Friday, 15 March 2013
Contradictions In The Bible 9 :
How can 1 Corinthians 10:8 be reconciled with Exodus 32:28?
1 Corinthians 10:8 says, "We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them
did--and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died" (NIV). Exodus 32:28 says, "The
Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died."
In the preceding verses of Exodus 32, we learn that the Levites had armed themselves to
execute all the leaders in the festival of worship of the golden calf; and so Moses had
summoned them in v.27, saying, "Go back and forth through the camp from one end to
the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor." The "three thousand" were
slain by the sword in this direct punitive action.
What Paul is referring to is the total number who perished that day, not only from the swords of the avenging Levites, but also from the terrible plague God sent on the camp:
"And Yahweh struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf
Aaron had made" (Exod. 32:35). The Exodus account does not give the number of slain
by the plague, but 1 Corinthians 10:8 furnishes us with that total: twenty-three thousand.
This presumably includes the three thousand slain by the sword, and leaves the total of
twenty thousand for those who died by the plague itself. There is no confusion here with
Numbers 25:8, which gives the total of those who died in the plague at Shittim as twentyfour thousand. Since 1 Corinthians 10:7 quotes from Exodus 32:6, there can be no doubt
that Paul was referring to the episode of the golden calf, rather than the similar event at
Gleason L Archer