Reading through the Bible together

Thursday, January 31, 2013

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This chapter is also a doublet chapter. It means that the Holy Spirit felt it wise to include a second account of the same data in 1 Chronicles 11. But, the scribe in Chronicles did not include the eschatology of “David’s Last Words” in 2 Samuel verses 2-7. In these verses we know that David is speaking about the end of all things because in verse 7 he uses absolute terms to describe the final destruction and eradication of evil “they shall be utterly burned with fire.”


In this passage it seems that the Trinity spoke to David because in verse 2 it refers to the Spirit (ruah), and the Word (wemilato), and in verse 3 to God the Rock (tsur) of Israel. The message to David was about a future Messianic Kingdom in mind (verses 3-4), but David interpreted it with hope as applicable to his “house” (verse 5). The monarchy of Israel that began with Saul was not in God’s original plan, it was just patiently tolerated for the time until God would establish the true Monarchy of Israel under the Messiah. 


One other important point we pick up from 2 Samuel is that people had double names in those days: Josheb-basshebeth was also called Adino. In 1 Chronicles 11:11 we have another nickname of Josheb as Jashobeam. Over the years, different scribes serving in David and Solomon’s palace used different spellings and different name forms. Another difference has to do with numbers.  In 1 Chronicles 11:11 the chief of the captains is said to have killed 300 at one time while in Samuel it says that the chief of the captains killed 800 at one time. Is this a discrepancy? No. Discrepancies in counting the number of casualties in war or natural disasters was common in the Ancient Near East as it is today.  Also we need to remember that when a later scribe in Chronicles would write down what was being read to him from an earlier report such as from Samuel 23 pronunciations and hearing would play a part.


The Holy Spirit wants to bring these things to our attention such as the reality of slips of the ear, slips of the hand, slips of the memory in scribal copy practices. Is the Word of God still there? Yes! Is it trustworthy?  Absolutely! These phenomena in the Bible are not unique in these doublet chapters. Some reports were written in times of peace and other reports in times of distress and war.  Inspiration of the Holy Spirit as Editor displays a wide compassion for mankind to be willing to let man speak to man on his own terms with his own imperfections and despite those imperfections, it is the impact by the Holy Spirit on the mind and heart through illumination, what really counts.


As David said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105). Also, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (v. 11).      


Dear God

Holy Spirit, Editor of our Word of God by human hands, You have the ability to take the imperfection and leave our minds with a perfect understanding, the full truth. We always need your navigation. In Jesus name. Amen



Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea