Problem: David was the seventh or eighth son of Jesse
Verses: 1 Samuel 16:10-11, 1 Chronicles 2:13-15; Status: Minor

Like many of the problems I look at, this one is from the Skeptic's Annotated Bible.

According to the First Book of Samuel, chapter 16, the prophet Samuel was instructed by God to choose one of Jesse's sons to become the next king. Samuel saw seven of Jesse's sons, and none of them pleased God, so he asked Jesse whether any yet remained. And Jesse said that his youngest son, David, had not yet appeared. This is 1 Samuel 16:10-11:

And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen these." Then Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all your sons here?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here. (ESV)

Likewise, 1 Samuel 17:12-15 clearly states that David is Jesse's eighth son. However, the following is 1 Chronicles 2:13-15:

Jesse fathered Eliab his firstborn, Abinadab the second, Shimea the third, Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, Ozem the sixth, David the seventh. (ESV)

So this seems like a contradiction. Looking Unto Jesus suggests that one of Jesse's sons died fairly young, and so was not counted in the Chronicles.

I don't find this very convincing. When Samuel was choosing from Jesse's sons, David was evidently old enough to be out tending sheep. All of his brothers were older still. It seems like they all lived long enough to be worth mentioning.

Updated: 2009-01-01

Back to main index