Were the Levites’ suburbs to be 1000 cubits square (Numbers 35:4) or 2000 cubits square (Numbers 35:5)? Is there a contradiction?
Did Moses in back-to-back verses contradict himself? Granted, the wording of the verses can cause some confusion, but that doesn’t mean they are in contradiction. Consider a possible explanation.
In verse 4, they were to measure outward 1,000 cubits from the wall of the city. In verse 5, they were to measure outward 2,000 outside the city. But what was the starting point for this second measurement? Was it the wall? If so, we might have expected Moses to say so, just as he did in verse 4. Might it be that this measurement went out from the extent of the measurement just given in verse 4? The end result would be an extension from the city walls (ie. the center of the town, the “business area” if you will) outward for 3,000 cubits. It could be the first 1,000 cubits were given for them to build homes in, whereas the remaining 2,000 cubits were for fields, vineyards, grazing of their animals, etc.
Keep in mind, the Levites were not given land as the rest of the tribes were. This sparse bit was given to them to live on. So the reader may understand how small this area was, 1,000 cubits is approx. 1/2 km or 1/3 mile. It was just enough space around the city to live, have small fields and vineyards.
There is no contradiction.
A response to 1001 Bible Contradictions.