Back Page: spring 1990
A PERFECT WORK OF HARMONY?
Inerrancy proponents often refer to the Bible's perfect harmony and
consistency of theme as compelling evidence of verbal inspiration. Our reac-
tion to their claim is what harmony? What consistency of theme? Only some-
one determined to believe in Bible inerrancy no matter how convincing the
evidence to the contrary could possible claim to see harmony and consistency
in the Bible.
Religious faction existed in Bible times as surely as it exists today, and
Bible writers echoed their partisan beliefs as resolutely as do modern-day
religious jour- nalists. We could cite several examples of factional disagree-
ment in the Bible, but the divergent views of Jehu's slaughter of the royal
family of Israel will illustrate our point as well as any.
Jehu's divine mission was mentioned as early as I Kings 19:15-17 when
the word of Yahweh, as it was prone to do in those days, came to Elijah
when he was seeking refuge in a cave on Mount Horeb. Yahweh commanded
Elijah to go anoint Hazael to be king of Syria and Jehu king of Israel. "And
it shall come to pass that him that escapeth from the sword of Hazael shall
Jehu slay; and to him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha
For reasons that seem not to bother Bible inerrantists, presumably
Ahab's repentance (I Kings 21:27-29), the anointing of Jehu was delayed so
that "the evil" of Yahweh's judgment would instead be inflicted on Ahab's
son. That, by the way, was quite typical of Yahweh's style (a point we
don't have time to pursue in this article). Anyway, as the story goes, Jehu
wasn't anointed until Elisha sent a "son of the prophets" to Ramoth-gilead to
execute the commandment originally given to Elijah. After being anointed,
Jehu took an armed force against Jezreel and slaughtered not only the king of
Israel, his seventy sons, and his mother Jezebel but also Ahaziah, the king
of Judah, and forty-two of his brothers who were all visiting Jezreel, (II
Kings 9; 10:1-17). Afterwards, we are told that Yahweh said unto Jehu,
"Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes,
and has done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart,
thy sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel," (II Kings
If what Jehu did in executing these grisly deeds was so pleasing to
Yahweh, why did he afterwards say to his "inspired" writer Hosea, "For yet
a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu
and will cause the kingdom of the house of Israel to cease," (Hosea 1: 4)?
Why would Yahweh want to punish the house of Jehu for what was done at
Jezreel if all Jehu had done there was "that which is right in mine (Yah-
Perhaps some enterprising inerrantist can explain this to us.
intelligent way to see if the inerrancy doctrine can be sustained, we will
consider our work worth the time and effort we are putting into it. If after
such a study, anyone chooses to continue believing in the inerrancy of the
Bible, he will at least have our respect, but what we can't respect are the
many who believe in Bible inerrancy without knowing why they believe it.
They just know they are supposed to believe it. This makes them no better
than a Moslem who believes in the inspiration of the Koran, because... well,
just because he is supposed to believe it.
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