Pattern Amplification: Clarifying Patterns of Hebrew-Text Expression
This refers to clarification of variance from usual patterns for describing certain well- established events in traditions of Israel, variance that has unusual implications for interpretation. Seemingly-inexplicable terms in a scripture book or seemingly- cont- radictory accounts in two directly linked books, like 1 & 2 Samuel can be involved. In the case of essay d-1 & d-2 pattern amplification occurs within one given book, and in the case of essay d-3 it occurs in two books that once were one, amplification being the indicated reason for their later separation into two books.
D-1 Years that king Saul reigned
1 Samuel 13:1
The usual pattern of speaking of the age of a king when he begins to reign takes a new turn in the Hebrew text, and to understand this properly, it's necessary to follow the translation in the KJV.
D-2 Did Absalom Require 40 Years or 4 Years to Overthrow King David?
2 Samuel 15:7
KJV: And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron.
NIV: At the end of four years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron to fulfill a vow I made to the Lord.”
The Hebrew text says forty, as the KJV has it, but the NIV (other modern versions too) follow four that appears in the ancient Septuagint and Syriac versions, and Josephus makes it to be four. Modern translators assume the Hebrew text has a copyist error here since context speaks of Absalom having just won over the hearts of the men of Israel as he seeks to overthrow David as king. It would be impossible for Absalom to have spent forty literal years in this matter since it took place at least a few years before David concluded his reign, and the total time that he reigned is said to be forty years in 2 Samuel 5:4.
Now a change in the number to four is rightly rejected since it's based on accepting the notion of error in the Hebrew text. To understand this matter we must realize that the number 40 in the Hebrew text is commonly associated with radical transitions in history.
D-3 How king Saul died
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.
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…
At first glance it appears that there are two different contradictory accounts of the death of king Saul, but the two accounts simply supplement each other, and thus provide all details of the matter.