13. How many of Adin’s offspring returned from Babylon?

Posted: May 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

ezra 2:15 ≠ neh 7:20

Ezra 2:15 “of Adin 454”

Nehemiah 7:20 “of Adin 655”

Ezra and Nehemiah both contain lists of Jewish extended families that returned from exile in Babylon. But their lists often differ in how many people from each family are said to have returned. In this case, Ezra says that 454 people from the family of Adin returned, while Nehemiah says it was 655.

There are two pieces of information that help to explain what’s going on:

  1. The Jews did not return from Babylon all at once, but rather in waves
  2. Ezra returned to Judah in ~458 BC, while Nehemiah returned 13 years later in ~445 BC

Over those 13 years we know that more Jews returned from Babylon, thus increasing the numbers of people in some families. In other cases family numbers appear to have decreased, presumably as some who had returned from exile died. In other words, there is no contradiction, Nehemiah’s list is simply and updated version of Ezra’s list from 13 years earlier.

The Reason Project includes a further 16 entries that are essentially the same objection: Alleged contradictions 14, 34, 38, 43, 46, 53, 63, 65, 66, 113, 269, 305, 320, 362, 372, and 434.

Is this really the best they can do? It’s starting to look like a lazy student writing an an essay on a topic they don’t understand and trying to compensate by padding out the word count.

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