700 or 7,000 slain charioteers

Did David slay 700 (2 Samuel 10:18) or 7,000 charioteers (1 Chronicles 19:18)? Is there a contradiction?

That the texts do not agree is obvious, but note a few things:

  • If the same discrepancy were found in any other document from antiquity, it would be ignored.
  • Our Bible is a translation of copies of copies of the original document. The copying process presents an opportunity for errors. The issue is with the copies, not with the original, Spirit inspired document.

Adam Clarke notes:

…in former times, the Jews expressed, as they often do now, their numbers, not by words at full length, but by numeral letters; and, as many of the letters bear a great similarity to each other, mistakes might easily creep in when the numeral letters came to be expressed by words at full length. This alone will account for the many mistakes which we find in the numbers in these books, and render a mistake here very probable. The letter zain, with a dot above, stands for seven thousand, nun for seven hundred: the great similarity of these letters might easily cause the one to be mistaken for the other, and so produce an error in this place.

We acknowledge the existence of copyist errors. However, they are few and far between, and are found in insignificant details.

A response to 1001 Bible Contradictions.

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