Translation of 3 Reigns 1:11-14 (1 Kgs 1:11-14 LXX)

11) And Nathan spoke to Beersabee, Solomon’s mohter, saying, “Have you not heard that Adonias, son of Angith, reigns (as king)? And our lord David knows not?
12) “And now, come, I will advise you at this point advice, and you will rescue your life and the life of your son Solomon.
13) “Come. Go in to the kind, David, and speak to him, saying, ‘Did you not, my lord king, swear to your servant, saying that, “Solomon, your son, will reign after me, and he will sit upon my throne?” So why is Adonias reigning’
14) “And dude! While you are speaking there with the king, and I will enter after you and fulfill your words.”

Gerbrand van den Eeckhout: David Promises Bathsheba that Solomon will be his Successor. 1646. Public Domain. From Wikimedia Commons.

Comments on the Text

Focusing again only on the differences between the Hebrew and the Greek versions, there are only really two differences between these stories, not counting the distinct writing of the names of the characters. In that regard, particularly Bathsheba stands out, being called “Beersabee” in Greek. This particular, precise reflection of the Hebrew text is something described in the preceding passages as well. It is typical of the translation style of this passage in Kings, and evidence of the recensional character of the translation in the opening chapters of Kings. The two differences are:

  1. The addition of “saying” as an introduction to what Beersabee should say to the king in v. 13; and
  2. The addition of an “and” at the opening of v. 14.

As should be immediately apparent, these differences are hardly substantial. They could evince a distinct Hebrew Vorlage of the passage. On the other hand, they could just represent minor errors and interpolations that snuck in over the course of translation or revision. The “saying” in v. 13 could represent either an error or conscious decision to make the text more like v. 11, which presents the same term. The addition of an “and” at the beginning of v. 14 could reflect the duplication (dittography) of the same Hebrew letter that immediately precedes it. The style of the passage would even be conducive to that change.

Taken together, it is quite difficult to recognize a textual priority (i.e., which version is older) in these cases. It is also entirely unclear if the Greek represents a minorly distinct Hebrew text or some translators added these elements unintentionally. When considering the other Greek version, it becomes more likely, though by no means certain, that this Greek text reflects a slightly distinct Hebrew Vorlage. But that issue must remain open for now.

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