ATA – Ammonite mercenaries

Did the Ammonites hire 32,000 (1 Chronicles 19:6-7) or 33,000 (2 Samuel 10:6) mercenaries? Is there a contradiction?

Let’s talk a look at the texts under consideration.

…they hired for themselves thirty-two thousand chariots, with the king of Maachah and his people, who came and encamped before Medeba. Also the people of Ammon gathered together from their cities, and came to battle. (1 Chronicles 19:7)

When the people of Ammon saw that they had made themselves repulsive to David, the people of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth Rehob and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand foot soldiers; and from the king of Maacah one thousand men, and from Ish-Tob twelve thousand men. (2 Samuel 10:6)

In 2 Samuel, three numbers are listed:

  • 20,000 foot soldiers
  • 1,000 from king Maacah
  • 12,000 from Ish-Tob

That is the 33,000 mentioned by the questioner.

The same 33,000 are listed in 1 Chronicles, if the questioner was willing to look for it. The 32,000 are 20,000 + 12,000, leaving 1,000 to be accounted for. In addition to the 32,000, 1 Chronicles says Maacah and his men went, but didn’t give us a number. 2 Samuel gives us the number. It is no surprise, there were 1,000 of them.

There is no contradiction.

A response to 1001 Bible Contradictions.

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