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There are at least three solutions:
Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning how many supervisors Solomon had, whether he had 3,300 or 3,600. Here are the relevant verses.
1 Kings 5:16
- besides Solomon's 3,300 chief officers who were over the work, who had charge of the people who carried on the work.
2 Chronicles 2:2
- And Solomon assigned 70,000 men to bear burdens and 80,000 to quarry in the hill country, and 3,600 to oversee them.
There are at least three solutions to this alleged contradiction.
One possible solution is the 2 Chronicles 2:2
This is not too great a problem. The most likely solution is that the author of 2 Chronicles included the 300 men who were selected as reservists to take the place of any supervisors who would become ill or who had died, while the author of the 1 Kings 5:16
passage includes only the supervisory force. With the group as large as the 3,300, sickness and death certainly did occur, requiring reserves who would be called up as the need arose (n.d.).
1 Kings 9:23
- These were the chief officers who were over Solomon's work: 550 who had charge of the people who carried on the work.
2 Chronicles 8:10
- And these were the chief officers of King Solomon, 250, who exercised authority over the people.
For 1 Kings, if we add up the number of overseers and chief officers, we get 3,300 + 550 = 3,850.
For 2 Chronicles, if we add up the number of overseers and chief officers, we get 3,600 + 250 = 3,850.
Now the numbers of supervisors would be the same. It is possible that 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles are dividing the overseers differently. Perhaps 1 Kings is dividing these two groups of officers by their authority, whereas 2 Chronicles is dividing the two groups of officers by their nationality.
This solution is the view of Old Testament commentators Keil and Delitzsch.
It is also possible that a copyist simply made a mistake in copying the manuscript.
Some people have trouble accepting possible explanations to alleged contradictions in the Bible, especially ones that they consider a stretch. For example, Dan Barker, president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, says this:
I have received numerous replies from Christians who think that these contradictions are either trivial or easily explained. Yet not a single "explanation" has been convincing.
The fact is that there are plausible explanations for every alleged contradiction in the Bible. That there is a plausible explanation for an alleged contradiction does not mean that it is definitely the correct explanation for the alleged contradiction.
However, as long as a possible explanation has been suggested, then it has been objectively demonstrated that there is no necessary contradiction regarding the Bible verses and passages brought up.
When people like Dan Barker say that they don't find a particular explanation for a contradiction "convincing," then that is merely their opinion. A plausible explanation has been suggested that eliminates the necessary alleged contradiction. They simply don't like it, which is not at all a relevant argument against the explanation.
To read more about solutions to Bible contradictions and difficulties, check out Norman Geisler's The Big Book of Bible Difficulties: Clear and Concise Answers from Genesis to Revelation. While we do not agree with some of Geisler's theology, particularly concerning his view of predestination, this book is still an excellent resource. It is thorough and filled with research.
Another book to check out is Tim Chaffey's Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions: Exploring Forty Alleged Contraditions, which also answers many alleged contradictions in the Bible.