The Old Testament[The Bible] has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood
drenched history; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies. —Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth, Vol. II
Let’s begin by putting “two of every sort (of animal) into the ark,” and then …
Oh, wait. Was that “two of every sort,” as per Genesis 6:19, or seven of clean and two of
unclean animals, as per Genesis 7:23?
Hmm. Well, we’ve got up to 120 years to think about it, because that’s the limit
of the human lifespan, as per God’s promise in Genesis 6:3. So, just like Shem …
Oops. Bad example. Genesis 11:11 states, “Shem lived five hundred years …”
Oookay, forget Shem. So, just like Noah … Double Oops. Genesis 9:29 teaches,
“So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years; and he died.” So let’s see,
Genesis 6:3 promised a lifespan limited to a hundred and twenty years, but a few verses
later both Shem and Noah broke the rule?
Whoa, time out.
Let’s look at Old Testament dates from a different angle. Here’s Genesis 16:16:
“Abraham was eightysix years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abraham.” Genesis 21:5
tells us, “Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.”
So let’s see, one hundred minus eightysix, subtract the six from the first ten, nine minus
eight … I get fourteen. So Ishmael was fourteen when Isaac was born.
A bit later, in Genesis 21:8, we read, “So the child (Isaac) grew and was weaned.”
Now, weaning in the Middle East takes two years, according to ethnic custom. So tack
two onto fourteen, and Ishmael was sixteen before Sarah ordered Abraham to cast him
out (Genesis 21:10).
A couple more verses, and Genesis 21:1419 portrays the outcast Ishmael as a
helpless infant rather than an ablebodied, sixteenyearold youth, as follows:
So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin
of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar,
and sent her away. Then she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of
Beersheba. And the water in the skin was used up, and she placed the boy
under one of the shrubs. Then she went and sat down across from him at a
distance of about a bowshot; for she said to herself, “Let me not see the
death of the boy.” So she sat opposite him, and lifted her voice and wept.
And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God
called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What ails you, Hagar?
Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift
up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great
Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And
she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink.”
A sixteenyearold youth described as a “boy” or a “lad?” In a time and place
when sixteen yearolds were commonly married and awaiting their second or third child
while supporting a growing family? In addition to being hunters, soldiers and, albeit
rarely, even kings on occasion? Sixteen years equated to manhood in Ishmael’s day. So
how exactly did his father give the sixteen yearold “boy,” Ishmael, to Hagar? And how
did she leave him crying (i.e., “the voice of the lad”) like a helpless baby under a shrub?
And how, precisely, did his mother lift him up and hold him with her hand? Lastly, are
we truly expected to believe that Ishmael was so frail that his mother had to give him a
drink, because he was unable to get it himself?
Uh, yes, that’s the gist of it. That’s what we’re supposed to believe.
But wait, there’s more.
2 Chronicles 22:2 teaches that “Ahaziah was fortytwo years old when he became
king….” Hunh. Fortytwo years old. Hardly seems worthy of mention. Unless, that is, we
note that 2 Kings 8:26 records, “Ahaziah was twentytwo years old when he became
king …” So which was it? Fortytwo or twentytwo?
Let’s take a hint from the Bible. 2 Chronicles 21:20 teaches that Ahaziah’s father,
King Jehoram, died at the age of forty.
King Jehoram died at the age of forty and was succeeded by his son, who was
fortytwo? In other words, King Jehoram fathered a child two years older than himself?
Arithmetic, according to Mickey Mouse, is “Being able to count up to twenty without
taking off your shoes.” But between the reader’s toes and all appendages of the family
cat, there’s no way to make sense of these figures. And while the logical conclusion
approaches ramming speed, 2 Chronicles 22:1 points out that Ahaziah was King
Jehoram’s youngest son, for raiders had killed all Jehoram’s older sons.
So if Ahaziah was two years older than dear departed Dad, how many years did
his older brothers have on their father?
Obviously, 2 Chronicles 22:2 can’t be trusted and 2 Kings 8:26, which teaches
that Ahaziah was twentytwo when he became king, must be the correct version.
So King Jehoram died at forty (2 Chronicles 21:20) and was succeeded by
Ahaziah, who was twentytwo (2 Kings 8:26). Which means King Jehoram was eighteen
when Ahaziah was born, and roughly seventeen when he was conceived. Not only that,
but Jehoram had older sons (2 Chronicles 22:1), so he must have started his family at the
age of fifteen or less. So much for Ishmael having been a helpless lad at the age of
sixteen. It was a time when teenagers were men.
But what about 2 Chronicles 22:2, which states that Ahaziah was fortytwo when
he assumed the throne?
A copying error, no doubt.
But that’s not the point.