Q&A: A field of barley or lentils? - 2 Samuel 23:11 and 1 Chronicles 11:13

A field of barley or lentils? - 2 Samuel 23:11 and 1 Chronicles 11:13

Question

2 Samuel 23:11 speaks of a field of lentils, but 1 Chronicles 11:13 says it was barley. Which is it?

Answer

2 Samuel 23:11 Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israels troops fled from them.

1 Chronicles 11:13 He was with David at Pas Dammim when the Philistines gathered there for battle. At a place where there was a field full of barley, the troops fled from the Philistines.

It may have been a copyist error. John Gill observes, "And though that parcel of ground is said there to be full of barley, it may easily be reconciled by observing, that one part of it might be sowed with barley, and the other part with lentiles; so the Targum in (1 Chronicles 11:13); for it was half lentiles and half barley." (John Gill's Exposition of the Bible).

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).