Archive for November 17th, 2022


For today’s post we will tackle the question the Skeptic Annotated Bible asked: Is it OK to take a census?

Here are the two answers which the skeptic believes shows a Bible contradiction:

Yes, God likes censuses.

God told Moses to take several censuses during the Exodus

“The Lord also spoke to Moses, saying, 12 “When you take a census of the sons of Israel to count them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord, when you count them, so that there will be no plague among them when you count them.” (Exodus 30:11-12)

“Now the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, every male, head by head” (Numbers 1:1-2)

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying, 15 “Count the sons of Levi by their fathers’ households, by their families; every male from a month old and upward you shall count.” 16 So Moses counted them according to the word of the Lord, just as he had been commanded.” (Numbers 3:14-16)

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Count every firstborn male of the sons of Israel from a month old and upward, and make a list of their names.” (Numbers 3:40)

“Then it came about after the plague, that the Lord spoke to Moses and to Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying, 2 “Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel from twenty years old and upward, by their fathers’ households, whoever is able to go to war in Israel.”” (Numbers 26:1-2)

Solomon had a census (like his father David’s) and God didn’t mind at all.

“Solomon counted all the foreigners who were in the land of Israel, following the census which his father David had taken; and 153,600 were found.” (2 Chronicles 2:17)

No. God killed 70,000 men because of David’s census.

“So David said to Joab and to the leaders of the people, “Go, count Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me word so that I may know their number.”” (1 Chronicles 21:2)

“Now the anger of the Lord burned against Israel again, and He incited David against them to say, “Go, count Israel and Judah.” 2 So the king said to Joab the commander of the army, who was with him, “Roam about now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and conduct a census of the people, so that I may know the number of the people.” 3 But Joab said to the king, “May the Lord your God add to the people a hundred times as many as they are, while the eyes of my lord the king can still see; but why does my lord the king delight in this thing?” 4 Nevertheless, the king’s order prevailed against Joab and against the commanders of the army. So Joab and the commanders of the army left the presence of the king to conduct a census of the people of Israel. 5 They crossed the Jordan and camped in Aroer, on the right side of the city that is in the middle of the Valley of Gad and toward Jazer. 6 Then they came to Gilead and to [a]the land of Tahtim-hodshi, and they came to Dan-jaan and around to Sidon, 7 then they came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and of the Canaanites, and they went out to the south of Judah, to Beersheba. 8 So when they had roamed about through the whole land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. 9 And Joab gave the number of the census of the people to the king: in Israel there were eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men. 10 Now David’s heart [b]troubled him after he had counted the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, Lord, please [c]overlook the guilt of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” 11 When David got up in the morning, the word of the Lord came to Gad the prophet, David’s seer, saying, 12 “Go and speak to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: “I am imposing upon you three choices; choose for yourself one of them, and I will do it to you.”’” 13 So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee for three months before your enemies while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ of plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I shall return to Him who sent me.” 14 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into human hands.” 15 So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time, and seventy thousand men of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. 16 When the angel extended his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented of the disaster and said to the angel who destroyed the people, “It is enough! Now drop your hand!” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17 Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking down the people, and said, “Behold, it is I who have sinned, and it is I who have done wrong; but these sheep, what have they done? Please let Your hand be against me and against my father’s house!”” (2 Samuel 24:1-17)

(All Scriptural quotation comes from the New American Standard Bible)

Here’s a closer look at whether or not there is a contradiction:


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