Translation of 2 Sam 25:28-37 (1 Kgs 1:28-37 Ant.)

28) And David answered and said, “Summon to me Beersabee.” And she entered and stood before the king.
29) And the king swore and said, “As the Lord lives, who rescued my spirit from every tribulation
30) “yes, just as I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, saying that ‘Solomon your son will reign after me and he will sit on my throne after me,’ yes, thus I will do on this day.”
31) And Beersabee bowed upon her face upon the ground and prostrated to the king and said, “May the king, my lord David, live forever!”
32) And the king said, “Summon to me Saddouk the priest and Nathan the prophet and Banaias son of Ioad!” And they entered before the king.
33) And he spoke to them—the king [did]—“Take with you your lord’s children [=servants] and set Solomon, my son, upon my mule and lead him to Gion.
34) “And anoint him there, Saddouk the priest and Nathan the prophet, as king over Israel and Judah. And blow in the horn and you will say, ‘Long live the king, Solomon!’
35) “And you will ascend after him and he will enter and sit upon my throne and he will reign after me. And him I have commanded to be hegemon over Judah and over Israel.”
36) And Banaias son of Ioad answered the king and said, “So be it! Thus shall God establish the words of my lord the king! Thus the Lord your God has spoken, o my lord, o king!
37) “And as the Lord was with my lord the king, so will he be also with Solomon. And he will make his throne greater than the throne of my lord, the king, David!”

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

Comments on the text:

Verse 28 in Ant. is shorter than LXX and MT. Ant. matches MT but for the phrase “before the king” between “she entered” and “she stood.” LXX also contains that phrase, but concludes the verse “before him” instead of “before the king.” The brevity of Ant. commends it as the older reading, with the other two versions representing minor corruptions in two distinct fashions. Verse 29 contains no differences between LXX and Ant.

The Greek versions of v. 30 present different preposition combined with “swearing.” (The difference in the prepositions also mandated different cases for the following nouns and articles.) LXX more accurately reflects MT, using the preposition “in” as an isomorphic translational equivalent consistent with kaige techniques (and the requisite cases for the following terms). The final phrase includes the preposition “in/on” in Ant., which is not attested in LXX or MT. The consistent readings between MT and LXX in this case again make the LXX reading a likely revision toward MT.

Similarly, in v. 31 Ant. and LXX present the phrases “the king” and “my lord” in different orders, with LXX matching MT. This again suggests that LXX likely attests a revision toward MT. In the next verse—v. 32—as well, both MT and LXX attest the name “David” after “the king.” This name is absent in Ant., suggesting that it was missing in the OG, but added into LXX to more consistently correspond with MT.

Most variants in v. 33 also suggest that LXX was revised to be more consistent with MT. In the first phrse, Ant. places the indirect object before the subject, whereas both MT and LXX attest the opposite order. Ant. includes the prepositional phrase “with you” immediately after the verb, whereas MT and LXX have it at the end of the phrase. The word for “servants” differs between LXX and Ant., with LXX using the kaige term, a more accurate reflection of the Hebrew. The verb for “lead” differs in the Greek versions, but LXX seems to be a more isomorphic translation of MT than Ant. would be, making it more consistent with kaige and, thus, secondary. All of these readings in this verse suggest that LXX is not OG in these cases and was likely edited to better reflect MT.

However, there is one case in v. 33 in which the opposite is true. Ant. matches MT in the order “Solomon, my son.” That suggests that LXX may be the older reading here, with Ant. representing a revision toward the Hebrew Vorlage in this case.

Nonetheless, verse 34 again presents some readings in which Ant. may be the OG with LXX presenting a revision. Thus, Ant. includes “and Judah” in the territory Solomon should reign, an element missing in LXX and MT. This perhaps presents an ideological distinction, by which Israel and Judah are subsumed in LXX and MT into the unity “Israel.” Each Greek version uses a different word for “horn,” with the instrument mentioned in Ant. (and from the same root as the preceding verb, as opposed to MT and LXX) and LXX instead using kaige terminology, “horn” like an animal or altar. These differences in this verse again indicate kaige revision and commend Ant. as preserving the older readings.

The opening of v. 35 is substantially longer in Ant. than in LXX and matches MT in this case. That could again imply later editing in Ant. in this case. The verb for sitting is in a different unclear form in Ant. than in LXX. Ant. is unclear in this case and perhaps an error. Whereas MT and LXX emphasize the king as the one commanding, Ant. emphasizes his son as the commanded. The form of the verb for commanding differs between LXX and Ant., again for unclear (perhaps dialect?) reasons. Ant. has Judah and Israel in the reversed order of MT and LXX, but LXX also lacks the preposition in the second case. Some of these differences suggest that Ant. could provide older readings in this verse, but the data is relatively mixed and sometimes unclear in this verse.

Verse 36 presents another complicated case. Ant. has two longer phrases, one of which is missing in MT. LXX partially attests both. For these reasons, it seems possible, if not likely, that Ant. attests an older Hebrew reading that has since gone missing due to a combination of homoioarkton and homoioteleuton. LXX still supports Ant. to some degree, making this the best option. Ant. reads:

οὕτως πιστώσαι ὁ Θεὸς τοὺς λόγους τοῦ κυρίου µου τοῦ βασιλέως.
οὕτως εἶπε Κύριος ὁ Θεός σου, κύριέ µου βασιλεῦ.

The similarities between these phrases cannot be overlooked. The second phrase reflects MT, with the exception of the “your” after God, i.e., a single Hebrew letter. LXX attests a combination of the first two words followed by an isomorphic translation of MT. I think it likely that Ant. attests an older Hebrew Vorlage that read as follows:

כן יאמן אלהים את־דברי אדני המלך
כן יאמר יהוה אלהיך אדני המלך

The similarities make the likelihood of an oversight quite high, making Ant. the preferable older reading that stood behind both of the other versions, in my opinion.

In v. 37 Ant. begins with a conjunction that is missing in LXX and MT and neither really syntactically necessarily nor nice. That might suggest that it is older here, but its inclusion is hardly relevant and could just as easily be explained as an error toward parataxis in Ant. Banaias’s proclamations about the future is not expressed as an optative in Ant., like it is in LXX; in the first case, Ant. reflects the Qere, but LXX reflects the Kethib. That could suggest that each version reflects a distinct Vorlage that made its way into MT, one as the written text and one as the text to be read. (There are similar examples of this elsewhere in Kings.) In both cases of optative usage, LXX more closely matches the text of MT. His wish also contains an “also” in Ant. lacking in LXX and MT. The reading in Ant. could represent an older version in which a גם was overlooked due to the following עם (homoioteleuton).

This passage, then, evinces a very difficult text history when the witnesses are contrasted. The argument can be made for various constellations of how the readings are related, with no single tradition meriting the status of an oldest version. Rather, changes and difference crept in (or were intentionally brought in) to every witnessing tradition.

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