On hearing this, David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men. The Ammonites came out and drew up in battle formation at the entrance to their city, while the kings who had come were by themselves in the open country. Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him; so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans. He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother, and they were deployed against the Ammonites. Joab said, “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to rescue me; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will rescue you. Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.” Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and they fled before him. When the Ammonites realized that the Arameans were fleeing, they too fled before his brother Abishai and went inside the city. So Joab went back to Jerusalem. After the Arameans saw that they had been routed by Israel, they sent messengers and had Arameans brought from beyond the Euphrates River, with Shophak the commander of Hadadezer’s army leading them. When David was told of this, he gathered all Israel and crossed the Jordan; he advanced against them and formed his battle lines opposite them. David formed his lines to meet the Arameans in battle, and they fought against him. But they fled before Israel, and David killed seven thousand of their charioteers and forty thousand of their foot soldiers. He also killed Shophak the commander of their army. When the vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been routed by Israel, they made peace with David and became subject to him. So the Arameans were not willing to help the Ammonites anymore. – 1 Chronicles 19:8-19
This passage is another retelling of an account that first occurs in the book of 2 Samuel 10:9-19 where it was the subject of a post called “crossing over to kill“. The accounts in this case are so similar that I had to use an on-line program to compare the texts. that is shown in the graphic at the top of the post.
The only real difference is a numerical difference in the number of charioteers that David killed. In Samuel the number is 700 and in 1 Chronicles the number is 7,000. I suppose this could have been a transcription error, but the similarity between the passages definitely points to either 1) a common source for both accounts; or 2) the author of 1 Chronicles was using 2 Samuel as a source for this account.
I thought there might be more differences, given the author of 1 Chronicles is thought to have been a priest, but there seems to be synoptic parallelism that I thought was confined to the synoptic gospels.
I guess this is a bit like running the same stretch of river, it may look the same but the water is never the same. Our Christian journey can be like that…we go to the same church, see the same people, and have the same traditions…but the living water is not the same no matter how much we feel like we are “running the same stretch of river”.
Prayer: God help us to make each day a new stretch of river even when it feels like the same river.