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1. Contradictions Within The Bible?

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(bismillah)

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

The only good religion is the one that allows for questioning, investigation, and research into its fundamentals. This series is not meant to be an assault, excepting one on dogmatism; instead, the intention is to question for greater open-mindedness; to investigate for greater knowledge; and to research for greater understanding. I intend to pursue these fundamental pivots of religion through posting a single supposed contradiction of the Bible for a time and welcoming any response or rebuttal. In some of these, I have found logical explanations, but the majority remain unanswered for me. Insha'Allah, this honest inquiry will be successful in achieving increased understanding.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

David's Chief of Captains

How many people did the Prophet David's Chief of Captains kill?

2 Samuel 23:8 says the number was 800.

23:7 But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.

23:8 These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

23:9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:

1 Chronicles 11:11 says the number was 300.

11:10 These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.

11:11 And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.

11:12 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties.

(salam)

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Assalaamu 'alaykum,

The points of view stated and implied here are liable to backfire. The fact is that Christian scholars have applied principles of historical criticism to their sources for centuries. For the most part Muslims do not. Furthermore, Muslims take the findings of Christian scholars applying historical criticism to Christian sources, and use them as evidence that the foundations of Christianity are weak. Unless Muslims come into the arena fairly, and hustle up the critical study of the Qur'an, the application of criticism to the Bible will appear one-sided and hypocritical, and indict Muslims by the very first sentence in post: "The only good religion is the one that allows for questioning, investigation, and research into its fundamentals."

The Bible is a collection of writings from many sources, so to raise an issue from different sources as a contradiction is of questionable validity. The conflict between 800 and 300 is not internal to any document. It is a conflict between Samuel and Chronicles. The books of Samuel and Kings form an edited textual continuity that is quite separate and distinct from the Chronicles, and the two are based on different sources. To take this as an evidence of conflict is like taking an example of conflict from two separate Islamic collections of traditions. That in itself would not show either or both of the traditions to be incorrect. The fact is that many such conflicts do exist in the ahadith literature, even within the collections accepted by Sunnis on one hand or Shi'is on the other.

The similarity between the words three and eight in Semitic languages doubtless accounts for the discrepancy. There are many such discrepancies between Samuel-Kings and Chronicles, often relating to numbers. The question arises, what is the significance of the descrepancy and what is the motivation for bringing it up here? Often the suggestion is, that if a scribe's error can be found in Christian sources, that one error proves the sources to have no validity. I doubt that assumption very strongly, first of all, because it is eminently applicable to ahadith literature as well, and perhaps even at some level to the holy Qur'an. The assumption that divine protection of Scripture, either the Bible or the Qur'an or other faith sources, relates to every objection that we come up with is presumptuous. Our expectations are very much informed by the technical culture around us, and as we assume more and more criteria that are foreign to the reality of the transmission of Scriptures, both Qur'an and Bible, we create more and more false problems.

Ali Haydar

(bismillah)

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

The only good religion is the one that allows for questioning, investigation, and research into its fundamentals. This series is not meant to be an assault, excepting one on dogmatism; instead, the intention is to question for greater open-mindedness; to investigate for greater knowledge; and to research for greater understanding. I intend to pursue these fundamental pivots of religion through posting a single supposed contradiction of the Bible for a time and welcoming any response or rebuttal. In some of these, I have found logical explanations, but the majority remain unanswered for me. Insha'Allah, this honest inquiry will be successful in achieving increased understanding.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

David's Chief of Captains

How many people did the Prophet David's Chief of Captains kill?

2 Samuel 23:8 says the number was 800.

23:7 But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.

23:8 These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

23:9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:

1 Chronicles 11:11 says the number was 300.

11:10 These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.

11:11 And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.

11:12 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties.

(salam)

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(bismillah)

Alaykumu Salaam,

Dear Br. Ali Haydar,

The point of view implied and presented in my post above is only liable to backfire if your stated assumption, that the ethical (ethos) foundation of Muslims is faulty, factually turns out true. I reject the assertion that Muslims do not apply historical criticism; it is a tradition and tenet of Islam to question and ponder the religion. My contention is that the standards I address will always remain constant and never falter, and when I dictate that the only good religion is one that allows for for questioning, investigation, and research into its fundamentals, I intend it and its consequences 100%. Therefore, one must be careful; asserting that any Muslim questioning the Bible (for the intention of greater understanding) may well appear one-sided and presumptuous.

It would be one-sided of me, however, to argue with the stated Christian tenet that the entire Bible, in any language, is the Eternal, True Word of God, and its one source is God. Furthermore, it would be unjust for me to dismiss all accusations of discrepancy on the basis that they are from "different sources", clearly a contrary idea to the one stated above. To do so would cause exceptional problems.

In Islam, finding conflict in volumes of hadith would not be even remotely comparable to finding conflict in the Bible, because Muslims do not ever claim that every reported hadith is correct, nor that hadith is the realized "Word of God". In other words, no one states that there doesn't exist ahadith of very questionable source, and therefore your comparison is flawed.

The Word of God, preserved in its Eternal and Permanent form, cannot concede any conflict, even a simple factual one. I, in my research, have found no other explanation for this dispute of numbers except for the all-excusable "copyist error". Can this explanation reconcile with the claim that in the hand of a priest or paster, the Immortal Word of God manifests its Perfection and Truth? Can we honestly contend that the Bible doesn't require any continuity because it is from different sources? Clearly, then, the significance and motivation in bringing it up is to question, investigate, and allow the opportunity for all of us to conduct research in the matter. Would you consider a sincere quest for understanding in this regard to then always be presumptuous and [appearing] hypocritical?

Finally, I, in good reason, apply severe doubt to your implication that "scribe's errors" can be found [at some level] in the Noble Qur'an, first, because your argument is a fallacy (we should not accept this logic because it could be applied to me), and second, because I, in good reason, reject that there exists any error in the Noble Qur'an. My firm attestation that the Noble Qur'an is free from tahrif is derived from the Book itself:

[15:9] Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian.

Assalaamu 'alaykum,

The points of view stated and implied here are liable to backfire. The fact is that Christian scholars have applied principles of historical criticism to their sources for centuries. For the most part Muslims do not. Furthermore, Muslims take the findings of Christian scholars applying historical criticism to Christian sources, and use them as evidence that the foundations of Christianity are weak. Unless Muslims come into the arena fairly, and hustle up the critical study of the Qur'an, the application of criticism to the Bible will appear one-sided and hypocritical, and indict Muslims by the very first sentence in post: "The only good religion is the one that allows for questioning, investigation, and research into its fundamentals."

The Bible is a collection of writings from many sources, so to raise an issue from different sources as a contradiction is of questionable validity. The conflict between 800 and 300 is not internal to any document. It is a conflict between Samuel and Chronicles. The books of Samuel and Kings form an edited textual continuity that is quite separate and distinct from the Chronicles, and the two are based on different sources. To take this as an evidence of conflict is like taking an example of conflict from two separate Islamic collections of traditions. That in itself would not show either or both of the traditions to be incorrect. The fact is that many such conflicts do exist in the ahadith literature, even within the collections accepted by Sunnis on one hand or Shi'is on the other.

The similarity between the words three and eight in Semitic languages doubtless accounts for the discrepancy. There are many such discrepancies between Samuel-Kings and Chronicles, often relating to numbers. The question arises, what is the significance of the descrepancy and what is the motivation for bringing it up here? Often the suggestion is, that if a scribe's error can be found in Christian sources, that one error proves the sources to have no validity. I doubt that assumption very strongly, first of all, because it is eminently applicable to ahadith literature as well, and perhaps even at some level to the holy Qur'an. The assumption that divine protection of Scripture, either the Bible or the Qur'an or other faith sources, relates to every objection that we come up with is presumptuous. Our expectations are very much informed by the technical culture around us, and as we assume more and more criteria that are foreign to the reality of the transmission of Scriptures, both Qur'an and Bible, we create more and more false problems.

Ali Haydar

(salam)

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This gets re-posted verbatim on shiachat every few months or so by some new enterprising fellow who has found the exact same web site as the previous teenager, and wants to present it as if it were his own thoughts.

Let me repeat the warning that anyone who takes a verse of Tanakh out of its context -- that of the surrounding chapter, the book as a whole, the written Torah as a whole, and the written and oral Torah together -- risks doing himself tremendous spiritual damage.

In this case, the supposed "contradiction" is not even a contradiction, just a play on words. The question asks, "How many people did the Prophet David's Chief of Captains kill?" This is like asking, "How many years did the President serve?" Well, which President? George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or FDR or Gerald Ford?

2 Samuel 23:8 refers to "Yoshev Bashevet the Tachmoni," aka "Adino the Etznite," who killed 800 in battle. 1 Chron. 11:11 refers to "Yashavam, son of a Hachmoni." Obviously these are not talking about the same person; indeed, the fact that the first verse talks about the Tachmoni and the second verse talks about the son of a Hachmoni suggests we are talking about father and son, and Rashi confirms that this is so: Yoshev Bashevet the Tachmoni is the father, and Yashavam son of a Hachmoni is the son. (The difference between "Tachmoni" and "Hachmoni" is probably either a dialect difference between northern & southern Israel, or possibly a change in pronunciation over the years between when the Book of Samuel was written and when Ezra wrote the Book of Chronicles.)

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Dear teenager,

I tend to agree with much of what you say.

First of all, I agree that there is a scholarly tradition of evaluating texts of tradition that is very erudite and in some methods extremely well-developed. It differs in some ways from Christian historical criticism, but that does not mean that it is any less rigorous and exact.

But I adhere to my point that the Bible contains a series of documents, many of which do not internally make the claim to be the Word of God. There are sections that clearly make the claim to be the words of prophets, other witnesses or even editors of the text. The particular texts you referred to do not claim to be either the word of God or the word of God quoted by a prophet. They are therefore not comparable to the holy Qur'an.

The Bible also contains several divine promises about the protection of the Scriptures. You make an assumption about what that protection entails when you suggest that it may not contain scribal error or editing. I possess a printed copy of the Qur'an in which two ayaat are reversed in order, obviously by error on the part of the editors. It is provided with certificates in the front proclaiming its authenticity. Allah did not protect it from that, and it is popularly in use today. I do not believe that in any way mitigates the divine protection on the text of the Qur'an. Such an error does not weaken my faith in the slightest. Furthermore, later copies of the Qur'an have dots around the letters to indicate the proper pronunciation. Earlier copies lack these. Does the addition of all of these dots, some of which are subject to interpretation when missing, indicate a break-down of divine protection? We assume that the interpretation of later editors is the very word of Allah. Then we have the affront to publish contradictions in the sacred texts of people from other religions, without the specialized knowledge that it takes to recognize what is a contradiction and what is not.

I am not a specialist in either Qur'anic studies or Biblical studies, although I have a little knowledge in both the language and text of both. A little knowledge is capable of creating a great deal of pride. In approaching sacred texts one needs humility as much as knowledge. I once met a professor at Seljuk University in Turkey, a Muslim of course, a specialist in Oriental philology. We were discussing the Hebrew Scriptures and I laughingly pointed out a discrepancy. The professor did not laugh, but he pointed out a similar text in the holy Qur'an, and explained it with his knowledge of early Arabic practices. He said he did not know the explanation of the Bible text, but could only assume that it had one, just as the text in the holy Qur'an. True knowledge and humility walk together. Criticism of a sacred text eventually may backfire and show the critic to be ignorant. Since then I have been careful to refrain from maintaining that the text of the Qur'an or the Bible departs from Allah's intention.

Having said that, as you present your next question relating to a supposed conflict in the Bible, it would be good to keep these things in mind. 1) Relate to the Bible on the basis of what the Bible actually claims about itself. 2) Keep in mind that your own assumptions about the condition of a divinely inspired text must be, may be questionable. 3) Approach the text with humility.

A fourth point might be to take care not to jump to conclusions about what others answer. One needs to keep a cool head if one expects to get results, and if one respondent feels offended, the discussion is likely to fail.

But the questions themselves are well worth examining.

Ali Haydar

(bismillah)

Alaykumu Salaam,

Dear Br. Ali Haydar,

The point of view implied and presented in my post above is only liable to backfire if your stated assumption, that the ethical (ethos) foundation of Muslims is faulty, factually turns out true. I reject the assertion that Muslims do not apply historical criticism; it is a tradition and tenet of Islam to question and ponder the religion. My contention is that the standards I address will always remain constant and never falter, and when I dictate that the only good religion is one that allows for for questioning, investigation, and research into its fundamentals, I intend it and its consequences 100%. Therefore, one must be careful; asserting that any Muslim questioning the Bible (for the intention of greater understanding) may well appear one-sided and presumptuous.

It would be one-sided of me, however, to argue with the stated Christian tenet that the entire Bible, in any language, is the Eternal, True Word of God, and its one source is God. Furthermore, it would be unjust for me to dismiss all accusations of discrepancy on the basis that they are from "different sources", clearly a contrary idea to the one stated above. To do so would cause exceptional problems.

In Islam, finding conflict in volumes of hadith would not be even remotely comparable to finding conflict in the Bible, because Muslims do not ever claim that every reported hadith is correct, nor that hadith is the realized "Word of God". In other words, no one states that there doesn't exist ahadith of very questionable source, and therefore your comparison is flawed.

The Word of God, preserved in its Eternal and Permanent form, cannot concede any conflict, even a simple factual one. I, in my research, have found no other explanation for this dispute of numbers except for the all-excusable "copyist error". Can this explanation reconcile with the claim that in the hand of a priest or paster, the Immortal Word of God manifests its Perfection and Truth? Can we honestly contend that the Bible doesn't require any continuity because it is from different sources? Clearly, then, the significance and motivation in bringing it up is to question, investigate, and allow the opportunity for all of us to conduct research in the matter. Would you consider a sincere quest for understanding in this regard to then always be presumptuous and [appearing] hypocritical?

Finally, I, in good reason, apply severe doubt to your implication that "scribe's errors" can be found [at some level] in the Noble Qur'an, first, because your argument is a fallacy (we should not accept this logic because it could be applied to me), and second, because I, in good reason, reject that there exists any error in the Noble Qur'an. My firm attestation that the Noble Qur'an is free from tahrif is derived from the Book itself:

[15:9] Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian.

(salam)

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To the starter of this thread I say:

"Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones"

Please refer to my new thread in the Quran/Hadith section, entitled "An Example of Hypocricy" to understand this famous saying.

Thank you.

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(bismillah)

This gets re-posted verbatim on shiachat every few months or so by some new enterprising fellow who has found the exact same web site as the previous teenager, and wants to present it as if it were his own thoughts.

Let me repeat the warning that anyone who takes a verse of Tanakh out of its context -- that of the surrounding chapter, the book as a whole, the written Torah as a whole, and the written and oral Torah together -- risks doing himself tremendous spiritual damage.

In this case, the supposed "contradiction" is not even a contradiction, just a play on words. The question asks, "How many people did the Prophet David's Chief of Captains kill?" This is like asking, "How many years did the President serve?" Well, which President? George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or FDR or Gerald Ford?

2 Samuel 23:8 refers to "Yoshev Bashevet the Tachmoni," aka "Adino the Etznite," who killed 800 in battle. 1 Chron. 11:11 refers to "Yashavam, son of a Hachmoni." Obviously these are not talking about the same person; indeed, the fact that the first verse talks about the Tachmoni and the second verse talks about the son of a Hachmoni suggests we are talking about father and son, and Rashi confirms that this is so: Yoshev Bashevet the Tachmoni is the father, and Yashavam son of a Hachmoni is the son. (The difference between "Tachmoni" and "Hachmoni" is probably either a dialect difference between northern & southern Israel, or possibly a change in pronunciation over the years between when the Book of Samuel was written and when Ezra wrote the Book of Chronicles.)

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(bismillah)

To the starter of this thread I say:

"Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones"

Please refer to my new thread in the Quran/Hadith section, entitled "An Example of Hypocricy" to understand this famous saying.

Thank you.

To the username "Submitter" I respond:

"Those that compare must consider apples with apples, and oranges with oranges"

Please remember that I display not the hypocrisy you describe in your thread because I am as ready to inquire about hadith literature as about Biblical literature. And upon examination, one will find that the gigantic volume of hadith literature contains many conflicts and discrepancies and is never claimed to be the Perfect, Eternal Word of God. The appropriate comparison would be the Bible to the Noble Qur'an, or hadith volumes to possibly Gospels of disciples.

Thank you, as well.

(salam)

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(bismillah)

Dear teenager,

I tend to agree with much of what you say.

First of all, I agree that there is a scholarly tradition of evaluating texts of tradition that is very erudite and in some methods extremely well-developed. It differs in some ways from Christian historical criticism, but that does not mean that it is any less rigorous and exact.

But I adhere to my point that the Bible contains a series of documents, many of which do not internally make the claim to be the Word of God. There are sections that clearly make the claim to be the words of prophets, other witnesses or even editors of the text. The particular texts you referred to do not claim to be either the word of God or the word of God quoted by a prophet. They are therefore not comparable to the holy Qur'an.

The Bible also contains several divine promises about the protection of the Scriptures. You make an assumption about what that protection entails when you suggest that it may not contain scribal error or editing. I possess a printed copy of the Qur'an in which two ayaat are reversed in order, obviously by error on the part of the editors. It is provided with certificates in the front proclaiming its authenticity. Allah did not protect it from that, and it is popularly in use today. I do not believe that in any way mitigates the divine protection on the text of the Qur'an. Such an error does not weaken my faith in the slightest. Furthermore, later copies of the Qur'an have dots around the letters to indicate the proper pronunciation. Earlier copies lack these. Does the addition of all of these dots, some of which are subject to interpretation when missing, indicate a break-down of divine protection? We assume that the interpretation of later editors is the very word of Allah. Then we have the affront to publish contradictions in the sacred texts of people from other religions, without the specialized knowledge that it takes to recognize what is a contradiction and what is not.

I am not a specialist in either Qur'anic studies or Biblical studies, although I have a little knowledge in both the language and text of both. A little knowledge is capable of creating a great deal of pride. In approaching sacred texts one needs humility as much as knowledge. I once met a professor at Seljuk University in Turkey, a Muslim of course, a specialist in Oriental philology. We were discussing the Hebrew Scriptures and I laughingly pointed out a discrepancy. The professor did not laugh, but he pointed out a similar text in the holy Qur'an, and explained it with his knowledge of early Arabic practices. He said he did not know the explanation of the Bible text, but could only assume that it had one, just as the text in the holy Qur'an. True knowledge and humility walk together. Criticism of a sacred text eventually may backfire and show the critic to be ignorant. Since then I have been careful to refrain from maintaining that the text of the Qur'an or the Bible departs from Allah's intention.

Having said that, as you present your next question relating to a supposed conflict in the Bible, it would be good to keep these things in mind. 1) Relate to the Bible on the basis of what the Bible actually claims about itself. 2) Keep in mind that your own assumptions about the condition of a divinely inspired text must be, may be questionable. 3) Approach the text with humility.

A fourth point might be to take care not to jump to conclusions about what others answer. One needs to keep a cool head if one expects to get results, and if one respondent feels offended, the discussion is likely to fail.

But the questions themselves are well worth examining.

Ali Haydar

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Teenager,

This is a very lengthy post and it would take a lot of time to respond to in detail, which I might do at some point, or not, because I have an actual job & life.

I reject your assertions as to my intention (wants to present it as if it were his own thoughts) and caution you strongly of labeling or applying false intentions upon others. In fact, I do not aim to present this as my original thought in any way, but I do aim to present it as a result of my own research.

You pasted it without supplying an attribution. That suggests to the reader that it is your words, when you knew that it wasn't. Why don't you paste the other 100 (or however many) "contradictions" you got from that web site? They've all been on shiachat before.

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=70937

your likely source: http://islamway.com/english/images/library...tradictions.htm

Edited by Maimonides

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In this specific case, it may possible that the individual referred to in 2 Samuel 23:8 and the individual referred to in 1 Chronicles 11:11 are different. However, I have four main points of simple response:

I'll start with the first.

1. It seems clear to me, upon reading the rest of the chapters, that the events being described here are the same. For logic, I cite three reasons: Firstly, the same story of David's longing for water and subsequent events is retold almost verbatim. Secondly, the list of "mighty people" people present is very close in both books. Thirdly, it seems that their subjects are practically the same of David's rule. This is what leads me, in good reason, to contend they are recounting the same events.

Oh, I agree with you that the events described in 1 Chron. 11:12 and forward are the same as the events described in 2 Sam. 23:9 and forward. The question is whether 1 Chron. 11:11 and 2 Sam. 23:8 are talking about the same person. And the context, to me, clearly indicates that they are not.

Consider: 1 Chron. 11:11-12 mentions two specific "mighty men" (Yashovam the son of a Hachmoni, and Eleazar the son of Dodo) but says that they are "among the three mighty men." Three? Yashovam and Eleazar are two. Who's the third?

2 Sam. 23:8-9 mentions two specific "mighty men" (the Tachmoni, aka Adino the Etznite; and the very same Eleazar the son of Dodo), and but again mentions that the Tachmoni was "the chief of the three" and "the three mighty men." The Tachmoni (Adino) and Eleazar are two. Who's the third?

The answer, to me at least, is clear. The three mighty men were the Tachmoni (Adino), his son Yashovam, and Eleazar son of Dodo. It's possible that they all served at the same time; it's also possible that it was a rotating position, totaling three over a certain period of time; it's also possible that there were sometimes more than one, and sometimes as many as three, but not necessarily three at every given moment. We do know that at some point Shammah the son of Agei became one of the three -- see 2 Sam. 23:11 -- presumably when one of the earlier ones died or retired.

Now this raises an interesting question of its own: why would Nathan (the author of this part of the Book of Samuel) mention Adino but not his son Yashovam, and Ezra mention Yashovam but only indirectly allude to his father Adino? I don't necessarily have a good answer to this. We do know there is a principle of Torah that if a righteous person's father is mentioned, it often means his father was righteous too, and if a righteous person's father is not named, it often means his father his wicked; if a wicked person's father is named, it often means the father was wicked too; if a wicked person's father is not named, it often means the father was righteous.

I am just speculating on my own, but it is possible there was a machloket (difference of opinion) between Nathan and Ezra as to the status of Yashovam. Perhaps Nathan thought that Yashovam was not so impressive, and did not want to embarrass Adino (who we know from tradition was a Torah scholar during peacetime) by naming a wicked son. Whereas maybe Ezra disagreed and thought that Yashovam was righteous too, and thus had no problem naming him (and felt that mentioning his father indirectly would suffice). I don't really have any basis for this, but it could work.

An even more subtle possibility is that there was no dispute at all regarding Yashovam son of Adino the Tachmoni, but rather a disagreement on an entirely different point. There is another Yashovam involved in subsequent events, an entirely unrelated Yashovam the son of Zabdiel, mentioned in 1 Chron. 27:2. It is possible that Yashovam the son of Zabdiel was wicked (as would be Zabdiel, by logic), and both Nathan and Ezra were concerned that people would confuse the two Yashovams. Perhaps Nathan thought that the best solution to this problem was not to mention Yashovam ben Adino in case people thought he was the wicket Yashovam ben Zabdiel, because while it's bad enough that the "good" Yashovam's reputation suffers, it's even worse that his poor father Adino the Tachmoni gets sullied by the misdeeds of an entirely unrelated Yashovam. And perhaps Ezra thought that it was better to explicitly mention Yashovam ben Adino, because if one didn't, then people might assume that the Yashovam ben Zabdiel was the same Yashovam who had been the "third" of the three mighty men. Again, I am just speculating, and I hesitate to do so because I have no basis to think any ill of Yashovam ben Zabdiel. But it could explain why Nathan and Ezra took different approaches.

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assalaamu 'alaykum

Dear teenager,

Thank you for your illuminating post. I apologise for the implication in regard to your motives. I did not intend to impune them. But I am pleased with your kind and respectful way of writing.

On the issue of the Bible as the Word of God, I think you will find only a small, vocal minority of Christians who take that view. Furthermore, the Bible was never held in Christianity with quite the same sense of esteem as the Qur'an is among Muslims. But the fact is that historical criticism over several centuries has led most Christians to relate to the Bible in somewhat a liberal way. The proof of that is quite simply that the list of contradictions in the bible is based on the work of Christian, not Muslim, scholars. There is no Christian responding to you here that takes the view that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

I personally relate to the Bible in a way that includes several strands: respect for a sacred text, acknowledgement of historical criticism, and evaluation in accordance with the Mosaic criterion or furqan mentioned in Suratul-Baqara 53, which I understand to be the Decalogue written on the tablets and given to Moses (as). Those three main factors guide my understanding. As I practice Islam, I am also likely to be guided by the Qur'an as I approach the Bible.

The Qur'an I mentioned is The Holy Qur'an by S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, First US Wdition 1988 published by Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an Inc, New York. I don't recall where the reversal was, but it was somewhere in the second half. Perhaps I can find it for you. I know this book has been highly criticised for its abundant application of ayaat to the Ahlil Beyt (as), but I appreciate it highly myself.

As for your original question of conflict between Samuel and Chronicles, I believe that Maimonides answered it quite adequately.

Ali Haydar

(bismillah)

Dear Ali Haydar,

Thank you for your words of wisdom.

To your point that the Bible contains a series of documents, many of which do not internally make the claim to be the Word of God I respond in concession. However, many chapters of the Noble Qur'an also do not explicitly or internally claim to be the Word of God. In spite of this, Muslims hold that the entirety of the Noble Qur'an is the Perfect, Eternal Word of God. It is also in spite of your point that Christians hold the entirety of the Bible to be the Perfect, Eternal Word of God. My response is, therefore, that even if a document does not explicitly or internally claim to be the Word of God, the followers of that document may uphold it to be, and therefore it may be unjust for me to contradict that fact.

With regards to the protection of divine protection, I do make the assumption that the protection is with regards to corruption. However, I do not imagine that some magical force will smite me down if I take the verses of the Qur'an, rearrange them, and alter them. Verse 15:9 of the Qur'an has already been fulfilled, that the True Qur'an will always remain distinct from any Qur'an with mistakes, because the exact same scripture now resides in the four corners of the Earth. Simply copy machine error is not what I mean by "protection from corruption", rather, it is that there will never come a day when the majority of Muslims fall into doubt as to whether their copy of the Qur'an is legitimate or not.

Your anecdote of the copy of the Qur'an with two ayahs reversed is interesting. I would be delighted to have more information on that, specifically, which two verses, as well as the publisher, year, etc.

Furthermore, your point on the presence of diacritic marks only later on the Qur'anic script has merit. However, it must be remembered that diacritic marks are only for pronunciation, and not needed by original Arabs because their were familiar with their mother tongue. Diacritic marks were added later for correct pronunciation for non-Arabs, and as far as I've seen, there exists virtually no conflict in diacritic marks. Every copy of the Noble Qur'an today, to my knowledge, has the same diacritic marks. Additionally, the very word "Qur'an" means "recitation", and therefore, the most important issue is that the Qur'an is recited properly, irrespective of whether there are vowel markings or not.

Most important of my responses, however, is that I intend absolutely no affront, as a simple questioner means no affront in asking about what puzzles him. It is disheartening to see that, in line with cynics like H.L Meinken, my intentions are immediately dismissed as secretly wishing to "disprove Christianity" or "affront" the sacred texts of people from other religions. If I do not recognize what a contradiction is or isn't, then I am here certainly to learn.

I accept, completely, wholeheartedly, and eagerly that truth, knowledge, and humility walk one path. And in this, I proclaim that I am no critic, neither qualified nor accredited; of any text, be it Bible, Qur'an, or Vedas; I am a questioner, an investigator, and a researcher and my only purpose is to seek greater understanding.

In response to the remaining portion of your post, I will aim my best to keep your points in mind. Fortunately, I am not new to the field of questioning, and therefore not offended in the slightest at suspicion raised to my intentions. I recognize absolutely the components of good discussion and I will do my best to uphold them, Insha'Allah.

Again, thank you for your wise words of experience.

(salam)

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Teenager,

This is a very lengthy post and it would take a lot of time to respond to in detail, which I might do at some point, or not, because I have an actual job & life.

You pasted it without supplying an attribution. That suggests to the reader that it is your words, when you knew that it wasn't. Why don't you paste the other 100 (or however many) "contradictions" you got from that web site? They've all been on shiachat before.

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=70937

your likely source: http://islamway.com/english/images/library...tradictions.htm

Maimonides, you are a patient man.

I remember an episode from the past, but at least the last guy revealed his source up front, (101 contradictions).

For you it's more of a "Contradictions 101" by now, lol.

I think you got to #3 or 4 before the guy figured out his list was made for the less educated.

I enjoyed your explanations, as I got to learn too.

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(bismillah)

Teenager,

This is a very lengthy post and it would take a lot of time to respond to in detail, which I might do at some point, or not, because I have an actual job & life.

You pasted it without supplying an attribution. That suggests to the reader that it is your words, when you knew that it wasn't. Why don't you paste the other 100 (or however many) "contradictions" you got from that web site? They've all been on shiachat before.

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=70937

your likely source: http://islamway.com/english/images/library...tradictions.htm

Dear Maimonides,

I do understand your situation with regards to shortage of time as it is my situation also.

I must again strongly reject your assertions with regards to my intention. I did not "paste" anything nor ever visit that source you have linked. I have done my own research, my own investigation, and my own reading. I must therefore advise you that you are highly presumptuous in this regard to again apply misleading or unfaithful or hypocritical intentions to me with no proof whatsoever.

I will investigate and respond and I kindly request you refrain from repeatedly accusing others of motive without evidence.

Thank you.

(salam)

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(bismillah)

(salam)

Dear Ali Haydar,

Thank you also for your reply. I agree with your point that it does seem the Bible in Christianity and the Qur'an in Islam are treated differently and I know you probably speak from experience in pointing that out.

With regards to the Bible being the Word of God, I have personally seen very few Christians passing doubt upon it. In my research, the grand majority almost always say that this Word of God was communicated through a prophet and divinely inspired to be collected by the Canoners. I would be cautious to think of it in any other way, as your indication is the only one I have yet received that this group is a "small, vocab minority". I would also be hard-pressed to believe this is the doctrine of the Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Anglicans or other major established churches. Unless you mean more specifically on a personal level they argue the Bible as not the inerrant Word of God?

With regards to your anecdotal example of errancy in the Qur'an, I wish to inquire: was the verse reversal you found in the Arabic scripture, or Mir Ahmed Ali's translation? This is significant because a translation is not a "Qur'an"; the Noble Qur'an only exists in Arabic. Remind that the Qur'an means "recitation", and a recitation in one language is clearly different than another.

I recognize that your own experience has led you to your relations with the Bible. I, however, have no relation with the Bible yet, as a new student still has no relation with a teacher to whose lessons and lectures he has not participated. It is a strange time, the start of school, because my approaching everything with skepticism often leads to seeming conflicts with the teacher. As the year passes on, those teachers that I discover, after experience and questioning, to have merit I accept wholeheartedly. This is the same approach I have with the Qur'an and the Bible. People Muslim by name are not truly Mo'min until they have challenged, and pressured, because then, and only then, can lustrous diamonds of truth reveal themselves.

I appreciate the reply of Maimonides, however, a diamond is not a pure diamond until clear, and I still possess great confusion with regards to this specific verse.

assalaamu 'alaykum

Dear teenager,

Thank you for your illuminating post. I apologise for the implication in regard to your motives. I did not intend to impune them. But I am pleased with your kind and respectful way of writing.

On the issue of the Bible as the Word of God, I think you will find only a small, vocal minority of Christians who take that view. Furthermore, the Bible was never held in Christianity with quite the same sense of esteem as the Qur'an is among Muslims. But the fact is that historical criticism over several centuries has led most Christians to relate to the Bible in somewhat a liberal way. The proof of that is quite simply that the list of contradictions in the bible is based on the work of Christian, not Muslim, scholars. There is no Christian responding to you here that takes the view that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

I personally relate to the Bible in a way that includes several strands: respect for a sacred text, acknowledgement of historical criticism, and evaluation in accordance with the Mosaic criterion or furqan mentioned in Suratul-Baqara 53, which I understand to be the Decalogue written on the tablets and given to Moses as.gif. Those three main factors guide my understanding. As I practice Islam, I am also likely to be guided by the Qur'an as I approach the Bible.

The Qur'an I mentioned is The Holy Qur'an by S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, First US Wdition 1988 published by Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an Inc, New York. I don't recall where the reversal was, but it was somewhere in the second half. Perhaps I can find it for you. I know this book has been highly criticised for its abundant application of ayaat to the Ahlil Beyt as.gif, but I appreciate it highly myself.

As for your original question of conflict between Samuel and Chronicles, I believe that Maimonides answered it quite adequately.

Ali Haydar

(salam)

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(bismillah)

Dear Maimonides,

Before I present my findings, I would like to strongly recommend your response to my three other simple responses. My responses labeled #2 and #4 are the major sources of my confusion, and #3 is what I would appreciate more sources regarding. If you or anyone else could explain why with regards to my questions then I would be much obliged.

5. I do consider your notion that neither Chronicles nor Samuel list the specific third of the three "Mighty men", and for clear reference I cite the relevant verses:

[2 Samuel 23:8] These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

[2 Samuel 23:9] And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:

[2 Samuel 23:10] He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.

[2 Samuel 23:11] And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.

[2 Samuel 23:12] But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.

[2 Samuel 23:13] And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.

[1 Chronicles 11:11] And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.

[1 Chronicles 11:12] And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties.

In reading the entire chapter, I find that Samuel does explicitly list the three, but Chronicles explicitly lists two. Where is it indicated in Samuel that the third, Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite, was somehow later than the rest, or became on upon the death or retiring of one? To be completely honest, I see no support in that regard except for speculation only after first assuming that the Joshobeam of Chronicles is different than the Joshabb-Ball of Samuel.

And if this were so, then why would the esteemed 18th century commentator of the Bible, John Wesley, regard the Chronicles as referring indirectly to Shammah:

Lentiles — Or barley, as it is 1 Chronicles 11:13. For both might grow in the same field, in divers parts of it. And this fact is ascribed to Eleazar, 1 Chronicles 11:12, but it is implied, that he had some partner or partners in it; for it is there said, 1 Chronicles 11:14 they set themselves, etc. So Eleazar might fight in that part where the barley was and Shammah where the lentiles were.

An English Bible translation aimed to have a Bible Version most accurately in contemporary English language (The Message), records the verse as:

[2 Samuel 23:11] Shammah son of Agee the Hararite was the third of the Three. The Philistines had mustered for battle at Lehi, where there was a field full of lentils. Israel fled before the Philistines, but Shammah took his stand at the center of the field, successfully defended it, and routed the Philistines. Another great victory for God!

This also does not seem to indicate Shammah as a latter, but as an original. I include this as my last simple response for this post because firstly, I would like a response to my previous points, and secondly, in reading the remaining portion of your post, respectfully speaking, I agree that you are speculating. I would be entirely willing to commit to research on the rest, but only if the basis point is clarified.

(salam)

Oh, I agree with you that the events described in 1 Chron. 11:12 and forward are the same as the events described in 2 Sam. 23:9 and forward. The question is whether 1 Chron. 11:11 and 2 Sam. 23:8 are talking about the same person. And the context, to me, clearly indicates that they are not.

Consider: 1 Chron. 11:11-12 mentions two specific "mighty men" (Yashovam the son of a Hachmoni, and Eleazar the son of Dodo) but says that they are "among the three mighty men." Three? Yashovam and Eleazar are two. Who's the third?

2 Sam. 23:8-9 mentions two specific "mighty men" (the Tachmoni, aka Adino the Etznite; and the very same Eleazar the son of Dodo), and but again mentions that the Tachmoni was "the chief of the three" and "the three mighty men." The Tachmoni (Adino) and Eleazar are two. Who's the third?

The answer, to me at least, is clear. The three mighty men were the Tachmoni (Adino), his son Yashovam, and Eleazar son of Dodo. It's possible that they all served at the same time; it's also possible that it was a rotating position, totaling three over a certain period of time; it's also possible that there were sometimes more than one, and sometimes as many as three, but not necessarily three at every given moment. We do know that at some point Shammah the son of Agei became one of the three -- see 2 Sam. 23:11 -- presumably when one of the earlier ones died or retired.

Now this raises an interesting question of its own: why would Nathan (the author of this part of the Book of Samuel) mention Adino but not his son Yashovam, and Ezra mention Yashovam but only indirectly allude to his father Adino? I don't necessarily have a good answer to this. We do know there is a principle of Torah that if a righteous person's father is mentioned, it often means his father was righteous too, and if a righteous person's father is not named, it often means his father his wicked; if a wicked person's father is named, it often means the father was wicked too; if a wicked person's father is not named, it often means the father was righteous.

I am just speculating on my own, but it is possible there was a machloket (difference of opinion) between Nathan and Ezra as to the status of Yashovam. Perhaps Nathan thought that Yashovam was not so impressive, and did not want to embarrass Adino (who we know from tradition was a Torah scholar during peacetime) by naming a wicked son. Whereas maybe Ezra disagreed and thought that Yashovam was righteous too, and thus had no problem naming him (and felt that mentioning his father indirectly would suffice). I don't really have any basis for this, but it could work.

An even more subtle possibility is that there was no dispute at all regarding Yashovam son of Adino the Tachmoni, but rather a disagreement on an entirely different point. There is another Yashovam involved in subsequent events, an entirely unrelated Yashovam the son of Zabdiel, mentioned in 1 Chron. 27:2. It is possible that Yashovam the son of Zabdiel was wicked (as would be Zabdiel, by logic), and both Nathan and Ezra were concerned that people would confuse the two Yashovams. Perhaps Nathan thought that the best solution to this problem was not to mention Yashovam ben Adino in case people thought he was the wicket Yashovam ben Zabdiel, because while it's bad enough that the "good" Yashovam's reputation suffers, it's even worse that his poor father Adino the Tachmoni gets sullied by the misdeeds of an entirely unrelated Yashovam. And perhaps Ezra thought that it was better to explicitly mention Yashovam ben Adino, because if one didn't, then people might assume that the Yashovam ben Zabdiel was the same Yashovam who had been the "third" of the three mighty men. Again, I am just speculating, and I hesitate to do so because I have no basis to think any ill of Yashovam ben Zabdiel. But it could explain why Nathan and Ezra took different approaches.

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I must again strongly reject your assertions with regards to my intention. I did not "paste" anything nor ever visit that source you have linked. I have done my own research, my own investigation, and my own reading. I must therefore advise you that you are highly presumptuous in this regard to again apply misleading or unfaithful or hypocritical intentions to me with no proof whatsoever.

Come on, give it a rest.

No, I don't have "proof," nor telepathy. But isn't it interesting that, out of all the fascinating, thought-provoking textual difficulties in the Bible, you zeroed in on an incredibly obscure seeming conflict between 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles, one that happens to be listed in dozens of Islamic web sites, but which would never occur to any normal person sitting down in front of the Bible? (These lists of "101 Contradictions" are distinguished by an intense focus on seeming differences within the books of Kings, Chronicles, Samuel, and occasionally Ezra/Nehemiah. That's their distinctive fingerprint.)

Come on, admit it, if it wasn't Islamway.com, it was one of these sites;

http://www.answering-christianity.com/101_...tradictions.htm

http://darulislam.info/Sections-article32-p1.html

http://readarticle.info/contradictions-in-the-bible/

or another...

The reality is that any normal person trying to identify "Biblical contradictions" would start with what appear to be two different creation accounts in the first chapters of Genesis. To come up with this "first" implies that you either found absolutely nothing "contradictory" before the book of Chronicles way at the end of the Tanakh, or that you simply skipped everything up to that point.

Or, as I continue to believe, you simply got it from a web site or booklet. It's OK. Admit it. It will feel good.

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(bismillah)

Dear Maimonides,

You will surely lose respect if you continue to impose your suspicions on others. I will not to lie or tell any untruth and the fact of the matter is that I did not use any of these sources, nor have I visited any before, excepting the website www.answering-christianity.com (although not that specific page), as well as its associated site, www.***.org. It would be unjust of me to assume your methods as somehow diabolical, and if I did, you would feel no need to respond to my false accusation. But I will once again to correct your erroneous judgments.

But isn't it interesting that, out of all the fascinating, thought-provoking textual difficulties in the Bible, you zeroed in on an incredibly obscure seeming conflict between 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles, one that happens to be listed in dozens of Islamic web sites, but which would never occur to any normal person sitting down in front of the Bible?

I reiterate; I did not somehow "discover" these; I do not aim to present these as my original ideas, but what I present is as result of all my own original research. And if you do conduct this research someday, you will find that this verse and supposed contradiction is not obscure in the field of historical criticisms, and I intend to inquire, investigate, and research about anything that puzzles me, regardless.

Your final factual error about me may stem from your misunderstanding, as I did not sit down to "identify contradictions"; I examine a body of historical criticism and from many many sources I present my information. Your continued belief to the contrary is in great error, unfortunately, and I advise you to question whether you are judging without evidence or applying your suspicions oppressively.

(salam)

Come on, give it a rest.

No, I don't have "proof," nor telepathy. But isn't it interesting that, out of all the fascinating, thought-provoking textual difficulties in the Bible, you zeroed in on an incredibly obscure seeming conflict between 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles, one that happens to be listed in dozens of Islamic web sites, but which would never occur to any normal person sitting down in front of the Bible? (These lists of "101 Contradictions" are distinguished by an intense focus on seeming differences within the books of Kings, Chronicles, Samuel, and occasionally Ezra/Nehemiah. That's their distinctive fingerprint.)

Come on, admit it, if it wasn't Islamway.com, it was one of these sites;

http://www.answering-christianity.com/101_...tradictions.

http://darulislam.info/Sections-article32-p1.

http://readarticle.info/contradictions-in-the-bible

or another...

The reality is that any normal person trying to identify "Biblical contradictions" would start with what appear to be two different creation accounts in the first chapters of Genesis. To come up with this "first" implies that you either found absolutely nothing "contradictory" before the book of Chronicles way at the end of the Tanakh, or that you simply skipped everything up to that point.

Or, as I continue to believe, you simply got it from a web site or booklet. It's OK. Admit it. It will feel good.

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#3 is what I would appreciate more sources regarding.

You asked whether Rashi's commentary on Chronicles was written by Rashi himself or his students. I have heard that some historians theorize that Rashi's commentary on Chronicles was written after his death by the students of his yeshiva, based on his lectures. We also have some reason to understand that Rashi's student Rabbeinu Shemaya edited his final comments on the Talmud. So it is possible that Rashi's commentary on Chronicles was not literally written by his own hand. Nevertheless, it represents his thoughts as agreed upon by his students. Had any one of them proposed an idea that wasn't consistent with what Rashi himself had said, the others would have immediately objected and it wouldn't have been made part of the official Rashi text.

I

[2 Samuel 23:8] These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

[2 Samuel 23:9] And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:

[2 Samuel 23:10] He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.

[2 Samuel 23:11] And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.

[2 Samuel 23:12] But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.

[2 Samuel 23:13] And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.

[1 Chronicles 11:11] And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.

[1 Chronicles 11:12] And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties.

Where is it indicated in Samuel that the third, Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite, was somehow later than the rest, or became on upon the death or retiring of one?

[2 Samuel 23:11] And after him [Heb: acharav] was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite.

And if this were so, then why would the esteemed 18th century commentator of the Bible, John Wesley, regard the Chronicles as referring indirectly to Shammah:

Maybe esteemed in 18th century Christian circles, but not amongst those who wrote & transmitted the Tanakh.

An English Bible translation aimed to have a Bible Version most accurately in contemporary English language (The Message), records the verse as:

[2 Samuel 23:11] Shammah son of Agee the Hararite was the third of the Three.

How can it possibly be accurate if it doesn't translate the first word of the sentence, "v'acharav" (and after him)? Here's the sentence in the original for those (I think it's just 7ayran and me) who can read it:

וְאַחֲרָיו שַׁמָּה בֶן-אָגֵא, הָרָרִי

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(bismillah)

Dear Maimonides,

Thank you for your response. I am glad that I am not reading untrue sources that suggest the Rashi commentary may include more or less than simply Rashi. I do accept that what eventually went into the "official Rashi Commentary" was probably in agreement with his prominent students, but I do not venture to possess certainty in claiming there was no room for innovation in "his" commentaries on Chronicles I and II, to a larger extent, and in his commentaries in the rest of the volumes, to a lesser extent.

Your point bolding "after him" does not seem adequate indication that Shammah was not of the original three "mighty men" and was merely later, after the death or retirement of one. This is because 2 Samuel 23:9 also seems to use "after him".

[2 Samuel 23:9] And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:

Your point regarding John Wesley is brief, but contains several implications. First, I think you may have misspoken in saying he was not among the writers of the Tanakh, which is clearly obvious and not exceptionally relevant. Secondly, you imply that anyone not involved in the "transmittance" of the Hebrew Bible is not qualified to be an expert on it. John Wesley is highly esteemed, even beyond the United Methodist Church, of which he was one of the leaders, to different movements within Christianity such as the Pentecostal movement, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and more. Undoubtedly, therefore, his credentials are highly established, at least in the view of the majority of Christians.

Regarding the Bible Version The Message, I understand that to facilitate clarity, The Message does not literally translate every word, as placement of certain clauses in different languages differ. Instead, it translated the meaning of the verse, so that "after him", used to describe Eleazer and "after him" used to describe Shammah, chronologically become "next of" and "third". The point remains, therefore, in the view of this widely-used Bible, that the three of the Elites were Josheb-Basshebeth, Eleazer, and Shammah.

You asked whether Rashi's commentary on Chronicles was written by Rashi himself or his students. I have heard that some historians theorize that Rashi's commentary on Chronicles was written after his death by the students of his yeshiva, based on his lectures. We also have some reason to understand that Rashi's student Rabbeinu Shemaya edited his final comments on the Talmud. So it is possible that Rashi's commentary on Chronicles was not literally written by his own hand. Nevertheless, it represents his thoughts as agreed upon by his students. Had any one of them proposed an idea that wasn't consistent with what Rashi himself had said, the others would have immediately objected and it wouldn't have been made part of the official Rashi text.

I

[2 Samuel 23:8] These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

[2 Samuel 23:9] And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:

[2 Samuel 23:10] He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.

[2 Samuel 23:11] And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.

[2 Samuel 23:12] But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.

[2 Samuel 23:13] And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.

[1 Chronicles 11:11] And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.

[1 Chronicles 11:12] And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties.

[2 Samuel 23:11] And after him [Heb: acharav] was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite.

Maybe esteemed in 18th century Christian circles, but not amongst those who wrote & transmitted the Tanakh.

How can it possibly be accurate if it doesn't translate the first word of the sentence, "v'acharav" (and after him)? Here's the sentence in the original for those (I think it's just 7ayran and me) who can read it:

(salam)

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Your point bolding "after him" does not seem adequate indication that Shammah was not of the original three "mighty men" and was merely later, after the death or retirement of one. This is because 2 Samuel 23:9 also seems to use "after him".

As I mentioned before, it is quite possible that the three mighty men were not all simultaneous. It could have easily been that at a given time there was one of them, then there was another (perhaps with some overlap to train the successor, or perhaps not), and then another, and so on. Like a President who has several different Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during his Presidency. Now, to be sure, I am speculating on this. But it is a very reasonable speculation, given that the text explicitly says "after him."

Your point regarding John Wesley is brief, but contains several implications. First, I think you may have misspoken in saying he was not among the writers of the Tanakh, which is clearly obvious and not exceptionally relevant.

I said he is not necessarily "highly esteemed" among those who wrote & transmitted the Tanakah (i.e., the Jews).

Secondly, you imply that anyone not involved in the "transmittance" of the Hebrew Bible is not qualified to be an expert on it.. .... therefore, his credentials are highly established, at least in the view of the majority of Christians.

You understand how uninteresting it is to a Jew that a bunch of people who consistently misinterpret the Tanakh to make it fit their preconceived notions raise up one particular person as particularly expert amongs them?

Anyway, I renew my question about why you are so fascinated with King David's officers as the second most important topic to you in Hebrew Bible studies (I'll grant that your first choice, regarding the Akedah, is at least something important). Your reading, so focused on the precise body count of one or two of King David's officers, has completely missed the power and beauty of Torah. Why have you not been reading about the awesome wonder of Shabbat, or of the stark moral message of Amos and Jeremiah, or about the power of Pesach to transform and liberate an individual?

A parable comes to mind: two men approach an unusual structure. As they get close, they see it is some sort of terraced mountain. The first terrace has a relatively low wall to scale, beyond which they can sort of make out a lovely garden. Beyond that is a second wall, a bit higher, beyond which they can see something that seems quite fascinating, though they can't quite make it out without scaling the first wall. And so on up and up the hill, such that at the top, which they can barely see from where they are, they see the tips of amazing spires and structures and can hear in the distance strains of unbelievably beautiful singing.

One man says, "Let's check it out," climbs the first wall, and starts enjoying the garden. From there, he can now see a bit better over the second wall, and can now make out what's over the third wall, and so on, all the way to a slightly better view of the tippy-top. He decides to enjoy the garden for a while and then try to climb the next wall.

The other walks parallel to the first stone wall for some distance, and notices a pebble that, in his view as an amateur architect, really would have been better off six inches to the left. He then proclaims "Aha! The whole business is faulty," and leaves forever.

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How many people did the Prophet David's Chief of Captains kill?

2 Samuel 23:8 says the number was 800.

23:7 But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.

23:8 These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

23:9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:

1 Chronicles 11:11 says the number was 300.

11:10 These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.

11:11 And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.

11:12 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties.

There is no contradiction in this scripture, only bad interpretation from someone who wants to find a contradiction.

But firstly we must determine what a contradiction is, and the above is not an actual contradiction. For something to be a contradiction the scripture here would have to affirm that something did happen [that eight hundred men were killed], and then affirm the complete opposite [eight hundred men were NOT killed]. Yet the scripture does NOT show this, on the contrary it says that eight hundred men were killed, and then three hundred men were killed, if this is the case where is the contradiction?

The Law of Contradiction states:

The law of contradiction means that two antithetical propositions cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. X cannot be non-X. A thing cannot be and not be simultaneously. And nothing that is true can be self-contradictory or inconsistent with any other truth.

So for the above to be a contradiction would to have to affirm both propositions, that A 300 were killed at the same time and place and that 300 were NOT killed at the same time and place. We don't see this, so instead of arguing and attempting to explain away we should affirm that the 'contradiction' is nonexistent, only in the delusional mind of those who try to attack the word of God.

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(bismillah)

Dear InHisLove,

Your assumption regarding my own intention is false and I would love nothing more than to sleep with ease, to move on to more important matters, and to generally pass over instability in the historical effects and reactions of Christianity. I am not, as you describe, intent on proving my own presuppositions true, because I have no presuppositions regarding practical merit, but I do have questions, and I do have research, and I do have the courage to ask, because I know that although people will transgress and accuse me falsely of diabolical intentions, a sincere questioner cannot falter in his intent.

Raising the issue of what a contradiction actually is does benefit the discussion. I have had sedulous study in logic, and in my view, the Law of Contradiction or Non-Contradiction, as Aristotle does openly agree, is a circular law; that is, one must rely upon itself to prove, and upon itself to disprove, and no independent reasoning can derive it or prove that it cannot be derived. This means that philosophically speaking, the "Law of Contradiction" is sophistry; it assumes too much to be logically sound. For this reason and others, the primary intention of the "Law of Contradiction" is to delineate absolute Truths and absolute Falsehoods to determine their absolute juxtaposition in Absolutist reality. It seems clear, ergo, that while it holds interesting discussion in philosophical circles, it isn't of any real practical use.

For my purpose of simplicity in asking, I use a definition that doesn't require philosophical studiousness to understand. I intend the word "contradiction" as synonym to "incongruity" or "inconsistency". If we must first, determinately and unquestionably, positively ascertain the absolute negation of an affirmation without any hypothetical ideas, I promise you we'll be here in perpetuum until infinity marks a final purple streak across the sky, because it is, realistically and philosophically, impossible.

There is no contradiction in this scripture, only bad interpretation from someone who wants to find a contradiction.

But firstly we must determine what a contradiction is, and the above is not an actual contradiction. For something to be a contradiction the scripture here would have to affirm that something did happen [that eight hundred men were killed], and then affirm the complete opposite [eight hundred men were NOT killed]. Yet the scripture does NOT show this, on the contrary it says that eight hundred men were killed, and then three hundred men were killed, if this is the case where is the contradiction?

The Law of Contradiction states:

The law of contradiction means that two antithetical propositions cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. X cannot be non-X. A thing cannot be and not be simultaneously. And nothing that is true can be self-contradictory or inconsistent with any other truth.

So for the above to be a contradiction would to have to affirm both propositions, that A 300 were killed at the same time and place and that 300 were NOT killed at the same time and place. We don't see this, so instead of arguing and attempting to explain away we should affirm that the 'contradiction' is nonexistent, only in the delusional mind of those who try to attack the word of God.

(salam)

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(bismillah)

Dear Maimonides,

Thank you for your reply. I do willingly entertain the possibility that all three "Mighty Men" were not simultaneous, as you urged me to consider. Looking, however, I find some points that confuse rather than clarify the issue still. Perhaps it is my frailty of mind, but I have not yet found what I may to be assuredly conforming to both logic and historical literature.

Regarding your speculation of Shammah indicative to come "after him", may we also cherish reasonable that Eleazer came after another possible retire or death, as it seems to indicate in the verse regarding Eleazer?

I understand your awkward position to my questions not adequately directed towards those of Jewish faith. In light of my Christianity-biased questions, it would be just as adequate for you to say that you do not believe in the Christian scholars' learned opinions. Although it may not cherish my fair purpose, it would be sufficient in your possible perspective according to your preconceived notions.

I will comment that your parable is well appreciated, but also assuming to much of me that I have not explicitly given mention of. I have not any fascination to this particular verse nor "Akedah". I am, however, obliged to systematically seek out in full whatever I do not understand, so if God and time will permit, I will continue to systematically seek answers to my questions.

Regarding power and beauty of the Torah (and/or Bible) and why I have not been reading about it, I answer in the view of a student not yet learned in Dr. Suess why he does not appreciate the beauty and power of Hawthorne; allow me to start with what I do not understand so that I may progress my knowledge. You will not certainly contend that one can be soaked in "awesome wonder" without first comprehending, will you?

And your final implication, granted less severe that your previous ones against me, still relies in the assumption that I am intent on finding [insignificant] faults with the Bible as a reason (read excuse) to dismiss it completely. Absolutely not and the single most accurate characterization of your assumption is preposterous. Will a student work algebra until he finds an extraneous root and then quit it all? Again, preposterous. My intention is to inquire about the volume of knowledge, and fulfill it eventually, but I am obligated to clear up my doubts first. Is this any other than the logical way to proceed? If you disagree and contend I should accept something on "faith" (mere temporary assumption of truth, you'll say), then save your contention to slay another's existence benumbed; another someone without the shield of innate skepticism that I possess.

Anyway, I renew my question about why you are so fascinated with King David's officers as the second most important topic to you in Hebrew Bible studies (I'll grant that your first choice, regarding the Akedah, is at least something important). Your reading, so focused on the precise body count of one or two of King David's officers, has completely missed the power and beauty of Torah. Why have you not been reading about the awesome wonder of Shabbat, or of the stark moral message of Amos and Jeremiah, or about the power of Pesach to transform and liberate an individual?

A parable comes to mind: two men approach an unusual structure. As they get close, they see it is some sort of terraced mountain. The first terrace has a relatively low wall to scale, beyond which they can sort of make out a lovely garden. Beyond that is a second wall, a bit higher, beyond which they can see something that seems quite fascinating, though they can't quite make it out without scaling the first wall. And so on up and up the hill, such that at the top, which they can barely see from where they are, they see the tips of amazing spires and structures and can hear in the distance strains of unbelievably beautiful singing.

One man says, "Let's check it out," climbs the first wall, and starts enjoying the garden. From there, he can now see a bit better over the second wall, and can now make out what's over the third wall, and so on, all the way to a slightly better view of the tippy-top. He decides to enjoy the garden for a while and then try to climb the next wall.

The other walks parallel to the first stone wall for some distance, and notices a pebble that, in his view as an amateur architect, really would have been better off six inches to the left. He then proclaims "Aha! The whole business is faulty," and leaves forever.

(salam)

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