Incidentally, once this contradiction became known, Bible translators tried to
make it disappear. For example, the New Revised Standard Version translates the
Hebrew yisre’eliy in 2 Samuel 17:25 to “Ishmaelite,” and then acknowledges in a discrete
footnote that the correct translation is “Israelite.” Yishma’e’li is “Ishmaelite.” The
evidence against the translators’ integrity is strengthened by the fact that practically any
Bible published prior to the midtwentieth century (including the American Standard
Version of 1901, upon which the RSV and NRSV are based) translate yisre’eliy to
“Israelite.” Only after the scriptural inconsistency was identified was the translation
corrupted to “Ishmaelite.”
By this modern deception, the New Revised Standard Version avoids conflict in
their translation, but not in the source documents. And we would do well to note this
deceit, for will we truly be surprised if future Bible translations attempt to gloss over the
other errors exposed in this present work?
Now, here’s the point. 2 Kings 19 and Isaiah 37 contain a sequence of thirty
seven verses which correspond virtually to the letter. This correspondence is so exact that
Bible critics have suggested that the authors plagiarized either from one another or from
the same source document. And while plagiarism would explain the consistency, a more
generous suggestion might be that these two chapters exemplify the exquisite accuracy we expect from a book of God. Whether a story is retold once, twice or a thousand times,
as long as the origin of the tradition lies in revelation from the Almighty, it shouldn’t
change. Not in the smallest detail. The fact that stories do change, both in Old and New
Testaments, threatens the claim to biblical inerrancy.
And then there are the simple questions. Questions like, “Does anybody really
believe that Jacob wrestled with God, and Jacob prevailed (Genesis 32:2430)?” The
Creator of a universe 240,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles in diameter with all its
intricacies, with the measly, middleweight planet Earth alone weighing in at
5,976,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg,—and someone believes that a paltry blob of
protoplasm not only wrestled with The One who created him, but prevailed?
Another simple question: Genesis 2:17 records God warning Adam, “but of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it
you shall surely die.” Genesis 3:3 contributes, “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the
midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you
die.’” So which is it? Did Adam bite the apple or didn’t he? The way the story is told, he
bit the apple and lived. Yet God promised death the very same day. So did he bite it or
not? If he did he should have died, and if he didn’t, mankind should still be in paradise. Is
the word “die” an error of translation, a metaphor or an inconsistency? If an error, then let
the translators admit it. If a metaphor, then we can acknowledge the metaphorical nature
of Hebrew idiom and suggest that Jesus, similarly, didn’t “die” any more than Adam did.
And if an inconsistency, well …
Next point—who wrote the Old Testament? Tradition relates that Moses wrote
the Pentateuch (the first five books), but we can assume he encountered a slight technical difficulty (like the fact that he was dead) when it came to recording his own obituary in
Deuteronomy 34:512. So who authored his death, burial, wake, and the aftermath? Is
this author to be trusted, and what does this say about authorship of the Old Testament as
Then there are the tales of naked drunkenness, incest and whoredom that no
person of modesty could read to their mother, much less to their own children. And yet, a
fifth of the world’s population trusts a book which records that Noah “drank of the wine
and was drunk, and became uncovered (naked) in his tent” (Genesis 9:22), and that
… went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains, and his two
daughters were with him; for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar. And he and
his two daughters dwelt in a cave. Now the firstborn said to the younger,
“Our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is
the custom of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and
we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.” So
they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and
lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she
arose. It happened on the next day that the firstborn said to the younger,
“Indeed I lay with my father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight
also, and you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of
our father.” Then they made their father drink wine that night also. And
the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child
by their father (Genesis 19:3036).
Tales of debauchery and deviancy include adultery and prostitution (Genesis
38:1526), more prostitution (Judges 16:1), wholesale depravity (2 Samuel 16:2023),
whoredom (Ezekiel 16:2034 and 23:121), and whoredom spiced with adultery
(Proverbs 7:1019). The incestuous rape of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13:714 bears a most
interesting moral, for Tamar was counseled to “hold her peace,” for “He [the rapist,
Amnon] is your brother; (so) do not take this thing to heart” (2 Samuel 13:20). Oh,
whew, the rapist was her brother—no problem, then . . . Say WHAT? Are we to believe
that such “pearls of wisdom” are the fruits of revelation—or the stuff of deviant dreams?
And on the subject of dreaming, 2 Timothy 3:16 reads, “All scripture is given by
inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness.” Now that makes sense. That’s the way it should be. But can
anyone conceive the “profit, reproof, correction, or instruction in righteousness”
conveyed in the above passages? Those who think they can probably should be in jail.
Another curiosity—according to Genesis 38:1530, Perez and Zerah were born to
Tamar after incestuous fornication with her fatherinlaw, Judah. Passing over the fact
that, according to Leviticus 20:12, both Judah and Tamar should have been executed (and
prophets are not above the law), let’s inspect the lineage of Perez and Zerah. After all, the
alleged “word of God” tells us, “One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the congregation
of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the
congregation of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 23:2).
So who was the tenth generation from Zerah?
No one important. Well, then, who was the tenth generation from Perez?
Someone very important—someone named Solomon. His father (the ninth
generation) also has a familiarsounding name—David.
If we trust Matthew 1:36, David was the ninth generation of a bastard, and as
such, should by no way enter the “congregation of the Lord.” The same goes for
Solomon. And yet, both are held to have been patriarchs, if not prophets.
Hmm. An awkward understanding, at best.
Furthermore, if we are to believe the Old Testament, Solomon was not only the
tenth generation of illegitimacy through Perez, but also the first generation of illegitimacy
through his father, David’s, adulterous union with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah (2
Samuel 11:24). Once again, breezing past the unfulfilled death penalty (Leviticus 20:10),
Solomon is portrayed as having a doubledose of illegitimacy.
Or does he?
Something doesn’t sound right. Either David and Solomon were not prophets or
the Old Testament is not to be trusted. The pieces of Godgiven revelation shouldn’t
require reshaping and forced to fit together. They should snap together in congruence
with the perfection of the One who created the heavens and earth in perfect harmony.
That’s the way it should be, and the average Christian suggests that such is precisely the
case with the New Testament.
However, that assertion deserves inspection as well. Having examined the above,
we can readily understand why the author of Jeremiah bewails, “How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us?’ Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly
works falsehood” (Jeremiah 8:8). The New Revised Standard Version, unlike the New
King James Version, doesn’t soften their words, and records this verse as, “How can you
say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us,’ when in fact, the false pen of the
scribes has made it into a lie?”
So that is the Old Testament—so full of errors that even one of the authors
bemoans the scriptural corruption generated by the “false pens of the scribes.”
Many claim that similar problems plague the New Testament—that weaknesses,
inconsistencies and contradictions upset the claim of divine inerrancy. If true, Christians
face the challenge, “Are you a person of God, or of Christianity?”
This question demands testimony.
Followers of God will submit to the truth He conveyed, when made clear, while
those who follow any manmade religion will defend their doctrine against reason and
revelation. Discussion of the frail or nonexistent foundation of the most passionately
defended Christian doctrines has already been offered. What remains to be examined is
the authority, or lack thereof, of the New Testament.