calc02I received the following question:

You could answer the question of Joshobeam and whether he killed 300 or 800 at one time. (1 Chronicles 11:11 vs. 2 Samuel 23:8)     

I Chronicles 11:11. And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had: Jashobeam the son of a Hachmonite, chief of the captains; he had lifted up his spear against three hundred, killed by him at one time.

II Samuel 23:8. These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-Basshebeth the Tachmonite, chief among the captains. He was called Adino the Eznite, because he had killed eight hundred men at one time.

This is a hard one, since I have no good explanation for how “300” could have been mistaken for “800” or vice versa. It could be that these refer to two separate occasions. I notice that in II Samuel 23, we see Shammah credited with holding off the Philistines in a field of lentils. This seems to indicate he did this single-handedly. In I Chronicles 11, the three mighty men along with David are credited with holding off the Philistines by themselves in a field full of barley. Were these two events related? Did Shammah start it, and the rest join him, as the battle moved from the lentil field to the barley field? It could be some such incident, wherein Jashobeam killed three hundred by himself, and then five hundred more after others joined him and he had help.

Ultimately, I can’t answer this one definitively, but certainly there is nothing here that would indicate that some such explanation is not very possible.