No Contradiction of Numbers, Names, etc: Chronicles Amplification
by Dr. L. Bednar
We illustrate a principle that we call
amplification, and follow-up with some examples in the page links to
show that what some call contradictions in scripture are really cases
of additive or clarifying information. Amplification often involves numbers, but also refers to other matters. Chronicles offers the most frequent examples. and the Greek title for the Chronicles is, appropriately, things left out (in Samuel & Kings).
Amplification of Samuel & Kings in Chronicles
1. Chronicles often amplifies (expounds) Samuel/Kings, and a typical example is seen in 2 Sam.8:13-14 and 1 Chron.18:12-13. In 2 Samuel David smites 18,000 Syrians in the Valley of Salt, but in 1 Chronicles, David’s nephew Abishai is the one who smites these adversaries, and here the adversaries are called Edomites.
In Samuel and Chronicles the battle occurs in the Valley of Salt of Edom. In verse 14 of Samuel, David is said to establish garrisons in Edom where he has slain the Syrians, and in verse 13 of Chronicles, Abishai is the one noted as establishing the garrisons. Thus the text links Syria and Edom and also David and Abishai in this incident.
What we deduce is that amplification in
Chronicles informs us David's adversaries in the Valley of Salt were
ethnic Edomites, but were also Syrians, Edom being an ally of Syria
by military conquest. Amplification also indicates that the slaying by
David was figurative, being literally accomplished by his nephew
Abishai to illustrate how God's servant David, a leader on the right
side of a conflict, is inseparably identified with his helpers.
2. 2 Chronicles 7:14 Another type of amplification
KJV: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Here the immediate reference is to the people of Judah known as God's elect people, but God's Word of the Old Testament still applies in much of its basic teaching during the New Testament era. That is expected since sin is the breaking of God's law, and as long as sin is in the world, God's law is in the world. There is only a change in the New Testament era from emphasis on the letter of the law to the spirit of the law. In this sense Jesus Christ said not one jot or title of the law will pass away until all be ful- filled, meaning every aspect of the spirit of the law, to the degree of the smallest aspect of word spelling, will be fulfilled in God's eternal kingdom when sin vanishes forever.
Thus in 2 Chronicles 7:14, the expression called by my name refers more specifically to the future and to events & institutions unknown when Chronicles was written, but prophesied of in the sense of amplification that describes the future. Those who will be called by God's name as Christians will live in lands where immorality is rampant, and God's judgment will apply if the righteous don't pray for change in the behavior of the masses. This is a pattern that began in early Old Testament days when Abraham was told by God that Sodom & Gomorrah would be spared from destruction if there were at least 10 righteous souls there (Gen.18:20-32). Thus 2 Chronicles 7:14 contains a dual reference, and the main one applies many centuries after the original was given in the days of king Solomon of Judah. This is the most subtle form of amplification.
3. This refers to clarification of variance from the usual patterns for describing certain well-established events in traditions of Israel, variance that has unique implications for interpretation. Seemingly-inexplicable terminology in one scripture book or seem- ingly-contradictory accounts in two directly linked books like 1 & 2 Samuel can be involved.
in the form of prophecy fulfillment
4. Fulfillment of any prophecy can be viewed as a type of amplification since prophecy details are clarified by the fulfillment. Thus Psalm 22:1-21 prophecy on the Crucifixion of Christ was fulfilled in the gospels ~ 1000 years after the Psalm was written. Clarifi- cation of Psalm 22:16 on the piercing of the Messiah appears in Zechariah ~500 years after the Psalm was written and ~500 years before the gospels were written. Zec.12:10 says the house of David & Jerusalem...shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn, and Zec.12 goes on to speak of mourning by all families, or descendants, of the land at that time. That the piercing applies to the Messiah is clearly indicated by use of the term firstborn, which applies to the firstborn Son of Mary, the firstborn from the dead in a resurrection body and the firstborn of Israel that signifies the right to an inheritance of His family, which in this case is the family of all Israel. Indeed the speaker throughout Zechariah 12 and the one pierced is God. We would expect widespread mourning that Zechariah speaks of when the remnant family of Israel discovers that the one their forefathers crucified was the long-awaited Messiah, very God who would have delivered Israel from all troubles, and prevented great persecution suffered by the people after loss of the land and the displacement to many foreign nations in the diaspora.