30 April 2010

David killed every male in Edom

There’s not a lot to go on here, just a few contradictory verses from four different books.

There’s a one-verse story from 2 Samuel saying that David got a name for himself by killing 18,000 Syrians in the valley of salt.
David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men. 2 Samuel 8.13
Then there’s a (sort of) similar verse from 1 Chronicles that agrees with 2 Samuel on the number killed (18,000) and the site of the killing (the valley of salt), but disagrees about the identities of the killer (Abishai vs. David) and the people killed (Syrians vs. Edomites).
Abishai … slew of the Edomites in the valley of salt eighteen thousand. 1 Chronicles 18.12
And there’s a Psalm story that says it was Joab who killed 12,000 in the valley of salt with the candlestick (or was it the lead pipe?).
Joab returned, and smote of Edom in the valley of salt twelve thousand. Psalm 60.1
In any case, whoever did the killing, whoever and however many were killed, it’s another example of God’s glorious killings, since we know that
The LORD preserved David whithersoever he went. 2 Samuel 8.14
And God approved of everything David ever did (with the single exception of the matter of Uriah).
David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. 1 Kings 15.5
There’s something else we are told about this killing. After the 18,000 (or 12,000) Edomites (or Syrians) were killed in the valley of salt by David (or Abishai or Joab), Joab killed every male in Edom.
When David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom; (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:) 1 Kings 11.15-16
(A little later God will have to have them all killed again, but that’s another story.)

So how many were killed in this killing? 18,000 or 12,000 in the valley of salt? And how many males were killed in Edom in Joab’s male genocide?

I’ll take 15,000 (the average of 12,000 and 18,000) for the number of Edomite (or Syrian) soldiers that were killed, and guess that 50,000 males of all ages were slaughtered, for a total of 65,000 in all.


busterggi said...

As the bible was written before the Crisis on Infinite Earths it is clear that that some of these happened on parallel worlds.

Matthew Blanchette said...

With parallel Gods? Surely, ol' Yahweh wouldn't agree to that...

busterggi said...

Yahweh wouldn't agree but the Elohim outvoted him.

skanksta said...

No, too few !

We have to assume that the bible is inerrant. What may appear like contradictions or inaccuracies to us, CAN'T be actual errors - since god is perfect. How can we understand, what it's like to be the creator of a universe and all life ? You may as well ask an ant to make judgements on human morality.

If it says David AND Abishai AND Joab killed 18k,18k,12k (respectively) in the Valley of Salt - then that's what they did.
TOTAL 48,000

It then says Joab killed every male, so that's what Joab did.
This is more guesswork, but I disagree with your 10k/40k ratio. Most men would be considered of fighting age, only the very young and old wouldn't be imo. So..I go for a ratio of 1/2 - thinking each fighting man would have an average of two boys, (or maybe an old father).

That means a better estimate is 150k.

Steve Wells said...

I like the way you're thinking, skanksta. But I think my interpretation is more likely: it's the same story, just the names, numbers, and nationality of the victims changed from one telling to the other.

I wonder what believers say about this one!

twillight said...

I think a talmudist would agree with skanksta, after what I've read about Solomon's 160,000,000 horses...

MD1985 said...

TNIV : 13 And David became famous after he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

It should be Edomites - early translations translated it wrong as Aram-Syria and Edom are almost identical in the Hebrew script.

Resh - ר
Dalet - ד

One letter changes everything :)

Also Joab and Abishai are David's newphews. Joab was the general of one of David's armies and it is likely Abishai served under him - They both served under David - hence it being attributed to him in 2 Samuel.

They are not contradictions.