Tuesday, September 26, 2023

All the mighty men of valour (2Samuel 23)

2Samuel chapter 23 only opens with a contradiction if you assume all of this is chronological, which, as I said in the last chapter, I don't believe to be true. What were the last words of David? This chapter claims these verses were, 1Kings 2 does not make such a claim.

How many men did the chief of David's captains kill? This seems possible to be a contradiction, but notice that the names are different in 1Chronicles 11. It seems more likely to me that David had two different chiefs at different times. Admittedly, "Hachmonite" and "Tachmonite" look very similar in Hebrew, although 800 and 300 do not. I should also note that with these numbers being so round, probably both 800 and 300 are rounded up.

How many mighty men did David have? I always find it interesting when a supposed contradiction comes up in a single narrative; I usually assume that there's a misunderstanding rather than an actual contradiction. So what is going on here? Was the author of this chapter bad at counting? If, indeed, there are 36 here, I have a suggestion: David was #37. It's a real possibility, but now I'm going to immediately pivot and give what I think is an even better idea: Joab. Joab is only tangentially touched on in the list here, but it seems rather likely given Joab's track record throughout the story of David, that Joab would be considered one of the "mighty men". The person who wrote this may have felt they included Joab since his name appears in there twice.

1 comment:

Brucker said...

I wasn't going to mention it, but I suppose I should... When I went through to count the mighty men the first time, I came up with 34. I was very confused, then I realized I was counting in the NIV on accident. I'd be curious to know what's up with the source material and translation choices that yielded such a difference. (The main things were that after Jonathan, the phrase "the son of" appeared, and "Bani the Gadite" wasn't there at all. Odd.