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A Legitimate Problem

September 5, 2011 2 comments

Looking at my source for biblical contradictions again, I have some good news for us all! There is a legitimate contradiction in the bible, that is just wrong.
Source:

How many stalls and horsemen?

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

2CH 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.

Clearly either 1 Kings or 2 Chronicles is wrong. Which is wrong isn’t so clear. Perhaps if I were more knowledgeable about horses to horseman ratios I could give you an accurate guess. But I’m not, and I have no idea. So the question isn’t if there’s a contradiction, but which one’s wrong, and what are the implications?

Well, I’ve already answered which one’s wrong with an “I don’t know”. So let’s jump into the implications. This implies that one book out of the bible is unreliable, yes, but to what extent? Most likely this was a typo-esque error. It’s dealing with quantities. I work on cash registers a lot, and I know how easy it is to make a mistake resulting in a few hundreds of dollars difference. It would be interesting to take a look at the dead sea scrolls and see what they have to say on the matter. I don’t have a good source for this, but will look into it. Anybody have a source handy or a good place to start looking? So it’s a typo with the original author or with a copying scribe (Most likely). That means we can’t assume meanings have been severely altered. ‘if’s and ‘or’s┬ápeople!
Also, this kind of unreliability cannot be placed on the other books of the bible written by different authors and often in different time periods. That would be similar to placing skepticism on all the books of an anthology because of an error in one book. Surely Deborah Cadbury’s Space Race would not be viewed as unreliable because it was in a collection with a book that supports geocentricism. So is the bible contradictory, apparently so. But it’s relatively inconsequential in this instance. Time to get studyin’!
But seriously, dead sea scrolls source, anyone?

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