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 horses.

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....