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Answering The Atheist
November 18, 2007 / Volume 7, Issue 46

THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Did Jehoshaphat remove the high places? 2 Chronicles 17:5-6 indicates yes, but 1 Kings 22:42-43 and 2 Chronicles 20:31-33 indicate no. Is there a contradiction?

RESPONSE:
Indeed, 2 Chronicles 17:6 tells us that the high places were removed, and yet 2 Chronicles 20:31-33 (1 Kings 22:42-43) say that the high places were not taken away. On the face, without any consideration this may appear to be a contradiction; let us give some consideration.

That the same writer, in basically the same context (only 3 chapters separating the two statements) said both that the high places were removed, and that they were not taken away should cause us to think that he was not speaking about the same high places in both instances. What distinguished those removed from those which remained? Likely what they were used for. Those used for pagan worship would have been destroyed, but those which were not so employed, seem to have been left intact. These did not remain because Jehoshaphat was not willing to remove them, but "...as yet the people had not directed their hearts to the God of their fathers." (20:33) Rather than worshiping God at the temple, as they ought, some in Judah worshiped Him at the high places. Jehoshaphat was not as direct with the people about their worship of God at the high places (2 Chronicles 32:12).

There is a valid explanation, that some high places were removed, others were not. There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible