II Samuel 15:7

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Pastor_Bob, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Pastor_Bob

    Pastor_Bob
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    II Sam. 15:7 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. (KJV)

    There seem to be quite a few "scholars" that believe that "forty" in the above verse is a "corrupt reading." They are of the opinion that μυεβρα arbaim, FORTY, is an error for ερβα arba, FOUR; yet this reading is not supported by any Hebrew MS. yet discovered.

    I choose to believe that the translation is true to the underlying Hebrew text and that the forty years are referring to either:
    1. When Saul became king, or
    2. When David was anointed to be king.

    I am interested in your thoughts on the issue.
     
  2. Deacon

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    Bumping up against an annoying problem with the BaptisBoard software I see.
    Transliterating the Hebrew words seems to be the way to go, otherwise you end up with words spelled backwards

    HEBREW arba'im = forty


    The verse is problematic in the KJV and other versions that use reading found in the Masoretic Text (MT) considering that David only reigned 40 years

    And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.
    1 Kings 2:11 (AV 1873)


    In my opinion, attempts to justify the reading of "forty" sound contrived and forced.

    Many versions correct the text but note the reading of the MT.

    At the end of four* years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the LORD.
    Note: * Some Septuagint manuscripts, Syriac and Josephus; Hebrew forty
    2 Samuel 15:7 (NIV)



    When he had made himself so popular among the multitude, he thought he had already the good will of the people secured to him; but when four years had passed since his father’s reconciliation to him, he came to him, and besought him to give him leave to go to Hebron, and pay a sacrifice to God, because he vowed it to him when he fled out of the country.
    The Works of Josephus (~100 AD),

    post quattuor [four] autem annos dixit Absalom ad regem vadam et reddam vota mea quae vovi Domino in Hebron
    2 Samuel 15:7 (Vulgate) – late 4th century

    Rob
     
    #2 Deacon, Feb 27, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2011
  3. Pastor_Bob

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    Plus, I spelled them with the Greek. I wasn't thinking.

    I would have to object to the assumption that the text needed "correcting."

    There can be no denying that the number "forty" is a significant number in the Old Testament. The issue, in my opinion, is not whether or not this is a corrupt reading. I have faith in the providential preservation of the Word of God. The issue to me is, what is the significance of the number "forty" as it relates to this passage?

    I lean toward position that it has been forty years since the people first desired a king. This would mark the first change of the government from theocracy into a monarchy. This would be about ten years before David became king.

    After forty years, the same discontentment was still present, and Israel was still a people that were given to change. Just as they were desiring a new form of government then, so they are desiring a new king now.

    Just my humble opinion, of course.
     
  4. Deacon

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    I too have faith in the providential preservation of the Word of God but the issue in my opinion is not whether God preserves his word but whether or not the reading in the Massoretic text has been corrupted.

    Re: the word “correct”, it was a poor choice, “emendation” or “alteration” would have been a better choice.

    Still I personally feel the passage here cries out “manuscript err!”

    According to Acts 13:21, Saul reigned 40 years so it rules out the people’s desire for a king.


    If you are looking for an event 40 years before this episode it must have occurred during Saul’s reign.

    • Anointing of David?
    • Rejection of Saul?
    • David’s vow? (1 Sam 20:3)
    Each of these are safe choices; they can’t be accurately dated; the last two are bit late in Saul’s reign.
    The question is, what do any of these have to do with this passage?

    Rob
     
    #4 Deacon, Feb 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2011
  5. franklinmonroe

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    What about a consistent hermenuetic? Do you look for significance outside the immediate context for all similar constructions? For examples, would you search for a different relationships beyond what would be the most direct and obvious context in these verses? Why, or why not? --
    2Sa 13:23 And it came to pass after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baalhazor, which [is] beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king's sons.

    1Ki 2:39 And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish son of Maachah king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, Behold, thy servants [be] in Gath.

    2Ch 8:1 And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the LORD, and his own house, ​
     
    #5 franklinmonroe, Feb 28, 2011
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  6. TomVols

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    I'd have to look at it a bit further, but prima facie I see Deacon's side and would agree, though I typically don't buy that there are as many emendations that would be warranted for Hebrew mss as for Greek mss. I tend to lean towards following the Hebrew unless there are clear reasons not to (take 1 Sam 13:1, for instance). The responsibility, the burden of the translator is to attempt to ascertain the correct reading. In this case, four would appear so, but Pastor Bob makes a decent argument as to why forty would have possibly been the original.

    Well, as good as a man can make who confuses Greek with Hebrew :)

    Kidding, friend. Good to see you!
     

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