2 Sam 25:15-21 (1 Kgs 1:15-21 Ant.)

15) And Beersabee went to the king into the bedroom. And the king [was] very old. And Abisaak the Somanite [was] serving the king.
16) And Beersabee bowed down and did obeisance to the king. And to her the king said, “What is for you?”
17) And Beersabee said, “O lord, o king, you swore by the Lord God saying that ‘Solomon, your son, he will reign after me and he will sit upon my throne.’
18) “And now, dude! Ornias has begun to reign. And you, o lord, o king, do not know.
19) “And he sacrificed calves and sheep in multitude. And he called all the king’s sons and Abiathar the priest and Ioab the chief general. And did this thing come about through my lord the king?”
20) “For the eyes of the whole people [are looking] to you to tell them who will sit upon the throne of my lord, the king, after him.
21) “And it will be, at my lord the king’s sleeping with his fathers, and I and my son Solomon will be sinners.”

Notes on the Text

There aren’t too many differences in the text this week and really only one of them is substantial. Let’s begin with v. 15. Rather than read the term “chamber” like LXX, Ant. has “bedroom.” Two matters are worth noting in this regard. First, the more general “chamber” matches the Hebrew more closely. Second, the term used here for bedroom has the same root as sexual intercourse, which makes the mention of Abisaak quite awkward. Both of these reasons favor regarding Ant. as the older reading here. The finite verb “was” does not appear in the final phrase of this verse in Ant. Since there is no term for this in the Hebrew, it’s appearance in the kaige version of LXX is unusual, meaning that LXX might be the original reading in that case.

Verse 16 attests only one variant in Ant.: it includes the indirect object “her.” While this does not appear in the Hebrew or LXX, it is widely attested in other ancient translations, making it at least viable as the original reading. LXX would have been corrected to match the Hebrew, consistent with kaige technique.

The Antiochene text of v. 17 includes “Beersabee” as the named subject. This can be regarded as an explanatory gloss, since the verb alone would be ambiguous in Greek in terms of Gender, which is not the case in Hebrew. (LXX has its own solution to that ambiguity, in which it includes a feminine article and an postpositive conjunction to distinguish who is speaking.) The vocative phrase in Ant. is different than other witnesses: the Hebrew only reads “my lord,” whereas LXX reads “my lord, o king.” I tend to favor LXX as the older reading in this case, since it reads somewhat more awkwardly and does not match the Hebrew. Ant. uses a different preposition for “by,” that appears to contravene the standard equivalent found in LXX. That could mean that LXX represents a change from an older Greek version still attested in Ant. In LXX and MT, the king swore by the Lord “your God” to “your servant.” In this case, there’s probably some corruption: either the Ant. text (or its Vorlage) accidentally skipped a word or MT and LXX accidentally added one; cf. לאמתך and לאמר. Since this error, irrespective of direction, ir more likely in Hebrew, I tend to favor dittography in MT and then in LXX as opposed to Haplography in Ant. Ant. emphasizes the subject of reign with an extra “he.” I imagine that this represents a stylistic change so that both phrases about Solomon’s future match formally.

Verse 18 has a distinct verb forms for “reign” in the Greek versions. Since LXX is more consistent in its translation, that makes it a likely later reading. Again, the “my lord” in LXX and MT is only “lord” in Ant. The consistency of MT and LXX could indicate that LXX presents a revision toward MT. The “and you” in Ant. matches the LXX , but represents ועתה in MT. MT is likely an error from ואתה.

There are only two kinds of animals listed in v. 19 Ant., whereas the other versions have three. Ioab’s title is different from the LXX, which more literally matches the MT. The whole final phrase is distinct from LXX and MT (cf. v. 27). In Ant. this phrase strongly resembles v. 27 but it cannot be copying from there, since there are some distinctions between the semantics. That could imply that Ant. attests an older Vorlage since lost in the Hebrew.

The first phrase of v. 20 in Ant. is substantially different from and shorter than the other versions. That could suggest that it is older. Of particular significance in this case is that Ant. perfectly matches Hebrew syntax, suggesting that it cannot be a revision within the Greek text.

Similarly in v. 21 the reference to sleeping with the fathers begins differently in Ant. LXX unsurprisingly matches MT, but Ant. represents a distinct Hebrew reading, with the preposition ב instead of כ. Ant. could represent an older, or at least distinct, Hebrew reading since lost. The final verb in LXX more accurately matches MT than does Ant. Each Greek version features a distinct term for “sinners.” The reading in Ant. does not appear anywhere in LXX, suggesting that it might be an older reading.

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