ABC:Acts 13

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Verse 21

The ReasonProject claims a Bible contradiction exists here with the headline "How long was the ark of the covenant at Abinadab's house?"[1]

1 Samuel 7:1 And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD.
2 And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.

1 Samuel 10:24 And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.

2 Samuel 6:2 And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.
3 And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.

Acts 13:21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.

To understand the skeptic's reasoning, it may be necessary to check the description given at the Skeptic's Annotated Bible:

"1 Sam.7:1-2 says that the ark of the covenant was brought to Abinadab's house and that it stayed there for 20 years. This was before Saul was made king (1 Sam.10:24).

But according to 2 Sam.6:2-3, David removed the ark from Abinadab's house. And Acts 13:21 says that Saul (David's predecessor) was king for 40 years. So the ark must have been at Abinadab's house for more than 40 years."[2]

The critic is incorrect that David was the first to remove the Ark of the Covenant. Saul actually removed it earlier as mentioned in 1 Samuel 14:18.

1 Samuel 14:18 And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel.

Apparently the Ark got returned again to Abinadab at some point by Saul, but there was definitely an intermediate period where it was with Israel and being moved about by Saul, though we aren't given details of this. It is rather ironic that the skeptic in quoting 3 different books of the Bible missed the crucial verse just a few chapters away. There is no contradiction though, the critic was just ignorant of the fact the Ark of the Covenant wasn't at Abinadab's house the entire time.


  1. Marlow, Andy (2009). Contradictions in the Bible. Project Reason.
  2. How Long Was the Ark of the Covenant at Abinadab's House? The Skeptic's Annotated Bible.