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Answering The Atheist
July 29, 2007 / Volume 7, Issue 30

How many talents of gold did Hiram send Solomon? 1 Kings 9:27-28 says 420, but 2 Chronicles 8:18 says 450. Is there a contradiction?

It may be that there is a corruption in the text, that the Hebrew chamishshiym (meaning 50) was in some way copied as esriym (meaning 20). It should be noted that the original autographs are the inspired text, not the copies thereof. Textual corruption is a possibility when we have a record being copied by the hand of man. A big deal is made by opponents of the Bible when such occurs in insignificant details such as this; and yet no one bats an eye at possible textual corruptions in other ancient texts.

All that said, there is a plausible explanation for the difference in the 1 Kings record from the 2 Chronicles record. It may be that 30 talents of the total (450) were reserved as the wages of Hiram's servants. As such, Solomon would have in hand 420, not 450 talents of gold. In such a case, one writer reported the total gold received, the other reported the net gold received.

If there is a textual corruption, we acknowledge that such has entered the text by the hand of man; but it is equally possible that there is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible