One of the alleged Bible contradictions that unbelievers will bring up is a discrepancy between 1 Kings 7:26 and 2 Chronicles 4:5. Was there 2,000 or 3,000 baths in the Bronze Laver? The Bronze Laver used by the priests is said to hold 2,000 baths of water in 1 Kings 7:26 but in 2 Chronicles 4:5, the laver is said to hold 3000.
The Bible makes it clear that it is the word of God. Unbelievers reason that if an unsolvable contradiction or error can be found in the Bible then the Bible can be proven to be a product of men and not God. Remember that if someone claims that there is a contradiction in the Bible, the burden of proof rests upon them to prove that there is no way to solve the alleged contradiction. If we can show that there is at least one way to resolve the alleged contradiction, then the accusation they bring against the Bible falls.
1Ki 7:26 “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.”
2Ch 4:5 “And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received and held three thousand baths.”
Was it a copyist error?
Some scholars believe that this is simply a copyist error. I personally shy away from such an idea, but here are two possible ways to solve this problem by considering it a copyist error.
A missing space between two words
www.ad2004.com argues that if a space is inserted into the word “shloshet” (found in 2 Ch 4:5) making the Hebrew read “shlo shat”, both texts would claim that the laver would contain 2,000 baths. Bible contradiction solved. If you would like to read the full article, click here. http://ad2004.com/prophecytruths/Articles/mathmystery.html
The Hebrew numbers 2,000 and 3,000 look very similar
Matt Slick of www.carm.org has a different take on the solution to this alleged Bible contradiction. Like the previous potential solution, he believes that it may have been a copyist error as well. Both the Hebrew numbers for 2,000 and 3,000 look alike. Matt argues that a tired copyist could easily have made this error. Bible contradiction solved. You can see Matt’s article here. http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/joshua-esther/how-many-baths-2000-or-3000
= 2,000 and = 3,000
The Laver could contain both, 2,000 or 3,000 baths
This is when we all slap our foreheads. A Laver that could contain 3,000 baths could also contain 2,000 baths. It’s very simple. All the new English translations of the Bible, except the KJV, leave out a verb in 2 ch 4:5 and it’s in this missing verb we find our solution. The laver was said to have “received and held three thousand baths.” This indicates that when full it could hold 3000 baths. 1 Kings 7:26 only says that it contained 2000 baths. In other words it’s simply saying that the laver held 2000 baths at the time the passage was written. The laver held 2,000 baths but when full it could hold 3,000 baths. Both Mathew Henry and the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentaries agree with this position.
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 Ki. 7:26.” Matthew Henry
“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.” Jamieson, Fausset and Brown
Bible contradiction solved.
Once again we see that the Bible does not contain contradictions. It is the inerrant word of God.
Here’s the entire mp3 podcast series on the Alleged Contradictions in the Bible, ready for download.