13 for his sons carried him (Jacob) to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field for a burial site from Ephron the Hittite.
NASB  Genesis 50:13

16 From there they [our fathers] were removed to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
NASB  Acts 7:16

19 He (Jacob) bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem's father, for one hundred pieces of money.
NASB Genesis 33:19

32 Now they buried the bones of Joseph, which the sons of Israel brought up from Egypt, at Shechem, in the piece of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of money; and they became the inheritance of Joseph's sons.
NASB  Joshua 24:32

SAB Contradiction 241

A Bible Contradiction for many critics

It seems to be a great problem for the critics of the Bible that Stephen mentioned a tomb near the city of Shechem that Abraham had bought, while in the book of Joshua, Jacob is said to have bought a burial place near Shechem. How is that to be explained? Was it Abraham or was it Jacob who bought it?

John Wesley

This is an old problem, as even John Wesley seems to be confused about it: "Abraham bought a burying place of the children of Heth, Genesis 23. There Jacob was buried. Jacob bought a field of the children of Hamor. There Joseph was buried. You see here, how St. Stephen contracts these two purchases into one."
(John Wesley's Notes on the Old and New Testament)

Most commentaries present the opinion that there is a confusion in Acts 7:16. However, is that reasonable? Let’s start reading the texts.

Genesis 50:13

We are told that Jacob, who had died in Egypt, was brought to Canaan and buried in the grave near Hebron. This sepulchre had been bought by his grandfather Abraham. It is natural to suppose that this was the place he bought for Sarah’s burial. 

Acts 7:16

It is said here that the fathers – the founders of the tribes of Israel, who all died in Egypt – were brought to Canaan to be buried there after their death. That happened in the burial place near the city of Shechem, not Hebron. This burial place had been bought by Abraham and there is no reason to make a problem of that as Abraham – being the head of a great clan – was in need of several burial places in Canaan.

The term ‘the fathers’ means the sons of Jacob, the founders of the twelve tribes. Only Joseph is excluded; his body was embalmed and remained in Egypt, certainly because of the high position he had in Egypt. His sons Ephraim and Manasseh became tribe founders for their father Joseph.

Genesis 33:19 and Joshua 24:32

When Jacob entered into Canaan after his long stay in Haran, he brought offerings to God near Shechem and he was able to buy the small piece of land where he was offering. This was the place where Joseph was buried after the entry of the Israelites into Canaan under Joshua.

Three burial places

1. Abraham bought a burial place in Hebron, a resting place for the bodies of Sarah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
2. Abraham bought a second burial place, near Shechem, which became the resting place for the bodies of Jacob’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, but not Joseph.
3. Jacob bought a piece of land near Shechem and that became the burial place for Joseph.


There is no Bible Contradiction in Acts 7:16, but it is rather disappointing that Christians are so quick to lend their ears to critics instead of simply reading and believing their texts.

No Bible Contradiction