ABC:2 Kings 20

From BibleStrength

Verses 1-6

Jim Meritt of Infidels includes on his "List of Biblical Contradictions" the question, "[Does] God change?"[1] The EvilBible also makes this claim.[2] Don Morgan's list also claims this is a contradiction.[3]

Perhaps the best answer is that provided by CARM, "When God says that He does not change, He is speaking about His nature and character. But this does not mean that He cannot change how He works with people throughout history."[4] For a similar passage to Malachi 3:6, see Psalms 89:34 - "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." Here it is explained why the "sons of Jacob are not consumed" and what change is being discussed.

Clearly God by saying "I change not" as seen in the above passage is referring to His covenants with Abraham, Jacob, and David to preserve a lineage as His chosen people. It is for this reason that God numerous times when disgusted with Israel did not wipe them off the face of the planet (which judging by his frustration levels expressed numerous times, He would certainly have liked to do). Instead as God promised David, He used punishments (v. 32) but He refused to break His covenant that David's seed would endure for ever. (v. 36)

This can also be seen from the following passage with Moses where God ends up "repenting" for punishing Israel's idolatry of the golden calf:

God does not change His covenants and promises, and this is repeated throughout the Bible:

Nonetheless, God can be seen numerous times to change His mind or regret His decisions. (e.g. Ge. 6:6; 1 Sam. 15:11,35; Jon. 3:10)

While God does not regret doing wrong (since God does not sin or do wrong), He can be seen to regret justifiable punishments enacted on evil human beings. (e.g. Ex. 32:14; Deut. 32:36; Jg. 2:18; 2 Sam. 24:16; 1 Chr. 24:15; Ps. 90:13; 106:45; 135:14; Jer. 26:19; Am. 7:3-6; Jon. 3:10)

Some of the confusion may be caused the archaic usage by the KJV of the word "repent" which is used to mean God simply being sorrowful, even for executing just punishments, and usage of the word "evil" which is used simply to mean a harsh punishment. See for example its usage in Jeremiah 18:8-13 where God says He will "repent of the evil" He does in punishing evil nations as long as they turn from their evil, and that if they do evil then He will "repent of the good". In KJV-speak, verse 12 even continues with "Thus saith the Lord; Behold I frame evil against you... return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good."

Unfortunately, the KJV's continued popularity results in confusion over archaic wording that is centuries out of date. Perhaps people forget that words in the English language meant different things when the KJV was translated in 1611 than they do now, over 400 years later.


  1. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Internet Infidels.
  2. Thiefe, Chris. Biblical Contradictions.
  3. Morgan, Donald. Bible Inconsistencies: Bible Contradictions? Internet Infidels.
  4. Does the Lord Change or Not? Christian Apologetics Research Ministry.