So, what do you do with something like this?

by AGuest 10 Replies latest jw friends

  • AGuest

    For those who believe that the Bible is entirely mythical? Just asking...

    Peace to you all!

    A slave of Christ

    SA, who does not have her faith in the Bible, but doesn't dismiss all that's it in, either...

  • NewChapter

    I don't know if anyone believes the bible is ENTIRELY mythical. The reigns of Kings David and Solomon are accepted. The bible can kind of be used as a primary source document. The challenge that historians have is separating fact from myth. They do so by finding corraborating evidence. For instance, The Law Code of Hammurabi, a code plagerized by the bible, there is a lot of useful information. But there is a lot of information about gods and goddesses. Because the code stated the cost to rent oxen to plow land, I know this agricultural society used plow oxen. Because coins are mentioned, I know this society used metallurgy. Hammurabi being called by the gods Anu and Bel---not so much.


  • startingover

    My take on the bible is that it is a mixture of history and myth. I don't know of anyone that says it entirely mythical.

    Below is an excepert from a book written by Runningman and I think it shows one of the problems with the bible if you take it literally.


    Every now and then, I run into someone who believes that every word in the Bible is literally true. If the Bible says that men lived for 900 years, and that 5 linear miles of water fell on the earth, then it must have happened. There is really no way to prove that these events did not happen, since by definition, a “miracle” is something extra-ordinary.

    However, sometimes the Bible writers slipped up. When they told a story, nothing but superlatives would do. More than anything else, the numbers that are tossed around in the bible show this to be true. Apparently, mathematics was not their strong point, because on numerous occasions, the bible writers made statements that simply could not have happened.

    So, basically, this chapter is sort of an accountants-eye view of the Bible.


    King Solomon was a very devout man. He also liked to do things in big ways. Take, for example, the sacrifice that he offered up during a festival:

    “Then the King and all the people offered sacrifice before the LORD. King Solomon offered as a sacrifice twenty-two thousand oxen and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep.” - 2 Chronicles 7:4,5

    Now, let’s pause for a moment and let these numbers sink in. According to verse 9, this festival lasted seven days. That means that one animal was killed every 4.3 seconds, day and night, for a week.

    Let’s look at it another way. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, an adult sheep would weigh between 80 and 400 pounds. Let’s take an average size of 200 pounds. Oxen come it at around 900 pounds. This means that Solomon slaughtered 43.8 million pounds of animals.

    This would be a pretty big pile of animal. If the animal carcasses were stacked, with no wasted space, it would make a pile of 3.9 million cubic feet, or, a pile 5 feet high, covering 18 acres.

    And what did he do with this meat? Well according to verse 7, he tried to put it on the alter, along with a cereal grain offering.

    “For there he offered the burnt offering and the fat of the peace offerings, because the bronze alter Solomon had made could not hold the burnt offering and the cereal offering and the fat.” - 2 Chronicles 7:7

    Talk about an understatement. I could picture Solomon, looking at that mountain of meat, and saying to his attendant, “Gee, do you think that’s too much to put on the alter?”

    The sheer volume of meat involved is enough to convince anyone that this passage is grossly exaggerated. I will not even attempt to calculate the economic impact of this slaughter on a relatively poor group of desert farmers.


    Solomon’s temple was a lot smaller than most people picture it. 1 Kings 6:2 tells us that it was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. In a rare example of biblical precision, 2 Chronicles 3:3 gives exactly the same measurements. A cubit is 17.5 inches, so the temple would have been 87.5’ x 29’, and about 4 stories high. It would total 2,552 square feet in area. To put this in perspective, it would be less than twice the size of my house, but four stories high. This number is very important, so keep it in mind.

    The total temple area was larger than simply the “house of the LORD”. There was a courtyard, a palace, and other buildings. However, as we will soon see, the contents and value are out by at least a factor of a thousand, so, a few extra buildings are hardly significant.

    The Gold and Silver

    “With great pains I have provided for the house of the LORD, a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron without weighing, for there is so much of it; timber and stone, too, I have provided.” - 1 Chronicles 22:14

    Since 1 talent = 75.5 pounds, this means that 7.55 million pounds of gold and 75.5 million pounds of silver went into the temple - a total of 83.05 million pounds of precious metal. Now, remember the size of the temple. To get this much gold and silver into the temple, there must have been 32,543 pounds of it per square foot. The priest must have had to crawl over the heaps of gold to get to the alter.

    Here’s another interesting tidbit. One cubic foot of silver weighs 628.4 pounds. This means that the silver of the temple occupied 120,146 cubic feet. The total gross size of the temple was only 111,650 cubic feet. Therefore, if the silver of the temple was formed into a solid block, it would be bigger than the temple itself - never mind the gold, iron, bronze, timber, and stone.

    In addition to the gold and silver, there was apparently so much bronze and iron that it could not even be weighed. Since the gold and silver weighed in at 83 million pounds, that means that the bronze and iron must have weighed considerably more (I will assume that it was double). We are now looking at somewhere in the range of 100,000 pounds of metal per square foot of the temple. That is the equivalent weight of 40 full size cars per square foot. And we haven’t even gotten to the rock and timber, yet.

    The gold and silver equates to a dollar value of $54 Billion today. Even given the inflated population figures of Israel that are recorded in the Bible, it still means that every man, woman, and child in the nation contributed almost $20,000, or 40 pounds of gold and silver. In all likelihood, the population of Israel was only about 1/10 of the Biblical figures, so the contribution per person would have been approximately 10 times higher. And, of course, we have not costed the iron, bronze, rock, timber, and labour. Not bad for a group of poor desert farmers.

    The Labour Force

    “King Solomon raised a levy of forced labour out of all Israel; and the levy numbered thirty thousand men. And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month in relays; they would be a month in Lebanon and two months at home; Adoniram was in charge of the levy. Solomon also had seventy thousand burden bearers and eighty thousand hewers of stone in the hill country, besides Solomon’s three thousand three hundred chief officers who were over the work, who had charge of the people who carried on the work.” - 1 Kings 5:13-16

    By my count, this comes to 183,300 persons who worked on this temple. To put this in perspective, it took 1,283,000 man-years to build the temple, or 503 man-years to build each square foot it.

    If I apply this rate of construction to my living room, which is 20’ x 12’, it would take over 120,000 man years to build it. To put it yet another way, if a construction team of 100 persons (which is too big to function on such a small job) worked on building my living room, it would take them 1,200 years to build it.

    If 183,000 people really worked for seven years to build a 2,552 square foot temple, they must have worked at a snail’s pace. Their progress could only be measured at the molecular level.

    The lumber

    According to the above quote, 10,000 labourers brought lumber from Lebanon at a time. There were a total of 30,000 labourers rotating on three shifts. Assuming that each labourer brought back 100 pounds of lumber on each trip, that means that one million pounds of lumber arrived at the temple every month. Don’t forget that the temple was only 2,552 square feet, and it was already piled with gold, silver, bronze, and iron.

    That’s almost 400 pounds of lumber per square foot, coming in every month. Every year, the equivalent of 240 semi-trailer loads would have arrived. Where did they put it all?

    The staff

    When the temple was finished and put into operation, staff was required. King David outlined the staffing requirements:

    “’Twenty four thousand of these,’ David said, ‘shall have charge of the work in the house of the LORD, six thousand shall be officers and judges, four thousand gatekeepers, and four thousand shall offer praises to the LORD with the instruments which I have made for praise.” - 1 Chronicles 23:4,5

    So, 24,000 persons were to work in the house of the Lord. This must have been a pretty slack job. Based on the size of the temple and courtyard, and considering that access to certain parts of the temple was restricted to the priests and high priest, there couldn’t possibly be room for more than about 100 people at a time. This means that each Levite would have worked for only about one day per year. Where can I apply?

    The total contents

    Wow, this must have been some building. Consider what was inside its walls:

    Ÿ 6,260 cubic feet of gold

    Ÿ 120,146 cubic feet of silver

    Ÿ 338,000 cubic feet of iron (minimum estimate)

    Ÿ 321,000 cubic feet of bronze (minimum estimate)

    Ÿ 600,000 cubic feet of Lebanese Cedar arrived every year

    Ÿ untold quantities of stone, brick, and local timbers

    Ÿ 24,000 staff (not necessarily simultaneous)

    Ÿ Assorted fixtures, the Ark of the Covenant, etc.

    All of this was inside a building with a total volume of only 111,650 cubic feet. And, don’t forget that buildings are essentially hollow. Again, all I can say is, “Wow”.

  • NVR2L8

    I do not dismiss all of the Bible either...I believe that some of the history is accurate and such archeological discoveries can only confirm the validy of the accounts...but I also believe some stories transmitted orally from generation to generation may have transformed into legends with many details added or embelished through the years. This phenomenon is not strange to us - we only have to listen to our grandfathers to realize how grandiose events were in their lifetime and how the story may evolve every time they tell it. Egyptians left writtings that relate accurate historical events, myths or things believed to be true in their time. Some of those writtings stand the test of time while others are no longer valid when viewed in today's light.

  • ShirleyW

    Hey Miz Shelby

    I've been pondering that as of late, whether the Bible is a book of fact and/or fiction. Regarding the parts that just may be fiction just look at all the separation it's caused, with all the different religions we have today, but the thng about it is, wel'll never really know !

    It's like with evolution, if you do believe that we came from the ape or baboon or whatever, for those who believe tha,t do they admit that God created the apes or what have you or that they just "evolved?

  • AGuest

    Yes, no, I realize that some believe some believe it only partly mythical, dear ones (peace to you all). Thus, I addressed my question to:

    "... those who believe that the Bible is entirely mythical..."

    [I probably should have stated "what's recorded IN the Bible is entirely mythical"...]

    Please understand, I don't ascribe to all of it being accurate, let alone nonmythical. Of course some of it's mythical, starting with the vengeful "god" created by the Hebrews (my ancestors, so I feel comfortable making that claim). And then there's the tampering and inaccuracies of the scribes. Got that. Don't have my faith in the Bible.

    But sometimes I come across a comment that states the entire thing is based on the mythological beliefs of an ancient people. And so, I was just wondering what such folks do when archeologists "find" something that [tends/seems to] support(s) something recorded "in the Bible."

    Just curious, truly. No desire to contend. Came across the information while "surfing" and said, "Hmmmmm... that's an appropriate topic for the board." That's it, that's all.

    Again, peace to you, both!

    A slave of Christ,


  • sabastious

    I believe the Bible contains much myth and is also a mix of revisionist history and "close enough" history.

    JWFacts did a fantastic thread recently on how the Watchtower, when reenacting the Cedars Point Convention in 1922 in the first Faith in Action DVD, cognitively chose to omit the detail of the American flags framing the stage. This is a perfect example of a group revising their history. Anyone would be hardpressed to argue that the Bible couldn't have been subject to the same thing over a much longer span of time than the Watchtower's existence. In the Revisionist Cycle whole events don't typically get lobbed off as much as they get slightly altered over time.

    The Bible, because of this perceivable phenomenon in the past and present, is unreliable as a means of what most people feel it's capable of accomplishing. The Bible's countless interpretations are evidence of not incompetence of the interpretors, but rather the Bible's literary inability to be accepted by the masses culturally and societally. All interpretations with a following have sound logic with certain assumptions (faith).

    From what I can tell the Bible doesn't hold itself in the high regard that most people hold it to, but I guess I could be wrong.


  • AGuest
    the Bible doesn't hold itself in the high regard that most people hold it to, I guess I could be wrong.

    You're not wrong, at all, dear Sab (again, peace to you!). Dead on, actually... perhaps more than you know (perhaps not! ).

    Again, peace to you!

    A slave of Christ,


  • Lore

    . . . The Bible doesn't mention any mine.

    So someone finds a mine in the general area and which may have been used around the same time period.

    Therefore the biblical claim that Solomon had about 30,000 tons of gold is divinely inspired truth?

    When I was a witness I always thought Solomon was so rich because of his wisdom, and he bartered and traded so darn well. If he mined it all that's a bit less impressive.

  • NewChapter

    I've never met anyone that thought the bible was ENTIRELY mythical. Perhaps the comments you heard were simply hyperbolic and thrown out there during a debate.

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