Q. How many valiant men drew the sword for Israel as counted by Joab?
A. Joab concluded that 1,100,000 men of Israel drew the sword – 800,000 of which were “valiant”.
If we go by the verses cited as contradictory, that seems to be the obvious answer.
“And Joab gave the number of the registration of the people to the king; and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.” (2 Samuel 24:9)
“Joab gave the number of the census of all the people to David. And all Israel were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword; and Judah was 470,000 men who drew the sword.” (1 Chronicles 21:5)
The record of the men of Judah was simply rounded to the nearest hundred thousands’ place by the author of 2 Samuel, but recorded more precisely by the chronicler of 1 Chronicles.
Sounds too simple to be an explanation for a supposed Bible contradiction, doesn’t it? Well, maybe that leaves us some time to study Occam’s Razor…