Skeptics Annotated Bible A Response

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#1 - How many men did the chief of David's captains kill?

Reponse by Wendell Leahy

The critic asks; 800 or 300?

2 Samuel 23:8 (800)
These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

1 Chronicles 11:11 (300)
the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time

Background of these passages:
*1 Chronicles chapters 11 and 12 deal with "David’s mighty men":
*2 Samuel chapter 23 — These are David’s final words.

J Vernon McGee states:
1 Chronicles Chapter 11 — While only one chapter is devoted to Saul, the remainder of 1 Chronicles is devoted to the reign of David, and 2 Chronicles is given over to the reign of David’s line. It is easy to see where God placed the emphasis and why. David was not only a man after God’s own heart, but his line is leading to Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. This chapter records again David’s ascension to the throne and catalogs his mighty men (see notes on 2 Samuel 23). These are the deeds that God considered important enough to record twice.

2 Samuel Chapter 23 — These are David’s final words. Verse 5 was David’s hope. David’s mighty men are listed. These are the men who came to David during the days of his rejection. They did exploits for God (vs. 13-17) and performed courageous feats beyond the call of David (v. 20). There is one blot on the escutcheon of David, as Uriah the Hittite was one of the mighty men of David (v. 39).
John Wesley states:
Slain - By his own hand, five hundred more being slain by others then joining with him, who pursued the victory, both which sums make up the eight hundred, numbered 23:8. The slaughter of all is justly ascribed to him, because it was the effect of his valour.
John Gill states:
A mistake of the copier is also possible as :
... v being the first letter of the words for three and eight, and the numeral letter being here reduced to its word at length, through a mistake in the copier, was written hnmv, "eight," instead of vlv, "three":

It could also be that this verse should be translated differently as the Septuagint does. The meaning then becomes that Adino met eight hundred men, and slew three hundred of them.