Problem

How many officers did Solomon have?

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.

In 1 Kings 9:23 it says that Solomon had 550, but in 2 Chronicles it says that Solomon had 250.


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2 Chronicles included the 300 men who were selected as reservists to take the place of any supervisors who would become ill or who had died, while the author of the 1 Kings 5:16 passage includes only the supervisory force. No contradiction.

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Writing on 1 Kings 9:23, the scholars who wrote the 1599 Geneva Bible noted:

The overseers of Solomon's works were divided into three parts: the first contained 3300, the second 300, and the third 250 who were Israelites. Here are the two last parts, which make 550. See 2Ch 8:10.

* Taken from http://www.reformedreader.org/gbn/gbn1kings.htm *

John Gill, writing on the same passage, is in essential agreement:

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. Abarbinel reconciles the places thus, the two hundred and fifty were only over those that wrought in the temple; and the five hundred and fifty here were those that were over such that were employed in the various parts of the kingdom.

* Taken from http://www.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=1ki&chapter=009&verse=023 *

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Books on Apparent Contradictions