Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bible ‘Contradictions’ Explained (Samuel, Kings, Chronicles)

MANY Muslims are quick to judge the Bible for its “contradictions” and even enumerate at least 100 examples. Sadly, most, if not all, of their “exposes” against the Christian Sacred Scriptures are wrong information that they learned from equally less informed people.

 If only they stop to think, they would notice that many of the “contradictions” that they cite arise from a comparison of 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings with 1 and 2 Chronicles.

Among the allegedly conflicting verses most cited are verses with NUMERICAL DIFFERENCES and / or DIFFERENCES in DETAILS.

Examples are:
1.      2Samuel 10:18 vs 1Chronicles 19:18 (Number of Charioteers killed by the Israelites: 700 or 7,000?)
2.      2 Samuel 24:1 vs 1Chronicles 21:1 (Who incited David to count the Israelites: God or Satan?)
3.      2Samuel 24:13 vs 1Chronicles 21:12 (The number of years of plague: 7 or 3?)

It would be understandable for most to not understand the differences in such verses; only a small percentage of Christians or Bible believers know much about Biblical history and proper interpretation.

What is unacceptable are Muslims who insist on attacking the Bible amid their gross lack of knowledge and understanding of what they are criticizing. One Muslim even bragged that “Little learning is dangerous.” Well, he should look in the mirror while he is saying that.

Concerning the Bible, many Muslims are blind being led by the blind. The Lord Jesus asks in Luke 6:39, “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?” As things stand, Muslims are piled 10 persons deep in this vast pit of error.

What is saddening is that these “blind” Muslims are pulling many innocent Christians into that pit as they use their erroneous knowledge in converting people to Islam.

But there is hope for all who seek truth and understanding. There are completely good and valid reasons why there are differences between 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles. But, as I see it, the reasons can be summed up in one general idea: DIFFERENCES in the POINTS OF VIEW of the AUTHORS of these books.

1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings were written with a more HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE, while
1 and 2 Chronicles were written from the RELIGIOUS POINT of VIEW of a PRIEST.

The writing of the four preceding books were in a STRAIGHT-FORWARD, HISTORICAL MANNER, dealing with how God worked or moved among His chosen people, the Israelites.  It is vital for us to know that for the Israelites HISTORY and RELIGION are NOT SEPARATE: God is the Lord and Master of Israel’s HISTORY. (A view that Christians, specifically Catholics, share)

That is why, for example, 2 Samuel 24:1 says that God was the one who incited David into making a census of his people. The text says,

“Again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go, count the people of Israel and Judah."

For the Israelites, EVERYTHING that HAPPENS is the WORK of GOD. So, in 2Samuel 24:1, it is stated that GOD was the one who incited David. God might not have been the one who DIRECTLY incited David, but since He allowed it to happen, then the prodding of David was attributed to God.

On the other hand, the writer of 1 and 2 Chronicles (believed to be EZRA, the PRIEST), saw that event from a DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE or POINT OF VIEW. So, when the Spirit of God inspired him to write, he wrote it from a PRIEST’S PERSPECTIVE, which is from a RELIGIOUS POINT OF VIEW.

And because the human author (God is the PRIMARY AUTHOR) of 1Chronicles KNEW that it was NOT REALLY GOD who ACTED (God only ALLOWED IT), he narrated the same event in 2 Samuel 24:1 from a MORE SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE.

That is why in the account of 1Chronicles 21:1, the author pointed out that it was SATAN who ACTUALLY incited David. And that was AFTER GOD ALLOWED HIM to do so.

1Chronicles 21:1
Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to count the people of Israel.

The understanding that it was Satan who actually acted can be supported by another incident in the Bible—the test that was received by Job.

In the Book of Job, this faithful servant of God was tested: his properties were lost, his loved ones were killed and he even had serious illnesses.

We read in Job 1:21 who he attributes this test. He attributes it to God.

Job 1:21
He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there; the LORD GAVE, and the LORD HAS TAKEN AWAY; blessed be the name of the LORD."

But was it REALLY GOD who tested him and who TOOK AWAY everything that he had?

No. It was Satan.

To understand this, we go back to Job 1:8, where God talks to Satan about Job.

The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil."

To that, Satan retorted (Job 1:9-11):

Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face."

Satan was claiming that Job was only faithful because God had given him wealth and security.

To prove to Satan that Job was a true and faithful servant, God ALLOWED Satan to test him.

Job 1:12
The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not stretch out your hand against him!"
So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Satan then began testing Job.

WHO went out to test Job?


But then, to whom did Job attribute the test?

To God.

Thus, we see in this story the two points of view that we are discussing in relation to the “contradiction” between 2 Samuel 24:1 vs 1Chronicles 21:1:

·         2 Samuel 24:1 relates to Job 1:21, where the ACTION is ATTRIBUTED to GOD. He allowed it, so it was said the HE “DID” IT.
·         Meanwhile, 1 Chronicles 21:1 relates to Job 1:8-12, where God ALLOWS some things to happen, but it is SATAN who ACTUALLY DOES the ACTION.

And the same can be said in MOST of the other supposed “contradictions” that Muslims claim against the Bible.

Other examples are:

1.      2Samuel 10:18 vs 1Chronicles 19:18 (Number of Charioteers killed by the Israelites: 700 or 7,000?). 2Samuel 10:18 counted the number of CHARIOTS. 1Chronicles counted the number of MEN manning the chariots (700 chariots x 10 men = 7,000).

2.      2Samuel 24:13 vs 1Chronicles 21:12 (The number of years of plague: 7 or 3?). Seven is the HISTORICAL number of years. Three refers to the COMPLETION of God’s punishment on Israel, the RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVE.

3.      1Kings 4:26 vs 2Chronicles 9:25 (Number of stalls 40,000 or 4,000). The 40,000 of 1Kings includes stalls in Israel and Judea. (See 1Kings 4:25) The 4,000 of 2Chronicles counts only those in Judea. (The Chronicler was interested only in Judea, where the temple was)

So, most if not ALL of the criticisms of Muslims about supposed “contradictions” in the Bible are due to a GROSS LACK of KNOWLEDGE and UNDERSTANDING of the history and context of the books of Scriptures. To believe them is to be MISLED by FALSE claims.

Sadly, so many have fallen victim to such blindness.

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