Answers to Biblical Contradictions, 51-60
51. A man may marry his brother’s widow [Deut 25:5]
A man may not marry his brother’s widow [Lev 20:21]
This is a clear case of reading a contradiction INTO the Bible — Lev 20:21 says nothing obvious about marrying widows.
52. Hatred to kindred enjoined
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple” [Luke 14:26]
Hatred to kindred condemned [Eph 6:2 / Eph 5:25,29]
I have seen this verse used numerous times from atheists in an attempt to show that Jesus was not a nice guy. But let’s see if this verse really supports that position. Many atheists interpret this verse literally. To them, it is clear that Jesus was instructing us to hate our families. But is it?
It is a fairly basic rule in hermeneutics that a particular teaching should be interpreted in the light of general teaching, that is, in light of its context. So, does this hate-message fit into the overall context of Jesus’ teaching? Not really.
Elsewhere, Jesus responds to an inquiry about attaining eternal life. He replied, ” honor your mother and father”. [Matt. 19:19]. In fact, on another occasion Jesus censured those theologians who argued that people who had vowed to give God a sum of money which they later discovered could have been used to help their parents in need were not free to divert the money from religious purposes to which it had been vowed. In His characteristic condemnation of human traditions, Jesus observed: “Thus you nullify the Word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites!” [Matt. 15:6-7]
Now, how can you hate your parents, yet also honor them? These seem to be exclusive sentiments.
On the cross, Jesus tells John to take His mother as his own. Was he telling John to hate her? Then why did John take Mary into his home?
An interesting thing happens if you put together some of these teachings. If we are to hate our family, why must we love our enemies? And by hating our families, they become our enemies, but then we are supposed to love them!
No, I find this literalistic interpretation of Luke 14:26 to be plagued with problems and taken out of context.
So what sense are we to make of this teaching? Perhaps Jesus is simply employing hyperbole to emphasize an important point. Let’s return to the immediate context of this verse. In Luke 14:27, He notes that a disciple must be willing to carry his cross. In verses 28-29, he teaches from the example of building a tower and that one should count the costs before beginning. In verses 31-32, he uses an example of a king going to war to illustrate the same point. Then in verse 33, he explains that we must be willing to give up everything to be His disciple. In verses he alludes to salt that loses its saltiness, which is thrown out. And finally, he sums it all up by saying “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” [vs. 35].
Now throughout this whole preaching, Jesus uses symbolic parables and hyperbole to drive His points home. And what is the point? I think it is rather clear, that commitment to Jesus is primary and always comes first. Thus, if you are willing to put others before Christ and unwilling to follow through with your commitment, you may as well never commit in the first place.
It is well known that in Jewish idiom, hate could also mean ‘love less’. In fact, I think the same message taught in Luke 14:26 is taught in Matthew 10:37.
“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me”.
In this case Jesus is speaking to his disciples, while in Luke He was addressing the crowds. But the same theme is present in both and His teaching to the disciples clearly explains the hyperbole in Luke.
I should also go back to that idiom. In the OT, the love-hate antithesis was used to distinguish between the intensity of one’s love, and not meant as a polarization of concepts. Perhaps the clearest example is in Gen 29:30-31:
“So Jacob went to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban another seven years. When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb”.
Thus, Leah’s being hated or not loved really meant that she was loved less. In fact, in the poetry of the ancient Near East numerous terms were paired together. In such instances the meaning of these terms is far more dependent upon their idiomatic usage rather than their literal meaning in isolation.
Given that Jesus often teaches using symbolic parables and hyperbole, given the context of Luke’s passage, along with the context of other teachings of Jesus which certainly contradict a literal reading of Luke’s verse, and the use of the love-hate comparison in Hebrew idiom, all added to Matthews account of the same theme, a consistent picture comes out that Jesus was teaching that we should love our families less than He. His use of hyperbole is an effective way of getting attention and emphasizing his point at the same time. Commitment to Jesus comes first. By the way, this is another subtle implicit expression of Jesus as God, as elsewhere, he reminds us that we are to love “the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” [Matt 22:37].
Anyway, if Bob was to tell Sue that he loved her so much that “he’d walk a thousand miles without food and water just to be with her”, must Bob fulfill the literal sense of his statement for Sue to understand the depth of his love? If we insisted that hyperbole be taken literally, a very effective and deep method of communicating would be lost!
53. Intoxicating beverages recommended [Prov 31:6,7 / 1 Tim 5:23 / Ps 104:15]
Intoxicating beverages discountenanced [Prov 20:1 / Prov 23:31,32]
Is it ok to drink alcoholic beverages? Yup, but not in excess. And it’s not required.
(All things are lawful for me but I will not be brought under the power of any. All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things build up. 1 Cor 6:12 and 10:23).
Prov 20:1 says abusers of wine are not wise.
Prov 23:30 tells us that verses 31-32 are in the context of excessive drinking.
The Lord was accused of being a drinker; it can be inferred that He did not entirely abstain from wine – just from drunkenness. However, anyone who is weak in this matter would do well not to touch the stuff. (IMHO)
A great verse not quoted is Eph 4:18 (Compare with Acts 2:13-18). The point of wine in the Bible is a picture of our enjoyment of the Spirit. Well, atheists can’t be expected to understand that. Anyway, we should be crazy before God and sober before man. –MAW
54. It is our duty to obey our rulers, who are God’s ministers and punish evil doers only [Rom 13:1-3,6]
It is not our duty to obey rulers, who sometimes punish the good and receive unto themselves damnation therefore [Ex 1:17,20 / Dan 3:16,18 / Dan 6:9,7,10 / Acts 4:26,27 / Mark 12:38,39,40 / Luke 23:11,24,33,35]
Should we obey our rulers? Are they God’s ministers? Do they punish only evildoers? Do they sometimes punish the good as well? Will they receive damnation for their injustices?
This question has to be answered in parts.
(1) Should we obey our rulers?
Romans 13:1-3, 6 says we should be subject to, and not resist, the authorities over us. Note: it doesn’t say obey. We should obey if at all possible, unless such obedience is contrary to God, as in the extreme cases below.
Exod 1:17, 20 tells us that the midwives did not follow the pharoah’s command to kill the male babies of the Israelites and that God approved.
Dan 3:16 18 tell us that Daniel’s three friends disobeyed the king’s command to bow to the image. It also tells us that they were willing to submit to the consequences and that their attitude was not one of defiance but of respectful disobedience. Same as the midwives.
Dan 6:7, 9, 10 tells us Daniel was the same. He was submissive to the king and honored him, but was unable to obey this one particular command because it conflicted with His faithful worship of God. He also submitted to the penalty. All three are special cases where the authorities require something contrary to God. All three are not obedient but are still subject and do not resist.
Acts 4:26-27 does not deal with this question.
Mark 12:38-40 “Beware the scribes” is not a command not to respect them or do as they say. In another verse the Lord makes this more clear, telling us to do as they say but not as they do. The Lord had good reason to warn His disciples to beware the scribes, as they were part of the group that was plotting to kill Him. Anyway, that is not the point here.
Luke 23:11, 24, 33, 35 Here the Lord submitted to the cruel treatment of the earthly government. He was a good example for us all.
(2) Are they God’s ministers?
Romans tells us that they are. No verse tells us that they are not, although they do sometimes abuse their office after they have received it from God. That makes them not much different from King Saul or the sons of Eli. David and Samuel (respectively) were still subject to them and respected them as established by God.
(3) Do they punish only evildoers?
Romans 13:3 “For the rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you want to have no fear of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from him.”
This is a general principle, explaining that if we rob a bank or kill someone or dodge our taxes (the example in the context), we will have something to fear from the authorities, whereas if we don’t we won’t. If they oppress us unjustly, that is a matter not being dealt with in this verse.
(4) Do they get punished by God for their injustices?
Yes. God is not a regarder of persons. Every individual, regardless of status, will eventually face the judgment seat. –MAW
55. Women’s rights denied [Gen 3:16 / 1 Tim 2:12 / 1 Cor 14:34 / 1 Pet 3:6]
Women’s rights affirmed [Judg 4:4,14,15 / Judg 5:7 / Acts 2:18 / Acts 21:9]
Does the Bible affirm or deny women’s rights? (Hot topic.)
Gen 3:16 the curse on the woman (man got one too). The husband rules over the wife.
1 Tim 2:12 Woman not permitted to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to be in quietness.
1 Cor 14:34 Silent. Not permitted to speak in the assemblies but to be subject. Next verse explains: it is a shame for a woman to speak in the church.
1 Pet 3:6 As Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, so women should be subject to their own husbands.
Judg 4:4, 14-15 Deborah, a female, judged Israel. But note: The Bible purposely mentions her husband’s name. She does not choose to lead the people of Israel to battle but is told to do so. She goes obediently when told, but tells Barak that he will be shamed in that a woman will kill his enemy Sisera. (It is a shame for a woman to defeat the enemy.) It is also a shame to Barak that he cannot go to battle without a woman. As a prophetess, she speaks, but she purposely keeps herself in her proper position as a female by maintaining the safeguards of her husband’s headship and obedience to the authority of Barak. It is also a shame to Israel that there were no men who could judge them and so God was forced to use a female. (This does happen sometimes.)
Judg 5:7 Confirms the fact that there was no male to rule Israel properly and so God was forced to raise up Deborah.
Acts 2:18 Both men and women prophesy. Females prophesying is different from females teaching and exerting authority over men. Females can of course prophesy with their heads covered, signifying submission and acceptance of God’s ordination. Just as Deborah did.
Acts 21:9 A man had four virgin daughters who prophesied. Same as above. See also 1 Cor 14:24, 26, 31; 11:5.
1 Cor 11:3 shows us that the point here is to keep the proper order (v. 40) in the churches: God is the Head of Christ. He, Christ, was fully in submission to the Father in all things, even unto death. Likewise, men should be headed up by Christ and women by men, especially their own husbands. While on that topic:
Eph 5:25-31 “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, that He might present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that she should be holy and without blemish. In the same way the husbands also ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his own wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ also the church, because we are members of His Body. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.”
1 Peter 3:7 says that the wives are weaker and are to be treasured as vessels unto honor by their husbands.
1 Cor 12:22-24 But much rather the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we consider to be less honorable, these we clothe with more abundant honor; and our uncomely members come to have more abundant comeliness, but our comely members have no need. But God has blended the body together, giving more abundant honor to the member that lacked.
2 Cor 12:9-10 And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather boast in my weaknesses that the power of Christ might tabernacle over me. Therefore I am well pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in necessities, in persecutions and distresses, on behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am powerful.
The brothers saw the vision on the mount of transfiguration, were appointed as disciples and later as apostles, and in the churches took on the responsibilities of being elders, deacons, teachers, and so on. But it was a group of sisters who supplied the funds for Jesus and His disciples to live for those three and a half years. It was a sister who willingly and without a second thought offered herself to be used by God to bring forth the Messiah, it was a sister who anointed the Lord Jesus with the costly nard which may have been her entire life savings and wiped His feet with her tears, sisters who first learned of His resurrection, and a sister who lingered at the tomb and was first to see Him in resurrection. The Lord does not discriminate against us sisters; rather, He is full of compassion for us in our weakness. Let us love and seek Him with our whole heart. –MAW
56. Obedience to masters enjoined [Col 3:22,23 / 1 Pet 2:18]
Obedience due to God only [Matt 4:10 / 1 Cor 7:23 / Matt 23:10]
Should masters be obeyed? Matthew 4:10 is referring to the service of worship, as the context makes clear. We are to worship only God. It is quoted from Deut. 6:13-14 which is also in the context of being forbidden to worship idols.
1 Cor 7:20-24 tells slaves to remain as slaves even if the opportunity arises to be liberated. Then verse 22 says that a slave is the Lord’s freedman and a freeman is the Lord’s slave. This is telling us that outwardly we may be a slave or free but in the Lord we are His slave and we are also free in Him. So although we are slaves to men outwardly, the one we hold in our heart as our true Master is the Lord. This is not a sanction of being rebellious to our masters but a reference to our heart. The context makes it clear that it is not saying that slaves should seek to be free or to rebel against their masters.
Matt 23:10. This verse was previously dealt with in question #30. It is not referring to whether or not we have earthly masters, but whether or not we address some believers as if they were superior with titles of honor like Father and Teacher (Uh, and Reverend and Pastor and Deacon). All believers are brothers. Context: verses 6-11. Yes, there are apostles, prophets, evangelists, etc. But we just don’t need to address them honorifically. And mustn’t. –MAW
57. There is an unpardonable sin
“But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit has no forgiveness forever, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” [Mark 3:29]
There is not unpardonable sin
“And from all the things from which you were not able to be justified by the law of Moses, in this One everyone who believes is justified.” [Acts 13:39]
Note that the critic is relying on a particular interpretation of Acts 13, as it doesn’t clearly say there is no unpardonable sin. It merely says that those who believe are justified. Now, Jesus’ teaching may be descriptive in essense – those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit are those who never believe. That is, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit may be a symptom of a heart which is in such rebellion that it never yeilds to the call of the Holy Spirit.
It is also possible that blaspheming the Spirit may simply be rejecting His call. Or at the very least, those who blaspheme the Spirit are ones who rebel against Him. Recall that the Spirit is sent to bring us into the Truth and convict us of sin. Those who would blaspheme the Spirit obviously rebel against Him, thus reject salvation. Thus, how could they be saved?
58. Man was created after the other animals [Gen 1:25,26,27]
Man was created before the other animals [Gen 2:18,19]
The first chapter of Genesis is a synopsis of creation. The second is more detailed and focuses on the creation of man (and was unlikely intended to be a separate creation account). The NIV translates Gen 2:19 as follows:
“Now that LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man…”
Simply put, the Garden could have initially been without animal life, and God simply brought the animals he had already created to Adam.
59. Seed time and harvest were never to cease [Gen 8:22]
Seed time and harvest did cease for seven years [Gen 41:54,56 / Gen 45:6]
Did seed time and harvest ever cease?
Gen 8:22 “shall never cease.”
Gen 41:54-56, 45:6 There was a famine over the whole earth for seven years. The seasons didn’t cease, just the fruitful yield thereof.
Seed time and harvest are another way of saying Spring and Fall, especially in the context of Genesis 8 which is speaking of the seasons. They were forced to cease during the flood, which was marked by heavy rainfall and not much variety. This was not what happpened in Egypt and the other countries during the famine in Genesis 41-45. –MAW
60. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart [Ex 4:21 / Ex 9:12]
Pharaoh hardened his own heart [Ex 8:15]
Who hardened Pharoah’s heart? Exod 4:21 and 9:12 God did. Exod 8:15 Pharoah did.
MaryAnna notes that they both did. I agree, as much has been written on this topic. But I would note that people often react very differently to God’s actions. For example, let’s imagine that God invoked some calamity on people as a judgment for their sin. Some people would respond and repent. Many would simply harden their heart and blame God. Thus, by bringing about this calamity, some might be saved, but God could be said that have indirectly hardened the hearts of others. Of course, sometimes you don’t need calamity. I’m sure many Christian’s can testify of varying evangelistic experiences. After months of witnessing, some become saved. But sometimes, those who come awful close to being saved back away and become more rebellious than ever, their hearts being more hardened that ever after being touched by the convicting hand of the Holy Spirit.
Answers to Biblical Contradictions, 61-70
61. All the cattle and horses in Egypt died [Ex 9:3,6]
All the horses of Egypt did not die [Ex 14:9]
The account in Ex 9:3 refers to the livestock in the field. If not all the Egyptian horses were in the fields, they wouldn’t all die, now would they?
62. Moses feared Pharaoh [Ex 2:14,15, 23; 4:19]
Moses did not fear Pharaoh [Heb 11:27]
Hebrews says “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger.”
The accounts in Ex 2 and 4 describe events long before Moses led his people out of Egypt (besides, Ex 4 says nothing about Moses fearing Pharoah). This is obviously another contradiction which is read INTO the Bible.
63. There died of the plague twenty-four thousand [Num 25:9]
There died of the plague but twenty-three thousand [1 Cor 10:8]
According to Paul, 23,000 fell “in one day.” The account in Numbers simply states that 24,000 died of the plague. It is not contradictory that 23,000 should die in a day, and another 1000 die before or after.
64. John the Baptist was Elias
“And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah, who is to come.” [Matt 11:14]
John the Baptist was not Elias [John 1:21]
First, it should be pointed out some use this to show that John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah, or at least the idea of reincarnation was held by some (also John 9:1 ff) –P. For a refutation see The Reincarnation Sensation
Note, in Matt. 11:14, not “He is” but “If you are willing to receive it, he is.” This indicates not a literal identity but a fulfillment of prophecy. This is referring to the prophecy in Mal. 4:5-6 “Behold, I will send unto you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of Jehovah. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
This prophecy has two fulfillments. First, before the Lord’s first coming, John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way of the Lord and make straight His paths. Luke 1:17. “And it is he who will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the prudence of the righteous, to prepare for the Lord a people made ready.”
The second fulfillment of this prophecy is before the second coming of the Lord. This has yet to happen, and at that time it will be Elijah, not one in the spirit and power of Elijah, who will actually come. This is confirmed by the Lord’s word in:
Matt 17:10-13 “And the disciples asked Him, saying, Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? And He answered and said, Elijah indeed is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah has already come; and they did not recognize him, but did with him the things they wished. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer by them. Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them concerning John the Baptist.”
Again the Lord is careful to point out that the literal Elijah has yet to come, but then to say “but I say to you.” This indicates that although Elijah is coming, it can also be said that he has come — referring to John the Baptist.
Elijah’s coming is also mentioned in Rev 11:3-4. He will be one of the two witnesses.
John 1:21 John B. said that he was not Elijah. That’s right. He wasn’t the actual person of Elijah. That would happen much much later….
So in a sense he was Elijah, and yet he wasn’t. Not a contradiction. –MAW
65. The father of Joseph, Mary’s husband was Jacob [Matt 1:16]
The father of Mary’s husband was Heli [Luke 3:23]
It is distinctly possible that Luke’s account traces Jesus’ lineage through Mary, and not Joseph. Some of the circumstantial evidence to support this is as follows:
(1) Luke’s birth narrative is through the eyes of Mary, while Matthew’s is through the eyes of Joseph. Thus, Luke could have received his material through Mary (or someone close), thus it is quite possible that he received her genealogy.
(2) Luke 3:23 reads, “Jesus…being supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, etc.” Luke certainly draws attention to the fact that Jesus was not truly Joseph’s son, so why would he then go to all the trouble in listing Joseph’s genealogy?
(3) After considering the Greek of Luke 3:23, Robert Gromacki believes it should be translated as follows:
“being the son (as was supposed of Joseph) of Heli, of Matthat, etc.”
Gromaki states: “Since women did not appear in direct genealogical listings, Joseph stood in Mary’s place, but Luke was careful to note that there was no physical connection between Joseph and either Jesus or Heli.”
(4) Luke’s genealogy also lists Adam as “the son of God.” This would indicate that one would have no grounds for insisting that the term “son” meant only the direct, biological offspring. Thus, one could think of Jesus as the “son of Heli.”
(5) The writings of Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 100 AD) indicate that the early church thought that Mary was a Davidic descent. For example, he writes:
“Under the Divine dispensation, Jesus Christ our God was conceived by Mary of the seed of David and of the spirit of God; He was born, and He submitted to baptism, so that by His Passion He might sanctify water.” — Ignatius to the Ephesians
“Christ was of David’s line. He was the son of Mary; He was verily and indeed born..” — Ignatius to the Trallians
Since Ignatius believed in the virgin birth, it clearly follows that he would believe that she was “of the seed of David.” Other apocryphal gospels and Justin Martyr (ca. 150 AD) also believed Mary to have been a descendent of David.
Objections to these claims are basically of two types:
A. The Jews did not typically trace genealogies through women.
Reply: This is true, but a virgin birth is not a typical birth. Thus standard practices would not be expected to hold.
B. There is no explicit mention that the genealogy is Mary’s.
Reply: This is true again, but the reason for this is probably due to point A. The genealogy would lose all appeal if it was explicitly cited as Mary’s. However, it does seem to be implied. Thus, one could discern this truth after they had converted and studied the text. This would account for the early church’s belief about Mary’s Davidic descent.
Whatever one makes of such reasoning, it is certainly possible that the above explanation might be true, thus a contradiction has not been proved.
66. The father of Salah was Arphaxad [Gen 11:12]
The father of Salah was Cainan [Luke 3:35,36]
To me, this looks like a legitimate contradiction, although I suppose it is possible that this is the same person known by different names. After all, it is not uncommon for Biblical personages to have more than one name.
67. There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David [Matt 1:17]
There were but thirteen generations from Abraham to David [Matt 1:2-6]
68. There were fourteen generations from the Babylonian captivity to Christ [Matt 1:17]
There were but thirteen generations from the Babylonian captivity to Christ [Matt 1:12-16]
I list these together and allow MaryAnna to reply….
I looked this up in my study Bible (Recovery Version) and found the following explanation:
(Matt. 1:17) “This genealogy is divided into three ages: (1) from Abraham until David, fourteen generations, the age before the establishing of the kingdom; (2) from David until the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations, the age of the kingdom; (3) from the deportation to Babylon until the Christ, again fourteen generations, the age after the fall of the kingdom. According to history, there were actually forty-five generations. By deducting from these generations the three cursed generations [Matt 1:8; 1 Chron 3:11-12; 2 Kings 15:1, 13; 2 Chron. 21:5-6; 22:1-4; Exod 20:5] and the one improper generation [Matt 1:11; 1 Chron 3:15-16; 2 Kings 23:34-35], and then adding one by making David two generations (one, the age before the establishing of the kingdom, and the other, the age of the kingdom), the generations total forty-two, being divided into three ages of fourteen generations each.” –MAW
It’s simply a matter of how you count. In other words, you can count it as fourteen generations first by extending from Abraham to David; secondly, by extending from David to the deportation; and thirdly, by extending from Jechonias to Christ, inclusive in each case.
69. The infant Christ was taken into Egypt [Matt 2:14,15,19,21,23]
The infant Christ was not taken into Egypt [Luke 2:22, 39]
Luke does not say that the infant was not taken into Egypt as neither account is exhaustive (those who look for contradictions often overlook the fact that Biblical accounts are rarely exhaustive in their scope). We can easily harmonize the accounts as follows:
Journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem; birth of the child; presentation in the Temple; return to Bethlehem; visit of the Magi; flight into Egypt; return to settle in Nazareth.
70. Christ was tempted in the wilderness [Mark 1:12,13]
Christ was not tempted in the wilderness [John 2:1,2]
Mark 1:12, 13 Jesus was tempted in the wilderness immediately after His baptism.
John 2:1, 2 The third day after John testifies for Jesus for the first time in the book of John, (not the first ever) Jesus is in Cana of Galilee turning water into wine. There is no mention of how much earlier Jesus was baptized. He was tempted in the wilderness before 1:29. Then He went back to see John, at which time John proclaims that Jesus is the Lamb of God, based on previously having seen the Spirit descend on Him in the form of a dove. (verses 32 to 34). –MAW
Answers to Biblical Contradictions, 71-80
71. Christ preached his first sermon on the mount [Matt 5:1,2]
Christ preached his first sermon on the plain [Luke 6:17,20]
Neither account says anything about this being his “first sermon.” As MaryAnna notes: Probably two different sermons with similar content. Matt. doesn’t say the sermon on the mount was His first sermon. Matt. doesn’t seem too concerned about the sequence of events. Matt 4:23 seems to indicate that before this the Lord already had done a lot of speaking. The one in Luke 6:17 was to the crowds, whereas the one in Matt 5 was addressed to the disciples privately. –MAW
Indeed. It is not at all uncommon for a preacher to preach similar sermons at different times and with different audiences, now is it?
72. John was in prison when Jesus went into Galilee [Mark 1:14]
John was not in prison when Jesus went into Galilee [John 1:43 / John 3:22-24]
The account in Mark does not indicate that this was the first time Jesus went into Galilee. It is quite possible that Jesus did earlier visit Galilee to baptize and mingle, and Mark alludes to a subsequent visit (after John’s imprisonment) when He began to preach the nearness of the kingdom.
73. Christ’s disciples were commanded to go forth with a staff and sandals [Mark 6:8,9]
Christ’s disciples were commanded to go forth with neither staves not sandals [Matt 10:9,10]
I view these as complementary accounts which get us closer to the full instructions of Jesus. In Mark, He tells his disciples to take nothing for their journey except a staff and sandals to wear. In Matthew, He instructs them not to acquire many things (including more sandals and staffs). In short, he is instructing them to take little, and not to accept the gifts of men in return for the healing and message that they bring with them.
74. A woman of Canaan besought Jesus [Matt 15:22]
It was a Greek woman who besought Him [Mark 7:26]
The nationality of the woman who besought Jesus.
Matt. 15:22 She was a Canaanite woman.
Mark 7:26 She was a Greek, Syro-phoenician by race. The Phoenicians were descendants of the Canaanites. So she was Greek in some way other than race. It could have been by religion, marriage, or something else. Anyway, these verses don’t contradict each other. The point is she was not an Israelite. –MAW
Also, “Greek” may have simply meant “Gentile”. According to Haley, she lived in a part of Canaan called “Syro-Phoenicia.”
75. Two blind men besought Jesus [Matt 20:30]
Only one blind man besought Him [Luke 18:35,38]
How many blind men were there?
Matt. 20:30 mentions two. Luke 18:35, 38 only mentions one. A certain one. Luke probably was acquainted with him and so mentions him specifically. He may have continued to follow the Lord and even been among the 120 later, whereas the other may not have. At any rate Luke doesn’t say that the blind man was alone, just that he was there and received his sight. — MAW I should point out that critic’s don’t like the type of replies that MaryAnna suggests, although I think her explanation is quite plausible. So allow to me reply to their complaints at this point. In another context, one critic decried a similar type of approach as described it as follows
Critic: “There was more there than….” This is used when one verse says “there was a” and another says “there was b”, so they decide there was “a” AND “b” — which is said nowhere.
My reply: Simply because it is “said nowhere” doesn’t mean it is not the case. That follows only if you assume exhaustively detailed and verbatim reports. In fact, we can induce that it was probably the case by putting the pieces together. This is a perfectly valid approach. Anyone who lives in this world ought to know that. If I go for a ride with my buddies Bob and Steve, and come home to tell my wife I was out with Bob (perhaps because I talked to him more, ie, he was on my mind) and later mention that Steve said something about getting a new job, have I contradicted myself? The contradiction exists ONLY if I said that ONLY Bob and I went for a drive. And it would certainly be reasonable for my wife to conclude that I must have went for a ride with both Bob and Steve.
In attempting to pooh-pooh this type of explanation which is commonly experienced, the critic is fallaciously engaged in black and white thinking. It’s like saying, “Hey, either you went for a ride with Bob or Steve, which is it?”. But why in the world can’t it be both?
Critic: This makes them happy, since it doesn’t say there WASN’T “a + b”.
My reply: I don’t know about happy, but this sounds like the crying of a spoiled child. If you are out to demonstrate a CONTRADICTION, this is exactly the type of thing you have to uncover. Just because the critic fails to shoulder HIS/HER burden is no reason for me to take their point seriously.
76. Christ was crucified at the third hour [Mark 15:25]
Christ was not crucified until the sixth hour [John 19:14,15]
At what hour was Jesus crucified?
Mark 15:25 says it was in the third hour, 9:00 a.m. John 19:14-15 says that in the sixth hour (different clock). He was still not crucified yet but was being judged before Pilate. This was at about 6 a.m.
So three hours later He had carried the cross up to Golgotha (with some help) and was crucified.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts use Hebrew time for their reckoning. John uses Roman time. Another example of this is in John 18:28 — early morning refers to the fourth Roman watch, which was 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. –MAW
77. The two thieves reviled Christ [Matt 27:44 / Mark 15:32]
Only one of the thieves reviled Christ [Luke 23:39,40]
Did both or only one of the thieves revile Jesus?
Matt. 27:44 and Mark 15:32 say they both did.
Luke 23:39-40 says that the one rebuked the other for his blasphemy.
Probably at first they both did and then one of them repented, and, while the other was still reviling, rebuked him and asked the Lord to remember him. So he was saved. Luke doesn’t say that the rebuking one had not at first been also reviling. It merely records a segment of the conversation. –MAW
(Once again, we see another “contradiction” which presumes exhaustive accounts –MB)
78. Satan entered into Judas while at supper [John 13:27]
Satan entered into him before the supper [Luke 22:3,4,7]
When did Satan enter Judas? John 13:27 Right after eating the morsel offered to him by Jesus. Luke 22:3,4,7 Satan also entered Judas before that. It could be he kept entering Judas. Just like the evil spirit that kept coming upon King Saul. –MAW
(Indeed, are we to believe that once Satan enters someone, he remains there for the rest of the natural life of a person??? –MB)
79. Judas committed suicide by hanging [Matt 27:5]
Judas did not hang himself, but died another way [Acts 1:18]
Matt 27:5 states that Judas “threw the pieces of silver….and he went away and hanged himself.”
Acts 1:18 states, “and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.”
It’s rather easy to reconcile these:
1. First, Judas tried to kill himself by hanging himself. And this is not always a successful way. Maybe he tried, and failed (as have many others who have tried to commit suicide by hanging). Then after some time, he threw himself off a cliff and fell upon some jagged rocks. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for people who commit suicide to have tried it before.
2. Judas could have tied a rope to a tree branch that extended over a cliff (after all, you have to get some space between your feet and the ground to hang yourself). In this situation, the rope/branch could have broke before or after death, and Judas plummeted to the ground and landed on some jagged rocks.
Certainly, these explanations are plausible, thus a contradiction has not been established. More from Frank Decenso below.
One of my favorites. My explanation for atheists and critics…
MAT 27:5-8 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
First of all, notice that the text does not say that Judas died as a result of hanging. All it says is that he “went and hanged himself.” Luke however, in Acts, tells us that “and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.” This is a pretty clear indication (along with the other details given in Acts – Peter’s speech, the need to pick a new apostle, etc.) that at least after Judas’ fall, he was dead. So the whole concept that Matthew and Luke both recount Judas’ death is highly probable, but not clear cut. Therefore, if I were to take a radical exegetical approach here, I could invalidate your alleged contradiction that there are two different accounts of how Judas died.
Notice verse 5.”Then he…went and hanged himself.” Matthew does not say Judas died, does it? Should we assume he died as a result of the hanging?
What does Acts say? ACT 1:18 (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.
ACT 1:20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it’; and, ‘Let another take his office.’
Here we may have a graphic explanation of Judas’ death. Of course, maybe someone can find some medical source somewhere that discusses the possibility of one having their entrails gush out after being burst open in the middle, and still survive. 🙂
So, my line of reasoning to dispel the contradiction myth re: the “two” accounts of Judas’ death is this. Matthew doesn’t necessarily explain how Judas died; he does say Judas “hanged himself”, but he didn’t specifically say Judas died in the hanging incident. However, Acts seems to show us his graphic demise. Therefore, there is no contradiction between Matthew and Acts re: Judas’ death.
We do know from Matthew that he did hang himself and Acts probably records his death. It is possible and plausible that he fell from the hanging and hit some rocks, thereby bursting open. However, Matthew did not say Judas died as a result of the hanging, did he? Most scholars believe he probably did, but….
One atheist I debated along these lines said… the Greek word “apagchw” (ie: hang oneself) is translated as a successful hanging. I replied, No you can’t only conclude this, although…this was a highly probable outcome. But Matthew does not state death as being a result. The Greek word is APAGCHO. Matthew 27:5 is it’s only occurrence in the New Testament. In the LXX (the Greek translation of the OT used at the time of Jesus), it’s only used in 2 Samuel 17:23 : “Now when Ahithophel saw that his advice was not followed, he saddled a donkey, and arose and went home to his house, to his city. Then he put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died; and he was buried in his father’s tomb.” Notice that not only is it stated that Ahithophel “hanged himself” [Gr. LXX, APAGCHO], but it explicitly adds, “and died”. Here we have no doubt of the result. In Matthew, we are not explicitly told Judas died. Also, there is nothing in the Greek to suggest success or failure. It simply means “hang oneself”. –Frank
80. The potter’s field was purchased by Judas [Acts 1:18]
The potter’s field was purchased by the Chief Priests [Matt 27:6,7]
Perhaps here, the following maxim holds — “He who does a thing by another, does it himself.” That is, yes it was the chief priests who actually bought the field, but Judas had furnished the occasion for its purchase. Thus, the verse in Acts could be employing a figure of speech where we attribute to the man himself any act which he has directly or indirectly procured to be done. After all, we attribute the “Clinton health care plan” to Bill Clinton, when in reality, it is a plan devised by others associated with Bill Clinton.
Answers to Biblical Contradictions, 81-90
81. There was but one woman who came to the sepulchre
“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.” [John 20:1]
There were two women who came to the sepulchre
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the other tomb.” [Matt 28:1]
This is a case where a contradiction is read into the account. John does not report that ONLY Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. Failing to mention someone does not necessarily mean that no one else was present. In fact, had the critics read further, they would have seen that Mary was not alone:
“So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him!” [Jn 20:2]
If Mary was alone, then who is WE? Clearly more than one person went with Mary. John just doesn’t mention them.
82. There were three women who came to the sepulchre [Mark 16:1]
There were more than three women who came to the sepulchre [Luke 24:10]
Again, the same reasoning applies. See my previous story about going for a ride in the car. 🙂
83. It was at sunrise when they came to the sepulchre
“Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb.” [Mark 16:2]
It was some time before sunrise when they came
“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb.” [John 20:1]
I see no contradiction. Mary could have left a little earlier than the others. Or they could have left while it was still dark and the sun began to rise while they were on their way. I’ve worked my share of nightshifts to know that one can leave the job while it is still dark, and get home after the sun has risen!
84. There were two angels seen by the women at the sepulchre, and they were standing up [Luke 24:4]
There was but one angel seen, and he was sitting down [Matt 28:2,5]
It is quite possible that much of the confusion about these trivial facts stems from the fact that many women went to the tomb that morning (Luke 24:10). It’s possible, at the very least, that a group of women came to the tomb, and saw that the stone had been rolled away. Some women went inside, but the more timid remained outside. Those inside saw the vision of the two angels, while those outside saw the angel on the stone.
Also, in response to the manner in which this supposed contradiction is presented, I would point out that a.) Matthew does not say there was “but one angel,” he simply focuses on the angel who moved the stone; b.) the Greek word in Luke rendered “stood near” also means, “to come near, to appear to.” In Luke 2:9 and Acts 12:7 it is translated as “came upon.” Thus, Luke may simply have said that angels suddenly appeared to them without reference to posture. Strictly speaking, one would be hard pressed to establish a contradiction in terms of numbers or posture even without my possible explanation.
85. There were two angels seen within the sepulchre [John 20:11,12]
There was but one angel seen within the sepulchre [Mark 16:5]
These are not the same incidents. John’s account is particular to Mary after she followed Peter and John back to the tomb, which was later than the account cited in Mark.
Now, I myself once stumbled upon a “better” contradiction. When Mary runs back, she is scared and thinks that the body has been stolen. Then she returns to the tomb and weeps. Now isn’t this odd given that she supposedly heard the angels say that “He is risen”? Why so much despair after that miraculous experience? It doesn’t seem to add up. Of course it is possible that she had not fully comprehended what occurred, as one has to be careful in expecting people to respond coherently. But I think the answer is more clear if we consider John’s account.
John notes that she went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. “So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him”. (John 20:1-2). Then Peter and John ran to the tomb only to find the empty burial wrappings. Mary must then have followed them, but when she got there, they had gone, so she stood there crying, worried that the body of Jesus had been stolen. Then two angels appeared to her, and then the risen Jesus did. In short, the reason she was in despair is probably because she didn’t go into the tomb with the other women. As they approached the tomb, they saw it open, and probably began to worry amongst themselves that grave robbers came and stole the body before they could anoint it. At this realization, Mary probably left the group and bolted back to tell the others.
86. Christ was to be three days and three nights in the grave [Matt 12:40]
Christ was but two days and two nights in the grave [Mark 15:25,42,44,45,46; 16:9]
According to Haley, Orientals reckon any part of a day as a whole day. Thus, one whole and two parts of a day, along with two nights, would be popularly styled as “three days and three nights.” Such usage is seen elsewhere in Scripture.
For more detail see Day of Crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord
87. Holy Spirit bestowed at Pentecost [Acts 1:8,5]
Holy Spirit bestowed before Pentecost [John 20:22]
Two aspects of the Spirit. In John 20:22 He was breathed into the disciples. In Acts 1:5,8 He was poured out upon them.
That’s like in 1 Cor 12:13, which says that we were baptized in one Spirit and also given to drink one Spirit. One is inward and the other is upon us outwardly. –MAW
I agree. It’s certainly possible that in John, the disciples became indwelt with the Holy Spirit, and in Acts they became empowered by the Holy Spirit.
88. The disciples were commanded immediately after the resurrection to go into Galilee [Matt 28:10]
The disciples were commanded immediately after the resurrection to go tarry at Jerusalem [Luke 24:49]
According to Haley: “The command tarry ye in Jerusalem,” etc., means simply, “Make Jerusalem your head-quarters. Do not leave it to begin your work, until ye be endued,” etc. This injunction would not preclude a brief excursion to Galilee. Besides, the command may not have been given until after the visit to Galilee.”
Indeed, keep in mind that Jesus appeared to the disciples several times over a period of many days. The Gospel’s simple give us “snapshots” of some of these events and certainly Matthew’s account is a brief synopsis.
89. Jesus first appeared to the eleven disciples in a room at Jerusalem [Luke 24:33,36,37 / John 20:19]
Jesus first appeared to the eleven on a mountain in Galilee [Matt 28:16,17]
Matthew’s account does not say that this was Jesus’ first appearance. It is certainly possible that Matthew simply passes over the earlier appearances and focuses on the call to go into Galilee. In fact, notice how Matthew’s account is not exhaustive. In 28:16, he mentions that Jesus had indicated what mountain in Galilee the disciples were to go to, yet he does not mention this when he quotes Jesus in verse 10.
90. Christ ascended from Mount Olive [Acts 1:9,12]
Christ ascended from Bethany [Luke 24:50,51]
You know one is grasping when they cite the same author writing about the same thing as a contradiction. 🙂 Bethany is on the eastern slope of Mount Olivet. Anyone coming back from there and returning to Jerusalem would have to pass over the mountain, and thus return from Mount Olivet. You would think that someone who proposes a geographical contradiction would look at a map.
Answers to Biblical Contradictions, 91-100
91. Paul’s attendants heard the miraculous voice, and stood speechless [Acts 9:7]
Paul’s attendants heard not the voice and were prostrate [Acts 26:14]
Acts 26:14 And when they had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me…
Acts 9:7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.
While we are at it, let’s add the other account…
Acts 22:9 My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
Obviously, according to the NIV translation, there is no contradiction, as you can hear a sound, but not the recognize it as the voice of one speaking. So is this translation justified? Sure. The original Greek makes a distinction between hearing a sound as a noise and hearing a voice as a thought-conveying message. Haley notes “The Greek “akouo”, like our word “hear”, has two distinct meanings, to perceive sound, and to understand”. This distinction makes sense also in light of the context. Recall the differing levels of perception. While the men heard an unintelligible sound and saw a light, Paul heard the voice and saw the person speaking. In fact, this type of distinction occurs in another place:
“Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again”. The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him” [John 12:28-29]. Here is a clear-cut example where a voice speaks, but is heard by some as an unintelligible sound.
As for the stance of Paul’s companions, Haley notes “the word rendered ‘stood’ also means to be fixed, to be rooted to the spot. Hence, the sense may be, not that they stood erect, but that they were rendered motionless, or fixed to the spot, by overpowering fear”. It is also entirely plausible that when they first saw the great light, they “hit the dirt”, then they could have got up off the ground and stood there motionless.
The problem with the skeptic’s approach is that it assumes these accounts are exhaustive, step by step, accounts where each detail is conveyed. They are not. It’s not as if the author of Acts is saying “this is how it happened” three separate times. The author does this once, and the other two times he relays Paul speaking about it in two different contexts. Now given that the author wasn’t on the road to Damascus, and given that Paul was speaking from memory, and given that none of these are meant to be some exhaustive, detailed, point by point description, it is indeed wise to fit them all together. Furthermore, the account in Acts 26 relays a speech that Paul gave to King Agrippa which was only a synopsis. Acts 26 simply relays the manner in which Paul chose to convey his points.
92. Abraham departed to go into Canaan [Gen 12:5]
Abraham went not knowing where [Heb 11:8]
In Gen 12:1 God simply says to leave “your country…to the land I will show you.” The teaching in Hebrews could simply mean that Abraham did not know where he was going in the sense of not knowing where this promised land was. Thus, he set out for Canaan. And it was once he was in Canaan that God showed him that this was the promised land (Gen 12:7).
Look at it this way. God appears to Bob and tells him to leave his home because He has a mission for Bob. So Bob packs up, and not knowing where/what the mission is, and stops at an old friends house for a few days. Then God appears to Bob and instructs him of a mission which involves his friend. Thus, in one sense Bob sets out to partake of a mission with his friend, but in another sense, he sets out to his friends house not knowing what/where the mission is.
93. Abraham had two sons [Gal 4:22]
Abraham had but one son [Heb 11:17]
Abram had one genuine son of his wife Sarah who could be the fulfillment of God’s promise regarding his seed. He had another son by the maidservant Hagar and several others later by a second wife, but in his heart Isaac was his only son. This is also why he cut off all the others from inheritance. Notice the wording of Heb. 11:17 indicates that even though he had other sons, yet to him it was as if he were offering up his only begotten to whom the promise was made. –MAW
Besides, does anyone really believe that the writer of Hebrews was unaware of some well-known teachings about Abraham or had not read Genesis? Also, the writer of Hebrews is obviously screening out stuff to focus on topics related to faith. Hagar’s son was not the product of faith, and thus not worthy of mention in this context.
94. Keturah was Abraham’s wife [Gen 25:1]
Keturah was Abraham’s concubine [1 Chron 1:32]
MaryAnna suggests that Keturah could have been Abraham’s concubine who at some point became his wife. The point behind both verses is not about Keturah, but about her children. The author of Genesis may have been less exact and referred to these children as those of Abraham’s wife (if Bob had a child with Jill before being married, then got married to Jill, we would refer to the child as being of Bob’s wife), while the author of 1 Chron (who is busy being exact in documenting genealogies) may have been more exact and noted that such children were born while Keturah was still the concubine of Abraham.
95. Abraham begat a son when he was a hundred years old, by the interposition of Providence [Gen 21:2 / Rom 4:19 / Heb 11:12]
Abraham begat six children more after he was a hundred years old without any interposition of providence [Gen 25:1,2]
The problem was not with Abraham’s infertility but with Sarah’s inability to conceive. This was remedied only once by divine intervention. Abraham had one son before and several after, not with Sarah, all without divine intervention.–MAW
I’d also add that there is no certain reason for believing the births described in Gen 25:1,2 came after the birth of Isaac. Abraham could have had these children with Keturah much earlier. Verses 1,2 could simply be saying that Keturah has reunited with Abraham after Sarah’s death, and they became married. Then it lists the children that they had had earlier on (perhaps while living in Ur).
96. Jacob bought a sepulchre from Hamor [Josh 24:32]
Abraham bought it of Hamor [Acts 7:16]
One possible explanation is that Abraham bought the field whereas Jacob went back and specifically bought the tomb. Compare with Gen 33:19 and Gen 23:10-20. Josh 24:32 and Acts 7:16 were based on those verses. –MAW
97. God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham and his seed forever [Gen 13:14,15,17; 17:8]
Abraham and his seed never received the promised land [Acts 7:5 / Heb 11:9,13]
Here is a partial answer. God gave the land to Abraham and his seed. We do see that the land was eventually possessed by the children of Israel (Abraham’s grandson). Yet, in Acts, God did not give Abraham (personally) an inheritance on the land. True. But Abraham died in faith, even though he had not obtained the title deed to the property to pass on to his children. But eventually his descendents did get the land.
To answer this even further (not for the benefit of any skeptics but just because I can’t resist pointing out that this point is much deeper than just who occupies the land) — we have to look at Galatians 3:14 which tells us what the real blessing of Abraham is. Then the seed of Abraham is identified in verse 16. Then compare with Hebrews 11:39-40 and 12:1-2. This is what Hebrews means when it says they did not receive the promises, according to the context.
Yes, of course the land was the literal land and the seed was the literal descendents of Abraham and yes they did get their inheritance and now they are also on it again (part of it). At the same time, Galatians and Hebrews are also true. –MAW
98. Goliath was slain by Elhanan [2 Sam 21:19] note: was changed in translation to be correct — original manuscript was incorrect.
The brother of Goliath was slain by Elhanan [1 Chron 20:5]
As conceded, the verse in 2 Sam was probably due to a copyist’s mistake.
99. Ahaziah began to reign in the twelfth year of Joram [2 Kings 8:25]
Ahaziah began to reign in the eleventh year of Joram [2 Kings 9:29]
Note that Ahaziah is the son of Joram. It’s possible that on account of Joram’s sickness [2 Chron 21:18,19] that Ahaziah became associated with him in the eleventh year of Joram’s rule, but then began to rule alone by the twelth year.
100. Michal had no child [2 Sam 6:23]
Michal had five children [2 Sam 21:8]
In this case, I’ll quote John Baskette’s reply previously posted.
What does 2 Sam. 21:8-9 say?
“But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite: And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell [all] seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first [days], in the beginning of barley harvest.”
This would appear to be a real contradiction except for the phrase “whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai.”
The phrasing tells you that these sons are not Michal’s in the normal sense of the term because she did not “bear” these children. I.E. these sons are adopted children.