The 2001 Translation

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2001 Translation


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    The confusing lists of David’s mighty men

    The list of David’s mighty men in 1 Chronicles 11 contains more names than the list in the parallel account in 2 Samuel 23.

    The list in 2 Samuel 23 lists 25 men (at least in the Greek Septuagint), whereas the list in 1 Chronicles 11 lists 32. Further, many of those listed don’t match up!

    What’s going on?

    It may be a mixture of reasons.

    Firstly, the author(s) of 1 Chronicles may have taken the opportunity to add the names of men who replaced the first batch of ‘mighty men’ after they died.

    Secondly, there must have been some corruption in the Hebrew text of this list (or both lists) in the 5th or 4th centuries BCE before the Greek Septuagint was translated. It’s pretty clear that this happened because some of names are muddled together.

    This is understandable. You can imagine how easy it would be for misunderstandings and copyist errors to creep into a long list of names, both native and foreign, all listed together in a text without vowels, spaces, or full-stops! Narrative is transmitted very well, but long lists are ripe for errors.

    For example:

    The list in 2 Samuel features a man named EliAsou who has a son named JoNathan. He is followed by another man named ‘SamNan the Arodite.’

    However, the parallel list in Chronicles seems to get the names get muddled. ‘SamNan the Arodite’ disappears, along with JoNathan’s father, but it’s okay because then JonNathan’s gets a new father: ‘Sola the Arodite!’

    One day we hope that new archaeological discoveries will reveal an older, more reliable source for this list. Until then:

    ** We have marked with double-asterisks the names that we believe are corrupted.

    * Names that are new to this list and don’t feature in 2 Samuel are marked with one asterisk. These may be men who replaced those who died.

    Note that we might not have got this right, because there are also spelling differences in the names (after all, about 550 years had passed), which makes it even more confusing.

    Also see these translator notes:

    • 37 mighty men.
    • Lost text in 1 Chronicles 11.