mean that he believed (or wanted his readers to believe) that the Israelites in David’s time
possessed darics. The chronicler merely expressed in
language that would be intelligible to his readers the sum of the gold donated by the Israelites,
without intending to assume that there were darics in use
in the time of David (Keil and Delitzsch). All he did was use a term that was popular in his own
day to help his readers better understand the sacrifice of
those who gave the gold (cf. Ezra 2:69; 8:27; Nehemiah 7:70-72).
The chronicler used a figure of speech known as “prolepsis” (the assignment of
something, such as an event or name, to a time that precedes
it). People often use prolepsis for the sake of convenience, or so that the reader or audience can
better understand what is being communicated. For
example, I might say, “My wife and I dated two years before we got married,” when
actually she was not my wife when we were dating, but a very
dear friend. We may see a special on television about when President Ronald Reagan was boy, but
the fact is, Ronald Reagan was not President of the United
States when he was a boy. From time to time, even the Bible uses this kind of accommodative
language. In John 11, the Bible speaks of a woman named Mary
who “anointed the Lord with ointment” (11:1-2), yet this anointing actually did not
occur for about three months. John merely spoke about it as
having already happened because when he wrote his gospel account, this event was generally known.
Another example of prolepsis is found in Genesis 13:3
where we read that Abraham “went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel.” This
area actually did not wear the name Bethel until years
later when Jacob gave it that name (Genesis 28:19). However, when Moses wrote of this name
hundreds of years later, he was free to use it even when writing
about a time before the name actually was given. Likewise, the chronicler used accommodative
language when explaining the free-will offerings given to help
in constructing the temple of God.
It is possible that this is not the first time the writer of Chronicles used such conversion
measures. In 2 Chronicles 4:5, it says that the molten Sea
that sat in the inner court of the temple held 3,000 baths (a bath was the largest of the liquid
measures in Hebrew culture). However, 1 Kings 7:26 says
that the same Sea held 2,000 baths. These numbers may be different because the “bath”
unit mentioned in 1 Kings was larger than the
“bath” unit used in 2 Chronicles. Since the Chronicles account was written after the
Babylonian exile, it is quite possible that reference is
made to the Babylonian bath, which might have been less than the Jewish bath used at the time of
Solomon (Clarke, 1996).
Admittedly, the writer of Chronicles used measures of his period familiar to modern readers
even when writing about events that took place 500 years
beforehand. However, converting measures does not destroy the inerrancy of Scripture!
Barnes, Albert (1997), Barnes’ Notes (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Clarke, Adam (1996), Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Dillard, Raymond B. and Tremper Longman III (1994), An Introduction to the Old Testament
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan).
Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch (1996), Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament
(Electronic Database: Biblesoft), new updated edition.
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary (1962), (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
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