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Bible Difficulties short essays

Integrity of Isaiah (chs.23-24)

Thesis- Isaiah wrote his entire book as confirmed by Jesus, subject matter, grammatical language/style, and theological themes.

The strongest argument for Isaiah authorship is from John 12. In this chapter does Jesus quote from several different parts of the book and he attributes the book as being authored by one Isaiah. Critics often claim that the subject matter is different in the first half of the book (1-39) contemporary conditions than the second half (40-66) Babylonian exile so Isaiah could not have been the author of the second half. Critics have a point in that the subject matter is different, but the conclusion of the critics is what is the problem. Often in the Bible do prophets predict the future, and this is exactly what Isaiah is doing in the second half of the book as what so many also did in the Bible.

The second major argument in favor of Isaiah authorship is language and style. Critics claim that because language and style is different in the second half of the Book, then surely Isaiah must not be the author. However, what critics fail to see is that the style and language change because Isaiah's situation has changed as well as his intellect. If you looked at a paper, I wrote 20 years ago you would conclude that I am not the author. However, since my life situation has changed as well as my literary genius, my language and style would be much different, but this does not mean that I am not the author. Critics need to look at Isaiah in the same way. In Shakespher's work it is pointed out that his work has changed style 4 times in his 25 years of work. But still the work comes from Shakespeare.

The last proof of evidence for the integrity of Isaiah is the theological themes in the book. The theme has changed in the second half of the book to the suffering servant. Critics will claim that this is proof that Isaiah did not write the book, as the theme in the first half was different. But to the critic it must be argued that there are no contradictions in theology in the different sections, nor as the theology represented in the 2nd half not taught in germ at least in the first half.

Evidence for Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch (ch 8 pp.93ff)

Thesis- Moses is the author of the Pentateuch and this is confirmed by the scriptures, other internal evidences and by his qualifications.

The Pentateuch itself has many explicit statements that Moses composed it one of which is Ex 17:14. In other OT books there are references to Moses being the author of the Pentateuch and some of these are Josh 1:7-8 & 1 Kgs 2:3. The authorship of the Torah also attributes to Moses (Ezra 6:18, Mal 4:4). In addition, the NT affirms Moses authorship (Lk 24:27).

There are many other internal evidences that prove Mosaic authorship. Eyewitness details are in the exodus account and also of the Manna accounts where the appearance and taste of the food was recorded. In addition, the author of Genesis and exodus had a good understanding of Egypt in customs, culture and language. One phrase is translated "Bow the Knee" which is from the culture. In addition, the author of the Exodus account certainly knew his geography as the Exodus narrative is filled with geographical references that have been verified by modern archaeology. The book of Genesis contains some archaic customs that are verifiable to the 2nd Mill BC. For example, the practice of begetting children by handmaidens and also of the oral deathbed will as what Isaac passed to Jacob. Also language archaisms play a part and then the unity of arrangement which underlies the entire Pentateuch an links it together into a progressive whole.

Last, we come to the qualifications of Moses. Moses was definitely qualified to write the Pentateuch. He had a top of the line education, quality tutors, and came from a culture that highly cultivated writing. Moses also had plenty of downtime in that 40 years in the desert to write a book twice as large as the Pentateuch.

Date of the Exodus (ch.16 pp.196ff)

Thesis- The date of the Exodus has experienced controversy between the late date theory of 1445BC and the early date theory of 1290BC.

The late date theory has been traditionally held by many and has its support in 1 Kings 6:1 and also this later date has been confirmed by John Garstangs exvacations at the site of Jericho. He dated the exodus as 1400BC. Further confirmation of the late date of the exodus is found in Judge 11 and yet further confirmation is found in the NT in Acts 13. However many scholars do not favor the traditional later date and favor an earlier 1290 date one of these scholars is J.Finegan and he lists five major arguments in support of the 1290 date and they are 1) Discrepancies between the Amarna letters and the Hebrew record in some OT books. 2) The absence of an agriculture civilization in edom and Moab during the 14th century. 3) The impossibility of reconciling a 430 year sojourn with a Hyksos date for Joseph's career. 4) Lack of evidence that Thutmose III did any building in the delta region and 5) The mention of the city of Ramsees in Ex 1. J. Finegan I do not believe is correct and there has come to light in recent years evidence that belie his deductions. For example in 1953 in the Biblical Archaeologist reportings of various artifacts dating to a latter time than 1290. Another major problem attacking the early date theory has to do with the complete silence of Judges concerning the Palestinian expeditions. In conclusion, the late date theory finds its support in the Amarna letters

Historical Problems of Daniel (ch.28)

Thesis- The book of Daniel has faced much criticism for its date.

There are a number of historical arguments for the late date of Daniel. Some of these arguments is as follows.

The Jewish canon places Daniel among other works, rather than among the prophets. This is interpreted to mean that the book of Daniel must have been written later than 530BC. But it should be noted that some of the book in the Kethubhim third division of the Hebrew Bible were Job, Psalms, and the writings of Solomon. Position in the Kethubhim is no proof of a late date of composition. There is no mention of Daniel in the work of Jesus Ben Sirach Ecclesiasticus when all the other prophets are mentioned. But Ezra was not mentioned earlier neither and neither was Job. Critics also point to the claim made by Sirach that there was no man like Joseph, and Daniel's career was allot like Joseph's. However looking at the statement closely it is noted that there was never a man that was born like unto Joseph. Also it has been alleged that historical inaccuracies occur in Daniel, meaning that the author lived well beyond the early date theory. In Dan 1:1 it is stated that Nebuchadnezeer invaded Palestine in the 3rd year of Jehoiakim, where Jer 46:2 has conflicting information. This at first appears to be a Historical Discrepancy but it is not when examined closely with the Jewish way of crowning kings. Another major historical problem with Daniel is the appearance of Darius the Mede. The author has confused this Darius with another Darius who is really a Persian instead of a Mede.

Historical authenticity of Jonah (ch.21 pp.289-91)

Thesis-Jonah wrote his book and much historical evidence substantiates this fact.

In Jonah 3:3 the writer uses a past tense Hebrew word in referring to the city and it was expected that conditions would have changed in the city since the visit so therefore the time or writing was 760BC. The author does not speak of himself in the first person, but neither did Moses when he wrote the Torah. Therefore, critics that claim the book was not written by Jonah must refute this fact. Critics also claim that Ninevah's size was exaggerated and it could not have taken 3 days to walk the city. However, it is noted that the text does not say it needed 3 exact days to walk the city without stopping. Street preaching requires a extended stop. It took Jonah 3 days to go around the city preaching the word, not 3 days without stopping. Critics also doubt that a city so large and wicked could have repented so easily. It must be noted that nothing short of a miracle from God was involved in the repentance of Ninevah.

Fulfillment of Ezekiel 40-48 (ch.27 pp.356-359)

Thesis- These chapters are to be interpreted literally as more evidence for a literal interpretation exists than that of a figurative interpretation.

There are a number of differences between the text in Ezekiel and Revelation and Revelation gives no support for the identification of Ezekiel's temple. In the Ezekiel account there is a temple, but in Revelation there will not be. Also the River in Rev flows from the throne of God, while the River in the Ezekiel account does not. Also there will be no difference between Israel and the church in this fulfillment as they will be put together. The sacrifices mentioned in the text are only memorial reminders of Christ's finished work, and pictorial reminders that mankind by nature is very sinful. When we partake in the Lord's table we are practicing a memorial.

Imprecatory Psalms (ch.33)

Thesis- Various psalms appear to contradict the Christian stance, but in reality are not.

A consistent Christian will hold that all portions of the word of God are true and relevant and inspired by the Holy Spirit. However some of the things in the word of God may be hard to understand or may not seem clear to the modern reader as they did to the reader/author of the time. It is important to realize that prior to the first advent of Christ the only tangible way to deal with unbelievers was through death and violence. The wicked living on the earth refuted the holiness and sovereignty of God. Believers in these days saw God's enemies as their own, and expected God to crush those that denied him in theory or in practice.

Extermination of the Canaanites (ch.19 pp.247)

Thesis- The extermination of the Canaanites was completely justified in the eyes of God.

Joshua was not the one carrying out the command to wipe out the Canaanites but he was only obeying what God had told him. These people would have infected the people of God with their wickedness and they had to be wiped out. Recent archaeological discoveries has brought to light the crass and brutal features of the Canaanite faith as shown in the Ras Smara Tablets. The Canaanites wished to incorporate the faith of all the heathen nations and consequently had many gods that they worshipped. As a result of the many practices of the Canaanites which included infant sacrifice it was impossible for pure faith to be maintained without fully eliminating the Canaanites.

Problem of Gomer (ch.22 pp.301-303)

Thesis- The historical Gomer in the book of Hosea is to be interpreted as a literal woman.

Critics believe that Hosea is an allegory and there is no way that God would command a priest to marry such a woman. Leon Wood argues that the account is literal as the beginning of the book contains God's instructions to marry this woman. God wanted to teach Hosea what it meant to have an unfaithful wife in order for him to understand what is was like and what God felt when dealing with the unfaithful nation of Israel. Gomer was not a practicing prostitute as Leon Wood argues from the Hebrew. Gomer's first child Jezrel was fathered by Hosea. The strongest objection to an allegory is the fact that the story of the marriage is written as a narrative.

Sources

Archer, Gleason L. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction. Revised edition. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1974.

 

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