In 2 Samuel 23:8 the name of the chief of David’s mighty men is given as “Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite” (ESV). In 1 Chronicles 11:11 the name of the same person is given as “Jashobeam, a Hachmonite.” The KJV adds, “the same was Adino, the Eznite,” a rendering brought over from the Septuagint. My question is in regard to the number of people Adino (that’s the easiest of his several names) killed at one time. 2 Samuel says it was eight hundred; 1 Chronicles credits him with killing only 300 at one time. Since these are the only two mentions of Adino in scripture and since the texts are otherwise very similar I assume that the “one time” killings mentioned in both passages mutually refer to the same battle. However, the significant difference in the body counts recorded in the two passages is disturbing to me as one who believes strongly in the inerrancy and infallibility of scripture. All scripture is important, so I’m sure the apparent discrepancy is there for a reason.
1 Chronicles 11:11
ESV - 11 This is an account of David's mighty men: Jashobeam, a Hachmonite, was chief of the three. He wielded his spear against 300 whom he killed at one time.
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Where discrepancies like this exist in the Bible, it helps us to keep in mind that the Bible consists of several accounts that were described by more than one author. In this instance, the same person is being described by two different authors, each with a particular point of view and manner of writing. Two people are bound to think differently regarding what is most important when describing an event or a person; therefore, two accounts that differ somewhat can still be entirely credible even though the information offered in the separate accounts emphasizes different details. For example, suppose two witnesses are asked to describe an accident in a police report. It's unlikely that both witnesses will recite every single detail in exactly the same way. In fact, when witnesses do agree on every fine bit of minutiae, it might raise red flags to investigators that the witnesses were coached, or perhaps they conspired to present details that would sway the courts a certain direction. It is widely believed that 2 Samuel was written by Samuel, Nathan, and Gad, while Ezra wrote 1 Chronicles. Matthew Henry offers some possible explanations for the differences you've pointed out in his commentary about these passages: "Jashobeam, an Hachmonite--or, 'son of Hachmoni.' He is called also son of Zabdiel (1 Ch 27:2), so that, strictly speaking, he was the grandson of Hachmoni (compare 1 Ch 27:32). He lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time. The feat is said (2 Sa 23:8) to have been a slaughter of eight hundred in one day. Some endeavor to reconcile the statements in that passage and in this by supposing that he slew eight hundred on one occasion and three hundred on another; while others conjecture that he attacked a body of eight hundred, and, having slain three hundred of them, the rest fled [Lightfoot]." I hope this helps.
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