Christian reading

Issue N36

answers for a jew, valeriy sterkh

Answers for a Jew

Can there be mistakes in the Holy Scriptures? (beginning)

Question: If a book which is given by God contains but one mistake, it will lose its value, for it will not be perfect. Can such a book be properly called the Holy Scriptures?

Answer: There are difficult passages in the Bible. Some people see them as mistakes, others try to interpret them. There are difficult passages both in Tahakh (the Jewish Old Testament).

The first book of Moses says: «Shem was an hundred [100] years old, and begat Arphaxad two [2] years after the flood» (Gen 11:10). There's a contradiction here with other passages from Genesis:

«And Noah was five hundred [500] years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth» (Gen 5:32).

«And Noah was six hundred [600] years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth» (Gen 7:6).

There are significant differences between the books of Samuel and Kings and the chronological accounts of the kings of Israel and Judah in books of Chronicles. To this day, scholars have not come up with any acceptable way to reconcile them. Besides, the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles contain other contradictions:

1a. «David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates. And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred [700] horsemen [Tanakh: thousand seven hundred (1700) horsemen; LXX: seven thousand (7000) horsemen], and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for an hundred chariots» (2 Sam 8:3-4).

1b. «And David smote Hadarezer king of Zobah unto Hamath, as he went to stablish his dominion by the river Euphrates. And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand [7000] horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: David also houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them an hundred chariots» (1 Chron 18:3-4).

2a. «And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred [700] chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen [sic], and smote Shobach [sic] the captain of their host, who died there» (2 Sam 10:18).

2b. «But the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians seven thousand [7000] men which fought in chariots, and forty thousand footmen [sic], and killed Shophach [sic] the captain of the host» (1 Chron 19:18).

3a. «And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar [sic]: she was a woman of a fair countenance» (2 Sam 14:27).

3b. «And after her he [Rehoboam] took Maachah the daughter of Absalom [sic]; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith» (2 Chron 11:20).

3c. «He [Abijah the son of Rehoboam] reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Michaiah the daughter of Uriel [sic] of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam» (2 Chron 13:2).

4a. «These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite [LXX: Isbosev the Canaanite] that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred [800], whom he slew at one time» (2 Sam 23:8).

4b. «And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite [LXX: Iesvaal son Ahamani], the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred [300] slain by him at one time» (1 Chron 11:11).

5a. «And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand [800000] valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand [500000] men» (2 Sam 24:9).

5b. «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 [1100000] men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand [470000] men that drew sword» (1 Chron 21:5).

6a. «So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven [7] years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me» (2 Sam 24:13).

6b. «So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee either three [3] years' famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the LORD, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now therefore advise thyself what word I shall bring again to him that sent me» (1 Chron 21:11-12).

7a. «And Solomon had forty thousand [40000] stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen» (1 Kings 4:26).

7b. «And Solomon had four thousand [4000] stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem» (2 Chron 9:25).

8a. «And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains; beside the chief of Solomon's officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred [3300], which ruled over the people that wrought in the work» (1 Kings 5:15-16).

8b. «And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred [3600] to oversee them» (2 Chron 2:2).

9a. «And it [molten (copper) sea of Solomon] was an hand breadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies: it contained two thousand [2000] baths» (1 Kings 7:26).

9b. «And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received and held three thousand [3000] baths» (2 Chron 4:5).

(to be continued)