Saul’s Sons – ATA

Did all of Saul’s sons die with him (1 Chronicles 10:6; 1 Samuel 31:2, 6) or not (2 Samuel 2:7-9)? Is there a contradiction?

1 Samuel 31 and 1 Chronicles 10 give us the same details about the death of Saul’s sons. Both texts say three of Saul’s sons died (1 Chronicles 10:6; 1 Samuel 31:6) and name the sons who died (1 Chronicles 10:2; 1 Samuel 31:2).

In 2 Samuel 2, hearing of Saul’s death, Abner, the commander of his army, made Saul’s son king. Not Jonathan, or Abinadab, or Malchishua—they all died on the battlefield. It was Ishbosheth who became king after Saul’s death.

Why does the questioner believe these verses are contradictory? Ishbosheth did not die in battle as his brothers did. Both 1 Samuel 31 and 1 Chronicles 10 list the sons who died; he was not among them. Did the questioner conclude that Saul only had three sons? No text says that.

I suspect the questioner is taking issue with a phrase in 1 Chronicles 10:6. There we read:

        “…and all his house died together.”

This doesn’t mean that all of Saul’s family died on the battlefield that day. It is limited to those spoken of in the context. Not only was Ishbosheth still alive, but so was Mephibosheth (a son of Jonathan, 2 Samuel 9), Saul’s daughters, along at least seven grand sons (2 Samuel 21:8-9).

There is no contradiction.

A response to 1001 Bible Contradictions.

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