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Another Preacher Who Never
 Ceases to Be Amazed
by Farrell Till


1996 / January-February



If you contend with Bible fundamentalists very long, sooner or later you will hear one of them pooh-pooh your examples of biblical discrepancies by saying something like, "I never cease to be amazed at the extremes that skeptics will go to find errancy in God's word." An article that I published on page 8 of the Summer 1992 edition of *The Skeptical Review* has elicited such a reaction from Jerry McDonald, a Church-of-Christ preacher whose articles in defense of biblical inerrancy appeared in some of the early issues of TSR. To put his comment in perspective, we will need to review my original article, which was entitled "Squeezing Fifty Years into Twenty." It was brief enough to quote in its entirety:

No contradictions in the Bible? That's what bibliolaters say, but the facts say something else. A simple example of discrepancy can be found in 1 Samuel 7:1-2, which says that the Ark of the covenant was taken to the village of Kiriath-jearim and kept in the house of Abinadab for twenty years. Prior to its being taken to this place, it was captured in battle by the Philistines, who afterwards began to suffer all sorts of misfortunes, ranging from the mysterious destruction of a temple idol of their favorite god Dagon to painful tumors that the people were afflicted with (1 Sam. 5).

To rid themselves of the ark, which they thought was the source of their problems, the Philistines accepted the counsel of their priests and diviners who had advised them to send the ark away on a cart pulled by two undriven milch cows that had never been harnessed to a yoke (1 Sam. 6:1-9). The wisdom of the priests and diviners was that if the cows took the route to Bethshemesh, this would be an omen that the evil in their midst had been caused by the presence of the ark. The cows did indeed pull the cart to Bethshemesh, where the townsmen rejoiced when they saw the ark (v:10-13). Unfortunately, some of them looked inside the ark--an absolute no no--and Yahweh, in typical fashion, struck them with a "great slaughter" that killed 50,000 men (v:19).

Understandably frightened by this disaster, the survivors sent a message to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim asking them to take custody of the ark. Men were sent to fetch the ark, and when it arrived in Kiriath-jearim, it was taken to the house of "Abinadab on the hill" (7:1-2), where it remained for twenty years. Second Samuel 6:1-11 relates how that king David gathered 30,000 "chosen men of Israel" to go to the house of Abinadab on the hill and transport the ark to Jerusalem. On the way back, Uzzah, one of the drivers of the cart, touched the ark to steady it when the oxen stumbled, and Yahweh struck him dead (vv:6-7). Uzzah was a son of Abinadab, who had conscientiously cared for the ark for twenty years, but, of course, none of this mattered to Yahweh. Uzzah touched the ark, and apparently because he wasn't a Kohathite of the priestly tribe of Levi (Num. 3:27-32,38), Yahweh instantly dispatched him to the nether world for touching a sacred object. Good intentions just never seemed to matter to the petulant Yahweh, but that is another story for another time.

The point of this article is that all this may make for a quaint little tale, but it is a tale with a serious discrepancy in it. The ark was captured by the Philistines in 1 Samuel 4, well before Saul was made king of Israel in chapter 10. It stayed at the house of Abinadab for twenty years until it was trans-ported to Jerusalem by David, who was Saul's successor to the throne. Yet we are told that Saul reigned as king for 40 years (Acts 13:21).

Just how did this happen? How could 40 years pass throughout Israel in every place except Abinadab's house on the hill at Kiriath-jearim, where somehow only 20 years went by? On closer scrutiny, the problem is even worse. David brought the ark to Jerusalem only after he had captured the city from the Jebusites, who had maintained control all through Saul's reign. Thus, David had to reign in Hebron for seven years and six months (2 Sam. 5:5) until Jerusalem was captured; then he transported the ark from Abinadab's house to the new capital of Israel. So if, as I have noted, at least some time passed after the ark was captured before Saul was made king, and then if Saul reigned for 40 years, and then if David reigned for seven and a half years before the ark was removed from Abinadab's house and taken to Jerusalem, we must be talking about a span of time equaling almost fifty years. How could it possibly be true, then, that the ark "abode in Kiriath-jearim" for twenty years ((1 Sam. 7:2)?"

The opportunity to write a response to this article, along with a promise to publish it simultaneously without editorial comment was offered to three inerrancy spokesmen. None accepted the offer. Mr. McDonald publishes an on-again, off-again "quarterly" paper that he calls Challenge, and whenever he puts out an issue, which is by no means done on a quarterly basis, his favorite pastime is attacking me and The Skeptical Review. In the Summer 1994 issue, which I received almost a year late, McDonald published a reply to my article quoted above. I will also quote his article in its entirety and then respond to the ridiculous explanation that he proposed as the solution to the discrepancy that I identified. I am reprinting the article exactly as he published it, so the spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes are his. I will insert an occasional [*sic*] to emphasize that the mistakes are McDonald's and not mine.

"I never cease to be amazed at the lengths to which skeptics and atheists will go in order to prove an untenable position. The article that you have just read from Mr. Till is just one of the many absurdities that these people commit in their attempts at sustaining their position; that the Bible is not inspired by God. Those who have had dealings with Mr. Till, in the past, are well aware of his ability to read at scripture rather than reading scripture. His article "Squeezing Fifty Years Into Twenty" is but one example of that which I speak.

Mr. Till informs us that there is a problem with 1 Samuel 7:1,2 because he says that the scripture says that the ark of the covenant dwelt in the house of Abinadab for twenty years from the time that the men of Kirjath-jearim took it from Bethshemesh until the time that David sent men to bring it to Jerusalem.

His argument is this: The men of Kirjath-jearim took the ark from Bethshemesh and immediately took it to the house of Abinadab, who dwelt in Kirjath-jearim, on the hill. This of course was before Saul was chosen as king. It remained there throughout Saul's reign and continued to remain there for seven and one half years of David's reign, which amounted to at least 47 and 1/2 years. Then he tells us that while the ark dwelt in Abinadab's house that, "somehow only 20 years went by", according to the Bible.

Mr. Till did not consider the overall context of the subject under consideration, but this is nothing new for him. Furthermore, he did not carefully read that which he did consider. He tells us that "(m)en were sent to fetch the ark, and when it arrived in Kiriath-jearim, it was taken to the house of `Abinadab on the hill' (7:1-2). Let us look at the errors that Mr. Till made in his article concerning this passage.

The Bible nowhere says that the ark of the Covenant spent "twenty years at the house of Abinadab." It simply says: "*And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord"* (7:2).

Mr. Till assumed that because the scriptures said, "*And the men of Kirjath-jearim, came and fetched up the ark of the Lord, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the Lord"* (v:1), that Abinadab lived in Kirjath-jearim. However, (2 Samuel 6:4,5 tells us that, "*they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah... (a)nd they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah..."*. From this we learn that Abinadab did not live in Kirjath-jearim, but rather in Gibeah. Nowhere does the Bible say that Abinadab's house was "on the hill" in Kirjath-jearim. It says that his house was *in the hill.* The word "Gibeah" means "the hill." Thus when it said that Abinadab's house was "in the hill" it meant that Abinadab's house was "in Gibeah."

Now Till might argue that Gibeah was sort of a suburb of Kirjath-jearim or visa [*sic*] versa. However the maps show us that Kirjath-jearim was on the northern boundary of Judah and on the western and southern boundaries of Benjamin. Also we find three Gibeah's [*sic*] mentioned in the Old Testament. One was located in the mountain district of Judah. One was a city of Benjamin's territory, which was the birthplace of king Saul. And one was a city of the territory of Ephraim. We don't know for sure, which one Abinadab lived in, but it was likely the city in the territory of Benjamin. It was probably close to the city of Kirjath-jearim. However, the two cities were not one and the same.

Saul's birthplace (probably where Abinadab lived) was four miles north of Jerusalem while Kirjath-jearim was west of Gibeah. They were in close proximity to one another, but they were two different cities. Apparently the ark was taken to Kirjath-jearim where it spent 20 years before being taken to Gibeah where it spent the next 37 [*sic*] and 1/2 years.

The Bible doesn't state that the ark spent 20 years in the city of Gibeah or in the house of Abinadab in 1 Samuel 7:2, but it states that it spent 20 years in Kirjath-jearim. The mistake Farrell made was in mis-reading [*sic*] verses 1 & 2. Verse one does not state that upon arrival at Kirjath-jearim they took the ark to the house of Abinadab. It just states that the men of Kirjath-jearim fetched the ark, and brought it to the house of Abinadab. The word "and" there does not denote any time span between the fetching the ark [*sic*] and bringing it to the house of Abinadab.

Now if we only had verse 1 to give us the information on this, we might rightfully assume that there was no time lapse between the fetching of the ark and the bringing it to the house of Abinadab. However, verse 2 states that the ark spent twenty years in Kirjath-jearim. Thus the proper interpretation should be as follows: The men of Kirjath-jearim came, and fetched up the ark of the Lord, and after it had spent twenty years in Kirjath-jearim, they brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, (in Gibeah) and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep it.

Now there is not a thing in the world wrong with that interpretation (except for the fact that it doesn't fit Mr. Till's conclusion that the Bible is not inspired by God). When the overall context is considered one can see that the men of Kirjath-jearim went to Bethshemesh and took the ark and brought it to Kirjath-jearim where it spent the next 20 years. Then they brought it to the house of Abinadab in Gibeah where it remained until David, some 37 [*sic*] and 1/2 years later, sent men to bring it to Jerusalem. Contradiction? Where?

I have said it before, and I will say it again: If Mr. Till spent half as much time trying to harmonize these accounts as he spends trying to find contradictions, he would find far fewer places to complain about. It's not a matter of there being contradictions in the word of God, it is merely a matter of heart and attitude. If one wants to find contradictions in the Bible, that is exactly what he will find (2 Thess. 2:10- 12), but that does not mean that the Bible actually contradicts itself.

I have shown you how simple it is to answer Mr. Till's objections. He boasts of sending his article to three inerrancy spokesmen and offered them the opportunity to write a response without his editorial, and none of them accepted the offer. Well, I don't know who he sent it to, but one thing is for certain, he didn't send it to me. I hope and pray that you will find the truth regarding this and other subjects which fall under attack by the atheists and skeptics of the world. "
In response to McDonald's claim that he will publish any of my replies to his article, I sent him the following article.
"In replying to my article "Squeezing Fifty Years into Twenty" (*Challenge*, Summer 1994, pp. 5-6), Editor Jerry McDonald said, "I never cease to be amazed at the lengths to which skeptics and atheists will go in order to prove an untenable position." Well, perhaps he should take a good hard look at the ridiculous extremes that he resorts to in his effort to defend Bible inerrancy. If there was ever a position that is completely untenable, it is the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.

The thrust of McDonald's response to my article was that Abinadab who was given custody of the ark of the covenant did not live on a hill in Kirjath- jearim but in the town of Gibeah. His "evidence" consisted of two points: (1) Second Samuel 6:3 (KJV) states that David brought the ark "out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah" and (2) the word *gibeah* in Hebrew means "the hill." Hence, he reasoned that 1 Samuel 7:1, which states that the men of Kirjath-jearim brought the ark to the house of Abinadab "on the hill," didn't mean that they took the ark to Abinadab's house on a hill in Kirjath-jearim but to Abinadab's house that was in Gibeah. In other words, McDonald is arguing that "on the hill" was mistranslated in 1 Samuel 7:1; it should have been translated to read that the men of Kirjath-jearim took the ark to the house of Abinadab *in Gibeah.*

One wonders, of course, why McDonald doesn't recognize the possibility that mistranslation in the KJV version occurred in 2 Samuel 7:3, where it says that the house of Abinadab, from which David took the ark, was "in Gibeah." Since *gibeah* in Hebrew meant "the hill," why isn't it possible that the KJV translators erred in saying that Abinadab's house was "in Gibeah" rather than "on the hill"?

The evidence indicates that this is exactly what happened. I have checked the ASV, NIV, RSV, NRSV, JB, REB, NEB, NAB, NCV, GNB, NWT, the Amplified Bible, the New Berkeley Version, Moffatt's, Young's Literal Translation, Hendrickson's Interlinear Bible, the Septuagint, Brenton's Translation of the Septuagint--all of these versions render the location of Abinadab's house in 2 Samuel 6:3 as "on the hill" or equivalent. Even the NKJV says, "So they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill." Obviously, Bible scholars don't agree with McDonald's far-fetched theory of mistranslation in 1 Samuel 7:1. Instead, they recognize that mistranslation in the KJV occurred in 2 Samuel 6:3, not ( 1 Samuel 7:1. Abinadab's house wasn't in the town named Gibeah (the hill) but it was located on the hill in Kirjath-jearim.

I won't play McDonald's game that consists of speculating without offering proof, so let's now look at the textual evidence that supports my claim and discredits McDonald's. Let's notice first of all that 2 Samuel 7:1 says that David "arose and went with all the people who were with him from *Baale Judah* to bring up from THERE the ark of God." Now why did David go with all of the people from Baale Judah to bring from THERE the ark of God if the ark of God was in Gibeah? The answer is simple: the ark was at Kirjath-jearim, and Baale Judah was another name for Kirjath-jearim. Let's just let McDonald's inerrant word of God prove that I am right about this.

Joshua 15:9 refers to the town of Baalah and then adds parenthetically, "The same is Kiriath-jearim."(Verse 60 of this same chapter refers to the town as Kiriath-baal and then adds parenthetically, "The same is Kiriath-jearim." The same name and the same parenthetical explanation are repeated in Joshua 18:14-15. *Eerdmans Bible Dictionary* gives the following definition of Kiriath- jearim:

"A city on the border of Judah and Benjamin, near where those territories adjoined Dan (KJV "Kirjath-jearim"). It was reckoned among the possessions of Judah ( Josh. 15:9, 60; 18:14-15), although at verse 28 some versions assign it to Benjamin. Probably originally known as Kiriath-baal (Josh. 15:60; 18:14), the city is also referred to as Kiriath (18:28), Kiriath-arim (Ezra 2:25), Baalah (Josh. 15:9; 1 Chr. 13:6, *and Baale-judah* (2 Sam. 6:2) [1987, p. 628].

Later in this same context, *Eerdmans* said that the Philistines returned the ark of the covenant to the Israelite inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim who enshrined it in the house of Abinadab under the care of his son Eleazar (1 Sam. 6:21-7:2); "HERE it remained for twenty years before David transported it to Jerusalem."

Is this enough to convince McDonald that he is wrong? Certainly not. I have had enough debating experience with the man to know that nothing will budge him from his Bible-inerrancy position. However, for the benefit of those who are more open-minded let's look at 2 Samuel 6:1-4 alongside the parallel version of David's removal of the ark from the house of Abinadab in 1 Chronicles. I will quote both passages from McDonald's beloved KJV:

"2 Samuel 6:1-4, Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from *Baale of Judah*, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims. And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah.... "

"1 Chronicles 13:5-7, So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath to bring the ark of God from Kirjath-jearim. And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjath-jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it. And they carried the ark of God in a new cart *out of the house of Abinadab....*"
Now what could be clearer than this? David gathered the people together "to bring the ark of God from Kirjath-jearim," *exactly where 1 Samuel 7:1-2 says that the ark was taken to*. After the people were gathered together, they went up to Baalah, which is explicitly identified as another name for Kirjath-jearim. Why did they go to Kirjath-jearim? Well, they went to "bring up thence" the ark of God. Does McDonald know what *thence* means? If so, perhaps he will tell us why they went to Kirjath-jearim to bring the ark "thence," if the ark wasn't in Kirjath-jearim but in a town named Gibeah.

Let's notice also that this place where David and the people went to get the ark "belonged to Judah" (v:6), but the town named Gibeah (the hill) belonged to Benjamin. This is where the rape of the Levite's concubine occurred (Judges 19:12-30), which caused the bitter intertribal war between Benjamin and the other tribes of Israel (Judges 20). All of the textual evidence objectively considered shows that McDonald has it all backwards. Mistranslation did not occur in 1 Samuel 7:1-2 but in 2 Samuel 6:1-4. Abinadab's house was on a hill in the town of Kirath-jearim, and the men of this town took the ark to Abinadab's house, where it remained for 20 years, or so we are told in 1 Samuel 7:2. We are supposed to believe that somehow the ark was taken to Abinadab's house before king Saul began his reign but that the ark wasn't removed from Abinadab's house until after Saul had reigned for 40 years (Acts 13:21) and David over seven. If this isn't squeezing 50 years into 20, what would you call it?

McDonald concluded his imaginative attempt to explain away this problem by saying, "Now there is not a thing in the world wrong with that interpretation (except for the fact that it doesn't fit Mr. Till's conclusion that the Bible is not inspired by God)," but I beg to differ with him. There is something seriously wrong with his interpretation besides the fact that it disagrees with my position that the Bible was not inspired by God. It simply doesn't agree with the overwhelming textual evidence that I have cited above. If we accept the face- value meaning of the Bible text, we will have the following facts:

1. The ark of God was taken to Abinadab's house on the hill in Kirjath- jearim (1 Sam. 7:1).

2. This happened before Saul became king (1 Sam. 9). years (1 Sam. 7:2).

4. Saul reigned as king for 40 years (Acts 13:21).

5. After Saul's reign was over and David was king, he took men to Kirjath- jearim "to bring up 6), Editor Jerry McDonald said, "I never cease to be amazed at the lengths to which skeptics and atheists will go in order to prove an untenable position." Well, perhaps he should take a good hard look at the ridiculous extremes that he resorts to in his effort to defend Bible inerrancy. If there was ever a position that is completely untenable, it is the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.

The thrust of McDonald's response to my article was that Abinadab who was given custody of the ark of the covenant did not live on a hill in Kirjath- jearim but in the town of Gibeah. His "evidence" consisted of two points: (1) Second Samuel 6:3 (KJV) states that David brought the ark "out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah" and (2) the word *gibeah* in Hebrew means "the hill." Hence, he reasoned that 1 Samuel 7:1, which states that the men of Kirjath-jearim brought the ark to the house of Abinadab "on the hill," didn't mean that they took the ark to Abinadab's house on a hill in Kirjath-jearim but to Abinadab's house that was in Gibeah. In other words, McDonald is arguing that "on the hill" was mistranslated in 1 Samuel 7:1; it should have been translated to read that the men of Kirjath-jearim took the ark to the house of Abinadab *in Gibeah.*

One wonders, of course, why McDonald doesn't recognize the possibility that mistranslation in the KJV version occurred in 2 Samuel 7:3, where it says that the house of Abinadab, from which David took the ark, was "in Gibeah." Since *gibeah* in Hebrew meant "the hill," why isn't it possible that the KJV translators erred in saying that Abinadab's house was "in Gibeah" rather than "on the hill"?

The evidence indicates that this is exactly what happened. I have checked the ASV, NIV, RSV, NRSV, JB, REB, NEB, NAB, NCV, GNB, NWT, the Amplified Bible, the New Berkeley Version, Moffatt's, Young's Literal Translation, Hendrickson's Interlinear Bible, the Septuagint, Brenton's Translation of the Septuagint--all of these versions render the location of Abinadab's house in 2 Samuel 6:3 as "on the hill" or equivalent. Even the NKJV says, "So they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill." Obviously, Bible scholars don't agree with McDonald's far-fetched theory of mistranslation in 1 Samuel 7:1. Instead, they recognize that mistranslation in the KJV occurred in 2 Samuel 6:3, not ( 1 Samuel 7:1. Abinadab's house wasn't in the town named Gibeah (the hill) but it was located on the hill in Kirjath-jearim.

I won't play McDonald's game that consists of speculating without offering proof, so let's now look at the textual evidence that supports my claim and discredits McDonald's. Let's notice first of all that 2 Samuel 7:1 says that David "arose and went with all the people who were with him from *Baale Judah* to bring up from THERE the ark of God." Now why did David go with all of the people from Baale Judah to bring from THERE the ark of God if the ark of God was in Gibeah? The answer is simple: the ark was at Kirjath-jearim, and Baale Judah was another name for Kirjath-jearim. Let's just let McDonald's inerrant word of God prove that I am right about this.

Joshua 15:9 refers to the town of Baalah and then adds parenthetically, "The same is Kiriath-jearim."(Verse 60 of this same chapter refers to the town as Kiriath-baal and then adds parenthetically, "The same is Kiriath-jearim." The same name and the same parenthetical explanation are repeated in Joshua 18:14-15. *Eerdmans Bible Dictionary* gives the following definition of Kiriath- jearim:

"A city on the border of Judah and Benjamin, near where those territories adjoined Dan (KJV "Kirjath-jearim"). It was reckoned among the possessions of Judah ( Josh. 15:9, 60; 18:14-15), although at verse 28 some versions assign it to Benjamin. Probably originally known as Kiriath-baal (Josh. 15:60; 18:14), the city is also referred to as Kiriath (18:28), Kiriath-arim (Ezra 2:25), Baalah (Josh. 15:9; 1 Chr. 13:6, *and Baale-judah* (2 Sam. 6:2) [1987, p. 628].

Later in this same context, *Eerdmans* said that the Philistines returned the ark of the covenant to the Israelite inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim who enshrined it in the house of Abinadab under the care of his son Eleazar (1 Sam. 6:21-7:2); "HERE it remained for twenty years before David transported it to Jerusalem."

Is this enough to convince McDonald that he is wrong? Certainly not. I have had enough debating experience with the man to know that nothing will budge him from his Bible-inerrancy position. However, for the benefit of those who are more open-minded let's look at 2 Samuel 6:1-4 alongside the parallel version of David's removal of the ark from the house of Abinadab in 1 Chronicles. I will quote both passages from McDonald's beloved KJV:

"2 Samuel 6:1-4, Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from *Baale of Judah*, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims. And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah.... "

"1 Chronicles 13:5-7, So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath to bring the ark of God from Kirjath-jearim. And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjath-jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it. And they carried the ark of God in a new cart *out of the house of Abinadab....*"
Now what could be clearer than this? David gathered the people together "to bring the ark of God from Kirjath-jearim," *exactly where 1 Samuel 7:1-2 says that the ark was taken to*. After the people were gathered together, they went up to Baalah, which is explicitly identified as another name for Kirjath-jearim. Why did they go to Kirjath-jearim? Well, they went to "bring up thence" the ark of God. Does McDonald know what *thence* means? If so, perhaps he will tell us why they went to Kirjath-jearim to bring the ark "thence," if the ark wasn't in Kirjath-jearim but in a town named Gibeah.

Let's notice also that this place where David and the people went to get the ark "belonged to Judah" (v:6), but the town named Gibeah (the hill) belonged to Benjamin. This is where the rape of the Levite's concubine occurred (Judges 19:12-30), which caused the bitter intertribal war between Benjamin and the other tribes of Israel (Judges 20). All of the textual evidence objectively considered shows that McDonald has it all backwards. Mistranslation did not occur in 1 Samuel 7:1-2 but in 2 Samuel 6:1-4. Abinadab's house was on a hill in the town of Kirath-jearim, and the men of this town took the ark to Abinadab's house, where it remained for 20 years, or so we are told in 1 Samuel 7:2. We are supposed to believe that somehow the ark was taken to Abinadab's house before king Saul began his reign but that the ark wasn't removed from Abinadab's house until after Saul had reigned for 40 years (Acts 13:21) and David over seven. If this isn't squeezing 50 years into 20, what would you call it?

McDonald concluded his imaginative attempt to explain away this problem by saying, "Now there is not a thing in the world wrong with that interpretation (except for the fact that it doesn't fit Mr. Till's conclusion that the Bible is not inspired by God)," but I beg to differ with him. There is something seriously wrong with his interpretation besides the fact that it disagrees with my position that the Bible was not inspired by God. It simply doesn't agree with the overwhelming textual evidence that I have cited above. If we accept the face- value meaning of the Bible text, we will have the following facts:

1. The ark of God was taken to Abinadab's house on the hill in Kirjath- jearim (1 Sam. 7:1).

2. This happened before Saul became king (1 Sam. 9). years (1 Sam. 7:2).

4. Saul reigned as king for 40 years (Acts 13:21).

5. After Saul's reign was over and David was king, he took men to Kirjath- jearim "to bring up from THERE the ark of God" (1 Chron. 13:6).

6. David's men "set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill" (2 Sam. 6:3).
Now as I said before, if this isn't squeezing 50 years into 20, I don't know what you would call it. McDonald accused me of not reading the Bible carefully enough, but the predicament he is now in is the result of his own careless research. He dreamed up a what-it-could-have-meant hypothesis and then rushed it to print in his on-again, off-again paper without first testing it against all of the relevant passages in the Bible. So we have to wonder just who needs to read the Bible more carefully. McDonald never tires of saying that if I would "spend half as much time trying to harmonize these accounts as [I] spend trying to find contradictions, [I] would find far fewer places to complain about." But look who's talking. If he would spend just half as much time trying to understand the face-value meaning of the biblical text as he does looking for how-it-could-have-been scenarios to "explain" away flagrant textual inconsistencies, he just might begin to see that the Bible is nowhere close to being the uniquely consistent work of perfect harmony that he constantly claims it is. At any rate, we will all look forward to watching him try to climb out of the hole he has dug himself into this time, because if he wants to reply to this article, I will publish it.

Several months ago, McDonald sent me a letter in which he said that he was going to publish my article and expose the absurdity of my position. However, I have seen no indication that he has ever published my response. I think the readers of this entire exchange can see why.

(Jerry McDonald's address is 97 Florence Street, Sullivan, MO 63080.)
 



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