Who killed Goliath and other questions? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Well, we all know how it works by now. My doing this is a demonstration that some suffering is self-inflicted. Let’s see what we have from this work today to deal with.
Bible Question #15: Who slew Goliath?
This is an easy one! Now turn to 2nd Samuel 21:19. Depending on the ‘modern version’ it will say something like:
“… Elhanan … killed Goliath …”
What do you mean Elhanan killed Goliath!? This is wrong you say. Most Sunday school children know that David slew Goliath! Well, you’re right. This is clearly in error.
Look at the same passage in your King James Bible. The Authorized King James Bible has the correct reading which is:
“… Elhanan … slew THE BROTHER OF Goliath …”
Spiritually, as Christians, we are the equivalent of David. Spiritually, Satan is the equivalent of Goliath. Just as David slew Goliath (with a rock), we Christians are “more than conquerors” as we have overcome (slew) Satan by the blood of the lamb (Jesus Christ, the rock!) and by the word of our testimony. Not only are ‘modern versions’ in error; but major doctrinal issues are involved here. Think about it.
To begin with, why do these modern translations sometimes differ? Because they are trying to be faithful to what the text says. Unfortunately, Johnson produces no material on the textual variations or the translating of Hebrew or anything of that sort.
My ministry partner, J.P. Holding, has this to say at Tektonics.
Many conservative commentators, like Archer, have supposed that in the first verse, “Lahmi the brother of” was somehow transformed into “the Bethlehemite”. Alhtough I priorly considered this a suitable textual explanation, I am now persuaded that it requires more explanation (on this, see our response to Human Faces of God, ch. 7). Even so, Callahan’s objections are not sufficient. He objects as follows (here, and now we add, in Secret Origins of the Bible ):
- First, he says, “Archer is using a method that he would scoff at if it were used by advocates” of the JEDP hypothesis. Indeed? Unless Callahan finds a place where Archer actually does this to an explanation of the same sort advanced by a JEDP theorist, he is merely making an ad hoc accusation.
- Second, he says he finds “no particular reason” to accept Archer’s idea “over a more simple and direct one of a later writer trying to resolve an inconsistency.”Well, I do: It has to do with giving ancient documents the benefit of the doubt; it has to do with textual criticism; it has to do with not assuming that ancient people were too foolish to see the obvious. Archer’s explanation is quite within the canons of textual criticism.
- Callahan wonders then why both Samuel and Chronicles use the “like a weaver’s beam” in their conclusions. The use of the phrase elsewhere is exactly the sort of thing that would induce an errant scribe to use it elsewhere in an effort to make the text coherent, or make it more memorable in an oral-based society. Callahan’s comment that a scribe would have to both move a portion of the word while leaving it there at the same time is mistaken — this is a perfect description of a known type of textual error called dittography.
- Finally, Callahan objects that the explanation contradicts Archer’s earlier assertion that “God kept the authors of the books, and by logical extension the editors of the canon, from error.” Archer may or may not argue this, but it doesn’t matter anyway. We do not believe that God preserved copyists from error. This is not asserted in any doctrinal statement on inerrancy (such as the Chicago Statement).
For the record, here is a summary of Archer’s explanation: 1) a copyist first mistook the sign of the direct object before “Lahmi,” which was ‘-t, for a b-t and got Bethelehemite; 2) the copyist also misread the word for “brother” (‘-h) as the sign of the direct object before “Goliath” and made “Goliath” the object of “killed” instead of “brother” as Chronicles does; 3) the word “weavers” was also misplaced after “Elhanan” to make the name “son of the woods of weavers,” which is quite an unlikely name.
Now you might not find that persuasive entirely, and that’s fine, but the point is that this should show it’s not a clear and simple question. However, looking at the end of what Johnson says, he is taking an interpretation of the original text, as Goliath being Satan and each of us being David, and then insisting that that interpretation is trying to be covered up by the modern versions. (Which, you know, all include the story of David and Goliath so how they’re covering this up is a mystery.) Yet there is given no reason why I should accept the interpretation or think it’s at all what the original writer had in mind.
Bible Question #16: Jesus said that our heavenly Father will forgive us of our sins. However, we are told that; likewise, there is something we must do. Do you remember what it is?
Let’s turn, in a ‘modern version’ to Mark 11:26. Are you not able to find it? Are the verses in Mark chapter 11 numbered 23, 24, 25 and then 27!? Is verse 26 missing? Well, there is nothing wrong with your eyesight! Verse 26 is not there (or it is in brackets, casting doubt on it). It’s ANOTHER omission.
Now turn to the same verse in your Authorized (King James) Version. The KJV says:
“BUT IF YE DO NOT FORGIVE, NEITHER WILL YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN FORGIVE YOUR TRESPASSES.”
Oh, man! This is important to know! Leaving out verse 26, leaves out an important piece of Christian doctrine. Verse 26 needs to be there! And, that’s why it is properly included in your King James Bible.
The question though is not what Johnson thinks needs to be there, but what is there. Mark often does give shorter versions of what is said and if verse 26 wasn’t in the original manuscripts (And by the way, verse numbers weren’t in the original manuscripts), then whether one thinks it needs to be there or not, faithfulness to the text says to not put it there. I could say “You need to believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus to be forgiven needs to be in the text also!”, but if it was not in what Mark wrote, then it will not be included.
By the way, modern translations do include that in passages such as following the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6. Again, an odd way of covering up doctrine.
Bible Question #17: What did Jesus say about religious hypocrisy?
First, let’s take a look in a ‘modern’ version of the Bible. What does it say in Matthew 23:14?
Actually, it says nothing! ( The verse is missing in many modern versions ).
For the word of God, turn to the same verse in your King James Bible. What does it say?
“WOE UNTO YOU SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, HYPOCRITES! FOR YE DEVOUR WIDOWS’ HOUSES, AND FOR A PRETENCE MAKE LONG PRAYER: THEREFORE YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GREATER DAMNATION.”
Jesus does not like hypocrisy. Notice how God knows our heart!
Again, this does not show up in the manuscripts that are being used, but here’s something to consider. I just took a few minutes to do a search of the word “hypocrite” in Matthew. It shows up multiple times never in a flattering light. Six of those times are in this very same chapter!
No one reading the chapter in a modern translation would walk away confused about what Jesus thinks about hypocrisy. KJV-Onlyists can condemn the modern versions all they want, but arguments like this are thoroughly dishonest and saw more about KJV-Onlyists than they do about their opponents.
We’ll continue next time.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)