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Did Solomon have 4k or 40k horses (or stalls for horses)?

2 Chronicles 9:25. And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.


1 Kings 4:26. And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.

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  • Bill you do have an eye for this 😂 thank you for the contributions, i personally like them a lot (+1). Jan 12, 2021 at 8:16

3 Answers 3

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LXX and Chron both have 4,000. (c.f. 3 Kingdoms 10.29). Given that 40K seems too high and there is both a variant text and a second witness to 4K, I'd guess this is a scribal error in the MT 1 Ki and we should assume that אַרְבַּעַת֩ "arbath" was erroneously copied as the very similar looking (אַרְבָּעִ֥ים) "arbaim” and thus "four" became "forty".

The difference between the two words is solely the yod and whether there is a square box for the final mem or a 3 sided box for the tav. Perhaps a smudge filled that bottom line in that last letter, or the line was damaged.

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A simple evaluation of the texts and a practical understanding of what the texts describe could make for a very realistic understanding...

The words and and for are also two different words.

  • Horses and chariots = 4k
  • Horses for Chariots = 40k

Consider this in modern terms...

  • 1 tank = 10 soldiers

So, this could mean...

  • 1 horse and 1 chariot hitched
  • 10 horses total ready for duty if a fellow horse is killed
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  • This answer provides some good insight, merely by reviewing what is already in front of us, but it needed more explanation and some styling so that the point could be read. I added that. Welcome to the site!
    – Jesse
    Aug 15, 2023 at 16:04
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To support Robert's answer, I quote Pulpit Commentary:

Verse 26. - And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses [40,000 is certainly a clerical error, probably for 4000 (i.e., אַרְבָּיעים for אַרְבָּעָה). For

(1) in the parallel passage in Chronicles the number is stated as 4000.

(2) 4000 agrees, and 40,000 does not, with the other numbers here given.

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