Divinely doubleminded?: Bible contradictions debunked

A great number of well-educated secular academics find great pleasure in attacking God’s word to convert others, especially those with Christian backgrounds, to their atheist/agnostic mindset.  One of their main tools is to highlight what seem to be contradictory or erroneous statements written in the Bible.  But careful observation and research prove neither God nor his human writers made mistakes when writing the Bible.  And those who made copies were very meticulous to avoid copyist errors.  Even though people in Christendom have caved to the critics in attributing these so-called mistakes to copyist errors, this isn’t the case at all.  Here are a few of the so-called errors they enjoy highlighting:

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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.’

2 Chronicles 22:2 “Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.”

Was Ahaziah 22 or 42 when he began to reign?  The answer to this question depends on which part of his reign you’re talking about.  But to get some idea of Ahaziah’s reign (he was also called Jehoahaz and Azariah), we have to take a brief look at the reign of Jehoram, king of Israel and son of Ahab.  Jehoram was Ahaziah’s uncle and brother to Ahaziah’s mother Athaliah.

We get a good understanding from Jehoram’s reign, first of all, because Jehoram and Ahaziah were both killed on the same day by Jehu who was sent by God to punish Ahab’s wicked family.  In 2 Kings 1:17, Jehoram (also called Joram) is said to have begun his reign during the second year of Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram, who reigned in Judah.  So we have two Jehorams reigning at the same time.

Another reason to look at the reign of Ahab’s son Jehoram is because 2 Kings 3:1 says this Jehoram began his reign the 18th year of the reign of Jehoshaphat in Judah.  How could this be when it says in 2 Kings 1 that this Jehoram began his reign in the second year of the reign of Jehoshaphat’s son?  The reign of the kings in this part of the world at this time was not in linear succession like the kings of Europe.  In other words, it was standard practice to have a king and his successor to the throne reigning at the same time instead of the successor waiting for his predecessor’s death to reign.  Jehoshaphat and his son Jehoram were co-regents in Judah.

Therefore, when Ahab’s son Jehoram took the throne, Jehoshaphat was in his 18th year as king of Judah at the same time that his son Jehoram was in his second year as co-regent of Judah.  Then in the fifth year of Ahab’s son Jehoram over Israel, Jehoshaphat’s Jehoram in Judah began another phase of his reign, according to 2 Kings 8:16.  And co-regents did not necessarily reign in Jerusalem.  2 Samuel 2:11 says David reigned in Hebron 7 1/2 years before he reigned in Jerusalem, so this is something else to take into consideration when reading these scriptures which seem contradictory at first glance.

So in 2 Kings 8:16-17, people have assumed that Jehoram was 32 when he became king and 40 when he died (since he reigned eight years in Jerusalem), which would make Ahaziah older than his father when he took the throne since 2 Chronicles 22 puts Ahaziah’s age at 42 when he began to reign.  This clearly seems to be a mistake.  However, taking into account that co-regents probably reigned from Hebron before reigning from Jerusalem, then Jehoram could have become a full-fledged co-regent at 32, then years later when Jehoshaphat died, he moved to Jerusalem and reigned at Jerusalem for eight years and could have died in his mid to late 50′s since kings at this time married as teenagers.  Then Ahaziah’s age of 42 would be no problem.

2 Kings 8:26 and 2 Chronicles 22:2 were two different historians giving two different viewpoints on the same thing.  Yes, Ahaziah reigned over Judah.  The historian who wrote 2 Kings decided to start Ahaziah’s reign when he became co-regent with his father Jehoram at the age of 22.  Ahaziah most likely reigned in Hebron at this age.  The historian for 2 Chronicles 22 decided to start Ahaziah’s reign when his father  Jehoram  died and Ahaziah became the main king 20 years after the start of his co-regency.

Therefore, both accounts are correct and not contradictory.  If critics who attack the Bible did thorough research, they would see how such writings bring different details into play to give an accurate, well-rounded account of the facts.

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2 Samuel 6:23 “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.”

2 Samuel 21: 8 “But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:”

In 2 Samuel 6 David danced out of his royal garb before the people as he gave exuberant praise to the Lord and Michal,  the daughter of Saul who was also one of his wives, despised him because of it and rebuked him for his behavior.  Their disagreement was so great that David determined that he would not have offspring by her.

2 Samuel 21 tells us that the father of Michal’s sons was Adriel the Meholathite.  His name was first mentioned in 1 Samuel 18:19 as being the husband of Michal’s older sister Merab.   The verse in 2 Samuel 21 says Michal “brought up” his sons “for” him.  Michal was actually their aunt and raised them as her sons apparently through some form of adoption.  Since she adopted them, that means her sister and brother-in-law died somewhere along the way.  They were not her natural children so both passages are correct.

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2 Samuel 8:3-4 “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 horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for an hundred chariots.”

1 Chronicles 18:3-4 “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 horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: David also houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them an hundred chariots.”

Did David kill 700 or 7,000? 2 Sam. speaks of the horsemen as 700 units of 10 soldiers while 1 Chron. is numbering each individual horseman.  Both accounts are correct.

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1 Kings 4:26 “And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.”

2 Chronicles 9:25 “And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.”

This is the same type of numbering system that was used for the number of horsemen that David killed as mentioned above.  One writer decided to count each individual stall while the other counted a stall as being a unit of 10 stalls.  This is similar to how we use the word “troop” today.  In reality, a “troop” is a group of soldiers.  It is only in recent wars that the news media changed the meaning of “troop” colloquially to mean one soldier.  So it is now used to designate both a group and an individual just like the word “stalls” in this passage, so both accounts are correct and do not contradict each other.

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2 Kings 25:8 “And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem:”

Jeremiah 52:12 “Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem,”

Is this a contradiction?  The Bible here is clear about what happened by using detailed language in each verse to help us understand.  Once again this is a case of two different historians giving their own point of view to highlight different details that are both right.  The writer for 2 Kings 25 tells us Nebuzaradan came “unto” Jerusalem on the 7th day of the 5th month with the purpose of leveling the city.  The word “unto” is designating the day he arrived at Jerusalem.

Jeremiah then tells us Nebuzaradan came “into” the city of Jerusalem on the 10th day of the 5th month to level Jerusalem.  Nebuzaradan arrived at (came … unto) Jerusalem on the 7th day, probably surveyed the city for a couple of days to come up with a plan of execution on the best way to destroy it and to make sure they evacuated all inhabitants, then on the 10th day he entered (came … into) Jerusalem to carry out its actual destruction.  So both accounts are correct and they aren’t contradictory.

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1 Samuel 31:4-6 “Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.”

2 Samuel 21:12 “And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:”

Did Saul kill himself or did the Philistines kill him?  In 1 Samuel 31, we are told the Philistine archers severely wounded Saul in battle.  When he realized he was going to die, he wanted his armorbearer to finish him off but his armorbearer refused so Saul thrust himself through with a sword.  But it was the Philistines who put him in the circumstances that led to his death.  So they slew him in the sense that they defeated and mortally wounded him in battle.  So this isn’t a contradiction.

–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–

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5 Comments

  1. Very Consise.. Like it!

    Reply
  2. Allison

     /  July 7, 2011

    I have loved these last couple of articles. I have been studying the bible lately with Les Feldick and he has a gift of comparing scripture with scripture all through the bible showing the concise and perfect way that they all tie in together and do not contradict themselves. It has become so much easier for me to discern and understand with each comparison. I am even more in awe now of the perfect prophecy of the old testament and how it intertwines right into new testament prophecy and facts. it is a wondrous and beautiful thing to be learning the gospels and gaining insight and love from the Holy Spirit!

    Reply
    • That’s great Allison. I’ve also found that God keeps things interesting when I read his word. There have been plenty of times I returned to a passage I read before and God’s Spirit provides a new angle on its meaning that I never thought of before that may apply to a situation I may be in or just came out of.

      Reply
  1. Doubts demolished: more Bible errors resolved « Sun & Shield

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