2 Sam 25:5-10 (1 Kgs 1:5-10 Ant.)

5) And Ornia son of David raised himself, saying, “I will be king!” And he made himself chariotry and horses and 50 men running before him.
6) And not did his father rebuke him ever, saying, “Why have you done thus?” And he was good in appearance, very. And this one (she?) bore after Abessalom.
7) And his words were with Ioab son of Sarouia and with Abiathar the priest. And they supported him.
8) And Saddouk the priest and Bananias son of Ioad and Nathan the prophet and Samaias and his others, the strong ones for David, not were they with Ornia.
9) And Ornia sacrificed steer and sheep at the stone, the one in Sellath, the one having the spring of Rogel. And he called all of his brothers, the sons of the king, and all of the men of Judah, the servants of David, of the king.
10) And Nathan and Bananias and the mighty ones and Solomon he did not call.

Notes on the Text

There are a few noteworthy differences in this passage. Some of them regard the orthography of names, but only on of these really merits comments, as far as I see it. The name Ornia looks quite a bit different than the Hebrew and Greek form generally transliterated in English as Adonijah. The confusion of the Hebrew letters /d/ and /r/, which look quite similar, presents the easiest explanation. This could have been influenced by the preceding story of Orna (the Greek version of the Jebusite’s name) in 2 Sam 24.

A more significant difference is the identification of Ornia, who in the Lucianic text is called the “son of David” and not the “son of Angith / Haggith” as in the other versions. That is, he is identified with his father, and not with his mother. This makes the statement about his birth in v. 6 more awkward, which could mean it presents the older reading. At the same time, it does clarify who his father is, making the reference to his father in the beginning of v. 6 more clear. Needless to say, this is a difficult text-critical issue to decide which reading is older.

The phrasing in v. 6 is distinct in the Lucianic text, though the meaning remains generally the same. For example, the verb “rebuke” is stronger than the LXX’s “stopped / held back.” The reading in the Lucianic text is also more distinct from the Hebrew, meaning that it could be the older version with LXX representing a correction toward the proto-Masoretic Hebrew.

The final phrase of v. 7 differs in the Greek versions, with LXX representing a isomorphic translation of the Hebrew. It literally says, “and they helped after Adonijas,” an non-colloquial translation of the Hebrew consistent with kaige translation technique. That suggests that the Lucianic text probably represents the Old Greek translation in its phrasing with LXX presenting a correction toward MT.

Verse 8 contains an important distinction in the Lucianic text that again probably represents an older reading before the corruption of MT and the LXX that was corrected toward it. In the list of people that were not with Ornia, the Lucianic text follows the name Samaias with “the others” in apposition to the phrase about David’s mighty men. This reference stands in contrast to the unclear mention of “Rei” in the MT and the LXX, which is then followed by “and David’s mighty men.” (I.e., the use of the conjunction includes the mighty men as an additional unit and not as a clarification of Rei or “the others.”) While this difference is marked in English, the distinction in any presumed Hebrew Vorlage would only require the division of the Hebrew words one letter earlier to arrive at the Lucianic reading. Since it is debatable whether Lucian (or whoever was responsible for this so-called revision) knew Hebrew, this difference probably cannot come from him (or whomever) and thus should be regarded as Old Greek and traced back to a (barely) distinct Hebrew Vorlage that had the division of the words one letter later.

In verse 9, Ornia sacrifices less than in the other versions. It also attests two other distinctions with the LXX version where it does match MT, however. The Lucianic text includes the phrase “the sons of the king” as a qualifier for “his brothers.” LXX is missing this qualifier, but MT has it. That is, this could be a case of correction toward MT in the Lucianic text, since there is no particular reason that the qualifying phrase should otherwise be absent from the LXX (whether intentionally or as the result of an error). The Lucianic text reads “men of Judah” just like MT, whereas the LXX has “nobles of Judah.” The error is probably in the Greek tradition and probably in LXX in particular. Somewhere in the transmission, some mistook ανδρας (Lucianic Text = MT) for αδρους (LXX). This explanation is easier than assuming that either Lucian corrected to MT or that MT and Lucian coincidentally read consistently. The final phrase of this verse includes the name “David” after “the king,” again distinguishing it from both MT and LXX.

Finally, v. 10 in the Lucianic text is missing Nathan’s office and the identification of Solomon as Ornia’s brother. The shorter text of the Lucianic version can easily be understood as the older version, with both MT and LXX adding the other information to better fit the context. After all, there is no particular reason that Lucian (or anyone else) should have removed these elements.

Leave a comment


  1. I’m adding “And he was good in appearance, very” to my list of possible epitaphs

  2. Going to add “And he was good in appearance, very” to my list of possible epitaphs


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