How Many Charioteers Did David Kill?

ReformedWiki Post

Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning how many charioteers David killed. The argument is that 2 Samuel 10:18 says that David killed 700 charioteers, but 1 Chronicles 19:18 says that David killed 7,000 charioteers. However, there is a reasonable explanation that solves this alleged contradiction in the Bible.

Scriptures – How Many Charioteers Did David Kill?

David Killed 700 Charioteers – 2 Samuel 10:18

And the Syrians fled before Israel, and David killed of the Syrians the men of 700 chariots, and 40,000 horsemen, and wounded Shobach the commander of their army, so that he died there.

2 Samuel 10:18

David Killed 7,000 Charioteers – 1 Chronicles 19:18

And the Syrians fled before Israel, and David killed of the Syrians the men of 7,000 chariots and 40,000 foot soldiers, and put to death also Shophach the commander of their army.

1 Chronicles 19:18

The Answer – How Many Charioteers Did David Kill?

Probably a Copyist Error

The difference between 2 Samuel 10:18 and 1 Chronicles 19:18 is probably the result of a copyist error. The difference between 700 and 7,000 in Hebrew is extremely subtle—John Haley says that it is likely that “Nun final Final ן, was mistaken for dotted Zayin ז.”1

Copyist errors do not disprove the doctrine of biblical inerrancy because the claim is that there were no mistakes in the original copies.

Foundational Principles Regarding Bible Difficulties

There are some foundational principles that apply to all alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible. To read more, see Bible Difficulties: Foundational Principles.

More Answers to “Contradictions” in the Bible

To read more answers to alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible, see “Contradictions” in the Bible Answered.

These books are also excellent resources:

  1. Haley, John. ”Alledged Discrepencies of the Bible”, 382. []

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