:18 There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear.
1JN 5:2, 2JN 1:6 Those who love God keep his commandments.
PR 26:4 Do not answer a fool. To do so makes you foolish too.
PR 26:5 Answer a fool. If you don’t, he will think himself wise.
PR 30:5 Every word of God proves true.
JE 8:8 The scribes falsify the word of God.
JE 20:7, EZ 14:9, 2TH 2:11-12 God himself deceives people.
(Note: Some versions translate deceive as “persuade.” The context makes clear, however, that deception is involved.)
IS 3:13 God stands to judge.
JL 3:12 He sits to judge.
IS 44:24 God created heaven and earth alone.
JN 1:1-3 Jesus took part in creation.
IS 53:9 Usually taken to be a prophecy re: Jesus, mentions burial with others.
MT 27:58-60, MK 15:45-46, LK 23:52-53, JN 19:38-42 Jesus was buried by himself.
JE 12:13 Some sow wheat but reap thorns.
MI 6:15 Some sow but won’t reap anything.
MT 25:26, LK 19:22 Some reap without sowing.
2CO 9:6, GA 6:7 A man reaps what he sows.
JE 32:18 God shows love to thousands, but brings punishment for the sins of their fathers to many children.
2CO 13:11, 14, 1JN 4:8, 16 God is a god of love.
JE 34:4-5 Zedekiah was to die in peace.
JE 52:10-11 Instead, Zedekaih’s sons are slain before his eyes, his eyes are then put out, he is bound in fetters, taken to Babylon and left in prison to die.
EZ 20:25-26 The law was not good. The sacrifice of children was for the purpose of horrifying the people so that they would know that God is Lord.
RO 7:12, 1TI 1:8 The law is good.
EZ 26:15-21 God says that Tyre will be destroyed and will never be found again.
(Nebudchanezzar failed to capture or destroy Tyre. It is still inhabited.)
DN 5:1 (Gives the title of “king” to Belshazzar although Belshazzar was actually the “viceroy.”)
DN 5:2 (Says that Nebuchadnezzar was the father of Belshazzar, but actually, Nebonidus was the father of Belshazzar.) (Note: Some versions attempt to correct this error by making the verse say that Nebuchadnezzar was the grandfather of Belshazzar.)
ZE 11:12-13 Mentions “thirty pieces” and could possibly be thought to be connected with the Potter’s Field prophesy referred to in Matthew.
MT 27:9 Jeremiah is given as the source of the prophesy regarding the purchase of the Potter’s Field. (Note: There is no such prophesy in Jeremiah.)
MT 1:6-7 The lineage of Jesus is traced through David’s son, Solomon.
LK 3:23-31 It is traced through David’s son, Nathan.
(Note: Some apologists assert that Luke traces the lineage through Mary. That this is untrue is obvious from the context since Luke and Matthew both clearly state that Joseph was Jesus’ father.)
MT 1:16 Jacob was Joseph’s father.
LK 3:23 Heli was Joseph’s father.
MT 1:17 There were twenty-eight generations from David to Jesus.
LK 3:23-38 There were forty-three.
MT 1:18-21 The Annunciation occurred after Mary had conceived Jesus.
LK 1:26-31 It occurred before conception.
MT 1:20 The angel spoke to Joseph.
LK 1:28 The angel spoke to Mary.
MT 1:20-23, LK 1:26-33 An angel announces to Joseph and/or Mary that the child (Jesus) will be “great,” the “son of the Most High,” etc., and ….
MT 3:13-17, MK 1:9-11 The baptism of Jesus is accompanied by the most extraordinary happenings, yet ….
MK 3:21 Jesus’ own relatives (or friends) attempt to constrain him, thinking that he might be out of his mind, and ….
MK 6:4-6 Jesus says that a prophet is without honor in his own house (which certainly should not have been the case considering the Annunciation and the Baptism).
MT 1:23 He will be called Emmanuel (or Immanuel).
MT 1:25 Instead, he was called Jesus.
MT 2:13-16 Following the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary flee to Egypt, (where they stay until after Herod’s death) in order to avoid the murder of their firstborn by Herod. Herod slaughters all male infants two years old and under. (Note: John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, though under two is somehow spared without fleeing to Egypt.)
LK 2:22-40 Following the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary remain in the area of Jerusalem for the Presentation (about forty days) and then return to Nazareth without ever going to Egypt. There is no slaughter of the infants.
MT 2:23 “And he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: He will be called a Nazarene.'” (This prophecy is not found in the OT and while Jesus is often referred to as “Jesus of Nazareth”, he is seldom referred to as “Jesus the Nazarene.”)
MT 3:11-14, JN 1:31-34 John realized the true identity of Jesus (as the Messiah) either prior to the actual Baptism, or from the Baptism onward. The very purpose of John’s baptism was to reveal Jesus to Israel.
MT 11:2-3 After the Baptism, John sends his disciples to ask if Jesus is the Messiah.
MT 3:12, 13:42 Hell is a furnace of fire (and must therefore be light).
MT 8:12, 22:13, 25:30 Hell is an “outer darkness” (and therefore dark).
MT 3:16, MK 1:10 It was Jesus who saw the Spirit descending.
JN 1:32 It was John who saw the Spirit descending.
MT 3:17 The heavenly voice addressed the crowd: “This is my beloved Son.”
MK 1:11, LK 3:22 The voice addressed Jesus: “You are my beloved Son….”
MT 4:1-11, MK 1:12-13 Immediately following his Baptism, Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness resisting temptation by the Devil.
JN 2:1-11 Three days after the Baptism, Jesus was at the wedding in Cana.
MT 4:5-8 The Devil took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, then to the mountain top.
LK 4:5-9 First to the mountain top, then to the pinnacle of the temple.
MT 4:18-20, MK 1:16-18 (One story about choosing Peter as a disciple.)
LK 5:2-11 (A different story.)
JN 1:35-42 (Still another story.)
MT 5:1 – 7:29 Jesus delivers his most noteworthy sermon while on the mount.
LK 6:17-49 Jesus delivers his most noteworthy sermon while on the plain. (Note: No such sermons are mentioned in either MK or JN and Paul seems totally unfamiliar with either the sermon on the mount or the sermon on the plain.)
MT 5:16 Good works should be seen.
MT 6:1-4 They should be kept secret.
MT 5:17-19, LK 16:17 Jesus underscores the permanence of the law.
LE 10:8 – 11:47, DT 14:3-21 The law distinguishes between clean and unclean foods.
MK 7:14-15, MK 7:18-19 Jesus says that there is no such distinction.
1TI 4:1-4 All foods are clean according to Paul.
MT 5:17-19, LK 16:17 Jesus did not come to abolish the law.
EP 2:13-15, HE 7:18-19 Jesus did abolish the law.
MT 5:22 Anyone who calls another a fool is liable to Hell.
MT 7:26 Jesus says that anyone who hears his words and does not do them is a fool. (Note: The translation now prevalent, “like a foolish man,” in MT 7:26 is a dishonest attempt to alleviate the obvious inconsistency here in that the oldest Greek manuscripts use the same Greek word translated “fool” in MT 5:22 and “like a foolish man” in MT 7:26.)
MT 23:17-19 Jesus twice calls the Pharisees blind fools.
MT 25:2, 3, 8 Jesus likens the maidens who took no oil to fools. (Note: This is the same Greek word translated “fool” in MT 5:22 and MT 23:17-19.)
1CO 1:23, 3:18, 4:10 Paul uses “fool” with regard to Christians becoming fools for Christ. (Note: Again, this is the same Greek word translated “fool” in MT 5:22 and MT 23:17-19.)
MT 5:22 Anger by itself is a sin.
EP 4:26 Anger is not necessarily a sin.
MT 5:22 Anger by itself is a sin.
MT 11:22-24, LK 10:13-15 Jesus curses the inhabitants of several cities who are not sufficiently impressed with his mighty works.
MT 21:19, MK 11:12-14 Jesus curses a fig tree when it fails to bear fruit out of season.
MK 3:5 Jesus looks around “angrily.”
MT 5:32 Divorce, except on the grounds of unchastity, is wrong.
MK 10:11-12 Divorce on any grounds is wrong.
MT 5:39, MT 5:44 Jesus says: “Do not resist evil. Love your enemies.”
MT 6:15, 12:34, 16:3, 22:18, 23:13-15, 17, 19, 27, 29, 33, MK 7:6, LK 11:40, 44, 12:56 Jesus repeatedly hurls epithets at his opponents.
MT 5:39, MT 5:44 Do not resist evil. Love your enemies.
LK 19:27 God is likened to one who destroys his enemies.
MT 5:39, MT 5:44 Do not resist evil. Love your enemies.
2JN 1:9-11 Shun anyone who does not hold the proper doctrine.
MT 5:43-44, MT 22:39 Love your enemies. Love your neighbor as yourself.
MT 10:5 Go nowhere among the Gentiles nor enter a Samaritan town.
JN 8:58-59 Jesus hid himself, apparently to avoid being stoned.
MT 5:45, 7:21 God resides in heaven.
MK 13:32 The angels reside in heaven
AC 7:55, HE 12:2 Jesus is at the right hand of God, in heaven.
1PE 1:3-4 Believers will inherit eternal life in heaven.
MT 24:35, MK 13:31, LK 21:33 Heaven will pass away.
MT 6:13 God might lead us into temptation and it is better avoided.
JA 1:2-3 Temptation is joy.
MT 6:13 Jesus’ prayer implies that God might lead us into temptation.
JA 1:13 God tempts no one.
MT 6:25-34, LK 12:22-31 Take no thought for tomorrow. God will take care of you.
1TI 5:8 A man who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel. (Note: Providing for a family certainly involves taking “thought for tomorrow.”)
MT 7:1-2 Do not judge.
MT 7:15-20 Instructions for judging a false prophet.
MT 7:7-8, LK 11:9-10 Ask and it will be given. Seek and you will find.
LK 13:24 Many will try to enter the Kingdom but will be unable.
MT 7:21 Not everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
AC 2:21, RO 10:13 Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
AC 2:39 Those God calls to himself will be saved.
MT 7:21, LK 10:36-37, RO 2:6, 13, JA 2:24 We are justified by works, not by faith.
JN 3:16, RO 3:20-26, EP 2:8-9, GA 2:16 We are justified by faith, not by works.
MT 8:5-12 The centurion himself approaches Jesus to ask to heal his servant.
LK 7:2-10 The centurion sends elders to do the asking.
MT 8:16, LK 4:40 Jesus healed all that were sick.
MK 1:32-34 Jesus healed many (but not all).
MT 8:28-33 Two demoniacs are healed in the Gadarene swine incident.
MK 5:2-16, LK 8:26-36 One demoniac is healed in this incident.
MT 9:18 The ruler’s daughter was already dead when Jesus raised her.
LK 8:42 She was dying, but not dead.
MT 10:1-8 Jesus gives his disciples the power to exorcise and heal…
MT 17:14-16 (Yet) the disciples are unable to do so.
MT 10:2, MK 3:16-19 The twelve apostles (disciples) were: Simon (Peter), Andrew his brother, James the son of Zebedee, John his brother, Philip, Bartholemew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus (Labbaeus), Simon, and Judas Iscariot.
LK 6:13-16 The above except that Thaddaeus (Labbaeus) is excluded, and Judas the son of James is added (and Judas Iscariot remains).
AC 1:13, 26 Same as MT and MK except that, like LK Thaddaeus (Labbaeus) is excluded, Judas the son of James is included, and Mathias is chosen by the others to replace Judas Iscariot.
MT 10:2, 5-6 Peter was to be an apostle to the Jews and not go near the Gentiles.
AC 15:7 He was an apostle to the Gentiles.
MT 10:10 Do not take sandals (shoes) or staves.
MK 6:8-9 Take sandals (shoes) and staves.
MT 10:34, LK 12:49-53 Jesus has come to bring a sword, fire, and division–not peace.
JN 16:33 Jesus says: “In me you have peace.”
MT 10:22, 24:13, MK 13:13 He that endures to the end will be saved.
MK 16:16 He that believes and is baptized will be saved.
JN 3:5 Only he that is born of water and Spirit will be saved.
AC 16:31 He that believes on the Lord Jesus will be saved.
AC 2:21 He that calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
RO 10:9 He who confesses with his mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believes in his heart that God raised him from the dead will be saved.
1JN 4:7 He who loves is born of God (and presumably will be saved.)
MT 10:28, LK 12:4 Jesus says not to fear men. (Fear God only.)
MT 12:15-16, JN 7:1-10, 8:59, 10:39, 11:53-54 Jesus hid, escaped, went secretly, etc.
MT 11:7-15, 17:12-13 Jesus says that John the Baptist was a prophet, and more.
JN 1:21 John himself says that he is not a prophet, nor is he Elijah.
MT 11:25, MK 4:11-12 Jesus thanks God for hiding some things from the wise while revealing them to “babes.” He says that he uses parables so that the meaning of some of his teachings will remain hidden to at least some persons, and specifically so that they will not turn and be forgiven.
MK 4:22 Jesus says that all things should be made known.
MT 11:29 Jesus says that he is gentle (meek) and humble (lowly).
JN 2:15 Jesus makes a whip of cords, drives the money changers from the Temple, overturns their tables, and pours out their coins. (Note: The presence of the money changers in the outer court of the Temple had been authorized by the Temple authorities and was, in fact, a necessity since the Jews would not accept Roman coin for the purchase of sacrifices.)
MT 12:5 Jesus says that the law (OT) states that the priests profane the Sabbath but are blameless. (No such statement is found in the OT.
MT 12:30 Jesus says that those who are not with him are against him.
MK 9:40 Jesus says that those who are not against him are for him.
(Note: This puts those who are indifferent or undecided in the “for him” category in the first instance and in the “against him” category in the second instance.)
MT 12:39, MK 8:12, LK 11:29 Jesus says that he will give no “sign.”
JN 3:2, 20:30, AC 2:22 Jesus proceeds to give many such “signs.”
MT 13:34, MK 4:34 Jesus addresses the crowds only in parables, so that they would not fully understand. He explains the meaning only to his disciples.
JN 1:1 – 21:25 (Throughout the book of John, unlike the other Gospels, Jesus addresses the crowds in a very straightforward manner. He does not employ parables.)
MT 13:58, MK 6:5 In spite of his faith, Jesus is not able to perform mighty miracles.
MT 17:20, 19:26, MK 9:23, 10:27, LK 17:6, 18:27 Jesus says that anything is possible to him who believes if he has the faith of a grain of mustard seed. All things are possible with God. A mountain can be commanded to move and it will move.
MT 5:37, 15:19, MK 7:22, JN 8:14, 44, 14:6, 18:37 Jesus says that you should answer a plain “yes” or “no,” that his purpose is to bear witness to the truth, and that his testimony is true. He equates lying with evil.
JN 7:2-10 Jesus tells his brothers that he is not going to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Tabernacles, then later goes secretly by himself. (Note: The words “not yet” were added to some versions at JN 7:8 in order to alleviate this problem. The context at JN 7:10 makes the deception clear, however.)
MT 16:6, 11 Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
MK 8:15 Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod.
MT 16:18 Jesus founds his church on Peter and will give him the keys of the kingdom.
MT 16:23 Jesus calls Peter [a] “Satan” and “a hindrance,” and accuses him of being on the side of men rather than that of God.
MT 16:18 Jesus founds his church on Peter and will give him the keys of the kingdom.
AC 15:1-21 James presides over the first Council of Jerusalem and formulates the decree regarding the accepting of Gentiles which is sent to the other churches. (Note: Tradition has it that James was appointed as the first Bishop or Pope, not Peter.)
MT 17:1-2 The Transfiguration occurs six days after Jesus foretells his suffering.
LK 9:28-29 It takes place about eight days afterwards.
MT 20:20-21 The mother of James and John asks Jesus a favor for her sons.
MK 10:35-37 They ask for themselves.
MT 20:23, MK 10:40 Jesus responds that it is not his to give.
MT 28:18, JN 3:35 All authority has been given to Jesus.
MT 20:29-34 Jesus heals two blind men on the way to Jericho.
MK 10:46-52 He heals one blind man.
MT 21:1-17 The sequence was: triumphal entry, cleansing of the temple, Bethany.
MK 11:1-19 Triumphal entry, cleansing of the temple.
LK 19:28-48 Triumphal entry, cleansing of the temple, daily teaching in the temple.
JN 12:1-18 Cleansing of the temple (early in his career), Supper with Lazarus, triumphal entry, no cleansing of the temple following the triumphal entry.
MT 21:2-6, MK 11:2-7, LK 19:30-35 The disciples follow Jesus instructions and bring him the animal (or animals, in the case of MT).
JN 12:14 Jesus finds the animal himself.
MT 21:7 Jesus rides two animals during his triumphal entry.
MK 11:7, LK 19:35, JN 12:14 Only one animal is involved.
MT 21:12-13 The cleansing of the temple occurs at the end of Jesus’ career.
JN 2:13-16 It occurs near the beginning of his career.
MT 21:19-20 The fig tree withers immediately after being cursed by Jesus. The disciples notice and are amazed.
MK 11:13-14, 20-21 The disciples first notice that the tree has withered the day following.
MT 23:35 Jesus says that Zacharias (Zechariah) was the son of Barachias (Barachiah).
2CH 24:20 Zacharias was actually the son of Jehoida, the priest.
(Note: The name Barachias, or Barachiah, does not appear in the O.T.)
MT 24:29-33, MK 13:24-29 The coming of the kingdom will be accompanied by signs and miracles.
LK 17:20-21 It will not be accompanied by signs and miracles. It is already within.
MT 25:34 Heaven was prepared before the Ascension of Jesus.
JN 14:2-3 It was prepared after the Ascension of Jesus.
MT 26:6-13, MK 14:3 The anointing of Jesus takes place in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper.
LK 7:36-38 It takes place at the house of a Pharisee in Galilee.
MT 26:7, MK 14:3 The oil is poured on Jesus’ head.
LK 7:38, JN 12:3 On his feet.
MT 26:7, MK 14:3, LK 7:37 An unnamed woman does the anointing.
JN 12:3 It is Mary.
MT 28:6-8 The women ran from the tomb “with great joy.”
JN 20:1-2 Mary told Peter and the other disciple that the body had been stolen. (Would she feel “great joy” if she thought the body had been stolen?)
MT 26:8 The disciples reproach her.
MK 14:4 “Some” reproach her.
JN 12:4-5 Judas Iscariot reproaches her.
MT 26:14-25, MK 14:10-11, LK 22:3-23 Judas made his bargain with the chief priests before the meal.
JN 13:21-30 After the meal.
MT 26:20-29, MK 14:17-28, JN 13:21-30 Jesus forecasts his betrayal prior to the communion portion of the supper.
LK 22:14-23 After the communion portion.
MT 26:26-29, MK 14:22-25 The order of the communion was: bread, then wine.
LK 22:17-20 It was: wine, then bread.
MT 26:34, LK 22:34, JN 13:38 Peter was to deny Jesus before the cock crowed.
MK 14:30 Before the cock crowed twice.
MK 14:66-72 The cock crows after both the first and second denials.
(Note: These discrepancies have been “translated out” in some Bible versions.)
MT 26:40-45, MK 14:37-41 The disciples fall asleep three times.
LK 22:45 One time.
MT 26:49-50, MK 14:44-46 Jesus is betrayed by Judas with a kiss, then seized.
LK 22:47-48 Jesus anticipates Judas’ kiss. No actual kiss is mentioned.
JN 18:2-9 Jesus voluntarily steps forward to identify himself making it completely unnecessary for Judas to point him out. No kiss is mentioned.
MT 26:51, MK 14:47, JN 18:10 The ear of a slave is cut off and left that way.
LK 22:50-51 The severed ear is miraculously healed by Jesus.
MT 26:52 Dispose of swords. All who take the sword will perish by it.
LK 22:36-38 Buy swords.
MT 26:57, MK 14:53, LK 22:54 After his arrest Jesus is first taken to Caiphas, the high priest.
JN 18:13-24 First to Annas, the son-in-law of Caiphas, then to Caiphas.
MT 26:18-20, 57-68, 27:1-2, MK 14:16-18, 53-72, 15:1 Jesus’ initial hearing was at night on Passover. In the morning he was taken to Pilate.
LK 22:13-15, 54-66 The initial hearing took place in the morning on Passover.
JN 18:28, 19:14 It took place the day before Passover, on the Day of Preparation.
MT 26:59-66, MK 14:55-64 Jesus was tried by the entire Sanhedrin (the chief priests and the whole council).
LK 22:66-71 There was no trial but merely an inquiry held by the Sanhedrin.
JN 18:13-24 There was no appearance before the Sanhedrin, only the private hearings before Annas and then Caiphas.
MT 26:63, LK 22:70 The high priest asks Jesus if he is the Son of God.
MK 14:61 He asks Jesus if he is the Son of the Blessed.
MT 26:64, LK 22:70 Jesus answers: “You have said so,” or words to this effect.
MK 14:62 He answers directly: “I am.”
MT 26:69-70 Peter makes his first denial to a maid and “them all.”
MK 14:66-68, LK 22:56-57, JN 18:17 It was to one maid only.
MT 26:71-72 Peter’s second denial is to still another maid.
MK 14:69-70 (Apparently) to the same maid.
LK 22:58 To a man, not a maid.
JN 18:25 To more than one, “they.”
MT 26:73-74, MK 14:70-71 Peter’s third denial is to bystanders (two or more).
LK 22:59-60 To “another” (one).
JN 18:26-27 To one of the servants.
MT 26:74 The cock crowed once.
MK 14:72 The cock crowed twice.
MT 27:3-7 The chief priests bought the field.
AC 1:16-19 Judas bought the field.
MT 27:5 Judas threw down the pieces of silver, then departed.
AC 1:18 He used the coins to buy the field.
MT 27:5 Judas hanged himself.
AC 1:18 He fell headlong, burst open, and his bowels gushed out.
MT 27:11, MK 15:2, LK 23:3 When asked if he is King of the Jews, Jesus answers: “You have said so,” (or “Thou sayest”).
JN 18:33-34 He answers: “Do you say this of your own accord?”
MT 27:11-14 Jesus answers not a single charge at his hearing before Pilate.
JN 18:33-37 Jesus answers all charges at his hearing before Pilate.
MT 27:20 The chief priests and elders are responsible for persuading the people to ask for the release of Barabbas.
MK 15:11 Only the chief priests are responsible.
LK 23:18-23 The people ask, apparently having decided for themselves.
MT 27:28 Jesus is given a scarlet robe (a sign of infamy).
MK 15:17, JN 19:2 A purple robe (a sign of royalty).
MT 27:32, MK 15:21, LK 23:26 Simon of Cyrene carries Jesus’ cross.
JN 19:17 Jesus carries his own cross with no help from anyone.
MT 27:37 The inscription on the cross read: “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.”
MK 15:26 “The King of the Jews.”
LK 23:38 “This is the King of the Jews.”
JN 19:19 “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
MT 27:44 Both of those who are crucified with Jesus taunt him.
LK 23:39-42 Only one taunts Jesus, and he is rebuked by the other for doing so.
MT 27:46 Jesus asks God, the Father, why he has been forsaken.
JN 10:30 Jesus says that he and the Father are one.
MT 27:46-50, MK 15:34-37 Jesus’ last recorded words are: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
LK 23:46 “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”
JN 19:30 “It is finished.” (Note: Even though both MT and MK represent direct quotes and are translated similarly, the actual Greek words used for God are different. MT uses “Eli” and MK uses “Eloi.”)
MT 27:48, LK 23:36, JN 19:29 Jesus was offered vinegar to drink.
MK 15:23 It was wine and myrrh, and he did not drink it.
JN 19:29-30 Whatever it was, he did drink it.
MT 27:54 The centurion says: “Truly this was the son of God.”
MK 15:39 He says: “Truly this man was the son of God!”
LK 23:47 He says: “Truly this man was innocent” (or “righteous”).
MT 27:55, MK 15:40, LK 23:49 The women looked on from afar.
JN 19:25-26 They were near enough that Jesus could speak to his mother.
MT 27:62-66 A guard was placed at the tomb (the day following the burial).
MK 15:42– 16:8, LK 23:50-56, JN 19:38-42 (No guard is mentioned. This is important since rumor had it that Jesus’ body was stolen and the Resurrection feigned.)
MK 16:1-3, LK 24:1 (There could not have been a guard, as far as the women were concerned, since they were planning to enter the tomb with spices. Though the women were aware of the stone, they were obviously unaware of a guard.)
MT 24:9 Even some of the disciples of Jesus will be killed.
JN 8:51 If anyone keeps Jesus’ words, he will never see death.
HE 9:27 [All] men die once, then judgement follows.
MT 28:1 The first visitors to the tomb were Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (two).
MK 16:1 Both of the above plus Salome (three).
LK 23:55 – 24:1, 24:10 Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and “other women” (at least five).
JN 20:1 Mary Magdalene only (one).
MT 28:1 It was toward dawn when they arrived.
MK 16:2 It was after sunrise.
LK 24:1 It was at early dawn.
JN 20:1 It was still dark.
MT 28:1-2 The stone was still in place when they arrived. It was rolled away later.
MK 16:4, LK 24:2, JN 20:1 The stone had already been rolled (or taken) away.
MT 28:2 An angel arrived during an earthquake, rolled back the stone, then sat on it (outside the tomb).
MK 16:5 No earthquake, only one young man sitting inside the tomb.
LK 24:2-4 No earthquake. Two men suddenly appear standing inside the tomb.
JN 20:12 No earthquake. Two angels are sitting inside the tomb.
MT 28:8 The visitors ran to tell the disciples.
MK 16:8 They said nothing to anyone.
LK 24:9 They told the eleven and all the rest.
JN 20:10-11 The disciples returned home. Mary remained outside, weeping.
MT 28:8-9 Jesus’ first Resurrection appearance was fairly near the tomb.
LK 24:13-15 It was in the vicinity of Emmaus (seven miles from Jerusalem).
JN 20:13-14 It was right at the tomb.
MT 28:9 On his first appearance to them, Jesus lets Mary Magdalene and the other Mary hold him by his feet.
JN 20:17 On his first appearance to Mary, Jesus forbids her to touch him since he has not yet ascended to the Father.
JN 20:27 A week later, although he has not yet ascended to the Father, Jesus tells Thomas to touch him.
MT 28:7-10, MT 28:16 Although some doubted, the initial reaction of those that heard the story was one of belief since they followed the revealed instructions.
MK 16:11, LK 24:11 The initial reaction was one of disbelief. All doubted.
MT 28:1-18 The order of Resurrection appearances was: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, then the eleven.
MK 16:9-14 It was Mary Magdalene, then two others, then the eleven.
LK 24:15-36 It was two, then Simon (Peter?), then the eleven.
JN 20:14 – 21:1 It was Mary Magdalene, then the disciples without Thomas, then the disciples with Thomas, then the eleven disciples again.
1CO 15:5-8 It was Cephas (Peter?), then the “twelve” (which twelve, Judas was dead?), then 500+ brethren (although AC 1:15 says there were only about 120), then James, then all the Apostles, then Paul.
MT 28:19 Jesus instructs his disciples to baptize.
1CO 1:17 Although he considers himself a disciple of Jesus, Paul says that he has not been sent to baptize.
MK 1:2 Jesus quotes a statement that allegedly appears in Isaiah. No such statement appears in Isaiah. (Note: IS 40.3 is seen by some as equivalent to MK 1.2; MA 3.1 is a much better fit, however, given that Jesus is allegedly quoting word for word in MK 1:2.)
MK 1:14 Jesus began his ministry after the arrest of John the Baptist.
JN 3:22-24 Before the arrest of John the Baptist.
MK 1:23-24 A demon cries out that Jesus is the Holy One of God.
1JN 4:1-2 Everyone who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. (Note: This would mean that the demon is of God.)
MK 3:29 Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin.
AC 13:39, CN 2:13, 1JN 1:9 All sins are forgivable.
MK 4:11-12, 11:25 Jesus says that he uses parables so that the meaning of some of his teachings will remain secret to at least some persons. He explains the meanings of the parables only to his disciples. He thanks God for hiding some things from the wise while revealing them to “babes.”
JN 18:20 Jesus says that he always taught openly, never secretly.
MK 6:16 Herod was the source of the belief that John had been raised from the dead.
LK 9:7 Others were the source. Herod was perplexed by the belief.
MK 6:52 The people were so unimpressed with “the Feeding of the Multitude” that they did not even understand the event.
JN 6:14-15 They were so impressed that they tried to force Jesus to be their king.
MK 6:53 After the feeding of the 5000, Jesus and the disciples went to Gennesaret.
JN 6:17-25 They went to Capernaum.
MK 15:25 It was the third hour when Jesus was crucified.
JN 19:14-15 It was after the sixth hour since Jesus was still before Pilate and had not yet been sentenced at that time.
MK 16:1-2 The women came to the tomb to anoint the body.
JN 19:39-40 The body had already been anointed and wrapped in linen cloth.
MK 16:5, LK 24:3 The women actually entered the tomb.
JN 20:1-2, 11 They did not.
MK 16:14-19 The Ascension took place (presumably from a room) while the disciples were together seated at a table, probably in or near Jerusalem.
LK 24:50-51 It took place outdoors, after supper, at Bethany (near Jerusalem).
AC 1:9-12 It took place outdoors, after 40+ days, at Mt. Olivet.
MT 28:16-20 No mention is made of an ascension, but if it took place at all, it must have been from a mountain in Galilee since MT ends there.)
LK 1:15 John the Baptist had the Holy Spirit from before his birth or the birth of Jesus.
LK 1:41 Elizabeth had it long before Jesus went away.
LK 1:67 So did Zechariah.
LK 2:25 So did Simeon.
LK 11:13 It is obtained by prayer (presumably at any time).
JN 7:39, JN 16:7, AC 1:3-5 The Holy Spirit cannot come into the world until after Jesus has departed.
LK 8:12 The Devil causes unbelief.
MK 4:11-12 Jesus is responsible for unbelief in at least some cases.
2TH 2:11-12 God is ultimately responsible for unbelief in at least some cases.
LK 14:26 No one can be a disciple of Jesus unless he hates his parents, wife, children, brothers and sisters.
1JN 3:15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer.
1JN 4:20 If anyone claims to love God but hates his brother, he is a liar.
LK 18:9-14 Do not boast of your virtue.
RO 11:20, 1PE 5:5 Do not be proud.
RO 15:17, 2CO 1:12, HE 3:6, 2CO 2:14, 5:12, 11:17 Paul boasts of his faith and says that one should be proud of it.
LK 22:3-23 Satan entered Judas before the supper.
JN 13:27 It was during the supper.
LK 23:43 Jesus promises one of those crucified with him that they will be together, that very day, in Paradise.
JN 20:17, AC 1:3 Jesus was not raised until the third day and did not ascend until at least forty days later.
LK 23:55-56 The women followed Joseph to the tomb, saw how the body had been laid, then went to prepare spices with which to anoint the body.
JN 19:39-40 Joseph brought spices with him (75 or a 100 lbs.) and annointed the body (as the women should have noticed).
JN 1:1, 10:30 Jesus and God are one.
JN 14:28 God is greater than Jesus.
JN 1:1 Jesus was God incarnate.
AC 2:22 Jesus was a man approved by God.
JN 3:17, 8:15, 12:47 Jesus does not judge.
JN 5:22, 5:27-30, 9:39, AC 10:42, 2CO 5:10 Jesus does judge.
JN 5:22 God does not judge.
RO 2:2-5, 3:19, 2TH 1:5, 1PE 1:17 God does judge.
JN 5:24 Believers do not come into judgement.
MT 12:36, RO 5:18, 2CO 5:10, HE 9:27, 1PE 1:17, JU 1:14-15, RE 20:12-13 All persons (including believers) come into judgement.
JN 5:31 Jesus says that if he bears witness to himself, his testimony is not true.
JN 8:14 Jesus says that even if he bears witness to himself, his testimony is true.
JN 5:38-47 Men have a choice as to whether or not to receive Jesus.
JN 6:44 No one can come to Jesus unless he is drawn by the Father.
JN 7:38 Jesus quotes a statement that he says appears in scripture (i.e., the OT).
(No such statement is found in the OT.)
JN 10:27-29 None of Jesus’ followers will be lost.
1TI 4:1 Some of them will be lost.
JN 12:31 The Devil is the ruler (or “prince”) of this world.
1CO 10:26, RE 1:5 Jesus is the ruler of kings–the earth is his.
JN 12:32 Jesus implies that all persons will be saved.
1TI 2:3-4, 2PE 3:9 God wants all to be saved.
JN 12:40, AC 2:21, 2:39, RO 9:27, 10:13 Some will not be saved.
RE 14:1-4 Heaven will be inhabited by 144,000 virgin men (only?).
JN 13:36 Peter asks Jesus where he is going.
JN 14:5 Thomas does the same.
JN 16:5 Jesus says that none of them have asked him where he is going.
JN 17:12 Jesus has lost none of his disciples other than Judas.
JN 18:9 Jesus has lost none, period.
JN 17:12 Mentions a “son of perdition” as appearing in scripture (meaning the OT).
(Note: There is no “son of perdition” mentioned in the OT.)
JN 18:37 Jesus came into the world to bear witness to the truth.
RO 1:18-20 The truth has always been evident.
JN 20:9 Jesus quotes a statement that he says appears in scripture (meaning the OT). (No such statement is found in the OT.)
JN 20:22 In his first resurrection appearance before the assembled disciples, Jesus gives them the Holy Spirit.
AC 1:3-5, AC 2:1-4 The Holy Spirit was received much later (on Pentecost.)
JN 21:25 The world probably could not contain the books if all that Jesus did were to be written.
AC 1:1 The author of Acts has already written about all that Jesus began to do.
AC 5:19, 12:6-11 The disciples take part in a jailbreak made possible by an angel.
AC 5:40-42 The disciples disobey the Council and continue to teach and preach Jesus.
RO 13:1-4, 1PE 2:13-15 Obey the laws of men (i.e., government). It is the will of God.
AC 5:29 Obey God, not men.
RO 13:1-4, 1PE 2:13-15 Obey the laws of men (i.e., government). It is the will of God.
AC 9:7 Those present at Paul’s conversion heard the voice but saw no one.
AC 22:9 They saw a light but did not hear a voice.
AC 9:7 Those present at Paul’s conversion stood.
AC 26:14 They fell to the ground.
AC 9:19-28 Shortly after his conversion, Paul went to Damascus, then Jerusalem where he was introduced to the Apostles by Barnabas, and there spent some time with them (going in and out among them).
GA 1:15-20 He made the trip three years later, then saw only Peter and James.
AC 9:23 The governor attempted to seize Paul.
2CO 11:32 It was the Jews who tried to seize Paul.
AC 10:34, RO 2:11 God shows no partiality. He treats all alike.
RO 9:11-13 God hated Esau and loved Jacob even before their birth.
AC 10:34, RO 2:11 God shows no partiality. He treats all alike.
RO 9:18 God has mercy on whoever he chooses, etc.
AC 16:6 The Holy Spirit forbids preaching in Asia.
AC 19:8-10 Paul preaches inAsia anyway.
AC 20:35 Quotes Jesus as having said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (No such statement of Jesus is found elsewhere in the Bible.)
RO 2:12 All who have sinned without the law will perish without the law.
RO 4:15 Where there is no law there is no transgression (sin).
RO 2:13 Doers of the law will be justified.
RO 3:20, GA 3:11 They will not be justified.
RO 2:15 The law is written on the heart. Conscience teaches right from wrong.
1JN 2:27 Anointing by Jesus teaches right from wrong.
RO 4:9 Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.
JA 2:21 Abraham was justified by works (which made his faith perfect).
RO 10:11 (An alleged OT quote; no such statement in the OT.)
RO 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything that might cause your brother to stumble or be offended.
CN 2:16 Let no one pass judgement on you in matters of food and drink.
1CO 7:8-9 Widows should not marry (although it is better to marry than burn).
1TI 5:14 Young widows should marry, bear children, rule the household, etc..
1CO 8:4 There is only one God.
2CO 4:4 Satan is God of this world (therefore there are at least two gods).
1CO 10:33 Paul says that he tries to please men (so they might be saved).
GA 1:10 Paul says he would not be a servant of Christ if he tried to please men.
2CO 12:16 Paul says that he does use trickery.
1TH 2:3 Paul says that he does not use trickery.
GA 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens.
GA 6:5 Bear your own burden.
1TH 2:2 God gave Paul the courage to continue his work.
1TH 2:17-18 Satan hindered Paul.
(Note: Who is stronger, Satan or God?)
1TI 1:15 Paul says that he is the foremost of sinners.
1JN 3:8-10 He who commits sin is of the Devil. Children of God do not sin.
1TI 6:20, 2TI 2:14-16, 3:1-7 Do not argue with an unbeliever.
2JN 1:10-11 Anyone who even greets an unbeliever shares his wicked work.
CN 4:5-6 Be wise in your behavior with outsiders. Let your talk be with grace, mixed with salt, so that you may be able to give an answer to everyone.
1PE 3:15 Always be ready to answer any man concerning your faith.
JA 4:5 (Quotes an alleged OT scripture verse not found in the OT.)
RE 8:7 All of the grass on earth is burned up, and then …
RE 9:4 An army of locusts, which is about to be turned loose on the earth, is instructed not to harm the grass.
Bible Vulgarities & Obscenities
NOTE: These lists are meant to identify possible problems in the Bible, especially problems which are inherent in a literalist or fundamentalist interpretation. Some of the selections may be resolvable on certain interpretations–after all, almost any problem can be eliminated with suitable rationalizations–but it is the reader’s obligation to test this possibility and to decide whether it really makes appropriate sense to do this. To help readers in this task, these lists are aimed at presenting examples where problems may exist given certain allowable (but not always obligatory) assumptions. It should be kept in mind that a perfect and omnipotent God could, should, and likely would see to it that such problems did not exist in a book which s/he had inspired. It should also be kept in mind that what is and is not a vulgarity or obscenity is to some extent a matter of opinion. You are entitled to disagree with the author that these are, in fact, vulgarities or obscenities.
Note: What is and what is not vulgar or obscene is, of course, an individual matter. By current Christian standards, however, the verses that follow would likely be considered inappropriate, if not vulgar or obscene, were they in any setting other than the Bible.
GE 4:17 Cain’s wife would likely have been his sister. (Note, assuming that Cain was, say, 100 years older than his wife, his wife could possibly have been a niece rather than a sister.)
(KJV) GE 17:10-14, 23-27, 21:4, 34:15, 17, 22, 24, EX 4:26, 12:44, 48, LE 12:3, DT 10:16, 30:6, JS 5:2-5, 7-8, JE 4:4, 9:25, LK 1:59, LK 2:21, JN 7:22-23, AC 7:8, 10:45, 11:2, 15:1, 5, 24, 16:3, RO 2:25-29, 3:1, 30, 4:9-12, 15:8, CO 7:18-19, GA 2:3, 7-9, 12, 5:2-3, 6, 11, 6:12-13, 15, EP 2:11, PH 3:3, 3:5, CN 2:11, 3:11, 4:11, TS 1:10 Various references to circumcision, some quite vulgar.
(KJV)GE 17:11, 14, 23-25, EX 4:25, LE 12:3, DE 10:16, JS 5:3, SA 18:25, 27, SA 3:14, JE 4:4, HA 2:16 Various references to foreskins, some rather vulgar.
GE 9:22 Ham, the father ofCanaan, saw his father’s nakedness.
GE 19:4-8 A group of sexually depraved men demands thatLot turn over to them his two male visitors.Lot offers his two virgin daughters instead.
GE 19:30-38Lot’s daughters have sexual intercourse with him while he is drunk and both become pregnant by their father.
GE 24:2-9, 47:29 “… put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the Lord ….” (Note: This means “put your hand under my testicles,” which is the manner in which oaths were taken at the time; “testament,” “testify,” and “testicle” have the same root.)
GE 29:16-30 Jacob marries both Leah and her sister Rachel. He has children by both Leah and Rachel’s maid Bilhah, but Rachel remains barren. Due apparently to Rachel’s generosity to her husband, the Lord eventually allows Rachel to conceive.
GE 34:1-2 Shechem defiles Dinah.
GE 34:13-29 Hamor, his son, and the men of their village agree to be circumcised so as to be allowed to marry the daughters of the Israelites. On the third day, “when they were sore,” the Israelites kill Hamor, his son, and all the men of the village, and plunder their wealth, taking their wives and children, thus getting revenge for the defiling of Dinah.
GE 35:22 (KJV) “Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his fathers concubine.”
GE 38:9 Onan “spills his seed” on the ground rather than fulfill his obligation to his widowed sister-in-law to father a child by her.
GE 38:13-19 Tamar plays the role of a harlot in order to have sexual intercourse with her father-in-law. She conceives and twins are born.
GE 39:7-23 The wife of Joseph’s master tries to get Joseph to go to bed with her. He refuses, and flees leaving his “garment in her hand.” She claims that Joseph tried to rape her, and Joseph ends up imprisoned.
EX 20:26 “Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.”
LE 15:16-19 (KJV) “And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even. And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even. The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even. And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean ….”
LE 21:20, 22:24 (References to testicles, or “stones” in the KJV.)
NU 31:17-18 “… all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” (Note: How did they determine which girls were virgins, and what did they do with them after they kept them alive for themselves? This is not a pretty picture.)
NU 31:31-40 32,000 virgins are taken by the Israelites as booty of which thirty-two are set aside as a tribute for the Lord.
DT 21:10-14 With the Lord’s approval, the Israelites are allowed to kidnap “beautiful women” from the enemy camp to be their trial wives. If, after having sexual relations, a man has “no delight” in his wife, he can simply let her go.
DT 23:1 (KJV) “He that is wounded in the stones [testicles], or hath his privy member [penis] cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”
DT 28:15, 30 If you do not obey the voice of the Lord, the Lord will cause another man to “lie with” your wife-to-be.
JS 5:3 “… the Hill of Foreskins.”
JG 8:30-31 Gideon had many wives as well as a concubine.
JG 19:22-29 A group of sexual depraved men beat on the door of an old man’s house demanding that he turn over to them a male house guest. Instead, the old man offers his virgin daughter and his guest’s concubine (or wife): “Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine; let me bring them out now. Ravish them and do with them what seems good to you; but against this man do not do so vile a thing.” The man’s concubine is ravished and dies. The man then cuts her body into twelve pieces and sends one piece to each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
JG 21:11-12 “This is what you shall do; every male and every woman that has lain with man you shall utterly destroy. And they found … four hundred young virgins who had not known man by lying with him; and they brought them to the camp ….” (Again, how did they determine which girls were virgins? This is not a pretty picture.)
JG 21:14-23 The 400 virgins captured above prove to be insufficient, so the Benjaminites hide in the vineyards and kidnap “the daughters of Shiloh” as they come out to dance and celebrate.
SA 5:6-9 The Lord afflicts Philistines with tumors in their “secret parts.”
SA 18:27 So that David might be allowed to marry the king’s daughter, the king asks David to bring him 100 Philistine foreskins. David does the job right and brings the king not 100, but 200, foreskins of murdered Philistines.
SA 25:22, 25:34, 1KI 14:10, 16:10-11, 21:21, 2KI 9:8 (KJV) “… him that pisseth ….”
SA 19:24 “And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night.”
SA 3:7 (KJV) “Wherefore hast thou gone in unto [a euphemism for sexual intercourse] my fathers concubine?”
SA 5:13, 20:3 David had many concubines.
SA 6:14, 16, 20-23 David dances and exposes himself to his maids. (His wife, Michal rebukes him for having done so, and as a consequence she is made barren.)
SA 12:11-12 The Lord is going to punish David for his sin by taking his wives and causing his neighbor to have sexual relations with them in public.
SA 13:1-14 King David’s son, Amnon, rapes his half-sister, Tamar.
SA 16:22 Absalom “went into his father’s concubines” in the sight of all Israel.
KI 1:1-4 David was old, and although covered with clothes, could not get warm. A beautiful, young virgin is brought in to be his concubine and nurse. But alas, he was so old and infirm that he “knew her not.”
KI 11:3 Solomon (allegedly the wisest man ever) had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
KI 6:29 “So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”
KI 18:27, IS 36:12 (KJV) “… eat their own dung and drink their own piss.” (Note: Although correctly translated according to the oldest Hebrew manuscripts, piss and pisseth have been re-translated to something more “godly” in all versions since the KJV.)
CH 11:21 Rehoboam had eighteen wives and sixty concubines.
ES 2:2-17 King Ahasuerus holds a sexual contest with “fair young virgins” to pick a new Queen (after having been spurned by Queen Vashti).
PR 5:19 (KJV) “… Let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”
SO 1:13 “My beloved is to me a bag of myrrh, that lies between my breasts.”
SO 2:3 “I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.”
SO 2:6, 8:3 “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me.”
SO 2:16, 6:3 “My lover is mine and I am his. He browses among the lilies.”
SO 4:5, 7:3 “Your two breasts are like two fawns ….”
SO 5:4 (KJV) “My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.”
SO 7:1-2 “… the joints of your thighs are like jewels ….”
SO 7:7-9 “You are stately as a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters. I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its branches. Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine ….”
SO 8:10 “… and my breasts were like towers.”
IS 3:17 “The Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will uncover their secret parts.”
IS 13:15 “Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their … wives will be ravished.”
IS 20:2-4 The Lord himself apparently commands his servant to go naked for three years.
IS 57:8 “Behind your doors and doorpost … you uncovered your bed, you climbed into it and opened it wide; you made a pact with those whose beds you love, and you looked on their nakedness.”
LA 4:21 “… thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked.”
EZ 4:12 (KJV) “And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. And the Lord said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread ….”
EZ 4:15 (KJV) “… I have given thee cows dung for mans dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.”
EZ 16:7 “… You grew up and … arrived at full maidenhood; your breasts were formed … yet you were naked and bare.”
EZ 16:8 “Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.”
EZ 16:22 “… you were naked and bare, kicking about in your blood.”
EZ 16:36 “… your shame was laid bare and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotries with your lovers ….”
EZ 16:37 “Therefore I am going to gather all your lovers, with whom you took pleasure, those you loved as well as those you hated. I will gather them against you from every side and will strip you in front of them, and they will see all your nakedness.”
EZ 16:39 “… they will strip you of your clothes, … and leave you naked and bare.”
EZ 23:3 “They played the harlot in Egypt; they played the harlot in their youth; there were their breasts fondled and their virgin bosoms handled.” Or, as the KJV puts it: “they bruised the teats of their virginity.”
EZ 23:8 (KJV) “… in her youth they lay with her, and they bruised the breasts of her virginity, and poured their whoredom upon her.”
EZ 23:10 “They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword.”
EZ 23:17 (KJV) “And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them ….”
EZ 23:18 (KJV) “So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: ….”
EZ 23:20-21 (RSV) “Yet she increased her harlotry … and doted on her paramours there, whose members [i.e., sexual organs] were like those of asses and whose issue was like that of horses. Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed your young breasts.”
EZ 23:29 (KJV) “… and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.”
EZ 23:34 “You shall … pluck out your hair, and tear your breasts.”
HO 1:2 (KJV) “And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom.'”
HO 2:2 (KJV) “… let her … put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts ….”
HO 2:3 “Otherwise I will strip her naked and make her as bare as the day she was born.”
HO 13:16 “They shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”
AM 2:16 “‘Even the bravest warriors will flee naked on that day,’ declares the Lord.”
MI 1:8 “I will go stripped and naked.”
MI 3:2-3 “… who pluck off their skin …, and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.”
NA 3:5 ” I am against you,’ says the Lord … , and will lift up your skirts over your face; I will show the nations your nakedness and kingdoms your shame.'”
HA 2:15 “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies.”
MA 2:3 The Lord says that he will spread dung upon the faces of the priests.
MK 14:51-52 A young man discards his clothing and flees naked.
JN 21:7 (KJV) “Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fishers coat unto him, for he was naked, and did cast himself into the sea.”
AC 19:13-16 Seven Jewish exorcists are overpowered by a man with a demon and flee naked and wounded.
RE 16:15 When Jesus comes again, he will come like a thief in the night so that those who do not have their clothes [on] will go naked and be shamefully exposed.
RE 17:16 “They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.”
Babylonian Genesis, The; Alexander Heidel, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1963
Birth of the Gospel, The; William Benjamin Smith, Philosophical Library, New York, 1957
Case Against Christianity, The; Michael Martin, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1991
Documents for the Study of the Gospels; David R. Cartlidge & David L. Dungan, William Collins Publishers, New York, 1980
End of Biblical Studies, The; Hector Avalos, Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY, 2007
Gospel Fictions; Randal Helms, Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY, 1989
Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis; Robert Graves & Raphael Patai, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, 1966
Historical Approach to the Bible, The; Howard M. Teeple, Religion and Ethics Institute, Evanston, Illinois, 1982
Historical Introduction to the New Testament, A; Robert M. Grant, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1972
How We Got the Bible; Neil R. Lightfoot, MJF Books, New York, 2003
The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition?; Robert Price, Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY, 2003
Is that in the Bible?; Dr. Charles F. Potter, Fawcett Books, Greenwich, Connecticut
Is the Bible True?; David Robert Ord & Robert B. Coote, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York, 1994
Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels; Michael Grant, Charles Scribner’s and Sons, New York, 1977
Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them); Bart D. Ehrman, HarperOne, New York, 2009
Literary Origin of the Gospel of John, The; Howard M. Teeple, Religion and Ethics Institute, Evanston, Illinois, 1974
Misquoting Jesus: The Story of Who Changed the Bible and Why; Bart D. Ehrman, Harper, San Francisco, 2005
Myth of God Incarnate, The; Ed. John Hick, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1977
Nature and Origin of the New Testament, The; J. Merle Rife, Philosophical Library, New York, 1975
New Oxford Annotated Bible, The; Ed. Bruce M. Metzger& Roland E. Murphy, Oxford University Press, New York, 1991
New Testament, The: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings; Bart D. Ehrman, Oxford University Press, USA, 2003
Noah’s Ark Nonsense, The; Howard M. Teeple, Religion and Ethics Institute, Evanston, Illinois, 1978
Origins of Christianity, The; Schuyler Brown, Oxford University Press, New York, 1984
Origins of Christianity, The; R. Joseph Hoffman, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, New York, 1985
Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, The: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament; Bart D. Ehrman, Oxford University Press, USA, 1996
Sources of the Doctrines of the Fall & Original Sin; F. R. Tennant, Schoken Books, New York, 1968
Two Creation Stories in Genesis, The; James S. Forrester-Brown, Shambhala, Berkeley, California, 1974
What the Bible Really Says; Manfred Barthel, William Morrow and Company, New York, 1982
Where is Noah’s Ark?; Lloyd R. Bailey, Festival Books, Nashville, 1978
Who Wrote the Bible?; Richard Elliot Friedman, Harper and Row,New York, 1989
It is alleged that that there is a contradiction between 2 Kings 10:30 and Hosea 1:4 because the former commends Jehu for massacring the house of Ahab, whereas the latter pronounces judgment upon the house of Jehu for the “blood of Jezreel.” Taking the latter as a reference to the members of the house of Ahab killed by Jehu in Jezreel (as recorded in 2 Kings 9-10) results in the alleged contradiction.
In his short article entitled “A Perfect Work of Harmony?” Farrell Till, editor of The Skeptical Review magazine, asks the question, “Why would Yahweh want to punish the house of Jehu for what was done at Jezreel if all Jehu had done there was ‘that which is right in mine [Yahweh’s] eyes’?” and concludes his article thus: “Perhaps some enterprising inerrantist can explain this to us.” Here I offer to the readers a solution to this problem which, I believe, should remove it from the lists of Bible contradictions for good.
This article, however, should not be taken as a defense of inerrancy, for I am not an inerrantist. The true biblical doctrine of divine inspiration of the Scriptures (as taught by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16-17) does not require, and the authority of the Bible does not depend on, inerrancy. Inerrancy is an invention of theologians. No intellectually honest reader of the Bible can deny the existence of numerous biblical discrepancies; but such discrepancies or errors demonstrably involve only inconsequential matters and do not undermine the basis of Christian salvation. A detailed explanation of these matters must await further articles.
Summary of the Solution
The solution is simply that there is no contradiction between 2 Kings 10:30 and Hosea 1:4 because “the blood of Jezreel” is not a reference to those killed by Jehu in Jezreel; such an interpretation does not fit the context of this phrase. Rather, Hosea 1:4-5 pronounces judgment against both the house of Jehu and the house ofIsrael for idolatry. Gomer’s first son is symbolically named Jezreel (meaning “God sows”) to signify that God will end the kingdom of Israel by Assyria and scatter (or “sow”) the Israelites among the heathen nations, as a token of which he will break Israel’s military power in the valley of Jezreel.
In this solution, “Jezreel” in “the blood of Jezreel” refers to the children of Israel as it clearly does in Hosea 1:4a, 1:11, and 2:22, and “blood” refers to the blood of the children of Israel shed by their enemies (in particular the Syrians) during the Jehu dynasty as a result of their idolatry. This “blood” is avenged upon the house of Jehu because they continued and promoted the cult of calf worship introduced by Jeroboam (and so “made Israel to sin”), which was the chief cause of divine judgment on the northern kingdom by enemy nations such as Syria. Starting from Jeroboam, all the kings of Israel were, in addition to being culpable for their own idolatry, responsible for the blood of the people of Israel in leading them in idolatry–and paid for it by the assassinations and massacres accompanying the numerous coups in Israel’s history (see 1 Kings 14:14-16). Because he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, i.e., calf worship, Jehu had been warned of divine judgment against his house, the execution of which was postponed to the fourth generation in consideration of the fact that he served God in the matter of the destruction of the house of Ahab (2 Kings 10:29-31).
The Solution in Detail
The solution to the problem lies in a correct interpretation of Hosea 1:4-5 and, in particular, the phrase “the blood of Jezreel.” As mentioned above, the contradiction results from taking this phrase as a reference to those killed by Jehu in Jezreel. Unfortunately, most apologists have also tried to reconcile the two verses on that basis.
But before I start discussing the meaning of the phrase “the blood of Jezreel,” I would like to state what appears to be a very simple and basic objection to this phrase being a reference to the blood spilt by Jehu in Jezreel. A list of all those of the house of Ahab killed by Jehu according to 2 Kings 9-10 is given below:
- King Joram, son of Ahab, was killed near the property of Naboth in Jezreel (2 Kings 9:21-26).
- King Ahaziah of Judahwas shot at the ascent of Gur and died in Megiddo(2 Kings 9:27). Ahaziah was a nephew of king Joram (2 Kings 8:24-26).
- Jezebel, wife of Ahab and mother of king Joram, was killed in Jezreel (2 Kings 9:30-37).
- The seventy sons of Ahab were killed in Samaria; their heads were brought to Jehu in Jezreel (2 Kings 10:1-8).
- “All that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel” were slain by Jehu following 4 above (2 Kings 10:11).
- Forty-two relatives of king Ahaziah of Judah, who came down to visit the royal family of Israel, were slaughtered in Beth-eked (2 Kings 10:12-14).
- “All that remained to Ahab in Samaria” were wiped out by Jehu “according to the word of the Lord which he spoke to Elijah” (2 Kings 10:17).
If Hosea is pronouncing judgment upon the house of Jehu for any killings carried out by him during his reign, then it is for destroying the house of Ahab, to which 1-7 above relate. The reader will note, however, that out of the seven, only 1, 3, and 5 involve blood-spilling in Jezreel. The number of Jehu’s victims of the house of Ahab outside of Jezreel at least equals–in fact probably exceeds–that in Jezreel. Therefore, it would be very inaccurate to refer to the massacre of the house of Ahab by Jehu as “the blood of Jezreel.” If Hosea was condemning the house of Jehu for the destruction of the house of Ahab by Jehu, he could have simply had God say “I will punish the house of Jehu for his destruction of the house of Ahab,” which would have been far more accurate. Indeed, “the house of X” is the usual expression used in the Bible when referring to the destruction of the family and relatives of the Hebrew kings (see, for example, 1 Kings 13:34; 15:29; 16:12; 2 Chronicles 21:7; 22:10). Alternatively, Hosea could have had God say “I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, the ascent of Gur,Samaria, and Beth-eked”! By analogy, imagine that Al Qaeda had attacked four locations in theU.S., one after another, including theWorldTradeCenter, and all with similar numbers of casualties. How inaccurate and incomprehensible it would have been if the President had appeared on television afterward and said, “The U.S. will punish Al Qaeda for the blood of theWorldTradeCenter!” Why single out one location when American citizens died in all four?
The meaning of “the blood of Jezreel” in context
It cannot be overemphasized that scriptures should be interpreted in their proper context. In biblical hermeneutics, the context of a verse is, in order of priority: first, its immediate context, i.e., the verses immediately preceding and following; second, the rest of the book in which the verse is found; and third, the whole Bible. In order for us to look at the context of the phrase in question, we need to first look at the background, theme, and message of the book of Hosea.
Some 200 years before the prophet Hosea’s time, the ten tribes had seceded from the united kingdomand set up an independent kingdom under Jeroboam I, with the Golden Calf as its official national god (1 Kings 12). Though there are some references in his book to Judah, Hosea’s message was principally for Israel, the northern kingdom. He lived in the tragic final days of the northern kingdom, during which no less than six kings (following Jeroboam II) reigned within 25 years. Of these, four were murdered by their successors while in office (Zechariah, Shallum, Pekahiah, and Pekah), and one was captured in battle (Hoshea). Only one (Menahem) was succeeded on the throne by his son. It was a time of Assyrian expansion westward, and Menahem accepted this world power as overlord and paid tribute (2 Kings 15:19-20). But shortly afterward, in 733 B.C.,Israel was dismembered by Assyria because of the intrigue of Pekah, who had usurpedIsrael’s throne by killing Pekahiah, son and successor of Menahem. Following the disloyalty of Hoshea (the last king ofIsrael) to Assyria,Samaria was captured and its people exiled in 722-721 B.C., thus bringing the northern kingdom to an end.
During the period of Hosea’s prophecy, the nation was in a mess. Rejection of the true God and wholesale adoption of idolatrous practices brought about a moral and political landslide. Internal strife racked the nation with bloody coups being commonplace. Into this mess stepped Hosea and called the nation to repent and return to the true God. His message was one of divine judgment for Israel’s religious apostasy and moral bankruptcy, mixed with divine love for the nation and promises of its restoration. Eventually, Hosea predicted the fall of Israelto Assyria and said that “the thing itself [the golden calf] shall be carried to Assyria” (10:5-6).
With the above in mind, let us now look at Hosea 1:4-5, quoted below:
And the Lord said unto him [Hosea], Call his name Jezre-el; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood [or bloodshed] of Jezre-el upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Isra-el. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Isra-el in thevalley ofJezre-el. (KJV)
Hosea’s ministry began with God commanding him to take a “wife of whoredoms” and have “children of whoredoms” by her. This was to symbolically represent the fact that the northern kingdom, represented by Gomer, had departed from the true God and committed “whoredom” spiritually (Hosea 1:2). Israel was God’s wife (Ezekiel 16:8), and so to forsake God and go after idols was spiritual harlotry (Exodus 34:15-16; Deuteronomy 31:16). Hosea married Gomer, who bore a son who was given the symbolic name “Jezreel”–which means “God sows”–for God was going to judge Israel, put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel, and scatter (“sow”) the Israelites among the heathens (cf. Hosea 1:11 and Zechariah 10:9). As a token of this God would destroy “the bow of Israel” (military prowess–see Jeremiah 49:35; Genesis 49:24) in the Valley of Jezreel. The beginning of the end of the northern kingdom started with an invasion of Israel by Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria (called “Pul” in 2 Kings 15:19), to whom king Menahem paid tribute (2 Kings 15:19-20). From that time onward Israel became a vassal state until the kingdom was brought to an end by king Shalmaneser V (2 Kings 17:3-6). Though not recorded in the historical books of the Old Testament, the “bow ofIsrael” must have been broken by Assyria in some decisive battle in theValley ofJezreel about 724 B.C., thoughSamaria held out under siege for some three years longer.
The “Valleyof Jezreel” is a plain in northern Israelwhich has been a major battlefield of nations throughout history. It took its name from the town of Jezreel, which stood between Megiddoand Beth Shean, and between Mount Carmel and MountGilboa. It was a natural battlefield. The Midianites, Amalekites, and people of the east once crossed the Jordanand encamped in the Valleyof Jezreelto fight with the Israelites (Judges 6:33; cf. 1 Samuel 29:1).
The name “Jezreel” alludes to “Israel” by a play of letters and sounds–even more so in sound in Hebrew than in English. In the Bible we read about other small changes in names: Sarai became Sarah; Abram became Abraham. These changes were for the better, but this time it is for the worse. Jacob became “Israel,” meaning “he will rule as God,” which now becomes “Jezreel,” meaning “God scatters”–a demotion! This definite allusion reinforces what is already obvious from other verses: whatever Hosea writes in the first chapter or elsewhere concerning “Jezreel” must refer to God’s dealings with the nation Israel, and Israelalone. The house of Jehu is mentioned in Hosea 1:4-5 only insofar as they are included in the judgment of the nation for idolatry: God was going to cut off the house of Jehu first and then cut off the house of Israel after that. This point is important because the construction of the expression “the blood of Jezreel” as a reference to Jehu’s massacre of some members of royal family in Jezreel, which was a matter between the house of Jehu and the house of Ahab alone, is incongruous with the signification of the emblem. Since the first son of Gomer named “Jezreel” in Hosea 1:4 represents the children of Israel, in the immediately following clause in the same sentence “Jezreel” is used in the sense of “the children of Israel” in pronouncing judgment against the house of Jehu. Consequently, the phrase “the blood of Jezreel” means “the blood of the children ofIsrael.” Since the house of Jehu led the people ofIsrael in idolatry, they are responsible for it and its consequences, which was divine judgment of the nation in the form of enemy attacks against it with much blood-spilling. This blood, Hosea declares, is now going to be avenged on the house of Jehu. It was in the power of the kings ofIsrael to eradicate the cult of calf worship inIsrael or perpetuate it, and, sadly, they chose the latter.
Hosea’s prophecy of doom against the royal house and the nation on account of idolatry is paralleled by Amos 7:8-11:
Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my peopleIsrael; I will never again pass by them; the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries ofIsraelshall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword. Then Amaziah the priest ofBethelsent to Jeroboam king ofIsrael, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house ofIsrael…. For thus Amos has said, ‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword, andIsraelmust go into exile away from his land.'”
Amos couples the judgment of the house of Jeroboam (=Jehu) for idolatry with that of the nation as a whole, and that is what Hosea did too. It is noteworthy that Hosea was a contemporary of Amos, and it is unlikely that two contemporaneous prophets of God held radically different views on such an important issue. Even if they did, would both of their writings, coming from the same period inIsrael’s history, have been accepted into the canon of Hebrew scriptures?
We find the same juxtaposition in the prophet Ahijah’s original prophecy against Israelfor idolatry: “The Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam today. And henceforth the Lord will smite Israel…. And he will give Israelup because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he sinned and which he made Israel to sin” (1 Kings 14:14-16). This Jeroboam is, of course, Jeroboam I, the first king ofIsrael, who introduced the cult of calf worship toIsrael. It stands to reason that if the prophets accused Jeroboam of causing the people ofIsrael to sin through idolatry and held him responsible for their doom, then the king was also held accountable for their blood.
The idea that a person can be held responsible for the “blood” (i.e., death) of another, even though that person did not directly kill the other, is not strange to the Scriptures. Note Ezekiel 33:1-9:
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman; and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people; then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head…. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes, and takes any one of them; that man is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.
“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house ofIsrael…” (RSV, emphasis added)
It is with this passage in mind that the apostle Paul told the unbelieving Jews in Corinth, “Your blood be upon your heads!” (Acts 18:6), i.e., “I have discharged my duty in preaching to you and so I am not responsible for the consequence of your unbelief, which is death.” Also see Acts 20:26.
Deuteronomy 22:8: “When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement [parapet] for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.”
“The blood of Jezreel” historically
During the period of the Jehu dynasty, the Syrians in particular harassed Israel. First, during the reign of Jehu, the Syrians under Hazael attacked Israeland annexed some territory in Transjordan(2 Kings 10:32-33). Elisha had earlier predicted the slaughter and destruction that Hazael would carry out in Israel when he became king (2 Kings 8:12-13). Note that it is not a coincidence that the writer of 2 Kings inserts the account of the conquests of Hazael in Israel immediately after 2 Kings 10:29-31, which records Jehu’s idolatry. The scripture writers always saw idolatry as the downfall of bothJudah andIsrael, and reports of attacks by enemy nations often follow reports of the idolatry of the two nations. A clear link is made between the two.
After the death of Jehu, his son Jehoahaz reigned in his stead. According to 2 Kings 13:2-7, the Syrians had almost annihilatedIsrael’s army during the reign of Jehoahaz:
[Jehoahaz] did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israelto sin; he did not depart from them. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them continually into the hand of Hazael king of Syriaand into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael. Then Jehoahaz besought the Lord, and the Lord hearkened to him; for he saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Syriaoppressed Israel. (Therefore the Lord gave Israela savior, so that they escaped from the hand of the Syrians; and the people of Israeldwelt in their homes as formerly. Nevertheless they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin, but walked in them…) For there was not left to Jehoahaz an army of more than fifty horsemen and ten chariots and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria had destroyed them and made them like the dust at threshing. (RSV, emphasis added)
That, indeed, is the blood of Jezreel.
We can now understand Hosea 1:4-5 as follows:
And the Lord said unto him [Hosea], Call his [the firstborn of Gomer] name Jezre-el; for yet a little a while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezre-el [the children of Israel] upon the house of Jehu [because they, as the chief patrons in Israel of the cult of calf-worship, are principally responsible for the people of Israel sinning against me by following this cult, which caused me to punish Israel by their enemies resulting in their blood being shed], and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel [by Assyria as a judgment because they are hopelessly wedded to their idols]. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow ofIsrael [crush the military power] in theValley ofJezreel.
Hosea 12:14 supports the interpretation that the “blood” is indeed that of the children of Israel shed as a result of idolatry: “Ephra-im provoked Him [God] to anger most bitterly [with their idols]: therefore shall He [God] leave his [Ephraim’s] blood upon him [Ephraim], and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him.” God had repeatedly sent Ephraim (synonym for Israel) prophets to call the nation from their idols and the moral degeneracy that accompanies it to the true God (12:10), but they did not respond and provoked God to anger “most bitterly” by their idols; therefore the bloodguilt for their demise would rest upon themselves alone (cf. Ezekiel 33:1-9). Hosea is here talking about the future divine punishment of Israel for their religious apostasy by Assyria (see 9:7-8,15-17; 10:4-8).
We have “the blood of Jezreel” in Hosea 1:4 and “his blood” in 12:14. Since the latter expression clearly refers to the blood of Ephraim (=Israel) shed by its enemies, this makes it more likely that former expression bears the same meaning. Let us allow Hosea himself to interpret his own language.
2 Kings 10:30, a postponed judgment
Most readers of 2 Kings 10:30 see nothing more than God’s commendation of Jehu for destroying the house of Ahab. But reading between the lines, one sees a hidden judgment mixed with the commendation. 2 Kings 10:29-31 reads:
Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israelto sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan [vs.29]. And the Lord said unto Jehu [presumably through a prophet], Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in Mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in Mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit upon the throne of Israel [vs.30]. But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God ofIsrael with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Nebat, which madeIsrael to sin [vs.31]. (KJV)
Look at the context of 2 Kings 10:30 carefully. In the immediately preceding verse (vs.29), the writer says that Jehu “departed not” from the sins of Jeroboam. Then, in vs.31, he again says: “But he took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam…” Now if vs.30 was purely meant to be a commendation of Jehu, and nothing else, then the setting of the promise that his dynasty would continue until the fourth generation would be most incongruous. The incongruity would be that a wholly positive statement expressing approval was sandwiched between two statements having a negative content expressing disapprobation. But this incongruity disappears when vs.30 is expanded to read as follows: “And the Lord said to Jehu, ‘Thou shouldest be punished for committing the sins of Jeroboam, but because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in Mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in Mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit upon the throne of Israel, in which I will judge thine house.”
With the expanded form of vs.30, the entire passage would read as follows:
Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israelto sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan [vs.29]. And the Lord said unto Jehu, Thou shouldest be punished for committing the sins of Jeroboam, but because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in Mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in Mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit upon the throne of Israel, in which I will judge thine house [vs.30]. But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God ofIsrael with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Nebat, which madeIsrael to sin [vs.31].
Doesn’t the passage make more sense now? In vs.29 the writer is setting out the basis for the judgment implied in vs.30, then in vs.31 saying, in effect: ‘In spite of the prophecy of judgment pronounced against his house, Jehu took no preventive action to avert the future tragedy to befall the fourth generation of his descendants by departing from the sins of Jeroboam.’ It is implied that if Jehu had given up calf worship and been wholly true to God, his house would have escaped judgment.
The Hebrew word translated as “took no heed” in 2 Kings 10:31 is shâmar (No. 8104 of Strong’s Concordance), which is so translated in the KJV more than thirty times and has meanings which include “beware, be circumspect, take heed [to self].” When so translated, it means taking care to do or not do something to avoid some negative consequence. For example, see Genesis 31:24, where God says to Laban, “Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad [lest I punish thee if thou do so]”; and Deuteronomy 11:16: “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; and then the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you…”
So there is both good news and bad news for Jehu in 2 Kings 10:30: the bad news, which is not specifically mentioned but implied, is that his house is to be judged for continuing in the sins of Jeroboam; the good news is that the judgment is postponed to the fourth generation as a “reward” for serving God in destroying the house of Ahab. Contrast the promise given to Jehu that his house would continue until “the fourth generation” with the promise given to king David that his house would continue “forever” (2 Samuel 7:11-16). Why only until the fourth generation and not forever like the house of David? This difference makes sense only if we see the promise to Jehu that his dynasty would continue until the fourth generation as lenience shown in what is otherwise a judgment.
Other biblical examples of deferred punishment
Other biblical examples of deferred punishment are found in 1 Kings 21:29 and 1 Kings 11:12: “And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the evil upon his house'” (1 Kings 21:29, RSV, emphasis added). This statement followed the repentance of Ahab upon hearing the divine judgment pronounced by Elijah on his house because of all the evil he had perpetrated. (Compare the above with 2 Kings 10:30: “Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in Mine eyes…, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit upon the throne of Israel.”)
1 Kings 11:11-13 says:
The Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes which I commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant [Jeroboam]. Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However I will not tear away all the kingdom…’
We can now see why Hosea condemned the house of Jehu for “the blood of Jezreel”: The house was held responsible for the lives of the people of Israelkilled by the nation’s enemies, mainly Syria, during the Jehu dynasty. Jehu and his dynasty continued and promoted “the sins of Jeroboam,” i.e., worship of the golden calves, in Israel, and this was the chief cause of the divine judgment visited upon the northern kingdom, as repeatedly pointed out in the books of Kings and Chronicles. The book of Hosea itself has a number of references to this form of idolatry (Hosea 8:5,6; 10:5; 13:2).
When pronouncing judgment on Ahab for his sins, Elijah told him, “And I will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked Me to anger [with thy idols], and made Israel to sin” (1 Kings 21:22). Clearly the Old Testament writers held the royal family responsible for Israel sinning against God through idolatry (and, of course, for its consequences for the nation in the form of death and destruction by enemies). In the Old Testament, anyone found enticing the people of Israel to serve other gods was to be put to death, for that was an attempt to draw the people away from the true God and entailed evil consequences (Deuteronomy 13).Israel was punished for its idolatry by enemy nations, and its kings were punished for the same reason by the assassinations and massacres accompanying the various coups.
2 Kings 10:29-31 viewed in the light of Exodus 20:3-5
I think Exodus 20:3-5, quoted below, can shed more light on 2 Kings 10:29-31:
Thou shalt have no other gods beside Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting [Hebrew pâqad] the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me.
What this passage says is that those who “hate” God, i.e., those who go after other gods, such as Jehu, are liable to have their sins visited even up to the third and fourth generations of their descendants. Comparison of 2 Kings 10:29-31 with Exodus 20:3-5 will provide confirmation that 2 Kings 10:30 is indeed a case of postponed punishment. Interestingly, Hosea uses the same Hebrew word pâqad in 1:4: “I will avenge [pâqad] the blood of Jezre-el…”
Note that Exodus 20:5 is not teaching vicarious guilt on the part of children for the sins of their fathers. When God “visits” the sins of the fathers upon the children, he withholds his grace from the descendants of idolaters like Jehu and allows them to emulate their fathers’ example, suffering the consequences for doing so.
“Jezreel” elsewhere in Hosea
The fourth occurrence of the name “Jezreel” in the book of Hosea is in 1:11: “for great shall be the day of Jezreel,” where “Jezreel” can only refer to the children of Israel, which clearly establishes the use of the name “Jezreel” in the sense of “children of Israel” in a genitive construction in this book (in the same chapter) and thus makes the above interpretation for the phrase “the blood of Jezreel” more plausible. Compare with the language of Joel 2:11 (“for the day of the Lord is great”); 2:31; Zephaniah 1:14.
The fifth and last occurrence of the name “Jezreel” in the book of Hosea is in 2:22, which concerns the restoration ofIsrael, and the name here, too, relates to the children ofIsrael. Here the name “Jezreel” is used in its positive meaning, i.e., “God sows” his people in their own land, so that they might bring forth fruit.
“The blood of Jezreel” as a reference to the massacre of the house of Ahab out of context in Hosea 1:4-5
As shown above, interpreting “the blood of Jezreel” as a reference to the massacre of the house of Ahab does not fit the context of either the verse in question or the entire book of Hosea. The three children of unfaithful Gomer all represent the children of Israel, and their names–viz., Jezreel, Lo-ruha-mah, and Lo-ammi–were meant to signify some aspect of God’s dealings with the nation on account of their idolatry. We have seen that the name “Jezreel” in its first, third, fourth, and fifth occurrences in the book clearly relates to the nation and God’s future dealings with it. Therefore, we have every reason to expect that the phrase “the blood of Jezreel”–the second occurrence of the name–would relate in some way to the nation as a whole.
If by this phrase Hosea meant to refer to the massacre of the house of Ahab, then in addition to the symbolism explained above, the first son of Gomer–Jezreel–must stand as a living reminder of the future punishment of the house of Jehu for the massacre of the house of Ahab by Jehu in Jezreel. If Hosea was condemning Jehu for that massacre in Hosea 1:4, he would be treating it only as a barbaric act of Jehu to usurp the throne of Israel, which is entirely a private matter between the house of Jehu and the house of Ahab. What, then, has the punishment of the house of Jehu for that massacre have to do with naming the first son of Gomer “Jezreel” (“God scatters”), who represented the children of Israel, or with the book of Hosea as a whole, whose principal theme is Israel’s religious apostasy and its subsequent restoration? Where does the nationIsrael come into the picture? Furthermore, when God gave children to the nation as signs and named them, they always concerned the nation as a whole, not some clan or house. Consider the following:
- The name of Isaiah’s son Shearjashubsheh means “A remnant shall return,” a sign assuring the preservation of a remnant of the nation in the midst of enemy oppression (Isaiah 7:3).
- “Mahershalalhashbaz” means “The spoil speeds, the prey hastes,” a prophecy of Assyria despoiling Syria, thus saving Judah (Isaiah 8:1-4).
- The child born to the virgin in Isaiah’s time was to be called “Immanuel,” meaning “God is with us,” i.e., God is with the nation Israelagainst its enemies (Isaiah 7:10-16). In Isaiah 8:8,10, “Immanuel” clearly refers to the nation. (Incidentally, the principal antitypical fulfillment of this prophecy was in the New Testament Church, the Israel of God, whose members were “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” [John 1:13].)
- In the book of Hosea itself, Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter named “Lo-ruha-mah” (“Not Pitied”), so named because God would show no more mercy upon the house of Israel(vs.6). Gomer’s third child, a son, was symbolically named “Lo-ammi” (“Not my people”) (vs.8-9), signifying God’s disowning of his people. The children, with the possible exception of Jezreel, were evidently not Hosea’s (cf. Hosea 2:4 and 1:9 itself), and all represent the people of Israel. When Israel is restored, she is referred to as Ammi (“My People”) and Ruhamah (“Pitied”), with the negatives dropped. Similarly, “Jezreel” is used in its positive sense at Israel’s restoration (Hosea 2:22).
Furthermore, when a child who is to serve as a sign is given a name, that name, as can be seen from the above, always signifies some one aspect of God’s dealings with the nation. To signify a judgment of the house of Jehu for massacring the house of Ahab within the scope of the name “Jezreel” would make its symbolism complicated and incomprehensibly and irreconcilably unconnected. How do those who allege a contradiction between 2 Kings 10:30 and Hosea 1:4 (by presuming that the latter refers to Jehu’s massacre of some members of the house of Ahab in Jezreel) explain this? Finally, if “the blood of Jezreel” refers to the massacre of the house of Ahab by Jehu, then the fact that Hosea never refers to it again–in a book where repetition of the same themes abounds–is very strange.
Judgment of the house of Jehu for “the sins of Jeroboam” not unique in the OT
In addition to the house of Jehu, there were three other dynasties which were similarly judged for practicing the idolatry of Jeroboam and leading the people ofIsraelto sin. In fact, all the kings ofIsraelfollowed the apostasy of Jeroboam.
The origin of the sins of Jeroboam is reported in 1 Kings 12:26-33. Jeroboam introduced the cult of calf worship to Israel to keep the people of Israel from defecting to Judah. And he was judged for this. When the wife of Jeroboam went in disguise to meet the prophet Ahijah in Shiloh to inquire concerning her son, the prophet told her, among other things, that Jeroboam’s house would be destroyed because of his idolatry and that Israel, too, would be punished for their idolatry (1 Kings 14:1-16). The prophet said, “And he [God] will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he sinned and which he made Israel to sin” (vs.16, RSV). Jeroboam is held responsible for Israel sinning against God by adopting the calf worship he introduced and for the final consequence of that apostasy. The prophecy of doom against the house of Jeroboam was fulfilled when Baasha killed Nadab (the son of Jeroboam and his successor) and all the rest of the house of Jeroboam, then reigned in Nadab’s stead. Nadab, too, had “walked in the way of his father” (1 Kings 15:26).
Baasha in turn “walked in the way of Jeroboam and in his sin which he made Israelto sin” (1 Kings 15:34). The prophet Jehu, the son of Hanani, delivered a prophecy of judgment to Baaha in terms similar to that given to Jeroboam’s wife, and said that God would make the house of Baasha like the house of Jeroboam (1 Kings 16:1-4). His son Elah succeeded him on his throne, but his reign was short-lived; Zimri, a commander of Israel’s army, assassinated Elah when he was at Tirzah and thereafter destroyed the rest of the house of Baasha. This fulfilled the prophecy of Jehu, “for all the sins of Baasha, and the sins of Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which they made Israel sin, in provoking the Lord God of Israel to anger with their vanities” (1 Kings 16:8-13). They madeIsrael sin with the sin of Jeroboam.
Zimri’s reign, too, was short-lived, for his life ended in yet another conspiracy to usurp the throne of Israel(1 Kings 16:15-20). He died “because of his sins which he committed, doing evil in the sight of the Lord, walking in the way of Jeroboam, and for his sin which he committed, making Israel to sin” (vs.19, RSV).
Then there was a tussle for power between Tibni, the son of Ginath, and Omri. Omri eventually prevailed and ascended to the throne of Israel. He, too, “walked in all the way of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, and in the sins which he made Israel to sin,” thus provoking the Lord to anger (1 Kings 16:26).
After the death of Omri (a natural death!), his son Ahab reigned and, as usual, walked “in the sins of Jeroboam” and introduced Baal worship to Israel to boot through the influence of his wicked wife Jezebel (1 Kings 16:31-32). A prophecy of judgment was pronounced against Ahab by Elijah, in which he was told that his house would suffer the same fate as those of Jeroboam and Baasha (1 Kings 21:20-24). However, this was postponed on account of his contrition (vss.27-29). Jehu fulfilled the prophecy (2 Kings 9-10).
Jehu, too, followed the sins of Jeroboam and, in the light of the foregoing, the reader will now be able to better appreciate the implied judgment in 2 Kings 10:30. Just think about it. When all the kings of Israel were judged for the sins of Jeroboam, could the house of Jehu have escaped judgment? Indeed it was judged, for we read that Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against king Zechariah, a descendant of Jehu of the fourth generation, and killed him to usurp the throne of Israel (2 Kings 15:10). When the writer of the books of Kings saw all of the assassinations of the kings ofIsrael, or the massacres of their houses, as a judgment upon them mainly for following the sins of Jeroboam, why should the assassination of Zechariah have been seen differently? Indeed, in the immediately preceding verse, the writer says that king Zechariah, too, “did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam” (vs.9).
All of the rest of the kings ofIsraelfollowed the sins of Jeroboam and perpetuated this form of idolatry inIsrael, until the apostate nation was finally militarily crushed, subjugated, and exiled to Assyria in 721 B.C., thus fulfilling Hosea’s prophecy: “I [God] will cause to cease the kingdom of the house ofIsrael. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I [God] will break the bow ofIsraelin theValleyofJezreel.”
Jehu was warned by God that his house would be judged for following the idolatry of Jeroboam, but, in consideration of his services to God in destroying the house of Ahab, the judgment was postponed to the fourth generation, which, as it turned out, was the generation of king Zechariah, Jehu’s great-great-grandson, who was assassinated by Shallum the son of Jabesh to usurp the throne. Hosea’s prophecy simply announced that the time had now arrived for the house of Jehu to be judged for the consequences of the divine judgment executed on the northern kingdom for its religious apostasy during their dynasty.
The massacre of the house of Ahab by Jehu was carried out at the instigation of the prophet Elisha, a respected prophet of Israel and Elijah’s protégé, to execute judgment on that house for their idolatry and other sins, for which Jehu received commendation in 2 Kings 10:30, and this historical record was available to Hosea. So why would Hosea blatantly contradict 2 Kings 10:30 by condemning the house of Jehu for the destruction of the house of Ahab? The sheer improbability of Hosea doing that–as he was in all other ways a typical Old Testament prophet of God–heavily militates against the interpretation that “the blood of Jezreel” refers to Jehu’s killings in Jezreel.
I hope that the rather lengthy explanation above serves to resolve the Jehu problem, the solution to which seems to have eluded many a biblical apologist. It should now be appreciated that the real cause for the apparent contradiction between 2 Kings 10:30 and Hosea 1:4 is the unfortunate coincidence that Jehu happened to massacre some members of the house of Ahab in Jezreel. The apparent contradiction disappears when the phrase “the blood of Jezreel” in Hosea 1:4 is correctly interpreted in its proper context.
[Editor’s note: As with all lists of alleged biblical contradictions, there will be disagreement in at least some specific cases as to whether a given “contradiction” is a genuine contradiction. It is therefore up to the reader to decide for him/herself whether to accept that a listed “contradiction” is, in fact, a genuine contradiction. In any case, a list such as this can serve a valuable purpose as a springboard for further study.]
I. The Birth Of Jesus
A. The Genealogies Of Joseph
1. Matthew and Luke disagree
Matthew and Luke give two contradictory genealogies for Joseph (Matthew 1:2-17 and Luke 3:23-38). They cannot even agree on who the father of Joseph was. Church apologists try to eliminate this discrepancy by suggesting that the genealogy in Luke is actually Mary’s, even though Luke says explicitly that it is Joseph’s genealogy (Luke 3:23). Christians have had problems reconciling the two genealogies since at least the early fourth century. It was then that Eusebius, a “Church Father,” wrote in his The History of the Church, “each believer has been only too eager to dilate at length on these passages.”
2. Why genealogies of Joseph?
Both the genealogies of Matthew and Luke show that Joseph was a direct descendant of King David. But if Joseph is not Jesus’ father, then Joseph’s genealogies are meaningless as far as Jesus is concerned, and one has to wonder why Matthew and Luke included them in their gospels. The answer, of course, is that the genealogies originally said that Jesus was the son of Joseph and thus Jesus fulfilled the messianic requirement of being a direct descendant of King David.
Long after Matthew and Luke wrote the genealogies the church invented (or more likely borrowed from the mystery religions) the doctrine of the virgin birth. Although the virgin birth could be accommodated by inserting a few words into the genealogies to break the physical link between Joseph and Jesus, those same insertions also broke the physical link between David and Jesus.
The church had now created two major problems: 1) to explain away the existence of two genealogies of Joseph, now rendered meaningless, and 2) to explain how Jesus was a descendant of David.
The apostle Paul says that Jesus “was born of the seed of David” (Romans 1:3). Here the word “seed” is literally in the Greek “sperma.” This same Greek word is translated in other verses as “descendant(s)” or “offspring.” The point is that the Messiah had to be a physical descendant of King David through the male line. That Jesus had to be a physical descendant of David means that even if Joseph had legally adopted Jesus (as some apologists have suggested), Jesus would still not qualify as Messiah if he had been born of a virgin – seed from the line of David was required.
Women did not count in reckoning descent for the simple reason that it was then believed that the complete human was present in the man’s sperm (the woman’s egg being discovered in 1827). The woman’s womb was just the soil in which the seed was planted. Just as there was barren soil that could not produce crops, so also the Bible speaks of barren wombs that could not produce children.
This is the reason that although there are many male genealogies in the Bible, there are no female genealogies. This also eliminates the possibility put forward by some apologists that Jesus could be of the “seed of David” through Mary.
[Editor’s note: As one reader has pointed out, “Genesis 3:15 says ‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed.’ So women can pass on ‘seed’ according to the bible.”]
3. Why do only Matthew and Luke know of the virgin birth?
Of all the writers of the New Testament, only Matthew and Luke mention the virgin birth. Had something as miraculous as the virgin birth actually occurred, one would expect that Mark and John would have at least mentioned it in their efforts to convince the world that Jesus was who they were claiming him to be.
The apostle Paul never mentions the virgin birth, even though it would have strengthened his arguments in several places. Instead, where Paul does refer to Jesus’ birth, he says that Jesus “was born of the seed of David” (Romans 1:3) and was “born of a woman,” not a virgin (Galatians 4:4).
4. Why did Matthew include four women in Joseph’s genealogy?
Matthew mentions four women in the Joseph’s genealogy.
a. Tamar – disguised herself as a harlot to seduce Judah, her father-in-law (Genesis 38:12-19).
b. Rahab – was a harlot who lived in the city of Jerichoin Canaan(Joshua 2:1).
c. Ruth – at her mother-in-law Naomi’s request, she came secretly to where Boaz was sleeping and spent the night with him. Later Ruth and Boaz were married (Ruth 3:1-14).
d. Bathsheba – became pregnant by King David while she was still married to Uriah (2 Samuel 11:2-5).
To have women mentioned in a genealogy is very unusual. That all four of the women mentioned are guilty of some sort of sexual impropriety cannot be a coincidence. Why would Matthew mention these, and only these, women? The only reason that makes any sense is that Joseph, rather than the Holy Spirit, impregnated Mary prior to their getting married, and that this was known by others who argued that because of this Jesus could not be the Messiah. By mentioning these women in the genealogy Matthew is in effect saying, “The Messiah, who must be a descendant of King David, will have at least four “loose women” in his genealogy, so what difference does one more make?”
B. THE ANGEL’S MESSAGE
In Matthew, the angel appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him that Mary’s child will save his people from their sins. In Luke, the angel tells Mary that her son will be great, he will be called the Son of the Most High and will rule on David’s throne forever. A short time later Mary tellsElizabeththat all generations will consider her (Mary) blessed because of the child that will be born to her.
If this were true, Mary and Joseph should have had the highest regard for their son. Instead, we read in Mark 3:20-21 that Jesus’ family tried to take custody of him because they thought he had lost his mind. And later, in Mark 6:4-6 Jesus complained that he received no honor among his own relatives and his own household.
C. THE DATE
According to Matthew, Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great (Matthew 2:1). According to Luke, Jesus was born during the first census in Israel, while Quirinius was governor of Syria (Luke 2:2). This is impossible because Herod died in March of 4 BC and the census took place in 6 and 7 AD, about 10 years after Herod’s death.
Some Christians try to manipulate the text to mean this was the first census while Quirinius was governor and that the first census ofIsraelrecorded by historians took place later. However, the literal meaning is “this was the first census taken, while Quirinius was governor …” In any event, Quirinius did not become governor ofSyriauntil well after Herod’s death.
D. THE PLACE
Both Matthew and Luke say that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Matthew quotes Micah 5:2 to show that this was in fulfillment of prophecy. Actually, Matthew misquotes Micah (compare Micah 5:2 to Matthew 2:6). Although this misquote is rather insignificant, Matthew’s poor understanding of Hebrew will have great significance later in his gospel.
Luke has Mary and Joseph travelling from their home in Nazarethin Galilee to Bethlehemin Judeafor the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:4). Matthew, in contradiction to Luke, says that it was only after the birth of Jesus that Mary and Joseph resided in Nazareth, and then only because they were afraid to return to Judea (Matthew 2:21-23).
In order to have Jesus born inBethlehem, Luke says that everyone had to go to the city of their birth to register for the census. This is absurd, and would have caused a bureaucratic nightmare. The purpose of the Roman census was for taxation, and the Romans were interested in where the people lived and worked, not where they were born (which they could have found out by simply asking rather than causing thousands of people to travel).
E. THE PROPHECIES
Matthew says that the birth of Jesus and the events following it fulfilled several Old Testament prophecies. These prophecies include:
1. The virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14)
This verse is part of a prophecy that Isaiah relates to King Ahaz regarding the fate of the two kings threateningJudahat that time and the fate ofJudahitself. In the original Hebrew, the verse says that a “young woman” will give birth, not a “virgin” which is an entirely different Hebrew word. The young woman became a virgin only when the Hebrew word was mistranslated into Greek.
This passage obviously has nothing to do with Jesus (who, if this prophecy did apply to him, should have been named Immanuel instead of Jesus).
2. The “slaughter of the innocents” (Jeremiah 31:15)
Matthew says that Herod, in an attempt to kill the newborn Messiah, had all the male children two years old and under put to death in Bethlehem and its environs, and that this was in fulfillment of prophecy.
This is a pure invention on Matthew’s part. Herod was guilty of many monstrous crimes, including the murder of several members of his own family. However, ancient historians such as Josephus, who delighted in listing Herod’s crimes, do not mention what would have been Herod’s greatest crime by far. It simply didn’t happen.
The context of Jeremiah 31:15 makes it clear that the weeping is for the Israelites about to be taken into exile inBabylon, and has nothing to do with slaughtered children hundreds of years later.
3. Called out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1)
Matthew has Mary, Joseph and Jesus fleeing to Egyptto escape Herod, and says that the return of Jesus from Egyptwas in fulfillment of prophecy (Matthew 2:15). However, Matthew quotes only the second half of Hosea 11:1. The first half of the verse makes it very clear that the verse refers to God calling the Israelites out ofEgypt in the exodus led by Moses, and has nothing to do with Jesus.
As further proof that the slaughter of the innocents and the flight intoEgyptnever happened, one need only compare the Matthew and Luke accounts of what happened between the time of Jesus’ birth and the family’s arrival inNazareth. According to Luke, forty days (the purification period) after Jesus was born, his parents brought him to the temple, made the prescribed sacrifice, and returned toNazareth. Into this same time period Matthew somehow manages to squeeze: the visit of the Magi to Herod, the slaughter of the innocents and the flight intoEgypt, the sojourn inEgypt, and the return fromEgypt. All of this action must occur in the forty day period because Matthew has the Magi visit Jesus inBethlehembefore the slaughter of the innocents.
F. THE TRUTH BEHIND THE PROPHECIES – MATTHEW’S BIG BLUNDER
Since the prophecies mentioned above do not, in their original context, refer to Jesus, why did Matthew include them in his gospel? There are two possibilities:
1. The church says that the words had a hidden future context as well as the original context, ie, God was keeping very important secrets from His chosen people.
2. Matthew, in his zeal to prove that Jesus was the Messiah, searched the Old Testament for passages (sometimes just phrases) that could be construed as messianic prophecies and then created or modified events in Jesus’ life to fulfill those “prophecies.”
Fortunately for those who really want to know the truth, Matthew made a colossal blunder later in his gospel which leaves no doubt at all as to which of the above possibilities is true. His blunder involves what is known as Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalemriding on a donkey (if you believe Mark, Luke or John) or riding on two donkeys (if you believe Matthew). In Matthew 21:1-7, two animals are mentioned in three of the verses, so this cannot be explained away as a copying error. And Matthew has Jesus riding on both animals at the same time, for verse 7 literally says, “on them he sat.”
Why does Matthew have Jesus riding on two donkeys at the same time? Because he misread Zechariah 9:9 which reads in part, “mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Anyone familiar with Old Testament Hebrew would know that the word translated “and” in this passage does not indicate another animal but is used in the sense of “even” (which is used in many translations) for emphasis. The Old Testament often uses parallel phrases which refer to the same thing for emphasis, but Matthew was evidently not familiar with this usage. Although the result is rather humorous, it is also very revealing. It demonstrates conclusively that Matthew created events in Jesus’ life to fulfill Old Testament prophecies, even if it meant creating an absurd event. Matthew’s gospel is full of fulfilled prophecies. Working the way Matthew did, and believing as the church does in “future contexts,” any phrase in the Bible could be turned into a fulfilled prophecy!
G. CONCLUSIONS REACHED SO FAR
From looking at just the birth accounts several conclusions can be reached, all of which will be further reinforced by examining other parts of the New Testament:
1. The gospel writers contradict each other.
2. The gospel writers rewrote history when it suited their purposes.
3. The gospels were extensively edited to accommodate the evolving dogma of the church.
4. The gospel writers misused the Old Testament to provide prophecies for Jesus to fulfill.
From the birth accounts alone, it is obvious that in no way can the New Testament be considered “the inerrant Word of God,” or even “the Word of God, inerrant regarding matters important to faith and practice.”
II. JESUS AND JOHN THE BAPTIST
A. WHAT DID JOHN THE BAPTIST KNOW ABOUT JESUS AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT?
John’s first encounter with Jesus was while both of them were still in their mothers’ wombs, at which time John, apparently recognizing his Saviour, leaped for joy (Luke 1:44). Much later, while John is baptizing, he refers to Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”, and “the Son of God” (John 1:29,36). Later still, John is thrown in prison from which he does not return alive. John’s definite knowledge of Jesus as the son of God and saviour of the world is explicitly contradicted by Luke 7:18-23 in which the imprisoned John sends two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is coming, or do we look for someone else?”
B. WHY DID JOHN BAPTIZE JESUS?
John baptized for repentance (Matthew 3:11). Since Jesus was supposedly without sin, he had nothing to repent of. The fact that he was baptized by John has always been an embarrassment to the church. The gospels offer no explanation for Jesus’ baptism, apart from the meaningless explanation given in Matthew 3:14-15 “to fulfill all righteousness.” Other passages, which indicate that Jesus did not consider himself sinless, are also an embarrassment to the church (Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19).
Luke, who claims to be chronological (Luke 1:3), tries to give the impression that John did not baptize Jesus. Luke’s account of Jesus’ baptism occurs after the account of John’s imprisonment (Luke 3:20-21).
C. WHY DIDN’T JOHN THE BAPTIST BECOME A FOLLOWER OF JESUS?
If John knew that Jesus was the son of God, why didn’t he become a disciple of Jesus? And why didn’t all, or even most, of John’s disciples become Jesus’ disciples? Most of John’s disciples remained loyal to him, even after his death, and a sect of his followers persisted for centuries.
The gospel writers were forced to include Jesus’ baptism in their gospels so that they could play it down. They could not ignore it because John’s followers and other Jews who knew of Jesus’ baptism were using the fact of his baptism to challenge the idea that Jesus was the sinless son of God. The gospel writers went to great pains to invent events that showed John as being subordinate to Jesus.
III. THE LAST SUPPER
A. WHEN – BEFORE OR DURING PASSOVER?
In Matthew, Mark and Luke the last supper takes place on the first day of the Passover (Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12, Luke 22:7). In John’s gospel it takes place a day earlier and Jesus is crucified on the first day of the Passover (John 19:14).
B. THE LORD’S SUPPER – INSTITUTED BY JESUS OR PAUL?
In Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper during the Passover meal (in John’s gospel the Lord’s Supper is not instituted – Jesus was dead by the time of the Passover meal).
In 1 Corinthians 11:23 the apostle Paul writes, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread…” Here Paul claims that he got the instructions for the Lord’s Supper directly from Jesus (evidently from one of his many revelations). Paul writes these words about twenty years after Jesus’ death, and had the church already been celebrating the Lord’s Supper he certainly would have been aware of it and would have had no need to receive it from the Lord. Some apologists try to play games with the text to make it seem like Paul actually received the instructions from the other apostles, but one thing Paul stresses is that what he teaches he receives from no man (Galatians 1:11-12).
The Lord’s supper was not invented by Paul, but was borrowed by him from Mithraism, the mystery religion that existed long before Christianity and was Christianity’s chief competitor up until the time ofConstantine. In Mithraism, the central figure is the mythical Mithras, who died for the sins of mankind and was resurrected. Believers in Mithras were rewarded with eternal life. Part of the Mithraic communion liturgy included the words, “He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made one with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation.”.
The early Church Fathers Justin Martyr and Tertullian tried to say that Mithraism copied the Lord’s Supper from Christianity, but they were forced to say that demons had copied it since only demons could copy an event in advance of its happening! They could not say that the followers of Mithras had copied it – it was a known fact that Mithraism had included the ritual a long time before Christ was born.
Where did Mithraism come from? The ancient historian Plutarch mentioned Mithraism in connection with the pirates of Cilicia in Asia Minorencountering the Roman general Pompey in 67 BC. More recently, in 1989 Mithraic scholar David Ulansey wrote a book, The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries, in which he convincingly shows that Mithraism originated in the city ofTarsus inCilicia. That this is also the home town of the apostle Paul cannot be a coincidence.
Paul admits that he did not know Jesus during Jesus’ lifetime. He also says that his gospel was not taught to him by any man (Galatians 1:11-12). All of Paul’s theology is based on his own revelations, or visions. Like dreams, visions or hallucinations do not come from nowhere, but reveal what is already in a person’s subconscious. It is very likely that the source of most of Paul’s visions, and therefore most of his theology, is to be found in Mithraism. That we find Jesus at the Last Supper saying more or less the same thing Paul said to the Corinthians many years later is another example of the church modifying the gospels to incorporate the theology of Paul, which eventually won out over the theology of Jesus’ original disciples.
C. JUDAS ISCARIOT
It is very unclear in the gospels just what Judas Iscariot’s betrayal consisted of, probably because there was absolutely no need for a betrayal. Jesus could have been arrested any number of times without the general populace knowing about it. It would have been simple to keep tabs on his whereabouts. The religious authorities did not need a betrayal – only the gospel writers needed a betrayal, so that a few more “prophecies” could be fulfilled. The whole episode is pure fiction – and, as might be expected, it is riddled with contradictions.
1. The prophecy
Matthew says that Judas’ payment and death were prophesied by Jeremiah, and then he quotes Zechariah 11:12-13 as proof!
2. Thirty pieces of silver
According to Matthew 26:15, the chief priests “weighed out thirty pieces of silver” to give to Judas. There are two things wrong with this:
a. There were no “pieces of silver” used as currency in Jesus’ time – they had gone out of circulation about 300 years before.
b. In Jesus’ time, minted coins were used – currency was not “weighed out.”
By using phrases that made sense in Zechariah’s time but not in Jesus’ time Matthew once again gives away the fact that he creates events in his gospel to match “prophecies” he finds in the Old Testament.
3. Who bought the Field of Blood?
a. In Matthew 27:7 the chief priests buy the field.
b. In Acts 1:18 Judas buys the field.
4. How did Judas die?
a. In Matthew 27:5 Judas hangs himself.
b. In Acts 1:18 he bursts open and his insides spill out.
c. According to the apostle Paul, neither of the above is true. Paul says Jesus appeared to “the twelve” after his resurrection. Mark 14:20 makes it clear that Judas was one of the twelve.
In Matthew 19:28, Jesus tells the twelve disciples, including Judas, that when Jesus rules from his throne, they will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes ofIsrael.
5. How did the Field of Blood get its name?
a. Matthew says because it was purchased with blood money (Matthew 27:6-8).
b. Acts says because of the bloody mess caused by Judas’ bursting open (Acts 1:18-19).
IV. JESUS’ TRIALS, DEATH AND RESURRECTION
A. THE TRIALS
Before listing the contradictions regarding the trials of Jesus, it should be stated that the whole episode is quite obviously a fabrication. Anyone familiar with Jewish law recognizes the impossibility of the chief priests and scribes arresting Jesus and assembling to question him during the most holy of Jewish festivals.
1. Where was Jesus taken immediately after his arrest?
a. Matthew, Mark and Luke say that Jesus was taken directly to the high priest (Matthew 26:57, Mark 14:53 and Luke 22:54).
b. John says that Jesus was taken first to Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest (John 18:13) who, after an indeterminate period of time, sent Jesus to the high priest (John 18:24).
2. When did the priests and scribes gather together to question Jesus?
a. Matthew 26:57 says that on the night Jesus was arrested the priests and scribes were gathered together prior to Jesus being brought to the high priest.
b. Mark 14:53 says the priests and scribes gathered together on the night of Jesus’ arrest after Jesus was brought to the high priest.
c. Luke 22:66 says the priests and scribes assembled the day after Jesus was arrested.
d. John mentions only the high priest – no other priests or scribes play a role in questioning Jesus.
3. Was Jesus questioned by Herod?
a. Luke says that Pilate sent Jesus to Herod who questioned Jesus at length and then returned Jesus to Pilate (Luke 23:7-11).
b. Matthew, Mark and John make no mention of Herod. This, in itself, means nothing, but it brings about another contradiction later.
4. Who was responsible for Jesus’ death, Pilate or the Jews?
The gospel writers go to every conceivable length to absolve the Romans in general, and Pilate in particular, of Jesus’ crucifixion and to blame it on the Jews. The reason, of course, was that Christianity was going to have to exist under Roman rule for many years, which is why the New Testament contains nothing critical of the Romans, even though they were hated for their heavy taxation, and Pilate was hated for his brutality.
For the church, the Jews made an appropriate scapegoat because the Jews were a thorn in side of the early church. The Jews, of course, had far greater knowledge of Jewish laws and traditions than the largely gentile church, and were able to call attention to some of the errors being taught by the church.
The Biblical account of Pilate’s offer to release Jesus but the Jews demanding the release of Barabbas is pure fiction, containing both contradictions and historical inaccuracies.
a. What had Barabbas done?
1. Mark 15:7 and Luke 23:19 say that Barabbas was guilty of insurrection and murder.
2. John 18:40 says that Barabbas was a robber.
b. Pilate’s “custom” of releasing a prisoner at Passover.
This is pure invention – the only authority given byRometo a Roman governor in situations like this was postponement of execution until after the religious festival. Release was out of the question. It is included in the gospels for the sole purpose of further removing blame for Jesus’ death from Pilate and placing it on the Jews.
c. Pilate gives in to the mob.
The gospels have Pilate giving in to an unruly mob. This is ridiculous in light of Pilate’s previous and subsequent history. Josephus tells us that Pilate’s method of crowd control was to send his soldiers into the mob and beat them (often killing them) into submission. Pilate was eventually recalled toRomebecause of his brutality.
5. Who put the robe on Jesus?
a. Matthew 27:28, Mark 15:17 and John 19:2 say that after Pilate had Jesus scourged and turned over to his soldiers to be crucified, the soldiers placed a scarlet or purple robe on Jesus as well as a crown of thorns.
b. Luke 23:11, in contradiction to Matthew, Mark and John, says that the robe was placed on Jesus much earlier by Herod and his soldiers. Luke mentions no crown of thorns.
B. THE CRUCIFIXION
1. Crucified between two robbers
Matthew 27:38 and Mark 15:27 say that Jesus was crucified between two robbers (Luke just calls them criminals; John simply calls them men). It is a historical fact that the Romans did not crucify robbers. Crucifixion was reserved for insurrectionists and rebellious slaves.
2. Peter and Mary near the cross
When the gospel writers mention Jesus talking to his mother and to Peter from the cross, they run afoul of another historical fact – the Roman soldiers closely guarded the places of execution, and nobody was allowed near (least of all friends and family who might attempt to help the condemned person).
3. The opened tombs
According to Matthew 27:51-53, at the moment Jesus died there was an earthquake that opened tombs and many people were raised from the dead. For some reason they stayed in their tombs until after Jesus was resurrected, at which time they went intoJerusalem and were seen by many people.
Here Matthew gets too dramatic for his own good. If many people came back to life and were seen by many people, it must have created quite a stir (even if the corpses were in pretty good shape!). Yet Matthew seems to be the only person aware of this happening – historians of that time certainly know nothing of it – neither do the other gospel writers.
C. THE RESURRECTION
1. Who found the empty tomb?
a. According to Matthew 28:1, only “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary.”
b. According to Mark 16:1, “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome.”
c. According to Luke 23:55, 24:1 and 24:10, “the women who had come with him out ofGalilee.” Among these women were “Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James.” Luke indicates in verse 24:10 that there were at least two others.
d. According to John 20:1-4, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb alone, saw the stone removed, ran to find Peter, and returned to the tomb with Peter and another disciple.
2. Who did they find at the tomb?
a. According to Matthew 28:2-4, an angel of the Lord with an appearance like lightning was sitting on the stone that had been rolled away. Also present were the guards that Pilate had contributed. On the way back from the tomb the women meet Jesus (Matthew 28:9).
b. According to Mark 16:5, a young man in a white robe was sitting inside the tomb.
c. According to Luke 24:4, two men in dazzling apparel. It is not clear if the men were inside the tomb or outside of it.
d. According to John 20:4-14, Mary and Peter and the other disciple initially find just an empty tomb. Peter and the other disciple enter the tomb and find only the wrappings. Then Peter and the other disciple leave and Mary looks in the tomb to find two angels in white. After a short conversation with the angels, Mary turns around to find Jesus.
3. Who did the women tell about the empty tomb?
a. According to Mark 16:8, “they said nothing to anyone.”
b. According to Matthew 28:8, they “ran to report it to His disciples.”
c. According to Luke 24:9, “they reported these things to the eleven and to all the rest.”
d. According to John 20:18, Mary Magdalene announces to the disciples that she has seen the Lord.
V. THE ASCENSION
According to Luke 24:51, Jesus’ ascension took place inBethany, on the same day as his resurrection.
According to Acts 1:9-12, Jesus’ ascension took place atMountOlivet, forty days after his resurrection.
A. THE UNCHANGEABLE LAW
According to Matthew 5:18, Jesus said that not the tiniest bit of the Law could be changed. However, in Mark 7:19 Jesus declares that all foods are clean, thereby drastically changing the Law.
The church tries to get around this obvious contradiction by artificially separating the Mosaic Law into the “ceremonial” law and the “moral” law, a separation which would have abhorred the Jews of Jesus’ time. The Mark passage and similar ones like Acts 10:9-16 were added to accommodate the teaching of Paul regarding the Law (which was diametrically opposed to the teaching of Jesus on the Law) and to make the gospel palatable to the Gentiles.
B. NO SIGNS, ONE SIGN, OR MANY SIGNS?
At one point the Pharisees come to Jesus and ask him for a sign.
1. In Mark 8:12 Jesus says that “no sign shall be given to this generation.”
2. In contradiction to Mark, in Matthew 12:39 Jesus says that only one sign would be given – the sign of Jonah. Jesus says that just as Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so he will spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Here Jesus makes an incorrect prediction – he only spends two nights in the tomb (Friday and Saturday nights), not three nights.
3. In contradiction to both Mark and Matthew, the gospel of John speaks of many signs that Jesus did:
a. The miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding in Canais called the beginning (or first) of the signs that Jesus did (John 2:11).
b. The healing at Capernaumis the “second sign” (John 4:54).
c. Many people were following Jesus “because they were seeing the signs He was performing” (John 6:2).
C. SON OF DAVID?
Matthew, Mark and Luke all contain passages which have Jesus quoting Psalm 110:1 to argue that the Messiah does not need to be a son of David (Matthew 22:41-46, Mark 12:35-37 and Luke 20:41-44).
1. This contradicts many Old Testament passages that indicate that the Messiah will be a descendant of David. It also contradicts official church doctrine.
2. In Acts 2:30-36 Peter, in what is regarded as the first Christian sermon, quotes Psalm 110:1 in arguing that Jesus was the Messiah, a descendant of David.
D. THE FIG TREE
After Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalema sees a fig tree and wants some figs from it. He finds none on it so he curses the tree and it withers and dies (Matthew 21:18-20, Mark 11:12-14, 20-21).
1. Since this occurred in the early spring before Passover, it is ridiculous of Jesus to expect figs to be on the tree.
2. Matthew and Mark cannot agree on when the tree withered.
a. In Matthew, the tree withers at once and the disciples comment on this fact (Matthew 21:19-20).
b. In Mark, the tree is not found to be withered until at least the next day (Mark 11:20-21).
E. THE GREAT COMMISSION
In Matthew 28:19 Jesus tells the eleven disciples to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
1. This is obviously a later addition to the gospel, for two reasons:
a. It took the church over two hundred years of fighting (sometimes bloody) over the doctrine of the trinity before this baptismal formula came into use. Had it been in the original gospel, there would have been no fighting.
b. In Acts, when people are baptized, they are baptized just in the name of Jesus (Acts 8:16, 10:48, 19:5). Peter says explicitly that they are to “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38).
2. This contradicts Jesus’ earlier statement that his message was for the Jews only (Matthew 10:5-6, 15:24). The gospels, and especially Acts, have been edited to play this down, but the contradiction remains. It was the apostle Paul who, against the express wishes of Jesus, extended the gospel (Paul’s version) to the gentiles.
F. ENOCH IN THE BOOK OF JUDE
Jude 14 contains a prophecy of Enoch. Thus, if the Book of Jude is the Word of God, then the writings of “Enoch” from which Jude quotes, are also the Word of God. The Book of Enoch was used in the early church until at least the third century – Clement, Irenaeus and Tertullian were familiar with it. However, as church doctrine began to solidify, the Book of Enoch became an embarrassment to the church and in a short period of time it became the Lost Book of Enoch. A complete manuscript of the Book of Enoch was discovered inEthiopia in 1768. Since then, portions of at least eight separate copies have been found among theDead Sea scrolls. It is easy to see why the church had to get rid of Enoch – not only does it contain fantastic imagery (some of which was borrowed by the Book of Revelation), but it also contradicts church doctrine on several points (and, since it is obviously the work of several writers, it also contradicts itself).
G. THE APOSTLE PAUL’S CONVERSION
The Book of Acts contains three accounts of Paul’s conversion on the road toDamascus. All of three accounts contradict each other regarding what happened to Paul’s fellow travelers.
1. Acts 9:7 says they “stood speechless, hearing the voice…”
2. Acts 22:9 says they “did not hear the voice…”
3. Acts 26:14 says “when we had all fallen to the ground…”
Some translations of the Bible (the New International Version and the New American Standard, for example) try to remove the contradiction in Acts 22:9 by translating the phrase quoted above as “did not understand the voice…” However, the Greek word “akouo” is translated 373 times in the New Testament as “hear,” “hears,” “hearing” or “heard” and only in Acts 22:9 is it translated as “understand.” In fact, it is the same word that is translated as “hearing” in Acts 9:7, quoted above. The word “understand” occurs 52 times in the New Testament, but only in Acts 22:9 is it translated from the Greek word “akouo.”
This is an example of Bible translators sacrificing intellectual honesty in an attempt to reconcile conflicting passages in the New Testament.
H. JESUS CALLS THE DISCIPLES
1. In Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20, Peter and Andrew are casting nets into the sea. Jesus calls out to them and they leave their nets and follow him. Jesus then goes on a little further and sees James and John mending their nets with their father. He calls to them and they leave their father and follow him.
2. In Luke 5:1-11, Jesus asks Peter to take him out in Peter’s boat so Jesus can preach to the multitude. James and John are in another boat. When Jesus finishes preaching, he tells Peter how to catch a great quantity of fish (John 21:3-6 incorporates this story in a post- resurrection appearance). After Peter catches the fish, he and James and John are so impressed that after they bring their boats to shore they leave everything and follow Jesus.
3. In John 1:35-42, Andrew hears John the Baptist call Jesus the Lamb of God. Andrew then stays with Jesus for the remainder of the day and then goes to get his brother Peter and brings him to meet Jesus.
I. SHOULD THE TWELVE DISCIPLES TAKE STAFFS?
When Jesus summons the twelve disciples to send them out to proclaim thekingdomofGod, he lists the things the disciples should not take with them.
1. In Matthew 10:9-10 and Luke 9:3-5, a staff is included in the list of things not to take.
2. In contradiction to Matthew and Luke, Mark 6:8 makes a specific exception – the disciples may take a staff.
J. THE APOSTLE PAUL GETS CONFUSED
In Romans 7:1-6 the apostle Paul tries to compare a Christian’s “dying to the Law” to a woman who marries again after her husband has died. In doing so, Paul gets hopelessly confused about whether the Christian corresponds to the wife (by being released from the Law), or corresponds to the husband (by having died). One scholar has referred to the passage as “remarkably muddle-headed.” This just goes to show that, although a brilliant man, Paul did have his bad days.
K. THE SECOND COMING
1. During the disciples’ lifetime
There are several passages in the gospels where Jesus says he will return in the disciples’ lifetime (Mark 13:30, Matthew 10:23, 16:28, 24:34, Luke 21:32, etc.).
The same expectation held during the period the apostle Paul wrote his letters. In 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 Paul says that the time is so short that believers should drastically change the way that they live. But Paul had a problem – some believers had died, so what would happen to them when Jesus returned?
Paul’s answer in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 shows that Paul expected that at least some of those he was writing to would be alive when Jesus returned – “we who are alive, and remain…” The same passage also indicates that Paul believed that those believers who had died remained “asleep in Jesus” until he returned. However, as the delay in Jesus’ return grew longer, the location of Jesus’ kingdom shifted from earth to heaven and we later find Paul indicating that when believers die they will immediately “depart and be with Christ” (Philippians 1:23).
It is quite obvious that Jesus never intended to start any type of church structure since he believed he would return very shortly to rule his kingdom in person. It is also quite obvious that Jesus was wrong about when he was coming back.
2. The earth in the Book of Revelation
Revelation 1:7 says that when Jesus comes with the clouds, everybody on earth will see him. Some Christians have said that this will be literally fulfilled because the event will be broadcast by satellite over all the world’s TV stations (We interrupt this broadcast…). Actually, the passage reflects the flat-earth cosmology of the time, as does also “the four corners of the earth” in Revelation 7:1 and 20:8.
Here, and in many gospel passages, Jesus is spoken of as coming with or on the clouds. This is because the Bible’s view of heaven is “up” and Jesus has to pass through the clouds to get back, just as in Acts 1:9 Jesus ascended up through a cloud.
3. The Book of Daniel
The Book of Daniel is included here because, after the Book of Revelation, Daniel is the book most studied with regard to the second coming. Christians are very impressed with the detailed prophecies in Daniel that have been fulfilled. Anybody would be, if they believed that Daniel was written during the Babylonian exile, as the book of Daniel says.
However, the book itself makes it possible to pinpoint the date of its writing as 167 BC. How? Because up to that year all of Daniel’s detailed prophecies came true. After that year none of them did. But how was Daniel to know that shortly after he wrote his book one of the greatest events inIsrael’s history, the Maccabean revolution that defeated Antiochus Epiphanes, would occur?
VII. THE CAUSES OF THE CONTRADICTIONS
There are four primary causes for most of the contradictions listed above:
A. THE MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
The gospel writers (especially Matthew) tried to show that Jesus was the Messiah by having him fulfill Old Testament “prophecies,” sometimes with absurd results (as in the case of the “two donkeys” and the “thirty pieces of silver”).
B. THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN JESUS’ AND PAUL’S GOSPELS
The gospel that Jesus and his disciples proclaimed to the Jews was in accordance with what the Old Testament predicted about a human Messiah reigning over a restoredkingdomofIsrael, a kingdom of peace and righteousness. The people ofIsraelwere to repent as personal righteousness was necessary to become a member of the kingdom.
In contrast to Jesus’ gospel was the gospel preached to the Jews and gentiles by the apostle Paul, which Paul refers to as “my gospel” and “the gospel that I preach” to differentiate it from what was being proclaimed by the disciples. In Paul’s gospel the human Jewish Messiah became a divine saviour of all nations, the restoredkingdomofIsraelbecame a heavenly kingdom, and admittance to the kingdom was based on faith rather than personal righteousness.
The two gospels caused great animosity between Paul and the original apostles, an animosity that is played down in the books of Acts and Galatians, but which still shows through in several places. WhenJerusalemwas destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD the Jewish Christians inJerusalemwere scattered or killed, and the opposition to the gospel of Paul was largely eliminated. The gospel of Paul was incorporated into the gospel of Jesus, in many cases supplanting it.
C. THE DELAY IN JESUS’ RETURN
As time went by without Jesus returning, the apostle Paul was forced to rethink things he had written about earlier, including the state of dead believers and the nature of the kingdom.
D. CREATING A HISTORY FIT FOR A GOD
When Jesus was changed from a Jewish “son of David” sitting on David’s throne to a divine “son of God” sitting on a heavenly throne, it became necessary to invent a godlike biography for him. Thus the troublesome virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, etc.
The list of contradictions in this paper is by no means complete, the examples being chosen primarily from the gospels. The examples given above, however, more than prove the point that the Bible is most definitely not, in any sense, the Word of God. The church has made imaginative (and often absurd) attempts to reconcile these contradictions. None of these attempts have the ring of truth – instead they have the ring of desperation.
Christianity is a religion in which events are claimed to have occured but which can never be proved. Those who practice it live by different morals than are preached by the most holy texts. It is an institution in which the most holy scripture is contradictory, and wherein the supreme being, by the very definition, cannot exist. Christianity is, therefore, a fundamentally flawed religion.
According to the Bible, events have occured which are even more miraculous than the resurection of Jesus Christ. Events such as the stopping of the sun by Joshua (Joshua 10:12-14), the reversal of the sun’s course by Isaiah (Isaiah 38:7-8) , the resurrection of the saints, and their subsequent appearance to many (Matthew 27:52-53) were witnessed by thousands of people.
The stopping and reversal of the sun would have been visible worldwide. The idea that people could have witnessed these events without having been amazed by them is, quite simply, ludicrous. Other cultures having witnessed this would certainly have offered their own explanations in keeping with their own cultural and religious beliefs. Surely a society existing at the time would have documented this miraculous event. Yet nowhere have such works been found. In the instance of the resurrection of the saints, Matthew is the only person to mention this occurence in the Bible. Surely other first-century Christians would have used this as further proof of Jesus’ divinty. It would fall to reason that Paul and the gospels would have mentioned it.
This is not, however, the case. Nowhere else in the Bible is this mentioned or even hinted at.These events are then, at best, highly unlikely to have occured. The fact that Matthew is alone in writing of the resurrection of the saints leads us to believe that certain writers of the Bible had differing views on christianity.
The christian Bible is highly contradictory, not just to modern day christian beliefs, but in and of itself. Today’s society is of the belief that all people are created equal, and Christians submit that their god is of the same belief. Modern Christians believe that their god loves everyone, and that they are all equal. However, after Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree forbidden by god, this deity said to Eve “I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children. Yet your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall be your master.” (Genesis 3:16).
This tells us that, according to the Christian religion, women shall naturally be dominated by men. This kind of behavior is not conducive to a being who believes in inherent equality. Women are repeadtedly treated as objects and told to be submissive in the Bible. “According to the rule observed in all the assemblies of believers, women should keep silent in such
gatherings. Rather, as the law indicates, submissiveness is indicated for them. If they want to learn anything, they should ask their husbands at home.
It is a disgrace when a woman speaks in the assembly.” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35). “Man was not made from woman but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman but woman for man. For this reason, a woman ought to have a sign of submission on her head.” (1 Corinthians 11:8-10). The Bible also permits bondage. “Slaves, male and female, you may indeed possess, provided you buy them from among neighboring the nations. You may also buy them from among the aliens who reside with you and from their children who are born and raised in their land. Such slaves you may own as chattels, and leave to your sons as their hereditary property, making them perpetual slaves.” (Leviticus 25:44-46). This same Bible gives laws on the punishment of slaves.
“When a man strikes his slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.” (Exodus 21:20-21) We find further examples of prejudice in Deuteronomy. In the Bible, it is stated that “No one whose testicles have been crushed or whose penis has been cut off may be admitted into the community of the Lord. No child of an incestuous or adulterous union may be admitted into the community of the Lord, nor any descendant of his even to the tenth generation.” (Deuteronomy 23:2-3).
Consider the first statement. If a faithful Christian were to get in an automobile accident with a resulting injury to his genitals, he would not be admitted into Heaven. The second statement is even more ridiculous than the first. An innocent child, through no fault of its own, is born a bastard. He may not be admitted into heaven. But more than that, none of his descendants may ever be admitted. These are not characteristics which are normally associated with justice and goodness. These are petty, cruel actions. This is not the only discrepancy in the christian Bible. Judah’s daughter-in-law, Tamar, is said to have been a harlot (Genesis 38:24). Because of her harlotry, she became pregnant (Genesis 38:25). She had twins and named them Perez and Zerah.
“These are the descendants of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron was the father of Ram, Ram was the father of Amminibad, Amminibad was the father of Nahshon, Nahshon was the father of Salmon, Salmon was the father of Boaz, Boaz was the father of Obed, Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse became the father of David.” (Ruth 4:18-22). Therefore David, King of Israel, was a descendant of a bastard and subsequently should not have been allowed into the community the Lord. This is a huge contradiction, as David is such an important figure in the bible.
The contradiction involving David pales in comparison, however, to the one of the very definition of a supreme being. In Christianity, Christ is central in atoning for the sins of mankind. Had there been no sins of mankind, there would be no story of Christ. The nature of sin must then therefore be analysed. It is accepted by Christians that god created everything. If this is true, then this same god created evil. It is written in the Bible that god is all-knowing (1 John 3:20). God is, in effect, omniscient. If god is omniscient and creates, he then knows all possible outcomes of all possible creations of all possible universes. If he created our universe, he chose what its destiny would be. In doing so, he chose the paths of our lives. Thus, we can conclude that the universe is completely deterministic to god and, by being a creator, he cannot allow freewill to exist unless the universe is no longer predetermined to him. If this is true,then humanity is merely a collection of automotons. If this is not not true, then god cannot be omniscient.If the Christian god were omniscient, then he could foresee his own future. If this being knows its own future, he does not have the power to change it. Considering, however, that god is omnipotent, there is a major conflict with his omniscient nature. If god were able to change his future, that would mean that god would not be able to foresee when he would make sudden changes in his future and what changes would result, eliminating the possibility of his being omniscient. Therefore, these qualities cannot be held simultaneously by one being.
It is important now to look at the possibility of omnipotence. The Christian god is perfectly good and omnipotent. Yet evil exists. If god is omnipotent and perfectly good, he could and would dispell evil. Three possible conclusions arise from these statements. God is perfectly good but evil exists, so he is not able to dispell evil and thus is not omnipotent. The second possible conclusion is this: that god is omnipotent but evil exists, and god is therefore not perfectly good. The last possible, and most feasible, conclusion is that god does not exist.
It can easily be seen that Christianity is a religion based on falsehoods and has many intrinsic flaws. They are seen by the fact that the followers of this religion do not conduct themselves in the manner proscribed by their most holy texts. These errors reside in the facts that these same texts are contradictory, and that their very god cannot possibly exist. These errors and omissions are then covered by a vague concept: faith.
The Bible contains many passages which seem to contradict other passages. Unbelievers, skeptics and modernist Christians see these passages as evidence the Bible contains errors. Conservative or “fundamentalist” Christians respond with books on “Bible difficulties.” These books attempt to explain the contradictions. The usual attitude of conservatives may be expressed by Gleason Archer, “Be fully persuaded in your own mind that an adequate explanation exists, even though you have not found it . . .” The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, p15.
However, if you begin with the assumption, the full persuasion of your own mind, that the Bible contains no errors even if and when no reasonable explanation has been found for its contradictions, how shall you determine if the Bible contains errors?
What Archer seems to suggest is the following. We have good reason to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God who was raised from the dead. Jesus while alive treated the scriptures as inspired and infallible. Therefore, we have good reason to believe that the Bible as a whole is inspired and infallible.
The flaw in this reasoning is this. Archer also admits that we may have Bible contradictions, or Bible difficulties as he prefers to call them, for which we may have no reasonable explanation. However, having no reasonable explanation for such contradictions is in fact evidence that these contradictions really are contradictions and errors. If there are or can be Bible errors, then these Bible errors are either
- evidence that Jesus was not the Messiah and that he did not teach the truth; or,
- evidence that the chain of reasoning from Jesus being the Messiah to an inerrant Bible is faulty.
If so, historical and scientific problems in the Bible text have just as much claim upon us in determining if Jesus rose from the dead as does the certainty of the apostles, and their willingness to die for their testimony. For there are Muslims and others who also die for their beliefs. We were not there when Jesus appeared to Peter; we can’t examine that directly. However, we can examine the Bible itself directly.
So, making the presupposition “that an adequate explanation exists, even though you have not found it,” is not reasonable. It is arbitrary. It results from allowing only evidence to be heard in favor of Jesus being the Messiah while refusing to hear evidence against. For, as Archer would admit, every Bible error, if actually an error, is evidence against Jesus being the Messiah. Every Bible contradiction, if actually a contradiction, is evidence against Jesus being the Son of God.
Let us examine four small chapters of the Bible. These are the chapters on the life of Asa, king ofJudah. The chapters on the life of Asa are I Kings 15, and II Chr. 14-16. Most people can read these chapters out loud in less than 15 minutes. These chapters will provide a short education on the subject of Bible errors. Together with these chapters, we shall examine what Gleason Archer has to say about them. Archer has a PhD and has served as a professor in at least two schools. Presumably, he has had at least seven years of formal education in college, and perhaps more than a dozen. Reading Acher’s explanation of the dating problem in Asa’s reign takes a few minutes. Unfortunately, it raises more questions than it answers.
If we compare these two accounts of the life of Asa, king ofJudah, what do we find? Both accounts agree that Asa reigned for 41 years, II Chr. 16:13 and I Kings 15:10. I Kings says that during his reign, the rulers ofIsraelwere Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Tibni (ruling only part of the kingdom), Omri and Ahab. Both accounts agree that at some point, Baasha attempted to build the city Ramah to isolate Judah, II Chr. 16:1 and I Kings 15:17. Asa responded by forming a league of friendship with Ben-Hadad I ofSyria. Asa sent Ben-Hahad a present. Ben-Hadad I then attackedIsraeland this distracted Baasha from building Ramah.
Before we go on, we may wish to clarify some of the names and places:
- Asa was king ofJudah, shortly after the split of theJudahandIsrael. He ruled c. 908 to 868 BC, approximately 40 years.
- Baasha was king ofIsraelduring the early part of the reign of Asa. According to the Bible, he reigned from the third to the 26th year of Asa, I Kings 15:28 and I Kings 16:8. That is, Baasha ruled from c 906 to 883 BC, approximately 23 years.
- Ben-Hadad I ofSyriaruled c 885 to 870.Syriawas to the immediate north ofIsrael.
- Ramah was a city Baasha attempted to build to control trade and people flow in and out ofJudah.
- Ahaz was a descendant of Asa, rulingJudahc 741 to 725 BC.
- Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz, rulingJudahc 725 to 697 BC.
- Isaiah the prophet lived and wrote during the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah.
(The dates given above are those given in The History of Ancient Israel, by Michael Grant. Grant is a Christian, and a fellow atTrinityCollege,Cambridge. He has authored many books, most of which concern Christian or Jewish history directly or indirectly.)
Now, a simple examination of Kings and Chronicles reveals one major difference and four contradictions:
War and peace in Chronicles are given theological meaning not found in I Kings. I Kings 15:16&32 say that there was war all their days, between Baasha and Asa. There is no implication in I Kings that this war has any particular significance.
According to II Chronicles 14:1-6, the land is at peace for ten years, “because the Lord had given Asa rest,” presumably because of Asa’s righteousness described in 14:2-5. After the first ten years, Zerah the Ethiopian invadesJudahwith a million men, II Chr. 14:9. He outnumbers Asa almost two to one. Asa reacts by further putting his faith in Yahweh. Yahweh then demonstrates his power by giving Asa victory and destroying Zerah’s army. This war, which began as self-defense against Zerah, results in “very much spoil” being taken, from Gerar and nearby cities. So, even this “war” is a blessing in disguise. Later, Hanani pronounces a curse on Asa of continual war, II Chr. 16:9.
In I Kings, war is not considered a blessing or a curse from God. It just is.
- Asa’s heart “was perfect with the Lord all his days,” I Kings 15:14, II Chr. 15:17.
However, according to II Chr. 16, Asa sinned by a) forming a league with Ben-Hadad of Syria, b) by throwing Hanani the prophet of the Lord in prison, c) by oppressing the people and d) consulting physicians rather than the Lord about his foot disease.
How can one’s heart be perfect with the Lord while throwing His prophets in prison?
- According to I Kings 15:14, “the high places were not removed.”
However, II Chr. 14:3-5 says, “he took away . . . the high places . . . he took away out of all the cities ofJudahthe high places.” (Later the Chronicler raises a red herring, and tries to soften the contradiction. He says, “but the high places were not taken away out ofIsrael; nevertheless, the heart of Asa was perfect all his days,” II Chr. 15:17. Of course the high places were not taken out ofIsrael! Asa ruledJudahand notIsrael. He did not have power to remove the high places fromIsrael.)
- According to I Kings, there was continuous war during the first 26 years of Asa’s reign. According to II Chronicles, there was nearly continuous peace for the first 35 years of Asa’s reign.
I Kings 15:16 and 32 both say that there was war all the days between Asa and Baasha. This would have been for the first half of Asa’s reign, to the twenty-sixth year. After Baasha’s death,Israelfalls into turmoil and civil war. AlthoughIsraelwas larger and stronger thanJudah, conditions in the reigns of Elah, Zimri, Tibni, Omri and Ahab were such thatIsraelwas often in no position to threatenJudah. Even whenIsraelwas perhaps able, after Baasha’s death and the later accession of Omri, it appears that she had become uninterested in threateningJudah.
We note that during the reign ofAsa,Israelhad eight different rulers. Elah was assassinated by Zimri. Zimri died by suicide when under attack by his enemies. Tibni was slain in battle by Omri, after ruling part ofIsraelas king for four years.
So, Asa had border war for the first 26 years of his reign, and it seems he had peace for the most or all of the last 14.
In contrast, II Chr. 14:1-7 says, “and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years . . . the land had rest, and he had no war in those years, because the Lord had given him rest.”
These ten years of quiet are followed by an attack by Zerah the Ethiopian with a million men. Although Asa is outnumbered nearly two to one, he defeats Zerah. In the fifteenth year of Asa, the people make a covenant to serve God, agreeing that those not serving God should be put to death. “And the Lord gave them rest round about,” II Chr. 15:15.
However, in or after the 16th or 36th year of Asa, he sents a gift to Ben-Hadad ofSyriaand offers friendship. For this, he is cursed by the prophet Hanani to have wars for the rest of his reign, II Chr 16:1-9. So, Asa had peace at first and “wars from henceforth” during the latter years of his reign.
- II Chronicles 16:1 says, “In the 36th year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king ofIsraelcame up againstJudah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king ofJudah.” However, I Kings 15 indicates that Baasha had already died in the 26th year of Asa’s reign.
I Kings 15:28, 33, says “in the third year of Asa king ofJudah, Baasha did slay him [Nadab] and reigned in his stead. . . twenty four years.” I Kings 16:6-8 says, “Baasha was buried, and Elah his son reigned in his stead . . . In the 26th year of Asa king ofJudahbegan Elah to reign overIsrael.” The additional data given by I Kings is all consistent with Baasha dying in the twenty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, as we see in I Kings 16:15, 23, 29. If Baasha died in the twenty-sixth year of Asa, he could not have come up to build Ramah in the thirty-sixth year of Asa.
Of these four contradictions, Archer seems to notice only one. On the date of building Ramah, he writes, in The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, “Here we have a clear discrepancy in the Received Text,” p225. (Since the Received Text usually designates the Greek New Testament text of Erasmus, Archer probably means the Masoretic Text of the Jews, as the “Received Text.”)
For reasons which are not at all clear, Archer is completely silent about the first three contradictions we have found. He says absolutely nothing about any of them. Does he not notice these problems? Has he chosen to leave his “encyclopedia” incomplete? Why?
Does Archer think that being “perfect with the Lord all his days” describes a life which includes imprisoning the prophet of the Lord? Does Archer think that one king Asa took down the high places and another king named Asa did not? Should we believe that the “war all their days” between Asa and Baasha is also described by “quiet . . . quiet . . . no war . . . rest . . . rest”?
Why then do we read the Bible? If being perfect means imprisoning the prophets, if Asa does not mean Asa, if “war all their days” means no war at all but rather quiet rest, maybe yes means no and adultery means chastity! Maybe eternal life means annihilation and there is no God, if yes means no and no means yes! Maybe “encyclopedia” means those topics Archer would enjoy discussing and not others.
Nevertheless, let us read what Archer offers us. Archer observes that Christians have offered two solutions to the difficulty in II Chr. 16:1. One solution is to suppose that the phrase “malekut Asa” [Hebrew] in II Chr 16:1 “does not refer to Asa’s own reign, but rather should be understood as ‘the kingdom of Asa,’ i.e. the southern kingdom of Judah as distinguished from the northern kingdom of the Ten Tribes,” p225.
However, Archer is not happy with this solution. He says, “[I]t is without parallel to refer to the kingdom of a nation as a whole and identify it thus with one particular king who comes later in the ruling dynasty. And the fact that in its account of the later history ofJudahno such usage can be instanced in Chronicles raises a formidable difficulty to this solution . . .” p225.
As a result, Archer prefers the solution suggested by Keil and Delitzsch. They prefer to regard the number “36” in II Chr 16:1 and the number “35” in 15:19 as two parallel copyist’s errors for “16” and “15,” respectively. “[I]f the number was written in numerical notation of the Hebrew alphabetic type . . . then ‘sixteen’ could quite easily be confused with ‘thirty-six.’ The reason for this is that up through the seventh century BC, the letter yod (=10) greatly resembled the letter lamed (=30), except for two tiny strokes attached to the left of the main vertical stroke. . . It required only a smudge from excessive wear on the scroll-column to result in making the yod look like a lamed–with a resultant error of twenty. It is possible that this error occurred first in the earlier passage, in II Chr. 15:19 (with its ’35’ wrongly copied from an original ’15’); then to make it consistent in 16:1, the same scribe (or perhaps a later one) concluded that ’16’ must be an error for ’36’ and changed it accordingly on his copy,” p226.
Archer suggests that II Chronicles 16:1 was intentionally, but wrongly, adjusted to fit an unintentional copying error in 15:19. Why? Because two duplicate smudges causing the same error simultaneously would be difficult to believe. In fact, however, if the yod of 15:19 had seemed smudged, the scribe might have looked at 16:1 for clarification. Unless 16:1 was also smudged, the natural deduction of the scribe would be that the letter in 15:19 was in fact a yod. He would then have copied the first yod properly.
Also, if the scribe began to have doubts about smudges in his copy of II Chronicles, he might always have remembered I Kings 15, or consulted it, and thus retained the correct reading. But, no! Rather than I Kings 15 or II Chr.16:1 being used to prevent a copying error in II Chr. 15:19, an error arises because of a smudge. Then, this new smudge error causes the intentional change of a perfectly good clear text in 16:1!
In order to believe in Archer’s solution to the dating problem, one must believe that a scribe or scribes made two separate and nearly identical mistakes, one of which may have been intentional. (Of course, the evidence given by Christians such as Josh McDowell is that Jewish scribes were forbidden on pain of great penalties from making intentional changes or unintentional errors in to their text. Yes, we know that some copying errors occurred. However, Gleason Archer is suggesting that a scribe made an intentional but erring change in the text!) One must also believe that one scribe, when faced with a smudged and unclear manuscript, did not use other scripture to sensibly recognize the smudged letter as a yod. However, the same or similar scribe subsequently used one copying error as grounds to intentionally change the next verse, to resolve an inconsistency.
Which is it? Archer would have us believe that 1) when the manuscript is smudged or unclear, the scribe refrained from consulting other scripture to determine the reading, instead guessing wrongly, while 2) the same or similar scribe intentionally changed the text where it was clear so as to harmonize it with other scripture. Why would the scribes act in this fashion? They intentionally change good clear texts to make them harmonize, while they refrain from harmonizing when reading a smudged letter? Is this what Archer would have us believe?
The only alternative is to suppose that two identical smudges simultaneously caused the same error, but not even Archer seems happy to suggest this.
We should also note that scholars generally believe that I and II Chronicles were written after the return from exile in 538 BC. II Chr. 36 in fact takes us into the time of Cyrus the Great, which is the late sixth century. Now, Archer’s solution depends on the use of “the numerical notation of the Hebrew alphabetic type,” and upon the early form of the letter yod. However, this form of the letter yod was not used after the exile, so far as Archer tells us. If not, and if Chronicles was written after the exile with the later form of the letter yod, the error of II Chr 16:1 must have been in the original! Remember, even Archer believes that II Chr 16:1, as we possess it, is an error. Even if the Chronicler himself were reading from an earlier smudged text, that earlier text was neither I Kings nor any other scripture. If so, it was the Chronicler himself who put the error into II Chronicles! If so, there was error in the original autographs, which Archer denies.
It should also be noted that both solutions mentioned by Archer have approximately the same effect in terms of dating the events.
Now, Archer’s solutions leave problems unsolved and create two new ones. For, Archer seems to be forgetting that his proposed solution contradicts I Kings 15:16 and 32. These verses both say there was war between Asa and Baasha all their days. Since Baasha began to reign in the 3rd year of Asa and continued to live to the 26th year of Asa, that would make 24 years of border war. So, either the statement found in I Kings 15:16&32 is in error, or the statement found in the Archer’s suggested original for II Chronicles 15:19 is in error. II Chronicles, using either “solution,” says peace to about the fifteenth year of Asa. I Kings says, “war all their days,” not once, but twice. II Chronicles 14:1-7 says “quiet . . . quiet . . . no war . . . rest . . . rest . . . So they build and prospered.” Then, after the defeat of Zerah and the covenant to serve God, “the Lord gave them rest round about . . . no war unto the 35th year of Asa.” II Chr. 15:15-19.
For whatever reasons, it does not seem to bother Archer that his proposed emended text of II Chr 15:19 now contradicts I Kings 15:16,32! At least, he says nothing about it.
Now, Archer’s emendation creates another new problem. It makes II Chronicles 15:15 nearly senseless. According to II Chr. 15:10 Asa and the people enter into a covenant to serve God, in the 15th year of Asa. As a result, God gives the people “rest,” 15:15. If Archer’s suggested emendation is correct, the conflict with Baasha over building Ramah takes place in the very next year, the 16th year. That conflict is followed by continuous war as a curse on Asa! If we are to believe Archer, the “rest” God gives is actually continuous war!
If Archer’s emendation is correct, we have the following sequence of events, as described by II Chronicles:
- there is peace in the first ten years of Asa’s reign;
- brief war and defeat of Zerah the Ethiopian in about the year 11 of Asa’s reign;
- peace resumes to year 15;
- a covenant to serve God to the death in year 15;
- God blessedJudahby giving them peace and rest, II Chr. 15:15;
- there is trouble with Baasha of Israel in year 16, this trouble called war in I Kings 15;
- Asa commits a theological error and is cursed by Hanani to have war for the remainder of his reign, II Chronicles 16:9.
- there is war for the remainder of the reign of Asa.
Are we to believe the text says, “the Lord gave them rest round about,” and it means war the very next year and war continually thereafter? Is war “rest”? Is white black? Is black white? What a Bible this is, if war means rest!
In his effort to solve one obvious problem, Archer creates four new ones:
- the behavior of the scribes as he suggests it seems doubtful;
- his emended text must have used the early form of the letter yod, but it was written after the exile, when such a form was not in use, so far as we are told;
- or it is the original of II Chronicles itself which contains the error;
- his emended text would now contradict I Kings 15:16,32;
- his emended text would now render II Chr. 15:15 meaningless.
So, let us summarize how Gleason Archer deals with Bible “difficulties.”
He ignores three out of four of them. The one explanation he does give creates new contradictions, renders scripture absurd and depends on irrational behavior on the part of the scribes to have taken place. Are we to believe him?
So, what really happened? I assume that I Kings 15 is correct. There was some degree of war all their days between Asa and Baasha.
Now, did the Chronicler originally say that Baasha tried to build in Ramah in the 16th year of Asa? Or, did the Chronicler originally say that it was the 36th year that Baasha came up to build Ramah? If the Chronicler specified a year for the building of Ramah, was it because he had a source for that information, or for some other reason?
Now, the chronological data accepted among historians suggested that Ben-Hadad did not begin to reign until just before the death of Baasha. If forming the league of Asa and Ben-Hadad followed shortly upon the building of Ramah, Baasha’s attempt to build Ramah would have been nearer the end of his reign, not as early as the 16th year of Asa.
Although the Chronicler seems to have been working with the text of Kings at times, he does not always follow it carefully. He certainly is not a stickler for numerical or chronological accuracy. He seems in fact to modify the account of Kings so as to glorify Judah and her kings and/or to present his own theological ideas. The Chronicler believed that rest from war was God’s blessing upon certain righteous kings, II Chr. 14:6,7,15. He sees war as a punishment from God, II Chr. 16:9. He also believed that Asa was a righteous king, whose heart was generally right before God.
Given the Chronicler’s view that Asa was a righteous king, he says that Asa took down the high places, in contrast to I Kings. (He will also modify the history of Jehoshaphat in the same way. See I Kings 22:43 in contrast to II Chr. 17:6 and 19:3. However, II Chr. 20:33 affirms with I Kings 22 that Jehoshaphat did not take down the high places.)
So, why then is there a short war reported with Zerah the Ethiopian, an account found in II Chr, but not in I Kings15? The imaginary war with Zerah is used by the Chronicler to suggest how the Chronicler believed that Asa should have handled Baasha.
Why? As we have the account in I Kings 15, Asa delivers himself of an attack byIsraelby bribing Ben-Hadad ofSyriato come to his rescue. There is no rebuke of this, either direct or implied, in I Kings 15. However, more than a hundred years later, king Ahaz is faced with a similar situation. Ahaz is threatened by the confederacy ofIsraelandSyria. He reacts by sending a present and leaguing himself withAssyria.
To the great grief of the Yahweh worshippers inJudah, Ahaz also imports the worship of Assyria intoJerusalem, II Kings 16. Here, appealing to foreign powers for deliverance is linked to corrupting God’s worship.
Later, when Assyria controls in some degree thelandofPalestine, some thought they could rely onEgypt. Isaiah says thatEgyptis unreliable. He says that deliverance is rather to be found in trusting in God, not inEgypt’s military power. Those who trust inEgyptshall reap what they sow. They shall be put to shame and defeated. Isaiah 30, 31.
In other words, the lesson from Ahaz and Hezekiah is that God’s people should avoid entangling alliances with foreign powers, alliances which would lead them to compromise their pure worship of the Lord.
II Chronicles was written after the lifetimes and lessons of Ahaz and Hezekiah. The Chronicler rewrote history so as to bring a rebuke on the earlier Asa, for making what seemed to him to be a similar error as that of Ahaz. The Chronicler also invents a fictitious defeat of Zerah the Ethiopian, to show that Asa’s bribe of Ben-Hadad ofSyriawas completely unnecessary.
The sins of Asa in jailing Hanani and oppressing the people are contrary to the claim, “his heart was perfect all his days.” However, the Chronicler seems to have believed that health and prosperity would be the natural result of obedience to God. He knew that Asa was diseased in his feet in his old age, I Kings 15:23. It seems that the Chronicler has invented some sins for Asa to have committed, just before his incurable sickness.
Thus, the Masoretic reading of II Chr. 16:1 serves two purposes. Firstly, the current reading places Asa’s sins just before he gets an incurable foot disease. That is, in the 36th year of Asa, he commits a theological blunder. He is cursed by Hanani. In his anger, he imprisons Hanani and also oppresses the people. However, by his 39th year, Asa has developped an incurable foot disease which becomes worse and worse, II Chr. 16:12.
The current Masoretic reading of II Chr. 16:1 also means that God had blessedJudahwith an even 20 years of peace, after the covenant in the 15th year of Asa. In Numbers 1:1-3, the Lord had specified that those ofIsraelbe counted, who were able to go to war, “from twenty years old and upward.” In terms of the army, a particular “generation” of the army would come and go in twenty years, other than some senior generals and superior officers. So, the people ofJudahare given, says the Chronicler, a generation of peace because of their covenant with God.