This must be embarrassing for the Pastor, because this outrageous outcome is contrary to what he was trying to do – defend the inerrancy of the Bible. His problem begins with Mark 2:26, which reads:
In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”
This statement is contrary to the Tanakh (Old Testament), which in 1 Samuel 21:1, which reads:
David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?”
The dilemma in this case is, either Abiathar or Ahimelek could be the High Priest of the Temple when David entered to eat the consecrated bread. Following what Christians usually do when a conflict occurs, the Pastor immediately harmonized the two incidents and stated they both were the High Priests of the Temple at the same time:
This method of harmonization is often employed generously by evangelical inerrantists. How this method works is explained in the following manner: There are two books, X and Y. From this, X says 2 people were present at an event, Y says that 3 people were present at the same event. In using harmonization, evangelicals like the Pastor can claim:
- There were both 2 persons and 3 persons, the recording of the number of persons differed according to the time. At one point there were 2 persons and later a third joined them.
- There were 5 people present, but X saw only 2 and Y saw only 3.
If we were to look at the Pastor’s comment, he utilizes this method by claiming the two were High Priests at the same time. However, this is impossible, as there can only be one High Priest of the Temple at a time. The Pastor demonstrates that he is ignorant of Jewish religious tradition, by applying a Christian understanding to the Jewish faith. What makes this hilarious, yet perilous to his inerrantist stance, is that the author of Mark either lied in his gospel, made a historical error or confused Ahimelek with his son, Abiathar. The only conclusion we can draw from this is that their is a historical error and thus this presents a problem for Samuel Green’s faith.
One exegesis on the error of Mark 2:26 says:
In the days or Abiathar the high priest: and yet from the history it is clear, that it was in the days of Ahimelech the high priest, the father of Abiathar; wherefore the Jew charges (k) Mark with an error, and Matthew and Luke too: whereas the two last make no mention of the name of any high priest; and it might be observed, that in the Persic version of Mark it is rendered, “under Abimelech the high priest”; and in an ancient copy of Beza’s, the whole clause is omitted; though it must be owned, that so it is read in other Greek copies, and in the ancient versions, the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and others: wherefore let it be further observed, that the fact referred to was done in the days of Abiathar, though it was before he was an high priest; and the particle may be so rendered, about, or “before Abiathar was high priest”, as it is in Matthew 1:11. – Gill’s Exposition of the Bible.
We can see that this error in Mark has embarrassed Christians for centuries as the manuscript record shows. Matthew and Luke, both of which were written after Mark, and which were based on Mark, exclude the name of the High Priest. The scribe of codex Bezae excludes the verse completely. Gill, in trying to gloss over this error, happens to make it worse:
that the names of the father and the son are sometimes changed; Ahimelech is called Abiathar, and this Abiathar is called Ahimelech, the son of Abiathar, 2 Samuel 8:17, and Abimelech the son of Abiathar, 1 Chronicles 18:16. And it seems as if both father and son had two names, and were sometimes called by the one, and sometimes by the other: for as the father is sometimes called Abiathar, the son is called Ahimelech, or Abimelech – Ibid.
Apparently, the Jews in writing the Tanakh, confused the father with the son at some point, and so the various other narratives that mention their names continued the error as they could not decipher which one of them was the father or the son. So not only has this error demonstrated that the Gospels are incapable of being from God, as they contain factual errors which embarrassed Christians, it also demonstrates the incompetency of the Jewish scribes to preserve their scripture. I’m not sure whose attempt at harmonization is worse between Pastor Samuel Green and John Gill, as Gill actually tries to use the error in the Tanakh to prove that Jews considered the names of a father and son to be interchangeable, as opposed to the scribes confusing the father and the son.
and God knows best.