The Bible: Examples of Historical & Geographical inaccuracies


River Gihon could not possibly flow from Mesopotamia and encompass Ethiopia (Gen 2:13). The name "Babel" does not come from the Hebrew word balbal, "confuse," but from Babylonian bab- ili, "gate of God," which is a translation of the original Sumerian name Ka-dimirra (Gen 11:9). Ur was not a Chaldean city until 1000 years after Abraham (Gen 11:28, 15:7). Abraham pursued enemies to "Dan" (Gen 14:14). That name was not used geographically until after the conquest (Judg 18:29). Gen 36:31, telling of Jacob and Esau, lists kings of Edom "before there reigned any king over the children of Israel." This must have been written hundreds of years later, after Israel had kings. Joseph tells Pharaoh he comes from the "land of the Hebrews" (Gen 40:15). There was no such land until after the conquest under Joshua. The Egyptian princess names the baby she finds "Moses" because she "drew him out" of the water (Heb meshethi). Why would she make a pun in Hebrew (Ex 2:10)? The birth story of Moses (Exod. 2:1-10), probably recorded during the tenth century B.C., is very similar to the birth account of King Sargon of Agade who lived near the end of the third millennium B.C. No Egyptian record exists mentioning Moses or his devastation of Egypt. Moses refers to "Palestine" (Ex 15:14). No such name was in use then. Law of Moses is the "statutes of God and his laws" (Ex 18:26), but it is clearly copied from Code of Hammurabi, which is ca 1800 BC, hundreds of years before Moses. Priests are mentioned at Ex 19:22-24, but they are not provided for until Ex 28:1. Moses mentions Rabbath, where Og's bedstead is located (Deut 3:11). Moses could not have any knowledge of Rabbath, which was not captured by the Hebrews until David's time, 500 years later (2 Sam 12:26). Jericho and Ai (Josh 8) were both ancient ruins at the time of the conquest of Canaan, according to archaeologists. Jericho's walls were destroyed centuries before Joshua. Kings are referred to at Deut 17:17-19, before Israel had kings. Judges 17:6 says that every man did what he thought right (implying there was no law). But the law had been given at Sinai, according to Ex. The Wilderness is viewed as history at Num 15:32, showing that Numbers was written later. The Sabbath law was unknown when the man gathered sticks at Num 15:32-34. Book of Joshua refers to Book of Jasher in the past, mentioned at 2 Sam 1:18, therefore Joshua must be post-David. Captivity is mentioned at Judg 18:30, making it post-Exile. David took Goliath's head to Jerusalem (1 Sam 17:54). But Jerusalem was not captured until 7 years after David became king (2 Sam 5). David paid 600 shekels of gold for the threshing floor (1 Chron 21:22-25). But shekels of gold were not yet used in business transactions (this is the only use of the term in the OT). God says he had never chosen any ruler for Israel but David (2 Chron 6:5). But he had chosen Saul. David eats of shewbread (1 Sam 21:1-6) even though that is forbidden in Lev 24:9. Psalm 18:6 mentions the temple, thus cannot be by David. Defeat of Sennacherib did not happen at Jerusalem, but at Pelusium, near Egypt, and Jews were not involved, contrary to 2 Kings 19. Ninevah was so large it took three days to cross, i.e. about 60 miles (Jonah 3:3-4). Yet it had only 120,000 inhabitants, making a population density of of about 42 people per square mile for a city. Daniel's account of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar is historically inaccurate; Nebuchadnezzar was never mad. Belshazzar, whom he says was king, was never king, but only regent. Belshazzar was not the son of Nebuchadnezzar, but of Nabo- nidus. Babylon was not conquered by Darius the Mede, but by Cyrus the Great, in 539 BC (Dan 5:31). Darius the Mede is unknown to history. Chronology of the empires of the Medes and Persians is historically incorrect in Isa 13:17, 21:2, Jer 51:11, 28 (Pfeiffer, Intro to OT, p. 757). Esther (and all the characters in the Book of Esther except Ahasuerus [= Xerxes]) is unknown to history, even though it claims that its events are "written in the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia" (Est 10:2). The Book of Esther is not quoted by any pre-Christian writer, nor mentioned in NT, nor quoted by early Christian fathers. Mordecai became prime minister to Xerxes (Ahasuerus), who reigned 485-465 BC. But Mordecai had come to Babylon in 596 BC with Jehoiachin (Esther 2:5-6). The office of "High priest" of Mark 2:26 did not exist in David's day. None of the Gospels are mentioned by early Christians, e.g. Paul, Pope Clement I (97 AD), Justin Martyr (140 AD). The first mention of any Gospel is by Irenaeus (185 AD). There is no mountain from which one can see all the kingdoms of the world (Matt 4:8, Luke 4:5). Jesus as a historical figure is not mentioned by any contemporary non-Christian writers. Matt 2:1 says Jesus was born in the reign of Herod, who died 4 BC. Luke 2:2 says he was born during Quirinus' governorship of Syria, which began 6 AD. Thieves were never punished by crucifixion (Matt 27:38, 44). No crucifixion would have been performed on the eve of Passover. There is no contemporary historical confirmation of darkness covering the earth at the crucifixion (Matt 27:35, Luke 23:44). There is no contemporary historical confirmation of the slaughter of the innocents by Herod (Matt 2:16-18). Josephus, whose history contains much criticism of Herod, does not mention it. There is no contemporary historical confirmation of the graves opening and the dead appearing to many at the crucifixion (Matt 27:52-53).


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