The problem of the census (1 Chr 27:23-27:24)

“David did not count those below the age of twenty years old. Yahweh had promised to make Israel as numerous as the stars of heaven. Joab son of Zeruiah began to count them, but did not finish. Yet wrath came upon Israel for this. The number was not entered into the account of King David.”

Now we are back to the problems of the census of David, as in chapter 21 of this book. Apparently the census of David in 2 Samuel, chapter 24 was more successful. David did not try to count the people under 20 years old, because Israel would be like the uncounted stars of the heaven. Joab, King David’s nephew, was in charge of this census but never finished it. We know that he did not count some people because he did not like the idea of a census. Thus we do not know the number of people because it was not entered into the account about King David. However, in chapter 21 of this book, there were some real numbers. The results were different from 2 Samuel, where Joab reported to King David that there were 1,300,000 men, not counting the women and children. In this book in chapter 21, the number was 1,100,000 men in Israel and 470,000 in Judah, totaling 1,770,000, nearly a half million more. Besides, in 1 Chronicles, chapter 21, Joab did not count Benjaminites or Levites. Both these numbers of people are extremely large, meaning that over 2 and a half million people might have been in Israel and Judah at this time. Archeologists are very skeptical of these numbers. Notice that this assumes the division of the kingdom into north and south, Israel and Judah, which did not take place until after the death of Solomon.

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