Is this a contradiction?

by dedpoet 10 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • dedpoet

    When I was studying with the jws, one of the things I was always
    told was that the bible does not contradict itself. Now I'm no longer
    a believer in god, and see the bible as a book of fairytales just about
    on a par with Hansel and Gretel, I couldn't really care less whether it
    does or not.

    However, I had an email earlier asking me if I thought these two passages
    from 1Samuel 15 are contradictory, and they certainly appear to be so.

    10 The word of the LORD came to Samuel: 11 "I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments."

    28"The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 29 And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret."

    God seems to experiencing an emotion in verse 11 that verse 29 says he cannot


  • Sad emo
    Sad emo

    Do you know which translation of the Bible is being quoted?

    I've looked in my Hebrew interlinear plus translations I currently have to hand (NIV, NLT and NJB - can't have too many you know lol!!) and verse 11 reads 'I am grieved...' (therefore, it's regret in that sense rather than an admission of error).

    Verse 29 on the other hand doesn't say anything about regret, it reads 'I don't change my mind...' - NJB says 'go back on my word'

    I'm not too good at reading Hebrew but the words in the two verses do appear to be distinct from each other.

  • dedpoet

    Do you know which translation of the Bible is being quoted?

    I think it's the English Standard Version

  • A-Team

    I'm not an expert on the Bible, but i can tell you that all translations except for the Orginials, have some sort of translation error in it, mainly because of language barriers You need to check out the Greek and Hebrew..

  • nvrgnbk

    So true trev!

    Jehovah was always second-guessing himself.

    No wonder we that used to worship him struggle with self-doubt. LOL!

  • dedpoet

    Jah expressed regret over creating man in his image when
    he told Noah to build the ark as well, yet in 1Sam15:29 it
    says he can't feel regret.

    If the bible is god's message to mankind, (which I don't
    personally believe), he seems to be sending a kind of
    contradictory message to me

  • Sad emo
    Sad emo

    Hi Trev

    I've been looking on BibleGateway - that is the ESV which was quoted. I'd say that it seems they did a very, very poor translation of verse 29, bearing in mind that 'regret' can have two meanings, but taking it further still, regret and repentance (lit. change of mind) are two different entities in themseves.

    All the other English translations read either a change of mind/going back on his word or repent (KJV and ASV).

    Going by the majority vote, there's no contradiction - verse 11 is an expression of feeling/mood and verse 29 is reference to making mistakes.

    Speaking of repenting - nvr, have you done so yet like I told ya?!

  • Narkissos

    The Hebrew form in v. 11 and 29 a and b is exactly the same, nifal of nchm.

    V. 11 and 29a alone would not be contradictory imho. The meaning being, "I have changed my mind and I won't change it again."

    However v. 29b adds a theological gloss which ruins the narrative logic by a timeless statement in the spirit of Numbers 23:19, "for he is not a mortal, that he should change his mind".

    Here as in many passages the deep contradiction is between the former (basically polytheistic, even if henotheistic) concept of a "god" who can do a lot of things, including changing his mind, and the monotheistic/metaphysical "God" who is no longer allowed such "anthropomorphic" whims. The former belongs to the narrative world of mythological stories, the latter to the timeless realm of theological treatise. Such Bible passages are fascinating testimonies of the shift from one concept to another.

  • dedpoet

    Thanks Narkissos

    I'm not really bothered whether it's a contradiction or not, but the
    person who sent me the email is convinced that it is. I'll reply to
    them later


  • Sad emo
    Sad emo

    Thanks for explaining the Hebrew Narkissos, and the great insights too.

    I'd have loved to study Hebrew as part of my degree because there is so much to be learned alongside 'mere' translation - but I'm so traumatised by Greek grammar that I opted against!

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