How much water did the molten sea contain?
King James Bible - 1 Kings 7:26 - it contained 2000 baths
King James Bible - 2 Chronicles 4:5 - it received and held 3000 baths
NKJV - 1 Kings 7:26 - it contained 2000 baths
NKJV - 2 Chronicles 4:5 - It contained 3000 baths
ESV (NIV) - 1 Kings 7:26 - It held two thousand baths.
ESV (NIV) - 2 Chronicles 4:5 -It held 3,000 baths.
NASB (Catholic St. Joseph, New Jerusalem) - 1 Kings 7:26 - it could hold TWO thousand baths
NASB (Catholic St. Joseph, New Jerusalem) - 2 Chronicles 4:5 - it could hold 3,000 baths
Holman Standard - 1 Kings 7:26: "The reservoir was three inches thick...it held 11,000 gallons."
Holman Standard - 2 Chronicles 4:5 it says: "The reservoir was three inches thick...it could hold 11,000 gallons."
Dan Wallace’s NET - 1 Kings 7:26 - It could hold about 12,000 gallons.
Dan Wallace’s NET - 2 Chronicles 4:5 - It could hold 18,000 gallons.
An apparent contradiction that is in fact a contradiction in the NKJV, NIV, ESV, NET and NASB.
One of the proofs of the true Holy Bible, which in English is the King James Bible of 1611, is that is contains no provable errors. The modern bible versions all contain numerous real and not just apparent contradictions. A case in point is the differences between 1 Kings 7:26 and 2 Chronicles 4:5 where both sections speak of the molten sea constructed by king Solomon that stood upon twelve oxen. How much water did this molten sea actually contain?
In 1 Kings 7:26 we read: "And it was an hand breadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies: IT CONTAINED TWO THOUSAND BATHS."
However in 2 Chronicles 4:5 we read: "And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, and the brim of it like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and IT RECEIVED AND HELD THREE THOUSAND BATHS."
This obviously looks, at first glance, like a contradiction.
The NKJV, NIV, ESV, NET and NASB all read slightly differently than the King James Bible and it is this critical difference that in fact creates a very real rather than an apparent contradiction.
The NKJV in 2 Chronicles 4:5 reads: "It CONTAINED THREE thousand baths." Yet in 1 Kings 7:26 the NKJV, NIV and NASB all say: "It CONTAINED TWO thousand baths."
Some modern versions, like the NASB, say it "COULD HOLD 2000 baths" and "it COULD HOLD 3000 baths" which results in the same real contradiction.
The ESV has the same problem in that in both passages it says: "It HELD 3,000 baths." (2 Chronicles 4:5) versus "It HELD two thousand baths." (1 Kings 7:26)
The Holman Standard 2003-2009 has now come along and it confuses matters even worse. It says in 1 Kings 7:26: "The reservoir was three inches thick...it held 11,000 gallons."
Then in 2 Chronicles 4:5 it says: "The reservoir was three inches thick...it could hold 11,000 gallons."
The Holman "scholars" have changed the Hebrew texts and put the same number in both places. Then the Holman editors tell us in a footnote that they took the liberty of EMENDING the text to fit 1 Kings 7:26, but that the Hebrew in 2 Chronicles 4:5 literally reads 3000 baths.
Fine folks we are dealing with here, who take it upon themselves to change God's words just because it doesn't make sense to them! They decided to "emend" the text based on NOTHING except their own ignorance and presumption.
Do you think God will let them know on the Day of Judgment how much He appreciates all their help in correcting His words?
Daniel Wallace and Company's nutty NET version changes the Hebrew numbers and says: "It could hold about 12,000 gallons." in 1 Kings 7:26 but then in 2 Chronicles 4:5 it says: "It could hold 18,000 gallons"
And then they footnote "Heb “3,000 baths” - note that the capacity is given in 1 Kings 7:26 as “2,000 baths”
So Dan Wallace's NET version has a direct contradiction and his footnote implies that the Hebrew itself is in error.
These are today's fine$t $cholar$ at work in making today's Bible Babble Buffet Versions that nobody believes are God's infallible words.
To further show the utter confusion of going to the so called Greek Septuagint and the Syriac for "light", what we see here is more utter confusion.
The Greek LXX completely omits any number at all in 1 Kings 7:26. It merely says: "and all the hinder parts were inward, and the sea was above upon them." That's it. No number at all. However the Septuagint has the correct number of 3000 in 2 Chronicles 4:5 where it says: "holding 3000 measures".
But the Syriac is the opposite. It has the correct number of 2000 baths in 1 Kings 7:26, but in 2 Chronicles 4:5 the Syriac omits any number at all. Lamsa's translation of the Syriac says in 2 Chronicles- "And the thickness of it was a handbreadth, and its brim was round like the brim of a cup, very beautiful." That's it! No number; not even a mention of the baths.
Smith's Bible Dictionary also gets it wrong. It says: "It is said to have been 15 feet in diameter and 7 1/2 feet deep, and to have been capable of containing 2000, or according to (2 Chronicles 4:5) 3000 baths (16,000 to 24,000 gallons)." In other words, they are saying there is a contradiction in God's words.
The solution is really quite easy once you look closely at the correct reading found in the King James Bible. Not only does the KJB read the way it does but so also does the Bishops' Bible of 1568 - "it receaued and helde three thousande battes", The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, the Jewish Publication Society of America 1917 - "it received and held three thousand baths.", and the Hebrew Publishing Company of 1936, Webster's 1833 translation, the Revised Version of 1885, the ASV of 1901, Green's interlinear 1984, the Orthodox Jewish Bible of 2011, the 2004 Updated Bible Version - "It received and held three thousand baths.", the Third Millennium Bible 1998, the Hebrew Names Bible 2014 - "It received and held three thousand baths.".
Other English Bibles that followed the Hebrew text and got it right like the King James Bible in 2 Chronicles 4:5 with: "It RECEIVED AND HELD 3000 baths" are The Word of Yah 1993, God's First Truth 1999, Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah 2001, Green's Literal 2005, the Context Group Version 2007, Bond Slave Version 2009, English Jubilee Bible 2010, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, the Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011, the Hebraic Roots Bible 2012 - "it received and held 3000 baths", Interlinear Hebrew-Greek Scriptures 2012 (Mebust), and the World English Bible 2012 - "it RECEIVED AND HELD 3000 baths"
The Spanish Reina Valera Gómez Bible of 2010 got it right and correctly translates the Hebrew, as does the King James Bible. In 2 Chronicles 4:5 it correctly says: "y recibía y le cabían tres mil batos." = "and it received and held 3000 baths." but in 1 Kings 7:26 it correctly says: "y contenía dos mil batos." = "and it contained 2000 baths."
The Modern Greek Bible translates both sections in such a way as to solve this apparent contradiction. In 2 Chronicles 4:5 it says: "εχωρει δε πληρης ουσα τρεις χιλιαδας βαθ." = and BEING FULL it contains 3000 baths" and in the 1 Kings 7:26 passage it says: "εχωρει δε δυο χιλιαδας βαθ." = "it contains 2000 baths."
There are two verbs found in the Hebrew text in 2 Chronicles 4:5 and only one verb in 1 Kings 7:26. The NKJV, NIV, NASB, Darby, Geneva Bible - "it conteined three thousand baths.", RSV, NEB, NRSV, NET, Holman and ESV are all wrong and create a real contradiction by not translating the second verb found in 2 Chronicles 4:5. One verb is RECEIVED # 2388 and the second verb is HELD # 3557 three thousand baths.
1 Kings 7:26 tells us that the molten sea actually contained 2,000 baths of water, while the 2 Chronicles passage tells us that it could receive and hold 3,000 baths but it only contained 2,000 - thus is was only filled to two-thirds of its capacity. It is like saying "This gas tank holds 25 gallons; it contains 15 gallons of gas now."
Commentator who got it wrong.
Albert Barnes’ comments -“Three thousand baths - See 1 Kings 7:23 note. It is quite possible that either here or in Kings THE TEXT MAY HAVE BEEN ACCIDENTALLY CORRUPTED.”
Commentators who got it right.
Matthew Henry, the Bible commentator, got it right. He notes: "There was the molten sea, a very large brass pan, in which they put water for the priests to wash in, v. 2, 6. It was put just at the entrance into the court of the priests, like the font at the church door. IF IT WERE FILLED TO THE BRIM, IT WOULD HOLD 3000 BATHS(AS HERE, V. 5), BUT ORDINARILY THERE WERE ONLY 2000 BATHS IN IT, 1 KINGS 7:26."
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown also hit on the correct understanding, as found in the King James Bible, stating: "There is a difference in the accounts given of the capacity of this basin, for while in 1 Kings 7:26 it is said that two thousand baths of water could be contained in it, in this passage no less than three thousand are stated. IT MAY BE REMARKED THAT DIFFERENT WORDS ARE EMPLOYED; THE ONE IN 1 KINGS 7:26 RENDERED "CONTAINED"; THE TWO HERE RENDERED "RECEIVED AND HELD". THERE WAS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RECEIVING AND HOLDING. It received and held three thousand baths."
There is no real contradiction in the Hebrew text or the King James Bible, but THERE IS a very definite contradiction in the NKJV, NIV, ESV, NET, NASB and all Catholic versions like St. Joseph NAB, New Jerusalem bible and Douay-Rheims because they did not translate that second Hebrew verb.
The other bible versions like the Holman, that actually change the Hebrew texts, are also false witnesses to the truth as well.
This is only one of many such examples that prove them to be something less than the perfect words of God. By their fruits shall ye know them.
"A faithful witness will not lie; but a false witness will utter lies." Proverbs 14:5.
I think God puts things like these difficult numbers in his precious word to cause Bible critics to stumble and to reveal their unbelief and readiness to exchange the words of God for carnal, human reasoning.
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." 1 Corinthians 1:19.
Jeremiah 6:19-21 "Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it...Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons shall fall upon them."
Always give the benefit of the doubt to the King James Holy Bible, but never to its critics. God has given us many "clues" and evidence as to where His pure, inerrant words are found today. Believe the promises of God to preserve His inerrant words and ask Him for wisdom to understand them.
May God grant us the grace to be like king David who said: "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." Psalm 119:18
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