Conflicts in the Biblical Account of the Ammonite-Syrian War -- By: Zane C. Hodges

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 119:475 (Jul 1962)
Article: Conflicts in the Biblical Account of the Ammonite-Syrian War
Author: Zane C. Hodges


Conflicts in the Biblical Account of the Ammonite-Syrian War

Zane C. Hodges

In the parallel Biblical narratives of David’s Ammonite-Syrian War, certain discrepancies have been observed. These seeming contradictions in the Scriptural accounts consist of conflicting statements at two points by the authors of Samuel and Chronicles.

The passages in question are the following:

2 Samuel 10

1 Chronicles 19

v. 6

And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ish-tob twelve thousand men.

v. 6

And when the children of Ammon saw that they had made themselves odious to David, Hanun and the children of Ammon sent a thousand talents of silver to hire them chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia, and out of Syria-maachah, and out of Zobah.

v. 7a

So they hired thirty and two thousand chariots, and the king of Maachah and his people; who came and pitched before Medeba.

v. 18

And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.

v. 18

But the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians seven thousand men which fought in chariots, and forty thousand footmen, and killed Shophach the captain of the host.

While these discrepancies have long been noticed by commentators and expositors, only recently they have been given a contemporary interest through a work purporting to defend conservative Christianity. The writer adduces the passages,1

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