Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 3 (Part Two)

Was the City of Ai Destroyed Forever?
Joshua 8:28 (NIV) says: “So Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanent heaps of ruins, a desolate place to this day.” However, Ezra 2:28 and Nehemiah 7:32 mention the “men of Bethel and Ai,” so was the city rebuilt?[1] The root of the problem is the Hebrew word that basically means “forever.” However, lest you conclude the skeptic is vindicated, I must point out that it is more nuanced than what meets the eyes. As evidenced by the 1984 edition of The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, Ai was reduced to an “indefinitely lasting mound.” The NAS Exhaustive Concordance is in full agreement here, for the definition of “ohlam” in brief is: “long duration, antiquity, futurity.”
            The scriptures use this word elsewhere for things that end (Exodus 21:6), as do we; so, how can we fault the scriptures for doing so? When we use “forever” in such a way we really are denoting something that is long-lasting, or for a thing that would otherwise go on forever. The city was in a ruined state for a great deal of time, at least “to this day.” There is no contradiction.

Why Were Some Canaanites Spared?
Judges 2:21 says that the remaining nations were spared to test Israel and Judges 3:1 says that were let remain to teach Israel war; is this a contradiction? No, but it is a false dilemma – if only you could do things for two reasons!

[1] The Pulpit Commentary says: “the Ai mentioned in Ezra 2:28 [and Nehemiah 7:32] may have been a city built, not on precisely the same spot, but near enough to it to take its name.” If this is the case, there is still no contradiction.

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