How Many Stalls of Horses Did Solomon Have, 4,000 or 40,000?

Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning how many stalls of horses Solomon had, 4,000 or 40,000 (1 Kings 4:26 and 2 Chronicles 9:25).
Bible "contradictions"
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Quick Answer

Here are two possible solutions to this alleged contradiction:

  1. There is no contradiction because 1 Kings 4 says that Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 2 Chronicles 9 says that Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots. These were different kings of stalls.
  2. There was a copyist error.

The argument

Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning how many stalls of horses Solomon had, whether it was 4,000 or 40,000. 1 Kings 4 says that Solomon had 40,000 stalls, yet 2 Chronicles 9 says that Solomon only had 4,000 stalls. Here are the relevant verses:

Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses

1 Kings 4:26 - Solomon also had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen.

Solomon had 4,000 stalls of horses

2 Chronicles 9:25 - And Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots, and 12,000 horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.

The solution

There are at least two possible solutions to this apparent discrepancy in the Bible:

  1. There is no contradiction because 1 Kings 4 says that Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 2 Chronicles 9 says that Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots. These were different kings of stalls.
  2. There was a copyist error.

1. 1 Kings 4 and 2 Chronicles 9 refer to different kinds of stalls

1 Kings 4 says that Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, while 2 Chronicles 9 says that he had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots. Obviously, there would be many more stalls for horses alone than for horses and chariots.

2. There was a copyist error

It is also possible that the discrepancy is simply a copyist error, since it is understandable that a tired scribe could mix up 4,000 and 40,000. This is not a problem for the doctrine of biblical inerrancy and infallibility because the doctrine states that the Bible is without error in the original manuscripts, not that no transmission errors ever occurred.

"I don't buy that explanation"

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.

Fact vs Opinion

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.

Additional Resources

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.

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