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  #1  
Old 05-25-2009, 09:17 AM
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Default Three or Thirty? Hebrew or Syriac?

2 Samuel 23:18 and 1 Chronicles 11:20 - THREE or THIRTY?

2 Samuel 23:18 KJB - “And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among THREE. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three. “

NASB - “Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of THE THIRTY. And he swung his spear against three hundred and killed them, and had a name as well as the three.”


1 Chronicles 11:20 KJB - “And Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of THE THREE: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a name among THE THREE.“


1 Chronicles 11:20 NASB - “As for Abshai the brother of Joab, he was chief of THE THIRTY, and he swung his spear against three hundred and killed them; and he had a name as well as THE THIRTY. “

It should be obvious that there is a pretty big difference between the number THREE and THIRTY. Both cannot be what God originally inspired in His precious words.

The footnotes found in 1 Chronicles 11:20 tell us that the number THREE comes from the Hebrew Scriptures and is even the reading in the so called Greek Septuagint LXX and the Latin Vulgate, but the NASB gets its number THIRTY from the Syriac.

Agreeing with the King James Bible’s reading of THREE in both 2 Samuel 23:18 and in 1 Chronicles 11:20 are the following Bible translations: Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, the 1881 Revised Version, the 1901 American Standard Version, Douay 1950, Darby, Youngs, the NKJV 1982, World English Bible, the NIV and the TNIV, the Amplified bible, Green’s 2001, the 1991 New Century Version, Rotherham’s Emphasized bible 1902, Daniel Wallaces NET version, the 2001 Holman Standard Version and the KJV 21st Century version 1994.

Among foreign language versions that read THREE and not THIRTY are the Spanish Reina Valera of 1602 (though the 1960 and 1995 now read 30 (treinta), but the more recent Spanish Reina Valera Gomez of 2004 has gone back to the Hebrew reading of 3 - tres. The Italian Diodati 1602 and the New Diodati of 1991, along with the Italian Riveduta of 1927. The French Martin of 1744, the Louis Segond of 1912 and the French Ostervald of 1996 all agree with the Hebrew and the King James Bible. So too do Luther’s German bible of 1545 and the Modern Greek translation.

However, following the Syriac and rejecting the Hebrew for both Scriptures and replacing the obvious THREE with THIRTY are the liberal RSV of 1954, followed by the NRSV, NASB and ESV.

The number THREE found in the Hebrew texts refers to the three mighty men who brake through the host of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem to bring it unto David, their beloved king. This is recorded in 2 Samuel 23:13 through 17 - “And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam...And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David...”

The Hebrew texts and the King James Bible are right, as always, and versions like the NASB, RSV and ESV are wrong.

Will Kinney
The King James Bible Page SwordSearcher Bible Software
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Old 05-25-2009, 02:56 PM
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Three is more amazing than thirty, and almost seems impossible, and since God delights in impossibilities, it seems more likely that three would be right. And since the KJB says three, three it is
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Old 05-25-2009, 04:43 PM
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Default Three or Thirty?

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Three is more amazing than thirty, and almost seems impossible, and since God delights in impossibilities, it seems more likely that three would be right. And since the KJB says three, three it is
Hi Luke. Actually, I don't think the number Three is that difficult at all. Even Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's commentary has this to say: "The mighty men or champions in David's military staff were divided into three classes--the highest, Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah; the second class, Abishai, Benaiah, and Asahel; and the third class, the thirty, of which Asahel was the chief."

We know from the Scriptures themselves in 1 Chron. 11 that both Abishai and Benaiah were two of the three men who risked their lives to draw water out of the well of Bethlehem. The other one is not named, but these three divisions apparently did exist in David's army.

Will K
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Old 05-26-2009, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Will Kinney View Post
Hi Luke. Actually, I don't think the number Three is that difficult at all. Even Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's commentary has this to say: "The mighty men or champions in David's military staff were divided into three classes--the highest, Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah; the second class, Abishai, Benaiah, and Asahel; and the third class, the thirty, of which Asahel was the chief."

We know from the Scriptures themselves in 1 Chron. 11 that both Abishai and Benaiah were two of the three men who risked their lives to draw water out of the well of Bethlehem. The other one is not named, but these three divisions apparently did exist in David's army.

Will K
Here a good one I get hit with and always answer a question with a question:

Ezr 2:13 The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty and six.
Ne 7:18 The children of Adonikam, six hundred threescore and seven.

1. How many Adonikams, one or two? How many Tims and Matthews are there on this forum?
2. Which group does Ezra record, Judah(southern kingdom) or Israel(northern kingdom)?
3. Which group does Nehemiah record, Judah(southern kingdom) or Israel(northern kingdom)?

As I said in my little thing on Triple Inspiration, the ones who criticize the Scriptures the most are the ones who study and use it the least.

Grace and peace my friends.

Tony
  #5  
Old 05-26-2009, 06:53 PM
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Default The census in Ezra and Nehemiah

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Originally Posted by tonybones2112 View Post
Here a good one I get hit with and always answer a question with a question:

Ezr 2:13 The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty and six.
Ne 7:18 The children of Adonikam, six hundred threescore and seven.

1. How many Adonikams, one or two? How many Tims and Matthews are there on this forum?
2. Which group does Ezra record, Judah(southern kingdom) or Israel(northern kingdom)?
3. Which group does Nehemiah record, Judah(southern kingdom) or Israel(northern kingdom)?

As I said in my little thing on Triple Inspiration, the ones who criticize the Scriptures the most are the ones who study and use it the least.

Grace and peace my friends.

Tony
Hi Tony. I wrote about this one too. It's a bit long, but for those interested, I think you will find it helpful.

Is the Bible Inerrant? The Census of Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7

The portions of Scripture that are probably the most often attacked by atheists, Muslims and Bible bashers as "proving" that the Bible is not the inerrant words of God are the two contradictory lists of the numbers of those who returned from Babylon to Jerusalem during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.

In Ezra Chapter Two we find one list that is similar in many ways to that found in Nehemiah Chapter Seven, but there are also many obvious differences, and it is these different numbers that have given rise to attacks on the Bible itself as being the inerrant word of God, and have caused many Christians to doubt the truth of our Holy Bible.

In Ezra Chapter Two and in Nehemiah Chapter Seven there are about thirty-three family units that appear in both lists of Israelites returning from Babylon to Judea. Of these 33 family units listed in Ezra and Nehemiah, nineteen of the family units are identical, while fourteen show discrepancies in the number of members within the family units . Two of the discrepancies differ by 1, one differs by 4, two by 6, two differ by 9, another differs by 11, another two by 100, another by 201, another differs by 105, a further family differs by 300, and the largest difference is the figure for the sons of Azgad, a difference of 1,100 between the accounts of Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7.

Not only do many of the numbers not agree in each list, but there is a further problem. Both Ezra and Nehemiah give the same total of the whole congregation as being 42,360. But as one Bible scoffer named Dennis McKinsey writes: "We have a listing of the subclans that returned from the Captivity and the number of people in each. In the KJV, out of approximately thirty-five subclans listed over half of the numbers are in disagreement. Furthermore, someone doesn't know how to add very well because the totals are in error. Ezra 2:64 says `The whole congregation together was 42,360,' when one can see by easily adding the figures together that the total is 29,818. Nehemiah 7:66 also says, `The whole congregation together was 42,360' when one need only add those figures to see that it's actually 31,089. Ezra erred by 12,542, and Nehemiah erred by 11,271."

There have been many attempts to reconcile these different numbers, but most of them seem to me to fall short of giving an adequate explanation. Unfortunately, most "Christian" apologetic sites and books usually end up with the stated position that this is a case of "many scribal errors" in all Hebrew texts, and that "only the originals were inspired". The end result is that they cave in to the Bible mockers and side with their view that there is no inerrant Bible in any language on the earth today.

Among the suggested ways to reconcile the different numbers, some Christians have offered the explanation that the two censuses were taken at two different times, once at the beginning of the journey and the other at the end, or perhaps several years later. However a close reading of the texts shows that both lists are referring to the same event - "the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away into Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah."

They also tell us that some people may have enrolled their names on the list, then changed their minds and decided not to go after all, and that others later decided to go. They also suggest that some died on the way, and others were born, but that the total ended up being the same anyway - 42,360.

The problem I have with this view is that none of this is stated in Scripture itself and it stretches the imagination to the breaking point to think that all these differences would end up giving us the same final number of 42,360. None would die in most groups, but 1000 died in another. This is a little hard to believe. Neither does it explain the 12,000 to 13,000 people that are not numbered in either list.

One prominent, and sadly, typical Christian Apologetic site offers the usual lame explanation of "scribal errors". In answer to why both Ezra 2:64 and Nehemiah 7:66 agree that the total for the whole congregation was 42,360, yet when the totals are added, Ezra has 29,818 and Nehemiah 31,089, this Christian apologist says: "The original texts must have had the correct totals, but somewhere along the line of transmission, a scribe made an error in one of the lists, and changed the total in the other so that they would match, without first totaling up the numbers for the families in each list. There is the suggestion that a later scribe upon copying out these lists purposely put down the totals for the whole assembly who were in Jerusalem at his time, which because it was later would have been larger."

Well, this may be this typical Christian apologist's view of God's preservation of His inerrant words, but it certainly is not mine. I have also read other attempts to reconcile the differences between these two lists, and a few commentators like Jamieson, Faussett and Brown refer to the comments of a certain Mr. Alting who gives an interesting attempt to harmonize the two accounts. However, I cannot get his numbers to add up right; you still end up with two very different lists; and it doesn't explain the different numbers of singing men and women recorded in Ezra 2:65 and Nehemiah 7:67 - (200 versus 245).

Others like Daniel Wallace just admit they cannot explain it. He says: "The same total is given in Nehemiah 7:66, but it is difficult to understand how this number is reached, since the numbers of people listed in the constituent groups do not add up to 42,360. The list in vv. 3-60 apparently is not intended to be exhaustive, but the basis of the selectivity is unclear."

So how do we explain these very real differences without denying the inerrancy of Scripture? You may not agree with my point of view, but I believe it makes a lot more sense than the usual explanations about people changing their minds one way or the other, and the deaths and births along the way.

First of all, when we look at the names, we find that certain names are mentioned in alternate forms. Among the Jews of that time a person had a name, title, and surname. Thus, the children of Hariph (Nehemiah 7:24) are the children of Jorah (Ezra 2:18) both of whom number 112. The children of Sia (Nehemiah 7:47) are also the children of Siaha (Ezra 2:44).

Some names are but a minor variation of another - "the CHILDREN of Azmaveth, forty and two" in Ezra 2:24 are the same as "the MEN of BETH-azmaveth forty and two" in Nehemiah 7:28.

The most important thing in how I think this apparent contradiction can be explained is to notice who exactly is being counted in these two different lists. It is the MEN and not the women who are being counted, unless the women are specifically mentioned as they are in only one verse in both Ezra 2:65 and Nehemiah 7:67.

Only in this one verse in both accounts do we read: "The whole congregation together was 42,360, Beside their servants AND THEIR MAIDS, of whom there were 7,337..."

For God to give only the number of MEN in a group is very common both in the Old and New Testaments. "And the children of Israel journeyed from Ramases to Succoth, about 600,000 on foot that were MEN, BESIDE children." Exodus 12:37

"And they that had eaten were about 5,000 MEN, beside women and children." Matthew 14:21. Yet when we compare the same event recorded in both Mark and Luke we read: "And they that did eat of the loaves were about 5000 MEN." - Mark 6:44. "For they were about 5000 MEN" - Luke 9:14. The word in all three gospel accounts is the word for "men, or males" as opposed to general term that may include both male and female.

Notice very carefully what it says at the beginning of both lists found in Nehemiah 7:7 and in Ezra 2:2: "The number of the MEN (enosh -"men" and not "women") of the people of Israel: The children of Paroah, 2,172" etc.

By comparing one with the other, we see that only the MEN were counted in these two lists. Here are just a few examples: "the CHILDREN of Azmaveth" Ezra 2:24 are "the MEN of Beth-azmaveth" Nehemiah 7:28; "the CHILDREN OF GIBBAR, 95" of Ezra 2:20 are "the MEN of GIBEON, 95" found in Nehemiah 7:25, and "the CHILDREN of Bethlehem" in Ezra 2:21 are "the MEN of Bethlehem" in Nehemiah 7:26. There are two different Hebrew words used in the two lists. The one is ben #1121 and means "children, or sons" and the other is #582 enoshe which means "men" and not "women". The distinct word for "daughter" is #1323 beth, and the word for woman is #802 eesh-shah, and neither is used in either of the two lists.

The two principal differences to explain between these two lists are: #1 - the different numbers in several verses, and #2 - the differences between the total number in each list (Ezra differs by 12,542, and Nehemiah differs by 11,271) with the same total of 42,360 given in both.

Here is what I think happened. In Ezra 2:1 we have a statement that indicates that the numbers found in Ezra's list is the true number of those who made up the different groups who left Babylon and journeyed to Jerusalem. The Census in Ezra is the accurate number.

Here we read: "Now THESE ARE the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto HIS city."

However, what we have recorded in Nehemiah 7:5 is a list that was not the accurate and true number. There we read these important words of Nehemiah: "And I FOUND A REGISTER of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, AND FOUND WRITTEN THERIN..."

Nehemiah is merely reporting the numbers in the erroneously written register he found, but the true numbers are given by the inspiration of God in Ezra Chapter Two. There are several things written in Scripture that are not true. "There is no God" (Psalm 14:1). "Ye shall not surely die." (Genesis 3:4); "Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan and hast a devil?" (John 8:48). In Nehemiah 6:5-7 itself we read the following: "Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me with an open letter in his hand, wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king...And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah."

What was written in the letter was not true, and neither was what was written in the register Nehemiah found.

The second point of contention is the differing numbers listed in each account where the total is given as 42,360. Some aplogists tell us that the additional 12,542 may refer to the number of women or wives in the group, but this leaves us with only about one of every three men being married. This is highly improbable. When others tell us it may refer to both the women and the children, their case gets even worse.

Rather than the explanations provided by most apologists, I think the difference in numbers can be accounted for by looking at the context. The difference in Ezra, the true account, is 12,542 persons. In both lists the MEN who constitute the different groups of singers, porters, Nethinims, priests and Levites totals about 30000. The total number of "the whole congregation" of 42,360 refers to the 29,818 found in Ezra, plus the additional number of 12,542 MALE CHILDREN who would eventually grow up to take their part in each of the groups of the ADULT MEN already listed.

For example, if a father and mother had three sons and three daughters, the mother and daughters would not have been counted in this census. A male was not considered to be a man until he had reached the age of twenty years. (Some perhaps would argue that a boy became a man at the age of thirteen, but the example still fits.) A child born a Levite could not perform as a Levitical priest till he turned twenty. Likewise the Israelite males did not go out to war till they turned twenty years old.

If two of his sons were over 20 and one of them was only 15 years old when the initial census was taken, then the three adults considered to be "men" would be counted among the roughly 30,000 men listed, and the younger son would form part of the 12,542 "extra number" who did not form part of the numbered groups.

This view explains why the two lists are significantly different from each other (one contains the true numbers while the other was erroneously recorded by a fallible man) and it explains the difference in the total number, while at the same time upholding the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture.

I firmly believe in the inerrancy of the King James Bible and the Hebrew texts that underlie this magnificent translation. All Hebrew texts read the same in both Ezra and Nehemiah, and I do not believe God makes mistakes nor allows "scribal errors" in His preserved words. There has to be a way of explaining these apparent contradictions, and I merely offer this explanation as being one of those ways.

After having written this article about the census numbers in Ezra and Nehemiah, I happened to come upon another small article in a short series of studies defending the inerrancy of the Bible by a man who lives in India. His name is Moses Lemuel Raj. He also has come to the same conclusion as I regarding these two sections of Scripture. You can see his article here. Part 5 deals with the census numbers.

http://av1611.com/kjbp/articles/raj-copyerrors.html

Kept by the power of God, through faith,

Will Kinney
  #6  
Old 05-26-2009, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Will Kinney View Post
Hi Tony. I wrote about this one too. It's a bit long, but for those interested, I think you will find it helpful.

Is the Bible Inerrant? The Census of Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7

The portions of Scripture that are probably the most often attacked by atheists, Muslims and Bible bashers as "proving" that the Bible is not the inerrant words of God are the two contradictory lists of the numbers of those who returned from Babylon to Jerusalem during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.

In Ezra Chapter Two we find one list that is similar in many ways to that found in Nehemiah Chapter Seven, but there are also many obvious differences, and it is these different numbers that have given rise to attacks on the Bible itself as being the inerrant word of God, and have caused many Christians to doubt the truth of our Holy Bible.

In Ezra Chapter Two and in Nehemiah Chapter Seven there are about thirty-three family units that appear in both lists of Israelites returning from Babylon to Judea. Of these 33 family units listed in Ezra and Nehemiah, nineteen of the family units are identical, while fourteen show discrepancies in the number of members within the family units . Two of the discrepancies differ by 1, one differs by 4, two by 6, two differ by 9, another differs by 11, another two by 100, another by 201, another differs by 105, a further family differs by 300, and the largest difference is the figure for the sons of Azgad, a difference of 1,100 between the accounts of Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7.

Not only do many of the numbers not agree in each list, but there is a further problem. Both Ezra and Nehemiah give the same total of the whole congregation as being 42,360. But as one Bible scoffer named Dennis McKinsey writes: "We have a listing of the subclans that returned from the Captivity and the number of people in each. In the KJV, out of approximately thirty-five subclans listed over half of the numbers are in disagreement. Furthermore, someone doesn't know how to add very well because the totals are in error. Ezra 2:64 says `The whole congregation together was 42,360,' when one can see by easily adding the figures together that the total is 29,818. Nehemiah 7:66 also says, `The whole congregation together was 42,360' when one need only add those figures to see that it's actually 31,089. Ezra erred by 12,542, and Nehemiah erred by 11,271."

There have been many attempts to reconcile these different numbers, but most of them seem to me to fall short of giving an adequate explanation. Unfortunately, most "Christian" apologetic sites and books usually end up with the stated position that this is a case of "many scribal errors" in all Hebrew texts, and that "only the originals were inspired". The end result is that they cave in to the Bible mockers and side with their view that there is no inerrant Bible in any language on the earth today.

Among the suggested ways to reconcile the different numbers, some Christians have offered the explanation that the two censuses were taken at two different times, once at the beginning of the journey and the other at the end, or perhaps several years later. However a close reading of the texts shows that both lists are referring to the same event - "the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away into Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah."

They also tell us that some people may have enrolled their names on the list, then changed their minds and decided not to go after all, and that others later decided to go. They also suggest that some died on the way, and others were born, but that the total ended up being the same anyway - 42,360.

The problem I have with this view is that none of this is stated in Scripture itself and it stretches the imagination to the breaking point to think that all these differences would end up giving us the same final number of 42,360. None would die in most groups, but 1000 died in another. This is a little hard to believe. Neither does it explain the 12,000 to 13,000 people that are not numbered in either list.

One prominent, and sadly, typical Christian Apologetic site offers the usual lame explanation of "scribal errors". In answer to why both Ezra 2:64 and Nehemiah 7:66 agree that the total for the whole congregation was 42,360, yet when the totals are added, Ezra has 29,818 and Nehemiah 31,089, this Christian apologist says: "The original texts must have had the correct totals, but somewhere along the line of transmission, a scribe made an error in one of the lists, and changed the total in the other so that they would match, without first totaling up the numbers for the families in each list. There is the suggestion that a later scribe upon copying out these lists purposely put down the totals for the whole assembly who were in Jerusalem at his time, which because it was later would have been larger."

Well, this may be this typical Christian apologist's view of God's preservation of His inerrant words, but it certainly is not mine. I have also read other attempts to reconcile the differences between these two lists, and a few commentators like Jamieson, Faussett and Brown refer to the comments of a certain Mr. Alting who gives an interesting attempt to harmonize the two accounts. However, I cannot get his numbers to add up right; you still end up with two very different lists; and it doesn't explain the different numbers of singing men and women recorded in Ezra 2:65 and Nehemiah 7:67 - (200 versus 245).

Others like Daniel Wallace just admit they cannot explain it. He says: "The same total is given in Nehemiah 7:66, but it is difficult to understand how this number is reached, since the numbers of people listed in the constituent groups do not add up to 42,360. The list in vv. 3-60 apparently is not intended to be exhaustive, but the basis of the selectivity is unclear."

So how do we explain these very real differences without denying the inerrancy of Scripture? You may not agree with my point of view, but I believe it makes a lot more sense than the usual explanations about people changing their minds one way or the other, and the deaths and births along the way.

First of all, when we look at the names, we find that certain names are mentioned in alternate forms. Among the Jews of that time a person had a name, title, and surname. Thus, the children of Hariph (Nehemiah 7:24) are the children of Jorah (Ezra 2:18) both of whom number 112. The children of Sia (Nehemiah 7:47) are also the children of Siaha (Ezra 2:44).

Some names are but a minor variation of another - "the CHILDREN of Azmaveth, forty and two" in Ezra 2:24 are the same as "the MEN of BETH-azmaveth forty and two" in Nehemiah 7:28.

The most important thing in how I think this apparent contradiction can be explained is to notice who exactly is being counted in these two different lists. It is the MEN and not the women who are being counted, unless the women are specifically mentioned as they are in only one verse in both Ezra 2:65 and Nehemiah 7:67.

Only in this one verse in both accounts do we read: "The whole congregation together was 42,360, Beside their servants AND THEIR MAIDS, of whom there were 7,337..."

For God to give only the number of MEN in a group is very common both in the Old and New Testaments. "And the children of Israel journeyed from Ramases to Succoth, about 600,000 on foot that were MEN, BESIDE children." Exodus 12:37

"And they that had eaten were about 5,000 MEN, beside women and children." Matthew 14:21. Yet when we compare the same event recorded in both Mark and Luke we read: "And they that did eat of the loaves were about 5000 MEN." - Mark 6:44. "For they were about 5000 MEN" - Luke 9:14. The word in all three gospel accounts is the word for "men, or males" as opposed to general term that may include both male and female.

Notice very carefully what it says at the beginning of both lists found in Nehemiah 7:7 and in Ezra 2:2: "The number of the MEN (enosh -"men" and not "women") of the people of Israel: The children of Paroah, 2,172" etc.

By comparing one with the other, we see that only the MEN were counted in these two lists. Here are just a few examples: "the CHILDREN of Azmaveth" Ezra 2:24 are "the MEN of Beth-azmaveth" Nehemiah 7:28; "the CHILDREN OF GIBBAR, 95" of Ezra 2:20 are "the MEN of GIBEON, 95" found in Nehemiah 7:25, and "the CHILDREN of Bethlehem" in Ezra 2:21 are "the MEN of Bethlehem" in Nehemiah 7:26. There are two different Hebrew words used in the two lists. The one is ben #1121 and means "children, or sons" and the other is #582 enoshe which means "men" and not "women". The distinct word for "daughter" is #1323 beth, and the word for woman is #802 eesh-shah, and neither is used in either of the two lists.

The two principal differences to explain between these two lists are: #1 - the different numbers in several verses, and #2 - the differences between the total number in each list (Ezra differs by 12,542, and Nehemiah differs by 11,271) with the same total of 42,360 given in both.

Here is what I think happened. In Ezra 2:1 we have a statement that indicates that the numbers found in Ezra's list is the true number of those who made up the different groups who left Babylon and journeyed to Jerusalem. The Census in Ezra is the accurate number.

Here we read: "Now THESE ARE the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto HIS city."

However, what we have recorded in Nehemiah 7:5 is a list that was not the accurate and true number. There we read these important words of Nehemiah: "And I FOUND A REGISTER of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, AND FOUND WRITTEN THERIN..."

Nehemiah is merely reporting the numbers in the erroneously written register he found, but the true numbers are given by the inspiration of God in Ezra Chapter Two. There are several things written in Scripture that are not true. "There is no God" (Psalm 14:1). "Ye shall not surely die." (Genesis 3:4); "Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan and hast a devil?" (John 8:48). In Nehemiah 6:5-7 itself we read the following: "Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me with an open letter in his hand, wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king...And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah."

What was written in the letter was not true, and neither was what was written in the register Nehemiah found.

The second point of contention is the differing numbers listed in each account where the total is given as 42,360. Some aplogists tell us that the additional 12,542 may refer to the number of women or wives in the group, but this leaves us with only about one of every three men being married. This is highly improbable. When others tell us it may refer to both the women and the children, their case gets even worse.

Rather than the explanations provided by most apologists, I think the difference in numbers can be accounted for by looking at the context. The difference in Ezra, the true account, is 12,542 persons. In both lists the MEN who constitute the different groups of singers, porters, Nethinims, priests and Levites totals about 30000. The total number of "the whole congregation" of 42,360 refers to the 29,818 found in Ezra, plus the additional number of 12,542 MALE CHILDREN who would eventually grow up to take their part in each of the groups of the ADULT MEN already listed.

For example, if a father and mother had three sons and three daughters, the mother and daughters would not have been counted in this census. A male was not considered to be a man until he had reached the age of twenty years. (Some perhaps would argue that a boy became a man at the age of thirteen, but the example still fits.) A child born a Levite could not perform as a Levitical priest till he turned twenty. Likewise the Israelite males did not go out to war till they turned twenty years old.

If two of his sons were over 20 and one of them was only 15 years old when the initial census was taken, then the three adults considered to be "men" would be counted among the roughly 30,000 men listed, and the younger son would form part of the 12,542 "extra number" who did not form part of the numbered groups.

This view explains why the two lists are significantly different from each other (one contains the true numbers while the other was erroneously recorded by a fallible man) and it explains the difference in the total number, while at the same time upholding the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture.

I firmly believe in the inerrancy of the King James Bible and the Hebrew texts that underlie this magnificent translation. All Hebrew texts read the same in both Ezra and Nehemiah, and I do not believe God makes mistakes nor allows "scribal errors" in His preserved words. There has to be a way of explaining these apparent contradictions, and I merely offer this explanation as being one of those ways.

After having written this article about the census numbers in Ezra and Nehemiah, I happened to come upon another small article in a short series of studies defending the inerrancy of the Bible by a man who lives in India. His name is Moses Lemuel Raj. He also has come to the same conclusion as I regarding these two sections of Scripture. You can see his article here. Part 5 deals with the census numbers.

http://av1611.com/kjbp/articles/raj-copyerrors.html

Kept by the power of God, through faith,

Will Kinney
This was brought up in a study group of Christians recently Will, none of whom knew the Kingdom was divided.

I studied preliminarily to be a paralegal, though I never had the opportunity to finish. In any event the law determines an action to have taken place by the concept of Best Evidence. You determine how many witnesses(Ezra and Nehemiah). God records an event through two people's eyes, called "windows". An OT writer records that 24000 died in the plague. One window. Paul states 23000 died in ONE DAY. Second window. Is that a discrepancy? Not if you know how to read, Paul is telling you how many died the first DAY, the OT records the total number of deaths, 1000 the second DAY, a two day plague.

When I first was hit with this "contradiction" was in school, I suggested a quick reading of both books, and Ezra notes "Judah". Judah and Israel were the two kingdoms, Judah being the southern and Israel(10 tribes) being the north. In Bible study Edward Hills brought out what he called The Logic Of Faith, what also so happens to be a Biblical precept. You have to believe what you read and not accept as your standard of measurement the concept that the scribes could have been in error but that God has recorded it exactly as He wants it, then all "contradictions" are cleared. If you don't apply the logic of faith, then you'll believe a man named Jesus was born and died and reincarnated 4 times as the 4 gospels record. This applies to the genealogies of Christ in Matthew and Luke. Matthew is Joseph's and Luke is Mary's, Joseph is counted as a "son" because Jewish custom did not allow for the recording of female genealogies. Plus Coniah(Jeconiah) whose descendents had no claim to the throne, is mentioned in Matthew, thus if Christ was Joseph's son He had no claim to the throne.

Paul said study to who for what?

I've read quite a number of both your and Mose's exposition Will, both are excellent, and we all bless God for both of you and the work you both have done.

Grace and peace to you

Tony
  #7  
Old 05-27-2009, 11:44 AM
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bondservant40 bondservant40 is offline
 
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Excellent explanation. Thank you. Will, your work has made such a big contribution to the Kingdom. I've followed your articles for years. Thank you so much for all you do in our LORD's name.
  #8  
Old 05-27-2009, 09:42 PM
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Will Kinney Will Kinney is offline
 
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Thank you Beth for your kind words. Others hate me and think I'm an idiot or far worse. By God's grace I believe the Book and have no problem telling anyone alive where they can get a copy of the perfect words of God - It's called the Authorized King James Holy Bible.

Kept by the power of God through faith - 1 Peter 1:5

Will K
  #9  
Old 05-28-2009, 10:32 AM
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Brother Tim Brother Tim is offline
 
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Will, I know you know this, but I'll say it anyhow.

It matters not so much that one is thought an idiot as it does by whom the title is given.

Quote:
John 15:18-20 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

1 John 3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
 

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