How Much Did David Pay for Ornan's Threshingfloor?

Claimed Contradiction: II Samuel 24:24 says that David paid 50 shekels of silver to purchase the threshingfloor of Ornan, yet I Chronicles 21:25 says that he paid 600 shekels of gold for this property.

This supposed contradiction, like many others, rests on the shaky foundation of cursory reading. Reading the verses fully quite easily alleviates this "problem" with the Scriptures. II Samuel 24:21,24 says,

"..And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people.....And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver."

While I Chronicles 21:22,24-25 says,

"Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the LORD: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people.....And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight."

What is important to note is that the account given in I Chronicles specifically mentions the purchase of not only the threshingfloor itself, but ALSO the purchase of the "place" of the threshingfloor. This word "place" is the Hebrew maqowm, which Strong's defines as "prop., a standing, i.e. a spot; but used widely of a locality (general or specific)...", and notes that the word is translated variously in the KJV as "country, home, open, place, room, space, whither[-soever]" 1. Hence, this word can very well, and in fact quite often does, denote a broad locality or general area. That this is the meaning in I Chronicles is shown further on in this narrative, in I Chronicles 22:1, when remarking of the property which he had just purchased and of the altar which he had just reared up, he says, "...This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel." This same place was the site upon which the Temple was built by Solomon, as shown in II Chronicles 3:1,

"Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite."

Solomon built the temple (a much larger building than a threshingfloor!) on the top of the whole of mount Moriah. Thus, while II Samuel records the aspect of David's purchase of the threshingfloor for a place to specifically rear up the altar (for the smaller price of 50 shekels of SILVER), I Chronicles records his purchase of the whole property (for the much larger price of 600 shekels of GOLD) to serve as the future site of the Temple, a much larger building than a simple threshingfloor. These two passages record complementary information about this purchase which cannot reasonably be said to conflict with one another.

Endnotes


(1) J. Strong, Strong's Concordinance of the Bible, Hebrew Concordinance, Entry #4725