Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible by John W Haley claims that there are no contradictions or errors in the Bible. Needless to say, it is only the contradictions he can handle or thinks he can handle that he deals with. The real ones are conveniently ignored. For instance, he does not try to explain away Jesus’ error when he argued that Satan could not cast out Satan. Or Jesus’ error when he said that that God saying he was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob proved the resurrection.

Here are some of Haley’s inane attempts to reconcile Bible disagreements.

Page 318, God gave the land to Abraham (Genesis 13:15) but we read that Abraham did not possess it (Acts 7:5). Haley says that Abraham got the land in trust – it was his although he never got the chance to take it. But when God told him that it would be Abraham and his seed’s forever it is plain that both get the land in the same sense. God would not give you something you will never have. The context tells us that the promise was intended to be a reward and getting the land in trust is no reward.

Page 318, In Genesis 20, Abraham worries about Abimelech stealing his wife for he would not have the army to get her back when in chapter 14 we read that he had three hundred and eighteen servants and in all probability the men of Aner, Eschol and Mamre also to fight to get his kidnapped nephew back. Haley says that there is no contradiction for Abimelech must have been too strong for even all these. There is a contradiction for there is no need to think that Abraham was afraid of a war. And he was not worried about losing Sarah when he let Abimelech think she was not his wife and take her in. He did not believe a war would be necessary. He didn’t fear that Abimelech would be too much for him to handle. If he could not handle it, he would not have let her go in the first place.

Haley conveniently ignores the fact that in the same chapter God first threatens to kill Abimelech in a vision for what he did with Sarah and then in verse 6 he repents when Abimelech tells him he did not know until God told him that Sarah was married and tells Abimelech that he will not punish him for it was not his fault. So God did not realise at first that Abimelech was not really guilty and appeared to him for nothing and threatened him in the wrong.

Page 336, Genesis 24, 28 and 36 disagree about who Esau’s wives were and the number of wives he had. Haley says that the same people are meant but different names were used. For example, he uses what he admits is just a theory, the notion that women changed their names upon marriage, to identify Adah with Bashemath. This is unbelievable. The theory is refuted by the fact that the records and lists were drawn up after the women were married so their new names would have been used. Nobody calls Jude John in a historical record when few call him John.  If Genesis had had the one author or editor as Christians say the same names would have been employed.

Page 318, Abraham laughed at the angel’s promise that he would father a child despite being one hundred years old. And then we are told after that he fathered babies by Keturah.

Either he was impotent or he believed he could have no child for Sarah was too old. Haley says that if Abraham fathered children by Keturah after this then God miraculously cured his impotence.

But if you start assuming miracles to solve conflicts you will be able to reconcile any contradiction whatsoever. You will not be able to point to a book being without error as proof of its divinity. This argument really destroys the Bible’s authority. You can’t assume miracles any more than you can assume that €10 vanishing from your wallet is a miracle.

Haley then suggests that the Keturah bit is a digression and is about what happened in an earlier period when Abraham was virile. That is unlikely for the author could have moved it. It would show bad structure in the narrative and God wouldn’t want such an imperfection. And there is no hint that it is a digression so it is not when it is not likely to be.

Page 354. Deuteronomy 31:2 says that Moses was a decrepit old man unable to go in or come out. 34:7 says the opposite. Haley “solves” the difficulty by alleging that Moses meant he could not go out of the wilderness with the people to go into the Promised Land. But he said first that he was a hundred and twenty years old and then that he could not go out and come in – evidently meaning that he couldn’t leave his tent. Then he said the Lord told him he would not enter the land – another topic. He did not blame his age for that for he could have been carried to the land but he blamed fate. The reason he added that God told him he would not set foot on the Promised Land was because he felt he was not far from death as his bodily state showed. He did not mean what Haley said. There is a contradiction.

Page 363. Because the Bible says that Aaron died on Mount Hor and then that he died at Mosera, Haley says that Mosera could have been the name of the district in which the mountain was. Haley says that he might have climbed the mountain to die - unbelievable. And it is wrong to say that Mosera could have been the name of the area when there is no evidence. It is wrong to say there is no contradiction because there might be one. Even if the whole Bible can be reconciled that does not prove that this is not a contradiction. And especially when the Bible said that a false prophet could get everything right and make one error that proves he is a false prophet.

Let us see what Haley has to say about the Book of Joshua and Judges.

It is interesting that he does not try to deal with Samson tying two foxes together and setting them on fire near Philistine crops to destroy them. It would not have been a very effective method of burning them out. The author seems to think it would have made them rocket forward and run for miles setting all the fields on fire. It would not. Each one would have tried to pull away from the other. Strange that a Nazarite like Samson whose strength depended on him remaining a Nazarite according to an angel could touch foxes when they ate dead meat? Nazarites could not touch anything that touched anything unclean.

Page 348 says that Joshua defeated kings but did not get their cities. Haley says that Hannibal killed the Roman leaders but did not manage to conquer Rome. But the cities can be seized if one has enough men. Joshua must have had enough when he was able to kill the kings and their armies and weaken the cities by killing their soldiers and then go on further liquidation sprees. Joshua 15:63 says that Judah could not get rid of the inhabitants of Jerusalem so they lived together. That is simply not believable for mistrust and resentment would always have been there. The “sacred” author is lying when he says they did that to “this very day”.

Page 324. Joshua literally wiped out all the Canaanites and we are told no survivors were left (Joshua 10:40) but the Canaanites in the land were enslaved by his nation (Judges 1:28). Haley says that the texts saying no survivors are general and refer to the wipeout in the southern region for in chapter 11 of Joshua, Joshua attacks the northern area run from Hazor so there had been Canaanites left there. But Joshua 10:40 says that Joshua conquered the whole land and names some areas as examples and that nobody was left and Hazor is one of the areas too though it is the last to be discussed for the author wants to tell us more about it.

Joshua 8:8,9 says that there was an ambuscade of thirty thousand men on a city and a few verses later we read it was five thousand (Joshua 8:12). Haley on page 381 says there could have been two ambuscades or the text was corrupted. The unreliable Septuagint is his case for corruption! But when Joshua picked out thirty thousand men for the job meaning that it was expected to be a hard struggle to take over the city would only five thousand have been attacking? There is a contradiction.

Page 368. Since it is recorded in Joshua that some cities belonged to the region of Dan and elsewhere that they are in the territory of Ephraim, 1 Chronicles 4:69, Haley presents the suggestion of some that the latter text has words missing through sloppy copying! He says that is just an opinion so there is no evidence for it. When fundies see a conflict they blame the copyists! Then they have the nerve to say the originals which they have never seen are inerrant!

Page 376 says that the reason the Bible says Joshua conquered the whole land of Canaan (Joshua 12:7,8; 21:43) and then that he only had a part of it (Joshua 23; Judges 2:23) was that Joshua had the land for it was powerless to resist him but did not occupy or rule the whole land but only a bit. Haley blames the disobedience of Israel for not them not being able to drive the Canaanites all out. The idea that a nation hungry for power and which conquered everywhere couldn’t and wouldn’t root out everybody who was not an Israelite is absurd.

Haley lied his way through the errors of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles.

313 and 320 state that many names were put down wrongly because the transcribers made mistakes. Haley who agreed with Jesus who said that if a person cannot be trusted in small things he cannot be trusted in greater pretended that there was no threat to divine inspiration in this! Haley has no choice for to support their authenticity would involve admitting that contradictions exist and are rife in the Bible as its text currently exists. Why didn’t the authorities correct the mistakes centuries ago? They seem to have believed that they were not mistakes and were reluctant to touch them. God should have been able to preserve his word. A God who writes a Bible and then lets it be corrupted is a bungler.

323. Asa removed pagan shrines from everywhere in the land (2 Chronicles 14) and then we are told that he did not (1 Kings 15). Does: “But the high places were not removed. Yet Asa’s heart was blameless with the Lord all his days” (AB) sound like it only means that some of the high places remained like Haley says? Of course it does not. And especially when we read that he was able to drive all the homosexuals and prostitutes out of the land. That shows he could have torn every one down. The land was religious when it cooperated with him and so spies would have abounded.

Page 335. Haley says that when Eli corrected his sons (1 Samuel 2) and then we are told that he did not (1 Samuel 3) that the Bible means he corrected them but that he was too soft or waited until they were hardened in sin when it was too late. But they had already heard it all before. Why preach at anybody who knows they do wrong? Haley’s explanation is junk. A soft correction or a severe one is still a correction.

Page 336. Haley declares that when the Bible says Elhanan slew Goliath (2 Samuel 21) though it was David who did that that it could have been Goliath’s son of the same name. But when the book mentions a Goliath who could have been anybody so casually it must be referring to the one the readers all know, the one David killed, the famous one. Nor would the author call David his name most of the time and then turn to Elhanan so Elhanan is not another name for David.

Page 339. Haley says that Hiram’s mother was a Naphtalite (1 Kings 7:14) and a Danite (2 Chronicles 2:14) at the same time. The tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Dan were two distinct tribes. It is most likely that this is a contradiction for the author of one account knew what the other had written and still wrote different. The earlier author would have known better.

Page 351. We read that alleged contradictions between lists of ancestors are often down to father and son being used loosely for ancestor and descendant or for father and son. Haley is trying among other things to resolve the conflict between Samuel and Chronicles concerning who the father of Kish was. Why make the lists if you are going to do that? What function would they serve then? There is no point in a genealogy that says x was the father of y and z was the descendant of x for that is breaking the genealogy for a genealogy with gaps as wide as that could easily be wrong for z could have been adopted or something or perhaps his mother fooled around. Haley is lying yet again. Pages 396-400 blames discrepancies in times on copyist’s mistakes. This is dreadfully dishonest. Haley would not care who he accuses as long as defends the Bible. He says that the Hebrews had a peculiar way of calculating regal years or the length of a reign. They would have counted from the beginning of the year a reign began rather than from the time in that year in which it began. On page 396, he says it seems that this is the case. He’s only speculating. Is it really likely that Israel would do that? And then he says that if their times are incorrect it does not disprove inerrancy for the writers are to be judged by their own standards and not ours (page 397). But it is a sin to be unnecessarily inaccurate. The writers did not think of future generations in which that would not be acceptable. Haley hoped that we would not probe his silly argument too deeply and discover that it really attributes sin and sloppiness to God.

Page 389, Reason and Belief, page 39 observes that 2 Samuel 24:9 says that 800,000 men of Israel lifted the sword while the parallel in 1 Chronicles 21:5 the figure is 1,100,000. Haley says the solution is that it was based on oral tradition and not on disagreement. So disagreements are not disagreements now! And why are the accounts so close if they are dependent on oral tradition? He then says that there was the fighting army who were 800,000 but when the standing army, the standbys, were included the figure was 1,100,000. This is nonsense for the verses were about those who had the sword and used it and the wording in both verses was very close.

Reason and Belief points out the contradiction between Michal being said to have been without children all her days and several chapters later it is said she had five sons. Haley on page 385 says that the first verse was corrupted and never originally said it was Michal who had no children. As usual, there is no evidence given for this mistake. So Haley admits that the Bible as it stands is contradictory but he denies God made an error and blames the copyist. Haley says that the original said Merab. The copyist would not have made such a mistake for Michal was the daughter of Saul and it would be as silly as explaining a modern contradiction on the basis that the author or copyist wrote down Sophie Wessex instead of Diana, Princess of Wales, by mistake. They are too well known for that to happen.

Page 403. There is a contradiction between the Bible saying that all the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:7, 8) were killed and then that some survived (1 Samuel 30:1,17). Haley says that all the Amalekites being killed means all the caught for some escaped to do more damage later. But Israel was stronger than they were when it was able to win the war against the Amalekites. It could have wiped them out to the last man. This tells us that all is literally all. Take all to mean all when it could be all. We would be reading that God was angry with Israel for not killing them all if they had let some escape. And it was a surprise attack. God strictly wanted all the Amalekites dead for he emphasised that literally all had to be killed and to the prophet. Would God then instruct Israel to attack them at a time that they could not slaughter them all? No way! God does not command the impossible. When God complained about them taking the flocks and cattle of the Amalekites and not destroying them and never mentioned that they let the some of the Amalekites go then they left no survivors. Not enough of Amalekite men would have survived to attack the cities of Ziklas and Negeb knowing that David and his men were on the way (1 Samuel 30). They even took David’s wives. There is a contradiction.

The Bible is a pile of contradictions.  And we must remember that some things that look like they are solved may not be.