Translation of 2 Sam 25:11-14 (1 Kgs 1:11-14 Ant.)

11) And Nathan went to Beersabee, the mother of Solomon, and he said, “Have you not heard that Ornias, son of Angeith, has become king, and our lord David does not know?
12) “And now, indeed I will advise you advice so that you will save your life and the life of your son Solomon.
13) “And come! Go to the king, David, and you will say to him, ‘Did you not, o lord king, swear to your servant by the Lord God saying that, “Solomon your son, he will reign after me and he will sit upon my throne? And why then has Ornia become king?”‘
14) “While you are still speaking there with the king, I will enter after you and I will fill your words.”

Nathan and Bathsheba. North Portal, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres, France. (c) 2009 Nick Thompson. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Verse 11 attests some significant differences. First, it opens with a notice that Nathan went to Bathsheba, which is missing in the other versions, before he spoke to her. This distinction appears rather dramatic, but it really only requires two minor variant readings. The most significant variant is the first verb, which the Lucianic text records as “went” as opposed to “said” in LXX and MT. The second difference is less dramatic, in that it merely represents a different form of the verb “to say.” If the Lucianic text is older in these cases, the distinction probably developed from a change in the form of the second verb leading to a change in the first in MT and LXX. That is possible, but by no means certain. The other difference in the Lucianic text distinguishes it from the LXX, but both accurately reflect MT. Rather than read an aorist, noting that Ornias “reigns,” the Lucianic text reads a perfect, “has become king.” While this may be important for the reconstruction of the Old Greek, it does not impact any presumed Hebrew Vorlage of the Greek text. The phrasing in LXX in every variant in this verse is consistent with kaige translation technique, suggesting that the Lucianic text may well attest the Old Greek in this case. That means that the opening of the verse could in fact represent the Lucianic text’s transmission of an older Greek version stemming from a variant Hebrew text to that known today.

The next verse, v. 12, also presents a few differences from the LXX and Hebrew text. Since the LXX is identical to the MT, these differences can be handled together. First, the Lucianic text does not have the imperative “come” after “now,” making it the shorter and preferable reading. Rather it has the element “indeed” there, which in the LXX has been transposed to match its position in MT. The phrasing in the Lucianic text combines the sentences more explicitly, using a conjunction that means “so that” rather than the more paltry “and” of the Hebrew and LXX. The verb in the verse’s final phrase in Greek is distinct between the LXX (“deliver”) and the Lucianic text (“save”). In this case again, the LXX more explicitly reflects the MT, suggesting that it is an editorial revision away from something like the Lucianic text. Nonetheless, really only the absence of the first imperative in the Lucianic text might indicate a different Hebrew Vorlage. N.b. that verse 13 opens with precisely this term in all three versions (albeit with a conjuction in the Lucianic text).

A number of differences appear in v. 13 as well, this time with some theological relevance. The Lucianic text opens the verse with conjunction that is missing in the other witnesses. Perhaps this represents a transposition from before the second imperative as attested in the Hebrew text and missing in LXX. Further, Nathan introduces Beersabee’s indirect speech in a manner more consistent with Hebrew usage in MT and LXX, adding the element “saying.” Likely it represents an addition in those cases. More importantly, the Lucianic text includes the addition of “by the Lord God” after the recounring of Beersabee’s swearing. This makes her statement naturally more impressive, which could indicate that it is an addition in the Lucianic text. However, it is more likely that the other witnesses removed it, since this event is never recounted elsewhere in the Bible. That makes Nahtan and Beersabee perhaps liars, even blasphemers in the Lucianic version. The Lucianic text emphasizes Solomon with an additional “he” before the indication that he will reign. This verb form, for reigning, matches that in v. 1 in each Greek case. For the most part again, I would go so far as to presume that the differences between the LXX and the Lucianic recension favor the Lucianic text as closer or identical to the Old Greek. This would have one important distinction (and probably some minor ones) regarding the presumed Hebrew Vorlage: the inclusion of a reference to “the Lord God” as a witness to the swearing lends substantially more theological weight to the whole passage of 1 Kgs 1.

The Greek variants in v. 14 again suggest that LXX has been corrected ot match a text like MT. The opening of the verse in the Lucianic version lacks the exclamation “dude!” that is present in the MT and even includes the conjunction preceding it in LXX. In the phrase, “while you are speaking” presents a transposition of “you” between the Greek witnesses. While this does not change the meaning, the phrasing in LXX matches identically the word order in the Hebrew, suggesting that LXX presents a revision. Finally, the phrase “after you” in the Greek versions, each of which independently matches the Hebrew in this phrase, contains a distinct preposition with the preposition’s object in the necessary case in each version. Again, LXX here appears to be consistent with kaige translational technique, suggesting that its version is editorial and that the Lucianic version could well be the Old Greek, or at least closer to it.

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