8 The … chief among the captains … he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.
KJV  2 Samuel 23:8 

11 The chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.
KJV   1 Chronicles 11:11 
SAB Contradiction 1 

No contradiction at all

The supposed contradiction is the number 800 according to 2 Samuel and 300 according to 1 Chronicles. In fact the problem is caused by the expression ‘chief among/of the captains’, which is a mistranslation in the second case. When we study these passages we will see that there is no contradiction. We are concerned here with two different individuals, with different names, different origins, different positions and different victories in war. Because of the mistranslations we give here the most literal translations according to the Hebrew text.

These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains, he was called Adino the Eznite, because of eight hundred slain by him at one time;
NASB  2 Samuel 23:8

These constitute the list of the mighty men whom David had: Jashobeam, the son of a Hachmonite, the chief of the thirty; he lifted up his spear against three hundred whom he killed at one time.
NASB  1 Chronicles 11:11


2 Samuel 23:8
He was the first of the three great heroes. The King James Version already has the translation ‘captains’; literally: ‘third men’. The second man is the armour-bearer, while the third man of a king is his personal guard or adjutant who is ready to fulfil any wish of the king in times of war. David had three ‘third men’. These three great captains were: Josheb-basshebeth (verse 8), Eleazar the son of Dodo (verse 9) and Samma (verse 11). Josheb-basshebeth was the mightiest of them – he was victorious over eight hundred enemies at one time – and became their natural leader: chief of the (three) captains.

Jashobeam the Hachmonite

1 Chronicles 11:11
The NASB rightly translates Jashobeam as ‘the chief of the thirty’, that is: of David’s thirty heroes. The Jerusalem Bible also has ‘leader of the thirty’.
The KJV is not accurate with ‘chief of the captains’; the RSV and the ESV don’t follow the Hebrew text with ‘chief of the three’. The victory of Jashobeam: he was victorious over three hundred enemies.


It is a pity that some misunderstanding is possible, due to a few mistranslations. However, anyone who reads these passages will see quickly that two men with different names – Josheb-basshebeth and Jashobeam – different origins, different positions and with different victories (800 and 300 respectively) are at issue.

No Bible Contradiction

Additional remarks

1.This is the first SAB contradiction. It calls the tune for all the SAB contradictions. Insufficient knowledge of the Bible languages is a serious lack in the SAB approach. Those who want to come to the heart of the matter, will see that the Word of God comes forward unshaken and inviolate.

2. The critic gives the following remark below his proposed contradiction:
“Note from the Oxford Annotated Bible for 2 Samuel 23:8-11: Josheb-basshebeth a Tachemonite is an error of a copyist; 1 Chr 11.11 has Jashobeam a Hachmonite. It has been proposed that the man’s original name was Ishbaal (see 2.8 n. and 11.14-25 n.). So according to the Oxford Annotated Bible, Jashobeam and Josheb-basshe’beth (and Ishbaal) are different names for the same person.”

It is clear that the Oxford Annotated Bible has seen here a problem and blames the Bible for a ‘copyist-error’. However there is not even one variant reading for the name in 2 Samuel for Josheb etc., neither in 1 Chronicles for Jashobeam etc. So there is no indication for the assumption of a ‘copyist error’ in the Hebrew texts. Please, let the Hebrew texts speak for themselves in cases of supposed Bible Contradictions. That should be enough, shouldn’t it?