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DezCall
Member



Joined: 2004/7/9
Posts: 315
The Netherlands

 2 Samuel 24 vs 1 Chronicles 21

In my daily reading I ran across 2 Samuel 24. My attitude in reading Gods word is very simple:

“The entirety of Your word is truth…” (Psalm 119:160).

I don’t doubt a single verse from the Bible and only because something seems contradictory to me, doesn’t mean it is. "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever..." (Deuteronomy 29:29)

But, with this in mind, I do have 2 questions concerning these chapters.

1. THE NUMBER OF THE FIGHTING MEN

2 Samuel 24:9
And there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

1 Chronicles 21:5
And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and a hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword.

Question
How is it possible that 2 Samuel 24 states that there were 800.000 men who drew the sword and 1 Chronicles 21 states that 1.100.000 people drew the sword?

I must say that I already did a search on this and found the commentary of Gill to be pretty reasonable. What do you guys think?

“…what seems to be the best solution of the difficulty is what is observed by a Jew (R. Eliezer), that here the number of the people in the several parts of the land of Israel was given, which were eight hundred thousand, there along with them, the numbers of the standing army which waited on the king in their courses, which were twenty four thousand every, month, and amounted in the twelve months to 288,000, and reckoning lo thousand officers to them, they make the sum of three hundred thousand wanted, see 1 Chronicles 27:1.”

2. THE DURATION OF THE FAMINE

2 Samuel 24:13a
So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land?

1 Chronicles 21:11-12a
So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee either three years' famine…

Question
How is it possible that in 2 Samuel God is giving David the choice to choose 7 years of famine, while in 1 Chronicles this famine is said to last only 3 years?

I did some research on this too and my NIV Study Bible says that in the Septuagint 2 Samuel 24 has “3 years” also, only in the Hebrew translation it says “7 years”. This explanation however doesn’t really satisfy me. I really could use some help here!

Thank you so much…

Your brother-in-Grace,

Paul


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Paul

 2005/5/31 4:46Profile
KingJimmy
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Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re: 2 Samuel 24 vs 1 Chronicles 21

So far in my own study, I've deteremined the numerical "contradictions" in the Scriptures are simply because of textual variants which are often the result of scribal error's made when copying by hand these books. For example, in the book of Acts, it is said that God brought a total of 75 people into Egypt at the end of Genesis, when in reality it was seventy people in all. Such can be explained by a bad copy of the LXX, which was their primary Bible at the time.

The Scriptures are full of such scribal errors. If you would look up some of the numbers spoken of in the Hebrew, you would see how easily such a copyist error could enter into the matter, as there might only be a very small difference in spelling between one number and the next, that a scribe who was perhaps copying too quickly, or was already tired from a long day of copying, incorrectly copied what he saw before him... and thus future scribes copied his incorrect copy, and so on.

Such is why most creed's I have seen defending the inspiration of the Bible, qualify it's inerrancy by "originally written" documents as being wholly without error.


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Jimmy H

 2005/5/31 6:39Profile
DezCall
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Joined: 2004/7/9
Posts: 315
The Netherlands

 Re:

Quote:
I've deteremined the numerical "contradictions" in the Scriptures are simply because of textual variants which are often the result of scribal error's made when copying by hand these books.



Thanks for your insight Jimmy. However, when you hold the view that "copyists" have made scribal errors...where do you draw the line?

I must admit that I can hardly believe that an almighty God who has given Himself so much time to convey His precious Word through mortal men, would allow copyists (note: I'm not talking about translations!) to have made such mistakes.

Quote:
For example, in the book of Acts, it is said that God brought a total of 75 people into Egypt at the end of Genesis, when in reality it was seventy people in all.



Although the Hebrew Bible uses the number 70 (Gen 46:27, Ex 1:5, Dt 10:22), the Greek translation of the OT (the Septuagint) adds at Ge 46:20 the names of one son of Manasseh, two of Ephraim, and one grandson of each. This makes the number 75 and is the number that Stephen uses.

To come back to my question. Anyone else with insights/answers to my 2 questions?

Thanks, Paul


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Paul

 2005/6/1 12:43Profile
KingJimmy
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Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

Quote:

I must admit that I can hardly believe that an almighty God who has given Himself so much time to convey His precious Word through mortal men, would allow copyists (note: I'm not talking about translations!) to have made such mistakes.



Well, the fact of the matter is we have thousands of hand copied manuscripts spanning 1,900 years out there, some having major differences, e.g. the short vs long versions of Mark's ending, countless mispellings, etc. So, based on overhwelming evidence, God has allowed such. Textual critics spend their scholarly career's comparing all these manuscripts, and trying to determine which are the best ones.

Go ahead, give it a try yourself. Get a copy of the Scriptures, and try hand writing a couple chapters, and then go comapre your work very closely from what you copied. Or you could do what some schools of copyists did, and have somebody read a passage out loud to a group of scribes, and you can copy what they read out loud. Try spelling some of those OT names just from hearing them out loud without making any errors :)


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Jimmy H

 2005/6/1 15:30Profile
DezCall
Member



Joined: 2004/7/9
Posts: 315
The Netherlands

 Re:

I found this explanation today on the internet about the difference between the two numbers in 2 Samuel 24:13 and 1 Chronicles 21:11 about the famine.

Typing: "2 Samuel 24 1 Chronicles 21" in the searchbar of Google gets this thread at number [b]2 of the 380.000 hits!![/b] Therefore I think it is necessary to deal with this subject very clearly.

With a hurried look, 2 Samuel 24:13 and 1 Chronicles 21:11 seem to be contradictory. However, I would suggest that the questioner slow down and read the Scriptures more carefully (and in context), for these texts are in full agreement.

David's choices of punishment for his sin before the Lord were:
1. Three years of famine;
2. Three months to be destroyed before his enemies;
3. Three days of pestilence in the land.

[b]1 Chronicles 21[/b]
In the 1 Chronicles 21 account, these three choices are given to David. Notice, that the latter two choices are parallel in the 2 Samuel 24 account, but the first choice is different, both in the number of years mentioned and in the way the punishment is worded. The Lord there does not invite David to chose 3 years of famine, but rather asks, [i]"...shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land?"[/i]

[b]2 Samuel 24[/b]
In 2 Samuel 21:1, it is written, [i]"...there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites." [/i]Three years of famine had already occurred. Add to this the current year (the time which passed from 2 Samuel 21:1 to 2 Samuel 24:13), and then the three years of famine as recorded in 1 Chronicles 21:11, and you have seven years of famine.

There is no contradiction.
Resource:[url=http://www.lookinguntojesus.net/ata20011007.htm]www.lookinguntojesus.net[/url]

In the Word that became flesh,
Paul


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Paul

 2005/6/6 14:08Profile









 Re:

so you just answered your own question??

lol. Great stuff. thanks though

 2005/6/10 23:06
GaryE
Member



Joined: 2005/4/26
Posts: 376
Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

 Re:


Dear Paul,

You may be right about the instances mentioned, however, I tend to agree with KingJimmy.

Years ago my opinion was the same as yours about the King James Bible. There came a day that I realized the King James Bible was a translation from original text and not the original text. For a while I was crushed by this thought. It was actually tormenting to me and brought me to a place of doubting. Thank the Lord that God had aready manifestated himself to me in ways that could not have been coincidental.

Paul, if you or anyone else ends up in a place of doubting and torment like happened to me, please remember that it is the Spirit that bears witness to you that is your real evidence. It is the Word not the written word that bears witness to you. God still speaks to me through the King James Bible and I'm sure would speak to me through some of the other versions if I read them, however, none of the English versions are the original text.

Also Paul, be very carefull not to get selfrightous about the bible. I've met people who were so self-rightous about their version of the bible that they lost their ability to minister to certain people.

In Christ,
GaryE


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Gary Eckenroth

 2005/6/11 0:23Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
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Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4502


 Re: 2 Samuel 24 vs 1 Chronicles 21

That is a clever point, DezCall...and great advice, GaryE.

Also remember that the Word of God is pure -- and cannot contradict itself.
However, [i]translations[/i] can sometimes be flawed.

Look at some of the translations out there -- including some of the modern "translations."
Some are purposely flawed -- like the "New World Translation" (Jehovah's Witness version). Others, like some mentioned lately on this site, are trying to delete the "gender" assignments from the Bible. No matter how well-meaning these "translators" may be, they often rely on their own cognitive judgement -- which is often flawed.

I spoke to a man who was one of the members who worked on the original New International Version. He said that the committee was aware that there are many manuscripts that are not available now, but were available during the time of the King James Version. Between 1611 A.D. and 1978 A.D., there have been wars, floods, fires, and more wars -- which sometimes resulted in the loss of old manuscripts.

The translators of the NIV realized this when translating their particular portions of Scripture. Sometimes, they would find something that was found in the King James Version (and other manuscripts of that time period), while the earliest manuscripts available today might not have that same portion of Scripture. But they realized that, since many versions of that time period contained that particular portion of Scripture, it was probably lost over time. An example of this would be John 7:59-8:11.

The translation "errors" that are sometimes pointed out are usually simple numeric or linguistic errors. The essence of Scriptural truths are not lost. This is incredibly amazing since the the Bible was scribed (by hand) over a period of thousands of years -- by men on several continents. While athiests point to the 0.0000001% of supposed "contradictary" words, they forget that 99.999%+ of the translations agree with one another -- even though the Bible has been translated in multiple thousands of languages!

Regardless, it is a great field of study to look into.
Remember..."[i]It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.[/i]" Proverbs 25:2

The Lord bless you on your search!

:-)


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Christopher

 2005/6/11 0:28Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: 2 Samuel 24 vs 1 Chronicles 21

This is old Adam Clark on 2 Sam 24
13 Verse 13. Shall seven years of famine] In 1Ch 21:12, the number
is three, not seven; and here the Septuagint has three, the
same as in Chronicles: this is no doubt the true reading, the
letter zain, SEVEN, being mistaken for gimel, THREE. A
mistake of this kind might be easily made from the similarity of
the letters.If you use a KJV you have a Hebrew alphabet in Psalm 119. Compare the Hebrew letter Gimel which is given as the title of verses 17-24 with the Hebrew letter Zain which is given as the title of verses 49-56.

Or you can use this [url=http://www.bible-researcher.com/hebrew-alphabet.html]Hebrew Alphabet[/url]


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Ron Bailey

 2005/6/11 3:22Profile
ByHisSpirit
Member



Joined: 2005/6/3
Posts: 16


 Re: 2 Samuel 24 vs 1 Chronicles 21

Hello Brother,

Concerning your question about the numbers given in 2 Samuel 24:9 en 1 Chronicles 21:5, Gleason and Archer write the following in "the enclopedia of bible difficulties" .

As far as Israel, the tribe north of Judah, is concerned, the 1 Chronicles figure includes all the available men of fighting ages, whether battle seasoned or not. But from 2 Samuel 24, we learn that Joas report gave a subtotal of 'mighty men' (is hayil in hebrew), i.e. battle seasoned troops, consisting of 800.000 veterans. In addition, there may have been 300.000 more of men in military age who served in the reserves but were not involved in field battle.

Hope this helps,

In Christ,
Fernando

Quote:

DezCall wrote:
1. THE NUMBER OF THE FIGHTING MEN

2 Samuel 24:9
And there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

1 Chronicles 21:5
And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and a hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword.

Question
How is it possible that 2 Samuel 24 states that there were 800.000 men who drew the sword and 1 Chronicles 21 states that 1.100.000 people drew the sword?

 2005/6/12 11:53Profile





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