Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther- contradictions and inconsistencies in scripture.

Essay by Keir November 2005

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i.9-11: Bad Maths: And this is the number of them: Thirty charges of gold, a thousand charges of silver, nine and twenty knives, Thirty basins of gold, silver basins of a second sort four hundred and ten, and vessels a thousand. All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. Even if all these items were composed of silver and gold, they would not total 5,400 (30+ 1,000+ 29 + 30 + 410 + 1,000=2,499 not 5,400).

II: Both Ezra and Nehemiah give a list of those nations that left bondage, and as you would expect by now, both contradict each other continuously. This is strange, as the sum total of both is the same, so the same census must have been the same.

ii.1: To start with the contradictions, according to Jos.viii.28 Ai will never be inhabited, here and in Neh.vii.72 it did in fact have later inhabitants.

ii.64: Bad Maths II: The whole congregation together (composed of those who returned from captivity) was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore. The number of people in each tribe that returned from the Captivity is listed from ii.3 to ii.60. Simply by doing your sums in this chapter you would find that 29,818 returned, not 42,360- an error of 12,542.

ii.28: It mentions the men of Ai when Jos.viii.28 assured us that it would be uninhabited for ever.

ii.5: Ezra says that of the children of Arah, seven hundred seventy and five returned from exile whereas Neh.vii.10 puts the number down as 652.

iv.3: By preventing foreigners from helping to build an house unto our God, only the Jews could worship Yahweh.

iv.6: The individual referred to here as Ahasuerus could in fact be Xerxes (486-465 BCE).

iv.8-vi.18&vii.12-26: These verses are of note...