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Answering The Atheist
April 23, 2006 / Volume 6, Issue 17

THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Which sons of David were born in Jerusalem, and which were born in Hebron? Is there a contradiction?

RESPONSE:
We will begin with the sons born in Jerusalem. I am sure that the questioner believes that there is a contradiction since two of the children are not mentioned in 2 Samuel who are mentioned in the other texts. Also, perhaps the questioner believes the 1 Chronicles 3 text to be contradictory, since Elishama and Eliphelet are listed twice. Let us consider these questions.

2 SAM 5:14-16 1 CHR 3:5-8 1 CHR 14:3-7
Shammuah
Shobab
Nathan
Solomon
Ibhar
Elishua
---
---
Nepheg
Japhia
Elishama
Eliada
Eliphalet
Shimea
Shobab
Nathan
Solomon
Ibhar
Elishama
Eliphelet
Nogah
Nepheg
Japhia
Elishama
Eliada
Eliphelet
Shammua
Shobab
Nathan
Solomon
Ibhar
Elishua
Elpalet
Nogah
Nepheg
Japhia
Elishama
Beeliada
Eliphalet

First, regarding the two appearances of "Elishama" and "Eliphelet", it is not impossible for children born to different wives by the same husband to have the same name. That was the case among David's children born to him at Jerusalem. The first "Elishama" of 1 Chronicles 3 is the "Elishua" of the other two texts. The first "Eliphelet" of 1 Chronicles 3 is the "Elpalet" of 1 Chronicles 14.

Of the two children not listed in 2 Samuel 5 (Eliphelet/Elpalet and Nogah), it is possible that these died in their childhood, and thus the author of 2 Samuel, unlike the author of 1 Chronicles, did not list them.

Now, let us turn our attention to the children born to David in Hebron.

The only difference between the two accounts is that in one, Chileab is listed, and in the other Daniel is listed. It is not uncommon for someone to be known by two different names. In the New Testament, Peter is also know as Simon and Cephas. It seems that such is the case here also.

2 SAM 3:2-5 1 CHR 3:1-4
Annon
Chileab
Absalom
Adonijah
Shephatiah
Ithream
Annon
Daniel
Absalom
Adonijah
Shephatiah
Ithream

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible & here