ABC:Exodus 20

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Two Sets of Ten Commandments?[edit]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[1]

There are two incompatible Ten Commandments

You know the story: Moses got the Ten Commandments from God on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 20. The list of commandments had the familiar rules—no blaspheming, no murder, no lying, no stealing, and so on. Moses returns, only to find that the Israelites, impatient and anxious during his long absence, had made and were worshipping a golden calf, a familiar object of worship from Egypt.

Moses smashed the tablets in his rage, 3000 Israelites were killed in the opening round of punishment, and Moses eventually went back up for a duplicate set (Exodus 34), which was put in the Ark of the Covenant.

Except that it wasn’t a duplicate set. It’s a list that very few Christians are familiar with. For example, number 5 is “The first offspring from every womb belongs to me.” Number 7: Celebrate the Feast of Weeks. Number 10: “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.” This set is referred to as the “Ten Commandments” in Exodus, not the other set.

We can debate which set fundamentalists should try to illegally place on government property, but despite God’s assurance, these are two very different sets of rules. (More here and here.)

There is no contradiction, the critic just wants to find one where there is none. Moses plainly says in Deuteronomy 10:1-4 that the words on the second set of Ten Commandments were the exact same words as those on the first set. Observe that Exodus 34:28 does not say what the Ten Commandments being given are. The critic carelessly claims that Moses received the first set of Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, when actually Moses did not receive them until Exodus 31:18--which also does not say what the Ten Commandments were.

As for the commandments given in Exodus 34, they are identical to commandments given earlier by God when He communed with Moses from Exodus 20-31. Compare for example Exodus 34:12 with 23:32; 34:13 with 23:24; 34:14 with 20:3-5; 34:15-16 with 23:33; 34:17 with 20:4; 34:18 with 23:15; 34:19-20 with 22:29-30; 34:21 with 20:9 and 23:12; 34:22 with 23:16; 34:23 with 23:17; 34:25 with 23:18; and 34:26 with 23:19. At any rate there was no difference between the two sets of Ten Commandments.

Verse 5, Punishment for Ancestor's Sins? - Patheos[edit]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[1]

Do people deserve punishment for their ancestors' sins?

The Bible demands intergenerational punishment so that children must be punished for their parents’ sins.

Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Jeremiah 16:11 Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law;

But the opposite claim is recorded in the Bible as well.

Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

Jeremiah 31:30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Where does this leave Original Sin? This is the idea that we’re born fallen and deserve hell because of Adam’s sin, which infects us all. What foundation remains for Original Sin if it is undercut by the Bible itself?

The same teachings both appear in the book of Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 24:16 the fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

Deuteronomy 5:9-10 thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

These commandments were both given to Moses at the same time. While God only commands capital punishment for those who sin, not their children, there are genetic consequences not involving death which occur from sin which affect one's descendants. For example, incest can cause birth defects. In some cases, God even curses the descendants of the wicked. (Psalms 109:13) Thus, children are not put to death for what their parents have done (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:20), but can to a degree still "bear the iniquity" of their parents' actions in the form of negative circumstances. (Deuteronomy 5:9-10; Exodus 20:5)

Nonetheless, God shows mercy to those who do good, judging them based on their own actions. (Ezekiel 18) God can turn away wrath and consequences as He did from Nineveh. In the case of King Josiah for example his individual righteousness resulted in God delaying a punishment that would have otherwise come upon him. (2 Kings 22:19-20)

As for the doctrine of Original Sin, while sin entered the human race because of Adam and Eve's disobedience, we still are accountable to God based on our free will decisions. (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22) While we have a sin nature that causes temptation to sin, and become even more enslaved to the sins we engage in (Romans 6:16-21), we are still accountable to God for our sins. Although the Bible calls those righteous who seek after God, doing justice and mercy, nonetheless all our good deeds are like filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6), and apart from the salvation in Jesus, our good deeds are all outweighed by our bad ones, so that we would be futilely seeking to outweigh the debts for our sin with good works. (Romans 4:4-8) By works will none be justified. (Galatians 2:16) Only by faith in Jesus can we be justified. (Galatians 3:11)

Verse 5, Sins of the Father - American Atheists[edit]

American Atheists claims the Bible is wrong about the passage (and makes the following comments (italicized).[2]

Punishing Crime

Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

American Atheists deceptively quotes from very different books, Exodus and Ezekiel, to make it appear as though these are incompatible teachings given at different time periods. Actually, the same teachings both appear in the book of Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 24:16 the fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

Deuteronomy 5:9-10 thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

These commandments were both given to Moses at the same time. While God only commands capital punishment for those who sin, not their children, there are genetic consequences not involving death which occur from sin which affect one's descendants. For example, incest can cause birth defects. In some cases, God even curses the descendants of the wicked. (Psalms 109:13) Thus, children are not put to death for what their parents have done (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:20), but can to a degree still "bear the iniquity" of their parents' actions in the form of negative circumstances. (Deuteronomy 5:9-10; Exodus 20:5)

Nonetheless, God shows mercy to those who do good, judging them based on their own actions. (Ezekiel 18) God can turn away wrath and consequences as He did from Nineveh. In the case of King Josiah for example his individual righteousness resulted in God delaying a punishment that would have otherwise come upon him. (2 Kings 22:19-20)

Verse 5, Sins of the Father - Infidels[edit]

Infidels.org claims the Bible is wrong about "the sins of the father."[3] TheThinkingAtheist.com also asserts a contradiction exists on this topic.[4]

Isaiah 14:21 Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.

Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

This is on the surface one of the more puzzling riddles in the Bible, but in substance is very similar to the riddle found in Galatians 6 where one verse refers to accountability in this life and the other to accountability in this one. Additional verses referencing people not being put to death for the sins of their forebears are as follows:

Jeremiah 31:29 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge.
30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

2 Kings 14:6 But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

Ezekiel 18:19 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.
20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
21 ¶ But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

Verses showing God punishes later generations:

Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Exodus 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Leviticus 26:39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.

Therefore both principles are well-established by the Bible.

As pointed out by GotQuestions.org[5] the original commandment of slaughter for the sins of the father referred to idolatry which tended to ingrain itself in the culture, thus the children would keep repeating their parent's sins. The Bible repeatedly spoke of kings walking in the ways of their fathers, showing this was commonplace, a natural re-enactment of their descendant's iniquities.

1 Kings 15:1 Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah.
2 Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.
3 And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father.
4 Nevertheless for David's sake did the LORD his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem:
5 Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

1 Kings 15:25 And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years.
26 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.
27 And Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha smote him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines; for Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon.
28 Even in the third year of Asa king of Judah did Baasha slay him, and reigned in his stead.
29 And it came to pass, when he reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite:
30 Because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger.

1 Kings 15:33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Baasha the son of Ahijah to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, twenty and four years.
34 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.

1 Kings 16:1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying,
2 Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel; and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins;
3 Behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the posterity of his house; and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

1 Kings 16:12 Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake against Baasha by Jehu the prophet,
13 For all the sins of Baasha, and the sins of Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which they made Israel to sin, in provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.

1 Kings 16:18 And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over him with fire, and died,
19 For his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin.

1 Kings 16:25 But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him.
26 For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.

1 Kings 16:30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.
31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.

1 Kings 22:51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.
52 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin:
53 For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.

2 Kings 8:16 And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign.
17 Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.
18 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab: for the daughter of Ahab was his wife: and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.

2 Kings 8:26 Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.
27 And he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the LORD, as did the house of Ahab: for he was the son in law of the house of Ahab.

2 Kings 16:2 Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father.
3 But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel.

2 Kings 21:19 Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah.
20 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh did.
21 And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them:

2 Kings 22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.
2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.

The following can be observed from the above verses:

  • A long succession of Israel's and Judah's kings repeatedly did evil, specifically idolatry (which included child sacrifice similar to abortion today - 2 Kings 16:2, 17:17; 2 Chronicles 28:3, 33:6; Psalms 106:37-38; Jeremiah 7:31, 19:5, 32:35; Ezekiel 20:31, 23:37) and were said to do the sins of their fathers.
  • In some cases of particularly egregious evil in misleading the nations of Israel and Judah God appears to have had whole households destroyed of particularly wicked rulers. (1 Kings 15:25, 16:12,18)
  • In one rare case a ruler, Josiah, was said to walk in the good deeds of his father David. ([[ABC:2 Kings 22|2 Kings 22:1-2) However, the many evil rulers also mentioned above were also David's descendants. So interestingly they were considered the lineage of a wicked descendant if doing evil but of a good descendant if doing good.

Conclusion[edit]

So what then is the answer? To me it appears that in cases of particularly evil idolatry, the evil households of very wicked rulers were destroyed entirely. Yes, they were destroyed for the "sins of their fathers" but only because they were engaging in them as well as illustrated by the numerous examples above!

Furthermore, passages like Jeremiah 31:29-31 and Ezekiel 18:19-24 are clearly referring to God's eternal judgment upon individuals of destruction in Hell or salvation in Heaven for eternity. With regards to this, every person bears their own burden (Galatians 6:5). God does not punish people for eternity because of the sins of their fathers. However, to try and keep the world from becoming horribly evil, God is sometimes forced to intervene and destroy whole nations at times that engage in horribly evil practices like child sacrifice.

The ancient world engaged in horrible evils and with the exception of Noah, the only man on the planet said to be doing good, appeared to have become so utterly despicable God removed Enoch from it rather than leave Enoch with the horrible human race. (Genesis 5:24, 6:5-8) God then destroyed the wicked world to recreate it anew.

In the same way the evil nations in Canaan were ordered to be utterly destroyed by God for their wicked practices that included child sacrifice. (Leviticus 18:21) God did so to try and destroy the practices from the world so that Israel and other nations would not adopt them. (Exodus 23:33, 34:12-15; Deuteronomy 7:16, 12:30, 29:18) The end result of Israel's disobedience was that they did adopt the evil of child sacrifice of the wicked nations. (Psalms 106:36-40)

Thus, while God does visit punishment upon wicked peoples during this life for the "sins of the fathers" to slow the spread of evil in this world run by Satan, God determines eternal life by individual actions. God is merciful to those who repent and turn from the ways of their fathers:

2 Chronicles 12:12 And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether: and also in Judah things went well.

2 Chronicles 32:25 But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.
26 Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

2 Chronicles 33:11 Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.
12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
13 And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.

Ezra 8:22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.
23 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Jeremiah 18:7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

Jonah 3:5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Furthermore, for purposes of human law, the Mosaic Law, it was commanded that nobody be punished for a relative's actions. (Deuteronomy 24:16) Only God is considered wise enough to judge a family's guilt according to the "third and fourth generations" (Exodus 20:5) and even then God quickly pardons individuals who turn to Him, do what is right, and repent.

In the case of Nineveh seen in Jonah 3, God pronounced a judgment on the city for the sins of their fathers, essentially, continual wicked practice generation after generation. However, the city repented and turned to God, and a merciful God pardoned the city - more interested in having people do right than keeping His word - though His word was ultimately fulfilled as Nineveh was destroyed years later apparently as revealed by excavations of the long-lost city which scholars had previously thought didn't exist.

Spiritual lineage[edit]

Jesus interestingly provided another facet to this riddle by using the passage to illustrate the difference between God as one's Father and Satan as the father of the wicked - in such a case who one's 'father' is will very much determine their eternal destiny and deeds, for if God is their Father they will do what is right, and if Satan is one's father they will do evil deeds.

John 8:38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

Malachi 1:6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?

This principle was mentioned likewise in the Old Testament:

Isaiah 63:16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.

Paul explained it as lineage according to promises God gave Abraham being through faith, not genetics or physical parentage. Thus the lineage is through faith, not 'seed' or physical lineage, and one is Abraham's descendant or child through faith and blessed accordingly, regardless of race. Paul explains it is not by circumcision (i.e. Jewish heritage) that the promise to Abraham is decided but by faith.

Romans 4:9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 ¶ (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

This was originally a puzzle to the early church at first as well, who thought only Jews could become Christians. Not until God showed Peter otherwise through a vision that this could change did the church marvel at the fact that Gentiles (non-Jews) could also be saved and follow Christ as well.

Acts 10:13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate,

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

Acts 11:1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

Acts 11:17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

At any rate, this riddle of whether Abraham's seed could include non-Jews, and whether non-Jews could be saved and become disciples of Jesus, was one of the major controversies in the early church as seen in the book of Acts.

Verse 5, God's Justice and Impartiality[edit]

The EvilBible claims a contradiction exists here, and makes the following comments (italicized).[6]

God is just and impartial

ABC:Psalms 92:15 To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

ABC:Genesis 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

ABC:Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

ABC:Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

ABC:Ezekiel 18:25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?

God is unjust and partial

ABC:Genesis 9:25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

ABC:Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

ABC:Romans 9:11-13 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

ABC:Matthew 13:12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

The critic makes some serious mistakes in trying to attribute injustice and partiality to God. First of all, Genesis 9:25 contains something Noah said, not God, and that was because his son had immorally looked at his father's nudity. As a result Noah cursed his younger son. However, even IF that had been something God had said, not Noah, it would not have necessarily shown injustice or partiality since it was a condemnation of an immoral action. Using that as the primary example of God's injustice displays seriously flawed reasoning, as well as carelessness, on the part of the critic.

The critic seems to be arguing that Exodus 20:5 displays partiality because children experience the consequences of their ancestor's decisions to the third and fourth generations. This may well be a reference to disease. God punishes individuals who hate Him with diseases and physical maladies that carry over into their later generations. However, despite this God forgives those who repent, healing their lives and bodies. The critic noticeably does not mention the next verse, Exodus 20:6, which specifically states that God shows mercy to those who love Him and righteously keep His commandments.

In the Mosaic Law, God elsewhere specifically states that children are not to be put to death for the actions of their parents, or parents for what their children have done, but punishment should be based upon their individual actions. Therefore, while God may execute forms of punishment on later generations through disease, execution was to occur only when an individual had done that which was clearly evil.

ABC:Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

ABC:2 Kings 14:6 But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the Lord commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

Ultimately final judgment at the end of the time will be based solely on a person's actions irrespective of what their ancestors have done.

ABC:2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

ABC:Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Concerning the critic's third allegation of injustice/partiality by God and Romans 9:11-13, God did determine before Jacob and Esau were born which should rule over the other. However, this is because God is able to know our personalities and what we are like inside before we're even born. Evil people begin thinking and doing evil from the womb, just as the good are known from this time as well.

ABC:Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

ABC:Psalms 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

However, God still pleads with those who are evil to change and do what is right, and makes clear that He takes no pleasure in the deaths of those who are wicked.

ABC:Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.
13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.
14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;
15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity;
he shall surely live, he shall not die.
16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
17 Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.

So, in conclusion, just because God knew enough of what Jacob and Esau were like while they were still in the womb to foreordain aspects of their lives, does not mean that God is unjust or impartial. It simply evinces the depths of God's knowledge and understanding to realize what kind of people we are from the moment we are created, even before we leave our mother's wombs. Furthermore, it should be pointed out that Esau, like his brother Jacob, was blessed permanently with land that God has permanently left to his descendants. (ABC:Deuteronomy 2:4-5)

Finally, the critic accuses God of injustice and partiality because in Matthew 13:12 Jesus says that those who have will be given more, and those with little will have that little taken away from them. However, the fuller context shows that this was spoken concerning knowledge of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The ones Jesus was speaking to had closed their own eyes (Matthew 13:14) because they did not want to realize the truth.

ABC:Matthew 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Truth is something given to those who seek it earnestly, who wish to know righteousness. Therefore it is not unjust of God to take away the understanding of those who close their eyes and ears because they don't want to know or accept the truth. God is fair and gives wisdom generously to those who seek in a right spirit by trusting God (James 1:5-6).

ABC:Proverbs 2:3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

ABC:Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

Verse 5, God Character Attributes[edit]

Don Morgan's list at Infidels claims this is a contradiction and makes the following comments (italicized).[7]

God is a vengeful god.


Genesis 4:15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

Deuteronomy 32:19 ¶ And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.

Isaiah 34:8 For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.

God is a warrior. God is a consuming fire.

Exodus 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

Isaiah 42:13 ¶ The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.


God is a jealous god.


Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 5:9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

Deuteronomy 6:15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Deuteronomy 29:20 The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.

Deuteronomy 32:21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.


The Spirit of God is (sometimes) murder and killing.


Leviticus 26:7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

Numbers 31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

Deuteronomy 20:16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:

Joshua 10:40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.

Judges 14:19 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house.

Ezekiel 9:5 ¶ And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:
6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.
7 And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.


God is angry. His anger is sometimes fierce.


Numbers 25:3 And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
4 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel.

Deuteronomy 6:15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Deuteronomy 9:7 ¶ Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD.
8 Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.

Deuteronomy 29:20 The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.

Deuteronomy 32:21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.

Psalms 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

Psalms 78:49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.

Jeremiah 4:8 For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the LORD is not turned back from us.

Jeremiah 17:4 And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.

Jeremiah 32:30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their youth: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the LORD.
31 For this city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they built it even unto this day; that I should remove it from before my face,

Zephaniah 2:2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you.

2 Samuel 22:7 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
8 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.


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."


Ezekiel 6:12 He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my fury upon them.

Nahum 1:2 ¶ God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

Nahum 1:6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.


God is love.


2 Corinthians 13:11 ¶ Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.


The fruit of the Spirit of God is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.


Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

First of all, it should be pointed out that Don Morgan deceptively excluded adjoining verses showing that God's attributes include BOTH angry vengeance and loving mercy. For example, Deuteronomy 5:9 was referenced, but not 5:10. Isaiah 42:13 was referred to but not verses 14 or 1-4. Exodus 20:5 was mentioned yet not 20:6. Exodus 15:3 was referenced not 15:13. Exodus 34:14 was brought up yet verses 6-7 noticeably unmentioned. I could keep going, but you get the idea.

Deuteronomy 5:9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,
10 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

Isaiah 42:13 ¶ The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.
14 I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once.

Isaiah 42:1 ¶ Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Exodus 15:13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.

Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

This was likely to disingenuously portray the Old Testament as exclusively portraying God as vengeful, and the New Testament portraying God as loving (which is of course not accurate, cp. Rev. 19:11-21; 2 Th. 1:8; Rom. 2:7-8; 2 Pet. 3:5-7; Mt. 24:51; Mk. 9:43; Lk. 16:24) Bible critics like to misportray the Bible like this because they do not care about honesty or truth. God is good to those who do good, and even those who do evil God has shown longsuffering, sending blessings which they have not appreciated; while giving them time to repent.

God is a God of longsuffering patience who sends his rain on the just and the unjust, and is withholding judgment to give all people more time to repent.

Romans 2:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

Matthew 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

2 Peter 3:9 ¶ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Romans 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Matthew 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

In Jesus' case, He held His peace for thousands of years, was put to death and persecuted, but will ultimately execute justice in the Earth.

Isaiah 42:14 I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once.

Matthew 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

God can be both a God of love and of vengeance. Many great martial artists, who are ordinarily very peaceful, like Bruce Lee, are the most capable and deadly fighters imaginable. Inner peace, love, and patience also allows for unspeakable rage at injustice. As John Drysden once put it, "Beware the fury of a patient man." God's love of justice will ultimately necessitate punishing the wicked; indeed paradise for good people cannot exist so long as evil people are in it, for they will persecute the righteous and corrupt such a creation the way they have this one. People ask why God allows evil in this world, seemingly unaware that for God to remove evil from this world, He would have to remove all evil people who cause evil from it.

Concerning specific verses brought up showing God's fierce wrath, such as Numbers 25:3, many relate to the Israelite adoption of a Canaanite practice to sacrifice one's children alive to idols such Baal and Molech, burning them alive and then eating them. This was the main reason God had Canaanite nations destroyed, to stop the global spread of a horrific and immoral pagan practice of cannibalistic child sacrifice. For a discussion of the subject, see Destruction of Canaanites.

Verse 8, Should We Keep the Sabbath?[edit]

Dan Barker of FFRF claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[8]

Shall We Keep the Sabbath?

Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Exodus 31:15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

Numbers 15:32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.

vs.

Isaiah 1:13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.

John 5:16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

Colossians 2:16 ¶ Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

The FFRF want to focus on the Sabbath rules under the Old Covenant, not the New Covenant which Christians are under (Jeremiah 31:31); ignoring the context of the Sabbath for which it was given, as the Israelite Pharisees did. In doing so, they ignore the principles emphasized in the New Testament by Jesus about the Sabbath, that it was intended primarily for the good of people, not as a burden. (Mk. 2:27) What matters is that the Sabbath be used to do good for others. (Mt. 12:12)

The Sabbath was intended to protect the poor from overwork, not create onerous regulations that govern what everyone can do on a certain day of the week (as the Pharisees viewed it). The Old Testament Covenant, including its rules on the Sabbath, was not kept properly by the Israelites for thousands of years, which is why Jesus brought in the New Covenant which emphasizes the underlying spiritual principles the Sabbath was intended for; protecting and helping mankind while focusing on God.

Verse 8, the Sabbath[edit]

American Atheist's list at American Atheists claims this is a contradiction.[2]

The Sabbath Day

Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Romans 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Purpose of the Sabbath: Protecting the Poor[edit]

Setting aside the Sabbath was originally done to ensure a day of rest for the poor, that they would not be overworked. It was specifically intended to stop employers from mistreating the poor, and allowing a day of rest to focus on God.

This is consistent with other Biblical commandments requiring that farmers leave a portion of their harvests for the poor including widows, orphans, and immigrants (Lev. 19:9-10), feed said poor every three years (Deut. 14:28-29), and not charge the poor interest (Ex. 22:25).

Exodus 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant,nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Leviticus 23:3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.

The Sabbath, or seventh day, was used also for years, to free the poor from their debts every 7th and 49th year, and to let the land itself rest (what is called crop rotation) with any food produced available to the poor.

Leviticus 25:8 And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.
9 Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.
10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

Leviticus 25:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.
3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;
4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
6 And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee,
7 And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat.

A New Covenant[edit]

However, Israel did not abide by God's just commandments, so God said He would bring in a new Covenant, or agreement, with the nation of Israel.

Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Hebrews 8:6 ¶ But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

For this reason, Old Testament restrictions under the Old Covenant were largely replaced with spiritual commandments that fulfilled the original intent of the Law.

Hebrews 10:1 ¶ For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

Hebrews 9:1 ¶ Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

Hebrews 9:9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

As such, the New Covenant or New Testament does not do away with the Old Testament Law, it fulfills it. (Matthew 5:17-18; Romans 3:31)

Jesus' Teachings About the Sabbath[edit]

Jesus in the New Testament was attacked by the Pharisees, who focused on the strict wording of the Old Testament laws while ignoring the context and purpose for which they were given. The Pharisees attacked Jesus over:

  • Healing sick people on the Sabbath day. (Mt. 12:9-13; Mk. 3:1-6; Lk. 14:1-6; John 5:8-17)
  • Freeing those possessed by demons on the Sabbath day. (Lk. 13:10-17)
  • Allowing His disciples to harvest food on the Sabbath day so they wouldn't go hungry. (Mt. 12:1-8)

Jesus responded by pointing out that David, when he and his soldiers were hungry, ate the shewbread reserved for the priests, and allowed his soldiers to do so as well. (Mt. 12:2) Jesus also pointed out that the priests in the temple were themselves ignoring the Sabbath and were not held accountable for centuries. (Mt. 12:5) The Pharisees would rescue one of their livestock which fell in a hole on the Sabbath, yet they condemned Him for healing a woman on the Sabbath who had been demon-possessed for 18 years. People should be considered more valuable than animals, and if it is alright to help an animal on the Sabbath, it should be alright to help a person as well. (Lk. 13:16)

As Jesus pointed out, "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." (Mk. 2:27) It was intended to protect the poor for their benefit, not burden them with onerous regulations as the Pharisees were using it to do. Jesus also pointed out that God the Father does not stop working on the Sabbath (meaning that otherwise all Creation would probably stop functioning every Sabbath otherwise) so He works as well. (Jn. 5:18) He further observed that the Pharisees practiced circumcision on the Sabbath, a medical procedure, so healing others should be permissible on the Sabbath. (Jn. 7:23) Ultimately, Jesus' retort essentially came down to "I made the Sabbath in the first place. I can decide how it's applied." (Mt. 12:8; Mk. 2:28;

Matthew 12:3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

Mark 2:24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

John 5:16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
17 ¶ But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

Luke 13:10 ¶ And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.
11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.
15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

Mark 3:1 ¶ And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

John 7:22 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man.
23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?

Overlooked Context[edit]

This is essentially what American Atheists are neglecting to see by only looking at the first verse; Exodus 20:8. First of all, the commandment was intended for the good of the poor. Secondly, it was the "sabbath of the Lord." Jesus, as the Old Testament Angel of the Lord who gave such commandments to the Israelites in the first place, had every right to declare Himself "Lord of the Sabbath day."

Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

The New Testament Teaching[edit]

The New Testament discourages legalistic regulation of certain days (including the Sabbath day). Ultimately we should be focusing on and worshiping God every day, not just the Sabbath day. What ultimately matters is that the poor are resting at least one day a week, regardless of which day it is; that is the underlying principle; and that we are spending at least one day a week to focus on God. Furthermore, it is alright to do good on the Sabbath day.

The Sabbath was intended to protect the poor from overwork, not create onerous regulations that govern what everyone can do on a certain day of the week (as the Pharisees viewed it). The Old Testament Covenant, including its rules on the Sabbath, was not kept properly by the Israelites for thousands of years, which is why Jesus brought in the New Covenant which emphasizes the underlying spiritual principles the Sabbath was intended for; protecting and helping mankind while focusing on God.

The New Testament calls us to a higher view of the Sabbath, where we are to worship God constantly, not just one day a week, doing everything for God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). We are called to constantly focus on the good of others, as the Sabbath was intended for.

Colossians 2:16 ¶ Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Romans 14:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Conclusion[edit]

American Atheists want to focus on the Sabbath rules under the Old Covenant, not the New Covenant which Christians are under; ignoring the context of the Sabbath for which it was given, as the Israelite Pharisees did. In doing so, they ignore the principles emphasized in the New Testament by Jesus about the Sabbath, that it was intended primarily for the good of people, not as a burden. (Mk. 2:27) What matters is that the Sabbath be used to do good for others. (Mt. 12:12)

Verse 12 (ThinkingAtheist)[edit]

TheThinkingAtheist.com claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments:[4]

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Part of the Ten Commandments.

Deuteronomy 5:16 Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Honor your parents.

Matthew 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

Curse your parents and be executed.

Matthew 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

What, exactly, happened to "Honor your father and mother?"

Luke 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Division, parent against child.

Notice that Jesus nowhere contradicts the commandment to honor one's parents, He simply prophesies that because of Christianity division of families will occur where the families of Christians persecute them. In other words, this has nothing to do with a commandment, but rather Jesus prophesying that Christians would be put to death for their belief in Him. Had TheThinkingAtheist.com observed the passage's context, they would have noticed this, e.g. the verses immediately preceding Matthew 10:35-37:

Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

When read in context with proper reading comprehension it is very obvious Jesus was never saying one shouldn't honor their parents, but warning His disciples they would be put to death for believing in Him, see especially Matthew 10:22 which sums it up, "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." Jesus told His disciples to flee into other cities if persecuted (v. 23), told them "the disciple is not above his master" and if they hated Jesus they'll hate His followers also (vv. 24-25), that Christians should not fear those who can kill the body but not the soul (v. 28), that God watches over even the number of hairs on our heads (vv.30-31), and that those who deny Jesus under such persecution He will deny, and those who confess Him He will confess. (vv. 32-33)

The entire chapter, read in context, shows the subject was persecution Christians would endure, even from their own families, and certainly not a commandment to disobey one's parents and one of the 10 commandments. Jesus elsewhere reaffirmed that children should honor their parents, see also Matthew 19:19; Mark 7:10, and 10:19.

Matthew 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

Luke 18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
18:20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.

John 8:49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.

Verse 12 (American Atheists)[edit]

American Atheists claims the Bible is wrong about the passage (and makes the following comments (italicized).[2]

Family Relationships

Exodus 20:12 ¶ Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Luke 14:26 ¶ If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Jesus elsewhere repeats the commandment to honour one's parents, even criticizing the Pharisees for nullifying God's commandment to do so through their tradition (Matthew 15:4-9; 19:19; Mark 7:10-13; 10:19). Jesus never says not to honour our parents. Rather, He is teaching that we must love God more than them; and warning us that by following Him our family members will become our greatest enemies. The Gospel divides families apart; rather than bringing peace it creates division. Lies and dishonesty unite people through deception, truth spoken results in disagreement. In essence, Jesus is warning those who would follow Him that they must be willing to follow Him more than their own siblings and parents, and be willing to disagree with their own relatives. (Matthew 10:35-38; Luke 12:51-53)

In one case, a disciple wants to delay preaching the Gospel until he has buried his father. Jesus tells him to let the dead bury the dead, and to preach the Gospel. Another disciple wants to bid his family goodbye first before preaching the Gospel. Jesus tells the disciple that his reluctance makes him unfit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:59-62) The apostles in some cases had to forsake their own families and properties to follow Jesus (this did not occur in all cases, Peter for example was married - Mark 1:30), and were told that in doing so they would be rewarded with 100 times what they had lost, as well as with everlasting life. (Matthew 19:29) In summary, Jesus never negates the Biblical commandment to honour one's parents, indeed He Himself makes certain that Mary is provided for by John upon His death. (John 19:26-27) Rather, He teaches that Christians must be willing to follow Him even when doing so pits them against their unbelieving family members, and to do the will of God rather than the will of man.

Verse 13, Should We Kill?[edit]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[1] Dan Barker of FFRF also claims there is a contradiction here.[8]

Should We Kill?

Exodus 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.

Leviticus 24:17 And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.

vs.

Exodus 32:27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, 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 neighbour.

1 Samuel 6:19 ¶ And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.

1 Samuel 15:2-8 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. And Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to a city of Amalek and laid wait in the valley. And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.

Numbers 15:36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.

Hosea 13:16 Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

For a discussion of the defense that the Commandments prohibit only murder, see "Murder, He Wrote", chapter 27 (Losing Faith In Faith: From Preacher To Atheist).

The Hebrew word translated "kill" in Exodus 20:13, ratsach, is translated as "murder" or "murderer" 17 out of the 47 times it is used in the Old Testament by the KJV. It is also translated "slayer," "slain," or "slayeth" 21 times, and twice it is translated as manslayer. Only 5 times is it translated as "kill."[9] The confusion is in large part caused by the KJV not translating the same Hebrew words identically throughout the New Testament, and the word ratsach, had it been correctly translated into English as murder, would have removed any confusion.

God allows killing to stop, punish, or deter evil in cases of war or judicial punishment. See e.g. the commandment of "eye for an eye." However, harming others without provocation or even out of vengeance is prohibited; for God has always commanded that "vengeance is mine, I will repay." (Leviticus 19:18) The cases mentioned above do not violate the Biblical prohibition against murder; and were all judicial punishments ordained by God. In Exodus 32:7 the Israelites were sacrificing their own children alive to a golden calf to honor Baal and Molech while committing sexual perversions, so God ordered those responsible destroyed to prevent the spread of wickedly immoral practices.

In 1 Samuel 15:2-8 God ordered the destruction of a wicked group of people that had attacked the Israelites, murdering Israel's feeble rather than fighting Israel's warriors, presumably women, children, and the elderly. (cp. Deuteronomy 25:18) In the case of Hosea 13:16 the sins of Israel included idolatry involving child sacrifice (Ezekiel 16:20), for which they were punished horribly as a nation by God allowing their enemies to destroy them. The cases of 1 Samuel 6:19 and Numbers 15:36 were similarly judicial punishments commanded by God for disobedience, specifically working on the Sabbath and looking into the Ark of the Covenant, which represented God's Holy of Holies. At any rate, none of the cases could be considered murder as they clearly involved God-directed punishments through God's governance/government, not willful decisions by individuals to harm others without provocation or take vengeance into their own hands.

Verse 14[edit]

The ReasonProject lists the following as a Bible contradiction with the headline "Is it wrong to commit adultery?"[10]

Exodus 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Deuteronomy 5:18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery.

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Numbers 31:18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

Hosea 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. 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, departing from the LORD.

Hosea 3:1 Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.

First of all, the inference is that Moses' action in Number 31 was supported by God which is nowhere stated. Actually Moses by giving the commandment directly disobeyed God's original command not to make a covenant with the Midianites or have relationships with their descendants. (Exodus 23:32, 34:11-17; Deuteronomy 7:2-4, 20:16-18) For more on why this was necessary to stop the horrid Canaanite practice of cannibalistic child sacrifice, see Destruction of Canaanites.

Actually Moses' disobedience was so great that God shortly after this punished Moses by not letting him enter the Promised Land. (Deuteronomy 32:51) Moses similarly disobeyed God by allowing Israelites to divorce their wives, which as Jesus pointed out was contrary to what God intended. (Mark 10:4-12) Jesus if asked about this would likely have said the same thing, that this was a case of Moses disobeying God's commandments. Moses had a history of disobeying God as far back as the burning bush, when God repeatedly told Moses to go to Pharaoh, and Moses first complained that he was a nobody, then complained Pharaoh wouldn't listen, argued he couldn't speak well, and finally just told God to go bother someone else. (Exodus 3:11-4:14)

As for the Hosea passages, the Scofield Study Bible III has addressed this very well in its note for Hosea 1:2:

1:2 take to yourself an adulterous wife. God did not command Hosea to take an adulterous wife but permitted him to carry out his desire to marry Gomer, warning him that she would be unfaithful, and using the prophet's tragic experience as a basis for portraying God's relation to Israel during a time of unfaithfulness. Hosea's marriage is no less historical because his children were given symbolic names as a message to Israel (vv. 4,6,9). Compare Isa. 8:18.

-The Scofield Study Bible III, Oxford University Press[11]

For an alternative view, Edward Ridenour of the Christian Post argues that Gomer wasn't originally an adulteress when Hosea married her, and points to Hosea 2:7 as evidence that Hosea was Gomer's first husband.[12] As an interesting side note, the story of Hosea has inspired Christian books such as Francine Rivers' novel, "Redeeming Love."

Verse 15, Should We Steal?[edit]

Dan Barker of FFRF claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[8]

Should We Steal?

Exodus 20:15 Thou shalt not steal.

Leviticus 19:13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

vs.

Exodus 3:22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.

Exodus 12:35-36 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.

Luke 19:29-34 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him.

FFRF omits the context of both Exodus 3:22 and Exodus 12:35-36, quoting only a small part of the verses, the phrases about spoiling the Egyptians. If reading the entire verses (as quoted here), it is apparent that the spoiling was done through the Israelites asking the Egyptians to give them things, rather than any form of theft. Indeed, Exodus 3:21 shows that the Egyptians did so willingly because God "will give these people favour in the sight of the Egyptians."

The Egyptians gave willingly to the Israelites whom they had enslaved for centuries, eager to get rid of the plagues God was sending. (Exodus 12:33) The Egyptians willingly loaned to the Israelites. (Exodus 12:36). There was no theft involved.

As for Luke 19:29-34, the owners of the colt were clearly followers of Jesus; or they would not have accepted an explanation that "the Lord hath need of him." Jesus knew they would ask, and thus told the disciples what to say. It may be that Jesus had already arranged with the colt's owners ahead of time that he would one day have need of the colt. Whatever the reason, the owners accepted the explanation and allowed the disciples to take the colt for the Lord's use. (cp. Mark 11:3,6) More than that we are not told, but the owners willingly relinquished the colt; there was no theft involved.

Verse 16, Should We Tell Lies?[edit]

Dan Barker of FFRF claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[8]

Should We Tell Lies?

Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Proverbs 12:22 ¶ Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.

vs.

1 Kings 22:23 Now, therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

Strange as it might seem, God does allow dishonesty for the purpose of defeating wickedness, by using their own tactics against them. As it is written, "With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward." (Psalms 18:26) Job observes that "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." (Job 5:13) Jesus called Christians to be wise as serpents but harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16) God sends punishments on the wicked for their sins. (Lamentations 3:38-41) God used lying spirits throughout the Bible to deceive those engaging in sin and idolatry that they might be punished. (cp. Ezekiel 14:7-10; Judges 9:23; 1 Kings 22:23; 2 Chronicles 18:19-22; Job 12:16-17; Isaiah 19:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:11)

Unfortunately righteous people cannot always be honest with the wicked, lest they be destroyed. Evil people do not play by the rules, and the righteous cannot always be open and honest with evil people, which is why even Jesus simply ignored evil people trying to entrap Him at times. (Matthew 26:63; 27:12; John 8:6) From a government standpoint, always speaking truthfully will result in betrayal by evil people who use espionage, allowing for the downfall of good governments unless they fight back through counter-espionage. Even righteous people in the Bible used lies and deception to avoid danger from those they considered wicked. (cp. Genesis 12:13-20; 20:1-13; 26:6-11; 34:13-26; Judges 4:19-21; 1 Samuel 21:13)

So how then can the two concepts be reconciled? False witness in Exodus 20:16 involved more than just dishonesty but distorting the truth when testifying legally (as in court of law) to harm the innocent and pervert justice. (cp. Deuteronomy 19:16-19; Exodus 23:1-8) The condemnation was not for occasional dishonesty, but using that dishonesty to destroy others without a cause. (Proverbs 3:30) As for Proverbs 12:22, lying lips are those which lie habitually to harm others without a cause, as contrasted with those that deal truthfully. (cp. Psalms 31:18,13; Proverbs 10:18; 17:7; Psalms 120:2-4) However, even righteous, ordinarily truthful people in the Bible had, at times, to use deception to avoid the traps of the wicked, as mentioned previously.

Verse 20[edit]

TheThinkingAtheist.com claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments:[4]

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Part of the Ten Commandments.

Deuteronomy 5:16 Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Honor your parents.

Matthew 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

Curse your parents and be executed.

Matthew 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

What, exactly, happened to "Honor your father and mother?"

Luke 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Division, parent against child.

Notice that Jesus nowhere contradicts the commandment to honor one's parents, He simply prophesies that because of Christianity division of families will occur where the families of Christians persecute them. In other words, this has nothing to do with a commandment, but rather Jesus prophesying that Christians would be put to death for their belief in Him. Had TheThinkingAtheist.com observed the passage's context, they would have noticed this, e.g. the verses immediately preceding Matthew 10:35-37:

Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

When read in context with proper reading comprehension it is very obvious Jesus was never saying one shouldn't honor their parents, but warning His disciples they would be put to death for believing in Him, see especially Matthew 10:22 which sums it up, "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." Jesus told His disciples to flee into other cities if persecuted (v. 23), told them "the disciple is not above his master" and if they hated Jesus they'll hate His followers also (vv. 24-25), that Christians should not fear those who can kill the body but not the soul (v. 28), that God watches over even the number of hairs on our heads (vv.30-31), and that those who deny Jesus under such persecution He will deny, and those who confess Him He will confess. (vv. 32-33)

The entire chapter, read in context, shows the subject was persecution Christians would endure, even from their own families, and certainly not a commandment to disobey one's parents and one of the 10 commandments. Jesus elsewhere reaffirmed that children should honor their parents, see also Matthew 19:19; Mark 7:10, and 10:19.

Matthew 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

Luke 18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
18:20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.

John 8:49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.

Sources[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Seidensticker, P. (2018, October 20). "Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions." Patheos.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 N.a. (2019). "Biblical Contradictions? American Atheists.
  3. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Bible Contradictions. TheThinkingAtheist.
  5. GotQuestions.org. Are children punished for the sins of their fathers? Retrieved from http://www.gotquestions.org/parents-sin.html.
  6. Thiefe, Chris. Biblical Contradictions. EvilBible.com.
  7. Morgan, Donald. Bible Inconsistencies: Bible Contradictions? Internet Infidels.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Barker, D. (2019). "Bible Contradictions." FFRF.
  9. Brown, Driver, Briggs, and Gesenius (2019). "Ratsach." BibleStudyTools.
  10. Marlow, Andy (2009). Contradictions in the Bible. Project Reason.
  11. Scofield, C.I. (2006). The Scofield Study Bible III. p. 1145. Oxford University Press.
  12. Ridenour, Edward (2011, January 17). God Told Hosea To Do What? The Christian Post.