ABC:Matthew 26

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Verse 6

TheThinkingAtheist.com claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments:[1]

Matthew 26:6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.

The anointing happens in Bethany, at the house of Simon the leper. An unnamed woman anoints Jesus. Oil is placed on Jesus’ head.

Luke 7:36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

The anointing takes place at the house of a Pharisee in Galilee. Oil is placed not on Jesus’ head, but on his feet.

John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

It isn’t an unnamed woman sinner who anoints Jesus, but Mary who does the honors.

The Matthew and John passages relate the same incident involving Mary, as does Mark 14:3, but the Luke 7 passage is obviously not even the same incident. It doesn't even occur close to the same time! The incident with Mary occurs near the end of the Gospels right before the Passover/Crucifixion, whereas the Luke 7 incident is much earlier in Jesus' ministry. Whoever claimed this as a contradiction has a serious issue with telling time, and that's putting it nicely. These are obviously two different cases.

Maybe the critic was just additionally ignorant that anointing was not a rare occasion by any means in ancient Israel, but done constantly. It was done for daily cleanliness. (Matthew 6:17) It was done for burials. (Mark 14:8) It was done by the disciples and Jesus when healing the sick. (Mark 6:13, John 9:11) It was done for appointing kings (1 Chronicles 29:22, 2 Chronicles 23:11) and priests (Leviticus 4:5, Leviticus 8:12) so that God's leaders were actually termed God's "anointed." (1 Samuel 2:10, 1 Chronicles 16:22) It was done to purify vessels of the temple (Leviticus 8:10-11), altars (Numbers 7:84-88, and the garments of priests. (Exodus 29:29) In other words, if they just assumed these were the same incident because they thought anointing was a rare occasion, they made a big mistake in being completely ignorant of what Israel was like; anointing was a major part of Israelite practice in numerous facets of life.

And as for the critic claiming a contradiction because "It isn’t an unnamed woman sinner who anoints Jesus, but Mary who does the honors"? This would be like someone referring to you as "that person over there" and another referring to you by name, it's obviously not a contradiction to just refer to someone with a descriptor instead of a name. The logic in claiming that a contradiction is just ridiculous; it's obviously not a contradiction to just give more detail about someone. If one writer wants to refer to her as a woman and another by name, they certainly are not contradicting. This would be like referring to George Clooney as "an actor" and as "George Clooney", both statements are true and accurate, he is both an actor and George Clooney.

Verse 74

Infidels.org calls as a contradiction, "How many times did the cock crow?"[2]

Mark 14:30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.

Mark 14:72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

Matthew 26:74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

John 13:38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, still thou hast denied me thrice.

John 18:27 Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.

The simple answer is twice, but only once after Jesus said this. The rooster had already crowed once, and Jesus predicted Peter would deny him three times before it crowed a second time. Therefore Peter did so before it crowed once more, a second time. There's nothing contradictory about these passages in the slightest.

Sources

  1. TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/page/bible-contradictions.
  2. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.