How many years of famine was David threatened with?

2 Samuel 24:13 - So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.
1 Chronicles 21:12 - Either three years' famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the LORD, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now therefore advise thyself what word I shall bring again to him that sent me.

Did Gad offer David three years of famine or seven years of famine?

"Shall seven years of famine..." (2 Sam 24:13)
"Either three years famine..." (1 Chron 21:12)

Video Solution

How Many Years of Famine?

A video solution harmonizing the seemingly contradictory scriptures describing the number of years of famine that David was presented in the Old Testament


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The question is "How can David be offered a three year famine and a seven year famine at the same time?"

The answer to this lies in 2 Samuel 21:1:

"Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites."

Notice also that it takes 9 months and 20 days to complete the numbering of the people (2 Samuel 24:8).

O.K. now put it all together. The scriptures make it clear that at least 3 years of famine have past before David begins to number the people. 9 months and 20 days later David has finished numbering the people. At this time (At least 3 years, 9 months, and 20 days of famine later plus the time between 2 Sam 21:1 and when David numbers the people), Gad comes to David and offers him 3 choices:

  1. 3 years of famine (This would make a total of 7 years since it is in addition to the 4 years that have already passed!)

  2. 3 months of fleeing from his enemies

  3. 3 days of pestilence

It is perfectly acceptable for the LORD to offer David 3 more years of famine, or offer him a total of 7 years of famine. There is no contradiction!

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