Translation of 1 Kgs 2:1–14 Ant. (= 3 Reigns 2:35a–o)

1) And the Lord gave insight to Solomon, and very great wisdom and a broad heart like the sand at the sea.
2) And the wisdom of Solomon increased beyond the insight of the ancient sons and beyond all the insightful [people] of Egypt.
3) And Solomon took the daughter of Pharaoh [as] a wife. And he brought her into the city of David until he finished it, his building the house and the house of the Lord at first and the wall surrounding Jerusalem. In seven years he made [them] and finished [them] and completed [them].
4) And for Solomon there were 70,000 of lifters lifting and 80,000 quarriers in the mountain.
5) And Solomon made the sea and the supports and the great wash-basins and the pillars and the fountains of the courtyard and the bronze sea. And he built the citadel and its fortification. And he divided the city of David.
6) Thus the daughter of Pharaoh went up from the city of David to her house, the one that Solomon built her. And then he built the citadel.
7) And Solomon offered thrice in the year burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar that he built the Lord and he burned incense before the Lord. And he finished the house.
8) And these [were] the officers, the ones in charge of the work of the king, Solomon: 3700 commanders of the people of the laborers of the work.
9) And he built the Assoud and the Magdo and the Gazer and the Baithoron and the Ano and the Baldath.
10) Only after his building the Lord-house and the wall surrounding Jerusalem, after these he built these cities.
11) And in David’s still living [= while David was still alive], he commanded Solomon, saying, “Dude! With you is Semei son of Gera son of Iemenei [= the Benjaminite] from Gabatha.
12) “And this one cursed me [with]a dreadful curse on the day that I went to the barracks.
13) “And he went down, me to meet upon the Jordan. And I sword to him by the Lord, saying ‘If I will kill you with the sword…’
14) “And now: not will you leave him unpunished, for a man of insight [are] you. And you will know what you will do to him. And you will bring down his gray hair in blood to Hades.”

A portion of wall at the City of David. Note: Solomon did not build this wall. (c) 2019 Jonathan Robker

Comments on the Text

This lengthy plus in the Greek traditions when contrasted with MT contains a number of distinctions among the Greek versions, but mostly the texts share common readings. For example, vv. 1, 5, and 14 are identical in Ant. and LXX. Other verses are essentially identical, but for minor differences. Thus, Ant. in v. 6 includes an “and” lacking in LXX before the final phrase, the word for “three” in v. 7 differs between the versions, v. 10 in Ant. lacks a definite article before “Lord” (thus the unusual translation above which allows the article before “house” to perform double-duty), and v. 12 in Ant. begins with a conjunction missing in LXX, as well as attesting a demonstrative pronoun after “day” that is missing in LXX. These minor differences hardly change the meaning and the priority of one reading over the other can only be determined with some difficulty and, likely, with recourse to a Hebrew text no longer transmitted in the form attested by the Greek here (though scattered throughout 1 Kings 1–11). Other differences are more substantial and deserve more attention.

The Greek attests different words for the first case of “wisdom” of v. 2. The word attested in Ant. is clearly recensional, as I (and others) have argued elsewhere. To describe his wisdom, LXX includes “very,” which Ant. lacks. The “ancient sons” appear in two transposed versions. In both of these latter cases as well, one could certainly argue that Ant. appears to be a recensional attempt to correct the text more toward a Vorlage like 5:10 in MT. That could suggest that LXX has priority in every case in this verse (and it is not even internally consistent with its repetition of this information in 5:10).

The Lucianic text (Ant.) includes the subject “Solomon” and “[as] a wife” in the first phrase of v. 3. When compared with the Masoretic transmission of this information found in 3:1b, LXX appears more similar, suggesting it might be recensional in this case. The verbal clause describing his finishing building the house and the temple is different in the versions, with Ant. presenting a more cumbersome and perhaps unrevised version. Particularly the lack of specificity about the first house mentioned piques the reader’s curiosity. The versions use different words for “around.” One could argue that Ant. is more consistent, using the same term in v. 10—which LXX does not—but it is perhaps as likely that LXX represents an error rooted in dittography with the following word. The verse in Ant. essentially ends with a duplicate translation for “and he finished,” which is both superfluous and something that reoccurs with the Ant. text of Kings at various points.

Verse 4 opens with plural (Ant.) vs. singular (LXX) verb. LXX betters matches the Hebrew usage and could be regarded as stemming from a recension, though the Ant. reading is better Greek. Similarly, the “lifters” are in the nominative case in LXX, but in the genitive in Ant., with Ant. again attesting the better Greek. Determining priority in these cases remains difficult, though I tend to favor LXX presenting a revision toward the Hebrew usage in each case.

Two more substantive differences appear in v. 8: Ant. includes the title “king” before Solomon’s name and reads 3700 vs. LXX’s 3600. In these cases, LXX better reflects the Masoretic transmission of this information at 5:30, meaning it could be editorial here. However, it remains possible that the difference in the number, which is only really effects 1–2 letters, could represent a corruption within the Greek tradition in either direction. Nonetheless, I tend to favor Ant. as the older version in these cases due to the proximity of LXX to MT.

The list of cities in v. 9 contains some noteworthy differences. First, the name “Assoud” in Ant. clearly presents a corrupted form of “Hazor.” Yet, this corruption is decidedly more likely within the Hebrew tradition, meaning that this error could actually represent an incorrect transliteration of the Hebrew Vorlage of OG. The second to last phrase in Ant. includes an “and” missing in LXX and the final locations vary between the witnesses. While LXX generally matches the Masoretic transmissions of these names and Ant. could be regarded as a series of corruptions within the Greek transmission, these names remain otherwise unattested in the Greek Bible. However, the name “Ano” does appear as the name for Jeroboam’s wife in the Greek plus after 12:24, and the name “Baldath” strongly resembles the Greek transliteration of the name of Job’s friend Bildad. Possibly Ant. attests the OG in these cases, but it is difficult to determine what stood behind these readings.

The opening phrase of v. 11 contains a number of transpositions between the versions. To me, this case in LXX appears to present a recension, likely consistent with kaige, for a more isomorphic translation of the Hebrew phrase בהיות דוד חי (cf. 2 Sam 12:18 for the same phrasing, the only other case in the Bible). That would commend Ant. as the OG here. Ant. lacks any reference to the “seed” found in LXX. The LXX version could well be corrupt, though it is difficult to explain what led to this corruption (similarity to 2:33 with the repetition of “seed”? Confusion/dittography of Hebrew זרע and גרא?). The location included at the verse’s end differs between the versions: it is Gabatha in Ant. and Hebron in LXX. While it is possible to regard LXX as a corruption of the form found at 2:8 MT, Ant. differs markedly. This name appears otherwise in the majority Greek tradition of the Bible only at Esth 12:1, where it presents the name of a eunuch hiding with Mordechai. Likely the Γαβαθα in Ant. represents a corruption within the Greek for Γαβαθων (= Hebrew Gibbethon; cf. 1 Kgs 15:27; 16:15 and 17). That would commend Ant. as presenting a distinct Hebrew parent from that of MT and LXX.

Verse 13 presents a transposition of the object “me” between the versions in the first phrase. Likely, LXX represents a corrective toward the Masoretic transmission of this information as found in 1 Kgs 2:8, which is also more similar to the Greek versions there. That could commend Ant. as the OG in this case. The verb for “die” is active with a definite object in Ant., but passive in LXX. In this case, I see two possibilities: 1) LXX represents an error in the Greek transmission, in which θανατωσω σε corrupted to θανατωθησε…; 2) LXX represents the OG which was corrected in Ant. and MT so that David’s swearing remained true. After all, in LXX David’s swears “if you should die by the sword…,” which does in fact come to pass, albeit not by David’s hand or instruction, which Ant. and MT still permit. Currently I tend to favor the latter option as the correct one, though I am admittedly still open to both. It should be noted that neither of these versions conform to David’s swear as actually transmitted in 2 Sam 19:24.

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