Translation of 2 Sam 25:41–49 (1 Kgs 1:41–49 Ant.)

41) And Ornia heard. And those eating and drinking with him, they were finished eating. And Joab heard the sound of the noise. And he said, “What is the voice of this sound? It peals loudly!”
42) Still he was speaking. And, dude! Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest. And Ornia said to him, “Come! For a mighty man are you and good news you will tell.”
43) And Jonathan answered and said to Ornia, “Our lord the king, David, has made Solomon king.
44) “And he sent with him Saddouk the priest and Nathan the prophet and Banaias son of Ioad and the Xorri and the Phelti and they put him on the king’s mule.
45) “And he anointed him—Saddouk the priest and Nathan the prophet—in the Gion. And they led him up from there rejoicing. And the land sounded a cry. This was the voice of the sound that you heard.
46) “And Solomon sat upon the throne of the king.
47) “And indeed the servants of the king went to bless our lord the king, David, and they entered individually and said, ‘May the Lord [= Yhwh] make the name of your son Solomon better than your name and make his throne greater than your throne!’ And the king prostrated on his bed.
48) “And thus spoke the king, ‘Blessed is the Lord [=Yhwh], the God of Israel, who gave today from my seed on to sit upon my throne and my eyes have seen!’”
49) And they arose and started off, all of those who had been summoned by Ornia, and they departed, each on their own way.

Sadoch & Nathan. East window Margaretting. Ca. 1460. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 2.0.

Comments on the Text

These versions attest a large number of variants in these verses, many of them minor, but some of them more substantial. No two verses are identical in the versions. (Again, I am ignoring the orthography of proper names in this survey, though that is probably worth a study on its own.)

Verse 41 begins much the same in the Greek versions, but each describes the group present with Adonaias / Ornias in different terms. In LXX, they are those summoned, whereas in Ant. they are those eating and drinking with him. The verb used in the second instance in Ant. to describe their eating is a participle, but an infinitive in LXX. Joab hears the sound of the horn and the city in LXX, but more generically noises in Ant. The text of LXX lacks the final “great” that appears in Ant. In every single case, LXX agrees with MT against Ant., suggesting that LXX presents a revision toward a Hebrew text like MT. This is consistent with kaige techniques, and could commend Ant. as the older version in every case.

The second phrase in Ant. lacks a finite verb, which LXX attests: “came.” On the other hand, the indirect object “him” does not appear in LXX. Finally, LXX attests a finite verb in the phrase about Jonathan’s being a mighty man. In the first two cases, LXX matches MT perfectly, suggesting again that it is a revision. However, the final finite verb that differs between the Greek versions could suggest that LXX maintains the OG here with Ant. representing a revision, since the reading in LXX contradicts typical kaige technique.

The final verb of v. 43 differs in the Greek versions in its form, but not in its root. In the first half of this verse, the interesting circumstance presents itself that neither Greek version alone matches MT, but both of them together do. LXX does not attest the indirect object “to Adonaias,” but Ant. and MT do. Ant. lacks the “rather” at the beginning of Jonathan’s statement. Likely some corruption stands behind these differences. Here it may well be that MT presents the oldest witness with LXX and Ant. each presenting distinct corruptions in different directions.

The Greek versions of v. 44 again differ in the form of the opening verb, though not in the root. Ant. lacks the explicit subject “the king” that appears in MT and LXX. However, one should note that MT and LXX do not match in terms of their word-order in this case. Ant. also does not precede the proper name “Saddouk” with a definite article, as LXX does. In this case, LXX likely attests a revision toward the Hebrew—consistent with kaige—to reflect the Hebrew marker of the direct object. (Strangely enough, LXX does not afford Nathan the same treatment, even though the same direct object marker appears before his name in the Hebrew.) The verb “to set” varies in the Greek, with LXX attesting the more consistent and therefore likely kaige reading. That remains somewhat unsure, however.

Verse 45 also attests many small distinctions between the Greek versions. Noteworthily, LXX again matches MT in every variant, suggesting that it revised the text toward something like MT. The first verb in Ant. is singular, but plural (and more consistent with the plural subjects) in LXX and MT. Ant. does not explicitly state that Solomon was anointed “as king” as the other witnesses do. While no reason to avoid this information presents itself as likely, it can readily be understood as a later addition to the non-Ant. witnesses. The actors in Ant. bring “him” (i.e., Solomon) up from there, whereas the other versions lack the direct object and thus have transmit an intransitive verb. Finally, while LXX and MT mention “the city,” Ant. presents “the land” as an active participant, itself crying out in favor of Solomon’s accession.

Only one difference appears between the Greek witnesses in v. 46: LXX lacks a definite article before “throne.” The reading without the article in LXX is consistent with kaige, since the Hebrew presents no particle here that should be translated in this fashion. At the same time, it bears reiterating, that the opening in neither Greek version reads και γε, as one would expect based on the Hebrew וגם. Curious.

The Ant. of v. 47 reads like a kaige text and therefore unlikely represents the OG. This observation stems from both the γε and the form of the verb. After the term “David,” Ant. attests a plus beyond both MT and LXX. This plus moves each individual servant of David’s before the king and has them each profess fealty, whereas they do this in chorus in MT and LXX. Perhaps an error led to the omission of this phrase in the witnesses outside of Ant., but any presumed Hebrew Vorlage that might have stood behind Ant. remains difficult to reconstruct. The verb after this plus is finite in Ant., consistent with its context, but an infinite in LXX, which is consistent with MT. That could suggest that LXX revised toward MT in this case. The servants’ blessing of the king differs among the Greek versions, and they each contrast to MT as well. The divine nomenclature presumes Yhwh in the Vorlage of Ant., but “[the] God” in that of LXX, yet MT reads “your God.” As a number of instances of “Elohistic” editing appear in the opening chapters of Kings, the likely direction of change was from Ant. to LXX and finally to MT, which—by referencing David’s personal God—emphasizes the king’s piety while, at the same time, avoiding the tetragrammaton. Each of the Greek witnesses also identify Solomon as “your son” in this verse—though in different places syntactically. Yet MT lacks this phrase. Perhaps an oversight led to its deletion in the Hebrew. Finally, the Greek versions each explicitly note that the bed is David’s, whereas the Hebrew only identifies it as “the bed” and not “his bed.” Since the Greek witnesses agree, they likely present the OG, though it cannot be ascertained if they stem from a distinct Hebrew Vorlage in this case or merely translated somewhat freely, though more sensibly.

The only difference between the Greek versions in v. 48 appears in Ant. lacking the Greek γε. In that case, and apparently alone in this case in this verse, LXX emended its text to more consistently reflect the Hebrew. Otherwise the Greek versions of this verse read consistently, at times against MT. That could indicate a distinct Vorlage, though that might not necessarily indicate the priority of the Greek versions: MT is shorter and, therefore, perhaps older.

For all intents and purposes, LXX again represents a perfect reflection of MT in v. 49. The only exception to this is perhaps in the way that LXX identifies Adonaias’ followers. Othrwise every single variant between LXX and Ant. tends to favor Ant. as the older reading with LXX presenting editing toward a Vorlage like MT. Ant. lacks any verb describing the fear of Ornia’s followers, instead essentially twice mentioning that they arose. Ornia’s followers are “those summoned by Ornia” and not the “summoned of Adonaias” as in LXX. The final two differences are clearly kaige in LXX: 1) Ant. reads “each” for the Hebrew “man,” which reflects Hebrew usage, though LXX goes so far as even translating it as “man.” That makes no particularly good sense in Greek, but is a classic example of kaige technique. 2) Ant. again presents better Greek with the translation of the “his way” with “his own way.” LXX more literally translates this phrase, again using forms classically kaige.

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