I had a question regarding (Acts 7:15-16), (Matthew 9:18 / Mark 5:22-23)
and (Matthew 27:8-10).;-In the Acts passage, it says that Abraham bought
the tomb from the sons of Hamor, but it seems to conflict between what
Genesis says.;-In the first Matthew passage compared with Mark, did the
daughter die or was she dying? Each passage seems to be talking about the
same event, but give different facts about the daughter’s physical
state.;-In the Matthew passage, Matthew gives Jeremiah credit for the
prophecy of the 30 pieces of silver, but when I read Jeremiah, it’s not in
there. It seems to be more in Zechariah, and even that’s a little vague.
Can you clarify these passages for me?
Genesis 50: 12 says So Jacob’s sons did as he had commanded them: They
carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field
of Machpelah, near Mamre, which Abraham had bought as a burial place from
Ephron the Hittite, along with the field.
Here is my explanation. Acts describes the cave and field as being
bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem. It seems quite possible that
one of the sons of Hamor was in fact Ephron the Hittite. If Hamor was a
Hittite, then the “discrepancy” is easily explained.
About Matthew 9:18/Mark 5:22-23: Matthew has the man saying “my daughter
has just died.” Some manuscripts have a different reading of this
passage. Some Greek manuscripts have, “My daughter is now dying.” Mark
5:22 has “My little daughter is dying.” It is likely that a later copyist
was aware of the “discrepancy” and was trying to “improve” Matthew 9:18.
Such copyists did not do God or the Bible a favor by trying to “improve”
it! It would be nice if I could say that the second reading of Matthew
9:18 is the correct one, but probably it is not. The gospel accounts are
from eye-witnesses (Matthew) or from people who heard eye-witnesses
(Mark). We can expect some very minor discrepancies because they are the
best recollection of different witnesses. It is hard to see that there is
any signnificant difference between these two eye witnesses. The quotes
we have from Jesus and others in the New Testament are obviously not
word-for-word transcripts. We can expect extremely minor differences in
the memories of the eye witnesses such as that found in Matthew or Mark.
Is there any conceivable important difference between these two accounts?
Obviously no. Whether she was dead or in the process of dying seems
insignificant. Either way, the girl was dead when Jesus arrived at the
house, and Jesus raised her from the dead. The very slight differences
between the gospel writers show that they are indeed independent witnesses
to the events, which gives us more confidence than a single witness to the
As to Matthew 27:8-10, the prophecy referred to was in fact Zechariah. It
is entirely possible that Jeremiah also prophesied this event, but it is
not recorded in any of the canonical books of the Old Testament. Did
Jeremiah actually make such a prophecy, or was Matthew correct about the
prophecy but mistaken about the prophet? I am not sure, but either way,
the prophecy was made and it was fulfilled in Jesus. It is possible that
Matthew made a mistake. Even if he did, the point is that this amazing
event was prophesied. This is clear evidence of the inspiration of the
Bible! I definitely do not agree that Zechariah was vague. The prophecy
has God saying “thirty pieces of silver…. the handsome price at which
they priced me.” God (in the form of Jesus) was betrayed for thirty
pieces of silver. Not twenty, not forty, thirty!!! This is just about
the most specific prophecy in the Old Testament. The inspiration of the
Bible or lack thereof is not changed by whether or not Matthew made a
small mistake in naming the prophet from whom the prophecy came.
Remember, I am not even sure he is wrong, but it is possible that he is.
John Oakes, PhD