Christian Denominations 2024

One Verse is Not Enough Blog 5

Harmony between the Verses of the Bible

One Verse is Not Enough

Blog 5

Israel and Judah

& “There were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men” (2 Samuel 24:9).
& “All Israel had one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and Judah had four hundred and seventy thousand men who drew the sword, but he did not count Levi and Benjamin among them” (1 Chronicles 21:5-6).
“The heads of fathers’ houses, the captains of thousands and hundreds and their officers, served the king in every matter of the military divisions. These divisions came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, each division having twenty-four thousand” (1 Chronicles 27:1).
“Gathered all the choice men of Israel, thirty thousand” (2 Samuel 6:1).

This makes us wonder because it is highly [1] unlikely that there can be more than one million men for the ten tribes Israel, and half million men for the two tribes of Judah. However, this make sense when we find out that the total numbers not only for the active army but also for the selective service (20 years and older).

Part of the active army is responsible for guarding the king. For each month 24,000 guard from each tribe protect the king (twelve tribes for twelve months). In total, there are 24,000*12 = 288,000 guards per year. in 1 Chronicles 27:1.
Also, there are guards for each tribe each month, “over the tribes of Israel” (1 Chronicles 27:16). Moreover, there are guards for the livestock in the kingdom and for the borders. “Ezri the son of Chelub was over those who did the work of the field for tilling the ground” (1 Chronicles 27:26).
“The stewards over all the substance and possessions of the king and of his sons, with the officials, the valiant men, and all the mighty men of valor” (1 Chronicles 28:1).
In total, 12,000 guards per year for the tribes, livestock, and stewards . The total guards for the king and the tribes are 288,000 + 12,000 = 300,000
300,000 + 800,000 mentioned in 2 Samuel 24:9 = 1,100,000 mentioned in 1 Chronicles 21:5-6
Lastly, there were 30,000 chosen men from Judah who helped the king to bring the ark, in 2 Samuel 6:1.
30,000 + 470,000 mentioned in 1 Chronicles 21:5-6 = 500,000 mentioned in 2 Samuel 24:9

[1]           Norman L. Geisler, and Thomas A. Howe. When critics ask: a popular handbook on Bible difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker , 2004. Print), 160.