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   Print Edition: 1990-2002

A Perfect Work of Harmony?
by Farrell Till

1990 / March-April

Inerrancy proponents often refer to the Bible's perfect harmony and consistency of theme as compelling evidence of verbal inspiration. Our reaction to their claim is what harmony? What consistency of theme? Only someone determined to believe in Bible inerrancy no matter how convincing the evidence to the contrary could possible claim to see harmony and consistency in the Bible.

Religious faction existed in Bible times as surely as it exists today, and Bible writers echoed their partisan beliefs as resolutely as do modern-day religious journalists. We could cite several examples of factional disagreement in the Bible, but the divergent views of Jehu's slaughter of the royal family of Israel will illustrate our point as well as any.

Jehu's divine mission was mentioned as early as I Kings 19:15-17 when the word of Yahweh, as it was prone to do in those days, came to Elijah when he was seeking refuge in a cave on Mount Horeb. Yahweh commanded Elijah to go anoint Hazael to be king of Syria and Jehu king of Israel. "And it shall come to pass that him that escapeth from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay; and to him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay," (v:17).

For reasons that seem not to bother Bible inerrantists, presumably Ahab's repentance (I Kings 21:27-29), the anointing of Jehu was delayed so that "the evil" of Yahweh's judgment would instead be inflicted on Ahab's son. That, by the way, was quite typical of Yahweh's style (a point we don't have time to pursue in this article). Anyway, as the story goes, Jehu wasn't anointed until Elisha sent a "son of the prophets" to Ramoth-gilead to execute the commandment originally given to Elijah. After being anointed, Jehu took an armed force against Jezreel and slaughtered not only the king of Israel, his seventy sons, and his mother Jezebel but also Ahaziah, the king of Judah, and forty-two of his brothers who were all visiting Jezreel, (II Kings 9; 10:1-17). Afterwards, we are told that Yahweh said unto Jehu, "Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and has done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, thy sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel," (II Kings 10:30).

If what Jehu did in executing these grisly deeds was so pleasing to Yahweh, why did he afterwards say to his "inspired" writer Hosea, "For yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu and will cause the kingdom of the house of Israel to cease," ( Hosea 1: 4)? Why would Yahweh want to punish the house of Jehu for what was done at Jezreel if all Jehu had done there was "that which is right in mine (Yahweh's) eyes"?

Perhaps some enterprising inerrantist can explain this to us.

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