Are you grappling with a difficult verse in the Bible? And are you looking for a short, easy-to-read answer that really makes sense without explaining away the verse?

Hard Sayings of the Bible is the handy reference book you need. Here you will find explanations of over five hundred of the most troubling verses to test the minds and hearts of Bible readers. Four seasoned scholars, all with a notable gift for communicating with people in the pew, take you behind the scenes to find succinct solutions to a wide variety of Bible difficulties, ranging from discrepancies about numbers to questions about God's justice.

Visit this page for a daily excerpt from IVP's Hard Saying series.

Today's Study

1 Chronicles 2:13-15: Did Jesse Have Seven or Eight Sons?

Did Jesse father seven or eight sons? Chronicles says it was seven, but Samuel says it was eight (1 Sam 16:10-11; 17:12-14). Which one is accurate?

First Samuel 16 only names four of Jesse's sons: Eliab, Abinadab, Shammah, who is called Shimea in 1 Chronicles, and David. First Chronicles gives the names of three other sons, Nethanel, Raddai and Ozem, but specifies that David is the seventh. What happened to the other unnamed son, that 1 Chronicles 2 totally ignores, is unknown. Some commentators suggest that this unnamed son may have died without any posterity, and therefore his name was not included in the list in Chronicles.

The reading of the Syriac lists an Elihu as the seventh son in 1 Chronicles 2:15 and then lists David as the eighth, thereby bringing the two lists in Samuel and Chronicles into harmony with each other. The Syriac reading is based on the Hebrew reading of 1 Chronicles 27:18, where the Septuagint has Eliab instead of Elihu (apparently going with the known name from the list in 1 Samuel). If the Syriac and Hebrew preserve accurate traditions, then Elihu is the son missing from the list of 1 Chronicles 2:15.

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