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exo 20:14, deut 5:18, heb 13:4 ≠ num 31:18, hos 1:2, 3:1

Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.

Deuteronomy 5:18 “You shall not commit adultery.

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Numbers 31:18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

Hosea 1:2 When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.”

Hosea 3:1 The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

I’m not sure why The Reason Project thinks Numbers 31:18, Hosea 1:2 and Hosea 3:1 contradict God’s prohibition of adultery. Perhaps they don’t entirely grasp what adultery is, so here’s a definition:

adultery |əˈdəlt(ə)rē|
voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse:

The Reason Project seems to be assuming that the men in Numbers 31:18 will not be marrying the women, but why would we assume that?

And with respect to Hosea, marrying someone who has previously committed adultery is not adultery, and never has been.

Is there someone at The Reason Project I can send a dictionary to?


lev 20:10 ≠ jn 8:3-8

Leviticus 20:10 “ ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

John 8:3-8 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

Is this contradictory? No, for several reasons.

Firstly, the death penalty for adultery in Leviticus 20:10 is part of the judicial code, not an endorsement of lynch mobs. The Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees in John 8 are not the criminal justice system of Israel, and so have no right to put this woman on trial or execute her. The law may mandate the death penalty for a certain crime, that doesn’t mean that I and my friends have the right to execute someone we catch committing that crime.

Secondly, Leviticus 20:10 demands that when a case of adultery comes to light both the woman and the man are to be executed. But here the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees only intend to stone the woman. Jesus has no interest in upholding hypocrisy or misogyny.

Thirdly, and most importantly, Jesus rightly points out that none of the crowd are in a position to condemn this woman since they too are guilty of sin. They all deserve death. The only person in the crowd who doesn’t deserve it is Jesus, yet he refuses to condemn her. Why? Well that’s the good news: although we all deserve the death penalty for our sin, we are forgiven and set free because Jesus takes the punishment on himself on the cross.

In the case of the woman caught in adultery Jesus is not contradicting Leviticus 20:10, he is upholding it. But he does so by taking the penalty for her sin, and ours, on himself.

ezra 2:13 ≠ neh 7:18

Ezra 2:13 of Adonikam 666

Nehemiah 7:18 of Adonikam 667

Yep, essentially the same objection as yesterday, with the same answer.


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.

12. Who Was Achan’s father?

Posted: April 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

jos 7:1 ≠ jos 7:24, 22:20

Joshua 7:1 But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the LORD’S anger burned against Israel.

Joshua 7:24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor.

Joshua 22:20 When Achan son of Zerah acted unfaithfully regarding the devoted things, did not wrath come upon the whole community of Israel? He was not the only one who died for his sin.’”

Really? How many of these are we going to have? Everyone, repeat after me, “In Hebrew ‘son’ (bēn נֵן) can mean any male descendant.”

Joshua 7:1 says that Achan was the son of Carmi and the great-grandson of Zerah. For Joshua 7:24 & 22:20 to call Achan the son of Zerah is not a contradiction, it’s just the plain, straightforward, normal way you talk about a male descendant.

The level of ignorance on the part of The Reason Project is stunning. If the New Atheists spent less time congratulating each other on how clever they are, and more time actually attempting to understand what they’re talking about, they might come across as less ignorant.

But I’m not holding my breath.

gen 1:25-27 ≠ gen 2:18-22

Genesis 1:25-27 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 2:18-22     The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19     Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.  20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found.  21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.  22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

There are lots of interesting things to think about in terms of the relationship between Genesis 1 & 2. They’re certainly not straightforward accounts of creation and their relationship is complex, and raises questions about how the author intended us to read them.

I presume that the perceived difficulty is that God makes humans in Genesis 1 and then makes them again in Genesis 2. But that requires us to assume that the author/editor of Genesis is a complete moron, incapable of recognising that he’s just included a major contradiction within the space of half a chapter at the very start of his book. And whatever you might think of the author of Genesis, he’s clearly not an idiot.

Far from showing the author of Genesis 1 & 2 to be incompetent, the claim that these verses contradict shows a rather breathtaking lack of basic reading skill on the part of The Reason Project. It requires us to assume that Genesis 1 & 2 are intended to be strictly chronological, when in fact it seems pretty obvious that Genesis 1:25-27 is a summary (“God made humanity male and female”) that Genesis 2:18-22 fleshes out (“This is how God made man and woman.”)

2sam 15:7 ≠ 2sam 5:4

2 Samuel 15:7 At the end of four [KJV: forty] years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the LORD.

2 Samuel 5:4 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.

2 Samuel 15 records Absalom’s rebellion against his father, king David. The King James Version (KJV) reflects the Masoretic Text of 2 Samuel 15:7 in saying that this happened after forty years, but this obviously can’t be right if the total length of David’s reign was forty years as 2 Samuel 5:4 says.

So is this a contradiction? Not really. It’s just another case of a copying error entering the Hebrew where a scribe has mistakenly written “forty” instead of “four”, as Josephus, the Syriac manuscripts, and many Septuagint manuscripts show. Many of these manuscripts have been discovered in the 400 years since the KJV was published.

The Reason Project says it decided to base their claims on the KJV because of “its popularity, perceived authenticity, lack of copyright restrictions and the fact that it has not been subjected to cosmetic editing, as have some of the more modern versions of the Bible.” The discovery of hundreds of manuscripts since the KJV was published showing that many of these alleged contradictions are just trivial copying errors wouldn’t have played a part would it? Surely not.