"To whom did Peter deny knowing Jesus?" (Alleged Contradiction #E4203)
Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.
And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: and when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.
But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not. … And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not. One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.
John 18:17, 25-27
The damsel that kept the door (a.k.a. “a damsel,” “one of the maids,” “a certain maid”)
- Another maid (a.k.a. “a maid [that] saw him again”), and she was with a group (“they”). Peter may have responded to a man within the group who followed up with a question of his own when he said, “Man,” or he may have used “man” as a figure of speech in his language, much like we do today in English.
- One of the servants of the high priest (a.k.a. “another”), and he too was with a group (“they that stood by”).
When the Bible says that “they” asked Peter versus a single member of the group asking Peter, this is no contradiction. Groups do not ask people questions in unison: one member from the group asks the question, or a few do one after the other (“Weren’t you with Jesus?” “Yeah, weren’t you?”, etc.).
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