Historical Discrepancies

1. Concerning Persons—Names, etc.

We have elsewhere1 called attention to the close resemblance of a considerable number of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and to the consequent liability of confounding them with each other. These simple facts furnish a reasonable explanation of many "discrepancies" with reference to names. The following examples will illustrate the point. In 2 Samuel 23:27, we find the name "Mebunnai"; in 1 Chronicles 11:29, the name "Sibbecai"; both referring to the same person. Now compare these names in the Hebrew, and there is not the least doubt that the variation or "discrepancy" arose through a copyist's blunder. So "Hemdan," Genesis 36:26; and "Amram," 1 Chronicles 1:41, stand in the Hebrew [Hebrew given - Keith Hunt] Joshua 7:1, and "Zimri," 1 Chronicles 2:6, are written thus: [Hebrew given - Keith Hunt] No reasonable man can look at cases like these—which may be multiplied to an indefinite extent—and wonder that we find variations among the proper names occurring in the Bible.

Comparing the first eight chapters of 1 Chronicles with corresponding passages in Genesis, numerous discrepancies, like the following, appear: 

Hadad for Hadar, confounded with  [Hebrew given - K eight Hunt] Aliah for Alvah, Ebal for Obal, Hemam for Homam, Pai for Pau, Shephi for Shepho, Zephi for Zepho, in all which cases, either by design or otherwise.  Elsewhere we find "Caleb" and "Chelubai," the consonants being the same in both words; "Bathsheba" and "Bathshua," being exchanged: "Achar" and, "Achan," being interchanged with; "Akan" and "Jakan," prefixed in the latter case; "Bani" and "Binnui," inserted in the second form of the name. In like manner, "Huram" and "Hiram," "Araunah" and "Oman," "Michaiah" and "Maachah," "Absalom" and "Abishalom," "Shealtiel" and "Salathiel," "Abijah" and "Abijam" are mere variations of names. So Gesenius deems "Uzziah" a popular phonetic corruption of "Azariah."

Dr. Davidson gives a list, taken chiefly from the first eleven chapters of Chronicles, comprising some one hundred and fourteen names which differ from the corresponding names in other parts of Scripture. These "variations" he attributes for the most part to the errors of transcribers.

Here let it be observed, that it is not simply easy to commit these errors, but, under the circumstances above described, it is impossible, except upon the hypothesis of an unintermitted miracle, to avoid committing them. No human skill and patience can preclude occasional slips of the copyist's pen and mistakes of his eye. Yet we regard all errors like those illustrated in the above examples as of very trivial consequence. No doctrine, precept, or promise of the Bible is affected by them in the slightest degree.

Another point to be noticed, as exemplifying the free treatment to which proper names were subjected among the Hebrews, is that of the not uncommon transposition of letters. Thus we have "Amiel" and "Eliam," "Jehoiachin" and "Jeconiah" "Ahaziah" and "Jehoahaz," "Harhas'' and "Hasrah." In each of these cases the difference arises from exchanging the places of the letters or elements which compose the name. Analogous cases are "keseb" and "kebes," a lamb; "almug" and "algum," the name of a tree; "Shamlai" and Shalmai," a man's name, "Timnath-serah" and "Timnath-heres," the name of the city in which Joshua was buried.

We have in another place, alluded to the Oriental custom of applying several names to the same person or object. This custom is exemplified by several of the cases already cited, and by the following instances. "Esh-baal" and

Introd. to Old Testament, ii. 108-112.

Kennicott illustrates this case thus, ahaz-ihu

ihu-ahaz, the upper word representing the name "Ahaziah" in the Hebrew, the lower word representing the name "Jechoahaz," as it stands in the original.—See Kennicott's Dissertations, ii. 489; also, passim.

Comp. pp. 17-18 infra.

"Ish-bosheth," are two names of the same person; the former name, "Baal's-man," being given to him either at a time when Baal-worship was fashionable in Israel, or else when the term "Baal" conveyed as yet no obnoxious meaning; the latter name, "man of shame," being applied when idolatry was at a discount. Nearly the same may be said as to the names "Merib-baal" and "Mephi-bosheth." In numerous instances, apparent "discrepancies" are produced by the change of a person's name on account of some trait of character which he has developed, or of some change in his condition and prospects.

The fact, also, that certain names bear forms different in the Old Testament from those in the New must be taken into the account. Thus we find Boaz and Booz, Uriah and Urias, Ezekiel and Ezekias, Isaiah and Esaias, Hosea and Osee, Asher and Aser, Sharon and Saron, Elisha and Eliseus, Elijah and Elias, Korah and Core, Beor and Bosor, Noah and Noe, Hagar and Agar, Hezekiah and Ezekias, Jehoshaphat and Josaphat, Rehoboam and Roboam, Joshua and Jesus, with other similar cases. The fact that the Hebrew and Greek forms of the same name diverge in this manner, serves to explain many apparent inconsistencies in sacred history.

A word may be added concerning the discrepancies adduced by certain critics in reference to the derivation of names. For example, they assert that, in Genesis 30:16, Issachar receives his name on account of Leah's bestowal of the mandrakes; in verse 18, on account of her surrender of her maid to Jacob. But it should be noted that the sacred writer merely records Leah's sayings, yet makes himself in no degree responsible for the correctness of her philology.

It is, however, obvious that we have in the case a kind of "play upon words." Murphy says, "She calls him Issakar, with a double allusion. She had hired her husband with the mandrakes, and had received this son as her hire for giving her maid to her husband."

Jacob's nameone meaning.

His hand took hold on Esau's heel; and

his name was called Jacob.

Genesis 25:26

Another signification.

Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he

hath supplanted me these two times.

Genesis 27:36

According to the first passage, the name "Jacob" comes from "aqab," to seize the heel, and denotes, as Ewald says, "heel-grasper." According to Esau's insinuiddo in the second text, the name means "supplanter." Now the truth is, that the word "aqab" has the closely connected secondary signification, to outwit, to

See Bissell's Historic Origin of Bible, p. 384.

supplant; and it is to this secondary sense that Esau alludes above. It is manifestly unjust to hold the sacred writer responsible for Esau's bitter and biting pun.6

Joseph's namederivation,

                                                                  Genesis 30:23

A different derivation.

Genesis 30:247

According to the first text, the name would seem to be derived from "asaph," to take away; according to the second, from "yasaph," to add. The apparent incongruity is dissipated by Keil's suggestion that Joseph's birth was a proof that God had removed from Rachel the reproach of barrenness; while it also excited the wish that he would add another son. The "taking away" of an evil induced the hope that a good would be "added."

"Moses" a Hebrew name.

                                                                                                Exodus 2:10

An Egyptian name.


The name "Moses" [Hebrew, "Mosheh"] appears to be derived from the Hebrew verb, mashah, to draw out. It is, however, objected that an Egyptian princess would not have bestowed upon her foster child a Hebrew name; hence "Moses" must, notwithstanding the intimation of the sacred writer, be an Egyptian name.

Havernick, Kurtz, and Dean Stanley regard the name as a foreign word Hebraized. The Alexandrian Jews, with Josephus and Philo, attributed to the name an Egyptian origin, with a Greek inflection.

But Canon Cook, in his valuable "Essay on Egyptian Words in the Pentateuch,"8 points out the existence of an Egyptian word which coincides in sound and in sense, with the Hebrew verb above mentioned. This Egyptian term "corresponds in form to the Hebrew, letter for letter," and primarily denotes "drawing out." One of the most famous Egyptologists, M. Brugsch, is cited to the effect that the derivation of the name "Moses" from the Hebrew "mashah" "would preserve the true sense of the Egyptian." Hence, Mr. Cook concludes that the present is a case of the "simple transcription of words"—that the sacred writer chose the Hebrew term because "it came exceedingly near to, or exactly represented, the Egyptian." Thus the difficulty vanishes.

Zebulun denotes a "dwelling"

Genesis 30:20

A "dowry."

                                                                                              Genesis 30:20

6 Compare a similar sarcastic pun upon Nabal's name, 1 Samuel 25:25.

7 In this and many following cases, where the language of scripture presents no peculiarity, we have for brevity's sake given simple references instead of quotations.

8 See Bible Commentary, i. 482-484 (American edition).

The name "Zebulun" is derived from zabal, to dwell;9 with a play upon, or allusion to, the word "zabad," to give, to endow. The historian, in recording the philological conceits of others, does not thereby vouch for them.

Abigail's father, Nahash.

                                                                   2 Samuel 17:25


                                                          1 Chronicles 2:13,16

The rabbies say that both names belonged to the same person; Ewald and Keil, that Abigail's mother had a former husband, Nahash, previous to her marriage with Jesse.

Abijah's mother, daughter of Abishalom. 

                                                                  1 Kings 15:2

Of Uriel.

                                                           2 Chronicles 13:2

Absalom's daughter, Tamar, probably married Uriel, and became the mother of Maachah or Michaiah. This agrees with Josephus' statement.10 Hence, in the first text, as often elsewhere, "daughter" denotes "granddaughter": and, in the tenth verse, the "mother" of Asa was, strictly speaking, his "grandmother."

As to the supposed discrepancy between Abijah's wicked course of life, 1 Kings 15:3, and his "pious" remarks, 2 Chronicles 13:4-12, it maybe said simply that he is not the only wicked person on record who has used pious language when it would serve his purpose.

Abraham's difficulty with Pharaoh.

Genenis 12:11-20

With Abimelech.

                                                               Genenis 20:2-18

We have elsewhere11 seen that distinct events may bear a very close resemblance. A late rationalist concedes that "in those rude times, such a circumstance might have been repeated," and that the "dissimilarities" of the two cases render their identity doubtful. In king Abimelech, says Keil, we meet with a totally different character from that of Pharaoh. We see in the former a heathen imbued with a moral consciousness of right, and open to receive divine revelation, of which there is not the slightest trace in the king of Egypt. The two cases were evidently quite distinct.

In the first instance, Sarah was some sixty-five years of age;12 hence it has been thought strange that she was spoken of as "very fair." But, since she lived one hundred and twenty-seven years, she was now in only middle age. She had

9This is one of the numerous cases in which the old maxim applies; nomen habet omen. 

10Antiq. viii. 10, 1. 

11See pp. 26-27 of present work. 

12Compare Genesis 12:4; 17:17.

escaped the hardships of maternity, and being "a noble nomadic princess," had led a free and healthful life. In contrast to the swarthy, ugly, early-faded Egyptian women, she possessed no doubt great personal attractions. In the second instance, when she was some ninety years of age, nothing is said as to her beaut. Abimelech was influenced, not by Sarah's personal charms, but simply by a desire to "ally himself with Abraham, the rich nomad prince."13

The quite similar case of Isaac, Genesis 26:6-11, has been supposed to be a varying account of the one original transaction. But the name "Abimelech" common to the two cases, proves nothing; for, as Keil remarks, it was "the standing official name of the kings of Gerar."14

Abraham's inheritance secured.

Genesis 13:15; 15:18

Not possessed by him.

                                                                            Acts 7:5

The explanatory phrase, "Unto thy seed have I given this land," shows that the gift was not to Abraham personally, but to him as the founder and representative of the nation. The land was given to him, as we may say, "in trust."

Abraham's need of divine intervention.

Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old?

Genesis 17:17

Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude.

Hebrews 11:12

No occasion for a miracle. Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.

Genesis 25:1-2

It is perfectly in keeping with Oriental methods of writing history to suppose that the words "then again," in the second passage, resume the narrative after a digression, and carry us back into the lifetime of Sarah. It would then follow that Keturah's children were born to Abraham before the disability of old age overtook him. Or, we may say that the miraculous quickening of his virile powers, by which he was enabled to become the father of Isaac, was continued for some years after.

Abraham weak, and in fear.

Genesis 20:11

Possessed a large force.

                                                                    Genesis 14:14

13So Delitzsch.

14See Psalm 34 title.

Colenso asserts that Abraham, with his "immense band of trained servants, having routed the combined forces of Eastern kings, could not have feared the petty prince of Gerar." But (1) three-hundred and eighteen servants are hardly an "immense band." Abimelech's army may have been twenty times larger. (2) Abraham had not alone routed the combined forces of the kings. His "confederates," Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre,15 may have contributed much the larger portion of the victorious army. So that, humanly speaking, he may have had great reason to fear Abimelech.

Ahaz favored divine worship.

2 Kings 16:15

Closed the temple.

                                                            2 Chronicles 28:24

The text from Chronicles refers to the latter part of his reign, when he had reached the lowest depths of ungodliness. At an earlier period, he had indeed encouraged a corrupt form of worship.16

Ahaz invincible.

                                                                 2 Kings 16:5

Compelled to seek aid.

   2 Kings 16:7; 2 Chronicles 28:5,16, 20

The first passage refers to an early unsuccessful expedition of the allied kings against Ahaz. Later they overcame him. In this strait, the king of Assyria helped Ahaz, yet helped him not.17 That is, this warlike monarch, at the request of Ahaz, attacked and conquered Rezin, one of the allies, thus affording temporal relief; but by his subsequent exactions and restrictions he really distressed and weakened Ahaz. For the latter was compelled to become tributary to him, to send him all the treasures of the temple and palace, and finally to appear before him in Damascus as a vassal.

Ahaziah's brethren slain.

2 Kings 10:13-14

Their sons slain.

                                                              2 Chronicles 22:8

Bahr, Movers, and Ewald say that the word rendered "brethren" may some-times imply near relatives simply. We thus see how Ahaziah, the "youngest son," and born when his father was but eighteen years of age,18 could have had forty-brethren." His nephews and cousins were all reckoned in the number. In the second text, the term may be used in the strict sense, of his own brothers.

15See Genesis 14:13, 24.

16Compare 2 Kings 16:10-16.

17Z Kings 16:9; 2 Chronicles 28:20-21.

18Compare 2 Kings 8:17, 26; 10:14; 2 Chronicles 22:1.

Ahaziah's grandfather, Omri.

2 Kings 8:26


                                                                      2 Kings 8:18

"Daughter," in the first text, means simply "female descendant." In the twenty-seventh verse, Ahaziah is styled "the son-in-law of the house of Ahab."

Ahimelech, high-priest. 

                                                                   1 Samuel 21:1


                                                                    1 Samuel 14:3


                                                                       Mark 2:26

Probably, Ahimelech, Abimelech,19 and Ahiah were names of the same person. As to 2 Samuel 8:17, which makes Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, instead of the reverse, as elsewhere, Bertheau, Oehler, and Keil think the line ran thus; Ahimelech, Abiathar, Ahimelech, so that Abiathar was the son of Ahimelech, while Ahimelech (the second) was the son of Abiathar. The expression in Mark, "in the days of Abiathar the priest," may denote merely that Abiathar was acting as his father's sagan or substitute.20 Or, since Abiathar was, from his long association with king David, much more famous than his father, his name, although he was not as yet high priest, may be used here by a kind of historical anticipation.

Amasa's father, Ithra an Israelite.

2 Samuel 17:25

Jether an Ishmaelite.

                                                               1 Chronicles 2:17

The rabbis say that Jether or Jithra was an Ishmaelite by birth, who became an Israelite. So Ewald, who adds that "Jether" is a shorter form for "Ithra." An examination of the two passages in the original makes it evident that the variation is due to a copyist's mistake.

Ammonites allies.

The Syrians of Bethrehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ishtob twelve thousand men.

2 Samuel 10:6

Another statement.

Chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia, and out of Syriamaachah, and out of Zobah. So they hired thirty and two thousand chariots, and the king of Maachah and his people.

                                         1 Chronicles 19:6-7

Bethrehob was one of the little kingdoms of Mesopotamia, as also were Maacah, Zobah, and Tob petty monarchies of Syria. ("Ishtob," translated is "men of Tob.")

19 1 Chronicles 18:16. Ewald, "simply a transcriber's error."

20 See Lightfoot, Horae Hebraicae, on Luke 3:2 (Carpzov's edition).

Thus, the names and numbers agree as follows:

Syrians of Bethrehob and Zoba    20,000   Syrians of Zobah, etc. 32,000
Syrians of Ishtob 12,000                          Syrians of Maachah 

Syrians of Maacah 1,000                           (number not given) [1,000]

33,000                                                                                     33,000

But one passage names "footmen," the other "chariots." Keil speaks of copyist's errors, and Rawlinson thinks that in the seventh verse, at the right, the words "and horsemen" have dropped out after "chariots." Dr. Davidson21 cites ipprovingly Brown of Haddington's explanation, that the Hebrew term rendered "chariots," denotes not only a chariot, but a rider, and should probably be translated, in a collective sense, cavalry. It is suggested that these troops were a kind of auxiliaries, commonly employed in fighting on horseback or in chariots, but sometimes as foot soldiers.

Anah, a Hittite.

                                                     Genesis 26:3422


                                                           Genesis 36:20


                                                            Genesis 36:2

Lange thinks that the term "Hittite" defines the race, "Hivite" the tribe, and "Horite" ("cave dweller") the habitation of Anah. There were at least two Anahs, the brother and the son, of Zibeon.23

Or, since the three names differ in the Hebrew by one letter only, we may with Michaelis and Bertheau ascribe the disagreement to an error of transcription.

Anak's sons were slain.

And Judah went against the Canaanites

that dwelt in Hebron: (now the name

of Hebron before was Kirjatharba:) and

they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and


Judges 1:10

They were expelled.

And Caleb drove thence the three sons

of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and


Joshua 15:14

And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses said: and he expelled thence the three sons of Anak.

Judges 1:20

De Wette24 strangely asserts that the children of Judah "slew the same three Anakim—Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai—whom Caleb had killed before." To we reply:

21 Sjcred Hermeneutics, p. 552. 

22 Bceri = Anah.

23Compare Genesis 36:20 and 24. 

24 Introd. to Old Testament, ii. 174.

1. If the three passages refer to the same event, that which in the first, attributed to the men of Judah, is, by a common figure, ascribed in the other two to Caleb, as leader of the expedition. Moreover, the verb "yarash" employed, in the texts at the right, means, not only to drive out, to expel, but also according to Fuerst and Gesenius, to destroy.25 Thus the discrepancy vanishes. Caleb expelled the three Anakim from Hebron, and from among the living.

2.  Or, with Konig and others, we may refer the contrasted texts to two dif- ferent events. On this hypothesis, the first chapter of Judges does not follow the strict chronological order (verses 11-15, 20, being cited almost verbatim from Joshua 15:13-19, and referring, of course, to the same point of time). So that the sequence of events is as follows: Joshua conquers Hebron, and slaughters or puts to flight the Anakim who dwell there.26 But while he is occupied elsewhere, the remnant of them return from the land of the Philistines, regain possession of Hebron, and inhabit it. Hence, several years later, when this city was assigned to Caleb, he had first to dislodge the Anakim, the three leaders of whom were slain in their flight, or in some subsequent conflict, by Caleb's adherents.

Apostles named. 

                                                              Matthew 10:2-4

Second list.

                                                              Mark 3:16-19

Third list.

                                                              Luke 6:13-16

Fourth list.

                                                                  Acts 1:13

The names, though arranged differently, agree except in two instances. It is maintained by the best critics, Alford,27 Meyer, Robinson, Ebrard, Gardiner, and others, that Lebbeus, Thaddeus, and Judas the brother of James, were one and the same person. Simon Zelotes and Simon the Canaanite were identical; "Zelotes" being the Greek form of the Hebrew term rendered "Canaanite." As the name "Bartholomew" (son of Talmai) is merely a patronymic, its bearer is generally believed to have been the same with "Nathanael," John 1:45.

Asa's mother, Maachah.

2 Chronicles 15:16

His grandmother.

                                                             1 Kings 15:2, 8,10

In ancient Persia, the king sometimes for political reasons adopted a mother. When Cyrus conquered Astyages, he, in order to conciliate a certain portion of the people, adopted Amytis, or Mandane as his mother. Mr. Newman28 ingeniously suggests that Asa adopted, in like manner, the mother of the deceased king; hence she became queen mother of the realm, though afterwards deposed on account of her idolatry.29

25 Numbers 14:12 is cited as an example.

26 Joshua 11:21-22.

27 See his Commentary on Matthew 10:2-4.

28 Hist, of Heb. Monarchy, p. 150-151.

29 1 Kings 15:13.

Asa removed the high places.

                                     2 Chronicles 14:3, 5

Left them undisturbed.

                                                                 1 Kings 15:14

Bahr, Thenius, Bertheau, and others say that the high places dedicated to idols were destroyed; while those dedicated to Jehovah were allowed to remain, since his true servants, having been long accustomed to them,30 might have been grieved by their removal. Keil thinks that the second text merely implies that the king did not succeed in carrying out thoroughly his reforms. Rawlinson suggests that the above texts refer to different times; Asa, in the early part of his reign, putting down idolatry with a strong hand, but in his later years, when his character had deteriorated,31 allowing idol worship to creep in again.

Bedan, a judge of Israel.

                                                            1 Samuel 12:11

His name not mentioned.

                                                               Judges 7-12

Cassel and Davidson, with the Chaldee and the rabbis, refer "Bedan" to Samson—Bedan being equivalent to Ben-Dan, a Danite. Ewald deems the name a corruption of Abdon.

But Keil and Kennicott, with the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic, take it as a copyist's blunder, for Barak, [Hebrew is given]

Caleb's father, Jephunneh. 

                                                                  Joshua 14:6


                                                          1 Chronicles 2:50



                                                     1 Chronicles 2:18

There were, as Ewald, Keil, and others think, two or three men who bore the name of Caleb. Besides, the term "son," in some of the above texts, may mean simply "descendant."

As to the disagreement of 1 Chronicles 2:19 and 50, respecting Caleb's relation to Ephrath and to Hur, Rawlinson and Bertheau place a period after "Caleb" in the fiftieth verse, and read thus: "These (referring to the preceding) were the sons of Caleb. The sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah, were Shobal," etc. This relieves the entire difficulty.

Canaanites were destroyed.

                                     Joshua 10:40; 11:14-15

Were merely subsidized.

                                     Judges 1:28, 30, 33, 35

It is to be noted that the texts at the top are couched in general terms, and particularly to the southern part of Palestine.

30 1 Kings 3:2-3.

31 See 2 Chronicles 16:7-12.

Masius32 maintains that Joshua swept over this region in too rapid a manner to depopulate it entirely. All that he needed was to strike such terror into the hearts of his enemies that they would no longer make a stand against him. All whom he pursued, he destroyed; but he did not stop to search into every possible hiding place. This was left to be done by each tribe in its own inheritance.

Canaanites spared, to prove Israel.

Judges 2:22; 3:4

To teach Israel war.

                                                                           Judges 3:2

They were spared for a twofold reason; one part being brought out in the two former texts, the other in the latter text. Israel was put to the proof by the opportunity of learning to wage war rightly against the enemies of God and his  kingdom.

Christ bore his own cross.

                                                                       John 19:17

It was borne by Simon.

                                                                      Luke 23:26

Jesus may have borne the cross himself, until his failing strength caused a transference of the burden to Simon, whom Meyer takes to have been a slave, selected on account of the indignity of the required service. From Luke, Ebrard infers that Simon did not bear the cross alone, but merely went behind Jesus, and aided him in carrying it.

Christ's last drink of one kind. 

They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof he would not drink.

Matthew 27:34

Of a different kind.

And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.

Mark 15:23

From a comparison of Matthew 27:34 and 48, it is clear that drink was twice offered to Jesus while on the cross. The first time, the wine drugged with bitter narcotics, the effect of which would be to stupefy him, he did not receive. Afterward, some drink free from drugs was given him, which he accepted.33

The word rendered "vinegar" means, according to Grotius, Robinson, Davidson,34 and others, simply poor or cheap wine, such as was used by the poorer class. The word translated "gall" denotes, secondarily, anything bitter—wormwood, poppy, myrrh, and the like.35

32See in Keil on Joshua 10:40.

33See John 19:29-30.

34Sacred Hermeneutics, p. 561.

35In the Septuagint it stands for wormwood, Proverbs 5:4; for poppy, Deuteronomy 29:(17)

Christ's genealogy—one form. 

And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Matthew 1:16

A diverse form.

And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the

son of Heli.

Luke 3:23

There are two principal theories respecting these genealogies:

1. That held by Alford, Ellicott, Hervey, Meyer, Mill, Patritius, Wordsworth, and others—that both genealogies art Joseph's; Matthew exhibiting him is the legal heir to the throne of David, that is, naming the successive heirs of the kingdom from David to Jesus the reputed son of Joseph; while Luke gives Joseph's private genealogy or actual descent. This theory is very ingeniously and elaborately set forth in Lord Arthur Hervey's work36 upon the subject, to which the reader is referred.

2. That held by Auberlen, Ebrard, Greswell, Kurtz, Lange, Lightfoot, Michaelis, Neander, Robinson, Surenhusius, Wieseler, and others—that Mat-dacw gives Joseph's, and Luke, Mary's, genealogy. Although the alleged discrepancies may be removed upon either hypothesis, yet we must give the preference to the second, for the following reasons.

(1) The latter theory seems supported by several early Christian writers— Origen, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Athanasius, and Justin Martyr.37

(2) It is indirectly confirmed by Jewish tradition. Lightfoot38 cites from the Talmudic writers concerning the pains of hell, the statement that Mary the daughter of Heli was seen in the infernal regions, suffering horrid tortures.39 This statement illustrates, not only the bitter animosity of the Jews toward the Christian religion, but also the fact that, according to received Jewish tradition, Mary was the daughter of Heli; hence, that it is her genealogy which we find in Luke.

(3) This theory shows us in what way Christ was the "Son of David." If Mary was the daughter of Heli, then Jesus was strictly a descendant of David, not only legally, through his reputed father, but actually, by direct personal descent, through his mother. The latter consideration is one of the very first interest and importance.

4) This theory affords a very simple explanation of the whole matter. Mary, since she had no brothers, was an heiress; therefore her husband,

36 "The Genealogies of Our Lord," London, 1853. See on the other side, Mr. Holmes in Kitto, ii. 92-102 (last edition). Also, Ebrard, "The Gospel History," pp. 149-163.

37 See Kitto, ii. 92-94, 547.

38 Horae Hebraicae on Luke 3:28.

39 "Suspensam per glandulas mammarum," etc.

according to Jewish law, was reckoned among her father's family, as his son. So that Joseph was the actual son of Jacob, and the legal son at Heli. In a word, Matthew sets forth Jesus' right to the the theocratic crown: Luke, his natural pedigree. The latter employs Joseph's name, instead of Mary's, in accordance with the Israelite law that "genealogies must he reckoned by fathers, not mothers." For the remaining difficulties of the case, see discussion elsewhere.

Christ's last tourone account.

                                   Matthew 19:1; 20:17, 29; 21:1

A different statement.

                                   John 10:40; 11:17, 54; 11:1

These two series of texts seem to represent Jesus' journeyings somewhat differently. But, as Ebrard,40 Robinson,41 Gardiner,42 and others have shown, they refer to different points of time. When Jesus took his final departure from Galilee, he went up to Jerusalem, where he attended the feasts of tabernacles and of dedication; then withdrew to Perea beyond Jordan. Thence he went to Bethany, where he raised Lazarus, and to Jerusalem, whence he retired to "Ephraim" where he tarried a little,43 and taught. Thence he returned toward Jerusalem, by the way of Jericho, where he healed the blind men and visited Zaccheus, and arrived at Bethany six days previous to his final passover. Some of the above texts refer to one portion, others, to another portion, of these journeys.

Christ's miracles were concealed.

  Matthew 9:30; Mark 5:43

Were promulgated.

                                                         Mark 5:19; Luke 7:22

These two series of texts refer to quite different circumstances. Wherever a report of the signs and wonders wrought by Christ was likely to be conveyed without a right conception of his person and doctrine, there he suffered not the report to be carried.44 It was fitting that the fears of the Gadarenes should be allayed by knowledge of the "great things" which the Lord had done for the poor demoniac. In Galilee and Judea there was, on the other hand, very great danger, says Ebrard, of confirming the people in their carnal expectations of the Messiah, and even of producing disorder.

Christ's resurrection—certain narratives. 


                                        Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-14

Different account of it.

                                             Luke 14:1-12; John 20:1-18

40Gospel History, sections 79-85.

41English Harmony, sections 81-111.

42Greek Harmony, sections 76-112.

43John 11:54.

44See Smith's Bib. Diet., ii. 1353.

Owing to the condensed and somewhat fragmentary nature of these several narratives, and their neglect of strict chronological sequence, they present some difficulties and apparent discrepancies. There is, however, not the least doubt that, if we knew all the circumstances of the case, those which we now know would be seen to fit perfectly into their appropriate places in the narrative.45 Moreover, it is to be remarked that no one of the sacred writers gives, or intended to give, all the circumstances. Each selects those particulars which seemed to him most important, passing by intermediate incidents.

The following summary of the case is given by Robinson,46 "At early dawn on the first day of the week, the women who had attended on Jesus, viz. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, Salome, and others,47 went out with spices to the sepulchre, in order further to embalm the Lord's body. They inquire among themselves, who should remove for them the stone which closed the sepulchre. On their arrival they find the stone already taken away; for there had been an earthquake, and an angel had descended and rolled away the stone, and sat upon it, so that the keepers became as dead men for terror. The Lord had risen. The women knowing nothing of all this, are amazed; they enter the tomb, and find not the body of the Lord, and are greatly perplexed. At this time, Mary Magdalene, impressed with the idea that the body had been stolen away, leaves the sepulchre and the other women, and runs to the city to tell Peter and John.48 The rest remain in the tomb, and immediately two angels appear, who announce unto them that Jesus was risen from the dead, and give them a charge in his same for the apostles. They go out quickly from the sepulchre, and proceed in haste to the city to make this known to the disciples. On the way, Jesus meets

45 Ebrard (Gospel History, pp. 59-60) gives, from personal observation, a case showing how the knowledge of a hitherto unknown circumstance will often reduce several discordant incidents to harmonious consecution. A messenger N. by name, was sent from Zurich to Pfaffikon on the occasion of an outbreak in the latter place. Accordingly Ebrard was informed by one trustworthy person that N. was sent, late in the evening, with a letter to P.; another told him that N. was sent in the evening to P., but, after going a short distance, returned with the report that the alarm bell had already been rung in P.; a third related that two messengers had been sent on horseback to P.; and a fourth that N. had sent two men on horseback to P. These seeming discrepancies vanished, when Ebrard afterward learned from N. himself that he had indeed been sent, but met on the way two messengers from P., who reported the outbreak of the riot; that he turned back with them to Zurich, where he immediately procured horses for them, and sent them back to quiet the people in P. We thus see, that once in possession of the thread of the narrative, it is an easy matter to arrange upon it seemingly refractory and incompatible circumstances.

46  See Bibliotheca Sacra for Feb. 1845, pp. 187-188.

47 There were two distinct parties of women. This fact relieves several difficulties. See under *N umbers" and "Time."

48 Peter and John appear to have lodged that night in a place separate from the other apostles.
Griesbach thinks that the apostles at this time were scattered throughout the city among
those who were friendly to their cause.—See Bib. Sacra, p. 172, note.

them, permits them to embrace his feet, and renews the same charge to the apostles. The women relate these things to the disciples; but their words seem to them as idle tales; and they believed them not.

"Meantime, Peter and John had run to the sepulchre; and entering in had found it empty; but the orderly arrangement of the graveclothes and of the napkin convinced John that the body had not been removed by violence or by friends; and the germ of a belief arises in his mind that the Lord had risen. The two returned to the city. Mary Magdalene, who had again followed them to the sepulchre, remained standing and weeping before it; and looking in she saw two angels sitting. Turning around, she sees Jesus, who gives to her also a solemn charge for his disciples."

It will be seen that this summary comprises nearly every incident mentioned by the four evangelists. Ebrard50 concurs substantially in the view here given.

As to the fact that according to Mark the women said nothing to any man, while according to Matthew they ran to carry the tidings to the disciples, Ebrard thinks that the women actually hastened back to the city with the intention of telling the message, but, on their arrival, found the apostles in such a state of depression and gloom that from fear of ridicule they did not at first venture to do their errand. "Disobedient, indeed, they had no wish to be; but they put off from one moment to another what they found it so hard to tell, and what harmonized so little with the lamentations that were heard all around."

Or, it may be that Mark refers as above to one party of the women, while Matthew alludes to the other party.

With reference to the fact that Jesus suffered not Mary Magdalene to touch him, but permitted the other women to embrace his feet,51 it is to be noted that different Greek words are employed in the two cases. Ebrard, in the latter instance, renders, "Hold me not; I have not yet ascended." Euthymius and Theophylact, followed by Archbishop Thomson,52 interpret thus: "Death has now set a gulf between us. Touch not, as you once might have done, this body which is now glorified by its conquest over death, for with this body I ascend to the Father." Meyer thinks she wished to ascertain whether the Saviour, whom she recognized, was present in his material form, or with a spiritual body. She sought to obtain by the sense of touch the knowledge which the eye could not give her.

50 Gospel History, pp. 447-448.

52 Compare John 20:17 and Matthew 28:9.

 52 Smith's Bib. Diet., ii. 1380.

For other points of difficulty, see under "Numbers" and "Time."


Christ's revelation of truth, complete. 

All things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

John 15:15

Much kept back by him.

I have yet many things to say unto you,

but ye cannot bear them now.

John 16:12

May not the first text mean, "All things that I have heard from my Father, which were designed for you at present, I have made known to you. The message which I received for you I have faithfully communicated." Everything which the Father had, up to that time, wished him to make known, he had made known to them.

Alford thinks that the first passage is proleptically spoken of the state in which he would place them under the Spirit. A future event, viewed as determined and certain, is spoken of as having already taken place. The "many things," of the second text, are what was taught by the Savior after his resurrection,53 and by the Holy Spirit at a subsequent time.

Christ's use of parables unvarying.

Matthew 13:34

Parables sometimes omitted.

Matthew 5-7

Ebrard54 has correctly pointed out that the first passage has reference to a particular occasion. "Christ's words, that day, were parabolical."

Daniel highly exalted.

                                                                       Daniel 2:48

Entirely unnoticed.

                                                                       Daniel 3:12

Bertholdt thinks it very strange that Daniel, who was so high in office, is not mentioned in connection with his three friends. But, as Bertholdt himself admits, Daniel may have been absent, at this time, from the capital upon some business of state. Herzfeld supposes that not all the dignitaries of the empire were invited to the dedication of the image, and that Daniel was not included among those who received invitations.

David detained at Saul's court. 

And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly: and he became his armourbearer.

1 Samuel 16:21

Not thus detained.

But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem.

1 Samuel 17:15

53 See Luke 24:27; Acts 1:3. 

54 Gospel History, pp.245-246.

The mere fact that David "stood before" Saul, and became his "armor-bearer" (adjutant) by no means necessitates the supposition that David remained constantly afterward in Saul's service. If, as we know, Joab had ten armorbearers,55 Saul probably had at least as many, and, among them, some skilled in war. So that, when Saul's melancholy left him, he doubtless allowed David to return to his father's service. The second text, according to Keil, asserts that David "went back and forth from Saul to feed his father's sheep in Bethlehem." In 18:2, we see David taken into permanent employ by Saul.

David forbidden to build temple—one reason.

                                       1 Chronicles 17:4-6,12

A different reason.

                                                            1 Chronicles 28:3

Here is not, as De Wette56 imagines, a contradiction, but two concurrent reasons for the same thing, neither of which excludes the other. Jehovah had not as yet required the building of a temple, neither would David be the proper man to build such an edifice. Neither the appropriate time nor the fit man had come.

David's officers-

-one list.

                                                        2 Samuel 8:16-18

A different list.

                                                           2 Samuel 20:23-26

In this case there was an interval of more than twenty years. During that time, as might have been anticipated, some changes occurred, either by death or displacement. As to the fact that, in the first passage, Ahimelech the son, and in the second Abiathar the father, is spoken of as priest,57 see under "Ahimelech's priesthood." "Seraiah," "Shavsha," "Shisha," and "Sheva" were different forms of the same name.

David's relation to Achish unfriendly.

1 Samuel 21:12-15


                                                    1 Samuel 27:3-6; 29:6-9

Several years intervened between the two visits to the Philistine king. During that period David had been fiercely persecuted by Saul; and Achish, aware of this fact, kindly received the Hebrew fugitive, with the hope that he would prove a valuable ally against Saul, their common enemy. Fuerst, Gesenius, and Hengstenberg think that "Achish" was the personal name, and "Abimelech"- the hereditary title of the Philistine monarch.

55See 2 Samuel 18:15.

56Introd. to Old Testament, ii. 297.

57Comp. Bible Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17.

58See Psalm 34 title.

David's sonsone list. 2 Samuel 5:14-16

A second list.

1 Chronicles 3:5-8

A third list.

1 Chronicles 14:3-7











Eliphelet Eliphelet Nogah




We give merely the differences of the three lists. There is not the least doubt that these variations arose almost entirely from the blunders of copyists. Of the first two names, and the fourth, in each series, no more need be said. "Beeliada" is a different form of "Eliada"—compounded with Baal, instead of El. One "Eliphelet," or "Elpalet," together with "Nogah," as Rawlinson and Keil think, died in infancy, hence is omitted in Samuel. Rashi and others say that "Chileab," 2 Samuel 3:3, is another name for "Daniel," 1 Chronicles 3:1; Houbigant and Rawlinson maintain that we have here a transcriber's mistake.

David's sons priests.

                                                                        2 Samuel 8:18

No priests except house of Aaron

                  Numbers 3:10; 16:40

The Hebrew word "cohen," used in the first text, means not only a priest, but also a "servant, a minister, a counsellor performing service." So Fuerst, Keil, Movers, and Saalschutz. Gesenius and De Wette take the meaning to be, domestic priests, or spiritual advisers. Ewald59 thinks that the priestly dignity was by divine direction extended to David; Mr. Plumptre,60 that David and his sons may have been admitted to "an honorary, titular priesthood."

David tempted by the Lord.61 

The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

2 Samuel 24:1

Tempted by Satan.

And Satan stood up against Israel, and

provoked David to number Israel.

1 Chronicles 21:1

It is consistent with Hebrew modes of thought that whatever occurs in the world, under the overruling providence of God—whatever he suffers to take place—should be attributed to his agency. In not preventing, as he might have done, its occurrence, he is viewed as in some sense bringing about the event.

59 History of Israel, iii. 133, 200.

60 Smith's Bible Diet., iii. 2576.

61 See pp. 79-81 infra. Also Stanley, History of Jewish Church, p. 52.

Hence the act of Satan might be, in this indirect way, referred back to God, as the Governor of the universe.

Another explanation is that the Hebrew word "satan"62 when used, as in the second text, without the article, denotes simply an adversary. Hence Boothroyd. Davidson,63 and Hervey64 render, "An adversary stood up against Israel." The latter critic also interprets the first text thus: "For one moved David against them"; adding that some unnamed, person, who proved himself an enemy to the best interests of David and Israel, urged the king to number the people.

David's warriors—one list.

2 Samuel 23:8-39

A different list.

                                                        1 Chronicles 11:11-47

With reference to such copyist's variations as Hararite and Harorite, Sham-mah and Shammoth, Anethothite and Antothite, Barhumite and Baharumite, further remark is superfluous. The first list contains thirty-one names; the second, forty-seven. Of the first thirty-one names of the passage in Chronicles there are four not found in the list in Samuel, and, conversely, five names in the catalogue of Samuel do not appear in the other list. This difference is explicable upon the hypothesis that the two lists refer to somewhat different times. The list in Chronicles refers to the time when David became king over all Israel (see verse 10); the other probably points to a later epoch. During the interval, some persons died or left the army, and others took their places.65

It is conceded by critics generally that the original text of the eighth verse in Samuel has suffered from copyists, but should be translated substantially thus, "Jashobeam the Hachmonite, the chief of the captains, he swung his spear over eight hundred slain at once." So Hervey, Keil, Kennicott,66 Gesenius,67 and others, who decide that the correct reading is found in Chronicles. According to the best authorities, the words rendered "Adino the Eznite" should be interpreted, "he lifted up, swung, or brandished his spear" so that the italic words in the English version are unnecessary.

Edomites obstructed Israel'spassage.

         Numbers 20:18-21; Judges 11:17-18

Permitted it.

                                                           Deuteronomy 2:4, 8

62See this word applied to the angel which withstood Balaam, Numbers 22:22; to David,
1 Samuel 29:4; to Hadad, 1 Kings 11:14.

63Introd. to Old Testament, ii. 88.

64Bible Commentary on 2 Samuel 24:1.

65See Rawlinson in Bible Commentary on 1 Chronicles 11:26.

66Dissertations, i. 71-128.

67Thesaurus, pp. 994-995.

At first, when the Israelites approached the precipitous, well-nigh impregnable western frontier, the Edomites refused them transit; but when the Israelites had "compassed the land of Edom," and came to the open, unprotected eastern border, the Edomites no longer dared to assume a hostile attitude toward them.68

Edomites refused supplies.

Numbers 20:19-20

Furnished them.

                                                        Deuteronomy 2:28-29

As we have seen, the Edomites at first refused hospitalities to the Israelites; but at the later period they made a virtue of necessity, and sought to turn the matter to their own advantage by selling the necessaries of life to the Israelites.

As to the similar fact that the Moabites did not "meet the Israelites with bread and water" (Deuteronomy 23:3-4); though they "sold" them these articles Deuteronomy 2:28-29), Kurtz69 sees, in the first circumstance, "a proof of their indifference, if not of their hostile feelings toward the Israelites," and in the last, simply a manifestation of their selfish and grasping disposition."

Eli corrected his sons.

                                                          1 Samuel 2:23-24

Did not correct them.

                                                                 1 Samuel 3:13

That is, he reproved them either too leniently, or not till they had become hardened and ungovernable. His attempts at discipline amounted to nothing.

Eliakim succeededJosiah.

                                                              2 Kings 23:34

Succeeded Jehoahaz.

                                                         2 Chronicles 36:4

Bahr and Rawlinson take the words, "in the room of Josiah," as indicating that Nechoh regarded Jehoahaz simply as a usurper—the latter having been raised to the throne without Neehoh's consent.

Elimelech, indigent.

                                                                    Ruth 1:1

Had a competence.

                                                                  Ruth 1:21

To Bertholdfs "discrepancy," Davidson replies that the fullness and emptiness relate to Naomi's husband and sons who had died, not to property as Bertholdt imagines.

68 So Hengstenberg, Keil, Leake, Robinson, and others. 

69 History O. C. iii. 385.