May 2, 2020 by SLIMJIM
For today’s post we will tackle the question the Skeptic Annotated Bible asked: Was Solomon alone when he sacrificed 1000 burnt offerings at Gibeon?
Here are the answers which the skeptic believes indicate a Bible contradiction:
(At least no one else is mentioned)
“The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place; Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.” (1 Kings 3:4)
No, everyone in Israel was with him.
“Then Solomon and all the assembly with him went to the high place which was at Gibeon, for God’s tent of meeting was there, which Moses the servant of the Lord had made in the wilderness. 4 However, David had brought up the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the place he had prepared for it, for he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem. 5 Now the bronze altar, which Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, was there before the tabernacle of the Lord, and Solomon and the assembly sought it out. 6 Solomon went up there before the Lord to the bronze altar which was at the tent of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.” (2 Chronicles 1:3-6)
(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.
- For context “high place” are place of worship of foreign gods.
- The skeptic tries to pit 1 Kings 3:4 against 2 Chronicles 1:3-6. 1 Kings 3:4 was cited as support for the claim that the Bible taught “Solomon was alone when he sacrificed 1000 burnt offerings at Gibeon.” On the other hand both 2 Chronicles 1:3-6 was cited as support for the claim that the Bible taught “Solomon was not alone when he sacrificed 1000 burnt offerings at Gibeon.”
- The skeptic properly interpreted 2 Chronicles 1:3-6 that “Solomon was not alone when he sacrificed 1000 burnt offerings at Gibeon.” Note especially verse 3a which states “Then Solomon and all the assembly with him went to the high place which was at Gibeon.“
- Concerning 1 Kings 3:4 the skeptic interpreted the verse as “Solomon was alone when he sacrificed 1000 burnt offerings at Gibeon” because of the following reason: “At least no one else is mentioned.” But that’s not a good argument. This is a fallacious argument from silence. Notice the passage never actually says Solomon was alone when he offered up sacrifices.
- Yet a careful reading of 1 Kings 3:4 itself seems to suggest Solomon was not alone at the high place offering his sacrifice at Gibeon. The second half of the verse tells us what Solomon was doing there: “Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.” It is quite a hard work to be a butcher; how more so butchering a thousand sacrifice and then as a burnt sacrifice to God. This require help from others with prep work, and also even during the process itself. 1 Kings 3:4 is far from suggesting Solomon was alone but that others were there. Thus it seems to be in harmony with 2 Chronicles 1:3-6.
- Furthermore looking at the surrounding context of 1 Kings 3:4 reinforce our interpretation that Solomon in 1 Kings 3:4 had others with him. Note how two verses earlier in 1 Kings 3:2 the verse states “The people were still sacrificing on the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the Lord until those days.” This echoes the same truth as in 2 Chronicles 1 that the people were there at the high places when was Solomon was there. Its embarrassing the skeptics’ inability to pay attention to context.
- Thus we don’t have a contradiction here. With this kind of low quality Bible scholarship the author of the Skeptic Annotated Bible Steve Wells is far from having any friends in high places in the world of Biblical scholarship.
- Outside of the Bible we also see that if a historical account mention one person or one party and did not refer to another party and other individuals that doesn’t mean the first account says it is ONLY one party or one person, and it does not mean we have a contradiction with other account. See for example my posts on the Gold Medal at the Cambrian Patrol, the Louisiana Purchase, the Thanksgiving Story, and September 11th.
- 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.”