December 21, 2019 by SLIMJIM
For today’s post we will tackle the question the Skeptic Annotated Bible asked: Bible Contradiction? Was Jeconiah the son or grandson of Josiah?
Here are the two answers which the skeptic believes indicate a Bible contradiction:
He was Josiah’s son.
“Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.” (Matthew 1:11)
He was Josiah’s grandson.
“The sons of Josiah were Johanan the firstborn, and the second was Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum. 16 The sons of Jehoiakim were Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son.” (1 Chronicles 3:15-16)
(All Scriptural quotation comes from the New American Standard Bible)
Here’s a closer look at whether or not there is a contradiction:
- When dealing with skeptics’ claim of Bible contradictions it seems one can never be reminded enough of what exactly is a contradiction. A contradiction occurs when two or more claims conflict with one another so that they cannot simultaneously be true in the same sense and at the same time. To put it another way, a Bible contradiction exists when there are claims within the Bible that are mutually exclusive in the same sense and at the same time.
- One should be skeptical of whether this is a Bible contradiction given the Skeptic Annotated Bible’s track record of inaccurately handling the Bible. See the many examples of their error which we have responded to in this post: Collection of Posts Responding to Bible Contradictions. Of course that does not take away the need to respond to this claim of a contradiction, which is what the remainder of this post will do. But this observation should caution us to slow down and look more closely at the passages cited by the Skeptic Annotated Bible to see if they interpreted the passages properly to support their conclusion that it is a Bible contradiction.
- The skeptic tries to pit Matthew 1:11 as affirming the claim “Jeconiah was Josiah’s son” against 1 Chronicles 3:15-16 as affirming “Jeconiah was Josiah’s grandson.”
- It is clear that 1 Chronicles 3:15-16 does affirm the claim “Jeconiah was Josiah’s grandson.” From this passage we learn that Jeconiah was Josiah’s grandson through Josiah’s second son Jehoiakim.
- Matthew 1:11 does not contradict with 1 Chronicles 3:15-16 if we understand the Greek word that is translated “became the father of.”
- The verb for “became the father of” is ἐγέννησεν. ἐγέννησεν is a form of the verb that lexical root is γεννάω.
- γεννάω often has the meaning of “begat, give birth to.”
- However γεννάω does not always mean being the direct biological parent to a child. The verb simply mean direct descent.
- If γεννάω simply mean direct descent then that mean it doesn’t need to conflict with the claim in 1 Chronicles 3:15-16 that “Jeconiah was Josiah’s grandson.”
- We see even within the context of Matthew 1 that γεννάω doesn’t necessarily mean being a direct biological parent of a particular child. Matthew 1:16 states “Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born.” A form of the verb γεννάω appears here (ἐγεννήθη). We know Jesus wasn’t born physically through Joseph. Yet Jesus’ descent from Joseph is what’s being referred to in some other sense (legal).
- Also Matthew 1:8 skips over Ahaziah, Athaliah, Jehoash, and Amaziah in the genealogy of Jesus, even though the biblical record elsewhere preserved this. This further substantiate that γεννάω doesn’t necessarily mean being a direct biological parent of a particular child but can at times mean simple direct descent. One can be “grandfathered” and “great-grandfathered” to someone using this verb.
- Thus there is no contradiction here if we understand that the lexical range
- Some might object that the possible range of meaning for γεννάω can mean “fathered,” “grandfathered” or simply part of the lineage of someone since there’s so many possible meaning of the term when there should be one meaning of the word. But that’s a terrible objection. Terms can have more than one meaning in many languages and not just with Hebrew. For instance consider the lexical range of meaning for the English word Whoppers and the Word “Left”.
- We shouldn’t miss that worldviews are at play even with the skeptic’s objection to Christianity. The worldview of the author of the Skeptic Annotated Bible actually doesn’t even allow for such a thing as the law of non-contradiction to be meaningful and intelligible. In other words for him to try to disprove the Bible by pointing out that there’s a Bible contradiction doesn’t even make sense within his own worldview. Check out our post “Skeptic Annotated Bible Author’s Self-Defeating Worldview.”