because David did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.
1 Kings 15:5  NASB


Now David’s heart troubled him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”
2 Samuel 24:10  NASB


SAB Contradiction 117


The Problem
After David’s life had been witnessed that he had sinned only in the case of Uriah (1 Kings 15:5). However during his life, David himself testified that he had sinned concerning the numbering of the people (2 Samuel 24:10). It seems that we are confronted with two conflicting opinions.


The Answer
The critic didn’t fully notice the expression “anything that He commanded him” in the first text. This refers to the commandments in the Law of Moses. From this we understand that he was eager to do what God had revealed to Moses existing in written form. However, faith is not defined in writings (Scriptures) only.


Rules of war in Israel
The numbering of the people by David was an undertaking to know how great the military force of Israel was. And that was against the religious tradition; not written in the Law of Moses, but well-known among the Israelites.  
In case of a war of aggression against Israel, all men from about 20 years and older could be mobilized. When they all were gathered a priest had to bring an offering and to make it known that those who were afraid could go home. This practice had several implications for the ethics of war.
(1) A king could never rely on numbering his soldiers beforehand.
(2) To go into war was a personal decision for every Israelite, and only relevant in case of a war of defense.
(3) A king could not mobilise for a war of aggression (against other nations); many Israelites would refuse to come up.
(4) There were always two religious reasons for war: defending the land that God had given, and defending the people of God (their lives, their property and their honor).


When David numbered the people he didn’t sin against the Law of Moses (with the commandments of God), but indeed he sinned against important spiritual aspects connected with warfare.


No Bible Contradiction



What about the accusations of Steve Wells (inventor of the SAB Contradictions) against David’s integrity?

‘It would be hard to find anyone in the Bible that God liked more than David …; let's look at some of David's “godly acts”.’


1. He kills Goliath with his sling, beheads him, and carries the head back to Jerusalem. (1 Samuel 17:51-57)
Wrong, he defended his nation against an aggressive enemy.


2. He and Saul have a contest to see who can kill the most people for God, and the women act as cheerleaders saying, "Saul has killed his thousands, and David his tens of thousands." (1 Samuel 18:6-7)
Wrong, there was no contest at all, just an explosion of joy after a battle with the Philistines. In the beginning of Saul’s reign there were only two swords in Israel (Saul and Jonathan, 1 Samuel 13:21) and the Philistines had 3,000 iron chariots (1 Samuel 13:5). After David’s intercession (against Goliath), it seems that the Philistines became so frightened that they, not being able to turn their chariots as they stood on line, fled on foot throwing away their weapons. And so David provided not only a victory but also a new equipment for the army of Israel (1 Samuel 17:53).


3. He kills 200 Philistines and brings their foreskins to Saul to buy his first wife (Saul's daughter Michal). (1 Samuel 18:25-27)
Wrong, he didn’t buy her with foreskins. Saul tried to bring David in a dangerous position (to be killed by Philistines) with his high demand of 200 conquered enemies.


4. He "went out, and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter." (1 Samuel 19:8) 
Wrong, David defended his nation against a terrible enemy, which was his moral duty.


5. He acts like he's crazy, scribbles on the gates of Gath, and lets spit run down his beard. All this he did in front of Israel's enemies in the hopes that they would take him in and protect him from Saul. (1 Samuel 21:12)
Wrong, David did so to make the citizens of Gath think that he was mad and that they would send him away as a poor sick individual. And so it happened.


6. He "inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the Lord said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines … So David smote them with a great slaughter." (1 Samuel 23:2-5)
Wrong. He defended his nation against a terrible enemy, which was his moral duty.


7. He vows to kill "any that pisseth against the wall." (1 Samuel 25:22, 34)
Wrong. (Vulgar speech) referring to male enemies or opponents. However, the Lord prevented him to do so through Abigail, Nabal’s wife.


8. He "smote the land and left neither man nor woman alive." (1 Samuel 27:8-11)
Wrong. There was a long standing quarrel between the Isaelites and the Amalekites since the Exodus out of Egypt. The Amalakites had tried to exterminate the people of Israel in the desert. God warned the Israelites to not forget what the Amalakites had done, certainly to remind them that the Amalakites would try the same in the future. And if so, the ban had to be executed over the guilty ones. The phrase “smote the land” refers to the environment of the cities or villages he conquered. “Neither man nor woman” refers to those who had been active at war, not to those who had fled before or during the battle; that were the two rules of the war ban.


9. He had many wives. (1 Samuel 30:5)
This was no crime, even the patriarchs followed the practice of polygamy at that time.


10. He tells one of his "young men" to kill the Amalekite messenger who claimed to have mercifully killed Saul at Saul's own request. (2 Samuel 1:15)
Wrong, David killed the man (an Amalakite) as he had testified that he had ‘killed the Lord’s anointed’ (1:16). It was a brutal Amalakite provocation unto David.


11. When Joab (David's captain) kills Abner (by smiting him under the fifth rib of course), David says that he and his kingdom are not responsible. The blame, he says, lies with Joab. So David curses Joab, his family, and their descendants forever. Let them all be plagued with venereal diseases and leprosy, starve to death, commit suicide, or lean on staves. (2 Samuel 3:27-29)
Wrong for two reasons. (1) Wrongly quoted (KJV) “…  and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, …etc” and not all Joabs descendants. David is expressing here that there may always be someone in the offspring of Joab with a serious disease. Why? To remind everybody the transgression of Joab. (2) Later David gave his son Solomon the instruction to punish Joab for his transgression (1 Kings 2:6). Apparently he saw that his curse on the family of Joab was not a proper move, as only Joab was responsible for his crimes.


12. Some of David's men kill Saul's son (by smiting him under the fifth rib, of course) and bring his head to David, thinking that he'll be pleased. But he wasn't. David has the assassins killed, their hands and feet chopped off, and their bodies hung up (for decorations?) over the pool in Hebron. (2 Samuel 4:6-7)
Wrong. Their bodies were not hung up for decoration, but as a public punishment. It was only permitted for one day. (Deuteronomy 21:23)


13. He says that whoever kills the lame and the blind will be his "chief and captain." (2 Samuel 5:8)
Wrong. David used a metaphor (the lame and the blind). The Jebusites had said earlier that their city Jerusalem could be defended by even their lame and blind people, a metaphor saying how strong their city was. Now David took over their metaphor calling their soldiers ‘the lame and the blind’ in comparison with his soldiers.


14. He asks God if he should kill some more Philistines. God says yes, and he'll even help. So David and God "smote the Philistines" again. (2 Samuel 5:19, 25)
Wrong. This was a war of defense for the Israelites. David had learned to ask God concerning critical moments of his life. It was critical since the Philistines heard that David had settled in Jerusalem and they “went up to seek out David”.


15. He dances nearly naked in front of God and everybody. Michal criticizes him for it and God punishes her by having "no child unto the day of her death." (2 Samuel 6:14, 20-22)
Wrong. He was not ‘nearly naked’ this accusation of Michal was certainly not to the point. He had only removed his royal upper garment and was ‘wearing a linen efod’; this was cheap clothing and common among the priests as normal garment (1 Sam. 2:18, 20:18). Moreover it is not mentioned in the Bible that God punished Michal that she didn't become pregnant until her death. It is only the observation of the biblical writer.


16. He kills two thirds of the Moabites and makes the rest slaves. He also cripples the captured horses. (2 Samuel 8:2-4)
Wrong. David had defended his country against a war of aggression from the side of the Moabites. It was usual at that time to kill all captured soldiers at war. Apparently David didn’t want to fully exterminate the Moabite people. He could not let them go freely as they had been a serious threat to the Israelites, so he came to the decision to only let one third of the Moabites live.
David hamstrung the chariot horses of the Arameans who had revolted against David. Doing so he eliminated the cavalry of his enemy for years.


17. He kills and tortures thousands of people, "and the Lord preserved David wherever he went." (2 Samuel 8:6, 14)
Wrong. There is no mentioning of torturing at all. Maybe it is strange in our eyes that there were no prisoners of war: in battle it was life or death. This was the universal rule at that time, not only for David but for all nations. David followed also the first rule in Israel to only fight wars of defense and never a war of aggression.


18. He sees a woman (Bathsheba) bathing and likes what he sees. So he sends for her and commits adultery with her "for she was purified from her uncleanness." She conceives and bears a son (which God later kills to punish David). (2 Samuel 11:2-5)
Right. This was indeed a great misstep of David.
Wrong. God doesn’t kill. Satan is ‘murderer from the beginning’ (John 8:44). Indeed the death of the baby happened under God’s admission.


19. He tells Joab (his captain) to send Bathsheba's husband (Uriah) to "the forefront of the hottest battle … that he may be smitten and die." In this way, David gets another wife. (2 Samuel 11:15, 17, 27)
(This is the only thing he ever did wrong. Everything else was "right in the eyes of the Lord.")
Wrong.  The expression that David did what was “right in the eyes of the Lord” is found in 1 Kings 15:5, where it is combined with and explained with the words: “… [David] turned not aside from anything that he [the Lord] commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” David followed “the commandments of God”, i.e. the Law of Moses! That is what God had commanded unto Israel to keep and to do: David did. Especially as David was a man of wars, it was extremely important for him to keep all God’s commandments concerning war affairs (save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite).


20. He saws, hacks, and burns to death all the inhabitants of several cities. (2 Samuel 12:31)
Wrong. The critic gives his interpretation of: “He [David] also brought out the people who were in it, and set them under saws, sharp iron instruments, and iron axes, and made them pass through the brick kiln.” Nothing is said of burning! It is true that there are interpreters who have proposed to explain this with the killing of these people. However two things plead against this. (1) In doing so they have to bring in changes in the Hebrew text. (2) They ignore the simple explanation in the text itself: he brought them under forced labor (in stone-pits and) brick kilns.


21. He shows unusual restraint and "went not in unto his concubines." Instead, he imprisons them as a punishment for being raped by David's son, Absalom. (2 Samuel 20:3)
Wrong. The usual translation here is absolutely wrong. These women were not set in custody. They were set in a beth misjmèrèt, a house of service, or residential home. The Hebrew word misjmèrèt has two meanings (1) custody and (2) obligation, service (Lexicon Köhler-Baumgartner, 1953).


22. To appease God and end the famine that was caused by his predecessor (Saul), David agrees to have seven of Saul's sons killed and hung up "unto the Lord." (2 Samuel 21:6-9)
Wrong. The famine was caused by Saul and his bloody house (NASB) The seven sons of Saul, who were punished to death, were certainly commissioned with the extermination of the Gibeonites.


23. Old King David tries to get some heat by having a beautiful virgin minister unto him. (1 Kings 1:1-4)
Wrong. His servants came with her (Abishag) to make her David’s last concubine. However David only accepted her as a nurse and she served him (Comp NASB). They didn’t have sexual intercourse (1 Kings 1:4).


24. In David's last words, he commands his son Solomon to murder Joab. (1 Kings 2:5-9)
Wrong. David gave the instruction to his son Solomon concerning Joab to not let him free of the two crimes (murders) Joab had committed, but to use his wisdom to make Joab receive his (capital) punishment.


I’m sorry to say, but I cannot find any relevant accusation of the many Steve Wells presented against king David. Generally they are pure distortions, moreover Wells is frequently wrong in quoting or referring to the sources.