Biblical discrepancies in God Passes By
by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice1993-02-15
1: Letter to the Universal House of Justice
Dearly loved friends,
Allah'u'Abha. There are several seeming discrepancies in the list of biblical references given in God Passes By. I am writing to find out if you have any information that concerns these problems or that might help clarify the subject. In God Passes By, the following two points are stated on page 95:
(1) Ezekiel had extolled Him as the "Lord" Who "shall be king over all the earth," . . .'The punctuation and italic indicate that these are quotations. However, closer examination suggest that these sentences may contain publication errors.
(1) There does not appear to be any verse in the Book of Ezekiel using words such as "shall be king over all the earth."(The closest being verses 37:22, 24; "shall be king to them all [the Jews]" and "David my servant shall be king over them").
Concerning (#1): It seems to me that the intended verse is Zechariah 14:9, which says the "Lord shall be king over all the earth." Zechariah is the prophet mentioned by Shoghi Effendi in the previous sentence, and it may be that these two sentences should have been one (deleting Ezekiel), or that the second sentence should have begun with "Zechariah." Concerning (#2): In addition to Ezekiel, the second prophet that refers to the "day of the Lord" could have been one from among Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Malachi. Since Joel and Zephaniah are already mentioned previously, and Malachi follows, Amos or Obadiah may have been the intended prophet. I would favor Amos, but I can see no way of knowing for certain with the limited information I have.
I am doing a verse-by-verse study of biblical references in God Passes By to be included in a forthcoming publication. Any information that you might be able to provide to resolve questions arising from the above issues would be greatly appreciated. I am deeply grateful for all the help the Research Department has offered me over the years in answering my letters.
Warmest Bahá'í regards,
2. Response from the Department of the Secretariat30 September 1994
Dear Bahá'í Friend,
We greatly regret the long delay in answering your letter of 15 February 1993 to the Research Department in which you draw attention to two discrepancies on page 95 of God Passes By. A correction to the first of these was approved by Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf on 7 June 1954. All National Spiritual Assemblies and Bahá'í Publishing Trusts were notified of this correction on 30 November 1988, namely that lines 6 and 7 of page 95 should read: "Zechariah had extolled Him as the 'Lord' Who 'shall be king over all the earth,' . . ."
Following the receipt of your letter, the Research Department studied the second discrepancy and found that, while the Guardian's final typescript has the same reading as the published version: "His Day Ezekiel and Daniel had, moreover, both acclaimed as the 'day of the Lord' . . .", the handwritten first draft contained many corrections and insertions, and it is not surprising that here too an error of attribution has occurred. As you point out, it is not possible to ascertain which of the prophets who mention the day of the Lord would have been quoted by Shoghi Effendi had this discrepancy been drawn to his attention.
The House of Justice does not wish to authorize at this time a change to the text of God Passes By to correct this attribution. There are a number of similar problems that have been found from time to time, and the House of Justice proposes, in due course, to consider the whole matter in detail and decide what action should be taken. It does not want to initiate a process of piecemeal correction.
Your own verse-by-verse study of the biblical references in God Passes By may reveal other discrepancies, and the House of Justice would greatly appreciate being informed of any that you come upon.
For the Department of the Secretariat