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Proclamation Index

On Bible Contradictions & the Death of King Saul

A: "No, sir, Christianity is not for me - there are way too many unresolved questions." B: "Oh, really? For instance?" A: "Well, for one thing, I can't accept all those contradictions in the Bible." B: "Bible contradictions? Really? How about giving me an example of one?" A: "Sure. For instance, in, uh,  ...well, like, for example..., uh, well...   Okay, I guess I can't really think of any off hand, but I do know that there are lots of them out there, so let me get back to you on that. NOTE: this response in typical of that of many folks who are under the false impression that there are an incredible number of contradictions in the Bible. Yet, when pressed, they are often unable to produce even one example. However, some apparent discrepancies do exist and, on occasion, present an obstacle for the sincere seeker. Here is one case. TWO DAYS LATER A: "Hey, about those Bible contradictions...  I've sure got one here for you today, and it's a real doozy. I doubt very much you're ever going to be able to crack this one. Look, here in 1 Samuel 31:4-5 it says, 'Then Saul said to his armor bearer, "Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and pierce me through and make sport of me." But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it. And when his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him.'" "Okay, so this says that Saul committed suicide, right? But look at the very next book and chapter,            II Samuel 1:2, 6-10: 'And it happened on the third day, that behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul, with his clothes torn and dust on his head. And it came about when he came to David that he fell to the ground and prostrated himself. And the young man who told him said, "By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and behold, Saul was leaning on his spear. And behold, the chariots and the horsemen pursued him closely. And when he looked behind him, he saw me and called to me. And I said, 'Here I am.' And he said to me, 'Who are you?' And I answered him, 'I am an Amalekite.' Then he said to me, 'Please stand beside me and kill me; for agony has seized me because my life still lingers in me.'So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown which was on his head and the bracelet which was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord."'" "Now, you see, this text says that the Amalekite performed a little Kevorkian-style euthanasia on old Saul. So in back-to-back texts you got yourself one huge, glaring, contradiction! Suicide or euthanasia-which shall it be? See, this is exactly why I'm no Christian. Why should I put faith in a book that's so full of discrepancies?" B: "Now wait just a minute! First of all, you took two days to find even one of these so-called  contradictions. That hardly indicates that the Bible is full of them. And secondly, the answer to this one is really fairly easy. Read the II Samuel 1 passage again and you'll see that the Amalekite, not the Biblical record, said that he had killed Saul. Most evangelical Bible scholars with whom I have checked are completely convinced that the guy was bold-faced lying to David. In truth, he'd come on Saul already dead, grabbed his jewelry, and brought them to David with a made-up story, hoping for a big reward. What he got was his own execution-for having (supposedly) done in the Lord's Anointed-which would have been a capital crime. Saul's death was a suicide, pure and simple. Further corroboration of this can be found in I Chronicles 10. There was no euthanasia involved here at all. Thus, another alleged Bible contradiction melts away. But one more thing-since the Bible has been around for nearly 2000 years, surprises never surface in the area of Bible conflicts anymore. Every alleged discrepancy has already long since been carefully examined and intelligently answered in books like the two which are listed below. So...  now are you ready to become a Christian?" Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason Archer, 476 pages, ©1982 by Zondervan When Critics Ask, Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, 604 pages, ©1992 by SP Publications

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