Letter in Biblical Errancy, March 1987, p. 5
Letter #201 from Jim Lippard, P.O. Box 37052, Phoenix, Arizona 85069
Dear Dennis.... According to Exodus 9:1-7, the fifth plague killed all of the
field livestock, horses, donkeys, camels, herds, and flocks of the Egyptians.
In Exodus 14:6-9, 17-18, 23, 25-26, and 28 the Egyptians chased after the Hebrews
with chariots and horsemen. I guess the 5th plague didn't inconvenience the
Egyptians much, since they were apparently able to quickly replace all their dead
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world..." but 1 John 2:15 says, "Do not
love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love
of the father is not in him." Looks like another case of "do as I say, not as I do."
A biblical Catch-22: Luke 4:26 says, "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own
father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his
own life, he cannot be My disciple." But 1 John 3:15 says, "Everyone who hates his
brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."
[This letter was responded to by Letter #216 from RB of Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania in
Biblical Errancy Issue #54 of June 1987]:
Letter #216 from RB of Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania
Dennis McKinsey: I want to thank Jim Lippard (Letter #201, BE #51) for
pointing out that Exodus 9:6 (in the TEV, ML, NEB, NASB, and the
NIV--Ed.) has all the Egyptian livestock, including horses killed off
in a plague; yet soon after, in Ex. 14, Egyptian chariots and horsemen
are in action. An honest look at this case spells doom for any
inerrantist reading of it. However, watch for a superficial biblicist
"trap." The fundie will often just switch translations in order to
pick a reading more favorable to his position; this is the fallacy of
employing the "Skip to the Most Convenient Version Evasion Maneuver."
In this case he may cite the KJV, where Ex. 9:3 lists cattle, horses,
asses, etc. separately in the threat of destruction, but only with
"all the cattle" is the actual killing done in Ex. 9:6. Thus horses
are not explicitly killed in the KJV; the RSV agrees. It is useful to
have some familiarity with many versions. First ask the biblicist
which is his Bible of choice; then zero in on the inevitably numerous
contradictions that his version features most strongly....
Besides the horse contradiction there is a second one in this
Exodus story and even the King James and the Revised Standard are not
off the hook on this one. Ex. 12:29 clearly states in both versions
that in the final plague all the first born of the Egyptians' "cattle"
were killed--when several plagues prior to this we were told that "all
the cattle" (9:6) of the Egyptians had already been wiped out....