Bible Query from
Q: In 2 Sam, when was this book split from 1 Sam?
A: In Jewish Bibles today they are one book. 1 and 2 Kings are also one book. According to both the Believer's Bible Commentary p.295 and Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.267, 1 and 2 Samuel were split when the Septuagint was translated about 250 B.C. In the Septuagint they are called 1, 2, 3, and 4 Kings respectively.
It is not important whether 1 and 2 Samuel are treated as one book or two. What is important is the content contained in 1 and 2 Samuel.
Q: In 2 Sam, what archaeological evidence do we have of David's rule?
A: Prior to 1993 we had none, but now we have three archaeological artifacts that may refer to David.
The Tel Dan Stele was created of expensive stone by an Aramaic ruler around 800 B.C. It mentions "Jehoram son of Ahab, King of Israel" and "Ahaziahu son of Jehoram, king of the House of David"
Mesha Stele (11-18) in Moab mentions "the house [of Da]vid." You can see a picture of the Mesha Stele, also called the Moabite Stone, in the Rose Book of Charts, Maps & Time Lines p.77.
Shoshenq Relief in Thebes, Egypt commemorates the raid of Pharaoh Shoshenq/Shishak into Judah in 925 B.C. It mentions the "highland/heights of David"
See http://theophilogue.com/2009/04/24/extrabiblical-evidence-for-king-david/ (Jan. 4, 2014) for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 1:4-10, why do the Amalekite's words contradict the account of Saul's death in 1 Samuel 31:3-5?
A: The simplest answer is that the Amalekite was lying, because he thought David would give him a reward. Apparently the Amalekite came upon Saul before the Philistines did because the Amalekite made off with the crown and armlet, and the Philistines took the armor.
The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 3 p.806 says that Josephus erroneously attempted to harmonize the Amalekite's words with 1 Samuel 31, but there is no need to try, if the Amalekite was lying.
See also Hard Sayings of the Bible p.218, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.181-182 and When Critics Ask p.168-169 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 1:6-15, why did David kill the messenger?
A: David considered respect for the office of king more important than how quickly he could become king. David might also have been less concerned about God breaking His promise than people not respecting the government. These two issues: trust in God ultimately working things out, and trusting that God's timing is best, are important aspects of our faith in God today, too.
Q: In 2 Sam 1:18 (KJV), how did David teach the men of Judah the use of the bow?
A: While Egyptians and others had been using bows and arrows for a couple of thousand years before David, the bow might not have been common among Israelites. See the discussion on 1 Samuel 13:22 for the weapons they probably used at that time.
Nevertheless, while KJV accurately translates this as "teach the children of Judah the use of the bow", with "the use of" in italics, the NASB, NIV, NRSV, NKJV, and Green's literal Translation are different. Instead of "the use of", these have "the song/lament of" in italics or else have a footnote explaining this.
If the KJV rendering is correct, 2 Samuel 1:18 is a parenthetical phrase, perhaps explaining why Jonathan had a bow in 2 Samuel 1:22. If the other translations are correct, the song is entitled "the lament of the bow", perhaps because Jonathan, (but not Saul) used a bow.
Q: In 2 Sam 1:19-27, what is unusual about this poetry?
A: These verses contain a type of Hebrew literary symmetry commonly found in the Old Testament called a chiasm. Here is the structure.
2 Sam 1:19 Jonathan (implicit)
— 2 Sam 1:20 both men (implicit)
— — 2 Sam 1:21 Saul (explicit)
— — — 2 Sam 1:22-23 (Jonathan and Saul (explicit)
— 2 Sam 1:24 Saul (explicit)
— 2 Sam 1:25-26 Jonathan (explicit)
2 Sam 1:27 both men implicit
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary : Volume 3 p.810 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 1:23, why did David say Saul was lovely and pleasant in his life?
A: David would have had a lot to complain about if he had chosen to do so. David was being polite and calling to mind the earlier and better part of Saul's life.
One naturally might expect David to have a bitter hatred of Saul in his heart. His remarks here show that he chose not to carry this grudge. Likewise, we have a choice on whether we want to carry hatred and grudges in our heart or not. Matthew 18:21-35 and 1 Corinthians 13 show that we must not.
Q: In 2 Sam 2:1, why would God want David to make Hebron his capital?
A: Scripture does not say, but we can see three reasons.
1. Hebron was one of the largest cities in Judah.
2. The Israelites in the north had not accepted David as king, yet.
3. Hebron was in the mountains and safer from Philistine attack.
Q: In 2 Sam 2:5-7, why did David especially send messengers to the town of Jabesh Gilead?
A: They might think their actions to honor Saul and Jonathan would make the new king, David, angry at them. David deliberately sent messengers to assure them that was not the case, and David respected the memory of Saul and Jonathan.
Q: In 2 Sam 2:8, why is Ish-bosheth called Esh-baal in 1 Chr 8:33?
A: Baal can mean master, Lord, or a Canaanite god. Saul named his son Ish (man) of Baal, most likely with the intent of master or Lord. The writers or copyists probably changed the name to bosheth meaning shame. See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.112 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 2:8, why did Abner not support David?
A: While Scripture does not say, remember that Abner probably was one of the army leaders who earlier pursued David. Often people suffer from one of two problems. Either they are not loyal when they should be, or they are loyal to what they should not be.
A prime example was the brilliant German chemist Fritz Haber. He was the father of the Haber process, which was a way to extract nitrogen from the air. This enabled Germany to manufacture explosives without relying on imports from Chile or other countries. Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts p.254 points out that if it were not for Haber's work, Germany would have been forced out of World War I by 1916. Haber also directed Germany's poison gas development in World War I. Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.254 also mentions that Haber was exiled when Hitler came to power, because Haber was Jewish.
What are all the things to which you are loyal?
Q: In 2 Sam 2:9 (KJV), who were the Ashurites?
A: These were people from the tribe of Asher. These were not from Asshur, the early capital of Assyria.
Q: In 2 Sam 2:10, did Ish-bosheth reign two years, or did David reign for seven and a half years in Hebron in 2 Sam 2:11 and 2 Sam 5:5?
A: Christians have two different answers.
David reigned over Judah only for seven and a half years: Ish-bosheth, Abner, and the Israelite army had to retreat east across the Jordan River after the Philistines' victory. Ish-bosheth was made king over Gilead, Ashuri, and Jezreel first, according to 2 Samuel 2:8-9. Only after five and a half years did they reconquer enough territory west of the Jordan. Therefore, Israel had no king for 5 1/2 years, then Ish-Bosheth reigned for two years, and then David. The skeptical work Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.298-299 also mentions this. See When Critics Ask p.171, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.183-184, and 735 Bible Questions Answers p.113 for more info on this answer.
David reigned in Hebron for seven and a half years: While there might have been a small delay before Ish-bosheth was crowned, the seven and a half year period referred to all the time David reigned in Hebron prior to capturing Jerusalem and reigning there. Between the time that Ish-bosheth was murdered and David reigned in Jerusalem, David reigned no where else but at Hebron. Therefore, Ish-bosheth was king over Israel for two years, then David was king over both Israel and Judah for 5 years in Hebron, then David moved his capital to Jerusalem.
Q: In 2 Sam 2:26-32, why did Joab stop pursuing Abner's army?
A: Scripture does not say. Perhaps Joab knew this was a senseless war, and he was happy to stop as soon as Abner was.
Q: In 2 Sam 2:30-31, why were the losses, 375 vs. 20, so lopsided?
A: David probably learned of new weapons and new techniques, from fighting against the Philistines, from fighting on the same side as the Philistines of Gath (1 Samuel 27), and having some of the Philistines in his army. (They were called Cherethites and Pelethites.) 2 Samuel 1:18 also says that David taught his soldiers how to use bows and arrows.
Q: In 2 Sam 3:8 why did Abner sarcastically ask if he was a dog's head?
A: Note that he did not say "dog", but "dog's head". The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.3 p.8 says that Jewish commentators interpreted to mean Abner was asking if he thought Abner was the head/leader of a just a pack of dogs.
Q: In 2 Sam 3:14-16, why did David take Michal away from her husband Phaltiel?
A: When a man marries a woman who is still married, and the husband has not divorced her or abandoned her, this is a messy situation. David did not voluntarily leave her, but he was forced to be on the run by Michal's father. There is no mention whether Michal protested the second marriage or not. David was within his rights as the first husband to demand her back. However, there is also no mention about whether David did what was best, or whether David was motivated primarily by love for Michal or by pride. Since he "took her away" from Phaltiel, that indicates that he did not harm Phaltiel, who was in a rather awkward situation with his king.
Remarriage can be a messy situation today. At the very least, it is important to talk with all involved.
Q: In 2 Sam 3:27, 2 Sam 4:6, and 2 Sam 20:10, why were Abner, Ish-bosheth, and Amasa all killed under the fifth [rib]?
A: This likely was an expression meaning they were stabbed in the lower part of the ribs. The NIV translates this as "stabbed in the stomach".
Q: In 2 Sam 3:28-36, was David's kingdom really guiltless of the blood of Abner?
A: Perhaps not. It was Joab, acting alone, who killed Abner. However, David did not act justly and have Joab arrested and executed for murder.
Q: In 2 Sam 4:8, why did the assassins bring Ish-bosheth's head to David?
A: They apparently thought David would be pleased seeing the head of his enemy. Ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Romans, and others kept heads as trophies.
However, David rejected that, and in fact, ordered the execution of these men, who betrayed their master.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.3 p.848 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 5:7, how big was the citadel of Jerusalem?
A: The citadel was a "fort" within the city and a place of last refuge. In 1983 Yigal Shilo what was probably the citadel in pre-David times, and it is large, 2,150 square feet. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.3 p.858 and Hershel Shanks, "The City of David After Five Years of Digging" in Biblical Archaeology Review 11, 6  p.25-26 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 5:8, why did David hate the lame and blind?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
1. Since the lame and blind were not every mobile, the Jebusite leaders assigned them the task of being the soldiers that guarded the water shaft.
2. The lame and blind were not normally a part of battles. In fact, there is no record of David or anyone else ever fighting the lame and blind apart from this one case.
3. But here, since they shed their non-combatant status to fight David, David and his men fought against them, regardless of how distasteful it was.
Q: In 2 Sam 5:9, 1 Ki 9:15, 2 Ki 12:20, 2 Chr 32:5, what was the Milo (or Millo)?
A: Archaeologists are not certain what Millo was, but the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1120-1121 says it might have been a fortress on the north side of the walls of Jerusalem.
The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.651 says it was a raised mound, called a rampart, outside the city of David.
Regardless, it had strategic importance, as David built it up, Solomon strengthened it (1 Kings 9:15, 24; 11:27), and Hezekiah strengthened it against the Assyrians in 2 Chronicles 32:5.
Q: In 2 Sam 5:11 and 1 Ki 5:1, Since Hiram of Tyre was so famous, was he anachronistically placed on the throne in David's time as the skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.304,325 claims?
A: No. Asimov says that Hiram of Tyre had just become king in 969 B.C., four years after Solomon (Asimov p.325). However, The NIV Study Bible p.479 says Hiram ruled from about 978-944 B.C. and that he might also have ruled as co-regent with his father as early as 993 B.C.. The Nelson Study Bible p.567 also says Hiram ruled from 978-944 B.C. The New Geneva Study Bible p.480 says Hiram ruled from about 980-947 B.C.
Q: In 2 Sam 5 and 6, did David bring the ark to Obed-Edom's house after defeating the Philistines, or before as 1 Chr 13 and 14 imply? (A Muslim brought this up.)
A: 1 Chronicles 13 and 14 do not say it was before defeating the Philistines. There is no difficulty once you realize the passages do not have to be in chronological order. Unless a passage transitions with "then" or "afterwards" or something similar, they can be at the same time or in either order.
2 Samuel 6:1 has the word "again" in it, but the "again" does not necessarily mean after the fighting. There also is no time-order word in 1 Chronicles.
In a similar way Sura 16:115-119 says that various foods were prohibited to the Jews. Yet Sura 16:120 talks about Abraham. Jews started with Jacob, Abraham's grandson, so these are out of order. So is this a problem in the Qur'an? In this particular case no, because the Qur'an did not claim these verses were in order. There was no time-order word in Sura 16:119-120.
Q: In 2 Sam 5:17-8:18, is unusual about the structure of this passage?
A: This is a literary device common in Hebrew called a chiasm, with symmetry of the lines.
— David defeats the Philistines (5:17-25)
— — David brings the ark to Jerusalem (6:1-23)
— — — God makes a covenant with David (7:1-17)
— — David prays to the LORD (7:18-29)
— David defeats his enemies (8:1-14)
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 3 p.861 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 6:1-5, what commendable thing did David do here?
A: David had just become the sole king of Judah and Israel, and yet David put God first. When you are successful, or anointed king over something, do you throw a party for yourself, or have a worship celebration for God, your king?
Q: In 2 Sam 6:3 and 1 Chr 13:7, what did David do wrong here?
A: David honored God by especially putting the ark on a new cart. However, this was not the proper way to handle the ark. The ark was to be transported by inserting poles through the loops, and having the Levites, not animals, carry it.
Today sometimes we can do things to especially honor God. However, God wants us to honor Him only in ways that do not contradict what the Bible teaches.
Q: In 2 Sam 6:6-7 and 1 Chr 13:9-14, why did God kill Uzzah?
A: Uzzah and the others showed disrespect for God by carrying the ark on a bumpy cart in 2 Samuel 6:3. It was supposed to be carried on poles, and only by the Levites. Some have thought that God was unjust to kill Uzzah for trying to steady the ark.
There are two points to consider, though.
1. Uzzah and the others were not treating the ark with the respect God commanded them to give it. David later realized that he was wrong in permitting a casual attitude toward the ark in 1 Chronicles 15:13.
2. God apparently was more concerned with the respect people showed the ark, than whether or not it went in the mud. Mud would not hurt the gold anyway.
3. On God's objects of worship, God has the right to set the rules. Our service to God must be on God's terms, not our terms.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.219-221 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 6:6-7, why did God not kill the Philistines who handled the ark, since God killed Uzzah for touching it in 2 Sam 6:6-7?
A: The Bible does not say whether or not the Philistines handled the ark with their hands or with the poles. Either way though, God knew they were unaware of God's rules about the ark, and God takes into account how much a person was able to know, as Romans 4:15; 5:13 shows.
Q: In 2 Sam 6:7, does holding the ark as sacred mean we should venerate relics as the Orthodox and Catholic churches do?
A: No. If this did relate to "relics", it would support never touching a relic more than venerating relics. There are three points to consider in the answer.
1. Uzzah was killed for disobeying the law on touching the ark (Numbers 4:15), not for lack of worship or veneration.
2. The Israelites were supposed to have respect for this ark of the Lord, but that is a different kind of respect than respecting human things.
3. While respect for God's people, on earth and in Heaven, is fine, that is different from veneration. Veneration differs from respect, as veneration includes praying to or praying through the image or statue.
See When Cultists ask p.51 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 6:20, why did David (allegedly) dance in public without clothes?
A: David was not naked; he was wearing a linen ephod, according to 2 Samuel 6:14. David was not dressed in kingly robes or acting in a way Michal thought a king should act, and Michal was criticizing him for that.
It is one thing to criticize a person to help them improve. It is another thing to criticize a person in such as way that you show you have no respect for that person any more.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.221-222 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 6:20, how should we take it if when we are pleasing the Lord, a fellow believer sarcastically mocks us?
A: Notice four good things David did.
No retaliation: We should not seek revenge (Luke 6:27-36 and Matthew 5:43-44) or retaliate (1 Peter 2:23).
Defend: We should defend our actions by explaining what we are doing is right. Likewise Romans 14:16 says not to let what you consider to be good be spoken of as evil.
Continue: David emphasizes that he would continue to do so.
Keep your focus on God, not on the mocker: We should choose not to let a few bad words spoil his experiences worshipping God.
Q: In 2 Sam 6:23, did Michal not have children due to her comments towards the king?
A: Yes, this is what this verse shows. Michal had no children due to her comments disrespecting her husband the king. However, the Bible is silent on whether not having children was due to God or absence from David.
But either way, one disloyal, ungodly word from someone you would expect to be loyal and godly can have a long-lasting effect. Matthew 12:36 says, "I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak." (NET). This tends to make us come to the same conclusion James taught us in James 1:19.
See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.314 fore more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 6:23, why was Michal childless the rest of her life?
A: Scripture does not say, but there are four possibilities.
1. She was never able to have any children. Note that she did not have any children by Phaltiel either.
2. David deliberately did not want to have any children by her, since she did not respect him.
3. David was not with her often, and she did not conceive any children.
4. David was with her often, but God made Michal childless after she showed disrespect for her husband.
Regardless, scripture is silent on Michal ever having a change of heart, and turning to either David or God and asking forgiveness.
Scripture is silent on the direct mechanism of why she did not have any children. Perhaps the reason scripture is silent is that we do not need to know. The lesson for us here is that Michal did not hold her husband and Israel's king in honor, and by whatever mechanism, God disciplined her for that.
Q: In 2 Sam 7:1-2, do all good intentions we have actually come from God?
A: No. While God knows everything we think (Psalm 139:2), and everything we say before we say it (Psalm 139:4), God chooses not to control us like puppets. Some good things come from a believer's own initiative, as 2 Corinthians 8:17 shows. In this case, David had a good intention, but it was not God's will for David to carry out this intention. It is obeying God's will that is important, not just following good intentions. Good intentions are no substitution for obedience.
Q: In 2 Sam 7:3-17, was Nathan a false prophet for first telling David to do whatever he wanted?
A: No. Being a true prophet does not mean you will never say anything in error. It means that, speaking as a prophet, when a true prophet says "Thus says the Lord", it is God's true word.
Q: In 2 Sam 7:5, how did cymbals originate?
A: While we do not know where they came from, they were a very ancient instrument. In Hebrew the plural form, mesiltayim, apparently came from the ancient Ugaritic word, msltm, according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary col.3 p879. The people of Ugarit lived on the coast of Syria and Lebanon from before the time of Abraham.
Q: In 2 Sam 7:13,16 it says Solomon's kingdom would apparently last forever, but it did not. How do we explain that?
A: 2 Samuel 7:5-17 is all one prophecy to David that has dual fulfillment: it is about David's seed, both immediate and long term. As soon as David died, his own seed, Solomon would become king and it would be Solomon who would build the Temple. Long term, 2 Samuel 7:13 promises that the throne of Solomon's kingdom would be established forever.
The Bible also says the Messiah would be from David: Jeremiah 23:4; and in the New Testament Luke 3:31; Acts 13:22-23; Revelation 22:16. Many Jewish Talmuds say the Messiah will come from David's line.
It turns out these are true in two different ways. Biologically Jesus came from Mary, who was a descendant of David, but not Solomon, in Luke 3:23-31. Legally, but not biologically, Jesus was the son of Joseph, descendant of both David and Solomon in Matthew 1:6-16. So biologically Jesus was from David through Mary, but kingship was not passed through the mother. So by Mary alone, Jesus would have no right of kingship in Israel. But since Jesus was legally Joseph's son, Jesus did have a right of the throne.
There are two interesting side issues here though.
If Jesus had in fact been biologically from Joseph, a scriptural prophecy would have been broken. Joseph was a descendant of King Jeconiah (Jehoiachin), descendant of Solomon, in Matthew 1:11-12. Yet Jeremiah 22:30 says that no descendant of Jeconiah would ever sit on the throne again.
A second issue is that since there exile there has been no descendant of David who has been a king, and few Jews today even know which tribe they are from (some Levites know though.) So from a strictly Jewish perspective, this prophecy appears to have failed, - unless of course Solomon's throne was established forever through Christ.
Q: In 2 Sam 7:18-29, what is significant about David's attitude here?
A: On one hand, this would seem very disappointing to David. David offered to build a Temple for God, using all his own resources, and God explicitly turned him down here. David wanted so much to build a house for God. God said "no", but God turned around and built a living house for David, through Solomon and his descendants.
We can speculate that since God knew what David would do with Bathsheba and the Moabite men, God did not think it appropriate for David to be the one to build the temple.
Q: In 2 Sam 8:2, was David right to kill two-thirds of the Moabite men?
A: David was very severe here. His goal apparently was not to kill all the Moabites, but to reduce their ability to rebel. Nothing in scripture says that God approved of this action. On the contrary, 1 Kings 5:3 says that God did not want David to be the one to build the Temple, because David was a man of war.
Q: In 2 Sam 8:3, did David defeat Hadadezar, or Hadarezer as 1 Chr 18:3 says?
A: This one letter difference in the Hebrew is most likely a copyist error. Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.130 says that the Hebrew letters "d" and "r" are similar to each other.
Q: In 2 Sam 8:4 did David capture 1,700 horsemen, or 7,000 charioteers/horsemen as 1 Chronicles 18:4 says?
A: It was one thousand chariots and 7,000 charioteers. Both 1 Chronicles 18:4 and the Dead Sea scrolls of 2 Samuel 8:4 say 7,000. The Greek Septuagint translation also says 1,000 chariots and 7,000 horsemen. So 1,700 in the Masoretic text of 2 Samuel 8:4 is almost certainly a copyist error. When Critics Ask p.171-172, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.184, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.398, and the NIV Study Bible on 2 Samuel 8:4 say the same. The Masoretic text also has a grammatical error that indicates a word was dropped off.
Q: In 2 Sam 8:17 why is Ahimelech given as the son of Abiathar, since Abiathar's father, who was killed before David became king, was named Ahimelech?
A: There are two possibilities.
Copyist Error: It was likely the names were reversed. In both 2 Samuel 8:17 and 1 Chronicles 18:16 the Syriac version reads "Abiathar son of Ahimelech" instead of "Ahimelech son of Abiathar" as the Masoretic text and Septuagint read. (2 Samuel 8:17 and 1 Chronicles 18:16 are not preserved in the Dead Sea Scrolls.) See The New Geneva Study Bible p.438 and the New International Bible Commentary p.380 for more on this view.
Grandson named after a grandfather: If a grandson was named after his martyred grandfather, young Ahimelech likely did not become a priest until the last part of David's reign. The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.3 p.911 says this practice, called papponymy, was common. (see 1 Chronicles 6:9b 0 10:a; 7:20). See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.466 for this view.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.3 p.911 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.332 for more info on both views.
Q: In 2 Sam 8:18, how were David's sons priests, since David was from the tribe of Judah, not Levi?
A: They were not; there is no evidence that David's sons had any priestly duties in the temple. While the Hebrew word here is the common one for priests (kohen), 1 Chronicles 18:17 says they ministered as chief officials. When Critics Ask p.172 points out that the Hebrew word also means servant, minister, or counselor. See The NIV Study Bible p.436 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 9, why was David kind to Mephibosheth?
A: David was not kind to Mephibosheth because David happened to come across him. Rather, David chose to seek out Mephibosheth because he was looking for ways to be kind to Saul's family, to demonstrate that he had no hatred for them. Mephibosheth was lame (2 Samuel 4:4) because his nurse took him to flee from David. Kings often killed all the children of the predecessors, and it was assumed that David would act like a typical king and want to do the same. However, David was no ordinary king.
Q: In 2 Sam 9:1, did David say this after executing Saul's sons, as Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.309 says?
A: Asimov claims David said this prior to the executions, because it would not have been hard to find members of Saul's family prior to the executions.
Two points to consider in the answer.
Looking for a son loyal to him: David did not say he was just looking for one of Saul's sons. Rather, David said he was looking for one of Saul's sons to whom he could show kindness for Jonathan's sake.
Not chronological: 2 Samuel 21:1 says the execution of Saul's sons occurred "during the reign of David", and it is not necessarily chronological. In other words, it is possible that Asimov might be correct here.
Q: In 2 Sam 9:4, where was Lo-Debar?
A: Lo-Debar was east of the Jordan and south of the Sea of Galilee. This town would be a safe place far from Jerusalem, across the Jordan River, and close to the desert where David could make an escape to the desert if he needed to do so. The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.599 says that the town has not been found yet. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1044 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 3 p.917 say that while the site is not certain, archaeologists think the location might be at Umm ed-Dabar about 8 to 10 miles south or south southeast of the Sea of Galilee. Lo-Debar also means "no thing".
Q: In 2 Sam 10:2,4-8, since David's original motive apparently was to show kindness to Nahash's son, why did David go to war against him?
A: David did not know anything, good or bad, about Hanun, the son of Nahash. Perhaps David was just doing a proper political formality. However, when Hanun unexpectedly showed he wanted to be David's enemy, David obliged him. Hanun expressed contempt for David and was not afraid to demonstrate this. David likely reasoned that if he did not act, other nations would hold Israel in contempt too.
Q: In 2 Sam 10:7-19, how could Joab and David defeat a combined army of Ammonites and Syrians?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
1. Being a charioteer fighting an ill-equipped army is a relatively safe job. One only has to shoot arrows from a distance. If the army got too close, one could simply drive the horses farther away. Infantry would not be able to stop a chariot charge if they only had short swords.
2. However, it is a different story fighting against well-equipped infantry. The Israelites were experienced in fighting against Philistine chariots. They had arrows, and a massed group of infantry archers would have more concentrated firepower than chariots. A wall of infantry with long spears would stop a chariot charge.
3. Centuries later, the Persian king Darius learned this, to his dismay, as time after time the phalanxes of the Macedonian army of mainly infantry defeated massive numbers of Persian cavalry.
Q: In 2 Sam 10:18 were there 700 charioteers, or 7,000 charioteers as 1 Chr 19:18 says?
A: It could be either one. This is apparently a Masoretic text copyist error.
2 Samuel 10:18 says 700 chariots and 40,000 horsemen in the Masoretic text and the Septuagint.
1 Chronicles 19:18 says 7,000 men who fought in chariots and 40,000 infantry in the Masoretic text and the Septuagint.
It was probably 700 men who fought in chariots and 40,000 infantry.
The doctrine of inerrancy means that we believe the Bible was without any error (including real contradictions) in the original manuscripts, but recognizes that some copyist errors occurred in transmission.
Objectively, one can neither prove nor disprove that this was a copyist error or an error in the original manuscripts. However,
1. Given the many archaeologically verified statements in the Old Testament, and
2. Given that most of the other places where there are genuine discrepancies in modern copies have to do with numbers,
Thus, the evidence is not conclusive but favors a copyist error. See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.333, Haley's Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.320-321, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.239-240, and Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.157-157 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 11, since David was a man of God, how could he commit adultery, get some one drunk, and order a murder? (an atheist asked this)
A: David sinned greatly in doing these things. Three points to consider in the answer.
1. The issue here is not an alleged contradiction in the Bible. Scripture merely recorded the evil things David said and did.
2. A problem here is the contradiction inside of David. David was a man after God's own heart, but 2 Samuel 12:10 says David despised God here. Yet many people are double-minded (see James 1:7) at some time in their lives. There have always been hypocrites, and we can all agree that here David was a hypocrite of the first degree.
3. The real issue is why God would still love and use some one like David. There are four very simple points on this issue.
3.1 God can do whatever He wants with whomever He wants Who are we to tell God how to use His creatures.
3.2 God knew that David did have a genuine love for Him. The lesson here is that while every hypocrite is not necessarily a genuine believer, some hypocrites could still be genuine believers, and have a genuine love for God under their hypocrisy.
3.3 God loved David and disciplined him severely for his hypocrisy. Severe discipline can be a form of God's love: though it is undesired at the time, it can bear fruit of repentance.
3.4 After David repented, God completely forgave Him. There were still consequences and discipline to David; however, but David was forgiven. We should forgive others who have repented, too. Romans 15:7 says that we should accept one another as Christ accepted us.
For a different but complementary answer, here is what Today's Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.260-261 says about the real issue.
"Keep in mind the fact that very few of God's chosen instruments were without fault, or even serious sin. Moses was a murderer. David was an adulterer and a murderer. Jacob was a con-man and Abraham was a liar. Jonah was a racist who rebelled at the idea that God would forgive the Assyrians. And what about Peter's impulsiveness and the contentious spirits displayed by James and John? Yet, God used them all.
God can use whomever He chooses to use. He used Balaam, the Syrian prophet. He used Cyrus, the Persian king. He even used Pharaoh and his hardness of heart to advance His plan. ... I find this knowledge encouraging."
Q: In 2 Sam 11:3 why is Eliam, Bathsheba's father, called Amiel in 1 Chr 3:5?
A: There are at least 22 pairs of places in the Old Testament where people had two names. See the discussion on Exodus 2:18 for the answer. See also 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.323 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 12:1-12, why did Nathan use this approach to talk with David about his sin?
A: Two possible reasons, both of which might be true.
1. King David already knew what he did was evil. David did not need either instruction or correction here; he needed rebuke. Nathan approached David in such as way that his "defenses" would not be aroused. Once Nathan appealed to David's strong sense of justice, and got David's anger aroused at this "unnamed oppressor", then Nathan laid it on David heavily.
2. David was a king who had just ordered the death of a valuable and loyal servant. While Nathan was already risking his life to rebuke David, Nathan would want to use an indirect, yet effective approach.
Q: In 2 Sam 12:8, why did God give David multiple wives, if polygamy was a sin?
A: Some things were practiced in Old Testament times, but we have a higher standard since Jesus came. In Old Testament times, Jesus said God
permitted some things (such as divorce) because their hearts were hard. I think polygamy is another of these things. However, the Bible did say that a
king must not have too many wives, and that Solomon sinned in having so many wives (Nehemiah 13:26; 1 Kings 11:2-11).
The Old Testament gives the example of monogamy (Adam and Eve but not Lisa too), and shows the problems that occurred with polygamy with Abraham, Jacob, Solomon, etc., but the Bible does not actually prohibit polygamy. However, if a man is polygamous, then he is disqualified from being an elder in 1 Timothy 3:2.
By the way, there are about 50,000 cultists in the United States who are polygamous today; they are called Fundamentalist Mormons. They are breaking Romans 13:1, which says we are to obey the governing authorities. Many of them live in southern Utah, northwestern Arizona, and Nevada.
When I witness to Mormons, there are many things one can talk about with them, but not all of them are equally profitable. The most important
points relate to
a) Believing the True, Most-High God
b) Believing the True Jesus
c) Believing the truth about salvation
d) Believing the right scripture.
If a person is wrong about those three things, it does not matter what they are right about. Rather than talking about polygamy with Mormons, I would rather talk about why they believe in a lesser god, why Joseph Smith, when he married his second wife, kept it a secret from his first wife. Since the anti-black doctrine in their scripture was changed in 1978, and the LDS changed their doctrine to ban polygamy, what other doctrines are their in Mormonism that should be
For anyone, it makes a difference whether one reads the Bible in order to answer "what is the most I can get away with" vs. reading it to answer "what is God's perfect will for me." If someone in Old Testament times read the Bible the first way, they would see that divorce and other things are OK.
On the other hand, someone in Old Testament times could read Malachi 2:16: "God hates divorce." Likewise polygamy is not God's perfect will but was permitted.
Q: In 2 Sam 12:12 (KJV), what does "before the sun" mean?
A: This expression means in broad daylight.
Q: In 2 Sam 12:13, what is significant about David's reaction?
A: David was fasting to move God's heart. God already had decided what He was going to do, and when the baby died, David knew there was no point in asking God for what God had determined otherwise.
Q: In 2 Sam 12:15-23, why did God have the first child of David and Bathsheba die?
A: This was not the child's punishment but the punishment for the guilt of David and Bathsheba. God will make everything just in the end, and we have to wait until then until we see complete justice on earth.
Some Calvinists say that since babies die, this "proves" that babies are guilty of Adam's sin. This is false reasoning, because suffering consequences does not prove guilt. Otherwise, the fact that kittens die would "prove" that they also are guilty for Adam's sin. However, the truth of the matter is that all of Creation was subjected to the Fall, as Romans 8:19-22 says.
1. All Christians agree that newborn babies have no personal sins of their own.
2. All Christians agree that all are born with a sinful nature.
3. Unfortunately, all Christians do not yet agree that suffering consequences does not prove guilt.
See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.185-186 and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.115-116 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 12:20, why did David worship God just after his son died?
A: You should worship God when you are right with God. You should also worship when you have been disobedient and now you want to get right with God.
Q: In 2 Sam 12:20, would God accept worship like this?
A: Yes. God accepts all sincere worship of Him. However, worship of idols is not worship of Him, as 1 Corinthians 10:20 and 2 Corinthians 6:15-17 clearly show.
Q: In 2 Sam 12:21, what does this say about the Catholic practice of praying for the dead?
A: This says that David did not see any point to praying for his son who had died. Catholics believe this because of a passage in the Catholic and Orthodox apocryphas (2 Maccabees 12:46), which is not in Protestant or Jewish Bibles.
Q: In 2 Sam 12:21-23, did David and Bathsheba's first son go to Heaven, or not?
A: Nothing suggests that he did not, and he probably did. However, 2 Samuel 12:21-23 does not actually prove that he did. When David said he would go where his son was, he meant to the grave (Sheol), not necessarily Heaven. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.222-223 and When Critics Ask p.174-175 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 12:31 (KJV), did David torture his enemies by putting them under saws, axes, and in the brick kiln?
A: Definitely not. The King James Version translation is unfortunate here. The Hebrew means that David forced the captives to use saws and axes to cut, and to make bricks in the brick kiln.
Q: In 2 Sam 13:1-2, since this fulfilled Nathan's prophecy, did God send this sin?
A: No, but God, knowing Amnon's wicked and undisciplined heart, permitted Amnon to get out of hand. God not only can foresee the God He will do, He can foresee the good and evil people will do and would do, if given the opportunity. God not only foresees what people would do, He can enable them to fulfill their intentions as a part of His plan.
Q: In 2 Sam 13:6 (KJV), how did Amnon make himself sick?
A: Amnon only pretended to be sick. When he physically forced Tamar, he seemed healthy enough, physically, though not spiritually.
Q: In 2 Sam 13:6-7, what can we learn from David about parenting here?
A: Some one who loved God, like David, can still be a lousy parent, if they do not take parenting seriously enough.
David loved his kids emotionally, especially when he lost them to death. However, we have no evidence that he demonstrated his parental care. He did not discipline Amnon; he did not comfort Tamar, and he did not even speak with Amnon. David was distant from Absalom. Tamar saying that David would let her marry her half-brother shows she had a lack of training in God's Word. David loved God's Law, and he loved his children. Unfortunately, David apparently never figured out that he had a responsibility to teach his children God's Law, and that would be a demonstration of His love.
Q: In 2 Sam 13:11-17, why did Amnon's feeling toward Tamar turn from lust to hate so rapidly?
A: While love and hate are opposites, lust and hate are not necessarily incompatible. Once Amnon was satisfied, he realized that he would probably face dreadful consequences for what he did. It seemed as though he projected his feelings of guilt on to Tamar.
Q: In 2 Sam 13:11-29 and 2 Sam 16:22 why should children view Bible figures such as Absalom and Amnon as role models worthy of respect and admiration? (An atheist asked this)
A: Of course not; nobody ever viewed these men as role models. The Bible does not say we should not view these men that as heroes of the faith any more than we should view Judas and Caiaphas that way. The Bible objectively records many evil things wicked men did.
This "non-issue" seems to indicate that some atheists fundamentally misunderstand what the Bible is teaching. The Bible is not a white-washed propaganda document painting a lily-white picture of humanity. No, it is a frank, realistic portrait of people, godly and ungodly as they are. Would that everyone could distinguish between the "good guys" and the "bad guys" without them having to wear white hats and black hats as in the TV westerns.
Q: In 2 Sam 13:24-25, why did Absalom ask David to go to the "killer party"?
A: Absalom was not trying to kill David or take over the throne at this time, as Absalom did not kill any of the king's sons except Amnon.
Absalom probably knew David was unable to come. He asked David in order to divert suspicion and mislead David into thinking this was an innocent plan.
Q: In 2 Sam 14:1-9, why did Joab use this strategy to get David to recall Absalom?
A: It was similar to Nathan's strategy, and Joab likely reasoned that if it worked once, it might work twice. It did not work so well this time though.
Q: In 2 Sam 14:24,28, was David right not to let Absalom see his face?
A: No. Forgiveness mixed with unforgiveness does not work very well.
Q: In 2 Sam 14:26 (KJV), what does "polled his head" mean?
A: This King James Version expression means he cut his hair.
Q: In 2 Sam 14:27 did Absalom have three sons, or did he not have any sons by which to carry on his name, as 2 Sam 18:18 says?
A: Probably both. In ancient times roughly half of all children might have died before reaching adulthood. Keil and Delitzsch mention that the names of the sons are usually given, but they are not given in 2 Samuel 14:27. There would be no reason for this omission, except that they died young. When Critics Ask p.175-176 and The NIV Study Bible p.445 also says that the sons probably died in their youth.
Absalom built a monument to himself because of his sorrow over not having any sons that could be a memorial to him. Typically, a person who does not have any children would not be so sensitive of no one to carry on his name, as one who had children who died.
See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.184-185, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.222, 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.116, and Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.157-158 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 15:6, how does somebody steal people's hearts?
A: Like many politicians in later times, Absalom was proficient in promising people he could lead them capably, with actually doing anything. To convince people of this, Absalom lowered the esteem others had for David. Even today, people often try to make themselves look good by putting others down.
Q: In 2 Sam 15:7, should it say 40 years, or 4 years?
A: It should say four years, which is more in keeping with the lifetime of Absalom. The Masoretic text says 40 years, but the Septuagint, Syria, and Josephus say 4 years. See the NKJV, NIV, and NRSV footnotes, Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.64, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 3 p.991, and the skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.313 for the same answer.
Q: In 2 Sam 15:7 how did Absalom make a vow to the Lord?
A: Absalom said this just to go to Hebron to be crowned king. Either Absalom was lying and did not make a vow, or perhaps Absalom was telling the truth. There are other cases in history where pretenders to the throne made a vow to their god if they became king. So Absalom could have made a vow to God, but every vow made to God is not necessarily a good vow.
Q: In 2 Sam 15:14, why did David flee Jerusalem, since Jerusalem was very strongly fortified?
A: David probably was wise to do so. At this point, he did not know whom in Jerusalem he could trust, and if there are just a few treacherous gatekeepers, even a well-fortified city is hard to keep. Don't forget that one of David's ancestors was Ruth.
Q: In 2 Sam 15:19-20, why did David tell Ittai the Gittite he did not have to go with David?
A: David did not want anyone to go who only half-heartedly supported him. David gave Ittai an excuse to stay, and also would see his heart by his answer. Two situations similar to this were with Naomi and her daughters'-in-law in Ruth 1:11-18.
Today, when we lead a team that is about to undertake a task, it is OK to give people opportunities to back out. This way you might not have as many people, but you will have people who are committed to you.
Q: In 2 Sam 15:32-34, was David right to have Hushai lie for him?
A: The Bible is recording what Hushai did in a time of war. Christians have two views on this issue.
Some say Hushai was wrong to lie, and David was wrong to tell Hushai to lie.
Others say that it is OK to lie to an enemy during times of war, in order to save a life.
Q: In 2 Sam 16:5-8, was Shimei cursing David for executing Saul's sons, which was only written later in the book, as Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.315-316 claims?
A: There are two possible explanations for Shimei's cursing.
Other reasons: Shimei might very well have been referring to the long war between the armies of David and Ish-bosheth.
Not chronological: Since 2 Samuel 21:1 says the execution of Saul's sons occurred "during the reign of David", it is not necessarily chronological. Thus Shimei cursing David might be after the execution of Saul's sons.
Q: In 2 Sam 16:7-12, what is significant about David's reaction not trying to repay Shimei?
A: There are three points to consider in the answer.
1. David knew that some of what Shimei was saying was true. As verses 10-11 show, David thought that perhaps God had wanted Shimei to publicly denounce David.
2. Since David was feeling guilty of killing Uriah, David was not in the mood to have a man killed who was telling the truth.
3. Verse 12 shows that David was leaving this in God's hands. If David killed Shimei, and God thought this not right, God might punish David for this, too. If David spared Shimei, and God thought it not right, God could still punish Shimei and God might reward David for his forbearance.
Conclusion: David did not know if it was right for Shimei to curse him at this time or not. Today, when we do not know if a wrong done to us is just, patience and waiting on God is a virtue.
Q: In 2 Sam 16:22, why did Absalom sleep with David's ten concubines?
A: This apparently was not motivated by sexual desire. Absalom was wrong to do so, but here is a possible rationalization for his action. Many Israelites were favorable toward both David and Absalom, the apparently future king. After this altercation would blow over, these Israelites would stay with the winning side. Absalom's action did not just mean that he was the king, but that David was now no longer king. People would publicly have to choose between the two. Since Absalom currently had the upper hand, the safest route for many would seem to be to choose Absalom.
Not the answer: While Absalom having no sons (2 Samuel 18:18) could appear to be a motivation, this is unlikely. Sleeping with the concubines in broad daylight, at this time, would not be simply for that purpose
Q: In 2 Sam 17, why was Ahithophel's advice really better advice than Hushai's, and how could we tell?
A: In the end, Absalom following Hushai's advice worked out better for David, but how would Hushai know this? Scripture does not say, but we can speculate here. Here are five points to consider in the answer.
1. One cannot say this was merely because Hushai had more information from being with David in 2 Samuel 15:32-37, because Ahithophel even knew this advice was not good in 2 Samuel 16:17:1-3, 23.
2. Unless David were killed, the real battle was not on the battlefield, but for the hearts and loyalties of the Israelites. It would be easy for people who were loyal to David only a few years before to want to be loyal to him again.
3. While killing David would end the struggle, and scattering David's troops would still help Absalom, doing that would be a risk, because suffering any defeat would be bad publicity. Would the risk be worth the potential gain?
4. In this case it was worth the risk. While Hushai argued basically that Absalom should wait until he is ready, that would give David time to be ready, and both David and his army were not prepared at this point. Not following Ahithophel's advice allowed the initiative and the element of surprise to slip from Absalom's grasp.
5. There was no question of whether or not they would engage David's army; the only question was when. Many times we can lose initiative through bad decisions. Our emotions can tell us to delay taking action, even though our wisdom can tell us delays will make the situation worse, not better.
Q: In 2 Sam 17, was Hushai right to lie for David, by giving bad advice to Absalom?
A: Christians disagree. Some Christians say that lying to non-believers is OK in times of war and to save a life. Other Christians say that in those situations we should throw our reliance on God, not deception. All can agree though, that silence is not lying; without lying one does not have to volunteer sensitive information, or answer every question asked.
Q: In 2 Sam 17:23, why would Ahithophel hang himself when his advice was not followed?
A: While scripture does not say, we can see both a rational direction and an irrational extreme here. Ahithophel wanted to serve someone who would be a success as a king. He probably saw that someone who listened to the easiest thing to follow rather than making strategic decisions would not last long as king, - nor would his advisors last long either.
Irrationally, sometimes when the advice of a person who is wise in their own eyes is not followed when they have presented a good case, they quickly feel that nothing else they say will be followed either. Ahithophel could have repented before God, come to David, God's anointed king, begging for mercy, and trusting that God would forgive him regardless of whether David executed him or not. However, that option probably never even occurred to Ahithophel.
Beware when your self-identity is caught up in how smart, wise, or experienced you are, rather than our identity being a child of God who walks obediently with Him.
Q: In 2 Sam 18:6, where were the woods of Ephraim?
A: Today we are not sure of the location of the woods of Ephraim. There are two possibilities.
West of Jordan: The woods were within the territory of Ephraim, and the battle was fought there.
East of Jordan: What was called the woods of Ephraim was outside the territory of Ephraim, and the battle was fought there.
Q: In 2 Sam 18:6, why would David's soldiers fight in the woods?
A: David's armed professional soldiers were greatly outnumbered by Absalom's army. The woods could neutralize the advantage of archers and of greater numbers. It would help the stronger soldiers in one-on-one combat.
Q: In 2 Sam 18:17, was Absalom buried in the forest of Ephraim (far from Jerusalem), or did he build a memorial in the Kidron Valley (near Jerusalem) as 2 Sam 18:18 says?
A: Both events happened. Absalom built his own memorial in the Kidron Valley, but nothing ever said David's men buried him there, or even that he intended to be buried there. See When Critics Ask p.176 and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.186 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 18:7, why did 20,000 men die as a consequence of the sins of David and Absalom?
A: We know exactly why they died: because of the lack of respect and loyalty many had after David's sin with Bathsheba, and because of Absalom's sin of rebelling against his own father. The real question here is why even godly people sometimes die because of the sins of others.
In this life, people often suffer because of the sins of others. Whether it a murder victim, civilian casualties in war, or babies born with decreased intelligence because their mother was alcoholic, much suffering in this world is inflicted upon those who were not directly responsible for it. Since the Fall of Adam and Eve, creation itself is not perfect (Romans 8:20-22) the entire world is under the influence of the evil one (1 John 5:19). Perfection, absence of suffering, or justice are guaranteed to us in this life. We all have to wait until the next life, and justice will be done on Judgment Day.
Q: In 2 Sam 18:7, why did Joab stop Ahimaez from telling David that Absalom was dead?
A: Joab knew David well, and he liked Ahimaez. Joab was trying to do Ahimaez a favor. The last time some one told David Saul was dead, because he killed him, David had him executed in 2 Samuel 1:9-16. Joab might have been afraid for Ahimaez.
Q: In 2 Sam 19:29, was David right to have Mephibosheth and Ziba divide the land?
A: No. If Ziba was lying, David rewarded his lying as well as his help. If Ziba was telling the truth, and Mephibosheth was waiting to become king, David would be rewarding a traitor. David probably should have investigated this more.
It seems likely that it was Ziba that was lying here. Perhaps David already suspected that, and would be in the difficult quandary of rewarding or punishing some one who gave him substantial help at a critical time, demonstrated his loyalty, and yet lied about the loyalty of another to do so.
Q: In 2 Sam 19:32-40, was Barzillai right to refuse the king's offer?
A: Christians disagree on this, and whether David's request was primarily a reward or a job offer. If it was a job offer for a counselor, to fill the opening left by Ahithophel, some Christians, such as J. Vernon Magee, see that Barzillai was wrong to turn down this opportunity for serving.
Q: In 2 Sam 20:14, what archaeological evidence do we have of Abel Beth Maacah?
A: Prior to this time Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III listed this Canaanite town as Abel. It was also called Abel Maim, and the Aramaeans conquered it under Ben Hadad I. The Assyrians listed it as a city conquered by Tiglath-Pileser III, calling it Abilakka. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.3 p.1048 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 20:15-26, was Joab right to threaten to destroy the city of Abel?
A: While Joab often used underhanded means, in this case Joab was right. He was supposed to catch the rebel Sheba, and the city of Abel should not be offering Sheba refuge. If the city of Abel would turn Sheba over to him, Joab had nothing against the city. However, if the city of Abel offered protection to a rebel, then the city would share in the rebellion too.
A point we can learn today is that if we help and aid people in their rebellion against God, then we are sharing in their sin also.
Q: In 2 Sam 20:15-26, was the advice of the woman from Abel right, to behead Sheba?
A: Two points to consider in the answer.
Pragmatism: The residents of the town would prefer that Sheba die than everyone be killed.
Righteousness: Sheba was a rebel to David, God's anointed king. It was not right that they grant him asylum.
Conclusion: Sometimes believers must be willing to pay a great cost for righteousness. However, in some cases such as this, righteousness is the safest course as well as the best course of action.
Q: In 2 Sam 21, why did God send famine so that Saul's other sons would be killed?
A: David chose not to harbor any hatred of Saul in his heart. Consequently, he mistakenly thought that he should not punish the rebellion of Saul's sons, and He was content to let matters lie. God sent a message, loud and clear, not just to David but to the people, that justice should be done here.
Q: In 2 Sam 21:1-7, did David have Saul's sons killed for the security of his own reign, and then blame it on God, as Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.308 says?
A: No. If David had wanted to do so, he would have come up with a pretense way before this and not waited so long. Other kings used secret assassinations, and if David had been evil, he easily could have done the same.
Q: In 2 Sam 21:1-7, did God have Saul's sons put to death for the sin of Saul, contrary to Ezek 18:4,17-20 and Dt 24:16?
A: No. Ezekiel 18 was written later, but that is not relevant to the answer. There are two points to consider in the answer.
1. 2 Samuel 21:1 does not say the sin was just Saul's, but rather "Saul and his blood-stained house". Saul did not put all those Gibeonites to death single-handedly, and the princes likely had a role in killing the Gibeonites.
2. In 2 Samuel 3:1-6, previously there was a long war between Saul's sons and David. It was these sons that fought David for a long time.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.225-226 and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answers p.116 for more info.
Q: In 1 Sam 21:1-9 why did God have David allow the Gibeonites to execute seven of Saul's sons, since David swore to Saul he would not kill his descendants in 1 Sam 21:21-22?
A: First what is not the answer, and then two points in the answer.
Not the answer: If we were to promise something that was wrong, and God directly commanded us to not do what we promised, we should obey God. However, David did not promise something wrong, and David did not break his promise either, as the first point of the answer shows.
1) David did not seek to have them killed, but he allowed the Gibeonites to execute them. As an example, if the king promises not to kill person A for any perceived disloyalty to the king, but person A kills family of person B, the king can allow person B to go after them, not for anything they did against the king, but for killing family of person B.
2) However, it was not Saul the Gibeonites were executing, but rather Saul's sons. It is very possible the sons were of legal age, and consenting or participating in the slaughter of the Gibeonites. Saul's son Mephibosheth, who was just a child when Saul was killed in battle, was spared.
Q: In 2 Sam 21:8, did Merab or Michal have children here, since Michal had no children according to 2 Sam 6:23?
A: Merab and Michal were two different people, and while Michal did not have any children by David, 2 Samuel 21:8 specifically says she did not have any children, at all, until the day of her death. There are two answers:
Merab, Copyist error: Two Hebrew manuscripts, some Septuagint, and the Syriac say Merab, while most Hebrew manuscripts and other Septuagint manuscripts say Michal. 1 and 2 Samuel have relatively more copyist errors than other books of the Bible. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament 476 for more on this view.
Michal, adoption: It is possible that it was Michal. Michal did not bear any children, but she could have adopted the children of her sister Merab and brother-in-law Adriel. Leah and Rachel seemed to have something like this in mind in Genesis 30:4-24. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.314 for more on this view.
Q: In 2 Sam 21:16-17, why was David almost killed here?
A: David apparently was getting old. He still had the desire to lead, but there comes a time when you need to let younger people lead some of the battles.
Q: In 2 Sam 21:19, why did the Philistines have a number of giants?
A: If there had been basketball in ancient times, Philistia would be the place you would want to select your draft picks.
It would be more likely the Philistines had a number of giants than just one giant. If they had just one giant, who had children, since size is in large part a function of a person's genes, they would be expected to have a number of giants.
Q: In 2 Sam 21:19, did Elhanan kill Goliath, or did David kill Goliath the Gittite as 1 Sam 17:50 says, or did Elhanan kill Lahmi the brother of Goliath as 1 Chr 20:5 says?
A: Our preserved versions of 2 Samuel 21:19 apparently have a copyist error, where they left out the phrase "Lahmi the brother of". The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.288 also mentions this.
1 Chronicles 20:5 says that Elhanan killed Lahmi, the brother of Goliath.
This copyist error is easy to trace, according to Hard Sayings of the Bible p.212-213, which gives a full Hebrew analysis.
See also Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.178-179, a Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.709, and When Critics Ask p.163-164 for more info.
Q: Why is 2 Sam 22 almost the same as Ps 18?
A: Either David had an earlier version and a later version, or at least one was a paraphrase of the other.
The doctrine of inerrancy means that God originally communicated the truth to us with no error, and it has been preserved without significant error. One can look at this in light of inerrancy from two perspectives.
1. Perhaps both 2 Samuel 22 and Psalm 18 inerrantly preserve two different versions of David's exact words.
2. Regardless of whether these are the exact words or not, they both preserve the same truths about God, and show David's heart toward God.
3. While copyist errors might have been involved in the differences, it was not necessarily so. The originals could be different; accurately paraphrased truth is still inerrant truth.
Q: Why is 2 Sam 22:9,15 so anthropomorphic?
A: Two points to consider in the answer.
1. David apparently thought this way, and 2 Samuel 22 was a Psalm written by him.
2. It is OK to think about God anthropomorphically, as long as you realize, as David did, that God is much more than just a man.
Q: In 2 Sam 22:21,25, does God do things to reward people according to their righteousness?
A: Apparently God did not consider David a murderer and an adulterer. God considered David as a repentant, and forgiven, ex-murderer and ex-adulterer.
If David can be forgiven and cleansed from his great sins, then there is hope for us. David repented and lost his desire to sin in those areas, and through God there also is hope for all who come to Him.
Q: In 2 Sam 22:22-23, why did David say he did not depart from God, since David did depart?
A: Two points to consider in the answer.
David never did depart, in the sense that he always believed in God and wanted to serve God.
David did fall away from God in his affair with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah, but David repented and returned. God forgave him, and though David did not escape the discipline and consequences, God considered him righteous and as having not sinned. In a similar way, when a believer falls away from God and later repents, he or she is completely forgiven. However, there can still be discipline and consequences.
Q: In 2 Sam 22:26-27, why does God show Himself as both merciful and shrewd?
A: God is both merciful and shrewd. God is merciful to those who repent and come to Him. To others, God catches the wise in their own craftiness, as Job 5:13; Luke 20:23, 1 Corinthians 3:19, and 2 Corinthians 12:16 show. We are to be shrewd as serpents, yet as innocent as doves, as Matthew 10:16 says.
Q: In 2 Sam 22:27 (KJV), how is God unsavoury?
A: This King James Version word is today better translated as shrewd.
Q: In 2 Sam 22:28, why does God want to bring down the proud?
A: We can see two reasons.
1. The pride of man is a sin (1 John 2:16), and God hates sin. However, why would God specifically focus on pride here, and not other sins?
2. Pride is not so much a single action, but a chronic attitude that keeps people form God. God is merciful when He takes away people's pride, because pride can keep people from trusting in God, as Proverbs 30:8-9 show.
Q: In 2 Sam 23:1-7, what is unusual about these verses?
A: These verses form a special kind of symmetry in Hebrew poetry called a chiasm.
2 Sam 23:1b-e David speaks of himself as "he"
— 2 Sam 23:2-3ab David speaks of himself as "I"
— — 2 Sam 23:3cd-4 The Lord speaks
— 2 Sam 23:5 David speaks of himself as "I"
2 Sam 23:6-7 David speaks of evil men as "they"
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary Volume 3 p.1081 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 23:8, did the Tachmonite kill 800 men, or did the Hachmonite kill 300 men in 1 Chr 11:11?
A: This one letter difference in the name is likely a copyist error. While the error could be in either 2 Samuel or 1 Chronicles, it is likely in 2 Samuel, as it has the most copyist errors of any book in the Old Testament. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.604 says that in Hebrew 300 and 800 look similar. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.17 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 23:11, were the Israelites delivered in a field of lentils, or a field of barley as 1 Chronicles 11:13 says?
A: There are two possibilities.
1. There could have been two different events.
2. It is likely there was only one event and there is a copyist error here. According to When Critics Ask p.177, the Hebrew words for barley and lentils are very similar.
Q: In 2 Sam 23:16, why did David pour out the water?
A: David wanted to demonstrate that he valued the sacrifices of his troops more than quenching his own personal thirst. This is a mark of a leader which commands respect and loyalty. Centuries later, when Alexander of Macedon led his army through modern-day Iran, he did the same.
Q: In 2 Sam 23:39, why is Uriah the Hittite mentioned here, since Uriah was killed in 2 Samuel 11:17,24?
A: This is a list of all who had been David's officers, not just those his officers where were currently alive.
Q: In 2 Sam 24:1, how big was David's empire at its largest?
A: It was about 30,000 square miles, or about the size of the U.S. state of Maine. It was smaller than the Egyptian, Hittite, Assyrian, and Babylonian empires at earlier and later times. During the time of David though, all of these other peoples were militarily weak or divided
Q: In 2 Sam 24:1, why was God angry with Israel over the census in counting the fighting men?
A: Scripture does not say why God was angry; it perhaps was because of their pride in themselves. Just one generation ago, the Israelites were a loose collection of tribes subjugated by the Philistines. Now, for a brief period of time, they were one of the strongest Mideast powers east of Egypt. As 2 Samuel 22:28 shows, God wants to bring down the proud. The census here might be a clue that they had pride in themselves, their numbers, and their military power.
Note that a census was used in ancient times for military service and taxes. Also, Larry Richards in 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.117 observes that a national leader cannot make choices that do not affect their people.
See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.319-320 for more info and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.240-242 for a more extensive answer.
Q: In 2 Sam 24:1, why did God move David to number Israel?
A: 2 Samuel 24:1 says that God was angry with David and Israel, probably because of their pride in their military successes. So for Israel's sake God would have them humbled. What was the means God used? - God specifically had Satan tempt David to count Israel, even though people such as Joab recognized that this wrong (2 Samuel 24:1; 1 Chronicles 21:3-4) being done out of pride and not from faith. After David fell for the temptation, God gave David a choice of punishment by famine, by plague, or by running from his enemies (1 Chronicles 21:12). We can see that it would not be so helpful for God to punish them for their pride in themselves if they had no idea what they were being punished for. David's action, which was probably representative of the national self-confidence of many of the Israelites, illustrated to all what the punishment was for.
Today, sometimes Christians who are obedient to God can still sin by having pride in themselves instead of gratitude for the mercy and grace of God. We do not have any good thing, ability, or talent, except what God has given to us,
Q: In 2 Sam 24:1, did God move David to number Israel in a census, or did Satan move David as 1 Chr 21:1 says?
A: Both are correct. Satan was the immediate cause, and God allowed Satan to tempt David this way to show the pride David and the nation had.
The Hebrew word for "move" in both verses is the same. God and Satan were working in concert here. In order to understand this, one must understand the doctrine of concurrency. First we will discuss the doctrine in general, and then how it applies in this case.
Five Points of the Doctrine of Concurrency
1. God weaves all things together as a part of His plan (Ephesians 1:11; Proverbs 16:4).
2. Some things, such as sinful things, God does not desire. (Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5; Matthew 23:37).
3. Even the evil men plan and do, God often not only allows, but even intends to be used for good (Genesis 50:18-20; Romans 8:28), and for His glory (Romans 9:17-18).
4. What's more, God even has an active role in enabling men to do the evil they would like to do. For example, when some one deliberately disobeys God and hardens their heart, sometimes God further hardens their heart, as He did to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:13; 8:19; 9:7, 9:34-35; 10:20,27; 14:8).
5. God never does evil or tempts people (James 1:13), but God uses various tools, even Satan himself, to accomplish His ends (2 Chronicles 18:18-22).
In 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1, God decided to have David and the Israelites reveal their pride so that God would deal with it. God was ultimately responsible for "moving" David to number Israel, by delegating to Satan the immediate responsibility to move David. Since God works all things according to His plan, as one Christian quipped, ultimately Satan is only the unwilling servant of the Most High God.
Finally, if you do not like the fact that God uses all means, not just good means, to accomplish His ends, you can take that up with God. The point of this discussion is not to say how God "ought to behave" in our own minds. Rather, it is to briefly lay out what God has chosen to show us about Himself in His word.
See Today's Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.390-391, the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.53, When Critics Ask p.177, Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.158, and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.186-188 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 24:9, was the result of the census 800,000 in Israel and 500,000 in Judah, or was it 1,100,000 in Israel and 470,000 in Judah as 1 Chr 21:5-6 says?
A: There are two different answers, and either could be true.
Copyist error: One verse could have a copyist error.
Both are correct: Alternately, both are correct, because the totals referred to different groups. The numbers in 1 Chronicles 21:5-6 do not include the Levites and Benjamites. The numbers in 2 Samuel 24:9 might also include the 288,000 in the standing army mentioned in 1 Chronicles 27:1-15 and the 12,000 in Jerusalem and the chariot cities (2 Chronicles 1:14). Also, 1 Chronicles 6:1 mentions the standing army of Judah, 30,000 men. One solution is that 1,100,000 - 288,000 - 12,000 = 800,000, and 500,000 - 30,000 = 460,000.
The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.188-189, 221-222 gives both viewpoints. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.482, When Critics Ask p.178, Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.158-159, and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.117-118 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 24:10-12, why did God kill the Israelites for David's sin, instead of killing David?
A: David apparently wondered the same thing in 2 Samuel 24:17. While Scripture does not say, there are a number of possible reasons, which can be combined.
David still needed to learn the consequences of his pride in his earthly power, even though he had already repented.
The people had a similar pride, and they too needed to learn.
Future generations would have the opportunity learn from this the severity God attaches to the sin of pride.
Perhaps some of David's soldiers were actually angels in disguise, and Satan wanted them numbered to either reveal they were not regular people or force God to eliminate them. God eliminated them by having them "die" in the plague.
A lesson we can learn from this is that God can punish as He wishes, and it not required to tell us why He chose one form of punishment over another.
Q: In 2 Sam 24:13, were there seven years of famine, or were there three years of famine according to 1 Chr 21?
A: There are two possible answers.
God relented: First of all, God never said there would be seven years of famine. Rather, God first asked David about the option of seven years of famine. Later, God presented David with the option of shortening it to three years. See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.189-190 for more info on this view.
Copyist error: A more likely answer is that there was a copyist error. When Critics Ask p.179 points out that some manuscripts have three years in 2 Samuel 24:13.
Q: In 2 Sam 24:14, why would David choose to fall into God's hands, since Heb 10:31 says it is a very fearful thing?
A: David, a believer, chose God's punishment of plague rather than sword or famine. Hebrews 10:31 speaks of a different situation, of the final judgment, and it will be very fearful for unbelievers.
See When Critics Ask p.179 for more info.
Q: In 2 Sam 24:16, how did God repent?
A: God revealed will towards us can look different when we change and repent. See the discussion on Genesis 6:6 and Genesis 20:3-6 for the answer.
Q: In 2 Sam 24:24, did David pay Araunah 50 shekels of silver for the oxen and threshing floor, or did David pay Araunah 600 shekels of gold for the entire place?
A: Both are true. The 600 shekels of gold were for the property, (not including the oxen and threshing floor), and the 50 shekels were for the oxen and threshing floor. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.190 points out that a threshing floor usually was not large, and a threshing floor and the oxen would not be worth much more than 50 shekels of silver.
See also When Critics Ask p.179, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.242, and Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.159-160 for more info.
Q: What are the Dead Sea Scroll verses from 2 Samuel?
A: Overall, preserved in the Dead Sea Scrolls are the following verses from 2 Samuel: 2:5-16,25-27,29-32; 3:1-8,23-29; 4:1-4,9-12; 5:1-16 (omitting 5:4-5); 6:2-9,12-18; 7:23-29; 8:2-8; 10:4-7,18-19; 11:2-12,16-20; 12:4-5,8-9,13-20,30-31; 13:1-6,13-34,36-39; 14:1-3,18-19; 14:7-33; 15:1-15,27-31; 16:1-2,11-13,17-18,21-23; 18:2-7,9-11; 19:7-12; 20:2-14,23-26; 21:1-2,4-6,15-18; 22:30-51; 23:1-6,7,9-12; 24:16-20. See Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls vol.2 p.615 and The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls for more info.
Q: Which early writers referred to 2 Samuel?
A: Here are Pre-Nicene writers who referenced or alluded to verses in 2 Samuel. 1 and 2 Samuel were called 1 and 2 Kings.
Justin Martyr (c.138-65 A.D.) quotes 2 Samuel 7:14 when Nathan is speaking to David. Dialogue with Trypho the Jew ch.118 p.258.
Meleto/Melito of Sardis (170-177/180 A.D.) refers to the "Four books of Kingdoms" [1, 2 Samuel, 1,2 Kings] among the books of the Old Testament in his letter to Onesimus. On Pascha p.72. Preserved in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History book 4 ch.26.
Irenaeus of Lyons (182-188 A.D.) quotes 2 Samuel 11:27, 2 Samuel 12:1. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 4 ch.27 p.498.
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) alludes to 2 Samuel 11 and 12 about Uriah. On Modesty ch.6 p.79
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) refers to Nathan in 2 Samuel 7:22 as "in the first Kings" Five Books Against Marcion book 3 ch.20 p.339
Origen (240 A.D.) refers to 2 Kings (which would be 2 Samuel). Commentary on the Song of Songs prologue p.49
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) discusses 2 Samuel 7:4,5,12-16 as 2 Kings. Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 12 first part ch.15 p.511.
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) mentions "2 Kings" and refers to 2 Samuel 7:4,5,12-14,16. The Divine Institutes book 4 ch.13 p.113.
From Nicea to Ephesus (325-431 A.D.)
Aphrahat the Syrian (337-345 A.D.) alludes to 2 Samuel.
Life of Antony (3560362) alludes to 2 Samuel.
Athanasius (367 A.D.) mentions "The four books of kings" in listing the books of the Old Testament. Paschal Letter 39 ch.4 p.552.
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (350-370 A.D.)
Ephraim the Syrian (350-378 A.D.)
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.) (Implied)
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.) quotes from 2 Samuel.
Gregory of Nazianzen (330-391 A.D.) alludes to 2 Samuel.
Pacian of Barcelona (342-379/392 A.D.) alludes to 2 Samuel 12:15-16. On Penitents ch.9.2 p.80
Gregory of Nyssa (c.356-397 A.D.) alludes to 2 Samuel.
Rufinus (374-406) Commentary on the Apostles' Creed
Jerome (373-420 A.D.) discusses the books of the Old Testament. He specifically discusses Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, the Pentateuch, Job, Jesus son of Nave [Joshua], Judges, Ruth, Samuel Kings (2 books), twelve prophets, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai,, Zechariah, Malachi, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Letter 53 ch.7-8 p.99-101.
Epiphanius of Salamis (373-420 A.D.)
John Chrysostom (-407 A.D.) quotes 2 Samuel 12:7-9 as by God in Homilies on Matthew Homily 75.5 p.455
Orosius/Hosius of Braga (414-418 A.D.) alludes to 2 Samuel 15:16-17. Defense Against the Pelagians ch.2 p.117
Council of Carthage (393-419 A.D.)
Sulpicius/Sulpitius Severus (363-420 A.D.) refers to 2 Samuel as Kings in History book 1 ch.46 p.93
Augustine of Hippo (338-430 A.D.) quotes 2 Samuel 7:14,15 as from the Book of Samuel in The City of God book 17 ch.9 p.349
Augustine of Hippo (338-430 A.D.) refers to 2 Samuel as scripture in Commentary on Psalms p.412
John Cassian (419-430 A.D.) (Implied)
Among heretics and spurious books
pseudo-Methodius (270-311/312 A.D.) alludes to 2 Samuel 7:7. Oration of Simeon and Anna ch.1 p.383
Theodore of Mopsuestia (392-423/429 A.D.)
After Nicea there are other writers too.
Q: In 2 Sam, what are some of the translation differences between the Hebrew and Greek Septuagint?
A: 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings are called 1, 2, 3, and 4 Kings in the Septuagint. Focusing primarily on chapter 23 and part of chapter 24, the first alternative is the Masoretic text, and the second is the Septuagint, unless otherwise noted.
2 Sam 1:9 "in the temples of their idols" vs. "among their idols" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 1:12 "The LORD" (Masoretic) vs. "Judah" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 1:18 "book of Jashar" (Masoretic) vs. "book of the song" (Septuagint. The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.3 p.811 points out that this probably came from the Hebrew word for song hsyr instead of Jashar hysr).
2 Sam 2:18 "He has spoken" (Masoretic) vs. "For the LORD has spoken" (many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac, Targum)
2 Sam 3:3 [name of a son of David] "Kileab" (Masoretic) vs. "Dileab" (4QSam(a) and the Septuagint)
2 Sam 3:7 "And he [Ish-bosheth] said to Abner" (Masoretic) vs. "And Ish-bosheth said to Abner" (a few Hebrew manuscripts, 4QSam(a), Septuagint, Syriac)
2 Sam 3:12 "where he was" vs. "at Hebron"
2 Sam 4:29 "his father's house" (Masoretic, Septuagint), vs. "Joab's house" (4QSam(a))
2 Sam 5:4-5 is absent in the Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)).
2 Sam 5:25 "Geba" (Masoretic) vs. "Gibeon" (Septuagint, 1 Chronicles 14:16) (Geba does not make sense geographically here.)
2 Sam 6:2 "Baale-Judah" vs. "to Ballah, that is Kir[irath-Jerim, which belongs to] Judah" (4Q51)
2 Sam 6:2 "the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty" (Masoretic) vs. "the name of the LORD Almighty" (Septuagint, Targum, Vulgate)
2 Sam 6:5 "celebrating before the LORD with [all kinds of instruments made of] pine/fir and lyres" (Masoretic) vs. "celebrating singing and lyres" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint)
2 Sam 7:4 "And brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill" is accidentally repeated two times in the Masoretic text, according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.3 p.879.
2 Sam 7:15 "I shall not depart" (Masoretic) vs. "I will not take" (Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate)
2 Sam 7:16a "and it will be" (Masoretic) vs. "and it was" 4QSam(a) and 1 Chronicles 15:29, which grammatically makes more sense)
2 Sam 7:16b "before you" (most Masoretic) vs. "before me" (some Masoretic, Septuagint. Before me makes more sense in the context)
2 Sam 7:21 "word" (Masoretic) vs. "servant" (some Septuagint, 2 Chronicles 17:19)
2 Sam 7:23 "Is there one nation" (Masoretic) vs. "Is there another nation" (Septuagint) (meaning is essentially identical)
2 Sam 7:23 "wonders for your land and before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt, from the nations and their gods" (Masoretic) vs. "wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 8:4 "captured 1700 of his charioteers" (Masoretic) vs. "captured 1000 of his chariots, 7000 charioteers" (Septuagint, probably reading of 4QSam(a))
2 Sam 8:8 "Betah" vs. "Tebah" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 8:8 "Toi" vs. "Tou" (some Septuagint)
2 Sam 8:12 "Aram [Syria]" (Masoretic) vs. "Edom" (some Hebrew manuscripts) vs. "Idumea [later name for Edom]" (Septuagint, Syriac, some Hebrew)
2 Sam 8:13 "Aramaeans [Syrians]" (Masoretic) vs. "Edomites" (some Hebrew manuscripts) vs. "Idumea [later name for Edom]" (Septuagint, Syriac, some Hebrew)
2 Sam 8:18 "Benaiah son of Jehoida the Cherethites and the Pelethites" (Masoretic) vs. "Benaiah son of Jehoida was over the Cherethites and Pelethites" (Syriac, Targum, Vulgate) (This obviously slipped out of the Hebrew.)
2 Sam 9:11 "ate at my table" (Masoretic) vs. "ate at David's table" (Septuagint, this is most likely correct in the context)
2 Sam 10:18 "horsemen" (Masoretic) vs. "foot soldiers" (some Septuagint)
2 Sam 11:1 "messengers" (Masoretic) vs. "kings" (several Hebrew manuscripts, Dead Sea Scrolls) (The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.3 p.931 says that kings is correct here.)
2 Sam 11:3 [absent] (Masoretic, Septuagint) vs. "Uriah was Joab's armor bearer" (Dead Sea Scroll 4Q51 (=4QSam(a)) and Josephus) The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Bible p.239
2 Sam 12:6 "four times" (Masoretic, Josephus Antiquities of the Jews book 7 ch.150 vii.3, Lucianic recension of the Septuagint, some Targums) vs. "seven times" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 12:14 "made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt" (Masoretic) vs. "this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD" (an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition according to NIV and NRSV)
2 Sam 12:24 "he called" (Ketubim, Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. "she called" (Dead Sea Scrolls, a few Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac, Targum)
2 Sam 13:3 "Jonadab" (Masoretic, Septuagint) vs. "Jonathan" (4QSam(a), Lucianic recension of the Septuagint)
2 Sam 13:21 [absent] (Masoretic) vs. "but he [David] would not punish his son Amnon, because hw loved him, for he was his firstborn." (4QSam(a), Septuagint, Josephus Antiquities of the Jews book 7 ch.173 viii.2)
2 Sam 13:34 [absent] (Masoretic) vs. "The watchman went and told the king, 'I see men in the direction of Horonaim, on the side of the hill.'" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 13:39 "But the spirit/heart of David the king" (Masoretic, Syriac, Vulgate) vs. "and the spirit/heart of the king" (Dead sea scrolls, some Septuagint) vs. "the soul of King David" (Targum)
2 Sam 13:39 "comforted concerning Ammon" (Masoretic, Targum) vs. "ceased to pursue after Ammon" (Septuagint, Vulgate)
2 Sam 14:4 "said/spoke" (most Masoretic texts) vs. "went/came" (some Masoretic, some Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate) vs. "went in" (some Septuagint)
2 Sam 15:7 "forty" (Masoretic, some Septuagint) (This in unlikely in this context.) vs. "four" (some Septuagint, Syriac, Josephus)
2 Sam 15:8 "Lord" (Masoretic) vs. "Lord in Hebron" (some Septuagint)
2 Sam 15:12 "conspiracy" (Masoretic, Septuagint) vs. "coalition" (Alexandrinus)
2 Sam 15:20 "steadfast love" (Masoretic) vs. "and may the LORD show steadfast love and" (Septuagint) (These words appear dropped from the Hebrew)
2 Sam 15:27 "Are you a seer, do you see me? Go back" (Masoretic) vs. "Look, do you see me? Go back" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 15:30 "and he has" (Masoretic) vs. "but there was no" (4QSam(c))
2 Sam 15:28 "and roasted grain" accidentally was written twice in the Masoretic text, according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.3 p.1016.
2 Sam 15:30 [absent] (Masoretic) vs. "Joab's young men went to him with their garments torn and said, 'Absalom's servants set the field on fire.'" (4QCam(c) and Septuagint)
2 Sam 16:12 "my eyes" (Dead Sea Scrolls) vs. "tears of my eyes" (Targum) vs. "my affliction" (Ketubim, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate)
2 Sam 16:12 "my iniquity" vs. "my distress" (Septuagint, Vulgate) (The Hebrew does not make good sense here in the context)
2 Sam 16:14 "were weary" (Masoretic) vs. "were weary at the Jordan" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 16:15 "all the people, the men of Israel" (Masoretic) vs. "all the Israelites" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 17:3 "like the return of the while [is] the man whom you seek" (Masoretic) vs. "You seek the life of only one man" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 17:9 "some of them" (Masoretic) vs. "some of our troops" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 17:25 "Ithra" (probably a variant of Jether) (Masoretic) vs. "Jether" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 17:25 "an Israelite" (Masoretic, some Septuagint, Targum) vs. "Ishmaelite" (some Septuagint) vs. "Jezreelite" (some Septuagint)
2 Sam 17:28 "lentils and roasted grain" (Masoretic) vs. "beans and lentils" (most Septuagint and Syriac)
2 Sam 18:2 "sent forth the army" (Masoretic) vs. "divided the army into three groups" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 18:4 "care; for now there are ten thousand like us" (most Masoretic) vs. "care about us. Even if half of us die, they won't care; but you are worth ten thousand of us." (two Hebrew manuscripts, some Septuagint, Vulgate, Symmachus)
2 Sam 18:9 "and he was put" (Masoretic) vs. "and he was left hanging" (Septuagint, Syriac, Targum)
2 Sam 18:12 can be translated "Absalom whomever you may be" according to the NIV (most Masoretic) vs. "Absalom for my sake" (a few Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac)
2 Sam 19:11 "to the king, to his house" (Masoretic) vs. "to the king" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 20:24 "Adoram" (Masoretic) vs. "Adinoram" (some Septuagint)
2 Sam 20:26 "the Jairite" (Masoretic) vs. "son of Iarin" (Septuagint, they frequently used I for J) vs. "the Ithrite" (Lucianic recension of the Septuagint)
2 Sam 21:8 "Michal" (most Masoretic and Septuagint) vs. "Merab" (two Hebrew manuscripts, some Septuagint, Syriac)
2 Sam 22:8a "earth" vs. "mountains" (Vulgate, Syriac)
2 Sam 22:8 "foundations of the heavens" (Masoretic, Targum) vs. "foundations of the heaven" (Septuagint) vs. "foundations of the mountains" (Vulgate, Syriac, Septuagint)
2 Sam 22:11 "appeared" (most Masoretic, Septuagint) vs. "soared" (many Masoretic, Syriac, Vulgate) vs. "spoke with power" (Targum)
2 Sam 22:12 "massed rain clouds" (Masoretic) vs. "dark rain clouds" (Septuagint and Vulgate)
2 Sam 22:25 "according to my cleanness in His eyes/sight" (Masoretic) vs. "according to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes/sight" (Septuagint, Vulgate, Psalm 18:24) vs. "according to my cleanness before His word" (Targum)
2 Sam 22:33 "who is my strong refuge" (Masoretic) vs. "arms me with strength" (Dead Sea scrolls, some Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, Ps 18:32) vs. "sustains me with strength" (Targum)
2 Sam 22:33 "my way perfect" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Syriac, Targum, Vulgate) vs. "His way perfect" (Ketubim)
2 Sam 22:36 "your answering" (Masoretic) vs. "your help" (Dead Sea Scrolls)
2 Sam 22:44 "from strife with my people" (Masoretic) vs. "from strife with the peoples" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 22:46 "they arm" (Masoretic) vs. "come trembling" (some Septuagint, Vulgate, Ps 18:45)
2 Sam 23:1a "The saying of" (Masoretic) vs. "Faithful is" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 23:1b "who was raised on high" (Masoretic) vs. "whom God exalted / raised up" (Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint)
2 Sam 23:1c "and the sweet singer of Israel" vs. "beautiful [are] the psalms of Israel."
2 Sam 23:3 "spoke to me" vs. "spoke to me a parable"
2 Sam 23:3 "who rules in the fear of God" vs. "How will you strengthen the fear of the anointed"
2 Sam 23:4 "a morning without clouds" vs. "from the light of which the Lord passed on"
2 Sam 23:5 "For is not my house so" vs. "For my house is not so"
2 Sam 23:5 "ordered in all things, and sure." vs. "guarded at every time"
2 Sam 23:5 "will He not make it grow?" vs. "that the wicked should not flourish."
2 Sam 23:6 "As to the ungodly" vs. "All these"
2 Sam 23:6 "by the hand" vs. "with the hand"
2 Sam 23:7 "But the man who shall touch them must be armed [with] iron and the shaft of a spear; they shall be utterly burned with fire in [their] place." vs. "and a man shall not labor among them; and with iron, and the staff of a spear, and he shall burn them with fire, and they shall be burnt in their shame."
2 Sam 23:8 "Bashebeth" (Masoretic) vs. "Ish-Bosheth" (some Septuagint)
2 Sam 23:8 "Tachmonite" vs. "Chananite"
2 Sam 23:8 "the captains" (Masoretic, Targum) vs. "the Three" (Septuagint, Vulgate)
2 Sam 23:8 "three - he [was called] Adino the Eznite, because of the eight hundred [he] killed at one time." vs. "third part : Adinon the Asonite, he drew his sword against eight hundred soldiers at once."
2 Sam 23:9 "Eleazar the son of Dodo, the son of Ahohi." vs. "Eleanan the son of his uncle, son of Dudi"
2 Sam 23:10 "returned after him" vs. "rested behind him".
2 Sam 23:11 "gathered into a company" vs. "gathered to Theria"
2 Sam 23:13 "thirty commanders" vs. "thirty"
2 Sam 23:13 "to the harvest" vs. "to Cason"
2 Sam 23:15 "gate?" vs. "gate? Now the band of the Philistines [was] then in Bethlehem"
2 Sam 23:18 "Three" (most Hebrew, Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. "Thirty" (two Hebrew texts, Syriac) vs. "the mighty men" (Targum)
2 Sam 23:20 "son of Jehoiada from Kabzeel, a son of a mighty man" vs. "son of Jodae, he was abundant in mighty deeds, from Cabeseel"
2 Sam 23:20 "Ariel/Lion-like men" vs. "sons of Ariel" (The word Ariel means lion)
2 Sam 23:23 "more honored than the thirty" vs. "honorable among the second three"
2 Sam 23:23 "And David set him over his guard" vs. "and David made him his reporter."
2 Sam 23:24 "Asahel" vs. "And these [are] the names of king David's mighty men. Asael"
2 Sam 23:24 "Dodo" vs. "Dudi his uncle"
2 Sam 23:25-26 "Shammah the Harodite; Elikaq the Harodite; Helez the Paltite; Ira the son of Ikkesh, the Tekoite" vs. "Saema the Rudaean. Selles the Kelothite; Iras the son of Isca the Thecoite."
2 Sam 23:27 "Mebunnai" (Masoretic) vs. "Sibbecai" (some Septuagint; 1 Chronicles 11:29)
2 Sam 23:27 "Anathothite" vs. "Anothite, of the sons of the Anothite."
2 Sam 23:27-37, the names and places in Hebrew vs. Greek do not sound very close.
2 Sam 23:39 "Uriah the Hittite" vs. "Urias the Chettite"
2 Sam 24:1 "And again the anger of Jehovah glowed against Israel, and moved David against them" vs. "And the Lord caused his anger to burn forth again in Israel, and stirred up David against them"
2 Sam 24:2 "Joab the army commander" (Masoretic) vs. "Joab and the army commanders" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 24:5 "encamped in Aroer south of" (Masoretic) vs. "began from Aroer" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 24:6 "to the land of Tahtim-hodshi" vs. "to the land of the Hittites" (Septuagint)
2 Sam 24:9 "In Israel 800,000 ... in Judah 500,000" (both Masoretic text and the Septuagint) vs. "in Israel 900,000 ... in Judah 400,000" (Josephus and the Lucianic family of the Septuagint) (This is according to Hard Sayings of the Bible p.227)
2 Sam 24:10 "And after he had numbered the people, the heart of David struck/smote him." vs. "And the heart of David struck/smote him after he had numbered the people"
2 Sam 24:13 "seven years" (Masoretic) vs. "three years" (Septuagint, 1 Chronicles 21:12; this makes more sense in this context)
2 Sam 24:17 "I have done wrong" (Masoretic, most Septuagint) vs. "I, the shepherd, have done wickedly" (4QSam(a), Alexandrinus) (1 Chronicles 2:17 says "I have done wickedly")
Bibliography for this question: the Hebrew translation is from Jay P. Green's Literal Translation and the Septuagint rendering is from Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton's translation of The Septuagint : Greek and English. The Expositor's Bible Commentary and the footnotes in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, NRSV, and JPS Bibles also were used.
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