ABC:1 Kings 9
Jim Meritt of Infidels.org claims there is a contradiction is here in his section "Solomon's overseers".
|“||1 Kings 9:23 These were the chief of the officers that were over Solomon's work, five hundred and fifty, which bare rule over the people that wrought in the work.
2 Chronicles 8:10 And these were the chief of king Solomon's officers, even two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people.
While on the surface this appears to be a scribal error, a closer examination of other passages, 2 Chronicles 2:18 and 1 Kings 5:15-16 reveals there is no contradiction.
|“||2 Chronicles 2:18 And he set threescore and ten thousand of them to be bearers of burdens, and fourscore thousand to be hewers in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people a work.
1 Kings 5:16 Beside the chief of Solomon's officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work.
As pointed out by Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible in 1746 A.D.:
|“||"In building the above houses and cities: five hundred and fifty which bore rule over the people that wrought in the work; in 2 Chronicles 8:10 they are said to be but two hundred and fifty; now it may be observed, as is by the Jewish writers, that there were three sorts of those rulers; the lowest rank and order of them consisted of 3300, the next of three hundred which were over the 3300, and being numbered with them made 3600, 2 Chronicles 2:18 and the highest rank of them were two hundred and fifty, and the middlemost and highest being joined together, as they are here, made five hundred and fifty."
-Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In other words, 1 Kings 5:16 says there 3300 ruling over the people apart from the chief of Solomon's officers. These were apparently part of the 3600 overseers in 2 Chronicles 2:18, meaning 300 of them were a separate class. 1 Kings 5:16 may even be incorrectly translated into English by the KJV, and perhaps should be translated "Three thousand, and three hundred which ruled over the people". The simple inclusion of a comma would make it clear there's a separate 300 officers here, but either way it's plain from doing the math.
Regardless, when added to the elite 250 of 2 Chronicles 8:10, they formed the top 550 overseers mentioned in 1 Kings 9:23. At any rate, there is no contradiction here, the numbering matches up perfectly. Apparently God just likes to make people who think they find contradictions in His Word do math.
- Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.
- Gill, John (1746). Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible. At Internet Sacred Texts Archive. Retrieved from http://gill.biblecommenter.com/1_kings/9.htm.