Questions From Readers
● Second Samuel 8:13 states that David struck down the Edomites in the Valley of Salt, but 1 Chronicles 18:12 attributes this accomplishment to Abishai, and the superscription of Psalm 60 says that Joab administered the defeat. Why is this?
The three accounts evidently present the defeat of the Edomites from different viewpoints. In 2 Samuel, the victory is ascribed to David because he was the king, the commander-in-chief of the Israelite army and the one who authorized the battle engagement. Since Joab was the principal general, he is credited with the triumph in the superscription of Psalm 60. Abishai served as a divisional commander under Joab and doubtless had a prominent share in the military campaign. This would explain why the victory is attributed to him in the Chronicles account. Thus there is no contradiction. Even today it is customary to ascribe a particular deed to the person who authorized it or to the one who had a prominent share in its being carried out successfully.