Welcome back gentle reader! Welcome to the second part of my Introduction to Undesigned Coincidences in the Bible. In the next few posts we will explore a few types of Undesigned Coincidences and you will see some examples of each using the Bible as a reference. I picked these because they were less involved than some others that would require the cross-referencing of several passages.
So, without further ado…
The first category we will look at will be coincidences that occur within the text of the Bible itself. These can be separated into several sub-categories including Same Book coincidences, Same Author coincidences, and Different Author coincidences. I have come up with these sub-categories myself simply for the convenience of organizing future blog posts. The only categories I have found in the literature (so far) are the basic internal/external ones.
Some coincidences are found in different parts of the same book. Needless to say it will be assumed that the same author penned each section. For this category we will be using an example from John James Blunt’s “The Veracity of the Five Books of Moses” pp. 144-147. In this example we see that in Numbers 7:6-8:
6 So Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites. 7 He gave the Gershonites two carts and four oxen corresponding to their service, 8 and gave the Merarites four carts and eight oxen corresponding to their service, under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest. (Scripture quotes from HCSB)
Why did the Merarites get twice as many carts and oxen as the Gershonites? No explanation is given.
If we look back to Numbers 4:25, 26 we see the duties of the Gershonites were to:
25 They are to transport the tabernacle curtains, the tent of meeting with its covering and the covering made of manatee skin on top of it, the screen for the entrance to the tent of meeting, 26 the hangings of the courtyard, the screen for the entrance at the gate of the courtyard that surrounds the tabernacle and the altar, along with their ropes and all the equipment for their service.
And the duties of the Merarites:
31 This is what they are responsible to carry as the whole of their service at the tent of meeting: the supports of the tabernacle, with its crossbars, posts, and bases, 32 the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their bases, tent pegs, and ropes, including all their equipment and all the work related to them.
From comparing these two passages you can assume the likely explanation for the different wagon allotments was because the Gershonites were in charge of the lighter elements of the tabernacle, the curtains, canvases and hangings, while the Merarites were in charge of the heavier articles, the posts, bases and crossbars.
Several chapters that deal with various topics like a census, uncleanness, compensations, rituals, vows and blessings separate these two passages. The fact that the reason for the Merarites getting more wagons than the Gershonites was not explained, and that this passage was separated from the earlier passage, implies that the writer felt no need to give a reason, therefore implying common knowledge. A fiction writer would be more likely to want to put these passages together to tie up loose ends and provide an explanation. Though this may not be a wholly convincing example, nevertheless it is another strand in the rope.
So, there we have it, short and sweet, but my first example of an Undesigned Coincidence. I know, it probably doesn’t give you “Church Shivers” to think about it, and it isn’t some knock-down argument. It is simply the first straw I am presenting, and you know what happens when you put too many straws on a camel’s back. In my next post we will look at an example of Same Author Coincidences using Paul’s letters in the New Testament. I am currently reading through William Paley’s "Horae Paulinae" for an appropriate example.
Until next time,