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How many sons did Abraham have? 02

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

The god of contradictions 004


In our list “999 Bible contradictions…and counting” we enumerated fifteen contradictions in answer to this question. The second of them is featured as contradiction number 14 in said list.

The context in which this contradiction is found is as always Genesis 1: 1 to Revelation 22: 21. Genesis chapter 16 tells us how Abraham fathered his son Ishmael at the age of 86. Genesis 17 tells us how Abraham was ordered by god to circumcise himself and every male of his household, including his then thirteen year old son Ishmael. Both chapters clearly establish that Ishmael was Abraham’s firstborn son.


The narrative of Abraham’s bloodline picks up again in Genesis 21. Verses 1 to 6 of that chapter give us the account of Isaac’s birth, when Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah ninety. We don’t have to wait long before the god of the bible forgets his own word a second time. Genesis 25: 1-11 describes Abraham’s death. Within that passage, it is verse 9 that creates the contradiction with Genesis chapters 16 and 17. Hence, in reply to the question we find:


Only one: “Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” (Genesis 22: 2) Two: “His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite,” (Genesis 25: 9)

Is it a contradiction? Yes, clearly. Abraham has either one son, or he has two sons. Opposed to Genesis 22, chapter 25 recognizes that before Isaac was born Abraham already fathered his son Ishmael.

Did we mention already how the plot just keeps getting denser as the bible progresses? Indeed, for chapter 25 mentions 6 more sons of Abraham by name. As we shall see in our next examples, god will contradict those words again later on.


Darryl P. Arnaiz, 03 September 2023

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