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The following is a complete debunking of the Wikipedia list of alleged Biblical contradictions. Wikipedia makes the following comments (italicized). Please note that this is just a concise summary of all answers to the alleged contradictions, for more detail and sourcing please see the related pages.



Wikipedia List

Claims 1-10

Allegation Solution


1. Number of soldiers in an army

1 Chronicles 21:5 And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword.

2 Samuel 24:9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

Wikipedia omits the crucial verse, 1 Chronicles 21:6, which explains the discrepancy. Unlike in 1 Samuel 24, 1 Chronicles 21 states "But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them." In other words, 1 Chronicles 21 is omitting 2 of the 12 tribes of Israel.
1 Chronicles 21:5 And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword.
6 But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them: for the king's word was abominable to Joab.

1.1 million is 85% of 1.3 million, and 5/6 (10 tribes out of 12) is 83%, so it appears that for whatever reason two fewer tribes are being counted in 1 Samuel 24. Why that might be we can only hypothesize, perhaps a separate count of Levi and Benjamin was performed once it was discovered Joab had disobeyed, and the full amount given in 1 Samuel 24. At any rate, the two accounts are perfectly congruent in light of the fact that two fewer tribes were being counted in 1 Chronicles 21:5. The math works perfectly also, the percentage of soldiers missing is almost exact for the number of tribes missing (2/12, or 1/6). Given that certain tribes will be larger than others, some slight variation (in this case 2%, 85% - 83%0) is to be expected.


2. Year a certain king began his reign

2 Chronicles 36:9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.

2 Kings 24:8 ¶ Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.

Both passages are correct. Jehoiachin began to reign in Judah at age 8 (2 Chronicles 36:9) and in Jerusalem at age 18 (2 Kings 24:8). For a more detailed (and excellent) explanation of this, see KJV Today.[1] As KJV Today points out:
"Jehoiachin’s co-regency of ten years corresponds perfectly with his father Jehoiakim’s reign of eleven years (2 Chronicles 36:5). Moreover, as soon as the Babylonian invasion looms into the picture, Chronicles begins to use the phrase, 'king over Judah and Jerusalem' (2 Chronicles 36:4, 10)."
-KJV Today
As for one account mentioning additional days, the first account was simply giving time in number of months, and never mentioned the days as did the second account. Many Biblical accounts when saying someone reigned for X years, for example, are not mentioning how many months or days, but just giving the number of years, as they would not keep track of the exact number of months, days, hours, or minutes. Rather than a contradiction, it's just a matter of additional detail.


3. The details of Apostle Paul's itinerary

Acts 9; 11; 15; 18:22; 21 vs. Galatians 1:18; 2:1.

Acts 18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

Galatians 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

Galatians 2:1 ¶ Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.

Wikipedia does not specify why this is considered a contradiction. It is possible that it involves what was done in Jerusalem, and to what degree Paul was known in the city, as addressed by John Oakes of Evidence for Christianity and Chris Blomberg of Biblical Training.[2] However, without clarification as to why a contradiction is assumed to exist, supposition would be futile.


4. Separate stories of creation

On this point, Ronald Witherup gives the example of Genesis 1-2, which most scholars view as two separate stories of creation written by different authors in different time periods. "Most biblical scholars accept Genesis 1 as originating around the sixth century B.C. with a group of scribes who were concerned about the preservation of the liturgical traditions of the Jews (thus the concern for the seven-day schema of creation and the notion of the sabbath). Genesis 2, on the other hand, originates from an earlier, more primitive tradition dated to around the tenth century B.C." Fundamentalists argue that this is simply the same story told twice, the first time (Gen 1:1-2:4) being poetic and the second one (Gen 2:4-25) being more anthropomorphic.

The Genesis 1 and 2 passages are of course not accounts of the same event with contradicting details. Rather, Genesis 1:1-2:3 is God's account of creation, and 2:4-4:27 is Adam's account of the Garden of Eden. Genesis 1:1-2:3 (1:1, an account of "In the beginning") is not the same account as Genesis 2:4-4:26 (2:4, "generations of the heavens and the Earth") - Genesis 1 relates God's account of how the Earth and creation were made, Genesis 2-4 relates Adam's account of God creating individual life in the Garden of Eden, including himself. Genesis 2:19 does not relate the original creation of cattle and birds, but recreation of more animals of the types already created to see what Adam will name them. Genesis 2 does not show an additional account of the original creation, which would make no sense, rather it starts with Day 6 and Adam's creation as told from his point of view, and relates God recreating animals already made in the Garden of Eden to see what Adam will name them.

Genesis is actually subdivided into different accounts with the Hebrew word "towl@dah" meaning "generations" or "genealogy."[3] For more on this, see the Wiseman Hypothesis, aka the Tablet Theory, the competing theory to the Documentary Hypothesis.[4] This word marks the start of a new account in Genesis 2:4 just like it marks the beginning of accounts throughout the book of Genesis. Genesis appears to be a collation of different accounts by patriarchs like Adam, Noah, and Abraham that are each comprised of a genealogy and a narrative the same way ancient Mesopotamian family tablets are, with Moses the one who likely combined them.


5. Slaughtering an animal before the Temple

There are further examples of other types of inconsistency in the Old Testament. In the account of the slaughtering of an animal before the Temple, it states that the animal: "was killed at the entrance to the tabernacle, north of the altar, and cut up." The most natural interpretation of the Hebrew wording is that the slaughtering was done by the one making the offering rather than by the priest. If so, it contradicts Ezekiel 44:11, where it is done by the Levites, and 2 Chr 29:22, 24 where done by the priests.

Once again Wikipedia fails to specify when it comes to the alleged contradiction; this time not even mentioning which verse is supposedly contradictory. The quote (along with everything after it, which should also be in quotations) is not from the Bible, but from page 96 of the Oxford Bible Commentary.[5] As seen from page 95 the reference is to Leviticus chapters 1-5.

First of all, in Leviticus 1-5, the sacrifices were at least partly performed by the Levites. The Levites were responsible for kindling the altar (1:7), burning the animal on the altar (1:8-9; 2:2,9,16; 3:5,11,16; 4:19-21,26,31,35), and sprinkling the blood around the altar (1:5,11; 3:2,8,13; 4:5-7,16-18,25,30,34). In the case of birds sacrificed, the Levites themselves killed the sacrifice, cleaned it, burned it, and wrung out the blood beside the altar. (1:15-17; 5:10-12) The Levites may also have been solely responsible for sacrifices of rams. (5:18)

The Oxford Bible Commentary concludes a contradiction exists with Ezekiel 44:11 because there the Levites are said to be killing the burnt offering and sacrifice before the people, even though in Ezekiel 44 the Levites referred to are being condemned for their wickedness. (vv. 10,12-13) In other words, their actions are hardly commended or commanded by God in killing the burnt offering and sacrifices. However, even if that were not the case, such phrasing would still be accurate, since in Leviticus 1:15-17 and 5:10-12 they were indeed responsible for killing sacrifices, birds specifically.

As for 2 Chronicles 29, the Levites are priests. It is strange that the Oxford Bible Commentary is ignorant of that fact. Regardless, there is no contradiction. The Levites were always responsible for killing of some sacrifices per Leviticus 1-5; and the Oxford Bible Commentary makes some very carelessly false claims.


6. Numerical figures

There are several places in the Old Testament where numerical figures can be directly compared. For example, both Ezra 2:1–65 and Nehemiah 7:6–67 present the list of Jewish families that "came up out of the captivity of the exiles ... and returned to Jerusalem and Judah". But the two lists disagree on the number of members of each family. In total, there are nearly twenty numerical discrepancies between the lists. Furthermore, in both cases a total figure of 42,360 people is given, but the partial figures do not add up to the total. A third version of the list exists in the apocryphal book 1 Esdras.

It's a little-known fact that the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were actually one book originally, just like the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles originally were, and just got subdivided. Whereas the Ezra 2 account presents the information as recorded firsthand, the Nehemiah 7 account speaks of finding an earlier registry (v. 5). Perhaps the early chapters of Ezra (which were one book with Nehemiah) were part of this early registry the book's author discovered, and he presented the account first before providing his own.

If so, then there were two censuses taken, with the author trying to perform his own census similar to the original census by re-counting the tribes once again. The first census appears to have been taken in the empire of Babylon, the most powerful in the world at the time, for the children of Israel leaving captivity, around 538 B.C. The second, on the other hand, appears to be an account years later by the Jewish immigrants attempting to rebuild their destroyed homeland, around 444 B.C., nearly a century later.

Ultimately, since these were part of the same book, it makes no sense for there to be two accounts at all unless such a scenario had happened. Why recount the same census in the same book, unless there were really two censuses being attempted?


7. Moses' teaching of the Law

In Deuteronomy chapter 4, verses 1 and 8 state that Moses is about to teach the laws "today". Verse 8, in the Hebrew text, even says that the "entire Torah" is to be taught today. However, verse 5 suggests that the laws have already been delivered some time in the past.

Deuteronomy 4:1-8 ¶ Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.
2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
4 But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.
5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

This is just poor reading comprehension on the part of the critic in seeing a contradiction where none exists. In v. 1, Moses states that Israel should listen to the statutes and judgments he is teaching; note that Moses does not say that the statutes are new ones. In verse 5, Moses states that he has taught Israel statutes and judgments as God commanded him; but never says that no more statutes or judgments will be given, although verse 2 does command against changing it. Ultimately however, Israel did not keep the Law they were given, the Covenant or Agreement that God made them, and thus God brought in a New Covenant/Testament/Agreement. (Jeremiah 31:31; Hebrews 8:8,13)

Sources

  1. N.a. (2019). "'Eight years old' or 'Eighteen years old' in 2 Chronicles 36:9?" KJV Today.
  2. Oakes, J. (2012, January 25). "Can You Explain the Contradiction Between Acts 9 and Galatians 1:22 About What Paul Did in Jerusalem?" Evidence for Christianity.
    Blomberg, C. (2013, December 11). "Is There a Contradiction Between Paul's Actions in Acts 9 and What He Writes in Galatians 1?" Biblical Training.
  3. Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius (2019). "Hebrew Lexicon entry for Towl@dah." The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
  4. Sewell, C. (1998-2001). "The Tablet Theory of Genesis Authorship." In Bible and Spade (1994, Winter) 7(1). TrueOrigin.
    Garrett, D. (2010, September 24). "The Documentary Hypothesis." Associates for Biblical Research.
  5. Barton, J. & Muddiman, J. (2001). "The Oxford Bible Commentary." Oxford University Press.