Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible #18

Upon some one of the foregoing principles are to be explained the following cases, pertaining to various monarchs.

Ahaziah of Judahage, twenty-two.

2 Kings 8:26

It was forty-two.

                                                              2 Chronicles 22:2

According to the latter text, Ahaziah must have been two years older than his own father! The perfectly simple explanation adopted by Gesenius 312 and most critics is, that the copyist mistook one numeral letter for another—[Hebrew given]  20, for [Hebrew given] 40.

Ahaziah's reign begun in the eleventh year of Joram, 2 Kings 9:29; in the twelfth year, 2 Kings 8:25 (Rashi says that, on account of Joram's sickness,313 his son Ahaziah was associated with him in the eleventh year of Joram's reign, but began to reign alone in the twelfth year). Ahaziah of Israel began to reign in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat, 1 Kings 22:51; apparently later, compare 2 Kings 3:1; (the difference probably arises from the fact that, instead of fractional, the nearest whole numbers, above or below, are employed). Amaziah's reign began in the fourth year of Joash, 2 Kings 12:1; 13:10; in the second year, 2 Kings 14:1 (Rawlinson mentions a double accession of this Joash; one as copartner with his father; the other two years later, as sole king. Amaziah's reign dated in the fourth year from one accession; in the second from the other). Asa had ten years of peace, 2 Chronicles 14:1; 15:19; at war with Baasha all their days, 1 Kings 15:16, 32 (Asa reigned forty-one years. 314 Baasha, beginning in Asa's third year, reigned twenty-four years. 315 Asa's ten years of peace may have occurred after Baasha's death. Or, possibly, there may have been ten years of their contemporaneity, during which, though there was "war" i.e. unremitting hostility, between them, there was no actual resort to arms.316 Critics agree that, in 2 Chronicles 15:19 and 16:1, thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth years are a copyist's mistake for fifteenth and sixteenth, or twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth). Azariah's reign began in the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam. 2 Kings 15:1; in the fifteenth year, 2 Kings 14:2, 17, 23 (some say, the twenty-seventh year

312He says, "Geschichte der Heb. Sprache und Schrift," p.174, "Nach 2 Kon. 8:26 ist offenbar zu lesen 22 (Hebrew given for Hebrew given)." Lightfoot and Ben Gershon think that, in Chronicles, the whole reign of the house of Omri is reckoned in, to make the forty-two; thus, Omri 6 + Ahab 22 + Ahaziah 2 + Joram 12 = 42. It is a singular fact that this peculiarly rabbinic method of computation will, in a considerable number of cases, remove apparent discrepancies. —See Conciliator, passim.

3132 Chronicles 21:18-19.

31H Kings 15:10.

3151 Kings 15:33.

316 See Browne's Ordo Saeclorum, pp. 231-234.

of Jeroboam's copartnership with his father, but the sixteenth since he began to reign alone. The best critics maintain that [Hebrew given], 27, has been confounded with [Hebrew given] 15). 317 Azariah's reign ended in the first year of Pekah, 2 Kings 15:2, 27; in the second year of Pekah, 2 Kings 15:32 (parts of years are reckoned as whole years).

Baasha died in Asa's twenty-seventh year, 1 Kings 15:33; in his twenty-sixth, 1 Kings 16:8 (here, again, the same principle applies).

Ela's reign two years, 1 Kings 16:8; one year, 1 Kings 16:10 (he actually reigned a part of two years. These parts are called years).

Hezekiah's age, twenty-five, 2 Kings 18:2; probably less, 2 Kings 16:2 (Ahaz, dying at the age of thirty-six, would hardly leave a son aged twenty-five. Hence, with many critics, we may assume a slight mistake in numeral letters). 318 Hoshea's reign begun in the twentieth year of Jotham, that is, the third or fourth of Ahaz, 2 Kings 15:27, 30, 32; in the twelfth year of Ahaz, 2 Kings 17:1 (the rabbis 319 say that because Hoshea was tributary to the Assyrians in the early part of his reign, the first nine years are not reckoned; his reign properly beginning with his independence. Mr. Browne 320 admits an interregnum, or a period of anarchy, lasting eight years).

Ishbosheth's reign two years, 2 Samuel 2:10; apparently some seven years, 2 Samuel 2:11; 5:5 (Ewald 321 and Keil maintain that, after Saul's death, five years were spent in warfare against the Philistines, before Ishbosheth was anointed king over Israel).

Jehoahaz's reign begun in the twenty-third year of Joash, 2 Kings 13:1; about the nineteenth year, 2 Kings 10:36; 12 (Bahr thinks that [Hebrew given, 23, has been substituted, in the first text, for [Hebrew given], 21). 322 His reign lasted seventeen years, 2 Kings 13:1; fourteen, 2 Kings 13:10 (we may adopt the above emendation; or, with the old expositors, suppose that his son shared the throne the last two or three years of the reign). Jehoash began to reign in the thirty-seventh year of Joash, 2 Kings 13:10; apparently in the fortieth, 2 Kings 13:1. Jehoiachins age, eighteen years, 2 Kings 24:8; eight years, 2 Chronicles 36:9 (Bahr thinks that [Hebrew given] 10, has dropped out of the latter text). His capture in Nebuchadnezzar's eighth

317 Compare the translator's note in Bahr, p. 151.

318 Davidson, Vol. ii. p. 22, and Ewald, Vol. iv. 167, with the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic of 2 Chronicles 28:1, make Ahaz twenty-five years old at his accession.

319 Conciliator, ii. 98-99.

320Ordo Saeclorum, p. 242. He thinks that Isaiah 9:17-21 refers to this period of anarchy.

321 Vol. iii. 113.

322Josephus agrees with this emendation. Obviously, upon the principles of computation already explained, a discrepancy of one or two year arises and is accounted for so easily, as to be of no consequence whatever.

year, 2 Kings 24:12; in the seventh year, Jeremiah 52:28 (either a slight mistake in numeral letters, or else a different method of counting regnal years). His deliverance on the twenty-seventh day of the month, 2 Kings 25:27; on the twenty-fifth day, Jeremiah 52:31 (a mistake as to a single numeral letter). Jehoiakim's fourth year corresponded to Nebuchadnezzar's first, Jeremiah 25:1; 46:2; to his second, Daniel 1:1 (the fourth year of Jehoiakim, being reckoned by a different method, might correspond to the latter part of Nebuchadnezzar's first, and the earlier part of his second year. Nebuchadnezzar set out upon his expedition against Jerusalem in Jehoiakim's third year, Daniel 1:1; and continued it, after the battle of Carchemish, in his fourth year). Joram of Israel—reign begun in the second year of Jehoram of Judah, 2 Kings 1:17; apparently five years before, 2 Kings 8:16 (Joram of Israel seems to have begun to reign in the second year of the joint rule of Jehoram and his father; Jehoram of Judah began to reign alone in the fifth year of Joram of Israel.323 Or, with Mr. Bullock, 324 we may hold that Jehoram of Judah had two or three "accessions": (1) When Jehoshaphat, on going to the battle of Ramothgilead, about the seventeenth year of his reign, entrusted the regency to Jehoram; (2) when Jehoshaphat, in the twenty-third year, made him joint king; (3) when, in the twenty-fifth year, Jehoshaphat died. So that the accession of Joram of Israel in Jehoshaphat's eighteenth year would coincide with the second year after the first accession, and the fifth year before the second accession, of Jehoram of Judah). Jeroboam II, contemporary with Uzziah (Azariah) fourteen years, 2 Kings 14:23; 15:1; thirty-eight years, 2 Kings 15:8 (Bahr, Thenius, and Wolff say that in 14:23 we should read fifty-one, [Hebrew given], for forty-one, [Hebrew given]; Ewald 325 says fifty-three. Browne 326 suggests that "in the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam," 15:1, means the twenty-seventh year before the end of Jeroboam's reign. Most critics think that [Hebrew given], 27, is put here by mistake for [Hebrew given] 15. Some 327 suppose an interregnum of eleven or twelve years between the death of Jeroboam and the accession of his son). Josiah's reformation in his twelfth year, 2 Chronicles 34:3-7; in the eighteenth year, 2 Kings 22:3; 23:4 (what he did at the earlier period was but the commencement and preparation for what he, under the influence of the newly-discovered book of the law, carried out rigidly and thoroughly in his eighteenth year). Jotham's reign, twenty years, 2 Kings 15:30; sixteen years, 2 Kings 15:33 (it has been suggested that, since Uzziah was a leper, his son Jotham reigned in connection with him four years. 328 Some Jewish critics maintain that "the twentieth year of Jotham"

323 See Davidson, Sac. Herm., p. 550.

324 Smith's Bible Diet., ii. 1178.

325Vol. iv. p. 118.

326Ordo Saeclorum, p. 239, note. 

327Ordo Saeclorum, loc. cit. 

328 See Sac. Herm., p. 550.

means the twentieth from the beginning of his reign, that is, the fourth year of his successor Ahaz. Bahr thinks the thirtieth verse an interpolation). 

Nebuchadnezzar's nineteenth year, Jeremiah 52:12; eighteenth year, Jeremiah 52:29 (either a numerical error, or else different events are intended). His dream explained in the second year of his reign, Daniel 2:1; not till he had reigned three years, Daniel 1:1, 5, 18 (in 1:1 he is styled "king of Babylon" by historical anticipation. He was at the time crown prince and commander-in-chief in behalf of his father; or, as Berosus 329 intimates, he may have been actually co-regent. The "second year," in 2:1, dates from the beginning of his real reign. Besides, as Rawlinson 330 observes, the "three years" of Daniels training means, according to the Hebrew usage, "no more than one whole year, and parts, however small, of two other years)." Omri's reign began in the twenty-seventh year of Asa, 1 Kings 16:15; in the thirty-first year, 1 Kings 16:23 (he began, at the first date to reign over one half of Israel, at the second date to reign over the whole) 331 Pekah's reign twenty years, 2 Kings 15:27; about thirty, 2 Kings 15:32-33; 17:1 (Bahr thinks that [Hebrew given] , 20, has been substituted improperly for [Hebrew given], 30. Oppert and Lenormant 332 assert, upon the authority of the Assyrian inscriptions, that Pekah's reign was interrupted above seven years, he being dethroned about B.C.742 by a second Menahem, and reinstated by another revolution about B.C.733. The thirty years date from his first inauguration, while his actual reign was twenty years). As to Saul's reign, 1 Samuel 13:1-2, the best critics agree that some numeral letter has dropped out in both verses.

Ai destroyed at a certain time. Still inhabited.

                Joshua 8:28  Nehemiah 7:32

Parker 333 "It may have been rebuilt in the interval."

Amalekites utterly destroyed. Overthrown at a later period.

                                    1 Samuel 15:7-8

                                1 Samuel    30:1,17

The Hebrew expression in the first passage is, literally, "devoted to destruction' and means no more than that he destroyed all whom he caught. The words "all the people" are to be interpreted, as Thenius 334 says, "with a restriction," and not to be pressed so as to preclude the idea that some escaped, who, twenty years

329 He says that the father "conferred upon his son Nebuchadnezzar, now a man, some share of the government." See Hengstenberg's Genuineness of Daniel, p. 50.

330Historical Illustrations, pp. 168-169 (American edition).

3311 Kings 16:21-22.

332Manual of Ancient History of the East, i. 172 (Amer. edition). See a summary of regnal discrepancies in Movers' Kritische Untersuchungen iiber die biblische Chronik, pp. 54-55, note (a). For tabular and synchronistic lists of the kings of Judah and Israel, the reader is referred to the various Commentaries and Bible Dictionaries.

333 De Wette's Introd. to Old Testament, ii. 177, note.

later, gathering a band of their Bedouin neighbors, made a predatory excursion against Ziglag.

Bethel and Gezer conquered.

                                      Joshua 12:12,16

Apparently not till later.

                                   Judges 1:22-25, 29

Some critics 335 think that all, or nearly all, of Judges 1-2:6 refers to events previous to the death of Joshua. Hence the above passages would relate to substantially the same period, and there would be no collision. Otherwise, we may adopt the solution of the difficulty indicated a little further on.

Canaan conquered speedily.

                                        Joshua 10:42

Conquest delayed.

                                         Joshua 11:18

The first text refers especially to the southern part of Palestine, which was conquered in a single campaign; the second relates to the northern part, the conquest of which occupied a longer period.

As to the fact that the Canaanites were to be destroyed quickly ("maher"), Deuteronomy 9:3; yet not at once ("maher"), Deuteronomy 7:22, the Hebrew term is employed in these two cases in a relative sense. The overthrow by the Israelites of "seven nations greater and mightier" than they, was, in respect to the magnitude of the work, done "quickly"; but, with reference to the fact that the rapidity of their conquest was graduated to the rate of their actual occupation, so that the depopulated land was not left to become the haunt of wild beasts, it was not done "at once," that is, not too suddenly.

As to those passages which seem to represent the subjugation of Canaan and the extirpation of its inhabitants as already effected and complete, in contrast with others which speak of "very much land" as still in possession of the native inhabitants (compare Joshua 11:16-17, 23; 12:7-8 and 13:1; 17:14; 23:5) it has been suggested 336 (1) that in the former passages the writer speaks from the theocratic point of view, intimating that everything has been done on the part of God, it only remaining for the Israelites to faithfully execute their part of the work; (2) that "territory was undoubtedly overrun by Joshua at the first onset which was afterwards recovered by the Canaanites, and only again and finally wrested from them at a subsequent, sometimes a long subsequent, date."

334Die Bucher Samuels, p. 68.

335 Compare Bib. Com. Introd. to Judges, pp. 123-125. On this hypothesis, we must read in Judges 1:1, "after the death of Moses," etc. This seems plausible, since the death of Joshua is related in 2:8-9.

336 See Bible Com., Introd. to Joshua p. 12; also, p. 376 infra.


Cities smitten at one time

                                                                            Joshua 12:10-23

Not till a later period.

                                                    Joshua 15:63; 17:12;

                                                         Judges 1:22, 29

Some make a distinction between smiting the kings and capturing their cities in the present instance. But all such cases as these may be explained by the supposition that, in the irregular warfare which the Israelites waged, the Canaan-ites which escaped at the conquest of the cities would, as soon as the attention of the victors was turned in another direction, return and reoccupy their former haunts. Soon they would rebuild and fortify these cities, and in process of time must be again dislodged by armed force. Hence it would happen that some of the Canaanite cities would be conquered several times over by the Israelites, under Joshua, Caleb, and other leaders.

Ewald, 337 in his sketch of the "neverending hostilities and counter-hostilities of those early times" hits the mark precisely. Having pointed out the inferiority of the Hebrews in all the practical arts, including even arms and military tactics, and their superiority to the Canaanites in respect to martial courage, he adds: "With these striking differences, the warlike daring of the Hebrews might easily achieve most extraordinary momentary successes, and yet their first campaigns could not be much more than what the Arabs in all three continents called 'alghars,' or rather (since the Hebrews had no cavalry) 'razzias' that is, sudden raids, overpowering the land for the moment, rather than permanently subduing it; and when the camp of the invaders was remote, the thick ranks of the former inhabitants, regardless of their promised submission, soon closed again behind their invaders." In these characteristically graphic words of the great critic, we have the key to such cases of repeated conquest as are subjoined. Debir conquered, Joshua 10:38-39 and Joshua 15:15-17; Judges 1:11-13. Dor and Taanach, Joshua 12:21, 23 and Judges 1:27. Hazor, Joshua 11:1, 10 and Judges 4:24. Hebron— king, Joshua 10:23, 26 and 36-37 (Bleek 338 suggests that the latter passage may refer to a successor of the king mentioned in the former. Konig 339 thinks that there were two conquests of Hebron). Hormah, Numbers 21:3 and Joshua 12:14; Judges 1:17 (the name "Hormah," denoting accursed, or devoted to destruction, may have been applied to more than one place. 340 Or, the vow or ban made by Moses may not have been fully carried out till the time of Joshua. Kurtz 341 suggests that the city may not have been conquered at the same time with its king, or 

337 History of Israel, ii. 263.

338Introd. to Old Testament, i. 349. Several other passages referring to Hebron, Joshua 11:21; 14:12-13; Judges 1:9-11, indicate its varying fortunes.

339Alttestamentliche Studien, i. 22.

340 Some have reckoned three places with this name. Numbers 14:45 may mean, unto the place now known as Hormah.


that Hormah may have been recaptured by the Canaanites, and only definitively conquered and placed under the ban at the time indicated in Judges 1:17). Jebus or Jerusalem, Joshua 12:10; Judges 1:8 and Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:21 (Jebus was the stronghold or fortress "of extraordinary strength," while Jerusalem was the name of the adjacent city. The latter, with its king, was captured early; the former held out till the time of David. So Josephus, 342 and other authorities). Jericho, Joshua 6:24, 26 and Judges 1:16; 3:13; 2 Samuel 10:5 (Bertheau, Kno-bel, and LeClerc maintain that two different places are meant. Winer thinks that Joshua's imprecation was not meant to preclude inhabiting the city again, but referred to the rebuilding of its fortifications. So that, as an unwalled village, it may have been reinhabited shortly after its conquest by Joshua). Laish, Joshua 19:47 and Judges 18:27-28. Midianites overthrown, Numbers 31:10 and Judges 6:33; 8:10-12 (it is not said in Numbers that all the Midianites were slain; some doubtless escaped. In some two hundred years this remnant would become sufficiently formidable, aided by their allies, "the Amalekites and the children of the east," to harass northern and eastern Israel). We thus see that the theory of repeated conquests of the same place or people meets the exigencies of the case satisfactorily.

Announcement made to Mary.

                                       Luke 1:26-37

At a different time to Joseph.

                                       Matthew 1:20

Strauss and Bruno Bauer maintain that the two accounts are contradictory. But Mary did not at once tell Joseph of the message she had received, because, first, she had nothing to confess, and it was not suitable to speak of the matter in a tone of triumph; and, secondly, she knew that her own word alone would not satisfy Joseph, hence she wisely left it to God to put the mind of her husband at rest in regard to the matter. 343 This "pairing of visions," in order to dispose two persons for cooperation in important and worthy matters, finds a parallel in the cases of Cornelius and Peter, and Saul and Ananias. 344

Apostles called at one time.

                                        John 1:35-43

At a different time. 

                                                           Matthew 4:18-22 

                                                               Mark 1:16-20

                                                                  Luke 5:1-11

John describes the first interview of our Lord with the disciples mentioned. They "abode with him that day," but afterward returned for a while to

342Ant. v. 2, 2. Compare Ewald, Havernick, and Stanley.

343 See, on this point, Ebrard, pp. 167-171; also, Wordsworth, Replies to Essays and Reviews, p. 469. 

344See Acts 10:3,13,15, and 9:6, 10-16.

their ordinary employment. Later, at the time indicated in the other passages, they were called to the apostolic office, and gave up their former mode of life. Ebrard345 has shown that this is the correct explanation; also, that the commission of the "twelve" in Matthew 10, was quite distinct from that of the "seventy," as recorded in Luke 10; the former being ofa permanent, the latter of a temporary, nature.

Ark made at one time.

                                     Deuteronomy 10:3-5

Not till a later time.

                             Exodus 25:10; 35:12; 37:1

Possibly the ark mentioned in the first passage was a temporary one; or Moses may have ordered its construction before he went upon Sinai, and so made it per Bezaleel. But a better explanation is, that Moses here, as in many other cases, "connects transactions closely related to each other and to his purpose, without regard to the order of occurrence." The style of the Hebrew historians, as Le Clerc observes, is not to be "tried by the rules of rhetoricians." It is to their disregard of chronological order, to the arranging of their materials topically, rather than consecutively—a method of composition entirely in keeping with their simplicity of thought and diction—that we must attribute numerous minor discrepancies like the following: Christ conveyed into the mountain at the third temptation, Matthew 4:8; at the second, Luke 4:5 (Luke does not follow the order of time here; nor does he claim to do so). His preaching began before John's imprisonment, John 3:2, 22, 24; from that epoch, Matthew 4:12, 17; Mark 1:14 (the meaning may be, from that time began to preach in Galilee, or to preach the nearness of the" kingdom of heaven"). Creation—one order, Genesis 1:11-27; another order, Genesis 2:4-7, 9, 19-22 (it is conceded by the best authorities 346 that there is a "general correspondence" between the biblical account of creation and the deductions of geological science. When we compare the statements of Genesis 1 with those of the succeeding chapter, we discover several disagreements with respect to the order of events. Thus—to give one of the half-dozen similar instances adduced by rationalistic critics—in the first chapter, the man and woman seem to be represented as created together, after the lower animals; in the second chapter the man appears to be created first, then the beasts, lastly the woman.

Now, these differences arise simply from the condensation of the narrative in the first chapter, and from the disregard of chronological order in the second. In

345 Gospel History, sections 44, 51, and 70.

346Such as Agassiz, Dana, and Guyot. See Dr. J. P. Thompsons Man in Genesis and in Geology, p. 19. Also, Davidson, Introd. to Old Testament, i. 161.

the first, the sacred historian gives a general, yet concise, account of the six days' work; in the second chapter he recapitulates, and, without following the order of time, gives some additional details. As Kalisch has well said, "The writer's end is the history of man's fall. The serpent occasions, the wife shares it; it is therefore necessary to introduce the creation of the animals and of woman." 347

The narrative in the second chapter is "wholly unchronological," the near and the remote being brought together without regard to the order of time. In other words, everything in this supplementary account, is viewed in its relation to man; hence he is here placed foremost according to the spirit of the Aristotelian maxim: The posterior in appearance, the prior in idea. 348 Feast of unleavened bread instituted before the exude, Exodus 12:15; afterwards at Succoth, Exodus 13:3 (the second text is a mere incidental repetition of the command). Israelites already at Sinai, Exodus 18:5; not till later, Exodus 19:2 (the meeting with Jethro seems related by anticipation, in order to clear the way for an uninterrupted account of the meeting with Jehovah at Sinai). John acquainted with Jesus previous to the baptism, Matthew 3:14; not till that epoch, John 1:33 (the recognition by John, at the first glance, may have been due not to any previous acquaintance with Jesus, but to the fact that he had been forewarned that the Messiah was about to appear, and felt an intuitive, irresistible conviction 349 that this was He). Levites set apart during the sojourn at Sinai, Numbers 3:6; 8:14; apparently not till later, Deuteronomy 10:6-8 (Rashi, 350 Hengstenberg,351 and others say that verses 6 and 7 of Deuteronomy 10 are parenthetical; the words "at that time," in verse 8, referring back to the events described in the first five verses). Persons sealed at a given time, Nehemiah 10:1-27; their children supposed to have lived a century earlier, Ezra 2:1-39; Nehemiah 7:7-42 (the eighteen or more "coincident names" 352 in these lists do not absolutely prove the identity of the persons. Rawlinson 353 maintains that the names in the first passage are "not personal, but designate families"). Priests consecrated at Mount Sinai, Exodus 19:22; not till later, Exodus 28:1 (the Israelites were familiar, from the beginning, with the ideas of priesthood and sacrifice. There is reason to believe that they had priests and forms of worship and sacrifice previous to the giving of the law and the consecration of the Levites. Jewish writers say that in

347Commentary on Genesis, p. 113; see, also, p. 82.

348See Lange on Genesis, pp. 200-202.

349See Ebrard, pp. 196-197.



352Davidson, Introd. to Old Testament, ii. 138.

353Bible Com. on Nehemiah 10:1-28.

that early time the firstborn or the heads of families performed priestly service. This agrees well with the statement that Moses sent "young men of the children of Israel" to offer sacrifice upon a certain occasion). 354

Beersheba named by Abraham.

                                                Genesis 21:31

Named later by Isaac.

                                         Genesis 26:33

To the rationalistic objection that "identical names of places are not imposed twice," we may reply, in general, that it is "in full accordance with the genius of the Oriental languages and the literary tastes of the people" to suppose that a name may be renewed; in other words, that a new meaning and significancy may be attached to an old name. 355 This fact sweeps away a host of objections urged against this and similar cases.

The whole series of events served to recall to Isaac's mind the former name and the circumstances which gave rise to it, hence he renewed it. From 26:15,18 we learn that all the wells dug by Abraham had been filled with earth by the Philistines, but that Isaac reopened them, and called them by the old familiar names. This would seem a sufficient explanation of the case before us.

In much the same way the following examples of a twofold naming are to be solved. Bethel named at one time, Genesis 28:19; at a later time, Genesis 35:15 (at the first time Jacob made a vow that, if God would bless and keep him till his return, the pillar which he had set up should be "God's house." 356 Upon his return, in view of the abundant blessings which he had received, he performed his vow, 357 changing the ideal to an actual Bethel, and thus emphasizing and confirming the original name). Dan named, Genesis 14:14; Deuteronomy 34:1 and Joshua 19:47; Judges 18:29 (many commentators—Deyling, Eichhorn, Havernick, Hengstenberg, Jahn, Kalisch, Keil, Lange, Quarry, Zeller, and others—think that in Genesis another town is intended, that commonly termed "Dan-jaan." Possibly the city may have had two names in ancient times—Laish (or Leshem) and Dan; one of these being more used at one time, the other at another. 358 Le Clerc suggests that the town was originally called Laish, and the fountain Dan, i.e. judge; but that the Danites gave the name of the fountain, which corresponded with that of their own tribe, to the city, as a substitute for its former name). Havothjair named, Numbers 32:41; Deuteronomy 3:4, 14 and

354 See Exodus 24:5. Compare, however, Kurtz, ii. 

334-337; iii. 142-143.

355 This is the testimony of a scholar thoroughly acquainted with Oriental manners and customs, Prof. J. L. Porter, in Kitto's Biblical Cyclopaedia, ii. 132 (latest edition).

356Genesis 28:20-22.

357Genesis 35:14-15.

3S8Kitto,i. 614.

Judges 10:3,4 (the old name may have acquired new significance through the second Jair; or, as Kurtz 359 suggests, the entire district may have been lost by the family during the confusion of the time of the Judges, and a portion, thirty of the sixty cities, 360 regained and renamed by the second Jair). Israel named at one time, Genesis 32:28; at a different and later time, Genesis 35:10 (many critics regard the latter instance simply as a ratification and confirmation of the former meaning. Murphy suggests that in the interval Jacob's spiritual life had been declining, and that its renewal is aptly intimated and expressed by the renewal of his name).

Census made at one time.

                                       Exodus 38:26

At another time.

                                      Numbers 1:46

We have elsewhere seen that the census of the second text was a military enrollment, but was probably based upon the registration accompanying the collection of offerings mentioned in Exodus.

The hypothesis that similar events occur at different times affords a ready solution of the following cases; Christ anointed at one time, Matthew 26:7; John 12:3; at another time, Luke 7:37-38 (the best critics hold that the anointing in the first two passages was quite distinct from that mentioned by Luke). David anointed at one time, 1 Samuel 16:13; at another, 2 Samuel 2:4; upon a third occasion, 2 Samuel 5:3 (the first was a private, prophetic anointing; by the second he was publicly recognized as king over Judah; by the third, as king over both Judah and Israel). Land assigned, Joshua 14:5 and 18:6 (chapters 14-19 contain an account of the division of the land; verses 1-5 of the fourteenth chapter form a preface to the narrative, and state the result by anticipation). Officers appointed, Exodus 18:25 and Numbers 11:16 (two entirely distinct transactions). Proverb—origin, 1 Samuel 10:12 and 1 Samuel 19:24 (the recurrence of the same circumstance afforded fresh ground for the "proverb"). Saul's anointing, 1 Samuel 10:1 and 11:14-15; 12:3. Solomon's anointing, 1 Kings 1:39 and 1 Chronicles 29:22 (in both the last cases there was need of a formal and supplementary investiture with authority before all Israel). 

Spices prepared after the Sabbath, Mark 16:1; on the day preceding it, Luke 23:56 (Ebrard 361 gives a rendering of the latter text which obviates the difficulty. Otherwise, one of the two parties of women may have made a purchase before, the other after, the Sabbath. Or, the same persons may have bought a part of the spices at

359Vol.iii. 469-470.

360Comp. Judges 4:1 and 1 Chronicles 2:22-23.


Gospel History, pp. 445-446.

one time, the remainder at the other time). 


Temple furniture removed, 2 Kings 24:13; 25:13-17 and Daniel 1:2 (the temple was pillaged several times). Wives repudiated, Ezra 10:3-17 and Nehemiah 13:23-30 (the evil of intermarriage with heathen women was repressed by Ezra, but some twenty-five years later again required severe measures). Year—beginning, in spring-time, Exodus 12:2; in harvest, Exodus 23:16 (the first passage refers to the sacred, the second to the secular year). 362

Christ crucified at the third hour.

                                         Mark 15:25

About the sixth hour.

                                     John 19:14-18

There are three leading explanations of this case. 1) That the two evangelists give the extreme limits of time—Mark referring to the beginning of the preparations, and John pointing to the completion of the dreadful tragedy. The words of the former, "It was the third hour," may denote indefinitely that the third hour was past; while the phraseology in John, "about the sixth hour," may mean simply that it was approaching the sixth hour, So Ewald, 363 apparently. 2) John, writing in Asia Minor, may have used the Roman official mode of computation, reckoning from midnight, so that the "sixth hour" would be 6 a.m. From this time to 9 a.m. (the "third hour," according to the Jewish reckoning) was occupied by the preliminaries, and by the passage of the procession forth to Golgotha. This is the view of Ebrard, Mr. Garden, 364 Gardiner, Hug, Olshausen, Tholuck, Townson, Wieseler, Wordsworth, and others. 3) A copyist's mistake, in John, of [Greek given], 3, for [Greek given], 6. So Alford hesitatingly, Bengel, Beza, Eusebius, Petavius, Robinson, and Theophylact. Meyer follows Johns reckoning, leaving the difficulty unsolved.


Christ's entombment three days and nights 

                                                            Matthew 12:40

A less time,

                                      Buried Friday; rose on Sunday.

We have elsewhere called attention to the fact that the Orientals reckon any part of a day as a whole day. In the case before us, one whole and two parts of a day, together with two nights, are popularly styled "three days and three nights." This Oriental manner of designating intervals of time is found in other portions of scripture, 365 and obtains in modern times. Dr. Robinson 366 found, in

362 Conciliator, i. 126-129.

363Life of Christ,p.325.

364Smith's Bib. Diet., ii. 1102.

365Compare 1 Samuel 30:12-13.

366Later Bib. Res. pp. 625-626.

his own case, that "five days" of quarantine really meant "only three whole days and small portions of two others."


Christ's infancyorder of events.

                                        Matthew 2:1-23

A different order.

                                             Luke 2:4-39

It is objected by Strauss 367 and his school that the two accounts are incompatible, since Matthew omits the residence at Nazareth before the nativity, the circumstances which brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, and the presentation in the temple; while Luke does not mention the visit of the Magi, the murder of the innocents, nor the flight to Egypt.

To this we reply that the argument from the silence of an author amounts to very little. That particular aspect of the case which he wished to present, or the knowledge already possessed by those to whom he was writing, might render it inexpedient or superfluous for him to mention all the circumstances, as otherwise he would have done.

In the case before us, the following is the probable order of events: Journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem; birth of the child; presentation in the Temple; visit of the Magi; flight of the family to Egypt; return and settlement at Nazareth. 368

Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Patritius 369 maintain that, after the presentation in the Temple, Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth (Luke 2:39), and, having arranged their affairs there, came back to Bethlehem (which must have possessed very strong attractions for them), with a view to make the latter place their home. Wordsworth thinks they came to Bethlehem the second time on the occasion of one of the great annual feasts. At this time they received the Magi not in a stable, but in a "house" (Matthew 2:11), and from this city they fled into Egypt. Ebrard 370 satisfactorily explains the omission of some circumstances by one evangelist, and of others by the other.

Daniel continued till first year of Cyrus.

                                          Daniel 1:21

Till his third year.

                                          Daniel 10:1

In the first text, "continued" means either that he retained his position, or better that he continued in Babylon, till that epoch, at which time the exiles received permission to return. So Bleek, Davidson, and Michaelis. Hengstenberg 371 takes

367 New Life of Jesus, ii. 91. See, also, Schleiermacher, Life of Jesus, pp. 46, 48 (Thirlwall's translation).

368 So Robinson, Gardiner, Wieseler, and others.

369  Kitto, ii. 548, note; Andrews' Life of our Lord, pp. 84-89.

370 Gospel History, pp. 186-189.

371 Gen. of Daniel, pp. 54-56.

the passage as implying that Daniel lived to see that glorious epoch, but not at all that he died at that time.

Delugeduration 150 days.

                                      Genesis 7:24; 8:3

Lasted but 40 days.

                                     Genesis 7:4,12,17

As Knobel 372 says, the rain continued during the entire one hundred and fifty days, of which the forty form a part; yet we must distinguish its more moderated continuance from the first forty days' storm. Moreover, the subsidence or sinking of a portion of the earth's surface, denoted by the "breaking up of the fountains of the great deep," 373 doubtless continued also. The one hundred and fifty days bring us down from the seventeenth day of the second month, the beginning of the rain, to the seventeenth day of the seventh month, when the ark rested upon the mountain. On the first day of the tenth month the summits of the mountains were visible. Then forty days (8:6) bring us to the tenth day of the eleventh month, when Noah opened the window of the ark, and sent forth the raven. Between this event and the first sending of the dove probably seven days intervened (compare verses 7 and 8; also, "other seven days," in verse 10). These, with the two "sevens" mentioned in verses 10 and 12, make twenty-one days, which bring us to the six hundred and first year, first month, first day, when the "face of the ground was dry," 374 that is, when the water had disappeared. On the twenty-seventh day of the second month the mud had dried, so that it was suitable for Noah and his family to go forth. 375 This suggestion removes the supposed contradiction that the earth became dry at two different times.

Droughtduration three years.

                                      1 Kings 17:1; 18:1

Apparently three and a half.

                             Luke 4:25;   James 5:17

The "third year" may be reckoned from the time when Elijah began his sojourn with the widow of Zarephath; or, the drought begun six months before the famine did—the last two texts referring to the drought.

Esau settled in Seir, at one time.

                                        Genesis 32:3

Not till a later period.

                                    Genesis 36:6, 8

The writer, in the first passage, speaks of the "country of Edom" by anticipation. Probably Esau, at the time alluded to, was sojourning temporarily in

372  Die Genesis, p. 85.

373 Chap. 7:11.

374 8:13.

375 8:14.

Seir; or he may have been there on a warlike expedition. At a later period he took up his abode there.

Exodus occurred in fourth generation.

                                      Genesis 15:13,16

In the sixth generation.

                        1 Chronicles 1:34; 2:1, 3-9

The best critics hold that the term "generation," in the first passage denotes a century 376 The "four hundred years" may be taken here as a round number; otherwise, they may begin with the birth of Isaac, while the "four hundred and thirty" of Galatians 3:17 may date from the call of Abraham. 377

Fast observed on the ninth day.

                                      Leviticus 23:32

On the tenth day.

                                      Leviticus 16:29

The fast extended from the evening of the ninth to that of the tenth day. Hence it was spoken of as occurring on either day.

Several cases of a kindred nature maybe considered here: Feast—duration, seven days, Exodus 12:15; six days, Deuteronomy 16:8 (in the latter passage the seventh day is specified separately). God's work ended on the seventh day, Genesis 2:2; on the sixth day, Exodus 20:11 (Murphy: "To finish a work, in Hebrew conception, is to cease from it, to have done with it"). Interval before passover, Matthew 26:2 and John 12:1 (the latter passage refers to a somewhat earlier time, to which, also, the sixth verse of Matt 26 reverts). Interval before transfiguration, Mark 9:2 and Luke 9:28 (Luke's expression, "about an eight days," includes the two extreme days). Jordan crossed within three days, Joshua 1:11; 3:2; on about the eighth day, Joshua 2:22; 3:1-2 (possibly, as Kimchi thinks, Joshua sent the spies two or three days before the announcement, so that, in 2:1, we should road, "Joshua had sent" etc. Or, the "three days" might be "the latest time that could be allowed the people to prepare for crossing." 378 More probably the unexpected detention of the spies slightly disarranged Joshuas plans, so that the crossing was deferred three or four days).

Feast observed under Zerubbabel.

                                           Ezra 3:4

Not subsequent to Joshua.

                                  Nehemiah 8:17

The second passage means simply that there had been no such celebration. The children of Israel "had not done so"; the whole congregation had not since Joshuas time dwelt in booths, as in the present instance.

376 According to Fuerst and Gesenius, the Hebrew term means not only a generation, but also a century. So the Latin "seculum" originally meant an age ex generation, but in later times came to denote a century.

377 So Jacobus, Murphy, Wordsworth, and the earlier commentators.

378 This is Keil's view.