ABC:2 Samuel 5

From BibleStrength

Verse 4

The ReasonProject lists the following as a Bible contradiction with the headline "When did Absalom rebel against David?"[1]

There are actually more passages involved in this alleged contradiction than these, I am surprised the critic doesn't cite them. As pointed out by Floyd Nolen Jones[2] the critic in essence is arguing that the 40 years of 2 Samuel 15:7 is inconsistent with Absalom's age since Absalom was the third child born after David moved to Hebron (2 Samuel 3:2-3) and David only reigned in Hebron for 7.5 years. (2 Samuel 2:1-11, 2 Chronicles 3:2-4)

There are a few solutions here:

Solution 1: The 40 Years Referred to Something Else

The possibility which Floyd Nolen Jones advocates[2] is that the 40 years of 2 Samuel 15:7 refers to something other than Absalom's birth or the time he spent preparing for a rebellion (2 Samuel 15:1-6). As Jones points out, it wouldn't have been David's age, as Absalom wouldn't have been old enough to lead a rebellion. It was likely the total amount that David reigned, not just before Absalom's birth, but after it as well.

Notice 2 Kings 2:11. At the end of David's life it is repeated that he reigned a total of 40 years. This was not just an "up to this point" number count in 2 Samuel 15:7, it was foreshadowing the total years David would end up ruling. That was actually done with the 7.5 year count as well, the year total was given throughout the narrative. (2 Samuel 2:11, 5:5; 1 Kings 2:11, 1 Chronicles 3:4, 29:27) Given the fact that the 40 year count was given at the end of David's life, AFTER he had started reigning again following Absalom's death, it thus may have included the years after Absalom's death that David reigned.

Solution 2: David Stayed in Hebron Before Ruling

The passages never say David's children were born while he was ruling in Hebron, only while he was there. (1 Chronicles 3:1-4, 2 Samuel 3:2-5) They never say David reigned in Hebron the entire time was there, and there was certainly a time delay between when he arrived in Hebron (2 Samuel 2:1-3) and when the men of Judah decided they wanted to appoint him king of Judah (2 Samuel 2:4). For all we know David could have been happily raising a family for a few years when his first two sons were born, and then Absalom was born the first year that he was appointed ruler of Hebron, in which case the passages would not contradict in the slightest. 30 years old would be a bit old to start having children anyway, so perhaps his first children were born a few years earlier when he first arrived in Hebron.


  1. Marlow, Andy (2009). Contradictions in the Bible. Project Reason.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jones, Floyd Nolen (2011). Chronology of the Old Testament. pg. 270. Floyd Jones Ministries, Inc.