Judges 11:26—How long did Israel dwell in Heshbon?
Problem: This verse affirms that Israel was in the land from the time of Moses to the time of Samuel, a period of about “three hundred years.” However, if one adds up all the reigns of the judges, it totals some 410 years.
Solution: The obvious solution is that, like the later kings of Israel, there were overlapping reigns. In other words, while some of the land was under oppression by a foreign ruler, other parts may have been delivered by a judge of Israel. Furthermore, it was common for a ruler to claim the whole year when he reigned only a part of it. Thus, the same year would be counted by different judges.
Furthermore, the 300 years total between Joshua and Samuel (ca. 1400–1100 b.c.) fits well with other verses that place the whole time period from the Exodus to Solomon at 480 years (1 Kings 6:1), and Acts 13:20 which speaks of 450 years between Israel’s conquering the Land and Solomon’s death (ca. 1381–931 b.c.).
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.