d-3 Amplification variance: How King Saul Died: 2 Samuel Amplifies 1 Samuel
Details of prolonged dying process of king Saul appear in 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel, and differences in the two accounts prove to involve amplification that does not extend to the Chronicles books.
1 Samuel 31:4,5
Therefore Saul took a sword and fell upon it. And when his armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him, and there can be unique terminology that must be resolved to grasp all the teaching involved.
2 Samuel 1:6, 7, 9, 10
…Saul leaned upon his spear…he saw me (an Amalekite) and called unto me…He said unto me…slay me: for…my life is yet whole in me. So I stood upon him, and slew him because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen…
The manner of Saul's death seems different in 2 Samuel from that indicated in 1 Samuel, but this is a case in which each passage gives part of the account, and joining them gives it all. In 1 Samuel a wounded Saul seeks to avoid death at the hand of foes, so he tells his armor-bearer to kill him, but the man refuses. Saul falls upon his sword but isn’t yet dead. Often it's quite difficult to kill oneself, for the flesh never really wants to die. He does die, and his armor-bearer kills himself, but only after the 2 Samuel Amalekite appears, and ends Saul’s life at the latter's request, believing Saul will soon die. The armor-bearer then kills himself. 1 Samuel gives a more general account, while 2 Samuel adds detail amplifying the matter.
note that 2 Samuel 21:12 says the Philistines had slain Saul in
Gilboa, so he evidently received a mortal wound in his war with Philistines at
Gilboa (2 Sam.1:6 indicates this happened at Gilboa). His demise apparently was just hastened by his act of falling upon his sword and by the Amalekite at Saul's request, to avoid abuse by uncircumcised Philistines when they located him. That Saul's initial wound was a mortal one is suggested by the indication that Saul knew he was dying, and wanted to hasten the process, as further suggested by the Amalekite's statement that he was certain Saul would not survive.
Finally, unique terminology involved in this incident must be clarified to relate all events properly. In 1
Samuel Saul falls upon his sword, but in 2 Samuel he leans upon his
spear. The spear is another term for the sword, the point being that he
was speared with the sword. Hebrew for leaned upon has variant senses, and in this case the true sense is thrust against, meaning he thrust himself against his sword, so
he speared, rather than stabbed, himself with the sword. This sense of the term is seen elsewhere in the Hebrew text, as in Judges 16:26 where Samson leaned upon, or thrust against, with his arms, pillars supporting the roof of a huge house, bringing down the roof upon many Philistines who had gathered to celebrate their victory over Samson. The same sense is found in Isaiah 10:20 that speaks of the remnant of Israel that at one time did stay upon (lean upon) a foe that smote (struck) the people, but will in the future stay upon (lean upon) the Lord in safety.
1 & 2 Samuel were originally one book, and amplification of 1 Samuel by 2 Samuel would be one logical reason they were separated in the Septuagint, a text originally presenting amplification of the standard Hebrew text (not the corrupted current text of the Septuagint - The fact of amplification that is associated with the Septuagint is discussed in detail in the present writer's hermeneutics book, p301-324). A related type of amplification occurs in the case of David & Goliath, and here 2 Samuel 21:19 amplifies 1 Samuel 17:50, and is itself further amplified by Chronicles 20:5 (Essay 7-b offers further details on this matter). This is extended amplification with Chronicles presenting the finalized form.
An example of LXX amplification of the standard Hebrew text, from the Hermeneutics book, is noted below.
Messiah in the Old Testament: Christ's future sacrifice is unveiled in an original 3rd–2nd Century B.C. LXX: LXX completion of partial revelation and provision of new emphasis is seen as mystery is clarified at Psalm 40:6. Hebrews 10:5 in the New Testament quotes the LXX, revealing the passage speaker (Christ preincarnate) as telling of a body prepared for Him for sacrifice. The Hebrew Text is different, the speaker telling of opening of His ears in obedience to God's will.11
a. Psalm 40:6 quoted in Hebrews 10:5,6 of the KJV New Testament
Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he (Christ) saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
b. LXX: Translation in contemporary English *
Sacrifice and offering You didn’t desire; but a body you’ve prepared for me; whole burnt offering and sacrifice for sin You didn’t require.
c. Hebrew Masoretic Text: English translation in the KJV: Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
*Lancelot C.L. Brenton. The Septuagint LXX: Greek and English. Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd. London. 1851. Also found in Symmachus and Theodotion Greek texts and may originate in an LXX-type Hebrew text like that in some Dead-Sea scrolls.
Messiah’s sacrificial atonement wasn’t openly revealed to Israel, and is veil- ed in the Hebrew-text Ps. 40:6 where only the first step toward His sacrifice, opening of His ears, is given. But this step led to sacrifice of His body vital to fulfilling His mission. Thus the LXX and the New Testament amplify the matter to show the fulfillment to the church.
Revelation of the vicarious sacrifice of the person of the Messiah was not meant to be fully understood by Israel that knew Him only as a ruling king (Second Advent status). This knowledge would be openly revealed only in the fullness of God's time, and that time arrived at the arrival of the church era when the full revelation was vital to the mission of the church. As an authoritative source of Christological truth for the church before the advent of the Greek New Testament in permanent written form, the original LXX Old Testament met this need, giving the amplified Christological meaning of the passage to a fledgling church by revealing the ultimate intent that was underlying the obedience.
The LXX displaced the Hebrew text in the early church, which also seems to have been God’s plan. The partial revelation on Messiah in the Hebrew text served God's purpose for Israel while Messiah’s Advent was yet far in the future and imperfectly understood. But this text had to be set aside briefly in the church so that amplified Christology of the LXX might command the church’s attention. Once the New Testament was complete, Masoretic-Text restoration and LXX abandonment would have been the correct course so that there would be no competition among Old-Testament texts and New Testament amplification of the Hebrew text might be clearly seen. This was the right course for a church mature in scriptural knowledge, but the predo- minant popular church didn’t react properly, and great delay in Hebrew-text restoration resulted.